Heart Map Series: Jess

1. Politics: I like to say that I love politics, even when I don’t like politics. The current political climate is obviously not ideal, but that doesn’t mean I have any less of an interest in the study of politics and government. I make an effort to learn as much as I can and to keep up with current events. If I could pick my dream future, it would be one where I have a career in which I get paid just to write about politics.

2. Netflix: I chose to highlight Netflix on this list because the majority of TV shows I watch are Netflix originals or at least ones available for viewing on Netflix. I’m an avid House of Cards fan and am anxiously awaiting its return this May. I also enjoy Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black. Just last week, I finished 13 Reasons Why and while I have some complaints about how the show handled difficult topics, I can’t say I wasn’t hooked on it.

3. HBO: Okay, I’m also an HBO fan. Currently, I’m a big fan of both Game of Thrones and Westworld. If you know me personally, there is a good chance I’ve already attempted to coerce you into watching Westworld, which I believe to be an amazing show. There are plenty of other HBO series I hope to tackle over the summer including Veep and at least the first season of True Detective.

4. Overwatch: I also talk about and play a lot of Overwatch. Overwatch is a first-person shooter game created by Blizzard, which I am currently and have been obsessed with. I love the game’s lore and how it involves superheroes and robots — two things loved by nerds everywhere. As the only video game I have ever gotten invested in, I can say that Overwatch holds a special and unique place in my heart.

5. Star Wars: At seven years old, I was introduced to the Star Wars series by my brother and my world changed. The original trilogy was my first true experience with genre, since the world of Star Wars is so fantastical. Soon, I began writing my own stories and crafting my own characters thanks to the example set forth by George Lucas. I remain an avid fan today, having seen The Force Awakens six times in theaters alone, though I don’t think that’s something to brag about. 

6. Stationery: I love stationery! Pens, paper, washi tape — if it can make organizing my school and work agenda more exciting, I’m into it. 

7. Coffee: Before college, I was never much of a coffee drinker. Now I drink at least a cup of coffee a day. I don’t love coffee to the point of obsession, but I do depend upon a warm cup of coffee from my suite’s Keurig to wake up each morning. I’ll usually treat myself to an iced coffee from Dunkin’ or Starbucks, regardless the season.

8. Writing: If I didn’t love writing, I probably wouldn’t be studying at Emerson with a major in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

9. Theater: Before I arrived at Emerson, I was a theater kid. Performing in plays was a constant of my elementary, middle school, and high school years. My experiences with my high school drama remain some of my fondest and it is through theater that I was able to gain confidence and make my mark in my local community.

10. YouTube: When I’m bored, YouTube is my ultimate resource. I’ll find myself in a video black hole, where I keep watching random videos for hours. Casey Neistat is my favorite YouTuber, as I consider him to be the greatest vlogger to ever exist. No vlogger can ever match the talent of Casey Neistat. No vlog can ever match the superior quality of a Casey Neistat vlog. Casey deserved a special shout out on this list because although I am not a filmmaker or Casey Neistat, I find his videos and overall demeanor to be very inspiring. But, I still just love the site in general.

11. Art: I no longer draw as much as I should, but art has always been important to me. At an early age, I started drawing and it was the first talent that I was ever given recognition for. As the years have passed and my interests have expanded, I don’t devote as much time to making art anymore. However, I hope to change that this summer.

12. Dogs: If you know me, this isn’t surprising: I love dogs. Any type of dog, it doesn’t mad. Big or small, old or young.

13. Friends: The friends I have made at Emerson have genuinely changed my life for the better. I am not sure who I would be without them. I’m not the type to say this often, but I feel blessed that I’ve been able to find such incredible friends and confidantes. Even though I don’t have the time to hang out with them as often as I would like, the truth is that there is no place I’d rather be than in a common room (our choice hangout spot) with them.

14. Emerson: All of us here at Atlas are Emerson students, of course. But, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what the school means to me. I knew Emerson was my dream school as early as my sophomore year of high school. Since starting at Emerson, I’ve never doubted I made the right choice. I’ve learned a lot thus far in my Emerson career and I look forward to what my future at Emerson will bring me. 

 

Challenging the Literary Canon

After years of being assigned books to read for school, have you ever wondered why the same authors find their way onto every English teacher’s syllabus? I can still remember most of the books I was assigned in high school, throughout my years of Honors and AP English classes. As a freshman, I can recall reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. My sophomore English syllabus emphasized Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Victor Hugo. Junior year was my AP Language course, which consisted primarily of analyzing speeches from great men of times past, such as John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

All of the works I have mentioned so far were authored by white men. I can only remember women and/or non-white authors being a significant part of my class curriculum during my senior year. That year, we were treated to an entire unit on Toni Morrison. Song of Solomon by Morrison was even our summer reading assignment. Later in the fall, we were tasked with writing a research paper on Morrison and her writing. But, it’s tragic that Morrison is one of the only black writers I can remember being taught in high-school. Why should a school English curriculum only emphasize one type of author? White, male, straight, cisgender — why is that considered the story worth reading?

