Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Death of the American Dream: Where Do We Go From Here?

By Nancy Campos

The United States has been built on the idea of the American dream: everyone has the opportunity to succeed as long as they work hard enough. This is the American ideology that we, Americans, have passed on from generation to generation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Lucid Mr. Breivik

by Ryan Fleming

Photo courtesy of

“When you see something so extreme, you could think that it is insanity,” remarked Anders Behring Breivik, referencing his double-pronged attack in Norway last July involving a truck bomb in Oslo and a summer camp rampage against the sons and daughters of Labour Party leadership. “But,” he added calmly, “you have to differentiate between political extremism and insanity in the clinical sense of the term.”

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"LEEDing" Us Into a New Age: Sustainability as a Marketing Ploy

By Adam Schiffmacher 

“But now sustainability is such a political category that it's getting more and more difficult to think about it in a serious way. Sustainability has become an ornament.”
                        -Rem Koolhas

Remember yo-yos, snap bracelets, scooters, POGs and even North Face fanny packs?  The one thing they all had in common is that they were once fads, trends people felt compelled to follow to be “in style.”  Has the “green” movement shown itself to be such a fad, or is there really something to this whole global warming and living sustainably thing? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welcome to Dominica: Dominica v. Jamaica (Part Two)

By Shervin Stoney 

Integration is defined as, “the action or process of integrating.” As a Peace Corps volunteer, the most important aspect of the first six months of service is integrating into your community. You are away from home and thrust into the position of a stranger in a foreign land. In order to survive the 27 months of service you must learn about your new home's norms and culture but more importantly, you must gain friends and people you can trust in the community. This has an eerie feeling of familiarity for me in this

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And so it goes...

By Ruvimbo Gwatirisa
Finding your voice

And so it goes…that I was conflicted to put pen to paper, or thought to keypad concerning issues of society, the varied conceptions and misconceptions we have about each other’s realities. It’s always a struggle when one writes about phenomenon, current, past or as perceived future because we always are in danger of othering, essentialising or put simply – putting people in a box! So I had to question what worth there was in being a commentator/writer on society’s issues and whether it would be of any value to read a young individual’s thoughts, better yet, this individual’s young thoughts. My struggle remains engraved in the big question “who am I to be making a commentary on...anything at all?”, “Of what relevance is my input?”

Insta-Glam or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the App.

By Daniel Pereira

I remember the first time I learned about Instagram. As a photographer on a budget, the prospect of shooting pretty, square images that nearly rivaled those shot with my lovable-yet-clunky film camera, meant that I could spend more time taking pictures and less time searching for cheap ways to develop film (I have in mind, a particularly smelly affair regarding the failed conversion of a home bathroom into a darkroom). At any rate, my foray into the realm of socialized photo-editing made me an overnight believer. Not only could I create cool photos with the tap of a screen and share them with friends and fellow enthusiasts, but the app itself was free to boot. Without surprise, this simple, yet ridiculously appealing concept exploded in popularity – even leading the king of social networks to a sign a recent buyout agreement for a cool billion.

However, the issue with Instagram that has techies and photographers brimming with tiddles is exactly that: it’s too easy to pull crappy images from the cave of banality into the realm of aesthetic paradise. Some photographers, who initially embraced the app, soon found their enthusiasm transformed into vitriolic hatred. In a languid society obsessed with easiness and shortcuts, Instagram became the amateur’s wet dream: anyone with a smartphone could instantly create shareable masterpieces that a few years back would have taken hours to develop. If an 8-year old armed with an iPhone could create Flickr-worthy images, was there a need for Photoshop? Was there even a need for photographers?

Fortunately, photography as we know it, was spared. A phone with trendy software still pales in comparison to a pro camera-plus-Photoshop ensemble. However, though the battle remains won (for now at least), several quandaries emerged from the ensuing rubble. What sort of artistic status can we ascribe to “Instagrammed” photos? Is iPhoneography, with its emphasis on balmy, lo-fi images, the new anti-art?

Since the introduction of true digital cameras in the ‘90’s, there has been a paradigm shift in the accessibility of professional-grade photo equipment. Digital SLR’s (the industry standard) have become widely accessible to enthusiasts, hobbyists, and even people with extra cash to burn. We live in a world of advanced photo manipulation, social networking, and easily accessible information. It is unsurprising that even the lowliest amateur, with basic equipment and skill set, can shoot like a pro, and even less surprising that companies would want to deliver the photographic dream to the masses in easier ways. Instagram is not revolutionary by virtue of its popularity; rather it is a product that was poised for success from current prevailing trends. iPhoneography, as it stands, is no less an artistic movement in the visual arts than digital photography itself, or the more kitschy toy camera movement. In case of the latter, photographers tend to ascribe a higher aesthetic value to shooting film because it requires, in essence, a supposedly elevated level of skill. It takes time, patience, and money to buy rolls of film, gauge exposure settings, and develop prints. It’s a job that only “true” photographers would even consider taking. iPhoneography removes all that.

However, although apps like Instagram have introduced a wider audience to the art of beautiful pictures, they have also introduced a shoddy form of photography; one that is exploding in magenta tones. That is not to say that we would be better off without it. Art, in its very essence, is for everyone; and any progress, which pushes the threshold of artistic expression, should be exploited to its fullest potential. The ship of photographic democracy sails at full speed, but let us not forget that experienced photographers – those who have developed the elusive eye for beauty – are ultimately the ones at the helm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who Runs The World?

                             How the Global South beat the North to the development of Female leaders
Earlier this month, Joyce Banda became the president of Malawi after the passing of President Bingu Wa Mutharika. In doing so, she became only the second female president on the continent after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (a few other countries have had female prime ministers and interim leaders as well.) More interestingly, however, is that she joins the growing list of female leaders coming out of the global South or Less Economically Developed Countries-LEDCs), which is at somewhat striking odds with their more developed Northern counterparts.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Black Peace Corps Volunteer

By Shervin Stoney

Peace Corps Eastern Caribbean (Dominca) Group 84

Serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Dominica has caused me to be more aware of my race than I have ever been in my entire life.  While I was born and raised in the Caribbean, I am very different from people here in Dominica.  I am an anomaly.  I am a black Peace Corps volunteer

Tuesday, April 10, 2012