“so with Roth it was like there was this new fresh face that seemed to have more empathy? LIKE OBAMA [jk?]”
A photoshop gem from the Sheek era
This is part of our series of Wesleyingiversary interviews. You can find the rest here.
Continuing the ultra-niche content stream of histories of a campus life blog centered around a small liberal arts college in central Connecticut, I caught up with Sheek who ran the site from the founders‘ exit to the Spring of 2010. Sheekcrafted a remarkable 999 posts for the greater consumption of Wesleyan Internetters. He once stated that the “agility and catlike reflexes” of Wesleying gives it an edge in the oh-so-amorphous campus media realm.
Anyway, we talked about the blog, Michael Roth being similar to Obama, and the shooting at Broad Street Books that rocked campus in the Spring of 2009, and is likely still a sobering memory for many current faculty and staff who were on campus at that time. More past the jump:
If you’re on or near campus for break, now is a great time to check out the various cultural venues around town. The Buttonwood Tree’s calendar is well-stocked with music and art shows – such as the ongoing “Through Her Eyes” Collective Women’s Art Show and the Sean Clapis concert on March 15 – in addition to free yoga and a Poetry Potluck. You can also support the city’s budding artists by touring the Middletown Public Schools Art Exhibition at the CFA’s Zilkha Gallery before Sunday March 16. If you’re looking to impress someone after break with a few new dance moves, Vinnie’s Jump and Jive offers everything from Ballroom to B-Boy/B-Girl.
A mountain lion (or a bobcat or some other beautiful, terrifying creature) has been spotted in Durham! This is particularly surprising since mountain lions haven’t been native to Connecticut for at least a century, although one expert suspects that Canadian cougars could be traveling south to feast on the area’s booming deer population. Be extra wary of strange sounds in and around your house at night because, for once, it might be something worse than your drunken roommate rummaging through the fridge.
In much more upsetting news, a Middletown resident had her car vandalized with a racial slur for a third time since November this Monday. Removing the spray paint has cost Ms. Perry thousands of dollars, and she is particularly upset that her children, ages 8, 9, and 15, have had such an appalling introduction to the neighborhood.
Prez Obama is running away with our #ThisIsWhy campaign.
What do you do when the leader of the free world hijacks your hashtag campaign? Barack Obama recently launched a new site featuring stories on why health care (reform) matters. The tagline’s Twitter-translation? #ThisisWhy.
It all began on January 1st, with Virginia.
Virginia may be able to go to the doctor again but does she have anything on James W. Thomasson ’63, an alum who gives us this story as part of Wesleyan’s #ThisIsWhy campaign?
At the age of eight, in socially divided Middleburg, Virginia, I was “reported” to my mother by a neighborhood “wag” for playing in the street with “John Henry”—yes, a ten-year-old black boy. As big a disgrace as that must have been for the neighbor, it paled in comparison to the embarrassment of my mother and the rage of my father.
The New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Lived” issue features a stirring tribute to Alex Okrent ’05, the Wesleyan alumnus who collapsed and died last July at the Obama headquarters, where he worked, in Chicago. The cause of death was later determined to be cardiac arrhythmia. Okrent, 29, was a College of Social Studies major at Wes, and his passing inspired expressions of condolences from both candidates that day in July:
A beloved member of our campaign family, Alex Okrent, passed away today. Our prayers are with his loved ones. We will miss you, Alex. -bo
As journalist Mark Leibovich tells it, Okrent was on board with the Obama cause well before the senator even announced his candidacy in 2007—he took off a semester off from Wesleyan in 2004 to work on Obama’s Senate campaign. Between organizing a campaign book club and dressing up as Tobias Fünke on Halloween in Iowa, Okrent was “demanding, fun and irreverent,” Leibovich writes. “And he was never shy about telling people that he loved them.”
As horrifying details continue to emerge, here’s footage of President Obama addressing today’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which is just 40 miles or so west of Middletown. Continuing updates on the tragedy appear here.
In the brief remarks, Obama says that he addressed the tragedy not as president, but “as a parent.” “Our hearts are broken today,” the president says, pausing to pull himself together. “The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them.” He appears to choke up at various points in the video.