When somebody mentions the literary canon, they are referring to the set of authors or works seen as the epitome of greatness. The books you are exposed to in middle and high school typically belong to this canon. That canon overwhelmingly features authors from those categories I already mentioned. This is how we all end up reading and reminiscing over the same “sacred” works. That isn’t to say, though, that there isn’t value in reading Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare. It’s just that we need to make an effort to allow other voices to be heard too.

Race, gender and sexuality are three areas where this diversity is most lacking. As already mentioned, most famed authors are white, straight, cisgender men. Writers who don’t fall into those categories rarely garner that same recognition, yet representation in literature and the arts is incredibly important for marginalized groups. It is important then that as consumers of media we make room for those marginalized voices.

Undergraduate Students for Publishing, a student organization at Emerson, recently hosted a speaker series titled Decolonize the Canon. As its name suggests, speakers at the event spoke about challenging the lack of diversity in the accepted literary and art canons — not only in regards to what artists receive recognition, but as well as what stories they are allowed to tell. Different ideas were discussed, including the importance of challenging what is perceived to be art and the importance of representation in literature. 

Knowing that the accepted canon typically only features certain authors of certain backgrounds, it is necessary to challenge that canon. Engage with the works of authors of diverse backgrounds and experiences and encourage a more inclusive literary canon. As readers, that’s the least we can do.

Can A Superhero Movie Really Be a “Good” Movie?

I love superhero movies, but I don’t love all superhero movies. For instance, although I’m a fan of most of the Marvel movies (as in, the films released by Disney-Marvel Studios), I was sorely disappointed by Avengers: Age of Ultron. I hated the romance added between the Hulk and Black Widow, which was a sub-plot that genuinely came out of left field. The movie, overall, felt like it was holding back from reaching its potential—because Disney was opting to save their best content for Avengers: Infinity War, set to be released in 2018. Though a fun movie that I enjoyed watching, Age of Ultron was a let-down, and that was the consensus I saw online as well.

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Backstock for Standing Rock with Pub Club

It has always been important to take action, but now is an essential time to be advocating for social and political change. That includes taking action here on Emerson’s campus, in the greater Boston area, or beyond.

But, sometimes advocacy can mean showing solidarity. Or fundraising in support of an issue or movement. That’s why Undergraduate Students for Publishing (or Pub Club) has decided to spend a week selling its back stock to fundraise for Standing Rock. If you’re unfamiliar with Standing Rock, here’s a brief summary: The Standing Rock protests are in response to a proposal to build the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If built, the pipeline would threaten the water that many indigenous people in the area depend on. Despite the freezing weather, protests have continued at Standing Rock for months now.

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Theatre as a Safe Space

It’s 2016 and news is traveling incredibly fast. In the wake of the presidential election, it’s hard to keep track of every political issue or scandal being buzzed about by the media. But, there’s one news story that has definitely kept my attention. A few weeks ago, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton the Musical—you know, the mega-popular musical that seems eternally sold-out. To me, just knowing that Pence attended a performance of Hamilton would have been news enough, considering some of his positions. But, what actually made this story news was what happened once the VP-Elect arrived at the theater.

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Emerson Alumni: They Went Here?

Anyone who attends Emerson is probably well-accustomed to hearing about the different celebrity alumni that have walked the school’s hallowed halls (although Emerson has changed campus locations numerous times over the years). Yes, Emerson loves to talk about its Emerson Mafia. Of course, an impressive list of alumni is something for the college to be proud of. It’s nice to know, after all, that a good amount of people who have attended and graduated from Emerson have gone on to do incredible things.

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Pub Club’s Fall 2016 Book Launch

What is Pub Club exactly? Pub Club is short for Undergraduate Students for Publishing, which is one of several publishing organizations operating on Emerson’s campus. The organization provides students who hope to work in the publishing industry the chance to gain some valuable experience while at Emerson. One of the ways Pub Club does this is by publishing two books a semester, under the name Wilde Press.

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Life After Vine

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By now, you’ve probably heard the news. On October 27, Vine announced that they would soon be discontinuing their mobile app. Twitter, Vine’s current owner, has evidently decided that the app is no longer economically viable. For the social-media-savvy, this announcement was shocking. Though most people were not as active on Vine as they may have been on sites like Instagram or Facebook, Vine has remained a staple in the online world for years. Since 2013, users have been using the Vine application to make and share content. Many videos posted on Vine have later become viral, leading to them being shared across multiple platforms. How many “memes” can you recall that trace their origins to a Vine?

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How to Mourn the Death of a Major Fictional Character

A few weeks ago, I sat in a dorm common room with a few of my friends. Together, we were a bundle of nerves, as we were waiting patiently for the newest episode of The Walking Dead to start. At 9PM, the season 7 premiere would be on, and AMC had promised the premiere would be bloody. At least one main cast member was going to get the ax (or rather, the bat) by the end of the episode. And, as a longtime fan, I was beyond nervous to watch that happen.

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