"News is the first rough draft of history."

The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

Fairleigh students are ‘good cookies’

Senior Editor

FDU’s Cure for Kids held their second bake sale of the semester on April 16 in front of the Kings in Morristown to raise money for the organization Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a non-profit organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research.

The group had a variety of delicious homemade treats for sale, including vanilla cupcakes with cloud-like frosting and rainbow jimmies, brownies stuffed with Oreos and cookies of just about every kind.

Also for sale were lime green bracelets that read, “I’m a good cookie. FDU’s Cure for Kids,” as well as matching shirts.

Senior Joseph Negri intrigued shoppers of all ages to their stand by dressing up like Cookie Monster, while seniors Jeannine Driscoll, John Porter and Marco Patella sold the baked goods.

As part of their service management class, the students’ class project was to organize events to benefit the charity of their choice.

After students wrote several organizations on the chalkboard, Driscoll and Negri recommended Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Driscoll and Negri had worked with the organization previously and had been profoundly affected by a little girl they encountered, who was diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s somebody you know, it’s somebody that’s been affected,” said Driscoll.

The organization Cookies for Kids’ Cancer underwent a major transformation in the last few months. Negri said, “The kid that created it just passed.”

On Jan. 24, the 6-year-old face behind the organization, Liam Witt, died, after a four-year battle with cancer, according to the official Cookies for Kids’ Cancer blog.

Wendy Martin, supporter of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer said on the website, “Behind every Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale, there are stories.”

After being inspired by the children and the mission of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, Driscoll and Negri got their service management class on board. The class has raised $2,000 since the project FDU’s Cure for Kids began in late January.

They have held many small events, which include raffles, three-on-three basketball tournaments, a Chili’s night, as well as a previous bake sale.

All of this is leading up to their big finale on April 30 at the Morristown Green, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The students are promoting the event with the phrase, “Be a good cookie and help us raise some dough!” Previously, classes raised up to $3,000, but this year’s class is hoping to surpass that number, with a $5,000 goal.

The students believe this will be their biggest money-making event.

“A lot of people seem more than willing to help out the cause,” said senior Nigel John-Baptiste.

Their final event will attract not only the FDU community, but also the Morris County community as a whole with games and activities, like tie-dying, as well as another bake sale and items for sale such as t-shirts and bracelets.

Some things to look out for are the scavenger hunt at 6:30 p.m., followed by a magician at 7 p.m. They will close the night with a viewing of “Toy Story 3.”

According to its website Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a non-profit organization committed to raising money to support pediatric cancer research for new therapies.

Vanity Fair editor discusses ‘The Feminine Mistake’

Senior Editor

On March 24, Vanity Fair contributing editor and former New York Times reporter Leslie Bennetts spoke in The College at Florham’s Orangerie.

The presentation centered around Bennetts’ controversial book, “The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?”

Bennetts was invited to FDU by Professor Jennifer Lehr, chair of the communication studies department. Lehr is a fan of Bennetts’ work.

Lehr said she “couldn’t agree more,” with the message in Bennetts’ book, calling it something important, especially for young women.

The idea for “The Feminine Mistake” arose from Bennetts’ frustrations  with the mainstream media coverage of women opting out of careers.

Being a woman of power in her field, she questioned a woman’s ability to live the “June Cleaver” life, leaving the workforce to have children, with plans to re-enter once the kids have flown the nest.

However, Bennetts argued that this is not how a woman can get the best of both worlds.

“The slogan over the last 20 to 30 years has been that women can have it all. But women can’t have it all if they don’t make the right choices,” said Bennetts.

“The Feminine Mistake” sends the message that women have the tools and resources to further their education and careers, but often opt out of those tools to become dependent on their spouses.

“Working women are happier and healthier than homemakers,” said Bennetts. “Women drop out of work with the best intentions.”

Bennetts argued that homemakers are more susceptible to poverty. In today’s current economy, a single income may jepoardize the structure of the home.

Men, who face layoffs, put their wives in the position to go back to work, or live in poverty.
“The chickens were coming home to roost in horrible, horrible ways,” Bennetts said.

