Top 20 Twitter Discourse Topics of 2020

What a year 2020 has been. It began with wildfires in Australia and a potential war with Iran, and then led into a global pandemic and unprecedented election. Needless to say, 2020 has been full of non-stop news and events. But 2020 has also been full of online discourse, and that’s much more interesting and important. Today, I am going to conclusively rank the top 20 worst Twitter discourse events of 2020. Beginning with…

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BREAKING: MSU College Republicans Chat Member Sexually Harassed JMC Student Online

NOTE: Though this isn’t our usual content, we received these screenshots from an individual affiliated with the MSU College Republicans groupchat and we believe they need to be publicized. 

NOTE 2 (11/23 11:05 PM): MSU College Republicans emailed The Evening Look a statement about this issue that has been added to the bottom of the article. The headline and article have been tentatively revised accordingly pending future developments.

Updated again at 6:30 on 11/24 to clarify the nature of the violation in the last paragraph.

On November 23rd at 3:45pm, James Madison College sent an email from the Interim Dean, Linda Racioppi, describing a situation in which an Instagram account was “sending sexually explicit messages to James Madison College students.”

Screenshots from the MSU College Republicans groupchat, “The Best Party on Campus!”, obtained by The Evening Look detail efforts to interfere with a groupchat for James Madison College (JMC) students. One member of this chat created a fake Instagram account to harass JMC students; as part of the harassment, he sent a student porn with the account.

Continue reading BREAKING: MSU College Republicans Chat Member Sexually Harassed JMC Student Online

Willie Thrower, A Spartan Trailblazer

As the Chief Sports Editor here at The Evening Look, and to help those of you still sobering up from last yesterday’s shut out loss to Indiana, I felt it apropos to take a look at a trailblazing Spartan from the 1952 Championship team: Willie Thrower.

Continue reading Willie Thrower, A Spartan Trailblazer

Is It Time To Cyberbully Italian-Americans?

Every year, Columbus Day comes and goes, and with it comes a round of discourse about whether Christopher Columbus was racist or if sensitive snowflakes can’t accept that we need to recognize European greatness or something like that. I’m not going to act like that’s an open question (he was horrifically racist and genocidal), but the discourse is fascinating in how the only thing that seems to change is that replacing Columbus Day with an Indigenous Peoples Day gains prominence. The same people who are invested are on the same side every year in a never ending conversation.

Here’s another thing that happens every year now: this annual culture war came to MSU on a small scale. On one side: President Stanley, who sent out an email that acknowledged that the land the university sits on was taken from Native Americans, as well as consistent messaging from other university organizations and departments about celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day and thinking deeper about the history of interactions between Americans, especially white Americans, and Native Americans.

Of course, on the other side is our friends at The Morning Watch. Sergei Kelley helpfully compiled all these actions by the administration in an article released on Columbus Day called “Columbus Day at MSU: ‘Pioneer’ Title Regrets, Pres Says ‘Rethink History,’ and More”. He can’t be bothered to have an opinion, of course, instead just presenting the administration’s attempts to rectify massive historical wrongs one after the other. The subtext is that I’m supposed to hate it, but once again he’s accidentally made them look better than they are.

But the least accurate bit is at the end of the article. Because Sergei wants to maintain a layer of “journalism” on his articles, he decided to get a student quote. So we get this quote at the end of the article from Anthony Russo (probably a friend):

“I view Columbus as an American hero. Case closed.”

It’s pretty hard to call Columbus an American hero. His achievement of reaching the Caribbean happened because he was literally too stupid to understand the size of the globe. He heroically enslaved native populations on Hispaniola and made them mine for gold, which he found little of. The only contribution you could view him as having was that he let Europeans know that the area existed, and I have a hard time believing no one else would figure it out eventually. After all, he never even “discovered” the United States!

