The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Mistakes Quantity for Quality

Cyrus Eosphoros, Contributing Writer

February 26, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The last time the anti-affirmative-action Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas hit the news, it was because former Justice Antonin Scalia had put his foot in his mouth about it again. “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well,” Scalia said. “One of the briefs pointed out that most of the Black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.” Multip...

Primary Results Mark Turning Point for 2016

Sean Para, Columnist

February 19, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

If this year’s Iowa Caucus was a dramatic beginning to the presidential election season, last week’s New Hampshire primary was a true game changer. Both the Republican and Democratic primaries were won by radicals who have built their campaigns around anti-establishment sentiment and promises of major change in the government. Donald Trump won the Republican primary with 35.3 percent of the vote. The viability of the leading Republican candidates — specifically Trump and Cruz — with their deplorable policies and childish antics would lead many to question how they are serious contenders for the highest office in the land. But that is the ludicrousness that has befallen the Republican party. It is a sad fate for a p...

Expectations Prove Damaging to Emotional Health

CJ Blair, Columnist

February 12, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Too often it’s easy to think that what you hope for and what will happen can be the same thing. Everyone is guilty of placing hope in a certain version of the future, expecting to make it real. Expectation sounds pretty ridiculous described this way, but somehow very few people see anything wrong with it. It is a form of selective blindness that can shatter a person’s emotional health, but somehow it’s never talked about, let alone confronted. I doubt many people share my hostility toward expectation, but I’m certain everyone has suffered its effects. The danger of expectation is that it elicits investment in things that aren’t real. It can make you mourn the loss of something you never had or take for ...

Politicians Should Embrace Internet Memes

Politicians Should Embrace Internet Memes

February 12, 2016

Everyone with a social media account and more than two friends or followers has seen political memes. They’re clever ways to convey a simple point, which can then be reiterated, with slight variation, by another person who laughs at the meme. The dankest meme now is “Bernie or Hillary?” (dankness is to memes what catchiness is to pop songs). Images of the two are juxtaposed and their opinions on a fictitious topic are contrasted. Hillary always has the lame and simplistic view; Bernie is portrayed a...

Iowa Caucuses Reveal Flaws in Archaic Primary Election System

Sean Para, Columnist

February 5, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

This week’s Iowa caucus began the 2016 presidential campaign in earnest. The media has reported on the various candidates’ every move and turn of phrase. The results promise a tough campaign for the candidacy of both parties. Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by 0.3 percent of the vote, meaning that the two politicians will likely have a state-by-state duel in the coming months, a far cry from the bloodless nomination that former Secretary of State Clinton expected to obtain when she announced her candidacy. The Republican field remains scattered, with Ted Cruz narrowly winning the caucus with 27.6 percent of the vote, followed by Donald Trump and Marco Rubio with 24.3 percent and 23.1 percent of the vote respec...

Self-Insight Can Be Gained from Solitude

CJ Blair, Columnist

February 5, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Washington, D.C., is a metropolis of history, politics and tourism that has become one of the most popular residences of Oberlin alumni. Yet despite the draw that D.C. exerts on Obies, I felt out of place when I spent my Winter Term there studying invasive plants. While I left my internship with a wealth of knowledge about kudzu and honeysuckle, I found that I learned just as much outside the office on the weekends, when I explored the city on my own. It was in D.C.’s busy streets and museums that I began to understand how meaningful solitude can be in crowded places and decided that everyone should have the opportunity to try it. Since I would only be in the city for a month, I made a point to spend most of my da...

Broken ExCo System Disrespectful to Students

Cyrus Eosphoros, Columnist

February 5, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Columnist Note: Some ExCos are taught by community members or College staff and faculty, but the vast majority are both attended and taught by students. I’m addressing the effect that the current ExCo system has on students. I’m also largely writing from the point of view of someone who’s been a student but not a teacher. Oberlin College officially admits that the ExCo system works to fulfill gaps in the College’s curriculum. “ExCo supplements the regular curriculum by offering classes not typically available in traditional courses of study,” the College website says — the page on ExCos, by the way, is listed under “Student Life: Student Organizations,” not academics — but those classes include l...

U.S. Must Accept China’s Economic Rise

Sean Para, Columnist

December 11, 2015

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The U.S. is no longer in a league of its own among the world powers. The end of the Cold War ushered in a prolonged period of undisputed American hegemony, but the emergence of China as the second-largest economy in the world and an increasingly crucial hub of the global economy — coupled with China’s enormous investment in its military — signals the end of uncontested American dominance. The International Monetary Fund recently made the renminbi, the currency of the People’s Republic of China, an official world reserve currency alongside the American dollar, the Euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen. The emergence of new great powers is a phenomenon that can be seen throughout history. The U.S. should and mu...

Naked Run Helps Students Face Insecurities

CJ Blair, Columnist

December 11, 2015

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

If there’s a better way to relieve the stress of finals than streaking through a library, I have yet to find it. Of all the strange traditions at Oberlin, the Naked Run is not only one of the most outrageous but also one of the most polarizing. This isn’t surprising, but those who say it’s too shocking or ridiculous to try may not realize its emotional benefits. The Naked Run is a rare opportunity for Oberlin students to confront insecurities about their body image, and in doing so, reject thoughts that prevent them from feeling confident. When I talk about the Naked Run, I’m speaking from experience. Every semester, at 10 p.m. on a night during reading period, over 100 Oberlin students crowd into the second...

Free Speech Still in Student Body’s Best Interest

Aaron Pressman, Columnist

December 11, 2015

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

On Dec. 4, College junior Jasper Clarkberg wrote a response titled “Non-Black Allies Must Engage With Protest Critics” to my Nov. 6 column in the Review, “Discouraging Dissent Stifles Intellectual Growth.” I appreciate Clarkberg taking the time to respond to such an important issue and would like to rebut some of his concerns. First off, Clarkberg makes the argument that “nobody is punishing dissenters legally, financially or academically,” and that “Obies are not responsible for actively engaging with minority opinions.” While I concede that the administration does not usually punish dissenters for protected speech, my argument has nothing to do with legal protections and everything to do with effe...

Peace for Syria Feasible with Rebel, State Solution

Sean Para, Columnist

December 4, 2015

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The maelstrom that has engulfed Syria continues to reach new heights of violence. Recent attacks by the Islamic State in Paris, Beirut and the Sinai Peninsula have added a sense of urgency in bringing a resolution to the conflict. The refugee crisis also stems partly from the Syrian Civil War — yet another global problem born out of what originated as an internal conflict. Syria is so fractured that many doubt whether it will survive as a unified state. The only way to break this cycle of violence and preserve some semblance of Syrian territorial integrity is a negotiated solution that allows for both rebel groups and the Assad regime to exist within a common federal political space. Such an agreement would need th...

Dismissing Belief in Afterlife Makes Life More Meaningful

CJ Blair, Columnist

December 4, 2015

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

I’m afraid of death, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. This fear, coupled with a little nudge from living in Kentucky, was enough to convince me to believe in God when I was a child. But as I continued going to church, I started to look critically at Christianity and question why I believed in God. I appreciated a system that encouraged good behavior, but I was bothered by the notion of heaven. Even if I wasn’t consciously aware of it, the idea that going to heaven was the main reason for living clouded my appreciation of the world. It wasn’t until I embraced Humanism, with its suggestion of the spiritual power of life itself, that I found a way to appreciate life more than ever before. Turning aw...

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