Monday, January 29, 2007

Op-Ed: The New School for Marketing

Written by Alyssa Green, guest contributor, and illustrated by Jeremy Schlangen

It's this time of year when high school seniors are waiting with anticipation to hear back from numerous colleges about the rigorous applications they spent their last four years preparing for and months slaving over. So at this time of bountiful applications, how many has The New School stacked up?

Parsons, The New School for Design, is at the forefront of design and is in competition with New York schools like FIT and Pratt. However, it has the largest enrollment of fashion design students in the United States. There is a new generation of students coming to New York; in addition to the usual musicians, actors, and models, more and more young people come as aspiring fashion designers.

This budding interest in the design field and in Parsons has come from the increasingly popular Project Runway. The Bravo Television series, wherein designers compete to have their collections shown at New York's fashion week and in an ELLE magazine photo shoot, racked up 3.4 million viewers per episode last season. Incidentally, applications to the fashion program at Parsons have increased to over 900 in 2006, a 20% increase since 2004. Fashion design, now Parsons' most popular major, has doubled its enrollment in 2005 compared to 2001.

The newfound interest is not only with Parsons, or even New York; schools around the United States are having increases in their fashion design applications. Is this sudden surge of interest a question of timing or a sign of the need for designers? Or have the New School advertisements during commercial breaks had an effect on Project Runway viewers? One Parsons freshman told me: "Project Runway has created this buzz about Parsons that lured me to the school and be a part of the exciting atmosphere."

The parallel rise in Parsons admissions and the popularity of the reality television show is more than just coincidence. Project Runway's huge audience has made Parsons a recognizable brand and a household name.

Pre- or post- Project Runway, Parsons has a good reputation. A modernized fashion department with new technologies, curriculum, famous alumni and a possible graduate program has helped put Parsons on the map. Chair of the fashion design department at Parsons since 2000 and a new television icon, Tim Gunn was the mastermind behind filming the show at The New School.

But could Project Runway have discouraged people from applying to a school with such an intimidating reputation? Fashion design major Jordan Richards was surprised to hear she was accepted to Parsons, because of its superior standing in the world of fashion design education. Nonetheless, the applications keep coming in.

The only question now is whether design schools are still taken seriously, considering the fluffily dramatic nature of reality television. Youth flock to the increasingly competetive field of fashion design, thinking it is a life of glitz and glamour. After the novelty wears off, however, drop out rates increase. The freshman I spoke to left the school because it was not what the television show depicted. Richards knows that being fortunate enough to study at Parsons means putting in a lot of time and work.

Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, Heidi Klum will not be there to kiss you goodbye if you get "auf'd."

Op-Ed: In a World of Depressing T.V., the NFL is a Saving Grace

Written by Zach Warsavage and Illustrated by Jeremy Schlangen

There’s a line in a Jean-Luc Godard film that goes, “If you cannot afford LSD, buy a color television.” I thought about that line over break when I tuned into the one thing left on television worth watching: football.

Over break, I watched every NFL playoff game. I was screaming for 10 minutes straight in my basement while I watched Dallas and Seattle play out an incredible finish, culminating with Tony Romo fumbling the snap on an easy field goal. It blew the season. I was at the Eagles home game when they won on a walk off field goal. And watching Peyton Manning come back against Brady, to go to the Superbowl, was beyond scripting.

But, when it wasn’t the weekend, the other real life hits on major networks were not about glory and feeling good. They were about feeling extremely bad.

The first show I saw was American Idol's season opener. These preliminary episodes involve the judges choosing only a handful of singers out of thousands in each city. The focus was not on good singing, but instead a revue of contestants more closely resembling a carnival act: people who not only sing poorly, but were ugly, dumb, and worst of all, thought they could make it. People who waited two days in the rain so they could be included in a montage of losers, who chose the same song as them. These two-hour long shows were designed for one thing: humiliation. This tactic, watching others at their worst moment, seemed to be the best way to satisfy an American audience.

