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.
Read more

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
Read more

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!
Read more

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.

Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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
Read more

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!
Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more


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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more

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...
Read more

International Cinema Thursday: Mountain Patrol and How I Spent the End of the World

Two films you need to see this week are Cum mi-am petrecut sfârşitul lumii (How I Spent the End of the World) and 可可西里 (Mountain Patrol). Seriously.

Mountain Patrol is about Tibetan rangers patrolling mountain passes, attempting to protect the endangered Tibetan antelopes from fearless and ruthless poachers. The film is often commented upon for its cowboy Western feel. The atmosphere is rugged, authentic, and beautifully filmed. If anyone saw Himalaya and fell in love with the austere beauty of the Himalayan mountains, they will certainly enjoy the Romanticism of the Chinese outlaw in the hinterlands of Mountain Patrol.

How I Spent the End of the World is different beast. However, the ideas of mankind at its edge and the brutality of humanity are ever present in both works. The lines between good and evil are not as well defined in How I Spent the End of the World as they are in Mountain Patrol. However, one can easily find trace elements of national identity, the struggle for independence and security, and individuals riding the line to the edge of existence between the two.

Go. See these movies. Don't be rubes anymore.
Read more

SCAMP and My Very Opinionated Thoughts

So here's an article in the Daily Universe about Provo parking restrictions.

Basically what its saying is that recently the Provo Municipal Council met and voted to reduce the number of parking spots that are mandatory for property owners to offer their tenants from 1 per resident to .7 per resident (I don't really believe those numbers though. I've heard its more like 1.5 spots per home or apartment, but that's neither here nor there).

This is due, in BIG part, to the new great and spacious building being built off of 400 N. Originally this land held an elementary school, but as the student community south of campus grew, the school was shut down and permanent residents began to spread out across the city. When the land was bought by a developer, no comprehensive plan for parking in Provo had been proposed. A parking garage could have, theoretically, been built here. One was not.

A plan has been drafted and ratified to systematize parking south of campus. This would involve "zones" for streets that only residents can park in. Here is an article detailing some of the reasons that this plan has been tabled. Here is the official page for more information on parking permit programs in Provo (alliteration never hurt anyone).

The bottom line though?

'Citizens were given the opportunity to voice their concerns about the resolution.

“Averages are great at smoothing out rough spots in a big picture,” said Charles McElwee, a Provo resident. “But this is a little picture.”

McElwee questioned the propriety of the bus system and the lack of a viable grocery store in the area, using the latter concern to show that students who make up a big part of the area’s demographic still need to drive at times, and therefore need a place to park their vehicles.

The resolution passed with only one council member in opposition.'

Did anyone reading this go to the meeting? I sure didn't. I'm sure I could have if I'd been paying attention.

A huge problem in our community is this moral indignation over the City making decisions that affect us students in ways we don't appreciate. But what are students doing about it? If we feel we have the right to complain, shouldn't we also feel like we need to get involved?

Stay informed, go to City council meetings, and SAY you disagree with the plan to limit parking in Provo. SAY you need better UTA routes. SAY you need zoning changes to facilitate accessible grocery stores. SAY you want a walkable community and bigger bike lanes. But SAY it in a City Council meeting. Here is a City Council meeting schedule with past meeting minutes.

There are resources at your fingertips and there is work to be done. Get involved or stop complaining. Often enough, "getting involved" is just complaining to the right people. Imagine that.

On that note, somebody tell Sterling May that we need a student on the Student and Young Adult Advisory Board who will actually help students and young adults in Provo. Email that cat because I'm sick of the guy who ruins student-administration mediation at BYU also ruining student-city relations in Provo as a whole.

Student Provo City Alliance

Provo City

Thanks Dax for the heads up.
Read more

Op-Ed: Girls At BYU

We're opening up a new Opinion-Editorial section. Send in your own. Today's is brought to you by Spencer J. Allread.


It's been pretty warm out lately and something I've noticed is a shocking lack of regard for both the Honor Code and other people. I've seen short skirts, low-cut tops, shorts above the knee, even. One girl was wearing a dress so ill-fitting, I could swear I could see her garments. And believe me, I was looking pretty hard.

What gives? You get stares when you dress like this, ladies, and not even good stares. So why waste your time? It's common knowledge that everyone loves a chaste and virtuous Daughter of God. John Bytheway often comments on the effect outward appearance has on attracting or detracting potential spouses. A responsible member of the Gospel looks for morality in all its forms. That includes, especially, outward appearance. A man wants to see your obedience, ladies, not your goods!

