Author Archive - Lucas

About Lucas:

I'm Lucas, a senior public policy major, though I spend most of my time playing various musical instruments. I hope to blog a bit about the music situation on campus before graduating, but I might wade into policy discussions too.

The Stanford Arts Review – A New Publication Discussing the Arts on Campus

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Stanford has musicians. Stanford has artists. Stanford has fashion designers. Stanford has writers. We create. But Stanford has not had (many) people who review these creations. Until now.

I recently got an email promoting a new institution devoted to the arts on campus, the Stanford Arts Review. It is an online publication currently staffed entirely by undergraduates and it looks like it is aiming to be the hub for conversation about the arts.

This arts review site is very new with archives only going back to April. It covers all kinds of arts activities: dance, fashion, film, literature, music, theater, and visual arts adorn its navigation bar. And the posts/pieces/stories/whatever-you-want-to-call-thems do not just cover on-campus student work and visiting performers, they also discuss creative culture outside the bubble, from exhibits in San Francisco to movies.

But why should we care about a site that talks about the arts? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to simply go to the concerts, the exhibits, or read the stories?

Well, I doubt anyone is an expert in film, fashion, music, visual art, literature, dance, and theater all at the same time. Nor does anyone have time to to see and experience all the arts on campus. This kind of publication can give you more background in areas of the arts you might not pay attention to, and it can show you what is going on in those areas you do care about. And for those students who aim to pursue an artistic career, getting feedback from other students is important.

Plus, it is awesome that they seem to be able to pull a discussion of all the different types of arts into one place. It highlights the breadth and depth of artistic culture we have on campus.

Anyways, go type into your navigation bar and poke around the website. Put it in your bookmarks bar and visit it regularly to keep up with artistic goings-on. You are going to procrastinate anyways, why not make it cultured procrastination that links you more deeply into your local arts community?

Two Fundamental Questions the ROTC Debate Should Have Emphasized More

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

The discussion about ROTC’s discriminatory practices, as I have seen it, often got lost in details and positioning when I think it should have centered around two fundamental questions. One question is: what amount of “bad” should people put up with when supporting an institution? The other is: what tactics should be used to change the “bad”?*

One objection to allowing ROTC on campus was that it would mean Stanford supports an institution that does some things that we do not like. When ROTC was originally kicked off, it was because people strongly objected to what the US military was doing and did not want to support an institution that was part of the military. The present debate is about whether or not we should support LGBT discrimination in the military, be it written in law or conducted through policy or personal biases.

Except, “support” is complicated because institutions are complicated. ROTC does all sorts of things to train and teach. Are all of them bad? Of course not. By letting ROTC on campus, does that mean we support the bad parts? By keeping ROTC off campus, does that mean we are against the good parts?


Popping the Bubbles within the Bubble

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

As another year of ASSU elections came and went, again I saw people campaigning with promises to reduce discrimination, build more social understanding between people, and promote positive forms of diversity.

These campaign platforms exist because we have not yet found good ways to engage everyone on community problems. It’s easy for people to stay in their own busy worlds and avoid unfamiliar perspectives. Sometimes, the people who avoid other viewpoints are precisely the ones that need to encounter them the most.

“But,” you say, “it’s ridiculous to expect everyone to engage.” Nonsense. Let’s raise our expectations and create a new normal. We need to create a routine of using better methods of engagement that involve the whole community.