"Barbie" will cap off its 10th week in the box office’s top five this week after earning over $1.4 billion worldwide, making it the 14th highest-grossing movie of all time. Even prior to its release, "Barbie" assumed a polarizing cultural cachet due to its treatment of feminism, womens’ issues, the patriarchy, and representation. That attention only exploded after the movie hit theaters, with conservative pundit Ben Shapiro burning Barbie merchandise while much of the internet fawned over the film’s feminist messaging.
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Lexi: Welcome back to campus! I started my year off tabling for College Republicans at the SAC Fair, where countless budding Wharton finance bros asked if we could get Vivek Ramaswamy to come speak! Seems like he really made a splash at the Republican Primary Debate last month.
In an entirely unsurprising decision last month, the Supreme Court ended affirmative action, a policy which allows for universities to consider race as an admissions factor to craft a diverse student body.
This is Common Sense, a recurring dialogue between two veteran Daily Pennsylvanian columnists, Vinay and Lexi.
I listened closely as one of my peers described traveling back from spring break, apparently quite grateful there were no homeless people to avoid in the train station when she disembarked. I opened my mouth to ask why it mattered but quickly shut it, knowing the boilerplate response I would receive: homeless people are violent and dangerous drug-addicts.
This is the first column of Common Sense, a recurring dialogue between two veteran Daily Pennsylvanian columnists, Vinay and Lexi.
The term semantic infiltration was first coined by Fred Iklé, a famous foreign policy expert, to refer to the process by which one undermines their own position in an argument by adopting the terms of their adversary. However, I first heard about semantic infiltration only recently while working for former staffers of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), who was the great popularizer of the term. Since then, I have found the idea to be utterly inescapable.
The meteoric rise of Harry Styles has been undeniable in the past few years, recently culminating in his record-setting fifteen-day residency at Madison Square Garden and release of the star-studded film Don’t Worry Darling. However, while his following has grown into the tens of millions and provided a community for many, there have been arguably complex and damaging manifestations of this fandom.
Barnard College’s resident assistants recently made a historic move, becoming one of only a handful of university workers’ groups to unionize since a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling in 2017 cleared the way for such actions. Hot on the heels of Wesleyan residential life employees unionizing this past March and Mount Holyoke’s filing for union recognition just weeks ago, Barnard RAs are only the latest participants in an accelerating unionization movement.
Meeting the chants of dozens of protesters crashing one of the largest first-year events, new Penn President Liz Magill simply replied with: “My message tonight is about the importance of productive disagreement. … May I go back to my speech?”
The social contract theory is a centuries-old concept of political governance which generally asserts that government exists only by the consent of the governed in order to protect basic rights and promote societal wellbeing. On June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States tore this tacit agreement to shreds, overturning Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 decision and returning the regulation of abortion rights to the 50 states.
“Work hard, play hard” has grown to become an informal motto for Penn students. The world of play at Penn, however, is far more bourgeois than the basement fraternity parties or tailgates seen in the media. Having a social life is not consistently free, and we do not mean the cost of an overpriced drink at a bar or buying a new outfit to wear out at night. Downtowns are ticketed events, often hosted by fraternities, held at clubs or venues in Philadelphia, which can cost anywhere from $80 to $100 for a ticket directly purchased from the host.
With the rising prominence of cryptocurrency over the past decade, in both the financial sector and societal consciousness, the emergence and popularization of NFTs is no surprise. And while these non-fungible tokens have been seamlessly integrated into popular culture through sensationalistic reporting and social media crazes — even more so within institutions with a strong financial psyche like Penn — I am left with a persisting question: Is it merited?
While arriving at Penn was a culture shock in many ways, with its emphasis on pre-professionalism and work-hard, play-harder attitude, what I still find myself grappling with is how different my high school experience was from many of my peers. Specifically, I was taken aback by how many Penn students have never worked a job, let alone a customer-service one: a job in food-service and retail.
The term ‘Generation Z’ has been used ad nauseum over the past few years, especially in describing the popularity of social media. However, this conflation may have some merit — we were the first to post about middle school dances on Instagram and enter high school with Snapchat scores in the hundreds of thousands. Known as digital natives, it is no surprise that 97% of our generation uses one of seven major online social platforms, with a staggering 72% using Instagram alone.
Part of Penn’s appeal as an institution of higher education is its elite status and the prestige associated with attending an Ivy League school. However, Penn’s prestigious reputation also results in a massive concentration of the wealthy and powerful who have historically attended elite colleges, often disproportionately aided by generational advantages such as legacy status.
Isabella: In the summer of 2019, I was blissfully unaware of just how jarring my first fall semester at Penn would be. I had never heard of Penn Course Review, I did not know how to navigate the convoluted web of Penn’s social scene, and I had no clue what exactly finance was (although that one may still apply). Most importantly, however, I had no clue that other people felt the same way. Until I began meeting upperclassmen through Greek life during my second semester, I had wrongly resigned to the fact that I was the only person who felt completely disjointed from the University’s culture, lying to those around me that I was really loving it here. The adjustment from high school to college has historically been an unsettling one for many students. Now an upperclassman, I try to find sly ways of working my own experiences into conversations with underclassmen, ensuring that they feel validated in their experiences.
Netflix original "Don’t Look Up" premiered on the platform in early December, almost immediately becoming the most streamed movie on the platform. With an all-star cast composed of names such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, and more, the movie’s debut success was not a surprise. But, what I believe makes the movie especially notable is the creative commentary on the problematic politicization of science and the discrediting of the scientific community.
My name is Vinay. And it’s pronounced Viy-NEY — not Vinny, Vinyay, or Vené. I have heard it all, and that’s not even including the gross misspellings encountered on a Starbucks latte cup or fast food ticket. But no matter how many times I hear a letter or syllable out of place, it still stings, and I feel it in my core.
Your environmentally sustainable to-do list for the day: wake up and brush your teeth (do not leave the sink running), take a shower (short and cold is best), get dressed (all organic cotton and never fast fashion, of course), eat some fruit from the local farmer’s market for breakfast before you leave for class on your bike (Ubers and cars are for the apathetic), and get around to recycling your old clothes you’ve been meaning to get rid of (why are you getting rid of them anyways?). Now repeat tomorrow.