Speaking of which: a year ago at a YSA event up in Alpine, I heard a talk given wherein the speaker implored the girls of the room to think about the effect their dress has on young priesthood holders. In his words, unseemly and morally ambiguous clothing choices jeopardize a young man's morality and strain his ability to magnify his calling. I have to agree entirely. And, I would add, that this is not only to mention for young priesthood holders. All priesthood holders are susceptible to bared upper chests and shoulders. Please sisters, remember yourselves and the responsibilities you hold. You are responsible for the morality of the men of the Church as much as the men are.

I do hope in the future that the girls of this campus will remember their places and roles in helping the men to stay morally upright. Coeds are great. But please, think twice before you leave the house. Is that skirt below the knee? Are you wearing tights but no pants? Is your make up correct? Is your hair straight enough (curls attract unsavory elements)? Remember to check each and every one of these things in order to follow the Honor Code. If a man is to wield the priesthood and serve and protect you, then you should allow him to do so by staying chaste and virtuous in appearance.

I will end this with a story: Recently I was walking on campus, signing hymns to myself, trying to keep the Spirit strong (I had run up to the Temple earlier that morning to do some baptisms; also I'm in an ASL class). I saw a girl walking towards me with her bright yellow sports bra protruding from her shirt. Aghast, I diverted my eyes downward and began to whistle "My Time on Earth". Lo and behold, this young lady was wearing a skirt that only met her mid-thigh. I was more than annoyed that I could not simply look ahead without feeling unclean, and so as she approached, I looked up toward her head but slightly to the right. I then blurred my vision so that I wouldn't be tempted any longer. I think she smiled when we passed, but I couldn't really tell. I had holier things in mind.

Spencer J. Allread is a freshman at Brigham Young University. He lives in Helaman Halls and serves as FHE dad.
Read more

Write for the Political Review, Win an Ipad

Now, I hate the Ipad as much as anybody else. However, everybody else seems to love these things. That’s why the BYU Political Review is giving one away.

That’s write (LOL), the best submission for the November 2010 issue of the Political Review will win you an Ipad. Second and third place winners will receive gift cards and all who submit will receive a PR t-shirt. Don’t you want a campy t-shirt to wear around showing off what an informed winner you are? Of course you do.

Go here to see how to submit. Write well!

Note: must be a current undergraduate at BYU to contribute. :( we don't like that rule either.
Read more

A Barry Rowen Production: The Gretchen Serial

Barry Rowen recently began attending college. He has been having a hard time adjusting. Here are some sketches of his Algebra teacher.

This is Gretchen. She's my Algebra Professor.

This is her as a goat.

This is her as Godzilla.

Gretchen's a Bitch

Aquatic Gretchen's a bitch.

This is Gretchen if she had heard of the theatre.

Gretchen as a sandwich.

"This Jade is the bitch of the hour."

Barry Rowen, everybody.
Read more

Petitions, Meetings, and Movies!

Hello all. Are you interested in saving the bus pass program or even making it BETTER?

Well sign a petition by clicking this link.

After you've done that, come to the Parlour this Friday at 8 PM. We'll be holding an open forum about the Ed Pass, and people like Justin Hyatt will be there. Who is Justin Hyatt? He's really invested in saving the bus pass and is involved with the Student Provo City Alliance! Awesome! We'll also be planning for future, BIGGER events so don't miss out.

There will be fall dranks to drank (ciders and whatnots) and we'll also be watching Stop Making Sense.

Sign the petition! Get involved! BYAHHHH!!
Read more

Bieber Fever

Every once in awhile a child does something so precious and human that it seems inspired. Natalie's little brother, Sean, recently did something like that.

He wrote a letter to Justin Bieber.

Here is a sample:

Click-thru for better vu.

More of that here.
Read more

Student Provo City Alliance

Did you know that there's a non-profit organization here at BYU called the Student Provo City Alliance (or SPCA)? Maybe you didn't. You do now. This is a group of students who have dedicated themselves to creating a communicative tie between the students in Provo (BYU, UVU, non-attending, hair school, etc.) and the City Council. This is a group that is trying to help inform and mediate problems between students and the City.

You might also not know that you can be a part of this process. You do now.