She noted that women today are facing challenges that the women before them never faced. The male has, historically, been viewed as the breadwinner for the family.

However, women are outliving their husbands, and according to Bennetts, women can expect to outlive their mothers by nearly 13 years.

Bennetts posed the question, what does the wife do if her husband divorces her, falls terminally ill, or dies?

“The Feminine Mistake” discusses what the steps are to ensure that women do not become victims to what Bennetts called “the fault of our culture,” that fault being women’s dependence on men.

Ever since childhood, boys have been given different materials to grow and learn from than girls, Bennetts said. She noted that little girls are given the Disney princess movies, where the strong and devastatingly handsome prince saves a princess’ life and vows to provide and care for her. Thus, girls have been taught to find men who can support them.
Little boys, however, grow up knowing that they will always have to work.

“Girls were raised to find boys, while for boys, their point of existence is not to find a woman. It is to find adventure, experience, and a career,” said Bennetts.

“All these factors persuaded women that it’s a good thing to embrace traditional female roles.”

“The Feminine Mistake,” however, did not come without criticism.

The day Bennetts’ book was released, she appeared on “The Today Show.”

Bennetts said that the anger of “The Today Show” viewers caused the website to crash. Interestingly, though, these viewers hadn’t read the book.

“The people who needed it most didn’t look at it,” Bennetts said.

Viewers criticized everything from Bennetts’ family to her appearance. They even criticized her dog. One viewer commented, “She’s obviously bitter and divorced.”

However, Bennetts currently lives with her husband, a journalist. They have two children.

In a 2007 commentary published in The New York Sun, writer David Blum brought up the point that the people in Bennetts’ life do not reflect the majority of women in America.

Blum wrote that “most women in America aren’t nearly as affluent as Ms. Bennetts or the women she writes about, and don’t have a choice about whether to work or stay at home.”

Regardless of the monetary standing of herself and her friends, or the controversy regarding her book, Bennetts did make clear the difference between a job and a career, and how that separates a woman in the workforce from a woman in her home.

According to Bennetts, the distinction between a job and career is the length of time that can be spent at each.

Motherhood is a job; it is something that comes to an end in less than two decades, she said.

However, a career is something that can be built on for decades.

“A career gives life purpose and gives you something meaningful after the children are grown,” Bennetts said.

“Motherhood is a temp job,” Bennetts said. “You’re done in 15 years. It’s not a full-time job unless you’re going to have 25 children.”

Bennetts is a writer and career woman who is familiar with being loved, feared and hated.

But to all her listeners, regardless of their opinion of her, she offers the same advice.

“Follow your bliss,” she said. “Because you’re going to have to do that, or something else, for a really long time.”

FDU students raise money to fight pediatric cancer

Senior Editor

On Feb. 23, FDU students hosted a Chili’s fundraiser night to benefit the non-profit organization, Cookies for Cancer.

But that was not the first, or last, time these students – all of whom are in a service learning management class taught by Silberman College Dean William Moore – gathered the FDU community together for a cause.

As part of a semester-long project, which the students have named “FDU’s Cure for Kids,” the members of Moore’s class will be holding a variety of events to raise money for Cookies for Cancer.

FDU senior Jessica Lewis said, “We had a couple of different charities we were going to work with, but we voted and chose pediatric cancer because it would be one that definitely could benefit from us.”

Some of the other organizations suggested by the class included the Susan G. Komen Foundation, known for its annual three-day breast cancer walks, and the Eleventh Hour Rescue, which helps provide “loving foster homes for dogs pulled from death row in high-kill shelters,” according to the rescue’s website.

Service learning management student Nigel John-Baptiste said the process to choose a charity was surprisingly simple, considering the roughly 30-student class.

“It was a heads down, thumbs up kind of silent vote,” said John-Baptiste.

The first events FDU’s Cure for Kids held were 50/50 raffles during two recent FDU sporting events, which were big successes, according to Lewis.

The winners of the raffles got half of the earnings.

One raffle winner, a supporter of the opposing team, donated $50 back to the charity, which earned a total of $130.