After I changed the channel, the next show was of a very different kind of mediocrity, and not about trapping fox. The show, called "Catch A Predator," was part of NBC's Dateline. The anchor seemed to believe it was a journalistic crusade of sorts, the kind of show that could help change the world and make it better. In it, a team of NBC journalists, pedophile-hunters and police lured pedophiles to a house with a young looking 18 year old girl, and arrested them. As if this were not enough "entertainment," the host, a rich looking white man in a suit with a microphone, humiliated the mostly minority men with a barrage of questions under the guise of protection, but what appeared to be more for profit.

The suits at the networks must be real geniuses, because apparently, the secret to good ratings is making people look like fat assholes and criminals.

Mortifying everyday Americans creates the illusion that these people are the disgusting and embarrassing dregs of our society, the untalented and the perverted. Yet, the viewer can somehow stand on the outside looking in. The audience is assured that they are safe from this and can call people they know during commercials to laugh and reinforce how they are so much better than the people they see on TV. But this is an illusion and the viewers are the reason the show exists. TV is the drug that gets us addicted to hating everyone. Appropriately, most advertisements I saw were for medication. It was as if to say, “This depressing program is sponsored by Prozac.”

We are fed negativity through the airwaves to control our perceptions and promote hating each other. The scariest part is that some of the funding comes from advertisements for medicines to make us like it. The culture on TV gives viewers the ability to feel nothing, and want more. So as I watch color television, and wish I had LSD, I know I will not be tuning into any of the shows that depict our reality. Because I’d like to think of reality as not including prescription drugs and schadenfreude.

Football is purer than all that. When Romo ruined the season for Dallas, people around the league said they felt for him and all of his hard work. Even though he was humiliated, and even though I enjoyed it as an Eagles fan, the best part was the exciting game, and not watching him cry afterwards.

Naturally the NFL is about money, too. It is on TV, after all. And it does have more pill ads for old men’s limp trouser snakes than any other program. But, I don’t feel like a judgmental vegetable afterwards. That said, take my advice: if you can't afford HBO, watch football.

News: What's the Haps?

By Liz Garber-Paul

The sky is bright white and your nose is stinging? Welcome to winter in New York, where it’s too cold outside. Say goodbye to your social life as your friends start staying in and watching movies in sweat pants while you are left to fend for yourself. Need some suggestions on how to avoid the cozy trap of human hibernation? Turn off the television and try these before you get the Dawson’s Creek theme song stuck in your head…

Over at MoMA’s film center, there’s a series spanning Ennio Morricone’s 45-year career as a television and film composer. On Thursday, February 1, they are screening Gillo Pontecorvo’s La Battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers), the 1960 recreation of the struggle for Algerian independence from the French in the mid 1950’s, marked by terrorist attacks and government-sponsored torture. Its parallels to today are impossible to ignore, and the music is fantastic…

Last Chance! Ron Mueck’s phenomenal exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum is only around until Sunday, February 4th. Go check out his "absolute realism" sculpture to see some of the most moving modern art out there. Mueck, who got his start creating special effects in movies like Labyrinth, uses fiber glass, silicone and God knows what else to make unbelievably lifelike people—only they're sized to make the audience feel incredibly big, or incredibly small…

On February 6th, check out Paul Auster at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. His last book, The Brooklyn Follies, was a hit. The movie he wrote—The Inner Life of Martin Frost, starring Michael Imperioli and David Thewlis—will be premiering as soon as February. He may be too cool for humble book readings pretty soon, so next Tuesday see him read from his latest novel, Travels in the Scriptorium. Try to see how many of the metaphysical undertones you can understand…

On Wednesday, February 7, drop by the Theresa Lang Student Center at 6pm where Cass Sunstein, a leading professor at the University of Chicago Law School, will be speaking. Sunstein, who is a contributing editor to the New Republic, is lecturing on executive power and the U.S. Constitution. Insert Bush joke here…

This February, New Brunswick’s hometown hardcore heroes Lifetime are coming to New York. Tickets are pretty cheap (only $15) to see the band that reunited two years ago after splitting up in 1997. And, according to Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance, “If it weren’t for Lifetime, NJ punk rock would have ended with the Misfits.” So go check out the influential rockers at the Bowery Ballroom on the 10th.