Aside from just contacting the group, staying informed, and attending events when they arise, there are other ways to get involved. Recently the City of Provo has formed subcommittees to help decide matters concerning the 20 year Provo Revision Plan. These subcommittees are headed by prominent members of the city and are composed of residents. What the SPCA has the opportunity to do is place passionate and capable students on these subcommittees.

If you're interested in assisting in the creation of public policy that would benefit students and residents of Provo, email us at barebonesmagazine[dot]gmail[dot]com. We'll get you hooked up.

Students are wanted to assist subcommittees concerning: Safety, Prosperity, Unity, Public and Non-Profit Partnerships, Education, Leisure, Natural Resources, Family and Neighborhoods, Land Use and Growth, Health Care, and Heritage.

Time commitment is expected to be nominal. Students with experience or just disgusting amounts of interest in the subjects should apply.

If we want change at BYU and in Provo these are the people we work with. Get involved or stop complaining.

Here is their webpage! Here is their facebook! This is a relevant song by Ginuwine!

Read more

Things I Learn From Working in Retail: It's a Two-fer

Brandon is a twenty-something working at a nation-wide convenience and drug store that isn't CVS. He works mostly in their photo lab developing and laughing at pictures of the "common people", while people watching to avoid actual work. These letters are his deepest thoughts to those that he interacts with and observes, after being dragged through sarcasm and shi- I mean wit.

Dear Dilated Eyes-Woman,

Why must you always make a trip to our store after you get your eyes dilated? Why are your eyes dilated at least once a month, if not more? Your eyes couldn't possibly be bothering you THAT much, could they?

That's not my biggest qualm though. My biggest problem with you would have to be how much you insist on your inability to see with your sunglasses on, protecting your "dilated" eyes. So bad is this inability, you claim, that you can't see the computer screen to order your own photos. Yet you can walk in a straight line fine. And you can either drive home or walk home fine. That would lead the logical thinker to the conclusion that you're either A.) completely lazy and a walking contradiction or B.) a serious hazard to anyone who comes (or drives) close to you and you must have really practiced how to walk correctly when nearly blind.

To only add to this frustration, every single time I help you, I'm doing the exact same freakin' thing- scanning old pictures of a mustached guy that I'm assuming is your son. And every time I ask you for your phone number to begin your order, you tell me the same story: "My son used to come here all the time for pictures, all the time, not anymore, but all the time. His name is Chad. Yup, Chad [last name redacted], that's him. Yeah, he used to come in all the time."

How often? All the time? Or did you say all the time? I didn't hear you the eighth time you told me. But you know what? YOU come in here ALL THE TIME. WITH DILATED EYES. AND IT'S REALLY STARTING TO PISS ME OFF.


The Guy from Behind the Counter

Our author contemplates life on a beach (he is not at work in this picture).

Dear Orphan-Looking Kid Who Never Steals,

You. Oh you. Your raggedy looking white t-shirt and over-sized blue jeans. You come in a few times a week. I can't tell where from. You aren't old enough to drive, and you are never accompanied by anyone, yet you look no older than 14 or 15. You buy candy and soda every time you come here (but still find a way to keep that twig-like figure!). Who ARE you?

And why are you so stern looking? Your expression never changes. A blank stare and still lips, walking with a strut that just screams "I'm stealing but I don't want you to know! And even if you did, I wouldn't care! I'm not loved by anyone, not even Santa Claus, so take a hike, mister!".

I'll admit it: I judged you the first day I noticed you as a repeat customer. A familiar face, I tried to think back to what you bought during your previous visit. You rarely wander past aisle 5, the candy aisle. And with the mini-coolers by the check-out counter- one for Coke products, one for Pepsi- well shit.. You have everything you need right by the front door.

Then when I rejoined the present from my flashback, I made the judgment. I thought to myself, "Here's another suburbanite's forgotten marriage-killer, waltzing through a convenience store like he's got nothin' to lose but a few minutes of his time if he's caught with that Coke bottle in his- what? He's actually paying for something? I didn't even see the chocolate in his hand.."

So shoot me. I was wrong, and you probably don't notice my presence. But I'll keep nodding your way when we make eye contact in aisle 5; just as long as you keep stopping by the front counter, paying corporate America for what's rightfully theirs.

Would you like to try some Reese's Pieces?,

The Guy From Behind the Counter
Read more

Screenshots of Confusion: Women Edition!

