Tag: opinion

Dirty Computer: The biggest snub of the 2019 Grammys

From the get go, I will admit that I am biased. I have been a fan of Janelle Monáe since she released the song “Tightrope” in 2010. From the moment I saw her dancing across an asylum in a tuxedo, I was in love.  Through the releases of her more eclectic ArchAndroid and ElectricLady albums, I retained a deep seated respect for her and her work.

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 9.20.41 PM

via Rolling Stone

The 2018 release of her fifth studio album, Dirty Computer, only strengthened my love and respect for Ms. Monáe. A fusion of Afro-funk, rap, ‘90’s R&B, bubblegum pop and Prince-esque guitar riffs, Dirty Computer is a futuristic celebration of diversity. Paired with a gorgeous 48 minute visual or, as Monáe calls it, “Emotion Picture,Dirty Computer is a concept album which follows the life and rebirth of Jane 57821. Featuring hits like “Pynk”, “Make Me Feel,” and “Django Jane,” it was no surprise that Monáe earned Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Music Video.

It was a surprise that she lost.

I hold nothing against Kacey Musgraves, the winner of this year’s award. However, I do have to question the criteria the Recording Academy are using to decide their winners. Are they looking for originality? Musicality? Creative lyricism? Because Janelle Monáe, in my book, checks every one of those boxes.

If you give Dirty Computer a listen yourself, which I highly recommend, you’ll see exactly why I’m so outraged. Not only is the album full of empowering hits that cross nearly every genre line— each and every song is filled with unmistakable heart. As a queer woman myself, songs like “Don’t Judge Me” and “Screwed” sound like anthems. The lyrics range from heartbreaking to funny, flirty, and outrageously relatable.

Past the wit, though, there is an underlying tone of seriousness and sincerity. In Monáe’s Emotion Picture, the character Zen (played by Tessa Thompson) admits at a pivotal part in the story that “People used to work so hard to be free. But we’re lucky here. All we have to do is forget.”

This single quote holds boatloads of cultural significance, especially in our current political climate when topics such as freedom and expression are highly debated.

At the end of the day, I believe that the Recording Academy avoided granting Dirty Computer Album of the Year for one reason and one reason alone: fear. The album itself is practically a love letter to progress, individuality, and independence. If I were to compare this years snub to a another famous Grammy brush-off, I’d say it was similar to the 2016 Adele vs Beyoncé debacle. People were outraged when Queen-Bey didn’t win Album of the Year for Lemonade, a stunning audio-visual masterpiece that celebrated and illustrated her experiences as a black woman in a strained relationship. Even Adele herself dedicated her acceptance speech to Beyoncé.

Not every detail fits, but the parallel is clear.

Regardless of the Recording Academy’s decision, I know in my heart that I will never find a more well-thought out, creative, and joyful album than Dirty Computer. It’s not only a collection of songs, it’s an experience— one filled with joy, hope, and above all, love. In years to come, I hope to see Janelle Monáe get the kind of recognition she deserves. After all, she’s Jane Bond, never Jane Doe.

 

 

by Mimi Ottavi

Already missing Halloween? Here’s a list of our favorite horror movies that will help keep the spooky spirit alive!

Though we’ve just left the Halloween season in the dust, that doesn’t mean we have to give up any and all things spooky and scary! Horror, to me, is one of the most interesting film genres, though it doesn’t get near as much love as films that fit into boxes like romance and comedy. Many may think horror movies are corny, dumb, or just downright disturbing– and sometimes, they are! But despite these preconceptions, it’s still possible to find enjoyment in a scary movie every now and then. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my all-time favorite horror movies. Some are merely slivers of a larger series of films—others are standalones. That’s not to say the series as a whole isn’t good, but these films in particular are the best of their counterparts! Beware of spoilers in the descriptions of each movie!

  1. Paranormal Activity (2007)
  • I have to say that I’ve never found these movies to be truly scary. They’ve startled me a couple of times, but I’ve never been clinging to my seat with my heart in my throat. I remember watching this film for the first time. The concept of telling a story through security cameras was groundbreaking, and to this day, I can’t think of another movie that accomplishes this style as well as Paranormal Activity did. It’s a great movie to watch curled up with friends in the winter weather!

 

  1. Scream (1996)
  • Scream has become the pinnacle of 90’s horror– calling out dumb tropes, being self-aware of its own ridiculousness, and giving the horror genre a number of iconic scenes, Scream is commonly known as one of the most widely known slasher flick of all time.

