Best of Pop Culture Digest
Wake up, Obies!
It lingers on the edge of pleasure and pain...its delay unnerves and excites you at the same time...it’s your snooze alarm, and until now it has been vastly under appreciated. This past Wednesday February 25 marked the 48th anniversary of the snooze alarm clock. Yes, that troubled sound, that chime of intent is still in its infancy when placed against the history of the clock itself, which dates to around 1620. Children in all elementary schools have been taught that the idea of the clock may have dated back to ancient Greek civilizations, which used sundials to tell time. This is a misnomer. The ancient Greeks and Romans used a “Sun-Dial,” while today’s person uses a “Clock.” Regardless, people all over the country (and maybe even the world were The Oberlin Review to have an international section) celebrate this magical day when the first snooze alarm clocks appeared on our soul-eating-evil capitalist market.
The Oberlin Review is here to help educate you and introduce you to some of the common ways of celebrating Wonderment of Alarms Koolment da(E)y, or W.A.K.E. UP, the festival that occurs every February 25th. This festival includes—but is not limited to—maypoles, Bert and Ernie, one grown ox and the sacrificing of a male politician using a chosen alarm clock. There is no order to the festival per se, but it is widely rumored that one should stay as far away from the ox as possible. To understand these events better, one should know the historical context in which these festivals occurred.
Although the snooze alarm clock we know today began in the 20th century, historians have found evidence of a type of snooze alarm clock predating Stonehenge in both Peru and the land now known as Kazakhstan. Archaeological expeditions have uncovered indigenous bedrooms with pebble-filled clay pots hanging tentatively over the sleeping area. Similar pebble-filled clay pots were also found in Ireland postdating Stonehenge, and then again in Vienna for absolutely no reason around 1868 (Scientists are still trying to determine their relevance vis a vis Freud and Austria-Hungary’s love of cocaine).
8:45 (What was I thinking? I don’t have to get up yet.)
“Fast-Forward” to 1870, when the first bedside alarm clock was introduced in the United States. Since then, waking up has never been the same. [Laugh track] But it wasn’t until 1956, when Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur and believer in mediocrity, decidedly put an end to the singularity of the alarm. It’s interesting to note that the snooze alarm clock was banned by the Nazis in occupied Europe. That’s interesting, considering WWII had been over for about a decade. Later the snooze aspect of the alarm clock was also banned in Stalinist Russia for its association with the bourgeoisie... and because each family was allowed only one alarm ring per week during the Five Year Plan.
8:55 (Huh? What time is it?)
9:05 (Oh, S***! SONOFA...! I’m late!)
So the next time February 25 rolls around, when you are waking up for classes or work or watering of plants, don’t just hit your alarm clock. Caress it. Name it. Thank it. And it will thank you in the best way it knows how: by giving you ten more minutes of tranquil peace before the pain sets in all over again. And then be sure to slap the living hell out of it.
Nearly-nude Oberlin hotties online:
The posters went up earlier this year without much announcement or fanfare. JUNK. Was the picture of an attractive, shirtless torso promoting a band coming to campus? Was it for a new radio show on WOBC? Then the rumors and whispers began circulating: “Have you heard about this online magazine, JUNK?” Was there really a place where the men of Oberlin were taking their clothes off for the entire world to see? As groups of friends crowd around computer screens to giggle and gawk at their fellow classmates in the near buff, JUNK quickly became a phenomenon. Well, at least an Oberlin phenomenon.
Created by seniors Brad Walsh and Kathy Cacace, JUNK magazine is currently in its seventh issue. A combination of Maxim-style photographs (of men), relationship and pop articles, JUNK aspires to be the anti-Vogue or the Anti-Cosmo. The JUNK manifesto states, “We at JUNK are deeply committed to bringing you, the population that finds itself attracted to men, the same combination of content that is currently easier to find in men’s magazines. There can exist a magazine that has both pictures of attractive men as well as articles that make you laugh, make you think, and keep you interested.” Women as well as gay men can have a magazine that doesn’t focus solely on makeup or how to get that movie star look on a budget.
Besides the photographs and interviews, articles have covered such topics as music and naked newscasters. One article by staff writer Sarah Dooley suggested that just because every person on TV is lacking in body hair, that doesn’t mean that that’s normal. The articles are written specifically for an Oberlin audience with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor often found in men’s magazines but severely lacking in their women’s counterparts.
One of the more popular (and controversial) sections of the magazines is not the photos but the forum, where students and non-students alike can post what they love about JUNK, what they hate about JUNK, or whose booty they want to see in the next issue. The forum has become a veritable dorm toilet stall with lists of guys (and now girls) whom people on this campus think are hot and should be seen scantily clad. Unfortunately, like almost any Internet forum, the rumors are flying and the mud is slinging. The sexual orientation of the models is being questioned and openly discussed. Insulting comments have been directed at specific members of the college community.
While the editors of JUNK in no way endorse these kinds of postings (in fact they very clearly frown upon them), the magazine forum has opened up a Pandora’s box of insults and gossip.
Besides the negative aspects of the forum, JUNK is not without its debatable elements. Does it objectify men in the same way that magazines like Maxim or Stuff objectify women? Quite possibly. Would much of the campus be up in arms if the editors of JUNK were shooting the same shots and asking the same questions to women? Most definitely. Is JUNK perpetuating an obsession with physical beauty even while it claim s to be promoting a different kind of aesthetic beauty, the beauty of “real men”?
There are two ways to read or look at JUNK. One is with a level of seriousness and political correctness, quite common to the average Oberlin student. In this light, JUNK is objectifying and perpetuating a kind of popularity contest among college students based on looks. The second way to look at the magazine is with a sense of humor and fun. JUNK is not meant to be taken seriously.
Ultimately, JUNK makes it possible to laugh at pictures of your male friends in their tighty-whities or cringe at actually knowing the object of their masturbatory affection. You can also see how that boy you’ve been fantasizing about since September actually looks without all those unattractive things called clothes. On top of this, you can read articles that are pertinent to the average Obie. This is not meant to be high art. As co-editor-in-chief Cacace wrote in the most recent issue, “We started JUNK so it could be the M&Ms in your reading diet: fun, a treat, and wholly recreational.”