During the Chili’s fundraiser at the Chili’s on Route 10, customers who presented a FDU Cure for Kids coupon had 10 percent of their bill donated to Cookies for Cancer.

John-Baptiste, a waiter at the restaurant for nearly two years, organized the event with manager Phillip Henry.

In the end, Chili’s earned $1,100, translating to $110 for FDU’s Cure for Kids.

Students involved in FDU’s Cure for Kids hope to get the attention of not only their classmates, but also of people doing their everyday shopping.

To that end, on March 6, the students held the first of two, potentially three, bake sales, in front of Kings Supermarket in Florham Park.

The second bake sale will be held on April 16.

FDU’s Cure for Kids’ final event, Night on the Green, will be held on April 30 in Morristown.

The event will include carnival celebrations with games, tie-dying and face paint. At the end of the night, it will feature a free movie.

The organizers hope local residents, along with students, will attend the event.

“A lot of people seem more than willing to help out the cause,” said John-Baptiste.

Previous service learning management classes have raised up to $3,000 for their non-profit charity of choice, according to John-Baptiste.

He hopes that FDU’s Cure for Kids can surpass that and raise up to $5,000.

Cookies for Cancer is a non-profit organization committed to raising money to support pediatric cancer research for new therapies.

“Cookies for Cancer provides the inspiration and support for individuals, communities, and business to help fight pediatric cancer,” according to the organization’s website.

Cruse brings comics to classrooms

Senior Editor

Superman, Batman, The Green Hornet and other good guy/bad guy story lines have flooded comic books for decades.

But these are not the stories that comic book writer Howard Cruse likes to tell. He prefers the impactful experiences of homosexuality and civil rights throughout the decades.

Last week, Cruse spent time with FDU students in the classroom, educating them on the technical aspects of comic drawing, as well as the social issues comics can address, as in his graphic novel “Stuck Rubber Baby,” which celebrated its 15-year anniversary last June with a new cover and introduction.

Cruse also made an appearance on March 2 at Dewey’s Comic City on Madison’s Main Street.

“One of the reasons why my book creeps into academia is because it relates to a number of different issues,” said Cruse.

Growing up in Birmingham, Ala., during the 1960s, Cruse was engulfed in the notions of the civil rights and feminist movements, as well as his love of anything comic. He started out reading “Little Lulu” and Donald Duck comics before noticing an adult form taking shape below him. The underground comic movement of the 1960’s was “a reaction against the blandness of regular comics,” said Cruse.

The underground comic movement broke every taboo around, according to Cruse. It confronted issues of sex, drugs, rock and roll, politics and religion.

“It was a huge creative explosion with plenty of stuff to offend their parents,” said Cruse.
He added, “They [underground comic writers] realized that they could do comics and didn’t have to stick to the rules, family friendly rules and censorship of mainstream comics.”

During this time, it was mandatory that mainstream comics contain a Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval, which regulated the content seen by the public.

The underground movement recognized that if they made adult works with “Adults Only” stickers on the cover, this seal needn’t be present. This protected the underground comic book industry from government censorship.

As a gay man growing up in the south, Cruse drew inspiration from the underground comic movement for what it lacked, homosexual content.

Cruse said, “Interest in sexual liberation sort of stopped at the heterosexual line.” It wasn’t until the female cartoonists joined the club with their liberal notions of sex that homosexuality was addressed in comic form.

Lesbian comic book writers Mary Wings, who published “Come out Comics” in 1973, and Roberta Gregory, who published “Dynamite Damsels” in 1976, paved the way for writers like Cruse.

In 1979, Cruse began his work as editor of Gay Comixs, a place for gay and lesbian content in the comic book world.

“I wanted the openness, non-expletive human-based stories about the gay experience as opposed to campy, stereotypes or highly sexualized stories,” said Cruse. Wings and Gregory contributed to Gay Comixs.

A big story for the gay community during Gay Comixs’ 1980 release was the AIDS epidemic.

Cruse created “Safe Sex” as a response to AIDS.

“My ‘Safe Sex’ piece was reflective of the general confusion and anger and fear and all of those things that were rife in the community at that time,” he said.

