The Art of Kissing: just led us on, never called

We all saw signs around campus; there was a Facebook.com event registration with an RSVP; it was looking to be the hot event of the minute, with the sophisticated and intriguing title, “The Art of Kissing.”

Michael Christian, who told the Voice, “kissing has taken over my life,” is touring the college circuit with a live stage show based on his book of the same name. The show did not live up to expectations, though, and while it got laughs, it seemed to me more of a tasteless scam posing as an informative evening of discussion and innovation with demonstrations to richen the show. It entertained, but fell short on information.

Freshmen and transfer students were the target audience, some attending in groups with their floor mates. Students were there to learn a new trick or two or simply to see how the advertised attraction of kissing demonstrations would play out.

“I hope to see making out on stage,” said Jen Lancaster (COL ’09), with a laugh. “I wanted to see how they were going to go about demonstrating”.

Marcus Howard, (COL ’08) said jokingly that he was, “working on my kissing skills”.

Chelsea Irwin, (COL ’09), attending with her boyfriend Marcus, was interested in hearing about the social psychology of relationships and kissing, a frequent topic of casual conversation with her friends. Perhaps the blurb introducing the event that read, “topics covered include the psychology of kissing,” caught her attention.

But as soon as the show began it was clear that it would play out more like a Vegas stage show than a book tour. With music accompanying choreographed movements and a stiff, rehearsed script that nevertheless drew laughs from the crowd, the show could have had success as just that: an entertaining moment.

There were some successful moments, namely the demonstration of tongues inside the mouth during a French kiss, in which two male subjects put red pillow-cases over their arms and heads and play-acted the twirling of tongues in the mouth. Katie Elder, (SFS ’08) agreed with her friend, “We liked the tongues—very insightful … flicking action is a great idea.”

Some of the other displays were less agreeable to some of the audience, namely the repeated spanking throughout the show. The demonstration of the “spank” to accent a kiss was performed of the males on the females, a big SMACK on the bum followed by hoots and cheers in the audience. Linsey Purdy, (SFS ’08) said about the spanking, “I thought it was kind of aggressive and weird.”

In the end, people seemed to have been entertained but did not necessarily leave with any new kissing knowledge. One of the on-stage participants, who asked not to be named, said that he had thought it would be more informative and educational, “not just play acting the weird fantasies of this guy.”

Given the choice, he would not have participated again.

Posted by Lauren Gaskill, Associate Editor

My open letter to Facebook

To: info@facebook.com
From: Mike Stewart
Subject: DisgraceBook

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m sure you have received many e-mails this morning. I’m also sure you were prepared for that—people naturally resist change, after all, and even during the Revolutionary War a sizeable portion of the population remained Loyalists to the British crown. And those people were so wrong as to resist the foundation of the greatest country the world has ever known! So a little resistance, and un-American resistance at that, is no reason to cower before the Facebook’s sudden facelift, right?

No, fascist. The American Revolution was a glorious uprising in favor of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not a huge invasion of personal privacy, a Big-Brotherish look into the personal lives of random acquaintances, or just downright creepy. Really, why not just change the site name to 1984.net or Room101.gov? Hell, why should I even have conversations with my friends anymore when I can find out who they slept with last night via your one-stop stalker shop?

I’m sure my high school friends who just ended 3+ year relationships were thrilled to have their dirty laundry aired on all their friends’ facebook homepages this morning. And believe me, I needed nothing more this early afternoon than to find that Person X is no longer in the group “syphilis isn’t so bad,” while so-and-so joined “thong wearers anonymous.” Really, I didn’t think they even let guys in that group.

I’ve long wondered what purpose Facebook served, and now I think the answer is clear: to be creepy. What’s that, I already used the word “creepy?” That’s because it’s the only word I’ve heard anyone use to describe these changes. What’s next, a detailed list of every profile I looked at in the past day? Digital projections of what I must look like naked? Streaming video of a friend’s latest colonoscopy?