 

  1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • While The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t at all a traditional horror feature, it surely has a number of scary or spooky moments that could leave anyone with chills. Done in the style of claymation, the chilling setting and movement of the characters sets a tone that is sure to put a shiver down your spine. And, with Christmas fast approaching, it’s a perfectly appropriate film to watch by a fire with a cup of cocoa in hand!

 

  1. The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
  • The Purge franchise tends to get a lot of flack—many say the kills are over the top, and the plots aren’t well crafted, but I want to give the series some credit. When the Purge came out, I was pretty dissatisfied. There were some good moments, but overall, I thought the movie wasn’t anything spectacular. However, when Purge: Anarchy came out, I was astounded how different the sequel felt to the original. To go from a fight in the house of a rich person to people defending themselves on the street gives the audience a neat view on how the premise of the Purge works. The Purge: Anarchy was the first movie I have seen which changes the entire premise of the series halfway through.

 

  1. The Thing (1981)
  • This movie, while it isn’t at the top of the list, is one of my all-time favorites! The Thing is a film which is unafraid to develop layers in both character and plot. The concept of aliens is always a fun one to explore, and The Thing does so with vigor. There is so much we don’t know about space, and The Thing takes full advantage of that lack of knowledge. This movie tests the trust of everyone, relying on the build of paranoia in audiences rather than jump scares or gore. The entire premise of this movie is that an alien can transform into any living thing, so no one knows if a person is who they say. Setting up that suspense and never settling down makes this a great horror movie.

 

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • This movie is a jewel in the sand of horror movies. Night of the Living Dead was one of the first movies to establish the zombie theme in horror, and I think it’s the only one that has done it right since its original release. The film itself has a controversial history behind it, being that it was one of the first movies of to have a black lead protagonist. (Spoilers ahead!) This black lead also had one of the most controversial deaths in cinema, being shot at the end of the movie for seemingly no reason. Did the shooter believe Ben, the black character played by actor Duane Jones, think he was a zombie, or did he have quiet racist intentions? This question is never answered, which leads watchers to delve into some introspection after the credits start rolling.

 

  1. Halloween (1978)
  • Being one of the titans of the horror genre, Halloween, similarly to Paranormal Activity, is considered a classic! This film was the first to establish the monster that is Michael Myers, making this antagonist a household names to both those who love and hate horror. I give major credit to John Carpenter for his tremendous work during this movie and the others of the series, as well as Jamie Lee Curtis for giving us in the audience such a chilling performance.

 

  1. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)
  • So, I’m breaking the one rule I set up for myself, which is to not include more than one film from a single series, but for good reason! This movie has never felt like a true sequel to Halloween, in my opinion. What gives this movie an edge over the original Halloween is that the plot of this movie is gruesome, much more gruesome than the first two of the series. To sum up the plot, a man sells a few masks to some local children and on Halloween night, he attempts to use a stone from Stonehenge for a Celtic ritual which will melt the heads off all the kids wearing the masks. While to some the concept may sound ridiculous, to a kid who still finds joy in dressing up on Halloween, this is terrifying. I’ve been afraid of wearing masks for years, and watching this movie again still terrifies me. A great flick to watch if you’re already missing the Halloween season!

 

  1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
  • It’s hard to describe to people why I love this movie, but I’m going to try. I think what puts this movie over the other Nightmare on Elm Streets is that this movie lets Freddy have fun, or as much fun a psychotic supernatural killer can have. I think a lot of his most memorable kills from the franchise come from this movie. You have a girl being electrocuted through a television, another being injected with poison filled syringes, and a kid being thrown off a building after being strung up like a puppet by his tendons. It sets itself apart from the others by playing loose with the rules of reality for Freddy, and I think that makes the film all the more entertaining. Freddy doesn’t have to make sense because in the world of Elm Street, it’s Freddy that makes the rules.

 

  1. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter
  • The Friday the 13th films were the first I ever watched as a kid. I remember being terrified yet amazed by the killer that is Jason Vorhees. He goes from being a killer living in Crystal Lake to an immortal being to killing in Manhattan to being sent off to space. This man/supernatural monster/psycho killer has seen it all! Now, while I do love the entire franchise, part 4 takes the place of my number one pick because of one character alone. Tommy Jarvis. (Spoilers ahead!) In the beginning of The Final Chapter, Tommy starts as an innocent nerd, but after witnessing all of the evil committed by Jason, he snaps and kills Jason himself. Yes, he kills Jason! The twist of having a seemingly defenseless nerd murder the famous antagonist is brilliant and shocking.