This piece was drawn in 1983, and published in 1984. Because of the sensitive nature in handling the topic, his piece got the support of all those who read it.

Cruse was even approached to have his “Safe Sex” piece translated into a theater piece, though this never ended up happening.

Cruse said, “Another regular writer for The Advocate of health issues said he felt it said more about the experiences we were having with AIDS than many of the journalistic essays that were being written.”

Owner of Dewey’s Comic City, Daniel Veltre, believes Cruse’s work opened up doors for comic writers that would have been otherside locked. By adressing homosexuality in his second issue of Gay Comixs in 1976 and in his graphic novel, “Stuck Rubber Baby,” he was able to broaden the content of comics.

“It was controversial in the beginning because there were not many gays creating gay content,” said Veltre.

He said one of the successes that Cruse’s works carry is how he uses gay content, without making homosexuality a “big deal” and focusing more on the experiences, turning what could have been portrayed as a gay character into a character that just happens to be gay.

“He [Howard Cruse] is such a pioneer in comic book history,” said Veltre.

With Cruse’s groundbreaking career as a comic book writer whose content addressed social issues that are just as much a part of life in 2011 as in 1960, it was only natural for Cruse to grab the attention of FDU visual arts professor, George Cochrane.

Cochrane is known on campus for his 24-part graphic novel, which is still a work in progress.

Cochrane and Cruse met over the summer at Cochrane’s graphic novel exhibit at MASS MoCA in Massachusetts.

As Cochrane became acquainted with Cruse’s work, specifically, “Stuck Rubber Baby,” he knew that he wanted to bring Cruse to FDU to show students someone who has been and is still a vital part of the comic book community.

“Since I started working on my own graphic novel, it became clear that there was an audience of students here for the subject and a real interest and curiosity and hunger to study it in the classroom that I wanted to bring to campus what wasn’t already here.”

This is where Cruse came in. He brought the knowledge of  pressing social issues as someone who lived through a time of inequality, the experience of a successful comic book writer with his own techniques and voice, and the ability to connect his work with content in several academic areas.

“To have the content of the work connect to other classes was always the fantasy,” said Cochrane, who involves his students in his own graphic novel by using it as a teaching tool.

Currently, the visual arts department has created more classes like character modeling and art of the graphic novel to appeal to students interested in comics.

Cruse was not only brought into the art classes. He also participated in Professor Gary Darden’s Contemporary America: 1954-Present class, in which students read “Stuck Rubber Baby” and related these events to events in America during the civil rights movement.

“Stuck Rubber Baby” contains issues that go far beyond homosexuality and tiptoes into the ideas of racism and feminism.

“It brings up important social issues and there seems like nothing more current than homophobia and racism,” Cochrane said. “I mean when do those issues ever become something we can say we’ve gotten past?”

Cruse and his work served as a primary source, according to Cochrane. People have often turned to memoir for first-hand accounts of events.

“Howard Cruse was alive and living in the areas that this book references, although obliquely,” said Cochrane. He added, “Why can’t a graphic novel be read and seem to carry as much fictive truth as ‘War and Peace’ is for the Napoleonic War?”

Along with exposing students to the content of Cruse’s work, Cochrane wanted to show students another way of making a graphic novel. Though he said his method works well for him and other students, there are techniques that only Cruse can expose the students to, like Zipatone.

Zipatone is a technique used in old comics, which created a grey tone image using small dots, changing the lightness and darkness with the white space left in between the dots.
While Cochrane continues to do his graphic novel by hand using ink washes, Cruse has come around and joined the technological age, showing students the advances in making a comic.

“This is a great example to students, again, the notion of diversity of the individual voice the medium provides,” said Cochrane.

Students now engaged in the graphic novel movement await the next graphic novelist to expand what they think they already know about graphic novels.

Cochrane said, “While not in its infancy, it [graphic novels] is young enough that the rules are being written by the people who are making them today and I just wanted the students to feel like they could be making them today.”

Students display art for Black History Month

Assistant Editor

A student art show was held in the Orangerie on Tuesday in celebration of Black History Month.

