May 14, 2008: On the Campus

(Illustration: Steven Veach; photos: Hyunseok Shim ’08)

‘Jaws’ — and jawing

JohnBy Folasade John ’09

The soundtrack contains two notes that strike fear in the hearts of movie-goers, but for students at Dillon Pool, Jaws was the perfect study break.

The movie was shown March 28 on a projector set up on the bleachers next to the pool. A row of students reclined comfortably in front of the projector — but instead of leaning back in theater seats, they were sprawled on inner tubes. Every few minutes, they would slip down a large inflatable slide into the water with a great splash.

“I feel like I should be on the beach right now,” said Jessica Lee ’09.

The idea for the “Dive-in Movie” came from the directors of student life, who were looking for a group project as they worked to define their new roles at the University. They decided that they would try to provide “unique alternatives” to the eating clubs, according to Lesley Nye, director of student life at Forbes College.

“I think this is amazing — there are a lot of people who like swimming, but they don’t want to swim laps,” said Sarah Zaslow ’08, a Mathey College fellow. “It’s like summer right in the middle of thesis season.”

Connor Cobean ’08 said he likes Jaws so much that he mentioned it in his Princeton application. As soon as he received the e-mail announcing the event, he said, he knew he had to come. Asked how many times he had seen the movie, he replied, “Probably at least 30 times.”

During a scene in which the body of a man is chopped in half by the shark and dragged into the ocean, turning the water red, the commotion in the pool among the movie-watchers stopped. Some students stared at the screen with their mouths open; others looked away. “That’s why we all had nightmares,” said Nye.

When the shark finally was killed by an exploding oxygen tank, scattered applause broke out. Turning off the projector, Mathey College’s director of student life, Matt Frawley, called out to the tired students at midnight: “Who’s ready for movie number two?

“We have Jaws 5!

IsiaBy Isia Jasiewicz ’10

Students may have been surprised in the second week of April to find in their inboxes invitations to a political debate “where liberals argue for the Bush tax cuts and conservatives want an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.”

But the description of the event was no typo: It was a preview of the “Freaky Friday” scenario of the “Backwards Debate,” an event co-sponsored by the Princeton Progressive Nation, College Democrats, College Republicans, P-Board, and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.

In the debate — which drew about 40 students to the Whig Senate Chamber — Democrats Jason Anton ’10 and Daniel Rauch ’10 pretended to be conservatives, while Republicans Johnny Love ’09 and Brian Stephan ’11 played the part of liberals. The two groups answered questions posed by moderator Evan Thomas, Newsweek editor-at-large and Ferris Professor of Journalism, on social issues, foreign policy, and the economy.

Much of the debate echoed talking points heard in the current presidential race. “Over the past few months we’ve seen remarkable progress in Iraq,” argued ersatz conservative Rauch.

“Political progress has been minuscule and superficial at best,” responded Love. “We need to stop imposing our Western ideals on these people.”

Most of the debate continued in the same vein, with serious, thoughtful replies (James Coan ’09, editor-in-chief of Princeton Progressive Nation, commented that the debaters were so well-prepared that their notes contained “all of Wikipedia”). Still, the debaters found opportunities to insert humor and poke fun at the positions that they were pretending to defend.

“We should sit down with [Iranian president] Ahmadinejad,” said Love. “He knows that he should not mess with the United States,” he added, drawing chuckles from the audience.

Rauch’s reply, in turn, drew a wave of laughter: “You’re committing the fallacy that if we get these people to talk, they’ll be as responsive as the people at your ecological yoga class.”

Anton said that despite the teasing in the debate (at one point he told Love that he has “a very apt name for a bleeding-heart liberal”), the event helped him understand conservative rhetoric. “It’s interesting to understand the logic behind opposite views,” he explained. “It breeds respect for your opponents.”

But have no fear, College Democrats: Anton was quick to add that he remains a liberal. end of article

MORE ON THE CAMPUS ONLINE, click here: Admitted students preview campus life, by Folasade John ’09


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