Tag Archives: Mubarak

Top 10 Least Advisable Halloween Costumes

26 Oct

Awww, costumes used to be so cute...

It’s almost that time of the year again! No, not off-year election day. Sadly, not the end of finals yet. And no, we’re not even talking about my birthday. But something even more exciting is happening this weekend: Halloween!

Halloween at Northwestern is a magical experience, when the female undergrad population is magically transformed from Harvard rejects into sexy cheerleaders, sexy members of the Greek pantheon, sexy animals — even sexy Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth — while the guys are left to dress up as “writers” and try to get sexy Hilary Clinton’s phone number. But considering Northwestern’s proud tradition of outlandishly offensive Halloween costumes, it seemed necessary to take a brief moment to warn the student body of ten potential costumes that might not fit with the spirit of the holiday.*

10. Tim Pawlenty’s Presidential Campaign
The reanimated dead have always held a special place in American culture. That’s why zombies and Barbara Walters are still so popular today. But as cool as a zombie costume can be for Halloween, Tim Pawlenty’s presidential aspirations just aren’t such a good idea to bring back to life in costume form. Besides, nobody would even know your name.

Sir Twattingworth and Ross Packingham on a typical Wednesday night

9. Sir Edward Twattingworth III
Unless you’re going to a party with a “heinous” theme, you should probably avoid dressing up as Sir Edward Twattingworth III. As much as we’d love to see our fans don Twattingworth’s characteristic Ed Hardy t-shirt, camouflage parachute pants, gold chains, and bowler hat, we don’t want anybody to get mistaken for an ETHS sophomore and thrown out of a frat basement. If you want to show your support for Sir Twattingworth, we suggest dressing up as his betrothed to be, Pippa Middleton.

8. Dan Persa’s Achilles Tendon
Too soon, asshole. That broken tendon was more heartbreaking to the NU student population than the closing of Pomegranate, and more disappointing than watching a Northwestern secondary in pass protection. Somebody’s going to sack you for a loss like Kain Colter facing the blitz.

The good thing about the Qaddafi regime: nobody was bold enough to make the mistake of offering Almond Joys for Halloween

7. Colonel Qaddafi
This should be a pretty easy costume to cobble together. All you really need is to grow out some poor facial hair (easy enough for most Northwestern students), borrow your grandpa’s old sunglasses, and commit numerous crimes against humanity (start by playing Nickelback at every party you attend). The only drawback: that hipster in the Mubarak costume insisting that he was into Arab regimes before it was cool.

6. Fucksaw
Hilarious as this might still be, nobody wants to party with a dude wearing a dildo on his head. Alternative costume idea: dress as Professor J. Michael Bailey. All this requires is making incendiary comments about the basis of homosexuality, violating numerous ethical standards about psychology research, and showing everybody you meet foot fetish videos.


5. Amy Winehouse
For somebody who already looked like a cross between a zombified Helena Bonham Carter and a New Orleans streetwalker while she was living, Ms. Winehouse might not be the best choice for this Halloween. Something about “insensitivity” might come up throughout the course of the night. Unless, of course, you use her death from alcohol poisoning as a public service announcement about the danger of imbibing, in which case your costume might be ill-advised for other reasons.

4. Chet Haze
This might seem brilliant at first, but upon further examination, dressing up as a talentless self-obsessed douche might not be a great idea. Especially as the odds of both you and Chet wearing the same black dago-t to a party are much higher on Halloween.

3. The 1%
This one just hits a little close to home. Seeing as many Northwestern students actually occupy the 1%, it can be kind of hard to protest inequality at an elite institution. Besides, it’s much easier and enjoyable to occupy The Keg than it is to stand outside of Kellogg in the Chicago fall to protest the future I-bankers of America.

2. Herman Cain
Side-stepping the whole potential “blackface” thing, this costume would probably involve a “9-9-9” Plan (i.e. doing 9 shots, getting 9 orders of chicken fries from BK, and urinating on nine university buildings), wearing a Godfather’s Pizza box instead of pants, and running for positions you are under-qualified for.