News: Letter From Abroad - India: Bob Kerrey Leads ICI Delegation in Passage to India

By Pepper Nevins

New School President Bob Kerrey and several other senior New School officials traveled to India
shortly after the New Year to promote The New School’s India China Institute (ICI). During the seven-day trip, which included stops in Mumbai, New Delhi and the growing interne
t-technology hub of Pune, Kerrey met and consulted with high-profile academics,
government ministers and several of the Indian fellows of the ICI, in an attempt to raise the profiles of The New School and the ICI and discuss India-U.S. relations.

The ICI was launched in 2005 to encourage study and research, and build connections between China, India and the United States—countries that, according to the ICI Web site, share many interests but “have not yet been engaged fully in three-way conversations.” Since its inauguration, the ICI has organized many public events, speaker series’ and discussion forums on India and China, and also awards study grants to faculty members, graduate and undergraduate New School students interested in India and China studies.

On January 3rd, after a flight delay of nearly 24 hours, the New School delegation arrived early in the morning at a luxurious hotel in the leafy South Mumbai neighborhood of Cuffe Parade. Traveling through the nation’s financial capital a few hours later, they witnessed the range of experiences in India, a country of both soaring economic growth for much of the burgeoning middle class and crushing poverty for hundreds of millions more.

In Mumbai, fancy high-rise apartment buildings are surrounded by sprawling slums and businessmen in chauffeured sedans are frequently approached by beggars on corners of the city’s over-crowded streets.

Speaking at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, Kerrey stressed the importance of social science, saying there is an increasing demand in the region for experts in the social sciences.

Social sciences, he added, will be needed to deal with “a whole range of problems associated with people moving from one part of the world to another.”

Migration has been the central theme of the first year of the ICI, and is certainly close to the heart of Mumbai, a city whose population has grown by the millions in the past 10 years.

“I’ve been scratching my head this morning wondering how you run a city as enormous as Mumbai without a strong municipal government,” Kerrey said.

Despite the fact that he focused his speech on India, during the question-and-answer session Kerrey was confronted with questions on American politics—namely, the war in Iraq. Kerrey suggested that countries like India would benefit from the Democratic victory in Congress last November.

“You will see real change,” he said. “It will be good, not bad for India and other places around the world.”

On the war in Iraq, however, Kerrey expressed concerns about Americans’ hesitation about getting involved with future international crises.

“The bad news is that the United States is going to be very reluctant to get involved in anything like that again,” he said. “There is a mood out there that says, ‘We’ve had enough, let somebody else solve the problems.’”

Kerrey also said that the U.S. did not have to occupy Iraq in order to fight terrorists, and called for an early pullout from Iraq.

“I would like the President to say we will be out by July 1,” he said.

After the speech Kerrey, along with Provost Ben Lee, ICI Director Ashok Gurung and Kerrey’s chief of staff, Sherry Brabham, traveled by car to Pune, about 120 kilometers east of Mumbai.

Pune is known both as a university town, with 150,000 enrolled students, and a burgeoning center for the Indian and international software industry.

There, the delegation met with academics and business figures before carrying on to New Delhi, where they met with several senior government officials, including the ministers of agriculture, aviation and security.

Several fellows of the ICI joined Kerrey in New Delhi for a discussion called “India-US Relations: A Congressional Perspective.” Questions focused largely on the recent nuclear agreement between the United States and India, in which India agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs in exchange for U.S. nuclear power assistance and fuel.

Under the agreement, India’s civilian nuclear facilities would be subject to permanent international inspections, but would allow India to produce large amounts of fissile material—material that the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain have voluntarily
stopped producing.

In Washington, the deal has been criticized by some members of Congress, who said that improved bilateral relations with India must be balanced with the need to rein in nuclear proliferation. Socialist groups and anti-Bush protestors in India have argued that India was bowing to U.S. pressure on nuclear issues.

