Tag Archive for The New York Times

Kogan ’98 Creates a “Happier” Social Network

The New York Times featured Nataly Kogan ’98 and her Boston-based start-up “Happier” on its Bits technology blog. On the Happier social network, “No happy moment is too small, and no negativity is allowed.” Kogan told the Times that unlike on Facebook and Twitter, which are so broad that users feel like they have to make a big impression with each post, Happier users can celebrate small moments of joy–a cup of coffee they enjoyed that day, but not necessarily the best latte of their life. Happier’s iPhone app came out in February, and it’s also available through the Web.

Krishnan’s NYC Dance Performance Reviewed

Assistant Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan’s performance at The LaMama Moves! Dance Festival 2013 in New York City was called “memorable,” “arresting and absurd” in a review in The New York TimesThe review states:

Dancing his own solo, “The Frog Princess,” in the southern Indian classical dance style of Bharatanatyam, Mr. Krishnan showed real accomplishment, charm and liveliness. The most obviously striking feature is that he does not perform with the traditional costume, makeup or ankle bells of Indian dance. Barefoot, he wears a simple two-piece black costume that would fit right in at plenty of modern-dance performances.

He’s a communicator. He has the speaking eyes, the flourishing gesture, the cascading and pounding rhythm to make Bharatanatyam compelling. You feel him seizing the audience with his glances, complex meters, fully three-dimensional phrases — even with an isolated finger.

Basinger on “Fill the Void”

The New York Times called upon Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger, who recently published a book on marriage movies, to comment on a new film called, “Fill the Void.” Set in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Israel, the film “weaves the intimate particulars of Hasidic life into the more conventional marriage plot, a Hollywood staple,” according to the article.

“The Orthodox community is maintaining the form of the marriage film because it is maintaining a former form of social intercourse,” said Basinger.

“It comes down to issues that are recognizable to anyone who’s ever been in a relationship,” Basinger said. The challenge, she added, is to “find the little action that explains the bigger meaning.”

‘I Do and I Don’t’ in the Sunday Book Review

Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger’s new book, I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies was reviewed in The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review section. The book entertainingly explains how “moviemakers create excitement and drama out of that most quotidian of institutions,” marriage.

“Romance movies may demand chemistry, but movies about marriage demand something more difficult to create — a sense that a couple are simpatico, that however much they may bicker and snipe, their deep understanding and feeling for each other will ultimately keep them together.”

Hindu Mystic: Detach from Family to Avoid Sadness

Professor of History William Pinch spoke to The New York Times for a story about Hindu holy men, called Sadhus, who spoke recently at a religious festival, Kumbh Mela, about the importance of detaching oneself from family. Pinch told the Times that Sadhus are part of religious orders that were once mercenary armies that terrified parts of northern India centuries ago.

“They are the ghosts of armies past,” Pinch said. “And they were often employed as assassins.”

These armies often stole or bought children to fill their ranks, Pinch said. And the rituals of joining the orders usually involved cutting all ties to family, he said.

Gruen’s “Last 1,000” Chimps Website Featured

In the wake of a recent announcement by the National Institutes of Health that about 450 research chimpanzees under its purview would be retired and moved to sanctuary, the media has featured a new website by Prof. Lori Gruen. The site, “The Last 1,000” Chimpanzees, documents 1,000 chimps by name that are currently housed in biomedical and behavior research labs, and tracks their movement to sanctuary.

Gruen is professor of philosophy, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, professor of environmental studies. She previously created a website, “The First 100,” memorializing the first 100 chimps used in scientific research.

Read about it in The New York Times and NPR.


Diderot, an American Exemplar? Bien Sur!

The New York Times published an op-ed by Andrew Curran, dean of the arts and humanities, professor of romance languages and literatures, on the legacy of Enlightenment era philosopher and novelist Denis Diderot. Curran writes of Diderot: “His message was of intellectual emancipation from received authorities — be they religious, political or societal — and always in the interest of the common good. More so than the deists Voltaire and Rousseau, Diderot embodied the most progressive wing of Enlightenment thought, a position that stemmed from his belief that skepticism in all matters was ‘the first step toward truth.’ He was, in fact, the precise type of secular Enlightenment thinker that some members of the Texas State Board of Education have attempted to write out of their high school curriculum.”

Conflict in Mali: Nationalists or Islamists?

In an op-ed published in The New York Times/ International Herald TribunePeter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Cambell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, contradicts the popular narrative that the current conflict in Mali is caused by militant Islam. Rather, he writes, “the core of the conflict is the nationalist secession movement of the Tuareg people — one that in recent months has been hijacked by Islamist radicals.”

Rutland reminds readers: “In the Cold War, the West had a hard time separating out communism from nationalism. That failure led to a string of disastrous interventions, from Cuba to Vietnam. It was easier to see leaders such as Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh as tools of Moscow than try to deal with their legitimate nationalist demands.” He argues, “The same mistake is now being made in the ‘war on terror.'”

“The Lives They Lived”: Alex Okrent ’05

The New York Times Magazine features the late Alex Okrent ’05 in “The Lives They Lived,” published December 29. He was working for the 2012 Obama campaign when he collapsed at his desk on July 13 and was pronounced dead at a Chicago hospital from what was later determined to be a cardiac arrhythmia. “If there was a single moment that unified our campaign and knit us together, it was this horrific event,”  said David Alexrod, the campaign’s chief strategist.

Read the full article here.

Kristof: A Gift to ‘Shining Hope’ Will Change Lives

In his New York Times column titled, “Gifts That Change Lives,” Nicholas Kristof invites readers to donate to Shining Hope for Communities this holiday season. The foundation, started by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09, operates a girls’ school, clinic, water and sanitation program  and job training classes in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Learn more at http://shininghopeforcommunities.org.

Small Elite Colleges Adapt to Budget Pressures

President Michael S. Roth recently spoke to The New York Times about the financial pressures facing Wesleyan and other smaller elite colleges. Though Wesleyan must change its financial aid model, it is committed to preserving financial assistance for students who need it.  “We could easily have remained need-blind, kept the label, by simply being less aggressive about pursuing diversity, or admitting people and not meeting their full need, or increasing loan levels,” Roth said.

Unferth Reviews ‘Too Good to Be True’

Associate Professor of English Deb Olin Unferth recently reviewed a new book by Benjamin Anastas in The New York Times. She writes: “Too Good to Be True is a Job-style lament, as much the story of Anastas as that of 21st-­century America (which also turned out to be too good to be true), with its great promises and subsequent disappointments: the bountiful credit that became mountainous debt; the ultra-innovative technology that now enslaves us; broken families; two-household children.”

Read more here.