Vol. 38 Issue 8

Apr 05, 2019

From the Editors

We received the following letter last week, which felt urgent enough to share:

“A fortnight ago a handsome plaque or pennant appeared on the brick display wall overlooking the “farm”--the oval campus featuring a sculpture (by Gilbert Franklin) where Angell and Waterman converge at Benefit Street. It showed the logo of a pack of Camel cigarettes, with pigeons perching on top. Beneath that startling image there was a rectangle depicting the migration of springtime arriving birds. I took a break to search for my old-fashioned camera, but by the time I came back, that strange and wondrous and mysterious message had vanished into the void. I went into the student quarters of the refectory to investigate who had designed and displayed this cryptic address to the public passersby. Nobody knew anything about it, so I walked downhill to consult our Illustration Department. Its staff likewise was innocent of any knowledge of the origin or meaning of that “telegram” nor had anyone seen it! I am NOT hallucinating, I can describe each and every detail of the design. I have no concrete evidence to prove this tale to be true, nor any fellow witness of its very existence. As a very longtime professor here, I nevertheless ask readers of the April 5 issue of the Indy if anyone out there, out here, knows anything either of the artist who created the object or of any interpretation of the meaning of its juxtaposition of symbols. Camel cigarettes in that pack holds a nostalgic hint to me: my father’s favorite choice, no menthol, no cork-tip, no carefully chosen color scheme to imply the health benefits of nicotine, just an honest old-time recognition, frank and blunt, about the macho romance of a plain cigarette that can cure the common cold or its sore throat!!! But what of those pigeons or those migrating feathered friends? There is indeed a pigeon club (I am its founding faculty supporter/advisor.) just above the poster, if that is what it was. Which may in part explain the purpose of the surprise collage. I write this letter to inquire if whoever made it or placed it there can contribute a word of explanation to encourage my research, my inquiry, my quest, please e-mail me at [email protected] Thanks for rescuing me from my uncertainty and curiosity.”




Rhode Island is Famous for You

Crimetown, and the problem of Providence's mob narrative

Arts, Apr 04 2019

by Ella Comberg

My Italian-American father tells one of our family’s best stories. I heard it again recently after I asked him, mostly in …




On swamps, deserts, and sites of old selves

Features, Apr 04 2019

by Tara Sharma

In Southern Appalachia, the forests have been burying themselves for millennia. The trees collapse where the forest floor puddles: thick floods …



Sealing the Deal

Competing narratives of conservation in the Narragansett Bay

Metro, Apr 04 2019

by Hal Triedman

It was not ideal weather for seal watching. The wind coming off of Rome Point was strong and unflagging, pressing against …

A Friday For Our Future

An interview with the organizers of the Rhode Island Youth Climate Strike

Metro, Apr 04 2019

by Mara Dolan

At 11AM on Friday, March 15, hundreds of thousands of students around the world walked out of their classrooms. From London …

Cleaning Up the Workplace

Fuerza Laboral pioneers the first worker cooperative in Rhode Island

Metro, Apr 04 2019

by Sara Van Horn

Last December, in a spacious, carpeted conference room inside Navigant Credit Union in Central Falls, nineteen graduates of the second annual …


"Have You Eaten?"

Rice, Agriculture, and Military Occupation in Kashmir

News, Apr 04 2019

by Kudrat Wadhwa

KASHMIR: LIFE UNDER SIEGE: PART 1 This week, the Indy News section begins a two-part series on the occupation of Kashmir, …

Week in Dismemberment

News, Apr 04 2019

by Ben Bienstock, Sarah Clapp & Signe Swanson

A DICHOTOMY OF BAGELS A firestorm erupted on Twitter last Monday when Alek Krautmann, a DC-based Missouri native, posted a photo …

Science & Technology

Rendering Deep Time

Science & Technology, Apr 04 2019

by Gemma Sack

“Consider the Earth’s history as the old measure of the English yard, the distance from the king’s nose to the tip …


See More Issues