But Kerrey argued that the agreement marked a turning point in US-India relations.
“The criticism that the deal was too US-centric was not accurate,” he said. “It is an effort to help India. The Indian-American community was only rising in influence and this would have to be kept in mind.”

Returning to Mumbai before the 17-hour flight back to New York, the New School delegation was hosted for lunch by a pair of influential Indian businessmen—Keshub Mahindra of automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and Rana Kapoor of Yes Bank—who also happen to be parents of New School students.

Pepper Nevins is the former Editor-in-Chief of Inprint.

Kerrey, Lee, and staff pose outside of the University of Pune.

Kerrey delivers a speech on the importance of social sciences at the Tata Institue.
Photos courtesy of The New School University.

Op-Ed: Pardon Moi?

Today's Polite World, Explained

By Amber Sutherland

How do I drop a course without hurting anyone’s feelings?

While adding requires only that the student strike some balance of desperation and charm in order to win a spot, dropping leaves potential for hurt feelings and blacklisting.

There are myriad reasons to drop a course: professorial disorganization, a misleading course description or a prevalence of theater students. In any event, you must handle the bureaucracy of dropping with grace and style.

Consider the possibility that you may want to take advantage of the professor in the future. If the course is in your field, refrain from torching any bridges. Privately tell the professor your intent to drop and give the most diplomatic reason plausible. Saying, "I don't feel as though my background is informed enough to enrich class discussion," is much nicer than, "Your mustache makes you look like a pornographer and I can’t stomach the sight of you.”

However, if you are determined to never again take a Women's Studies course, and you are immune from consequences, consider a bolder gesture: exit in a crazy huff. Find any banal policy to take issue with. If, for example, a certain philosophy adjunct were to object to laptops in class, shout, "Iconoclast!" and run out sobbing.

What is the socially acceptable way to submit to Inprint?

First, evaluate your understanding of what we at the paper like to call “editing,” “the collaborative process,” and “wellness in working with others.” If you have even an elementary command of these fine virtues then welcome aboard! Or, even if you’re an anti-social sociopath, our door is always open! You are now ready to receive the highest honor any young writer can hope for--being published in a small liberal arts college newspaper. Name-calling and temper tantrums are encouraged.

But before you get too drunk on your newfound sense of power, take stock of what you can really bring to the paper. Eugene Lang College is second only to NYU, Columbia and its ugly stepsister Barnard in excellence and we want the paper to reflect that quality. Before issuing a submission, be certain that your piece is of the highest caliber you can produce.

While we are confident that the non-sequiturs you scrawled on the back of your Duane Reade receipts are keenly analytical in some respect, everything can benefit from a little self-editing. Run your piece through a quick spell-check and give it a good proofread to polish it up from “crazy ranting” to “thoughtful musing.” If this seems little tedious, keep in mind that 100 years ago, computers ran on coal. At least now, to be a real published journalist, you don’t even have to get your hands dirty.

Send your questions to

News: Global Cooling Project

A New School Messenger for Al Gore Insists That it's Not Too Late to Save the World.

By Julia Schweizer

Now that even President Bush is beginning to address “global climate change,” it’s high time that The New School find a representative to educate faculty, students and staff about global warming.

Recent Oscar nominee and former Vice President Al Gore has given us just that: Katie Scheidt, a New School MA candidate who studies writing and, as one of 1,000 selected trainees, is an authorized messenger for Gore’s Climate Project.

Trained in Nashville over the first weekend of December, Scheidt learned to present a slideshow, made by Gore and his team, that introduces a three-point plan on how to halt global warming for New York and New Jersey residents.

The plan is blunt: point one acknowledges that global warming is, in fact, real; point two admits that we, as a global community, are causing it.

“America is the number one offender when it comes to CO^2 emissions,” Sheidt, a New Jersey resident, notes.

But, that brings her to the third point: “We can fix it,” she says, with a smile.

As one of Gore's representatives, she plans to host as many New School events as possible this year, in addition to making presentations for other New York and New Jersey communities.

“We need a dialogue at The New School,” she says. “People only bring on change when they feel empowered to do things.”

