The Oberlin Review

Video Journal a Chance for Reflection

CJ Blair, Columnist

May 6, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

When I left to go to college, my mom made a simple request. She told me to record a one second video on my phone every day and send it to her. She said these videos could be of absolutely anything, from the most exciting events to the most mundane. What mattered was that I sent them consistently so my family could get a glimpse of my life while I was away. I’d be lying if I said I’ve held up my end of the deal, but in failing to follow through with the videos, I came to understand the importance of making them. My choice to record or not record on a given day told me which parts of my life I wished to remember and which I wanted to forget. At first, I didn’t miss a single day. Whether it was starting my first ...

New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down

Sean Para, Columnist

April 23, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The 2016 presidential campaign has been nothing short of absurd, and Tuesday’s New York primary marks yet another twist in the road to the nominations. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective primaries by about 60 percent each. Trump won in almost every district, with 60.5 percent total, and will receive 89 of New York’s 93 Republican delegates. Clinton’s victory was less stunning, but she still won 33 more Democratic delegates than Bernie Sanders, furthering her lead against him. She is now 246 pledged delegates ahead of Sanders, and the lion’s share of the party’s 540 superdelegates also support her. These results solidify the leads of Clinton and Trump after several weeks in which their cand...

RIO Reclaims College’s Financial Autonomy

Josh Ashkinaze, Columnist

April 15, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Over the weekend, I participated in a workshop led by the Responsible Investment Organization, exploring endowments and how to sustainably and responsibly invest. There are three main reasons why I think students should join RIO. First, there may be no other time in your life when you can leverage more than $800 million dollars for any social benefit. Secondly, reinvestment is constructive and effective: not only are you criticizing the current method of investing, you’re also able to simultaneously suggest a solution. Finally, student participation is needed now more than ever. Everyone knows investment pools aren’t co-ops, but you are normally able to vote on where your money goes. Yet for all funds managed by ou...

Adopting Realist Worldview Helps to Cope with Depression

CJ Blair, Columnist

April 8, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Over the past year I’ve started to notice a feeling that I have never before experienced. It comes after periods of high stress or depressive episodes and disappears before I can make sense of it. It’s similar to the feeling I had while reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, a novel that I mostly hated but deeply moved me in its final pages. In the final chapter, the book shifts its focus from the narcissistic, bigoted minds of the Compson family to their benevolent housemaid Dilsey and suggests that kindness and humility can thrive even in a hostile environment. This optimism is exactly what I felt at the end of a difficult period, but I began to notice the danger of this sensation when I mistook it f...

Federal Government Adopts Hypocritical Policy on War Crimes

Sean Para, Columnist

April 8, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The list of Russian violations of international treaties and human rights in the past two and a half decades is astounding in its lawlessness. The two Chechen Wars from 1994–1996 and from 1999–2009 resulted in an incredible number of civilian casualties, so many so that some have called it a genocide. Human rights groups estimate approximately 80,000 people were killed in the Chechnya region from 1994–1996 alone. The 2008 Russo-Georgian War was engineered by the Putin regime to gain control over the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and deter Georgia from looking toward joining NATO. The 2014 annexation of Crimea and incursion into Eastern Ukraine to support the Donbass republics was also in flag...

Your Satisfaction Will Follow “U”

Josh Ashkinaze, Columnist

April 1, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

In late March, somebody on Reddit posted a question: “What event divided your life into ‘before’ and ‘after’?” One answer was, “I think I’m still in the ‘before’ stage of my life, if I’m being honest.” And this resonated with me because I probably am too. But it would be nice to know when and what my bifurcating experience will be. For seniors and fifth-years, college graduation is approaching. Is that a life-dividing experience? What experience will be life-changing, making me noticeably better or worse off afterwards? As it turns out, many events that should drastically change people’s lives are not reflected in measures of satisfaction. In the end, most people’s life satisfaction follows a con...

U.S. Should Extend Compassion to Refugees

Sean Para, Columnist

March 11, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Across the world, societies in both developed and developing countries are struggling to cope with the largest migration crisis since the World War II. The enormity of the current worldwide refugee problem is hard to come to terms with — about 60 million people are refugees. In 2015, 1.3 million people claimed asylum in the European Union. Germany alone received about 1.1 million people in 2015. Stable countries in the Middle East and Africa have taken even larger numbers of refugees. For example, the Syrian War alone has displaced almost 5 million officially registered international refugees. Of these, Germany has taken about 500,000 Syrians, while Turkey has taken 2.8 million and Lebanon has taken more than 1 million. ...

GOP’s Failure in 2016 Would Create Seismic Shift in American Politics

Sean Para, Columnist

March 4, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The 2016 election is increasingly revealing the seismic shifts that have taken place in American politics over the past decades, as well as the possibility of a new political order. Donald Trump’s surge to the front of the race for the Republican nomination may fracture the GOP for generations to come. An unexpected groundswell of support for Trump’s campaign also displays the strong undercurrents of racism and other forms of prejudice found in the contemporary U.S. A year ago, I never would have believed that a man who openly and regularly makes racist and sexist remarks, has no government experience, speaks only in vague generalities with no concrete policy details and was hesitant to reject the support of former...

Tinder’s Appeal Lies in Ambiguous Use

CJ Blair, Columnist

March 4, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Nothing captures the vexing emotional landscape of college better than Tinder. It’s an app that’s elegant in its simplicity, but its effects are totally scattershot. It is awkwardly situated between the realms of online dating and hookup culture and it never settles on either side. Maybe this ambiguity is what draws over 50 million people to swipe left and right incessantly, looking for anything from gratification to a long-term relationship. Tinder’s wide range of purposes and the disparate goals of those who swipe ensure it stays an emblem of the millennial college experience. This, I believe, is what makes it so popular. Tinder is an app where you make a profile with several pictures of yourself and a short...

Poetry Promotes Honesty, Reveals Feelings

CJ Blair, Columnist

February 26, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

“Poetry is more than just words in a strange order, CJ.” These were the words of my uncle, a well-known poet in my hometown, after reading my earliest attempts at poetry. I had written a handful of poems in high school but didn’t start writing in earnest until I decided to try and enter Oberlin’s Creative Writing program. To prepare myself, I started reading and writing poems for at least an hour a day. I had no intention of liking poetry, but I found that practicing it necessitates a way of thinking that was more honest and sobering than any I had tried before. Because of this, I realized I had to keep writing poetry to better understand my emotions and myself. It makes sense that my uncle made the commen...

Socialism Should Be Reconsidered for Our Political System

Sean Para, Columnist

February 26, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Socialism has long been misunderstood in the U.S., too often vilified as an ideology associated with the repression of the Soviet Union. The Red Scare symbolized the peak of anti-Socialism in the U.S. However, those witch hunts came out of a misunderstanding of what socialism really means. It has long been an ideology outside of our political discourse. The Soviet Union did not represent true socialism. Its top-down command economy, in which the central government planned out every aspect of the economy with no input from workers, was nothing like what early socialist theorists envisioned. The brutal purges and longstanding police state took away people’s freedom, rather than truly freeing them like in Karl Marx’s visi...

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...

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