“We’re going to have to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” the president continues, but he doesn’t address gun control in any specific way. The full text of Obama’s remarks appears here, via The Atlantic Wire.
Newtown is a short drive from Wesleyan, so it’s no surprise that the Middletown community is particularly shaken by the shooting. Like many WesKids, I’ve driven through Newtown countless times on I-84 to get to Wes. I’ve stopped and had lunch at the town’s Blue Colony Diner. I’ve had professors who live in the town. According to Middletown Patch, Middletown Superintendent of Schools Patricia Charles has sent a letter to Middletown parents promising to redouble efforts to keep children safe in Middletown schools:
“Getting sloppy drunk because you’re relieved just isn’t as much fun.”
In a post covering Wesleyan’s reaction to Election Night, I remarked on differences between Wesleyan’s celebration of Obama’s reelection this month and its unabashed euphoria following his election in 2008. “This was satisfaction and warm relief,” I wrote; “it wasn’t outright jubilation and madness in the vein of what took place on campus this time in ’08.”
Not that I have any legitimate basis for that claim. I was in high school in 2008. I watched America elect Barack Obama in quiet with my dog while my parents slept down the hall. (The dog might have been sleeping, too.) I didn’t witness any of the “jubilation and madness” taking place in Middletown.
So I reached out to Sam Barth ’13, a fellow senior and friend, who’s one of the only students to have witnessed both elections unfold from the Wesleyan Bubble. Barth was a visiting prefrosh when Obama was elected, and he kindly sent me his thoughts on the comparison between ’08 and ’12:
Breaking:“Our nation is a once great nation divided!”
Last night, around 11:15 p.m., NBC, among other major news networks, projected a reelection win for Obama after noting polling trends in battleground states. Almost immediately, Twitter exploded. Facebook exploded. The President(‘s campaign staff) tweeted:
By the time the notoriously reluctant Fox Newscalled the election, it was clearly over. But in Exley 150, Wesleyan was still watching a glitchy ABC livestream, which was probably about 10 minutes behind and too busy zooming in on electoral maps on people’s iPads to realize that the election had been called. Wesleying liveblogged the moment. The anticipation was palpable. Projected wins for Obama in New Hampshire and Minnesota garnered huge cheers; it was an equally fantastic moment when ABC called the Massachusetts Senate race for Elizabeth Warren, one of the most genuinely progressive moments of the night.
Two years, 94 debates, one drunk/high/sober liveblog, and endless polls later, we’ve finally arrived. Two candidates entered (well, technically a lot more), one will survive. Who will it be? Tonight wesleying will be continuing (and thank God, finishing) our election coverage with a liveblog of the results as they roll in tonight. There are a couple of locations on campus where we’ll be station (and where you can follow along):
Usdan has a big projector screen by the staircase showing MSNBC, so plenty of people will be watching there.
The American Studies Majors’ Committee and the Government Majors’ Committee are hosting an event at the Woodhead Lounge (location here).
In your comfort and safety of your own dorm! Just go to here to watch CNN!
Stay tuned, and get ready to celebrate when Obama (mostlikely) wins. (If he doesn’t, Nate Silver is totally fucked.) Hopefully it’ll look something like this:
Area Man To Run Naked Through Streets Tonight No Matter Who Wins Election onion.com/PUDk2H
Breaking: Weshop is giving away free cookies to anyone who voted today. Hurry the fuck up.
Wesleying staffers went down to the polls today to vote, where we met this Wes kidthis one, this one, and this one. Voting could feel patriotic, empowering, historically significant, insignificant, a hassle, exciting, responsible and important. Go find out! Our exit poll data hasn’t yet confirmed whether or not 14% of students are putting their money where their mouth is and voting Giant Joint, but we’ll keep you posted when we find out.
Middletown polls are open until 8. Unlike Red & Black, we won’t give you a free coffee if you send us a picture of you holding your “I Voted” sticker, but we might just post it. In the meantime, results will be pouring in tonight, and there are screening parties planned in Usdan and Woodhead Lounge. We’ll be liveblogging the action. For a taste of what tonight might look like, here’s this. Click past the jump for interviews with Wesleyan voters.