Tonight! Mamajamas Send Off for Super Senior Febs



Come by the Chateau tonight at 9 pm to hear the Mamajamas!  Super senior febs Helen Goelet and Krissy Taft will be performing in their last show as college students and the theme of the sho is “Barbie Party,” so it should be a truly singular event.  Everyone at middbeat is hoping for some ABBA, but no guarantees!

Where: Chateau Grand Salon
When: 9 pm
Price: fo free!

Voices From Abroad: Aleck Silva-Pinto ’16, Amman, Jordan


Aleck overlooking an incredible sunset in Amman


While Voices From Abroad took a little trip of its own, it’s returned with a top-notch contribution from a Midd student now back on campus, who spent his fall semester studying in Jordan, and wrote this piece while abroad. Aleck Silva-Pinto ’16, is a junior joint political science and Arabic major from Potomac, Maryland, a former member of the track team, and a proud contributor to middbeat. Aleck has always had an interest in the Middle East, and decided to study in Amman, Jordan because the Levant has always fascinated him more than any other part of the Arab World.  After studying at the University of Jordan, where he enrolled in classes including Politics of the Middle East, Translation, Modern Standard Arabic, and Colloquial Arabic, and living with a family in Amman, Aleck can confidently say he hopes to one day move back and live in Jordan. So, without further adieu, check out Aleck’s artistically crafted exploration of Jordanian culture through a unique focus on maids in Amman. And, of course, if you’ve recently studied abroad or plan to in the future, please consider submitting a reflection on your experiences to middbeat’s Voices From Abroad (absolutely any form of writing is encouraged)! 

America is on fire and I am lying in my bed. Rather, our major cities simmer while Amman remains relatively quiet. It is ironic to be in the most caustic part of the world and feel safer than I should. At least the collective attention of young people in the states, so often divided by the constant stimulation we receive from the Internet, seems to finally be focused on one issue that is important and germane. Meanwhile, nothing is happening here in the cradle of war. I feel spurned; I want to be back so I can argue and fret and ply my poor debate skills against those of my under-qualified and overly persistent peers. Instead, I am treated to the altruistic rhetoric of cab drivers day in and day out,

“Muslim or Christian?”

“I don’t know, Christian?”

“Well, it doesn’t matter, we’re all brothers!”

To be fair, I do appreciate this sentiment. It makes me feel included and has the added benefit of directing our conversation away from any talk of American politics. But, like any public-spirited outlook, it is not airtight.

Every once in a while I come home and see an extra car in my host family’s driveway, which means my host siblings are stopping by for a visit. This also means I will inevitably run into my host sibling’s maid. She is always sitting on a tiny Fisher-Price chair, eating her meal atop an even tinier table of the same brand. In fact, the table is so low that, no matter how far back she tucks her feet underneath her chair, the table is still propped up by her knees. She compensates by gingerly pinching the close end of her plate so as to avoid a catastrophic crash and an all too early end to her meal. We generally exchange the same greeting, some hi’s or hello’s (she doesn’t speak any Arabic), then I head inside. Our interactions have never been anything more than pleasantries. Her interactions with my host family are markedly different. My host mom, who has always been very gentle with me, utilizes the little English she knows to berate the maid. Instead of our hi’s and hello’s I hear lots of “out!” “no!” and “clean this!” Furthermore, my two host nieces seem to be the sole responsibility of the maid despite their parents being in the same house. She dotes on them exclusively in English while they act like the spoiled wastes of space they seem to be. Hair-pulling, food-throwing, screaming wastes of space. Miraculously, the maid maintains her poise. Part of me wants to just watch her all day; she is so incredibly delicate in the way she deals with both those misbehaved children and their irate parents.

Most days are far more tranquil in the house. I generally pass the time by trying to read the sports section of Amman’s primary newspaper, Al Rai (The Opinion). I choose the sports section because, when I inevitably fail to draw anything of worth from an hour of effort, I can look at the pictures! The haircuts in the Jordanian Football League are something else.  Also, I am drawn to an advertisement that appears in the section every day. The header reads “Malaysians! Philippines! Sri Lankans!” The ad goes on to promise the lowest rates and best services that can be offered. The ad interests me because it summarizes a sentiment that seems to be accepted as fact here: foreign workers are items to be bought; services to be had. One of my professors in particular seems to share this sentiment. In a recent class, she explained to us that she had picked a Senagalese maid because she was Muslim, which is best for her children, and she doesn’t take any time off, making her services much cheaper. Furthermore, she addresses the conversation as light fare. As a class we were naturally taken aback

I should say that I do not claim to be an expert of the lives of foreign maids in Jordan. This country bears the burden of millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and still manages to maintain the highest level of security and democracy in the Levant. However, the plight of foreign workers is a glaring exemption from Jordan’s activist lexicon, dominated mostly by Palestine and Israel. Women from Southeast Asia are treated as a commodity, an upgrade for those who can afford it. This essay is also not meant to be a scathing review of Jordanian individuals or their lack of moral integrity but rather to examine an unjust behavior that has become an inherent part of society here.

