Housework and the Modern (Super) Woman

Written by Kristin Clift on . Posted in Culture

In the fifth grade, our teacher asked the boys in the class if they expected their future wives to be housewives or to go out and get jobs. I attended a trailer-trash-tastic farming school (seriously, we played with chickens, sheep and even a llama during recess), so even though it was California, I expected these farm kids to have more conservative views of marriage roles.

To my surprise, the majority said they expected their wives to go out and get jobs. (One particular booger-eating gross boy even used the word “lazy” in his response.) The handful of respectable boys in my fifth grade class said their future wives could do whatever they wanted to do. And only one boy said he expected his wife to stay at home. The fifth grade was a long time ago, but even then I realized how much gender role expectations have drastically changed in America over the years.

How much have they really changed, though?

Adolf Hitler Saluting, 1934

Good Things That Came From Bad People: Hitler’s Anti-Smoking Campaign

Written by Karma Chesnut on . Posted in Culture

The popular consensus is that Nazis are bad. Maybe I’m over-generalizing, but I’m inclined to think genocide is looked down upon in most societies. Also continuously losing popularity? Smoking. What do these two menaces have to do with each other? Wait for it…

Apparently, Adolf Hitler use to smoke. That is, until he realized that it was having negative effects on his health. (Sorry, Hitler, but for some reason I don’t feel that bad for you.) Thus began the Nazi anti-smoking campaign. Starting in the mid- to late-1930’s, this happened to be the first public anti-smoking campaign ever. Hitler is quoted as referring to tobacco as “the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man.” Of course, only Hitler could find a way to make not smoking seem racist.


When It Comes to Dating, Follow Your Nose

Written by Kristin Clift on . Posted in Culture

Have you ever wondered why some individuals in a relationship resemble each other?

Biologically speaking, people have a tendency to be more attracted to someone with similar phenotypes. When someone ends up with a person who looks like they could be long-lost-siblings, it is called phenotypic matching (or arguably, just plain narcissism.) You probably are just dying to know how then does a person insure immunogenetic diversity for their offspring. (I think about these things all the time, don’t you?) Well, luckily, the body has a natural system of being able to detect immunogenetic diversity through olfaction, or smell.

From a Darwinian “survival of the fittest” standpoint, it is deleterious to reproduce with someone that has a similar genetic constitution because it increases the chances of producing non-viable offspring as a result of potentially harmful homogeneous repetitions in the genome. (Translation: Don’t have babies with your relatives because they will be messed up.) If people have a tendency to phenotypically match their mates, then how do people avoid having similar genetic makeup as their mates? Furthermore, how do people insure they are not related to their partners, if they look so much like them?


‘Mom and Dad, Why Don’t You Pick?’: Thoughts on Arranged Marriages

Written by Kristin Clift on . Posted in Culture

As an aspiring anthropologist, I do not believe in the Western notion of sustainable romantic love. (Cynical much? Maybe, but that’s another story.)

Evolutionarily speaking, it would be advantageous to develop an attachment to a single mate to foster a stable environment in which to raise children. Unfortunately, anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher of Rutgers University purported that this attachment only lasts about four years — or about enough time to raise a child.

According to Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest, our primordial ancestors would have selected towards those traits. And that is why we display those tendencies today. (I totally think Evolutionary Psychology is, more often than not, just an excuse for poor behavior, but more on that later.) The adaptive short-term monogamous theory accounts somewhat for the exorbitant rates of divorce in this country.

You know what works? Arranged marriages. Those marriages are based on something real — filial duty and money. Or you could abandon the entire institution of marriage as we know it and live like the Nayar of southern India, a matrifocal group where the women live together permanently but several men come and go. (I personally wouldn’t mind having as many partners as I choose, but alas I digress.)