Nevertheless, she also notes that reform can begin at home. At her own place, she makes a concerted effort to reduce her ecological footprint, replacing bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (or CFLs) and getting carbon offsets for when she has to drive her car--which is not often.

Some environmental advocates blame excessive CO^2 emissions on America's fondness for automobiles. In that aspect, Scheidt stresses the advantages of new alternative energy technologies. For her part, she recently switched to green power and says “it was really easy through,” which is the Web site for a statewide program that supports technology like wind and solar power.

Scheidt's interest in environmental reform blossomed after she saw Gore’s Oscar-nominated film An Inconvenient Truth The film compelled her to e-mail everyone she knew to get them involved in improving the environment.

This is just the kind of enthusiasm the Climate Project was looking for in its trainees, and when an old friend referred Sheidt to the initiative, the rest was history. She applied with a recommendation from New School President Bob Kerrey and was accepted to the program.

Scheidt hopes that more people will be inspired by the film, which will be showed at the New School this coming Valentine's Day. She will speak on a panel after the screening.

According to her, the Climate Project allows their trainees a good deal of independence—even relying on them to set up their own screenings. Since her training, Scheidt has sent out multiple press releases and has been somewhat of a model steward of the environment, a trait she says “all of us should have.”

Arts: An Alternative to the Downloading Giants

By Peter Holslin

udging by the arrest a few weeks ago of DJ Drama for producing thousands of unlicensed mixtapes that hype up-and-coming hip hop artists, the Recording Industry Association of America is chafing at what little control they hold over the intricacies of cultural exchange. Unfortunately for them, even though the cops snagged 81,000 CDs from the DJ’s Atlanta studio, scores of his compilations were still available on Web sites, and even the iTunes Store.

That may have scored Steve Jobs and his increasingly ubiquitous Apple Experience some hip points. But don’t be fooled: He has also taken plenty of opportunities to conquer the free, unlicensed sharing of music. Thankfully though, these purveyors of intellectual ownership and media-buying software are facing competition from a free, interactive, educational and convenient digital radio interface called

If by chance you collect music, spend a lot of time on the internet, are taken to blogging, have an extremely tedious job, or all of the above, add “scrobbling” to your lexicon of corny Web tags. The “Scrobbler,” available for download on the London-based Web site, keeps a record of artists you listen to on Winamp or iTunes and enables you to create a personalized music profile. Then, with a radio interface that runs on your desktop, you can create a personal, digital radio station or search for artists to play music other users find similar.

The users, evidently, have interesting tastes and a knack for detail. When I ran a search for Rodan, a band from Louisville, Kentucky known for some of the first brash and intricate “math rock” grooves, selections included a track with a disjointed bass-line and distorted vocals by Braniac, a herky-jerky new-wave throwback from Dayton, Ohio; a lush guitar-strummer by Cul de Sac, an instrumental group from Boston; and the jumpy “Equators to Bi-Polar,” with a skittering drum beat and quintessentially indie out-of-tune vocals by June of 44. All of those bands, incidentally, are from the 1990s. Who knew?

Each selection contains a bio of the band, with a link to the Web site so you can read a longer bio or make friends with users who love this particular song. From there, you can generate a digital radio station composed of music your “neighbors,” as they call them, enjoy. Or you can keep on listening, whereupon the radio will make increasingly disparate connections. At one point, my stream went to “Metal,” fifteen minutes of metal pieces clanking along, by ‘70s British band This Heat. Very nice.

Brad Buckles, executive vice president for antipiracy at the Recording Industry Association of America, has evidently been too busy rounding up mix CDs with bootleg rap tracks on them to catch notice of the flagrant disregard for copyright law on He told the New York Times last week that, “When you start selling [mixtapes] by the tens and hundreds of thousands, I don’t know that anyone is saying that’s of great promotional value.”

Likewise, any number cruncher could argue that when listeners have access to hundreds of thousands of songs over a free Web service, which enables them to meet others users to exchange music on their own terms, promotional value goes way down. Yet, record labels still contact to post songs. Perhaps they have more faith in youthful vigor, and that ever entropic Web universe, than the statistician's hoary wisdom. Or perhaps they just know that culture is, and will always be, a free-for-all with marketable concessions.

