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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, March 2, 2024

Opinion | Column

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Column

The Journey: Autumn

A few days ago, I awoke to a crisp Medford fall morning and heard a rumble from the corner of my dorm room; there’s nothing quite like the annual activation of the heating system to bombard you with thoughts of the upcoming winter. As a native Floridian with only one New England winter under my belt, the anticipation of the coming season is daunting. Even with a closet shoved full of sweaters, jackets, hats, scarves and boots, I know that the changing seasons will inevitably bring a lack of sunshine, more time spent indoors and bone-chilling walks up and down the hill. Although we didn’t have to spend this Halloween with snowfall, as we did last semester, impending below-freezing days loom in our near future.


TheStrikeZone
Column

The Strike Zone: Critical art as resistance in Syria

The Assad dictatorship in Syria — led for 50 years by Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar — has been brutal, long-lasting and authoritarian. Even movements such as the 2011 Arab Spring revolts, which dethroned dictators in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, did little to dislodge Assad's iron grip on its civilians. The revolts prompted a still-ongoing civil war in Syria, in which millions of Syrians were forced to seek refuge, were externally displaced or perished from the violence. Tragically, the Assad regime has been the main perpetrator of human rights abuses throughout the war, abandoning its obligation to protect Syrian citizens. In her book, “Ambiguities of Domination,” Lisa Wedeen illustrates how this phenomenon reflects the politics of “as if."Per Wedeen, the Assad regime does not care about Syrian citizens, but it acts as if it cares in order to appear legitimate.Conversely, many Syrians do not necessarily support the Assad regime, but act as if they do to escape persecution.



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Column

The Journey: The power of the Tufts community

When coming to Tufts, I never envisioned life as a student-athlete. I spent my first year here on the treadmill masked in the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, and I never imagined myself sporting team-labeled apparel. Yet, earlier this semester, after seeing an advertisement for walk-on women’s rowing tryouts, I decided to step completely out of my comfort zone and show up in pursuit of a position as a coxswain.



TheStrikeZone
Column

The Strike Zone: Gender and modernity in Middle Eastern music videos

Twentieth-century technological advances led to the modernization of Pan-Arabic music. Musicians utilized improved microphones to cultivate the sensation of “atifiyaa,” an artist-centric feeling of sentimentality and sensuality characteristic of modernist Egyptian music. Further technological changes led to the popularity of the cassette tape, which helped deviant underground music reach millions of Pan-Arabic listeners. Underground cassette tape recordings were utilized by Dana International, a transgender Mizrahi Jewish pop singer whose music generated controversy because of her sexual lyrics and provocative dancing. Modernist changes in musical style allow artists to push traditionally rigid boundaries of gender in Middle Eastern culture.



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Column

A Better Consensus: Why ranked-choice voting is awesome

We all know how elections go: the most polarizing candidate or the bland incumbent often wins with less than half the overall vote, or the race has so many candidates that just a few hundred votes decide the winner. In 2016, Trump won the Republican primaries with 1,543 delegates, well over half. However, he won only 44.95% of the popular vote. Flash forward to 2020, my own congressional district, Massachusetts’ 4th, had a nine-candidate Democratic primary. First place Jake Auchincloss beat second place Jesse Mermell, 22.4% to 21%, a margin of 2,145 votes in a race with over 157 thousands total. The other candidates had vote totals in the thousands, well over the 1.4% difference. These results are not representative, and in the case of Trump, these ‘plurality’ wins can be disastrous. How do we stop such close wins and candidates who thrive on a minority of the electorate? The answer is ranked-choice voting.


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Column

The Journey: Imposter syndrome

Today was my first day back in in-person classes. After grabbing a mid-morning iced coffee at The Sink, I sat down in a big, comfortable blue armchair in the Mayer Campus Center. As I bent back the pages of Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” (1920), I was transported to 19th-century New York City. Despite my fascination with her commentary on the complex inner workings of the city’s upper echelon, I couldn’t help but notice a tour group out of the corner of my eye. The spirited guide took a big step up onto a bench, and I had a moment of realization: I really am a Tufts student.


TheStrikeZone
Column

The Strike Zone: Music and identity in Israel and Palestine

During the formation of Israel, aspects of two distinct cultural groups — European Ashkenazi Jewish people and Arabic Mizrahi Jewish people — were fused to form a shared national identity within the supposed Jewish homeland. However, Israeli society remains hierarchical; many Ashkenazi Jewish Israeli individuals have long suppressed both Mizrahi Jewish individuals and Palestinians, who claim indigeneity over much of Israel but have long been confined to the margins of Israeli society by the government.