Review: The Advanced Genius Theory

Written by Ben Wagner on . Posted in Culture, Music

Jason Hartley (co-creator and author of The Advanced Genius Theory) and I have a lot in common: he’s from the South, he was an English major, and I’ve eaten many times at the Pizza Hut in Columbia, S.C., where Hartley’s “advancement theory” came into being. Perhaps these coincidental biographical similarities explain why I find his theory so fascinating.

The Advanced Genius Theory sets out to be the manifesto of Advancement theory, a theory formed in the ’90s that spread to possess a sort of underground status among rock critics before being popularized by Rhombus favorite Chuck Klosterman in a 2004 article for Esquire magazine entitled “Real Genius.”

Advancement theory rests on the principle that there are artists (musicians, directors, actors, writers, even athletes) who were hailed as Geniuses and who put out such good “art” for such an extended period of time that it is impossible that they would somehow lose it.


Preview: Byron Stout, "Truck Meet Truck"

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Art, Culture

Byron Stouts Snake Death has hung in Velour since the venues opening.

Byron Stout’s “Snake Death” has hung in Velour since the venue’s opening.

The recession has been particularly hard on downtown Provo. Despite the quaint charm of the city’s historic architecture, an alarming number of spaces remain empty. Sadly, the recession has taken an especially heavy toll on businesses participating in the local arts community and Provo’s recently thriving gallery stroll has lately appeared to be in its death throes.

However, gallery stroll may be down, but it isn’t completely out. This Friday, long-time arts supporter but first time stroll participant Velour Live Music Gallery will be hosting Byron Stout’s new exhibit, “Truck Meet Truck.” Along with the reopening of the F Stop Cafe, Stout’s Velour show will pump some much needed new blood into a community recently pummeled by gallery closings. It will also take place simultaneously with Velour’s vintage flea market, which means that admission to the venue — usually six or seven dollars for a weekend concert — will be free and include the opportunity to riffle through old school threads while checking out the paintings.

If you’ve ever been to Velour in the past, you’re probably familiar with Stout’s work though you may not realize it. Near the entrance, Stout’s painting “Snake Death” has hung since Velour opened. The painting depicts a car with Utah license plates and a mural of a snake and a skull on its hood. Velour owner Corey Fox felt that the painting fit the venue’s vibe and, like some of Stout’s subsequent work, portrayed a world that “wasn’t quite normal, but that’s what made it appealing.”


Review: Mirror Mirror

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Art, Culture

About a week and a half ago, BYU’s Museum of Art (MOA) opened the new exhibit Mirror Mirror: Contemporary Portraits and the Fugitive Self, which thankfully continues the facility’s trend toward thought-provoking, cutting-edge contemporary art.

Mirror Mirror brings together a renowned group of contemporary artists that take it as their task to provoke museum patrons to thought and introspection. For example, Valarie Atkisson’s “Hanging Family Tree (Patriarchally Oriented)” depicts the artist’s genealogy using thousands of hanging slips of paper. Like the best works of art, it’s visually stunning and intellectually challenging all at once. Similarly, Rebecca Campbell also works with the image of a tree, but actually installed a real (and fairly large) avocado tree wrapped with velvet in the gallery. These pieces, together with the work of world famous artists like Takashi Murakami, provide a fitting follow up to Dan Steinhilber’s phenomenal exhibit that previously occupied the same space. Though the MOA hasn’t given up on exhibiting traditional painting, Mirror Mirror proves that it’s also invested in the frontiers of contemporary art.

Given all that, however, I also didn’t love the exhibit’s overall composition. On each of my three visits I found myself wanting to be deeply moved, but not actually feeling much. As a non-artist it’s hard to get excited about brushstrokes or inter-artist dialogue that I’m not aware of. Instead, I hope for images that can be viscerally affective, psychologically deep, and intellectually challenging. Some pieces accomplished all that; Ben Coonley’s “Valentine for a Perfect Stranger” and Oliver Herring’s “Basic (Dance 1)” are fantastic video pieces that use wit to explore relationships in a media-saturated, post-Youtube world.