Save Me, White Jesus! Father John Misty Strikes Again

Fjm-iloveyouhoneybear

By: Carter Zumtobel

 

“I Love You, Honeybear,” the second album released by Father John Misty, the moniker J. Tillman gave himself after a particularly visceral experience with some psychedelic mushrooms, was released on Feb. 10 to what has been nearly universal acclaim. Yet most reviews rely mostly on the origin story and strength of the persona that has been created by Tillman to justify their high praise.

 The music is more of an afterthought, which seems inappropriate given the accolades like “Best New Music” and “Album of the Week” that have been showering “I Love You, Honeybear.” They fail to take into account that although Tillman is entertaining in a live setting, and can write a press release that confuses and entertains, the album on its own is not anything that special.

 As a lyricist, he relies on his liberal arts school vocabulary, sometimes scathing satire and the contrast between the sacred and secular imagery that is littered throughout his songs in an attempt to bring you into his world.

 The songs are, with one exception, written about his recent marriage, or in someway related to his wife. Intertwined with gooey love-note lines, such as “My love you’re the one I want to watch the ship go down with” are more complicated declarations of love; “Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity/ But I fail to see what that’s gotta do with you and me,” and realizations of the potential brevity of his success;  “By this afternoon I’ll live in debt/ And by tomorrow be replaced by children.” He is not the most consistent lyricist, but he has at least intrigued listeners enough to earn him a top spot on the front page of SongMeanings.com.

 Some standout tracks on the album are “Bored in the U.S.A.,” a ballad about American consumerism, and the future irrelevance of everything we care about, adorned with a full orchestra and a laugh track.

 “The Ideal Husband,” the most aggressive song on the album, is a brutal confession of wrongdoings, where he shows you what he has become by showing what he used to be.

 And finally, the standout in a way that makes you question why it is even on the album, is “True Affection.” It’s a critique of the way that we rely so heavily on technology to communicate, and the value of face-to-face communication. In some grand form of irony, this song is the one entirely electronic track, with drum machines and synthesizers, backing up the most pop style vocal melody on the album.

One thought that has been shared among the other reviewers is the musical kinship that Tillman shares with the singer-songwriters of the 70’s that also came out of Laurel Canyon.

 While it is surely respectable to be mentioned alongside such names as Randy Newman or Harry Nilsson, shouldn’t artists be striving to innovate and to be beyond comparison? This album could have been released in the 70’s and no fuss would have been made over the mix of sounds that it holds within, so why is it such a big deal now?

He put a mariachi horn on a folk song! He has swear words in his song titles! He put a guitar solo on a ballad! I am not denying the fact that the songs are good, they are mostly fun, sometimes catchy, and you usually are left thinking about something. But the album comes off like an inside joke, but I’m not sure if I am in on it or not.

Ousted Professor Sues CUNY For $20 MILLION

JoeWilson1.jpgBy ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE

After being fired from his position as director of Brooklyn College’s Graduate Center for Workers Education (GCWE) for alleged financial and ethical wrongdoings, Professor Joseph Wilson is suing CUNY for $20 million in damages to his personal and professional reputation.

The lawsuit, filed on January 5th in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, asserts that Wilson is “the victim of the most vicious campaign of defamation, vilification and abuse ever meted out to a tenured professor in a public institution.”

Wilson is seeking compensation for “the loss of income and benefits, loss of job opportunities, the loss of reputation and professional integrity; the humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional pain and suffering; loss of love, affection and consortium of spouse, offspring and family members.”

In an internal investigation carried out by CUNY in 2011, officials accused the 63-year-old tenured political science professor of stealing thousands of dollars of tuition money, knowingly allowing his students to plagiarize, renting out rooms in the graduate center without the consent of the university and misusing grant money, according to the filing.

A CUNY spokesperson declined to comment, saying that the university does not discuss personnel matters.

According to Wilson’s lawyer, Colin Moore, the administration then looked to the New York State Attorney General to bring criminal charges against Wilson.

An AG spokesperson confirmed the investigation to a Kingsman reporter in 2013 and witnesses at the GCWE are said to have seen members of the AG’s office take over rooms at the center to question faculty and examine documents.

“The Attorney General found that the allegations lacked legal merit and dropped the charges,” the lawsuit says. “Dismayed by its failure to obtain criminal charges, the Brooklyn College administration filed disciplinary charges against Plaintiff [Wilson].”