Sure, Facebook has served some limited purpose in the past, almost exclusively when there was someone I needed to get in touch with on short notice. I would say 48 hours is a legitimate window for y’all to fix your act before I erase my account and encourage everyone I know to do the same. There’s a reason McDonald’s doesn’t sell foie gras: the practice is cruel. But more importantly, McDonald’s is gross, can’t be trusted, and knows it should stick to things that can only make people moderately ill, like partially white meat chicken. Just give us our partially white meat chicken back, Facebook, and we can learn to peaceably coexist. And the less healthy among us can remain addicted.

Yours,
Mike Stewart

Posted by Mike Stewart, Feature Editor

Hairy Stairs

The Voice’s long-simmering curiosity about the disgusting lumpy gray hair that seems to grow on the ceilings of stairwells inside campus buildings has reached its peak. Here’s an image of one particularly foul stairwell, straight from Leavey’s fourth floor…

hairy stairs 2

…and here’s a closeup of the noxious stuff.

hairy closeup 2

Certain reporters brave enough to grab a fistfull and rip it loose observe that it does indeed feel like some kind of hair, or maybe dead mold. Did some disgruntled Facilities workers plaster the stairwell ceilings of Georgetown with the contents of their industrial-size vacuum cleaners? Did you? Vox Populi is looking to you, the readers, for answers as to what this hair is, where it comes from, which campus building may have the hairiest stairs, and what should be done about its invasion.

Posted by Chris Norton, Editor in Chief

Since I Been Gone … Leo’s Edition

Made my first pilgrimage march of tears back to Leo’s today … what a ride. Sure, there are all the changes noted by Mr. Keller, but the first thing I noticed were the new giant blue cups, depicted here:
blue bucket

It’s only a matter of time until Leo’s has to hire lifeguards following the near-drowning of an unsuspecting freshman in one of these. And of course the cups are too big to fit on the tray return, another classic Leo’s maneuver. The area in front of the tray rack looked like beer pong leftovers from the Jolly Green Giant. By the way, I actually was able to jam mine on, you lazy jerks.

I also made use of the omelet station for my meal. Yup, omelets. at. dinner. Glad Leo’s finally tapped into that emerging market. I’ve long held that truth-in-advertising laws mandate calling the dining hall version “egg burritos,” since the meat and veggies are really just wrapped up in an egg condom. And just as messy when it breaks. Less babies, though. On an encouraging note, the salsa-type product is called ‘picante sauce.’ Well, I think it’s for me to brush with some ‘diente goo’ and go to ‘dormir furniture.’

Posted by Mike Stewart, Feature Editor

Concert Calendar Plus

A few upcoming shows that didn’t make it into this week’s print edition:

Tonight (Thurs 8/31): Shellac at the Black Cat

Legendary punk/indie rock producer Steve Albini and his veteran Chicago noise-rock band are on the road in a big way for the first time in years. Loud, scratchy, angry and probably vaguely insulting.

Fri 9/1: Comets on Fire at the Black Cat

These West Coast psychedelic rockers lean more towards the heavier Jimi Hendrix guitar-wrangling side of the genre than the Byrds or the Beatles; think less “Yellow Submarine,” more “A Day in the Life.” Their new record Avatar is much more melodic and all-around friendlier than their older stuff, so don’t be surprised by any “Freebird” or “Layla” style piano interludes.

Sat 9/2: Violent Femmes at the 9:30 Club

LEMME GO WHIIIIIITE!! LIKE A BLISTER IN THE SUN!!!! That’s really all you need to know, but yes, they do have other songs, and yes, those are good too.

Wed 9/6: Radio Birdman at the Black Cat

The Land Down Under’s finest ’70s punk rockers are back in action, and back in the U.S. for the first time in maybe 25 years. Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi and all that.

