The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Brandeis is a school committed to many things, one of which is social justice. A good way to get thinking about social justice is through art and satire.

This evening and tomorrow afternoon the Brandeis Official Readers’ Guild will be presenting a rendition of Douglas Adams’s radio play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is at 9PM in the Schwartz Auditorium on Saturday and at 2 PM on Sunday. It is free to attend.

This play investigates the environmentally unsustainable practice of blowing up the planet earth with a laser, as well as the long term economic impact of constructing planets in a vast tract of hyperspace. Also it explores at alternate transport and energy ideas, like that of a spaceship that passes through every point in the universe at the same time.

Those paragraphs were a little bit tongue in cheek, and so is the play. However the play is still vastly interesting. It should be checked out just like other campus events such as Relay for Life, Culture X, and the Super Mario Bros. Musical. Now in the interest of journalistic integrity, I would like to say that I am in this play, and this fact contributed widely to my decision to write about it for innermost parts. Also in the interest of self promotion, you could probably sneak in after Culture X if you really want to.

Do you think innermost parts should be a snapshot of student life at Brandeis? Or should it be politically active and advocating things a lot? I think a bit of both, and I think this blog entry shows that people are involved in a lot of things. I love this play, I love my cast mates, I love Brandeis. I want the world to know we do cool things here.

Further Thoughts

Having further thought about, and discussed at great length, The MSA Incident and the subsequent fallout and reaction, I’d like to offer some clarifications and updates to my earlier post. Firstly, I’m really really proud to see the reaction this campus has had. Sahar’s open letter and the responses to the facebook events clearly indicate the good intentions and open-heartedness of Brandeisians, and I’m proud to call myself one. I’m on a bunch of email threads discussing the next step forward, and while I’m not sure what that should be, the responses by campus leaders and administration folks are awesome.

I’d like to clarify the point of my last post. My point on Wednesday was that while there was a (very high) probability of malicious intent bordering on what we’d call “hate,” we should keep ourselves from summary judgment until the facts present themselves clearly. I also wanted to keep the overall conversation calm and rational, since overreaction can lead to precisely the opposite of the kind of message we want to send. But since then, I’ve talked to people about it, both MSA members and non-, and I just want to update the readership on my thought process. Thanks to those conversations, the interview Imam Eid did with the Daily News Tribune, and some of the comments to that post, I realized that I understated how hurtful an incident like this really is. While the physical, material damage may have been minimal and therefore a bit of a non-issue, the nature of the vandalism itself screams out something far worse than “teenagers TPing a house ’cause they’re bored and want to raise a ruckus.”

Though the sum of the rest of the damage can be seen as such, the stealing of a copy of the Qur’an indicates something more than just a prank or some ultimately-harmless mischief. This is a text that represents the Divine Word of God on earth, and is therefore of immense spiritual value. I think Sahar was essentially right in his post – even not presuming outright desecration of the Scripture, simply walking off with something holy and sacred…? PLUS, there were two years of notes and sermons in there. That’s someone’s hard work. That’s two years of dedication to faith and education and introspection lost. Having really thought about it, this was more than just disrespectful, it was – yes, I’ll say it – a hateful thing to do.

Last thing: Come to the vigil on Friday. Stand up for a good cause. It’s a symbol, but it says a lot.

Actual Last Thing: If anyone’s interested, you’re more than welcome to come to Friday prayer as well. It’s in the International Lounge in Usdan, a little bit past 1, every Friday. There’s a sermon followed by the prayer, and everyone is welcome to stay for either or both.

Social Justice != internships

I’m reading an article in the Hoot about the proposed Justice Brandeis Semesters.

I really wish we knew more about them.

I’m also really confused by this quote:

Despite its monetary origins, Jaffe said that the JBS is not motivated solely by the university’s financial crisis.

“What this is doing is giving us the opportunity to make Brandeis stand out and expand upon things we are already doing, like experiential learning,” he said. “The JBS resonates with the basic themes of the university like social justice.”

What exactly does Brandeis forcing me to give up a semester of academics for a semester interning for some liberal group have to do with Social Justice? Now, I’ve been in talks with some of the ideas originators, and they do have some good ideas on how to make this work. However, I’m very worried by the proposal as currently proposed. It’s vague, it could turn out really horribly (why should I pay 20,000$ for a semester’s unpaid labor at the SEIU, however glorified?).

The Justice Brandeis Semester has other facets than internships, of course, but that’s how its been most strongly described to me, and how the Social Justice angle is going to be done.

I don’t think the faculty senate should vote on the JBS proposal right now. As currently formulated, they have a lot of potential, but currently don’t sound so hot to me. This definitely needs more discussion.