So why does Columbus have such a huge status in a country he never set foot in, so much so that he’s one of the three people to have a federal holiday in his honor? It’s all thanks to the efforts of primarily Italian-American Catholics, who sought to counteract widespread discrimination against Italians who came to the US. The Knights of Columbus, fittingly, were the biggest group leading the charge. By finding a famous Italian that had any part in the history of white people coming to America, they wanted to link their history to American history to counteract prevailing narratives that they were foreign invaders.

Nowadays, Italian-Americans face essentially no prejudice. I’m part Italian, and I average one mafia joke a year on the receiving end and a couple million that I make about myself. Everyone I know who has any amount of Italian ancestry would probably say the same about themselves. Since they were able to push past xenophobia, what’s the point of having a holiday for a man who didn’t even see this country when there are so many famous Italian-Americans to choose from?

But nothing ever moves easily at the federal level. Even if the Democrats would like to prove they can do woke gestures when they get into power, changing the name of Columbus Day would probably be far down the list of priorities. 

I believe that in order to change Columbus Day, we need to go back to what made Columbus Day. Folks, it’s time to create a unified front to bully Italians. If Italians must feel their identity in order to take pride in their own then it’s time we made Italians feel Italian again. Anytime you see an Italian, make sure to let them know that they’re Italian. Flaunt your superiority to them in every capacity. Make sure that they grow in their self-understanding of what being Italian in America is. Make them search out Italian excellence and Italian boy joy and Italian girl magic.

In other words, anytime that someone makes fun of me for this article, I am going to take it as an act of anti-Italian aggression. If Sergei wants to send a weird DM or comment about how I’m being racist, it only incentivizes me further to rediscover my ancestry and start the movement to Get a Better Italian-American Holiday. Make current-day Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples Day, and then [insert Italian-American figure here] Day somewhere else.

I think a better choice would be Vanzetti Day, to honor the Italian immigrant anarchist who, like too many today, was unfairly punished by the justice system for a crime he didn’t commit due to anti-Italian sentiments of the time. Bada bing!

-K. Sins

Here Comes The Night Time

The thing about staying up all night is that the evening never ends. It will continue until the sun rises, alerting you to changes in the world around you.

At 3 AM on November 4, 2020, nobody knew who would be the next president. We still don’t know. CNN and MSNBC especially are surely enjoying the horse race. A “NAIL-BITER ELECTION COMES DOWN TO AZ, GA, MI, NC, PA, WI” while much of our audience tries to sleep through something that would in most years be done by midnight. Our horribly broken electoral system may once again fail to do what it was meant to do, balancing power between the states.

Political parties spent millions trying to get the votes of people like me and my parents because we live in a Designated Swing State, even though our votes have been set in stone since November 9, 2016. Everyone on Twitter needed to spend their night screaming at about 300,000 people in Florida, or at a governor who barred over twice that number from voting by forcing them to pay unreasonable amounts of money to vote.

At the same time, there are many on the left screaming at the Biden campaign for not reaching out to Latinx voters in much of the Sun Belt. It seemed that they just assumed they would get the same amount of votes they got in 2016 there, not bothering to see if that was actually the case or if anything strange was up. There was a sense of complacency, that they could just count on things happening because that’s what happened before. Although it’s too early to draw any conclusions about a nail-biter election, it does remind me of what this blog has become for me.

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It’s Time For Student Organizers To Get The Goods

For college students across our state, the last few months have been rough. As many schools abruptly backtracked on their promises of in-person classes this fall, it was clear that pandemic life was far from over. While many fraternities foolishly decided it was business as usual, many of us had their hopes deflated. However, what many did not expect is that the shutdown would be far, far worse than just online classes and no (safe) parties. Over at Michigan, students tested for COVID-19 were forced to quarantine in apartments with virtually no supplies. More than 100 RAs declared that the conditions were unsafe. And while it would be easy to jeer at our normal axis of evil for being well, shit, this goes far beyond students’ usual issues with uncaring administrators. This was the University of Michigan putting their students’ safety and wellbeing in the direct line of fire.