"You know, I've heard that there's some bill passed that might let women have the right to Youtube. Some Youtube suffrage bill. I wonder if that's true. I guess I'll search 'women' on the main page of Youtube, for the purposes of finding out. Oh, wait, look. It looks like the most important video discourses relating to womenfolk are porn and Lil Wayne. Thank goodness there will be no Youtube suffrage. If that passed, I'd move to Missoura before I'd re-elect that President Taft."
Read more

Shout Out Louds: Things Of Note In Provo

As we kick back into regular posting, be aware of some Things of Note.

1) Next Friday (Oct. 15), starting at 8 PM we will be watching Stop Making Sense on a projector screen in the front yard of The Parlour, our humble home. We will be making cider and dranks to drank on. Come meet some cool people, including Michael Killian of Daily Universe fame! (woah, you're thinking). Here is the facebook event page.

We will also be discussing the UTA bus pass situation
in a serious manner, with lots of facts, figures, and future plans. If you would like to come just for that, come around 10 PM.

2) Tomorrow night there is some sort of party hosted by the BSS (Boots, Staches, and Sweaters Club) which, from what I can tell, involves some guy named Mike Lemon and free food. Oh and they seem to be dedicated to being cool in Provo, so you gotta love that right?

3) The UVU Clothesline Project (a rape awareness/therapy event) will be happening from Oct. 20th-21st.

Alright! We'll get back to posting artwork, funny pictures, and stories now. Thanks.
Read more

International Cinema Thursday: Raise the Red Lantern and Mormon Perceptions of Polygamy

There are some fantastic movies at International Cinema this week! I was going to examine La Faute à Fidel ! but everybody knows that the French aren't real communists, so why waste my time?

Just kidding. I'm focusing today on 大红灯笼高高挂 or, in lay, Raise the Red Lantern. This is mainly because I want to see how Mormons react to polygamy in other cultures.

Raise the Red Lantern is a 1991 film in Mandarin set in 1920's rural China. This is an era of warlords and much concubinage. The film concerns the four mistresses of the wealthy Master Chen and focuses on the ever-shifting power struggle within the household. There, you have the broad strokes.

Now, I want you Mormons out there to consider this: when you see this movie, how will you view the portrayal of polygamy?

Recently I read Things Fall Apart in a class taught by Prof. Cheri Earl. I brought up this point in a round-table discussion, asking the question, "As Mormons, how do we feel about polygamy in other societies?" The question kind of fell flat. This was surprising and then, immediately, not surprising. Is there even an answer to that question? Luckily, the magnanimous Prof. Earl posed the question again. There we began our discussion.

One of the first comments was that, "Well I certainly couldn't relate to it. I took it as part of the novel and moved on, much the same way that when I consider our own history, I take it as something that was simply part of the culture and move on."

Let's look, then, at two ideas:

1) Do we understand polygamy in other societies so easily because we are conditioned to view other cultures in a way that naturally assumes they will practice what we, in our society, consider abominable?

and 2) How is that we can't relate to the polygamy of our own immediate past (and present in some cases) but we can relate to, say, personal diaries of our ancestors or church leaders? Or, for that matter, the D&C? We have very close personal and emotional ties to a great portion of that part of our history, and yet, the polygamy is glossed over?

There may be no answers to these questions. They might not even be questions. But I suggest you at least see the movie and think about the questions. What else are you going to do this weekend? Go to homecoming?
Read more

@BYU: Fear and Change

So a funny thing happened over the past 24 hours or so. In this post we invited people to answer the question: "What would you like to have changed at BYU?"

The response was... lackluster. One great response and then total inactivity. It appeared as though nobody even read the thing.

Our Google Analytics doesn't lie though. People read the post; we know. We're sneaky like that.

So what's the deal? Why so many views and so little response? How confusing! A conundrum! And then a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, put it very honestly:

Because President Monson is actually the official head of BYU, people are kind of passive about change because they feel like they're challenging the prophet. Every major change that goes on at the Y goes across the desk of the General Authorities. Point is, our fees are highly subsidized by tithing, SO, things that go on at the school and are condoned by the school MUST be in accordance with the General Authorities.

Now, with this in mind: If you have a concern about BYU that you would like changed, be it housing, honor code stuff, xenophobia, the bookstore, BYUSA, UTA bus passes, etc., please post a comment below.

OR, if you aren't comfortable with your name out there all willy-nilly, please email us at barebonesmagazine[at]gmail[dot]com. We'll post your emails as anonymous concerns, and keep your names and personal information locked up tight.