The lawsuit states that the AG has not indicted Wilson and has never called him in for interviews or questioning.

Wilson was then fired from his position as director of GCWE and after testifying before the joint Higher Education and Civil Rights Committee at City Hall in 2013, he was barred from returning to the Brooklyn College campus.

He told the committee that “the cancer of racism permeates the City University of New York. It is hidden, obfuscated, rationalized and never confronted directly either in faculty hiring or segregated student services,” according to the lawsuit.

Wilson, while still technically employed by Brooklyn College as a tenured professor, is currently on a forced administrative leave awaiting the outcome of the disciplinary charges leveled by the college.

BC Community in Solidarity with Slain Muslim Three

Vigil pic
Credit to Modou Nyang

 

 

 

 

By Modou Nyang

On Thursday, Feb. 19, an alliance of four BC student groups held a flower vigil to honor the lives of the three young Muslim students killed in their apartment in North Carolina, and Sarah Aly, President of the Students for Justice in Palestine, said: “They were like us”.

Members of the Students for Animal Rights, the Puerto Rican Alliance, and the LGBTQ Club, gathered at the front of the West End under freezing conditions carrying flowers and displaying posters of the victims.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19; were killed in their apartment in Chapel Hill, N.C. by their neighbor Craig Hicks on Feb. 10. According to reports, authorities in N.C. said a long running parking space dispute may have motivated the killing. Hicks has since been charged with a three count murder, according to the Associated Press. The FBI has also opened an investigation to determine whether the killings were motivated by the victims’ religion.

Those at the vigil also remembered the life of Mustafa Mattan, a Muslim Canadian of Somali descent, who was also killed in his apartment in Canada, a day before the Chapel Hill killings.

And for Aly, the Chapel Hill killings were not isolated incidents arguing that it is the result of the negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media.

“This is more of a systematic reality for Muslims who are facing hate due to the hypocrisy in the media,” she argued. “The way the media portrays Muslims and the way they portray Islam, has manifested itself often in a lot of hate crimes. These are not the only incidents, but only the more recent ones”.

According to Aly, the victims were exemplary people who signified “what the American college student looks like. They had a love for their community,” she said. “They would go out and feed the homeless at night. They also conduct fundraisers to go provide dental care to refugee children in Syria. We can really relate to them, they were in our age.”

Despite freezing conditions, the rallying students attracted the attention of other students who stopped and asked questions and shared words of support and solidarity. Thomas, a BC student said the killings were unjust and that the sociopolitical significance needed to be recognized. He said that no life is worth more than another.

Aly said the victims lived a life that was the opposite of the Muslim that is portrayed in the media.

“They really shattered the stereotype of Muslims that has been put in the media as terrorists, as people who are filled with hate, as people who want to destroy America,” she said.  Aly also blames the media for its difference in dealing with incidents of similar nature.

“When it’s the Muslim who is holding the gun its terrorism,” she argued.  But “when it is a Muslim who is being shot at, any excuses found to not label it even as a hate crime – I’m not even talking about terrorism – but hate crimes, is too difficult for the media. That says a lot about the way the media views us, the way the government here views us and the way society here considers Muslims”.

“I am sick and tired of being portrayed so negatively all the time and having to shoulder the blame for a select few,” said Aly. She continued: “I want them to view Muslims the way Muslims are. I want them to be equal people.”

“When a white person kill someone they shoulder the blame on their own. They take independence, and they are allowed to take blame individually. The rest of us, whether it is Muslim or other people of color, take the blame collectively,” she said.

“We shoulder not only our own burdens but the burdens of an entire race, an entire religion and an ethnicity,” she said. “I just want to be seen as an individual the way other citizens of this country are allowed to be seen as individuals. And to respond to their own actions as individuals not as a group.”

BC Women’s Basketball Team Falls to Baruch

By: Samantha Rodriguez

The energy surrounding the court was high as family and friends supported the Lady Bulldogs on senior night, where they would face their conference rivals, the undefeated Baruch Bearcats. The Bulldogs entered Tuesday night’s matchup after obliterating Medgar Evers College in a 72-25 victory. Unfortunately, the momentum under their belts was not enough to blemish Baruch’s perfect record within the Cuny Athletic Conference as the Bulldogs fell 60-46.