Partner costume: Casey Anthony before and after

1. Casey Anthony
Tempting, but don’t. Just don’t.

Continue reading

Tweeting About a Revolution

30 Jan

A central focus of media coverage for the ongoing Egyptian protests against the repressive government of Hosni Mubarak, as well as the recent reordering of the Tunisian government and unrest in Yemen, has been on the power of internet-based social media to unleash popular resentment against authoritarian regimes. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and numerous local blogs have been essential tools for organization and communication among protestors, as well as vital sources of information for observers. Mubarak implicitly recognized the influential clout of the Internet when he shut down Egypt’s Internet and temporarily cut off Egypt’s cell phone service.

It is difficult to grasp the social and political implications of social media that we take for granted so easily. As the New York Times put it, there is a rising notion that, “The same Web tools that so many Americans use to keep up with college pals and post passing thoughts have a more noble role as well, as a scourge of despotism.”

But it is also just as easy to give the Internet’s social networking tools far too much credit when it comes to facilitating political unrest.

As great a resource as the internet can be, websites like Facebook and Twitter rely on the actions of their users in order to be effective. The “Day of Anger” of January 25th might not have been organized without Facebook, but it was the 15,000 protesters in Tahrir Square that shook the country, representing a national revolt against a repressive regime that embodies Egyptian frustration with unemployment, police brutality, corruption, and lack of freedom. Protesters in the streets of Cairo burning down the walls of the National Democratic Party Headquarters, not users on Facebook looking at profile walls, are the agents of change. Twitter is merely a source of instantaneous reporting, albeit an exceptionally valuable one.

Think of how pissed you'd be if they got rid of hot cookie bar. Then multiply that by 2,000.

Social media can even be a dangerous receptacle of information that can be used against virtuous protestors. The same New York Times article mentions numerous oppressive regimes, like Russia, China, and Iran, who exploit the Internet for their own antidemocratic purposes by mining the web for pertinent information. We must keep in mind that the Internet, once thought of as the paragon of freedom and democracy, can just as easily be used for more sinister purposes.

Wait, you're telling us that Arcade Fire AND The National are coming in April!?

Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker article “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be retweeted” examined the role of social media in the political turmoil of Iran’s “Green Revolution” and the 2009 Moldovan protests. Compared to the American civil-rights protests of the 1960s, Gladwell concluded that the weak ties formed by social media networks are relatively ineffectual at promoting high-risk activism. Simply liking a Facebook page involves a lot less commitment than facing the physical and psychological brutality that the Civil Rights movement encountered, just as reading the tweets of Mohamed ElBaradei involves less action than protecting your neighborhood from looters, armed solely with a baseball bat. Social media has its necessary place in activism, but it certainly does not lead to the kind of high-risk activism and popular revolt that is threatening the 30-year reign of President Mubarak.

We can only speculate how exactly he convinced them

The difference between participation in activism, which social media encourages, and action, which requires motivation derived from human will, can be seen here in Evanston. When Evanston officials decided to begin enforcing the so-called “Brothel Law,” students rose up in protest. Although Twitter and Facebook were valuable forums for information and displays of discontent, the 500 students shouting at Howard, Burns, and Murphy seemed much more effective at convincing Morty Schapiro to rise up and strongarm the Evanston authorities into submission.

Northwestern’s Associated Student Government Facebook page has 1,216 “likes,” while the Living Wage Campaign has only 614. Despite this disparity, the Living Wage Campaign (regardless of how you might feel about their position) has been one of the most vocal and committed groups on campus, while the ASG has been unable to effect virtually any substantial change on campus. I have 87 Facebook friends who are among the 1,182,016 people who clicked on a link to join the cause to “Save Darfur.” Yet as far as I can tell, they have miserably failed at their cause, and have only raised 8.7 cents each.

It takes true motivation and commitment to change the world. Social Media, although an exceptionally helpful tool for communication and organization, does not effect change on its own. We must be wary of commentators who over-hype the role of social media in instituting change. The tools of the Internet are the tools of revolution, but it is the actions of the people, not the tools, that bring about change.