“The theme of FDU’s Black History Month celebration is diversity,” said Professor of Visual and Performing Arts Janet O’Neil, who organized the event.

Different from the Senior Art Show, held annually for art majors and minors at the end of spring semester, the Black History Month art show exhibited the works of three of O’Neil’s classes: web design, vector art and graphic design. It also reflected on the question: what does diversity mean?

Students were given two quotes to draw inspiration from. The first was from John F. Kennedy’s address at American University in Washington, D.C., on June 10, 1963: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

The second quote was, “It’s not enough to believe in diversity. We have to live it,” by USDA Forest Service Staff Officer Earl Ford.

The students brought diversity to life with an array of artwork, which included paintings and digital art using Adobe Illustrator CS5.

Though many of O’Neil’s students are familiar with Adobe Illustrator, others “were able to create amazing visual pieces with limited experience,” said O’Neil.

Text, especially the words of Kennedy and Ford, played a huge role in the student art pieces, which were all left anonymous.

Works were embellished with words like “rights,” “justice” and “education,” signifying equality for all.

Lyrics from John Lennon’s popular song “Imagine” also found its place in the student art show with the words proclaiming, “and the world will live as one.”

Lightheartedness was also seen in some of the works, including an image of a sheep with the phrase, “No people are livestock.” Though the sheep was adorable, this image also surfaced as an important message of human rights.

The art contained images of African-American individuals who changed American society, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Images of 70s guitar idol Jimmy Hendrix and rap legend Tupac Shakur were also included.

Though this year’s Black History Month art show received a better turnout, according to O’Neil, “The pieces in this show were just as visually engaging as those from the previous year.”

This year’s show received help from FDU faculty members Monifa Brinson-Mulraine, Katie Singer and Stacie Lents. They brought their classes to the show as a chance to educate their students about Black History Month, though the show was open to all students.

Lents also had a role in arranging for a dramatic scene for her play, “Black History, Black Voices 2: College Colors,” which was performed over the weekend in the Barn Theater.
O’Neil added that she will be organizing a website of the artwork and the artwork will be up for sale by the individual artist.

FDU alum reads at Open Mic

Senior Editor

On Feb. 14, students gathered in the Bottle Hill Room for an Open Mic event that celebrated Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and the works of FDU alum H. Lloyd Weston.

The event, organized by Katie Singer, featured a poetry reading from Weston. He read from his new book, “Many Silences of Love: Contemporary Love Poems.”

Before Weston began the reading with his poem, “Be My Valentine,” he said, “Love comes in so many forms and guises.”

Weston also read a selection of short love poems including, “Hi-Tech Love,” a poem about modern-day romances, “Because I Love You,” and “To Be in Love.”

According to the Editorial Review on Amazon.com, “Many Silences of Love: Contemporary Love Poems” is “a compelling new collection of poetry that brilliantly captures the subtleties and heartbreaks of love in our digital age.”

Weston’s book combines old-fashioned literary passion with modern-day humor to create a bubbly book, perfect for his Valentine’s Day reading at FDU.

Weston’s readings of his poetry reflect the passion in his book.

“As you can tell, he really enjoys what he is doing. It’s really inspiring,” said Singer. “It’s so clear Mr. Weston has a story he wants to tell us.”

Weston graduated from FDU in 1974 and began experimenting with  the written word and contemporary expressionist art.

Before his success a writer, Weston was an established painter.

His paintings of New York and his native Jamaican landscapes have been displayed in galleries all over the world, from New York to London and from Tokyo to the walls of FDU.
Weston’s work even landed him the opportunity of a lifetime in 1989, when he presented one of his paintings to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at Grosvenor House in London, according to Weston’s website.

Following the Open Mic event, Weston was available for a quick book signing.
Working within the theme of Black History Month, as well as Valentine’s Day, FDU students were given the opportunity to read their own works of poetry, or the work of other artists, to celebrate African-American history.

Students read the poetry of famous African-American poets such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou, in addition to others.

African-American music was also a large part of the day, with one student sharing the song, “Black Butterfly,” by Deniece Williams, and another student’s reading of Notorious B.I.G. lyrics.

