“I liked writing about social issues. I was CSS, so no surprise there.”
A photo from an article BZOD wrote about campus labor actions.
This is part of our series of Wesleyingiversary interviews. You can find the rest here.
In his more than 300 articles about Wesleyan for Wesleying (a place where we write articles about Wesleyan), BZOD was truly an online presence I wish I could have known (outside of this anticlimactic liveblog, at least). He covered some really important stuff circa 2010-2014, including labor actions, trans activism regarding gender-neutral bathrooms, and conversations and activism concerning sexual assault on campus.
Read past the jump for our interview.
Welcome to the fourth installment of THESISCRAZY 2014, the feature where we interview thesis writers in the midst of their last minute panic. To see our first three THESISCRAZY features for this year, click here, here, and here. To see previous years of THESISCRAZINESS, click here. If you’re interested in doing a THESISCRAZY interview, email staff(at)wesleying(dot)org!
Greetings, readers. We’re reporting to you live from WestCo Cafe, where the esteemed and honorable Brendan O’Donnell ’14 is about to delve deep into the tales of his triumphs and travails in Chile last semester. If you’re not sure why this is a thing, here’s a bit of context from our event post this afternoon:
Some weeks ago, when Brendan O’Donnell ’14, otherwise known as BZOD, otherwise known as The King of Friends, made his triumphant return from Chile, I joked that he had so many people to catch up with, he should just have one huge catch-up session and get it all out at once. He replied that he was actually thinking of booking the CFA Hall for similar purposes (and our readers enthusiastically approved). Instead, he has opted to reserve WestCo Cafe.
According to Brendan, he declined to invite Michael Roth ’78, “and his dog was less than responsive.” Roth or no Roth, if you can’t make the event yourself, our livelog updates will appear past the jump.
Some weeks ago, when Brendan O’Donnell ’14, otherwise known as BZOD, otherwise known as The King of Friends, made his triumphant return from Chile, I joked that he had so many people to catch up with, he should just have one huge catch-up session and get it all out at once. He replied that he was actually thinking of booking the CFA Hall for similar purposes (and our readers enthusiastically approved). Instead, he has opted to reserve WestCo Cafe. From Brendan O’Donnell ’14:
WHAT THIS IS: I went abroad to Chile last semester. People are asking me to tell them stories. In an effort to not tell the same stories a dozen times, I figured I’d hold a storytime. You’ll hear about everything from strikes to credit cards to apostrophes to buses and police stations. Hell, maybe if you’re a good audience, I’ll even sing you a song. It’ll last for between an hour and an hour and a half.
Also, even if you graduated/are abroad, I invited you in case I post audio or pictures or something here. Or maybe you want to post on the wall about how much you love and/or hate me. Both of those are cool.
Date: Tonight, February 6
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: WestCo Cafe
Cost: Free as Brendan’s friendship
Facebook event: Fill out the survey and help Brendan decide if she should invite Michael S. Roth ’78!
A few days ago, I wrote a lengthy post on the subject of sexual assault and its roots. Another of our writers, the venerable BZOD, wrote me a very lucid and compelling response which I wanted to share with you all. In addition, I’ve included some bits and pieces from our rather lengthy conversation that followed.
I’ve never experienced sexual assault, but I was sexually harassed in late August by a creepy middle-aged man in my neighborhood. There was no physical contact, he made no motions to pursue me as I excused myself from the conversation, and did not know anything about me except my first name, but nevertheless I found myself paranoid after the encounter. For the next few weeks, every time I passed an older, overweight guy in sunglasses on the way to the bus, I found myself wondering whether it was him, and whether he was following me. Given how uncomfortable I felt after only 10 minutes of conversation and how unreasonably paranoid the whole interaction made me for a time, I cannot even fathom what it must be like for someone who was actually sexually assaulted, who actually DOES see their attacker again, or even regularly.
I think that this is one of the biggest problems: as a society, we downplay the emotional impact of rape. We think of it as a purely sexual act, in which someone may be bruised, pushed around, and is forced to have sex. But in truth, while the physical rape hurts, it’s not the part that does the most harm; after all, a fight between couples could easily yield more damage if we look purely at the physical level. What destroys people is the emotional aspect. Rape is, in many ways, the most thorough form of violence. It forces a person into the most submissive state possible, in which they are forced to do something to which our society attaches great meaning with someone with whom they do not want to do it. It can leave survivors with a fear that, as they were violated in such a thorough way once, it could always happen again. The barrier between reality and horror stories has been broken and all of a sudden anything is possible. There are no longer “unthinkable acts” but only acts that haven’t happened yet.