Arts: Sleepwalkers at MoMA

By Linh Tran

Doug Atkins: Sleepwalkers is running at the MoMA, or rather, outside of the MoMa. It is a public art installation consisting of eight large-scale moving images projected on the exterior of the building on West 53rd Street.

It depicts the nighttime journey of five characters that represent city dwellers – a bicycle messenger (played by Ryan Donowho), a postal worker (played by Chan Marshall), an electrician (played by Sue Jorge), a businessman (played by Donald Sutherland), and an office worker (played by Tilda Swinton).

Doug Atkins, an American born artist, created the exhibit. The MoMA and Creative Time, a New York based public art organization, are presenting the exhibit. It runs from January 16th through February 12th, from 5pm to 10pm. It is viewable from various points in the museum and in the Abby Alrdrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. The Sculpture Garden is free during the run of the exhibit.

Arts: Putting Men in 'Struation

By Julia Schweizer

Given Vinnie D’Angelo’s profession, it’s not hard to see why his 5th Ave. office is on the same floor as those of Bust , a feminist pop culture monthly magazine. They have a familiar relationship. A couple minutes into our interview, a Bust journalist breezed into D’Angelo's office and asked him to give a presentation on his work to a feminism class visiting from Hollands College.

It was just another day in the life of D'Angelo, a Brooklyn-based illustrator who, lately, has dealt in the design of tampon cases.

A feminist himself, D’Angelo began the project 10 years ago as a social experiment to get men to confront their embarrassment over discussing menstruation. At that point, he was standing on New York City street corners, giving the cases away for free, while wearing an embroidered “Vinnie’s Tampon Cases” shirt.

The cases are meant to “encourage men to enter a non-sexual dialogue about a woman’s body,” says D’Angelo, quite matter-of-factly. The first few years of giving them away proved so successful that people began recognizing him and the brightly colored, even ostentatious, products. Nowadays, he finds it so easy to engage men in an open menstruation dialogue that he recently found himself at a Yankees game talking to a group of alpha males about periods, some of whom ended up taking the cases home to their wives.

At first, D’Angelo made the cases to combat his own fear of periods, while hoping to aid ridiculed women in the discreet transport of their menstrual products to public restrooms. Growing up in a house with 3 brothers and no sisters, he didn’t hear much about menstruation during childhood.

Such lack of knowledge can be dangerous, explained D’Angelo: “The original idea was out of frustration for violence against women. Like racism, sexism stems from ignorance.” He hopes to beat this ignorance, and empower women, with the tampon cases and other Vinnie paraphernalia, which he designs to look bold and not stereotypically feminine.

One canvas case has bright red letters with a cartoon-looking male mascot sporting a unibrow.

His first product, a magnet portraying a sassy woman with a pistol, who is “tired of taking a man’s shit,” wasn't much of a success. Because of the gun, it wasn’t widely marketable or empowering, he said, so he began to make the tampon cases.

Incidentally, they are also more effective due to their utility. No more crushed tampons on the bottom of your bags, ladies!

Vinnie’s Tampon Cases are available for $10-15 nationwide and online (, the Bust magazine Boobtique), and at pretty much every store on Bedford Avenue. Check out Vinnie’s Web site at

Arts: The Inprint 79th Annual Oscar Predictions

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen.

Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima.

Martin Scorsese during the production of The Departed.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel.

All photos courtesy of The Academy of Motion Pctures Arts and Sciences.

By Almie Rose Vazzano

Now that the meddlesome holidays are over, I can focus on my true religion: awards season. The Golden Goose of them all is the 79th Annual Academy Awards on February 25th and I couldn’t be more excited to shout at my television screen. My Oscar predictions often miss the mark (though let it be known that I called the Three Six Mafia win for best song, and am pathetically proud of this feat), but that will not stop me from another year of guessing.