Our hope and goal here is to get a sense of what people on campus need and want. We would like to be a place for you to discuss your thoughts civilly and honestly with one another. There is no place on campus for us to do this. We'd like to change that.

Join us in encouraging openness and fostering a community at BYU.

Read more

@BYU: I Can Haz Change?

No more bus passes as of 2011.
No more Women's Research Institute as of 2009.
No opinions expressed in the Daily Universe that might offend the administration (as of always).
No easy access to student resources that might actually allow them any voice or expression.
No beards.
No officially sanctioned clubs promoting gay rights.
No honest discussions about homosexuality in class or on campus.
No campus services offered for physically-disabled students.
No empathetic student government.

If change were even remotely possible at Brigham Young University, what do you think would be important to bring to BYU?

Let us know below in the comment section and we'll get to talking. The first step in inviting change is voicing what exactly you want changed.

We're looking maybe to shift directions a little. Anybody with us?
Read more

Things You'll Be Angry To Hear: TARP Worked

You may not totally understand the Troubled Asset Relief Program (or TARP); many don't. But here are some relevant facts that may bring you to a better understanding of the past two years:

1. The TARP, originally passed with funding up to $365 billion during the Bush Administration and then increased to $700 billion during the Obama Administration, officially ends this Sunday. That's tomorrow.

2. The total cost of the program to the Federal Government will be $50 billion dollars, at most. (This estimate is based from economists and analysts in the Treasury and private think tanks like Brookings Institution.)

3. If AIG stays prosperous and the Treasury can cut good deals in selling off its shares in the private sector, then best case scenarios involve TARP breaking even or even turning a profit.

4. This. Just. This.

5. Some have drawn parallels between the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s (under the Reagan and Bush Administrations, respectively) and our very own Great Recession. If you want to buy into that (hey, why not) then realize that the total damage done from that economic hellhole was around $160 billion, or more than three times that of our recent recession.

The "bail-out" has been despised throughout its existence, spawning the Tea Party and, in general, national anxiety. To some it is a symbol of insidious government power. However, to those in the know, like Utah's very own Robert Bennett, the TARP was something entirely necessary. He told the NYTimes:
"... I do hope that we can get the word out that TARP, number one, did save the world from a financial meltdown and, number two, did so in a manner that, I believe, won’t cost the taxpayer anything. And even if it did not all get paid back, it was still the thing to do.” [sourced]

Still got beef with TARP and the Obama Administration? Just remember that the middle-class has not experienced a tax hike since Obama has been in office. Seriously. In fact, everyone got a tax cut. Seriously. And they probably won't be taxing the middle class in the future. Maybe.

Also remember that you, as a citizen of the United States, vote in the people who make the decisions on a local and state level, as well as the national level. Sure you vote for the president. But if you want that guy to be successful, you should also vote in the people who make him successful. Don't be mad if you don't show up to the voting booth this November.

Also, don't vote Chaffetz. That guy is a douche.

Sources: NYTimes article on the issue (clicky click!), info on the Savings and Loan Crisis (clickety), info on TARP (clickkkk). All others are sourced in article. Let me know if I've missed anything.
Read more

Stephanie Nielson, "Recapturing Beauty", and the WSR: BYU's Social Deficit

Tonight’s presentation of Stephanie Nielson’s story by the Women’s Services and Resources provided a perfect example of what constantly plagues social services at BYU, and the WSR in particular: underestimation.

The Wilkinson Center ballroom was filled to capacity (both wings), with the aisle-ways and hallways behind the ballroom packed. That's over 1,700 people. Fire marshals and plain-clothes officers, as well as Wilkinson Center staff members, were constantly asking people to relocate or to make a path to follow fire codes. Forty-five minutes into the presentation, a significant portion of the standing audience was asked to move to the Garden Court where audio was being piped in through a speaker system.

The projector screen constantly shut on and off, leaving half of the Mormon Messages video, played before Nielson’s presentation, totally without video. The actual presentation itself began about a half an hour late, due to problems with overcrowding and technical issues. The video was not ready to go, the power point presentation was not ready to go, the projector screen kicked on and off, the audio needed to be fixed and tested, the printed program was almost completely wrong, etc., etc. I could go on, but I do not wish to.

Tonight’s presentation kick starts an events series called “Recapturing Beauty”. This is a great, great message. The series focuses on freeing women from conventional standards set by wholesale media. It focuses on encouraging women to come to terms with their bodies and to not identify themselves solely through their image.