 

Was one of your favorite horror flicks not included on this list? Let us know! We at the Crux would love to hear your opinions on what you like to watch when you find yourself missing the Halloween season.

By Dane Shaull

Raising Student Involvement

Student involvement at Clarke has been at a significant low for a couple of years. The students on Clarke’s campus are rising in number, but that doesn’t mean that student involvement is gaining any traction. By boosting student involvement, it’s possible that students would be more willing to consider the campus home.

Sydney Eustice, president of the Clarke Student Association, says that “One of the goals of the CSA is to help student organizations get more students to attend events.” She believes that, as a campus, “We need to get rid of the stigma that student athletes don’t have time to join in the student organizations events or other sporting events. “ Sydney also mentioned that the Clarke Student Association has meetings every other Sunday hold discussions regarding campus life and the steps CSA can take to help improve it. She says that all students are welcome to join these meetings to present new ideas.

Roane Hand, primary contact of the Spanish club, agrees, stating that “Giving students somewhere to go makes them want to come, which can up the stakes of encouraging them to join.”  Roane elaborated on how she, as a club leader, gets word out about student organizations like the Spanish club. “The only real way to get more students involved is word-of-mouth or face-to-face. It’s a lot harder to tell someone no to their face. If they do say yes and then they don’t show up, you know their face, so when you see them in the hall it can create an awkward situation.”

A resident assistant, Lexi Wenz, had plenty to say not only on student involvement, but the overall environment of Clarke University. Wenz said of the school that “Last year, it felt like this school was a suitcase school. Students lived here during the week, but then left on the weekends. I guess that in my first two years, the Clarke Activity Board had events every weekend or they were more planned out. The chalkboard in the tunnel between Mary Ben and Mary Jo always had weekly events.” As a resident assistant, Lexi gets a different opportunity to get students involved. Lexi says she normally tries to update her residents by letting them know when and where events are happening on campus or in the city.

 

Every week, campus engagement also sends out an email covering the weekly events taking place on and off campus. Most students find this to be helpful, allowing them to plan their schedules accordingly with the addition of events they’d like to attend. In regards to how else to get the word out about campus events, students have been pushing to better utilize the chalkboard in the tunnel between Mary Ben and Mary Jo.

While the university doesn’t make the student, the students definitely make the university. Clarke for a few years now has had a significantly low rate of student involvement, which has impacted the overall environment of Clarke University. Hopefully, over the next couple of months, students will become more aware of what opportunities Clarke has to offer, both on and off campus.

 

Morgan Foster

Mental Illness in College

We all know that college is a time of new experiences. College is really a test, it gives us a taste of the real world and at some points slaps us with reality. While going through college we learn a lot about ourselves that we didn’t know before, and one of those things is how well we can handle the stress of the real world. With the constant studying, assignments and impending due dates, college students commonly become overwhelmed and cannot handle the pressure of higher education. This can leads to mental health issues.  Mental health is defined as “Emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices,” (1). Throughout college students will commonly test the limits of their mental health and will potentially end up pushing themselves to the point of developing a mental illness. It is important for students to understand the importance of taking care of their mental health and to know how to when it is time to seek help when they need it.

The most common mental health issues found in college students are suicide and depression, stress and anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, ADHD,  and sleep disorders (2). There are many signs that can help determine mental health conditions before they worsen; unusual sleeping habits, low energy and ambition, change in hygiene habits, thoughts of harming yourself or others,  as well as feelings of worthlessness, helpless or hopeless feelings, and changes in appetite. When these signs are experienced its best to reach out to a counselor or advisor to seek help before it gets too out of hand.

An anonymous professor at Clarke University explained that he thought the most strenuous part about being in college that affects mental health is students being on their own. He explained that parents are not teaching kids to function on their own before they are thrown into the complexity of college. He explained that as a parent it is their responsibility early on to teach children the basics of independence. When asked for advice on how to help students deal with the struggles of sustaining mental health he recommended analyzing your week. Most college students when mapping out their week have too much leisure time, do not spend enough time studying or doing homework. For example, if you have four hours of free time, spend two hours studying then play video games. He also said that students feed themselves negative thoughts, in which he provided a hand out which allows for an individual to assess or challenge the negative thoughts in order to prevent them from altering one’s mental health. One would believe that the drop out rate would be high considering the stress that college can put on one with mental health issues, and this professor agrees. He stated that between three and four years ago about 5-10 psychology majors dropped out at Clarke during the spring semester because of depression and anxiety disorders. As a college educator, he has seen students experience mental health issues first hand. In his experience he said the most common signs of mental health issues that he has seen consist of continuous absences from class, late work, previously stellar work to more poor-quality work and the physical appearance of the student is different, students have baggy eyes, poor complexion, look sloppy in overall appearance and lack overall hygiene.