Last year I said that if Brokeback Mountain didn’t win for best picture, I would eat my cowboy hat. It didn’t, and I did. It tasted disgusting and I had to be hospitalized. This year, I’m clueless since my money was on Dreamgirls which has been surprisingly snubbed without a nomination for Best Picture. It was like the Academy’s way of saying, to paraphrase BeyoncĂ©, “To the left, cast and crew of Dreamgirls, to the left. Everything you own in a box to the left,” before swiftly kicking them out the door. Babel picked up the prize for best drama at the Globes, but Clint Eastwood’s “Letters to Iwo Jima” has been gaining momentum and critical acclaim.

Clint Eastwood is to Martin Scorsese as the Joker is to Batman. When they face off, Scorsese loses. Case in point: Million Dollar Baby vs. The Aviator. Shockingly, rapper Eminem has more Academy Awards than Scorsese, who has been nominated 5 times but has never won. This will be his year, even though Eastwood could amble through and take home the Best Director Oscar and later find his car keyed with an American Express card.

In lead acting, sure bets are Helen Mirren and Forrest Whittaker. One cannot forget the classic Oscar rule for women: Ladies, get ugly and/or completely unrecognizable and get an award. Of course this rule was a great exception last year, when Reese Witherspoon won best actress for Walk the Line, and that is so like you to bring that up, isn’t it? You just always need to go there, don’t you?

The supporting actor race used to be the place to find surprises and/or upsets. But Jennifer Hudson, former American Idol loser, is practically already an Oscar winner. Unfortunately, by the time this issue comes out, the SAG Awards may have broken her winning streak.

In supporting actors, Eddie Murphy of films starring Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy with Eddie Murphy is the likely contender. Although, Alan Arkin could be an upset, as the Academy loves old dudes in supporting roles, in a list that is too long to show here but includes Jim Broadbent, Michael Caine, and Morgan “I’m Just The Voice Of Reason, Gently Narrating” Freeman.

Better luck next year, Emilio Estevez!

Arts: Best Five : Musical Television Episodes

By Josh Kurp

5. "My Musical" from Scrubs

- It's got songs about poop and guy love. 'Nuff said.

4. "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" from South Park

-Best song: "Christmastime in Hell." Best lyric: "Here's a rack to hang the stockings on/ We still have to shop for Genghis Khan/ Michael Landon's hair looks swell/ It's Christmastime in Hell!"

3. "impsoncalifragilisticexpiala[Annoyed Grunt]cious" from The Simpsons

- With original characters like Sherry Bobbins and Rickey Rouse, this is one of the best Simpson episodes in their 18 years of running. Mostly because you hear Barney Gumble sing "Margaritaville."

2. "Zanzibar" from Rocko's Modern Life

-Inprint learned the lesson of "You can't fight city hall/ You can't fight corporate America," from this cartoon about a wallaby. Thank you, Nickelodeon.

1. "Once More, With Feeling" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

-Outside of Alyson Hannigan's voice, there's nothing bad about this episode. If you haven't seen it, please at least YouTube, "Walk Through the Fire" and "I've Got a Theory."

Arts: Film: Seraphim Falls

Seraphim Falls. Directed by David Von Ancken. Starring Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan.

By Courtney Nichols

The longest 115 minutes of my life, Seraphim Falls has earned itself a spot in my own personal hell, screening repeatedly alongside the nauseating Charlize and Keanu nightmare, Sweet November, for all eternity. Starring Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan, Falls is set during the post-Civil War years and focuses on two dueling men as they struggle through snow, heat and horse innards. Unfortunately, the script neither makes you love or hate the characters, so eventually you couldn't care less if they live or die. Only ten minutes into the movie, I fell asleep and was woken up by one of the many unneeded Brosnan grunts. However, thanks to my friend's attentiveness, I was informed that during the hour I was asleep, absolutely nothing developed in the plot.

