I write from Sidi Bou Said, a touristy seaside town outside of the Tunisian capital, which Lonely Planet has informed me was once home to Michel Foucault. It's December 8, 2011 — the middle of the last month of this eventful year — and about three days after I had anticipated arriving in Tripoli, Libya. But upon arrival in Tunis, I found a more general air of concern than I had anticipated. Not only was nearly everyone I spoke to discouraging me from attempting to cross the land border, but apparently it was not possible to fly either. When I expressed my bewilderment to a Tunis Air employee — "What does the closure of the border have to do with your flights to Tripoli?" — she kindly brought me up to speed: about two weeks ago, Tunis Air suspended all service to Tripoli after armed people there boarded a plane full of (obviously unarmed) passengers. The men who boarded the plane with their weapons were thowar, she said — revolutionaries — and they came in search of some Gaddafi-loyalists who were trying to flee Libya.
This year has been quite a newsworthy one, with events around the globe rousing the public and inspiring a slew of intriguing headlines. But a few weeks ago, one headline in particular really shook Americans: “Pizza a Vegetable? Congress Says Yes.”
Some found this news ridiculously amusing; others were outraged. But everyone can take a deep breath — Congress did not actually declare pizza a vegetable. They did, however, say that two tablespoons of tomato sauce on pizzas served in school cafeterias count as a serving of vegetables. It’s a theoretical and mathematical question, really. According to Congress, two tablespoons of tomato paste has as much nutritional value as half a cup of vegetables.
The other day I had an epiphany: To the average music consumer, a song is worth less than a candy bar. It might last longer, sound sweeter, and offer a more meaningful experience, but don't ask us to spend more than $1 on it.
Politics and fashion make an odd couple, as politicians are typically not very fashionable, and the politics of the fashion world range from dubious to doubtful. Their relationship does not seem to be based on mutual affection, either: the fashion industry loudly (and proudly) emphasizes its apoliticalness and most designers, though surely public figures with considerable influence, are seldom heard trumpeting political slogans. (And if they do, they don’t get very far, eh Galliano?) Meanwhile, politicians refrain from discussing their outfits, suggesting that the theater of fur and fabrics is not a particularly urgent matter. This clear distinction is common knowledge, but betrays the fact that politics and fashion have built a tight-knit relationship beyond logo shirts and party-related color codes. With a shameless enthusiasm that became apparent in the highly stylized Obama campaign, the alleged opponents use each other — and hence are one step ahead of the blissfully unaware voter.
Maybe it’s just me. No matter how much effort I put into getting dressed in the morning, I will always get hit on more when I neglect my appearance entirely. The correlation is undeniably proportionate: The more time I spend fixing my hair or painting my nails or layering loosely knit sweaters over gauzy silk tops, the more invisible I become. Inversely, the less time I have to get ready, the more attention I seem to attract.
Two examples come immediately to mind.
Aided by a PowerPoint presentation, President David Van Zandt and Provost Tim Marshall hosted their second University Town Hall at Wollman Hall on October 26 — an opportunity for the two most prominent and influential figures in The New School administration to hold an open discourse with the university community.
On June 24, 2006, Ali Muamar, a member of the Hamas political faction in Gaza, was blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten by Israeli soldiers. His two sons, Osama and Mustafa, were simultaneously arrested.