Liz Schuler, a Clarke instructor believes that mental illness is seen as a stigma but has also seen the powerful affects of mental illness. She says that so far from her knowledge about 3 students have already dropped out this semester. What some may find surprising is that Clarke staff do not have to go through training to be informed about mental illness or how to help the students who are struggling.

Mental illness is a neglected topic that most individuals are unknowledgeable about. To those who deal with a mental illness, do not be afraid to reach out, college is a mess sometimes. You shouldn’t have to be. Your mental health is not a stigma, and you are not your mental illness.

By Alexis Decker`

2)“College Student Mental Health.” Psychology, www.learnpsychology.org/mental-health/.

1)“What Is Mental Health?” What Is Mental Health? | MentalHealth.gov,www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health.

Feelings of Neglect Among Pride

Is Clarke University considering anything and everything for its athletics? Some students on campus, specifically student athletes, feel as though their respective sports are being overlooked by administration, thus, making them feel unimportant.

Decorated teams like Baseball, Softball, and Track and Field all been competing off campus since each of their inaugural seasons. Baseball competes at A.J. Spiegel Park in Peosta which is about a 20-minute drive. Softball competes at Veteran’s Memorial Park which is a 7-minute drive, and Track and Field have never even had home field advantage as they are always on the road. These teams, along with two Lacrosse teams, two Golf teams, two soccer teams, and potentially our new football team will have to share one indoor facility throughout the year, the Gantz Center, which is also a 7-minute drive from campus. Clarke does not provide transportation to these off-campus facilities.

Baseball, Softball, and Track and Field have been exceptionally successful in the past few years; however, a number of student-athletes feel as though they have nothing to show for it.

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Photo Credit: College Consensus 

Campus is changing, and some concerns are coming to light. There is little word from the administration regarding what exactly these new facilities are going to look like. Students can visibly see the plethora of space there is on campus, and that there is a lot of room for possible facilities for sports that seem to have been forgotten.

In a conversation with All-American baseball player, Michael Lopez, a junior from Rancho Cucamonga, California, he expresses his discontent with the current facilities stating, “I feel like our team is consistently successful, however we still get the short end of the stick having to drive 20 minutes to practice every day. A lot of us are from far away states and don’t have cars at our disposal.”

Lopez continues with expressing frustration stating, “It just sucks because student-athletes work as hard as we can to represent Clarke and what has Clarke done for us? Now that they are taking trees down, I can see that there is definitely room on campus for a baseball field or even an Avila type facility which is a full length make-shift football field, soccer field, softball field, and baseball field…I know I am not alone by saying there is room for this type of facility at Clarke.”

Clarke softball players also express their frustration and feelings of neglect. Ally Renforth explains the softball field is less than conducive for competition and practice, “…we have to haul all of our equipment from Gantz to [Veteran’s Memorial Park] to the school. It’s a constant struggle having to chase down equipment.”

Renforth continues to express her frustrations with the actual field, “We play at a community field. Kids ride their bikes across it and even run onto our field during practice. We have to put up a fence in order for our field to be regulation, we have an extremely small dugout for our team, and we have a scoreboard with broken pegs for plastic numbers that fall off. In all of my four years of college softball we are the only team I’ve seen with less than satisfactory facilities like ours.”

Renforth continues to state, “don’t get me wrong, we are content with the facilities that we have, but now that Clarke is making new facilities for a team that doesn’t even exist yet, it kind of hurts feeling as though we have been totally forgotten about.”

In closing with Lopez he expressed, “Clarke is doing a lot of things right, but they are also doing a lot wrong. The university should be caring thoughtfully about their current students and student-athletes because we are the best chance they have at generating donors. Instead, most of us are unhappy and envy schools like Georgia Gwinnett, University of Dubuque and the facilities that many teams in our conference have. I understand sports aren’t everything in life, but Clarke is wasting the chance to bring a championship culture across all sports to campus.”

Personally being affected by this, it seems like Clarke is jumping the gun on some of the decisions they make. This article is not meant to be taken offensively. I think Coach Regalado is doing a great job recruiting a team and getting the Clarke community excited about football. Administration is doing a great job in supporting football on the Clarke campus. The soccer and lacrosse teams are all equally deserving of benefiting from these future facilities. All of these things aside, it still doesn’t hide the fact that current student-athletes feel neglected for a shiny new object when they have put in the blood, sweat, and tears in order to make their sports worthy of respect.