Posted by Chris Norton, Editor in Chief

The Loneliest Sidewalk

Just cut it off, guys

A good fashion article has a way of convincing readers that if they pursue a certain sensibility in their accessory and apparel choices, they will have a more successful life. A bad fashion article dictates to readers exactly what the most current trends are, exactly what they should buy, and from where. Those most current trends are usually so very current that by the time the article goes to print, people are already moving on to the next big thang. This second type often even presumes to plant the seeds of addiction to material accumulation, in making such lists as “Fall Must-haves,” which should never be taken at their word.

But then there were cut-off jeans for boys.

This trend is not yet widespread enough to be considered mainstream, but the rapid turnaround of blogging enables a play-by-play take on its unfolding. “Cut-off jeans?” you say, “I’ve seen that… aren’t all the girls wearing shorts this season?” Why yes. But when we flip the gender, the context completely changes.

These cut-offs for men can be made in a variety of lengths, as long as the longest does not go beyond the knee. And they can be made to fall as high up the thigh as that man desires. The jeans are typically tight-fitting or at least streamlined, and should be cuffed for maximum expression of style. The great thing about these shorts is that every man already has them in his closet. They are already your favorite jeans; all it takes is a pair of scissors and some gumption. The second leg is always easier.

These cut-offs on men are not just this season’s way to cool down hot legs. These shorts mean so much more. Shorter and tighter clothing on men was avoided over the last decade as male wardrobes grew baggier, larger, and longer. The old double standard between the sexes became more pronounced, as women in more revealing clothes were judged more harshly on their bodily appearance than most men, who could hide behind bagginess. Now the tables are turning back, or at least leveling out, because now everyone’s legs and butts will be fair game.

Posted by Lauren Gaskill, Associate Editor

Wow.

Get down with Brown!

This needs no explanation.

Posted by Mike Stewart, Features Editor

Barry’s shrunken influence

The Washington City Paper’s Loose Lips column this week published a sweet photo of Washington’s former mayor Marion Barry sporting a trademark brimmed hat in what appears to be his own little patch of Ward 8.

Despite Barry’s dapper appearance, the column goes on to note that the seventy-year-old fixture
of Washington politics is quickly fading as a significant force in the city’s Democratic party. As the columnist notes: “His [Barry’s] public pat-on-the-back will do little to bring voters out for his chosen candidate. There is no Barry machine to get busloads of senior citizens rolling to the polls for Fenty or Cropp. The once-powerful operator has now been relegated to the role of symbolic political helper.”

It seems that city council Chair Linda Cropp was banking on Barry’s endorsement in the mayor’s race. Her staff is peppered with former Barry appointees and her own husband was once an aide to the crack mayor.

Now, however, Barry is leaning toward the favorite in the race: Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty. We’ll see what favors Fenty throws in turn toward Ward 8 if he is selected to be the Democratic contender (and hence the de facto mayor in this Democractic city) in the Sept. 12 primary.

Posted by Chris Stanton, News Editor

Spirit of Oppression

Georgetown has decided to take further steps to embrace its Catholic identity by ousting private Protestant groups outside of the office of Campus Ministry. It seems that there were “communication and coordination problems” between Georgetown’s official bastion of Protestantism in Campus Ministry and private groups like Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, spokesman Erik Smulson told The Washington Post.

According to an article by United Press International, the issue at hand is that University does not want these groups proselytizing. Controls were previously in place such as requiring the private groups to attend official Campus Ministry events as well as sign a pledge not to “proselytize nor undermine another faith community”. Is the other ‘faith community’ the University-sanctioned version of Protestantism represented by Campus Ministry?

The Post quotes Smulson as saying that there is a “desire within the Protestant chaplaincy to build the ministry from within . . . rather than rely on outside groups or fellowships.” I’m all for decorative banners and Jesuit sayings plastered all over campus, but I’m not sure I want the University to have a monopoly on non-Catholic opinion on campus.

Posted by Michael J. Bruns, Assistant News Editor