This message is progressive for BYU. In 2009, the Women’s Research Institute was shuttered, which left the University with no social services tailored to its vast population of women (I could not locate any set female student population for BYU online; if anyone knows this number, please inform us). The WSR acted as successor and it’s clear to see that it has no clue what the demand and need for women’s services on campus are. Services listed through the office are support groups dealing with pornography, and eating disorders. There is also information regarding reproductive health, date rape, educational workshops, and relief society messages. At the event there were posters for private consultations to help students deal with sexual abuse and body image issues. These are not advertised on the website.

A comprehensive women's resource center is a vital part of a University's dichotomy. BYU provides its students with an incredible education. However, its social services are more than lacking. One of its most obvious failures is its inability to render invaluable social services to its female student population. I do not understand how to state this more clearly.

Hopefully in the future, the WSR will prepare a little better. Hopefully in the future they’ll be a little more sure of what services they can offer women on campus. Really, hopefully in the future they’ll be a little more sure of what services female students on campus NEED rendered.

Will this push to provide BYU women with support groups, yoga, zumba, a “10-Day Challenge” (of unstated intention), and lecture series be as hastily prepared as tonight’s presentation? I hope not. That would only further impoverish the already meager resources for female students here at Brigham Young University.

I do not wish to criticize the efforts being made too harshly. This really is an amazing push on behalf of the WSR. It's only the beginning though. There exists a deficit and I think the people sitting in the Wilkinson Garden Court, listening to the audio of Stephanie Nielson, felt that they were only getting half of the service they expected.

For more information on Women's Services and Resources, visit their website or their blog.
For more information about Stephanie Nielson and her message of inspiration, visit her blog.

-A Dude At BYU
Read more

IC Thursday: Voces inocentes

Today we're discussing Voces inocentes or, in lay, Innocent Voices. The 2004 movie focuses on the militaristic uses of children in the Salvadoran Civil War. The Salvadoran Civil War was South America's second longest civil war, running from 1979-1992.

Why we should care: Well, the U.S. had a pretty big role in the Salvadoran Civil War. Under the administration of three presidents, the U.S. sent seven billion dollars to El Salvador, mostly in favor of the Salvadoran military working to put down the liberal coup. The U.S. involvement in El Salvador's internal conflict was silent until a National Guard death squad raped and killed four American nuns and a laywoman in 1980. President Carter suspended all aid, at the time, until domestic right-wing groups pressured for continued support. They won out and the U.S. resumed its dumping of money into the complicated and bloody conflict.

Why we should care even more: The movie isn't really about the war, so much as it is about the orphans and child victims of the war. Set in 1980, the same year that the issue came to the fore in the US, the movie follows Chava and his mother Kella as they fight the forces of destruction to keep their family together. The movie is a microcosm of the problem of child victimization by military conflicts. There's no way to accurately discuss this issue in a short amount of time. Suffice it to say that children have been used for militaristic purposes since the beginning of time in nearly every culture (including the U.S.! WEE!!!)

There are a few ways children are used in the military: 1) Combat soldiers. The kids, as young as 7 in Kurdistan, participate as full members of a nation or movement's standing army. This means they hold weapons, kill people, and often rape and pillage with glee.

2) Non-combat soldiers. These kids often serve as messengers, lookouts, spies, and sources of misinformation. They also serve as sexual slaves for military leaders and common soldiers.

3) Body shields. They are used as human body shields during fire fights. They are also scouts for mines.

4) Propaganda. Saddam Hussein used children as young as 10 in his Fedayeen Saddam or "Saddam's Men of Sacrifice". These were the kids with the red bandannas tied around their foreheads, holding Kalashnikovs in the Gulf War. You may have heard about them from the news; that's because they were both combat soldiers and a propaganda tactic.

As I said, this problem is far too complicated and wide-spread to state succinctly. So watch the movie. It will give you a pretty accurate account of the life of desperate families involved in wars that the United States will support but never take part of. It'll also give you a pretty good look at situations that we will never have to experience and probably feel like we don't want to think about. That's why International Cinema rules. These are more than movies. Go and be affected.
Read more

Local Yokel Jason Chaffetz May Be D.C.'s New Boss

Jason Chaffetz (pronounced "Cha-fey") has said a lot of things over the years. He's advocated internment camps for illegal immigrants. He runs in districts he doesn't live in. He has sided with 9/11 "truthers". He also has no idea what Stephen Colbert actually said in his Congressional testimony and refused to participate in the hearing, even though he was on the subcommittee.

