Week in Review 10/28/10

by by Jonah Kagan, Megan Turley & Jonah Wolf

Kicks Just Keep Getting Harder to Find
Even among East Coast colleges filled with bored elites, Georgetown University is one of the last places you’d expect to find a drug lab, especially one producing dimethyltriptamine (DMT), the mysterious psychoactive substance found in the human brain. DMT’s hallucinogenic properties, one assumes, are more suitable to the hippies at Bard (where three students got caught fabricating the drug in 2007) than to their Capitol-primed Hoya counterparts.
Yet there it was in the WashingtonPost: three teenagers—Charles Smith, John Romano, and John Perrone—arrested on Saturday for synthesizing DMT in Harbin Hall.
Police evacuated the dorm after a student led them to room 926, where, according to an affidavit, they found “zip locks containing a green plant substance, a carbon dioxide canister, homemade smoking devices, a grinder, a jar containing a red liquid substance, and a Styrofoam cooler with dry ice and several jars containing a clear liquid substance,” as well as ammonia, salt, lighter fluid, rubber gloves, and a turkey baster.
A Georgetown freshman told the Independent, “They’re nice guys, and it’s really sad that all this is happening. This was a complete surprise even to the people who lived next door to them.” Smith and Perrone (who is actually enrolled at the nearby University of Richmond) were classmates at Andover High School in Massachusetts; Romano, whom police released without charge Sunday morning, was Smith’s roommate. Says our source, “It almost feels like the drama ended with the start of the work week—the extent that people around campus are talking about it now is joking about how hard it’s going to be to find a new reliable DMT dealer.” Looks like they’ll have to find a new weed connect, too: on Tuesday, another Harbin Hall freshman was busted for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Meanwhile, across the country, nine freshmen from Central Washington State University were hospitalized after ingesting an array of liquors that included the caffeinated malt beverage Four Loko. The school has since followed New Jersey’s Ramapo College in banning the drink (where 23 students—not all of whom were in the state variously and colloquially referred to as “Lok’ed,” “Loko’ed,” or simply “Loko”—were hospitalized for alcohol intoxication last month). Four Loko, which boasts twelve percent alcohol by volume and comes in nine fruity flavors ranging from Blue Raspberry to Lemonade, fills a hole in the market left by Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Extra and MillerCoors’ Sparks, which were decaffeinated in response to a threatened lawsuit from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. While attorney generals across the country are decrying the beverage, it is rising in popularity, with a 435 percent sales jump over the past year. Rap odes have proliferated across YouTube, and one restaurant, New York’s Xiao Ye, has even started serving a cocktail of Four Loko and Hennessey.

Crank Calling Harassment Victims
October 9, 2010: Nineteen years after Anita Hill testified at Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court justice that she had been sexually harassed by Thomas, she received a strange, early morning message on her office voicemail. Ms. Hill is currently a professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University, and her particular expertise in these fields makes what was to happen next that much more socially palpable.
The caller was none other than Clarence Thomas’s wife, Virginia Thomas, and her message (according to the New York Times) was as follows:
“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.“
She goes on to request that Ms. Hill “give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day [she] will help us understand why [Hill] did what [she] did,” ending with an awkward, “Okay, have a good day.”
Bizarre phrasing aside, the blatant blame-the-victim mindset is disturbingly clear in this message. Even more disheartening is the fact that after her request was made public, Mrs. Thomas became incredibly popular with Tea Party talk and radio shows across the country. The uncomfortable truth is that this political ploy brings up sensitive issues of race, gender, and perception of abuse victims weeks before a midterm election.
Thomas’s message, both what was said and what was implied, was so inflammatory that Lillian McEwan, a former girlfriend of Thomas’s who refused to testify in his harassment hearing, has finally come forward in Hill’s defense after almost 20 years of silence. Anita Hill has publically refused to offer up any apology to the Thomas’s, and Brandeis has come out in full support of her decision. One can only hope that the majority of Americans will as well.

If you thought Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin was the funniest political video you’ve seen on YouTube (or if you thought that about a video of Sarah Palin herself), think again. This fall, the campaign of Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has reached a new LOL. As outlandish as it may sound, O’Donnell’s latest TV spot plays off of an internet meme—and we’re not talking something innocent like ROFLcopter.
O’Donnell’s ad mimics Antoine Dodson of YouTube fame, star of the “Bed Intruder Song” video, which consists of clips of Dodson warning news viewers to “hide your kids, hide your wife, ’cause they’re raping everybody out here,” after an intruder broke into his house and got into bed with his sister. The clips have been humorously arranged into a faux-pop song using Auto-Tune, the ubiquitous pitch-correcting software the effects of which can be heard in many of today’s chart toppers.
The ad—or, more aptly, fake movie preview—casts O’Donnell’s Democratic opponent Chris Coons as “The Taxman,” a villain out to rape the wallets of taxpayers. “Hide your will, hide your lights, ’cause he’s taxing everything out here,” intones the melodramatic narrator. For those who have seen “Bed Intruder Song,” which is probably a lot of people given the video’s 35.5 million YouTube views, this allusion may come dangerously close to equating Coons with a rapist.
Coons, for his part, has decided to respond to this covertly slanderous attack with a spoof ad of his own: “Christine O’Donnell has said a lot of strange things,” says the voice-over, as the words “The O’Donnell Zone” appear against the trademark Twilight Zone outer space backdrop. We then see clips of some O’Donnell gems, such as “I’m not a witch,” “evolution is a myth,” and to top it off, “scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully-functioning human brains.”
Although Coons’s ad does a good job suggesting that O’Donnell might not have a fully-functioning human brain herself, one thing is clear: even if she doesn’t win the Senate seat this year, she will have a much better chance in the future when, instead of counting votes, they will just count YouTube views.