A-Better-Consensus
Column

A Better Consensus: The importance of civic education

Everyone has suggestions for how national politics should be run, but with my background in independent journalism, civic education and opinion and interview podcasting, I have the experience of explaining complex topics, starting conversations, and promoting new ideas. This is “A Better Consensus.”


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Column

The Journey: An introduction

In a world with hurricanes of Herculean force, pandemics that have jolted the globe and politics arguably more divisive than ever before, we as global citizens are forced to tackle life in our own unique way. Along each of our individual journeys we are accompanied by vastly different sets of environmental factors creating a society that lights up each of our senses, with no two people absorbing sights, sounds and smells in exactly the same way. When facing the respective adversities that life sends us, it is quite simple to get lost in the big picture, stuck in the clouds. Yet, what if we were to take just a moment to get lost in the minutia, immersed in the details that create the diversity that colors our landscape’s vibrant hues?


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Column

On Demand: An ode to 'Halt and Catch Fire' and the glory of new beginning

Wishing my life was a TV show has the same energy as romanticizing trips to Costco and pretending The Sink baristas are the archetypal “popular kids.” Although I don’t need it, I just want an excuse to battle through song ("Glee," (2009–15)) and speak in an Irish accent ("Derry Girls," (2018–)) and drink coffee for lunch ("Gilmore Girls," (2000–07)). Instead, this column is my chance to ramble, uninterrupted, about TV shows I love and to imagine myself as the Athena to Ryan Murphy’s Zeus (i.e. a screenwriter’s brainchild).


The Setonian
Column

Beyond the Underneath: Starting from an empty dance floor

A DJ once told me that mixing techno or house during a set is easier than mixing pop or hip-hop songs due to the similarity in beats and repetition, as well as the anti-teleological nature and layering characteristics of house and techno tracks. The difficult part is how to perfectly master the grand rhythm of buildups and drops in order to keep the audience hooked to the evolving repetitions. If the whole night of music is graphed in terms of its excitement, then it should look like a flow of slowly ascending waves.



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Column

Hot Take: ‘Barry’ is the new ‘Breaking Bad’

It’s equally hilarious, terrifying and heartbreaking, which is a rare (and difficult) combo to achieve. And considering the fact that it’s about a hit man, it has some of the wildest cold opens that I’ve ever seen on TV. These cold opens do not only set the tone for how each episode will play out, but also point out the ridiculous nature of it all — that we’re essentially rooting for a hired killer to succeed, find love and be happy. The concept is ridiculous, but when it takes place in a world that's as ridiculous to the characters as it is to us, you find yourself in the unique position of relating to a hit man.


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Column

Beyond the Underneath: Vinyl survival, Part 2

What I like about vinyl stores is that I need to be prepared to handle the disappointment of failing to find the record I want, but at the same time, I never know what I will discover by sheer chance. The burst of joy after flipping through arrays of vinyl and all of a sudden spotting a favorite album or a non-mainstream artist can light up my day.


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Column

Soundtrack to the End of the World: The best storytellers in hip-hop

When Jess asked me to write for this column this week, I realized something that I hadn’t before; a large number of my friends, even those I’ve been tight with for a lot of my college life, don’t know what my music taste is. The truth is, I usually keep my favorite songs private because I think they’re best appreciated in moments alone. I like to reserve my music for late-night walks back home from the Daily office, or long nighttime drives in California.


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Column

A Fantastic Voyage: 'The Future Foundation'

The story opens with Reed Richards speaking at a “TED Talk” analog at “Singularity 2010,” which seems to be going well until Reed seems to go off-script. He begins to berate his fellow scientists, proclaiming, “You fear tomorrow.” As such, Reed decides to form the eponymous “Future Foundation”: a collection of young and brilliant minds from around the Marvel universe to solve the problems of the "tomorrow" that his colleagues supposedly fear.


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Column

Beyond the Underneath: Vinyl survival, Part 1

Despite a vinyl revival in recent years, classic vinyl records are still deemed obsolete in the mainstream, as modern technologies and the digital world sift them out. But they are still there, lining up quietly and unyieldingly, in boxes organized by genre, protected and loved by a small population of firm supporters.