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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

iPhone obsession spreading

As I sat in the’ balcony for this year’s installation of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ I looked down at the nameless masses below me. What I saw should have come as no surprise, but it struck me nonetheless. In literally every row, there were at least one to two attendees who were plucking away on their trusty iPhones. A myriad of phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages and nervous compulsiveness akin to a University of Southern California student’s lust for blow dominated the crowded theater. Other than perhaps breakdowns before midterms, the near omnipresence of Apple’s little stab at global domination is unrivaled in its singular ubiquity on campus. We are simultaneously the United States and Colombia, responsible for both the production and the widespread abuse of this iDrug. One of the developers of the iPhone was a Stanford grad. An extraordinarily well-publicized course on campus, CS193P, deals with iPhone application programming. CS profs are cashing in with nifty apps, and fellow students and friends are designing innovative new apps on their own (ZHDirect Chinese-English Dictionary: check that shit out). The iStanford application, besides giving you access to a map, athletics scores and the Stanford directory, will potentially one day allow Stanford students to register for classes. And according to a recent Oakland Tribune’ article, 4,000 Stanford students own either the iPhone or the iTouch (though the article did misreport the number of total students on campus by roughly 2,000 too many). Walking around campus, it certainly does feel as if the majority of the campus population owns one of these little bastards. Entitled sorority sisters, impassioned Synergy activists, absurd Midwestern members of the intelligentsia, Dean Julie (who was featured last fall in a Stanford-centric iPhone ad), my boss in the ticket office, community center powerbrokers and delightfully misanthropic Opinions editors’-there is not a single constituency group that Steve Jobs has not managed to finagle his yuppied-out handheld cash cow into. Except for the inarticulate, Daily-columnizing San Diego caucus, that is. As a Verizon customer whose two-year-old phone gets fantastic coverage only at the Stadium, and then literally dies in Arrillaga and Old Union, it is fascinating looking into the iPhone campus culture. On a base level, this pronounced addiction is somewhat reasonable. AT’amp;T supposedly has exclusive contract to build a tower over Stanford, though the alleged tale of Sigma Chi trying to illegally house a Verizon antenna in their chimney always brings a smile to my face. I cannot claim the iPhone is in some way a symbol of status or power because literally half of this damn school seems to own one. However, the collective obsession over this little black box of wonderment seems to be very much a campus-wide activity. Stories of iPhones ruined in showers, pools or drunken evenings are not uncommon to most residences. My objection with the iPhone is not the result of some inherent inferiority complex, nor am I some Amish opponent to technology/progress. Where I do take umbrage with con-founded innovation is its contribution to a marked decrease in the quality of actual conversation. Call me an out-of-date old fool; really, you are more than welcome. I get it a bunch. Regardless, I am of the opinion that the iPhone is a large reason why hordes of restaurant-goers are spending less time talking to each other and more time texting their other group of friends about the evening’s potential trajectory. Though we heretics are often no better at combating such an imposition upon traditional notions of communication and etiquette (at times I catch myself being an oblivious schmuck with my texting habits), iPhones seem to be on the forefront of this cultural tidal wave that I am still rather leery of. I do not want to advocate going back to telegraphs and the Pony Express; the increasing interconnectedness of the planet does offer fascinating potential for humanity. However, I want to make sure that we do not let our advanced contraptions take over our lives. At least for me, there is nothing more dynamic and intellectually riveting than engaging with someone in a lively and protracted discussion on just about any topic, and no iPhone app will ever be able to replace such sentiments.

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