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Students Respond to Article on Athletic Privilege

In the most recent edition of The Campus, super-senior febs Isaac Baker ‘14.5 and Hannah Bristol ‘14.5 co-wrote a piece entitled “It’s Actually Just a Game,” which critiqued the culture of athletic privilege on Middlebury’s campus. The article has received a slew of critiques on both Facebook and Yik Yak, and the online version has over 40 comments.

In an effort to include more voices in the debate, middbeat asked a random sampling of students in Atwater dining hall for their reactions to the article. Take a listen and add your voice in the comment section below!


TONIGHT: Homemade Mexican Food Fundraiser


foodIt’s 10pm on a Saturday night and you’re hungry, the dining halls are closed, and you just don’t feel like going to the Grille. Solution? MAlt El Paso will be selling and delivering homemade Mexican food tonight to fundraise for their trip to the US/Mexico Border. They’ll be selling fried taquitos (veg and chicken), chips and guacamole, rice and beans, arroz con leche, Mexican hot chocolate, and quesadillas from 8pm to 2am. Sounds delish!

To order, fill out this form or call 831-535-2261.

Date: Saturday, January 23
Orders can be picked up from the Gamut Room, or else delivered to your dorm.

UPDATE: The Dumb Waiter Tickets Still Available

UPDATE: Tickets for all 3 showings (Tonight 7:30 and 10, Tomorrow 8) are still available at go/boxoffice.  Tickets can also be purchased at the door, provided the show isn’t sold out.  I got a sneak peak of the set, it looks fantastic.

J Term’s fantastic run of student theater continues this weekend in the Hepburn Zoo with a production of Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter”.  The two man show will be performed by Alexander Khan ’17 and Luke Smith-Stevens ‘14.5 under the direction of Melissa MacDonald ’15.  The play combines comedy and surrealism as only Pinter can and rockets between moments of slapstick and gripping drama.

Other contributors include Ella Rohm-Ensing ’18 as stage-manager, Ben Rose ‘17.5 on sound design, Bjorn Peterson ‘15.5 on lighting, Tosca Giustini ‘15.5 and Kate Eiseman ’15 on set design.

Where: Hepburn Zoo
When: Friday, 7:30 and 10 PM
Cost: None

From the Archives – January 13, 1955


From time to procrastinated time, I like to dive head first into the way back wormhole of Middlebury archives and drown myself in disbelief at the way things were just a couple of decades ago. Nostalgia, or lack thereof, for something I was never even alive for is escapism at it’s finest, but it’s these very differences and similarities to now that will never stop peaking my interest. The digital collections, if you aren’t familiar, are wealth of information and entertainment made available online by the Middlebury Library.  There are old maps, photographs of trains, language school brochures and more, but the real goldmine lies in the digitized and meticulously indexed issues of The Campus. Sometimes I find myself lamenting the loss of a certain tradition or sense of community that comes through in these articles or photographs, but most times I’m just counting my blessings that women don’t have to abide by an eleven o’clock curfew anymore.

This week’s post highlights the front page of The Campus from January 13, 1955.  Here’s a summary:

-“Battell Construction Delayed, Occupancy By Feb. 1 unlikely.” Construction on the former women’s dormitory (Battell Center) was held up because the bathroom tile had not yet arrived.  Which makes me wonder, do you think Battell has had the same gross tile since 1955? *shudders* Also, apparently there used to be a washing machine in Battell?? Bummer.


-“The Ebony Room” aka the old Middlebury snack bar gets a facelift–At first I assumed this refurbished snack bar was located in McCullough, where Crossroads is in now.  Turns out it was actually located in the “Student Union Building” which was formerly located where Proctor now sits today.  Also important: the snack bar had a jukebox.


1947 photograph of the old Student Union Building

-a new Middlebury boards of trustee approved drinking/social code for women that allows “Middlebury women 21 and over to drink in the village of Middlebury when accompanied by their parents, other adults, or an escort” Escort?….hmmm. This new rule of course supplemented the already existing code that forbid possession of alcoholic beverages by Middlebury women in sorority rooms, college buildings, women’s residences, and at athletic events.  Having turned 21 exactly sixty years after this article hit the press, I’m feeling pretty good about j-term 2015.