And if the GOP wins a majority this November, he'll run the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Here's their website. Fun! What does this thing actually do?!

"The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives." (sourced) Oh.

Dems and Republicans alike are worried about Chaffetz' rise to power in D.C. He's power-hungry and charismatic. He also doesn't pull any punches.

Read more about Jason Chaffetz and this potential implications of the power shift in the House this November here. (Kudos to Alex Baca for throwing me a word and for probably writing for us in the future)

Also, vote. Seriously. VOTE. If you don't vote, I will never, ever let you complain about politics in the future. I'll call you a hypocrite and a total douchebag, and probably punch you right in the teeth.
Read more

The Short List Without Commentary: How to Read Jan Scharman's Argument Against Subsidized Bus Passes

This is a condensed list (without commentary) of Jan Scharman's defense against reduced cost bus passes at Brigham Young University. Given Sept. 20, 2010, and found in full here.

1. “…the number of BYU Ed Pass holders has decreased through the seven previous years of the program, including this past year by 21 percent. BYU student and employee usership of the discounted bus passes has reached 20 percent in past years, however, last year approximately 13 percent of students and 6.6 percent of employees used the passes.”

It's not clear if Sister Scharman is saying that student pass holders have decreased by 21% within the past year, thus making the number of student pass holders 34% for the year previous to the decline OR if she’s saying that over the 7 years of the pass’ existence, the student use has decreased 21%, making it an average loss of 3% per year.

2. Students used the bus pass only for local riding (primarily).

3. Bus pass price with the UTA has been raised too much for the system of self-sustaining to continue without University funding (something that it has done the past two years, including this year).

4. UTA is not willing to negotiate a lower price.

5. BYU has already tried charging for parking and future attempts would “not be successful”. Citing the fact that students wouldn’t be discouraged from parking near campus on residential streets, often to the dismay of residents, Scharman closed the door on that option. Additionally, “In surveying the campus community, we found that many said they still needed to drive to campus because riding the bus was not an option, either for a lack of bus routes or scheduling challenges.”

6. The school has 6,000 bike racks and a Hertz Rental car program which allows those 21 and up to rent a car from campus on a reservation basis at $6 per hour.

Do these sound like good reasons to cut off a service which would help all students (read: those with disabilities as well) get to school, cut down on needless driving, and reduce your chances of getting hit by a car on campus?

Read more

The Girl's Father

The house was spacious and white and there were columns along the porch. John could see them gleaming through the windows behind the faces across the table from him. The legs were artistically uneven and they shifted every time he leaned forward to impress upon them the gravity of the situation.

“She hasn’t left her room for days.”

“What is it you want from us?”

“Just an apology. That’s all.”

“From our son.”


John tried to look them both in the eyes at the same time. He looked at them both back and forth when he spoke. It made him nervous. He couldn’t look at either of them for very long before shifting to the other. They were so clean. They both had bright thick hair and white teeth and green eyes. Their fingernails were smooth and there were sharp creases in their clothing. The man’s cufflinks glinted when he cracked his knuckles. He cracked something every time he spoke.

“Why don’t we all have something to drink?” said the woman. “Would you like something to drink?” She had a large mouth and she bared her teeth like a lion when she spoke. Her teeth were as white as walls and beautiful to look at, the way they contrasted with her lipstick. “What would you like to drink?”

“Just water, thanks.” John leaned back in his chair and the table clunked.

“Nonsense,” said the man. “We should all loosen up a bit. Bring out the wine, Daphne.” His wife stood up and smiled generously down at John. He scooted forward in his chair and tried to return her grin. He met her eyes and her mouth twitched. She went for the drinks.

She came back with a dark bottle and three Bordeaux glasses. She set them down on the table and pushed one towards John. She had a ring with a large diamond on her middle finger. The light coming in from the windows glared into John’s eyes and he blinked, surprised. She smiled again and got to work on the cork. She twisted the screw in and pulled it out with a pop that sort of echoed in the room. The smell of the wine filled the air. Daphne poured liberal glasses for she and her husband. She put the bottle down next to John.

“Help yourself.”

John poured a small amount but didn’t drink any.

“Thank you, dear,” said Arnold. He picked up his glass and smelled it and smiled to himself before drinking. “Great stuff isn’t it?” He gestured at his glass. “If I told you how we got this—well, you wouldn’t believe it.” John quickly took up his own and sipped.