There were also passionate readings of student poetry that touched themes of love, the taming of a girl’s hair and heart, and what it is like to grow up African-American.

The White Stripes duo calls it quits

Senior Editor

Musical powerhouse duo Jack and Meg White of the Detroit, Mich., underground alternative music scene called it quits on Feb. 2 after an incredible 13-year career as The White Stripes.

The news ended an era that can only be described as one of “De Stijl” (translated to the name of their second album, “The Style”).

Known for their chalky white skin, jet black hair and red accents, The White Stripes birthed six beautiful records between 1998 and 2007.

These albums included songs such as “Fell in Love with a Girl,” “Seven Nation Army” and “Blue Orchid.”

The news hit the web via The White Stripes’ website through a letter written by the pair to their fans. They wrote that they “hope this decision isn’t met with great sorrow.”

Also in their letter, they said, “The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues.”

While Meg focused only on The White Stripes, Jack explored options outside of the duo.
In 2004, Jack White contributed to the soundtrack for the movie “Cold Mountain,” winning a Grammy for his work. He also formed the alternative band The Raconteurs in 2005, who are also from Detroit. Though Jack expanded his music capabilities outside The White Stripes, he and Meg continued to make music during this time, releasing “Get Behind me Satan” in 2005 and “Icky Thump” in 2007.

The White Stripes first gained acclaim at the 2001 South by Southwest Music Festival in Texas.

It wasn’t just their peculiar appearances, Meg’s cymbal explosion, or Jack’s hypnotic guitar riffs that caught the attention of the music world.

Rather, it was the attitude of their song “Fell in Love with a Girl,” which jolted them onto the Billboard charts and into the public eye.

As their success spread like chicken pox, rumors began to surface of Jack and Meg’s relationship; rumors stretched from brother and sister, to married couple, to a brother who married his sister. But the brother-sister myth was put to rest in 2001, when their 1996 marriage was uncovered, along with their 2000 divorce.

The duo won a surplus of awards during their career, which they describe as “intense and incredible.”

Among their awards included three from the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for their contagious song, “Fell in Love With a Girl.”

Their album “Elephant” earned four Grammy nominations in 2003 and won Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Song. Their albums “Get Behind Me Satan” and “Icky Thump” also won Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album in their respective years.

Over their 13-year career, Jack and Meg White collected a total of 14 awards from 50 nominations for The White Stripes.

With a music era at its end, Jack and Meg left on their website last wishes for their fans: “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

Jack continues to make music with his band The Raconteurs, but the future music plans for Meg are not known.

What is known is that the legacy of the White Stripes will certainly inspire current and future musicians in all genres for decades to come.

MTV program shows too much ‘skin’

Senior Editor

The MTV show “Skins,” based on the U.K. program by the same name, follows the fictional secret lives of high school kids. According to the show’s MTV website, “ ‘Skins’ is an emotional mosh-pit that slams through the insanity of teenage years.” Though teenage years are generally nothing more than an awkward encounter with peer pressure and social defiance, the image this new MTV series advertises is not one of the average American teenage life, but a lifestyle revolving around sex, drugs, and alcohol.

In the most recent episode, aired Jan. 31, viewers follow Chris (Jesse Carere), a male enhancement pill-popper whose mother abandoned him. Chris deals with the abandonment by popping more pills, throwing a party and flirting with his high school psychology teacher, Tina.

Those feelings of loss are where the realistic portion of the show ends. Later in the episode, Chris gets locked out of his house, naked, by a homeless man and decides the most logical thing to do next would, of course, be to break into Tina’s car and ask if he can stay with her. Because it’s the world of  “Skins,” Tina accepts.

But it’s not the male enhancement pills, or Chris’s storyline, that has viewers up in arms, but rather the vulgar language, unnecessary nudity and glamorization of substance abuse and sex, which can be persuasive to the show’s 1.2 million viewers under the age of 18, said Examiner.com.

