The Colgate Scene
November 2000
Table of contents

  Between the Lines
By Anthony F. Aveni, University of Texas Press, Austin, 2000. 257 pp. They have been called the eighth wonder of the world -- arch-aeology's greatest conundrum -- the Nasca lines. Ever since the first commercial aviators flying toward the high Andes spotted them in the 1930s, the giant ground drawings that cover 400 square miles of southern Peru's coastal desert floor have challenged all explanations. Acre-sized tracings of hummingbirds, foxes and condors, a hundred-foot-tall man with owl-like eyes, his arms raised, beckoning to us from a hillside; dozens of spirals, zigzags, triangles and trapezoids; and a thousand miles of long straight lines crisscross the dry wasteland. Could these geoglyphs be effigies of ancient animal gods or patterns of constellations? Are they roads, star pointers, maybe even a gigantic map of the world? If the people who lived in south coastal Peru some 2,000 years ago had only a simple technology, how did they manage to construct such precise figures? Did they have a plan? And if so, who ordained it? It all seems so otherworldly.

-- from the Preface

Whiteness: Feminist Philosophical Reflections
Edited by Chris J. Cuomo '86 and Kim Q. Hall, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland, 1999. 133 pp.

by Kay Johnston

Chris Cuomo, associate professor in the University of Cincinnati philosophy department, and Kim Hall have edited a book composed of narratives on the subject of whiteness. This topic has been taken up by scholars who recognize that understanding race in the United States must entail understanding what it means to be white. The meaning of the racial category white is constructed just as other racial categories have been constructed and the meanings of these racial definers are not natural, but have changed over time. As Cuomo and Hall write in their introduction, "Instead of understanding the conditional nature of racial boundaries as an excuse to deny the privilege and responsibility implicit in white identity, antiracist thinkers aim toward undermining racial hierarchies, along with false naturalistic conceptions of racial boundaries. The authors in this collection contribute to that project by focusing on the meanings and maintenance of whiteness."

     These narratives do indeed focus on "the meanings and the maintenance of whiteness." The writers describe different contexts in which they learned what being white can mean, how being white affords them unearned privilege, and in some cases how they began and continue to resist that privilege. I liked some of the essays much more than others, but I found what the editors hoped their readers would find, "openings . . . to explore" my own experience. In Cuomo's own essay she explores how easily she can find safety in being white. This seems to be true in my life as well. I liked Laurie Fuller's essay and her description of how sweeping generalizations are often "uttered as complete truths." Ideas like these give readers a way to think about how they act and what they believe.

     This collection is worth reading. These reflections on family, culture, ideas and identity give us, the readers, a chance to reflect on these issues ourselves. Reading about how others come to understand their unearned privilege and then take responsibility for that privilege to live in antiracist ways is important for all of us trying to work toward a more socially just world.

Johnston is associate professor of education and director of women's studies.

Don't Tell Anyone
By Frederick Busch, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2000. 311 pp.

The stories of Fred Busch, a 1991 recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, have been called "generous and exhilarating" by the New York Times Book Review. With Don't Tell Anyone, a radiant collection of 16 stories and one novella, Busch returns to the short form after a six-year absence.

     The stories in the collection have appeared in magazines such as Harper's, The Threepenny Review, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah and Boulevard. Two of them, "The Ninth, in E Minor" and "The Talking Cure," won Pushcart Prizes. The novella, "A Handbook for Spies," is previously unpublished.

     Like his contemporaries Raymond Carver, Andre Dubus and Richard Ford, Busch combines a remarkable ear for dialogue with an intimate knowledge of the complexity of human relationships and a clear affection for his wayward and confused characters. His stories capture the contradictions of real life. They are both funny and sad, familiar and surprising, commonplace and extraordinary.

     In "Bob's Your Uncle," the sudden appearance of a troubled and possibly dangerous young man casts doubt on the entire history of a marriage. In "The Talking Cure," a teenage son fears that his mother will confess her adultery and shatter their family. "A Handbook for Spies" is a powerful two-part novella about lost and abandoned love, the hunger for truth and the limits of understanding.

     Don't Tell Anyone further establishes Busch's reputation as a master of the short story and his status as one of American's finest living writers.

-- W.W. Norton

American Broadcast Regulation and the First Amendment
By Charles H. Tillinghast '51, Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, 2000. 196 pp.

With a strongly written Foreword by Dr. Robert W. McChesney and arguments supported by legal precedents, Charles Tillinghast's American Broadcast Regulation and the First Amendment presents a persuasive argument for increased public involvement in the federal government's regulation of broadcasting.

     In his argument, Tillinghast focuses on First Amendment issues in broadcast regulation and the impact on the broadcast industry of two of the major broadcast legal cases: NBC v. U.S. and Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. FCC. Tillinghast also addresses two important broadcast deregulation victories: the 1987 elimination of the fairness doctrine and the 1996 adoption of the Telecommunications Act, and he calls for the restoration of a revised fairness doctrine.

     Communications students, as well as those pursuing a law degree, will find this book, in the words of Dr. McChesney, "a valuable corrective to corporate propaganda."

-- Iowa State University Press

Tillinghast is a retired corporate and business law attorney who also taught media law at the University of Arizona.

The Turtle Who Needed Glasses
By Ben Patt '56, Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Santa Ana, CA, 2000. 33 pp.

"Terrence was a turtle who had trouble seeing objects both big and small." Thus begins the story Ben Patt wrote "for people of all ages who may feel that optical enhancement is a horrible handicap." The young turtle finds himself in a fix when he doesn't wear his glasses. He survives his adventures, however, and there is a happy ending complete with his vow "that he would never, ever leave home again without his glasses."

     Patt, who has worn spectacles since he was two, wrote the book to help others "adjust to the world of eyeglasses" and it has been sanctioned by many educational leaders.

Members of the Stay cast and crew, from left, E. J. Yerzak '01, Joe Loomis '01, Keenan Binkley '02, Paul Sinusas '02, Emily Taylor '02, Ari Vigoda '03, Bridget Fitzgerald '03 and Lauren Fisher '03
A film produced by E.J. Yerzak '01 and Joe Loomis '01.

by Matthew Hotham '03

Stay premiered September 14 in Love Auditorium before a full house, with students sitting in the aisles to get their first look at the student-produced movie.

     Yerzak and Loomis began working on the script for Stay at the beginning of their junior year, completing it over the 2000 winter break. Filming began after classes resumed in January.

     Starring Dan Abrams '01, Greg Allen '00, Katie Darter '02, Ari Vigoda '03, Bridget Fitzgerald '03, Dan Testa '00, Laura Marcove '03 and Lauren Fisher '03, Stay is a panorama of college life. Such landmarks as a student's first frat party and the decision to carry on a long-distance relationship with a high school sweetheart are portrayed poignantly.

     The film is interesting for students as a visual record of life at Colgate and can be appreciated by non-Colgate students for its well-written script and generally superb acting, which come together to form a wonderful viewing experience.

     While some aspects of the film can seem a bit staged or feel a little awkward, on the whole the film feels very real. Peppered throughout the movie are powerfully emotional scenes that ring true. While it does take an unflinching and serious look at college relationships, there is also plenty of humor.

     The production of Stay provided students an opportunity to participate in the movie-making experience. From giving stage actors their first taste of performing before a camera, to providing the audience with an entertaining introduction to independent, low-budget films, Stay was an enriching endeavor.

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