“Yeah, wonderful,” said John.

“Do you like wine, John?”

“Yeah, it’s good.”

Arnold nodded and sniffed at his glass again.

“Or are you more of a beer man?”

“I like this fine.”

“Daphne, do we have any beer?” said Arnold.

She looked over her glass at her husband and raised her eyebrows. She drank.

“This is great, thanks a lot,” said John. He took a larger drink.

“You’re welcome, John,” said Daphne.

Arnold and Daphne enjoyed their wine. They drank it quickly and their glasses were half-full when Arnold spoke again. He put his hand to his chin and pushed till his neck popped. “Well, we’d better get down to the dirty business, shouldn’t we?”

“Yes,” said Daphne. “Tell us again, John, what it is you think happened.”

“It’s pretty simple,” said John. He leaned forward and the table shifted again. His glass nearly tipped but he caught it.

“Should we get a few coasters, Daphne?”

“Look. It’s simple,” said John. “Your son’s been bullying my daughter—“

“Caroline?” said Daphne. She looked at John with her eyes half closed and serene.

“Yes. Your son needs to leave Caroline alone. And I think he should apologize to her.”

“Really?” Her teeth were still so white, even with the wine. John could smell her perfume. Arnold finished his glass and sighed contentedly.

“Expensive stuff, this—we shouldn’t let it go to waste, John. Would you like another?”

“He hasn’t finished his yet, dear.”

“Well, we shouldn’t let it go off.” He poured himself another glass and topped off Daphne’s goblet. “We’ve gotten off track. John, you were saying?”

“I just want your son to apologize. That’s all. I’m thinking of moving her to another school.”

Daphne inclined her head to her shoulder. Her smile never left her lips. Her lipstick was brilliant.

“Do you really think that will help things?” She said.

“What do you mean?” John pushed his glass to the edge of the table.

“Don’t you think your child will bring similar problems to every other school?”

“My daughter isn’t the problem. I’m sorry, but it’s your son.”

“Our son tells a different story than Caroline does, John,” said Arnold. “He says your child harassed him. He says she tried to kiss him.”

Daphne smiled widely at Arnold.

“For God’s sake, dear, you don’t have to beat around the bush like that,” she said. She turned to John. “You call your child Caroline, do you? Did you pick the name or did she?”

“Her name is Caroline. She picked it. That’s her name,” said John. “She also says your boy won’t call her Caroline.”

“Well really, why should he?” said Daphne. “That’s not her real name, is it?” She downed the rest of her drink.

“Dear.” Arnold placed his hand on her knee and patted it. “It’s alright.”

“No it isn’t.” she was still smiling but her knee quivered under her husband’s hand. She spoke quietly. “It’s not alright for some freak to sexually harass our son.”

John stood up and knocked the table. The glasses and bottle crashed to the floor. The wine spread out and began sinking into the carpet. John clenched his fists. Daphne looked up at him. Her eyes were cold.

“Not a problem, not a problem,” said Arnold, standing up and brushing himself off. “We’ve got something for this, don’t we, dear? It’s a sort of marker. Stains will come right out.” He left the room and Daphne and John stared at each other. Her teeth were maddening.

“I’m sorry, John, I don’t know what could have come over me. But when one’s child is being attacked, physically or otherwise, you just can’t help but lose yourself in the heat of the moment. Wouldn’t you agree?”

John bent down to retie his boots. The steel toe was poking out through the leather on the left one. His hands kept fumbling till he got them tied. He stood up.

“You just tell your son to leave my boy alone. I’m not looking for trouble.”

“You may have found it, John.” She kept on smiling and John left the house.

He picked up the battered lunch cooler he’d left on the porch, threw it in the bed of his truck, and climbed into the driver’s seat. Sitting in the sweltering truck, John could smell the oil and dirt worked into the upholstery. He leaned his head on the steering wheel and tried to force down the lump rising in his throat. He reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a dog-eared photograph of Caroline wearing a blue ribbon. It was a school photo. John fingered the edges of the picture for a minute, finally put the keys in the ignition, and went to pick up his child. He held the photo in one hand while he drove, his grip slowly tightening. By the time he arrived at the school, it was crumpled. But he smiled and kissed Caroline when she got into the truck.

Tim Slover is a writer living in Salt Lake City, currently attending the U of U.
Read more