The conditions at UM were so dire that on September 7th, the Graduate Employees Organization voted to strike. They demanded stronger COVID-19 remote work policies, as well as a 50% defunding of the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) into community policing measures. The latter is ambitious for any campus, but now is the time to push for it, especially with Black Lives Matter protests still lingering from the summer.

UM reacted to these demands with open hostility. After the GEO struck down their initial settlement, the administration moved forward with an injunction against the union. Given the options to either end the strike or risk millions of dollars in damages and the potential dissolution of their own organization, the GEO settled. The strike was over.

Now that the dust has settled, what can we make of this on our end? It’s not as if we don’t have things to protest over: last month, MSU RHS furloughed around 700 student workers with only around two weeks’ notice. Soon after, the Spartan Solidarity Network released a petition and a list of demands, but neither have led to any change in the university’s policy. Besides this, tuition fees have gone largely unchanged, even as COVID shuts everything down to a crawl. Now is the time to either crack open the endowment or find some other way to relieve students in need of a stipend. As it stands, MSU remains fully committed to stiffing the most valuable members of its community.

It’s helpful to remember that our organizations are far from powerless. Earlier this year, the MSU Graduate Employees’ Union (aided by hundreds of professors and ASMSU) took a firm stance against Stephen Hsu, the then-Vice President for Research and Innovation who had been called out for supporting scientific racism, sexism, and eugenics, among other issues. After nine days of pressure on the administration, President Stanley asked him to resign and he returned to his tenured professor position. That isn’t as sexy as, say, Hsu being fired and falling off the face of the earth, but it is a case of a successful campaign waged primarily by student organizers against MSU administration. Saying the words “general strike” could be too soon. It could also be a great act of hubris, given that the university could be as willing to play hardball with students as UM was. But I still reckon that there is the potential for something great to happen if student orgs can converge for real action on campus.

COVID-19 currently shows no sign of letting up. For as long as it continues, universities across the country are bound to make more decisions that put the livelihoods of their students in jeopardy. The lesson of the UM action is that the forces behind these decisions are strong, but also that the GEO and organizations alongside it were willing to throw down to preserve the rights of their students. This is a lesson that student organizers need to internalize as hard as they possibly can. If the opportunity arises, we need to be as ready as possible to seize it.

-L. Niño

Mr. Stanley, Tear Down The Frats

Congratulations for making it this far into the year, Spartans! And double congratulations to the upperclassmen and freshmen savvy enough to grab a last-second sublease. When Mister Doctor Professor Samuel Leonard Stanley Jr. M.D. canceled in-person classes and sent home most on-campus students, our lingering hope of a somewhat normal semester was finally put to rest. However, one campus institution won’t be going anywhere: fraternities and sororities.

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Education Apps are a Disease

Going into my freshman year at MSU, I thought I was aware of all the ways that colleges can take extra money on top of tuition. Textbooks? I rented them, unless I was forced to buy a new edition. Blue Books? Bummed them from my friends or Student Services. I was going to be the one college student who was Aware of the System.

Then the education technology showed up.

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There Goes The Last Great American Late Night

After Mr. Dr. President Sir Samuel L. Stanley Jr MD, DDS, Esq.’s decision to kick MSU online this fall, we’re all still dealing with the fallout. Off-campus apartments have been swarmed with freshmen who desperately want to socialize after five months of being trapped in their homes with their parents. I can’t say I blame them.

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The Day Dantonio Disappeared

In the year of our lord 2015, Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State Spartans had their final truly great season together (2017 was a good year for MSU too, but we’ll get to that later). These Spartans went 11-1 in the regular season, losing only to unranked Nebraska and securing the win against the hated Michigan Wolverines off of some infamous trouble with the snap.

After plowing through the rest of their schedule and defeating Iowa in the Big Ten championship match, the Spartans were ranked no. 3. On December 31st, these Spartans, with the collective momentum of a near-perfect season and the wind at their backs, faced off with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff.  

And they got broken in half, 38-0.

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