“Skins” also fits the definition of child pornography, which is “the visual depiction of minor children under the age of 18 engaging in sexual acts, such as sexual intercourse, masturbation, or oral sex.” The show’s youngest actress, Eleanor Zichy, is only 16 years old, and four other actors are 17. With themes like sex and masturbation of minors, “Skins” could be considered the first airing of child pornography on cable television.
Characters Stanley, played by Daniel Flaherty, and Cadie, played by Britne Oldford, are both underage on and off the set. In “Skins,” they pretend to have sex with each other to fit in with their group of friends.

According to the Huffington Post, “The show is littered with sexually suggestive poses and half-exposed breasts.”

One scene from episode three shows Michelle, played by Rachel Thevenard, asking quiet and shy Stanley what he thinks of her “tits,” utilizing word choice not preferred by the parents of the show’s young audience.

Underage drinking is also a major player is the show’s controversy. When Chris realizes his mother is gone, he spends all the small amount of money she left for him on a lavish party.

Since this takes place during high school, all characters are under the age of 21. Off the set only one actor, Ron Mustafaa, who plays Abbud, is over the legal drinking age. At this party, all the characters are holding onto some alcoholic beverage. Cadie walks into the party with a bottle of vodka, countless others with cans of beer.

Though the episode airs on Mondays at 10 p.m., it can be viewed 24/7 on MTV’s website, where viewers can also watch streaming video diaries of the main characters, and unseen footage.

The partial difference between watching “Skins” online versus on television is that the website requires a date of birth verification that the viewer is over the age of 18.

Graphic novel movement comes to FDU

Assistant Editor

“We’re catching up to a worldwide understanding that people enjoy being told stories through words and pictures,” said George Cochrane, a graphic novelist and professor of visual arts at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
It started when former student Doug Atkins, an advanced senior art major, came to Cochrane with an idea to do an independent study on comic books. In the process, he was not only inspired to create his own graphic novels, but also started a graphic novel movement on campus, which had the following of both students and faculty.
In Fall 2008, the Graphic Novel Society formed, with the goal of creating original student work from both writing and art students. In its first year, it generated about 50 pages of student work, however, it never was assembled into a printable format.
The Graphic Novel Society is unknown to some students. Last year, Cochrane spent much of his time in the classroom or working, displaying and publishing his developing 24 graphic novel series. This caused the club to lose its “robust cohesion,” he said. “But this year we’re bringing it back.”
He has plans to work with the group Scribblers, which credits students’ original work.
Scribblers member Valerie Salmon said, “Scribblers has been in contact with Cochrane, and the idea has been floating around that if Scribblers Magazine becomes big enough, we may publish some of GNS’s work, but no comics/ graphic novels have been submitted thus far.”
Salmon was also involved in the Graphic Novel Society during its first appearance on campus. She explained that “writers and illustrators paired off and began working on stories.”
In addition, she recalled one student documenting the society’s progress on an online site. The group was also heavily involved in learning about the graphic novel itself.
The graphic novel is a medium that is expansive in terms of subject matter. Cochrane said the “cultural phenomena that the graphic novel has, if you look across society, has enjoyed a greater level of recognition and respect from people who previously may not have thought it worth their time.”
Cochrane credits The New York Times with doing weekly book reviews on graphic novels. “If The New York Times is paying attention to it [graphic novels] then the rest of America is paying attention to it,” he said.
The graphic novel goes beyond the cinematic superhero dramas and touches on some of the most sensitive subjects like the Holocaust in Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” and homosexuality in “Stuck Rubber Baby” by Howard Cruse, a graphic novelist whom Cochrane plans on inviting to campus in the spring.
“Today’s reality is the graphic novel is treating every subject that you can imagine,” he said.
“If you want to learn about the beat writers like Jack Kerouac, there’s a graphic novel about them. If you want to read about what’s going on right now in Palestine and in Israel and places like that you can go read a graphic novel by someone who’s there and writing it.”
He attributes the graphic novel’s worldwide success to the notion that people like to be told stories, but they like to be told stories through words and pictures even more.
Cochrane’s current project is a semi-autobiographical, 24 series graphic novel, which is a combination of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” Homer’s “Odyssey” and the unreleased (until several days ago) song “Long Time Gone” by Bob Dylan, after which he named his fourth graphic novel.
Though it seems like a lot of intermixing inspiration, Cochrane put it very simply: “My goal is to inhabit a story that is already there before me.” He continued, “The story is, very simply, I get up in the morning very early, I leave my home, I go to my studio, I work, I spend the day working. Perhaps I’ll come out and teach if I’m teaching that day and then I’ll go home, which is the story of Odysseus. He goes out, he has adventures, he comes back. It’s the classic story.”
When the series is complete, there will be 24 books. Each book takes place in one hour of time, so, altogether, the series will take place during one day. He estimated a decade to complete the final piece.
His graphic novel series has been such a success that Dewey’s Comics along Madison’s main street sells his novels.
However, some of his success is attributed to his daughter Fiamma, 8, co-writer and illustrator, and the youngest person to be displayed at the MASS MoCA, where his series was displayed for the museum’s 10th anniversary gala.
Cochrane described the moment when the director of MASS MoCA got on stage to introduce his daughter. There was a big party and it was great honor to be displayed there. The director thanked the artists and then “stopped everybody, made them listen to him and he introduced my daughter as perhaps the youngest ever exhibiting artist at MASS MoCA. It was priceless,” he said.
His daughter contributes her original stories and illustrations, which are as personal as when her dwarf hamster bit her, a segment seen in “Long Time Gone.”
He said her experience of displaying her work in an adult world is different than other children her age, seeing as she began working with him at five-and-a-half years old.
A few days after the exhibition, Cochrane said, his daughter asked him “what it would be like going to school when you’re famous.” He said he assured her that she wasn’t, though surely there aren’t many 8-year-olds who have their work bought at comic book stores.
With all Cochrane’s success, he remains modest and passionate about his work, which has affected students both in and out of the classroom.
He was already invited to teach the writing process to Professor David Daniel’s creative writing classes and will be guest teaching two of Professor Nandita Ghosh’s contemporary world literature classes.
Also in the classroom, Cochrane displayed the early stages of his work to students.
Former student Eric Schroeter described Cochrane as unbelievably passionate and said of his work, “every frame a Rembrandt.”
“Any part of art he will step into it and be completely open to it,” Schroeter said.
Teaching students the process is what drives Cochrane to do what he does.
As for his piece, he can reveal one thing for sure: “I already know how it ends. I come home.”