The Bulldogs allowed their opponent to run rampant with an early 14-3 lead, but a three-point shot by Megan Campbell ignited the campaign to stop the damage. It was an exchange of runs for the remainder of the half as Baruch extended their lead 27-12, but they were quickly met with a Brooklyn 12-2 run that cut the deficit to only five points with a little over a minute left to play. Megan Campbell and Vanessa D’Ambrosi led the Bulldogs with a combined 17 points. As the Bulldogs headed into the locker room down 31-25 to end the half, a comeback did not seem far out of reach.

Baruch forward and two-time CUNYAC player of the week Sheridan Taylor would dictate otherwise. After a meek eight-point first half, Taylor scored 15 points in the second, tying with Brooklyn’s entire starting lineup. She finished with a game-high 23 points on a near perfect 10-for-12 shooting performance. Teammate Iyana Abrams contributed 11 points in the second half to cap a 14-point victory over the Bulldogs. Megan Campbell led her team with 14 points, but the first quarter Bulldogs faded down the stretch, unable to regain any control of the deficit. Baruch remains undefeated at 16-0 and enters the CUNYAC finals as the number one seed.

The Lady Bulldogs may not have walked away with a victory to end the regular season, but it was certainly a historic night. On senior night fittingly, fourth year players Nacirema Mann and Nicole Francomano reached a 1000th career point milestone—a near perfect ending to their college basketball career. Francomano is now the fifth player in Brooklyn College history to accomplish such a feat.

She spoke on her achievement after the game exclaiming, “I feel so blessed to have had four amazing seasons at Brooklyn College. Scoring my 1000th point in senior night was an unbelievable experience that I never expected to happen. While I was happy to hit that milestone, the thing I want most is to win these next three games and become a CUNYAC champion with my amazing teammates.”

With a team record of 18-6 and 14-2 within CUNYAC, the second seed Bulldogs begin their quest for a championship on Saturday. Their first stop is on their home court versus the seventh seed York College Cardinals. We wish our ladies the best of luck!

CUNYAC Tournament Highlights and Recap

By: Samantha Rodriguez

The CUNYAC tournament has commenced!

The Lady Bulldogs have have advanced to the semi-finals in outstanding fashion. After a tough loss to the Baruch Bearcats in the final game of the regular season, the Lady Bulldogs entered the quarter finals with something to prove.

Megan Campbell was named player of the game in the 68-54 victory over the York College Cardinals. Campbell finished with a double-double of 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting, along with 12 rebounds, leading her squad to a sure spot in the semi-finals round, but not without some help. Teammate Vanessa D’Ambrosi registered a double-double of her own scoring 17 points, 15 of which came from downtown, and pulled down 13 rebounds in the process.

Nicole Francomano scored a modest six points, but hustled on defense grabbing four steals and dishing out a game-high eight assists, finding her teammates for the open shots.

The Bulldogs outscored the Cardinals 32-14 in the paint and 17-8 on second opportunities, demonstrating an all-around successful effort on both ends of the floor. With a consistent performance, the women of Brooklyn College will be a force to be reckoned with going into the next round.

On Tuesday evening, the Bulldogs take on the sixth seed CSI Dolphins at City College. The Bulldogs swept the Dolphins in the regular season and hope to bring them down once more for a victory that will advance our ladies to the finals.

The men’s basketball team will take on the John Jay College Bloodhounds in the quarterfinals this Sunday, after defeating Baruch College 75-86 in their final game of the regular season.

Both teams scored 32 points in the paint, but the Bulldogs outscored their opponents significantly in field goal and three-point percentage. The Bulldogs made more than half of their field goals in comparison to John Jay’s 41.5%. As for their shooting from behind the arc, the Bulldogs shot 43.8% versus the Bloodhounds 35%.

The star of the game was junior Egzon Gjonbalaj, who totaled a game-high 26 points along with eight rebounds to lead his team to victory. Jai Kellman contributed 13 points and Jamel Gist scored 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

Brooklyn ends the regular season 20-5 and with a 12-4 CUNYAC record, as the number two seed heading into the quarterfinals. As they try to take down the Bloodhounds in hopes of advancing to the semi-finals, they will have to continue the damage they exhibited in their regular season meetings.