 

By: Jamie Deering

Taking Our Schools Back One Step at a Time

Are our schools safe anymore?

Not only grade schools, but also colleges and universities are at risk every day for violence. We have to find a solution. The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday to help find and implement new ways to keep children and teachers safe at school. This act is called STOP School Violence Act of 2018 and will authorize $500 million over 10 years for grants to improve training and coordination between schools and local law enforcement. It will also help identify signs of potential violence before they occur.

A modern history of mass school shootings is a website that details some of the most recent shootings that have taken place in our schools. It is a scary fact that we have to worry about the public’s safety in institutions such as schools. Jenna Merrick, an 11th grader at Maquoketa schools says, “I feel safe at school depending on who I see.” She also stated, “Maquoketa Schools have phones to call up to the office and a camera to identify people entering the school.”

Fisher Bisinger, a senior at Midland Community Schools, stated, “I feel safe at school, but I do carry guns with me to protect our livestock and myself.” He also stated, “The school doors are locked at 8:00 am and visitors have to go through the office to enter the school.” He continued, saying, “We have a code that is put out over the intercom and if we hear it we are to leave school and go to the Calkin’s Barn to meet back up.” He wasn’t too sure about this plan, especially if there was more than one assailant.

This was a sample of how some area high schoolers felt about the safety of our schools.

Next, I wanted to hear from a Clarke student and see how she felt about safety on campus. Cassidy Derus stated, “I feel safer at Clarke than I did at the last school that I attended in Chicago, where there was no security.” She also stated “There was a person shot in the alley behind my apartment.” When asked what would help with download.jpgsecurity at Clarke she mentioned security cameras and locks for the interior of the classroom doors.

What is the solution for this violence to end? Gun control? Good luck fighting the NRA on that issue. I think we are heading in the right direction with the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 and it will have to be a multi-faceted approach to be successful. Education and implementation of safety measures will be the key to safer schools for everyone. It’s not all about the guns! We have to take a look at the people that have the guns. Parents, the government, and teachers have to know the signs to look for and alert the proper authorities if they suspect a potential problem.

By: Ron Driscoll

 

Sources:

http://www.indexjournal.com/news/movingbeyond/a-modern-history-of-mass-school-shootings/article_fe37dec8-2f52-5e55-b148-e5574da63f0b.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/02/14/eighteen-years-of-gun-violence-in-u-s-schools-mapped/?utm_term=.c2b976908d61

http://abcnews.go.com/US/students-country-world-part-national-school-walkout-today/story?id=53712013

5 Things To Do If You’re Single on V-Day

By: Maggie Christianson

Let’s be real, Valentine’s Day is for chocolates, roses and romantic dinners with that special someone. How sweet. If you’re me, however, you could care less for this holiday because you are single and your date is a box of chocolates with the disgusting cherry filling. Over the many of years of being single, I have perfected the best way to enjoy my Valentine’s day by showing myself a little love. Here are my top 5  activities I like to do on the most romantic day of the year.

  • Do a little shopping.

I’ve been working hard, I should treat myself, right? Absolutely! Nothing big and flashy, but maybe that cute tee you have been eyeing for a while now. Think of it as a good job reward. Something that will remind you that “Hey, your special, so get something special.”

  • Pamper yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I stress myself out like crazy. Between school, sports and my own personal projects, my mind and body are always sore. To counter that daily stress, give yourself a chance to get pampered. Valentine’s day is the perfect day to do so, whether it’s putting on a face mask or painting your nails, allow yourself to decompress and chill.

  • Romantic Comedy

I enjoy a good laugh and love story, so I enjoy Valentine’s day by popping in a movie. It doesn’t have to be a romantic comedy, just something you enjoy that makes you smile. This year’s top two picks for me is 10 things I hate about you (Highly recommend) or Deadpool (Because I can).

  • Storybook time

I am always reading new books and traveling to new places. It’s the best way to unwind and relax. Find a comfy corner, your bed, couch or futon. Then get a bunch of pillows and blankets, and finally curl up in your nest. Pick a book you haven’t read before, or one you love. Allow yourself to escape for a little bit. You’ll feel refreshed after (Unless you choose the an intense book. Then you’re in trouble.)

  • Share the love

If you see someone down, give them a smile, or offer them a hug. Pass someone some candy to show how sweet they are. I always go out of my way to give someone a smile and hug a friend because everyone deserves a little bit of love, not just those happy couples.

 

How did you spend your Valentines Day? Did you try any of these out? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @TheClarkeCrux !