-More social rules for women!  Only in this instance the change seems to be a relaxing of social restrictions rather than a tightening, and was put into place by the Women’s Undergraduate Association rather than the board of trustees.  According to new 1955 code, Female seniors had 11 PM permissions on Friday or Sunday night, five other 11 PM permissions for their first semester, and 11 PM permissions every night their second semester.  Sound stifling? Under the new rule freshmen women, or freshwomen if we’re being technical, were allowed only three 11 PM permissions per semester.  In keeping with this somewhat arbitrary quota of nighttime curfews allocated by grade/gender, it was decided that two 10:30 permissions equalled one 11 o’clock permission. Now all of these social codes cannot reflect solely on Middlebury but rather Middlebury as an institution in the context of the social structures and strictures of the 1950s. There were organizations–like the Women’s Undergraduate Association–in place for women to  govern themselves and vote on these restrictions at the time, and at least that’s something.

Read the full front page of news below:


If you’re inspired to do a little digging in the archives yourself, and you find an interesting article or photograph from Middlebury history that deserves a spotlight, email it to middbeat@ In the meantime, you can follow Middbeat’s resident retronaut in her weekly quest to troll the depths of time.

Dance Company of Middlebury


If you’ve never been to a Middlebury Dance Company performance, you’re seriously missing out. Fortunately, tonight we’ve got an opportunity to see the Dance Company in action at their J-term performance “i”. Doug LeCours ’15 of the Company writes in to explain the event:

The Dance Company of Middlebury will present their new work entitled “i” on Friday, January 23 and Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The dance piece will explore themes of identity and social representation through a multidisciplinary lens of futurism and ritual. After the premiere performances in Vermont, the work will tour to the Ailey Citigroup Theatre in New York City on Saturday, January 31.

The evening will feature the works of Visiting Assistant Professor and artistic director of the 2014–2015 Dance Company of Middlebury (DCM) Trebien Pollard, fellow faculty members Scotty Hardwig, Tzveta Kassabova and guest artist, Danielle Russo. This year’s company includes dancers Aoife Duna ’16.5, Vladimir Kremenovic ’17, Doug LeCours ’15, Annie Powers ’15, Sarae Snyder ’15, Najwa Stanford ’16, and Laura Xiao ’17 – See more here.

Date: Tonight, 1/23
Time: 8-10pm
Place: CFA Dance Theatre
Cost: Tickets are $6 for students, available here

TONIGHT: Alianza, Islamic Society and Hindu Student Association Present SNACK NIGHT!


Who’s not into good, free food? We certainly are. Thankfully, there’s a great opportunity to eat free food and enjoy educative, friendly company at tonight’s Islamic Society, Alianza, and the Hindu Student Association Snack Night. Mariam Kahn ’16 invites us all:

Discover and celebrate the cultural interconnections between Latinos, Muslims and Hindus through food!

Enjoy an evening of snacks such as Samosas, Kheer, Nachos and Guacamole over great conversation and company this Friday! Everyone is welcome :)

Contact HSA, ISMC or Alianza if you would like to help us prepare any dishes or check out this google doc!

Date: Tonight, 1/23
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Carr Hall (next to Forrest)

TODAY: Protest Against Icy Paths


While we’re fully aware it’s much more important to protest prescient matters in our society, culture, and government, sometimes ya gotta fight for small-scale issues, too. Enter today’s “Protest Against Icy Paths.” Though it’s pretty funny to watch your peers completely wipe out on the terrifying ice rink that frequently covers the Middlebury campus, it ain’t so funny when it’s you. Rather than explain the protest ourselves, we’ll let the protest leaders speak for themselves. As the Facebook group, led by Winson Law ’16, explains:

Have you slipped on ice this J Term?
Does your butt have a bruise?
Are you physically scarred and mentally traumatized by a recent fall?

Today, stand and protest in solidarity against icy paths and treacherous conditions at Middlebury College.

Together, we can bring an end to this fractal menace.

Together, we will bring justice to bruised butts.

Together, we fight against the tyranny of ice.

To fight against the injustice of the cold, we will provide warm banana bread.

Date: Today 1/23
Time: 4-5pm
Place: Mead Memorial Chapel

Off the Wall: Andy Warhol Lunch


In case you were unaware, the Andy Warhol Foundation recently donated 10 Warhol Prints to the Middlebury Museum, which is pretty awesome. If you’re interested, there will be a “Off the Wall” lunch in the CFA to learn about the museum’s recent gift and how these 10 prints fit within the context of the museum’s collection and the artist’s oeuvre. The Middlebury Museum invites the public to “Enjoy further conversation over a light lunch in the lobby. Presented as part of the series Off the Wall: Informal Discussions about Art. This event is sponsored by the Middlebury College Museum of Art and the Committee on the Arts. Lunch is provided. $5 donation suggested; Free to College ID cardholders.”

Date: Today, 1/23
Time: 12:30-1:30pm
Place: CFA 125