Love is in the air! From E.L. James to the HCC, this issue of The Grail is a fun filled night to remember. From peace in the middle east to prisoners of conscience, it seems the foreign press has been dishing out particularly depressing new lately. Reed student groups such as J Street U and Amnesty International are trying to raise awareness to issues that lay outside the bubble (1). In other news, Britain has produced a great new work of art, “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Grace and the rest of The Grail editors go see the movie on opening day...hilarity ensues (?). Reedies need condoms. The Safer Sex Society provides them. Why does this responsibility fall on students rather than on the school (?)? The column formerly known as the Cultural Calendar rears its face once more (?). Finally, we explore puberty, privacy, and Virginia Woolf (?).
News & Features
Amnesty International wasn’t the club to join at my high school. In fact, student organizations weren’t very popular at all. Our “club” existed only as a weekly discussion group, where a half a dozen people and I discussed the plight of prisoners of war, death row inmates, and various other instances of human rights violations. Our group would set up a table in the cafeteria, display our yellow banner, and ask students to sign petitions. After tabling, I remember a friend questioning me as to why I believed Guantánamo prisoners deserved a trial by jury. He insisted, “they aren’t American citizens; they don’t have same rights we do.” I couldn’t think a response, I just stared at him, shocked. I imagined getting into a heated discussion on the UN declaration of human rights and whether or not matters in cases such as this. In the end, I decided to not push the point and eat my lunch.
For many Reedies, being in college and living away from home provides a chance to experiment with the responsibilities and privileges that come with being an adult. Reed’s unique culture encourages self-exploration and individuality among our students—the unofficial motto is, “Communism, Atheism, Free Love,” after all.
In homage to whichever gods are responsible for the zany February weather we have been experiencing as of late, this week’s De Sastre, too, is basking in the warm sunshine. Instead of frost we have flowers, and oh how the Reedies have bloomed! Especially Della Green, whose personal affinity for the pastoral pairs pleasantly with her pantalones. Green’s statement pants are colored a pretty pistachio pastel with rose details that nicely complement the palette. While other Reedies are busy pondering Miami style, Green’s home country the Dominican Republic is always on her mind. She’s a perfect example of Jean Cocteau’s aphorism, “style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” Until next time, no sports bra, let’s keep it bouncing, xoxo Gossip Girl
Miss Lonely Hearts
Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,
Have you ever vomited in front of your extended family? Me neither. . . . until Christmas. My family has a tradition of eating Thai food on Christmas Eve (don’t ask me why). I ate too quickly — the pad thai was the G.O.A.T* — and I vomited at the dinner table all over the garlic chicken. My whole family saw me. My stepfather shook his head. My brother laughed. My grandmother cried. I did all three at the same time.
— Happy New Year’s
Some alien, deity, or non-corporeal being somewhere is definitely watching me earn my degree in English literature and this is what they see.
Metcalf’s novel(?) is a hyper-verbose diatribe against the false pastoral of his youth, an auto-fictional attack on the American idealization of roughin’ it in the wild. I’ll let you know right now that this book is not for everyone. If the thought of some white guy complaining about his childhood for 350 pages makes you a bit green around the gills, you will likely fling this book against the nearest perpendicular surface. That being said, Metcalf is by-and-large calling out the bullshit of all these other white men from throughout America’s long and storied history of white men “returning to nature.” “Thomas Jefferson seems to me to have sinned cardinally,” Metcalf writes, “with his comfortable slaver’s dream of an agrarian wonderland and his criminal transfer of public funds to the Napoleonic war effort so as to avail us of the hectares needed to prove that dream a nightmare.” This gives you a pretty good idea of the dude’s writing style, and for a certain type of reader, his grandiloquent rancor goes down like a delicious, sugary, angst-filled cup of iced tea on a hot summer’s day.
Okay, so this one is pharm- and not “farm”, but you get it. Pharmakon is to industrial noise what Deafheaven is to black metal, which is to say she has garnered a lot of critical praise and some scorn from “true fans of the genre.” Take it or leave it, but if you take it, this show will be something to behold. The first time I saw Pharmakon she was chewing on a slab of metal, and I had to leave her set early and run 3 miles through Chicago at 1 in the morning to catch the last train out of the city. That night was the only time I’ve ever had Popeye’s Fried Chicken, and let me tell you, their interpretation of Ranch Dippin’ Sauce is unique and commendable.
Death Grips’ Fashion Week instrumental album is pretty good, and probably the most listener-friendly release that they’ve come out with ever, but this is the real fashion show soundtrack that you want. Arca is a Venezuelan musician/producer who exploded all over that prime 2013-era scene with production credits on Yeezus and his own superb mixtape &&&&&, and released his debut album Xen last year (although Xen had some cool things going on i/r/t gender dysphoria, it wasn’t quite as nice musically as &&&&& this keyboard’s ampersand button has never been so flagrantly exercised!). While Arca’s been getting a lot of press for production creds on Bjork’s new album—but really, Bjork deserves pretty much all the credit on that one—this is the real release you wanna look out for. It’s only 17 minutes, but it’s free on the internet somewhere, and it’s perfectly creepy music (with even creepier album art) for the somewhat-creepy concept of a fashion show. It doesn’t take a PhD in Literary Theory to connect the symbolic connotations of sheep to the behavior of people following the fashion industry. Perhaps Arca is making some ~subversive~ comments here, but the lambs haven’t stopped screaming yet; they just bought some Yeezys.