Rating: I would rather re-live the Civil War than watch this movie again

Arts: Music: P.O.S., The Audition

P.O.S., The Audition

If you gauge a sound's quality by region, a rapper from Minneapolis, Minnesota might not spark your immediate interest. But if you've had your ear to the ground, you'd know that hip-hop's movement towards fresher beats and thought-provoking lyrics owes a lot of its progress to Minneapolis based acts such as P.O.S., which can mean anything from "Promise of Skill" to "Piece of Shit."

Shocking life into the stopped heart of hip-hop, P.O.S.'s second album is electric. From the first track's dissonant, static-y guitar riffs to the aptly named "De La Souls," which samples from Bouncing Souls' masterpiece "Argyle," P.O.S.'s sound shouts CLEAR! before every song. He deals with personal topics, like being a black punk rocker and holding contempt for the President: "You see how my squad react/ we keep our hands warm with the damn patriot act," he raps in one track.

P.O.S. is for the hip-hop enthusiast who appreciates the craft for its catharsis and power, or for the punk rocker who will admit to enjoying the first two Eminem records. So, cop this album before hip-hop flat-lines.

Arts: Music: Deerhoof, Friend Opportunity

Deerhoof, Friend Opportunity

By Jon Reiss

There are approximately fifteen or twenty bands that represent the new highbrow upper crust in contemporary rock 'n roll--all of which are indie rock bands that seem to have formed right around the time that Garden State came out.

Deerhoof, early indie stalwarts that formed in 1994, mix a cutesy, poppy electronic sound with chaotic noise. This sound was popularized across college campuses in the nineties when "art punk" became a term. Which is why Deerhoof can sound like a slightly more cohesive Melt Banana.

The one thing Deerhoof has going for them is their ability to occasionally rock really hard. Unfortunately they do this much less on "Friend Opportunity." To their credit, they are on Kill Rock Stars, which is one of the best labels around today. However, the album becomes tedious and it may best be suited for background music.

Arts: Music: 50 Cent and Whoo Kid, G-Unit Radio, Pt. 22: Hip Hop is Dead

50 Cent and Whoo Kid, G-Unit Radio, Pt. 22: Hip Hop is Dead

By Julia Schweizer

If hip hop is dead, 50 Cent killed it. Samples are one thing, but G-Unit Radio, Part 22: Hip Hop is Dead proves that it is possible to release an album (which will undoubtedly go platinum) without one ounce of originality. Take “Puppy Love," where 50 steals the hook from Nas’ classic track “K-I-S-S-I-N-G." Worse yet is “Mind Sex”—you may have heard the Dead Prez version: "Before we make love let’s have a good conversation," which 50 so eloquently replaces with "After we fuck, I don’t want a conversation." But, if the lyrics are tired and the beats are regurgitated, at least 50 had the decency to put a shirt on for the album cover this time.

Rating: Just die.

Arts: Book: Saving Angelfish by Michele Matheson

Saving Angelfish, By Michele Matheson

By Estelle Hallick

In Matheson’s premier novel, she reveals the life of Max, a heroin-addicted aspiring actress, with an intensity that is almost too real to bear. Cut off from her parents until she is clean, Max confides in a cheap wind-up angel and getsdragged deeper into a world she’s never fully ready to depart. Will she ever be ready? Distributed by TinHouseBooks, a new publisher dedicated to the pursuit of fresh and often overlooked work, Matheson delivers a story of struggle and aching reality in terse, haunting prose.

Arts: DVD: Idiocracy

Idiocracy. Dir Mike Judge. Starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph

By John Zuarino

A riff on current American culture, Mike Judge's Idiocracy predicts what the world will be like in 500 years should corporate branding and shows like Judge Hachett seep even further into pop culture's core. The result is a world of morons glued to the latest episode of Ow, My Balls before switching to the Fox News Channel, where news anchors have evolved into shirtless musclemen with booming voices. This may actually be the reason why 20th Century Fox kept the theatrical release quiet—Idiocracy only played in a handful of cities, excluding New York. The studio also neglected to promote the film, which explains why critics were unaware of its existence.

All scandal aside, Idiocracy rivals Judge's classic Office Space as the next underground classic. I can see the special edition double-dip releases now: "Idiocracy—It's got electrolytes!"