Park Avenue’s terrible toilets

Assistant Editor

The sound of water trickling is all too familiar to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Park Avenue residents. The Park Avenue apartments are notorious for their problematic toilets.

“They constantly overflow, flush randomly or for hours or days, and get clogged easily,” said Lauren Kelly, a senior communication studies major and former Park Avenue resident.

Kelly recalls several failed attempts to fix the problem.

“I called Facilities at least five times last year about our toilet and it never did get fixed,” she said.
Following Kelly’s move into Park Avenue in Fall 2009, the toilet was always a problem. The first issue she remembered encountering was a toilet that would not only flush on its own, but flush for hours – “sometimes all through the night,” she said.

Park Avenue Resident Assistant Ashley Eevardi has come up with a potential solution.

Eevardi is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, an organization whose mission statement describes it as “a partner ship with God…with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities…”

The group is planning on hosting a do-it-yourself program that Eevardi hopes to bring to campus.
Eevardi said, “The program shows easy home repairs you can do yourself.”

Lucky for Park Avenue residents, one of them is how to fix a toilet.

The program, hosted by the Morris Habitat for Humanity, started Oct. 7 and will run through Nov. 18 in Mine Hill.

The series will take place over the course of six weeks. Each workshop costs $10 or $50 for all six, according to the Morris Habitat for Humanity’s website.

If this program is approved to be an RA event, which is what Eevardi hopes, students will have the opportunity to learn about fixing their own toilets, as well as other household items that could help them in the future.

“This will give you the tools to fix the toilets yourself so you don’t have to call Facilities,” said Eevardi.
Over the summer, areas of the University were updated and modified.

Whether or not the toilets are something to be considered for future updates is uncertain. However, students have experienced enough issues and have expressed a need for more efficient toilets on campus.

“Preferably one that makes less noise,” said Kelly.