Things to Do This Summer!

As the school year winds to an end, it’s time to get excited about summer. It’s time for a well-deserved break from academia and stress. We’re in the home stretch! I’m sure everyone has their set summer plans, but I wanted to share some of the things I’m looking forward to (besides internships, etc.). Whether you’ll be in Ann Arbor, back at home, or exploring a new city, maybe you’ll be inspired and add to your own bucket list!

  • nap on the beach
  • read the books that have always been on my to-read list (finally!)
  • picnic with friends
  • have a bonfire
  • learn photography
  • skateboard
  • create art
  • learn how to cook for next year
  • sleep!!

The Joys of Lint Rolling (Seriously)

I can’t believe I had gone through 18 years of my life without ever using a lint roller. The first time I ever picked up the ergonomic handle of the roller was when I borrowed my freshman year roommate’s, out of her collection of numerous lint-picking devices. It was life changing, and lint rollers are now a mainstaple of my closet.

Lint rollers have the main purpose of getting lint and hair out of your clothing, making them look presentable and fresh. My clothes used to look dusty and worn, but were now rejuvenated by the absence of lint. For some reason, it’s so satisfying to look at the sticky paper afterward and revel in the cleanliness of your new lint-free fabrics. The process of lint rolling can be likened to popular relaxing behaviors such as folding clothes, or peeling off a face mask, or even organizing stationery for some people. There are even dedicated videos to lint rolling ASMR.

Little did I know that lint rollers actually serve a number of purposes besides, obviously, picking up lint. They can be used to clean bags, pick up hair, especially if you shed a lot like me, clean up glitter/confetti/paper, reach debris from inside your drawers, refresh furniture, and clean nearly any other ordinary item.

If your clothes are looking a little less than new, PICK UP A LINT ROLLER AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Squirrels of Michigan: An Analysis

The chubby, furry creatures are a ubiquitous sight during the school year, and can be seen scurrying to and fro around the campus diags. Bushy-tailed grey squirrels for the most part have captured the hearts of university students. While squirrels are not only particular to Ann Arbor, and I want to understand why they are so ingrained in Michigan culture.

If you have ever taken a tour of the University of Michigan, your tour guide has probably mentioned the Squirrel Feeding Club that is simply a group of people passionate about feeding squirrels. However, I have never seen them in person, nor heard of anybody who’s actually a member of the club, but nonetheless the idea is wholesome and kind-hearted. If you are a member of this club… text me.

Many a time I have stopped in my tracks while walking through campus, to gaze at a squirrel who seems to stare into my soul before running off. It’s quite endearing in a strange way.

Michigan squirrels have been elevated to an almost mascot-like status, with candid photos of large squirrels holding cookies, apples, and even a jar of peanut butter. They have been serenaded, played with, even memed. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Myers in this article explained that campus squirrels have become accustomed to constant feeding and interaction with humans, and are thus more friendly than common squirrels. Apparently, they can still bite, but many students find them adorable and entertaining.

Plus, the life of a U-M squirrel must be pretty nice. Former psychology professor Christopher Peterson wrote an opinion piece on Psychology Today, explaining his reasoning of why a being Michigan squirrel would be the ideal life–the squirrels expect to be fed, run free among dozens of trees, have two breeding seasons a year, and interact with people every day.

Along with Reggie the iconic campus corgi, the beloved squirrels are sure to stay in the hearts of Michigan students.


Stamps Senior Studios

Last week, my sophomore studio and I had the chance to roam around the Stamps IP studios, which are reserved for senior BFA and BA students. Upon entering, I was immediately impressed and shocked at the rows and rows of cubicles. Exploring the area, which is a lot larger than it looks from the outside, splashes of color and personality popped out from white walls. There were door-sized paintings, and couches, and of course, a “F*CK STAMPS” sign lovingly placed on a student’s desk.

Each student has their own individual work area, equipped with a white desk, a chair, and plenty of wall space to hang up art. What was most interesting to me was the diversity in each person’s alcove. Some students had big photo prints or oil paintings posted, while others had strewn up various fabric swatches. Some areas were  barren except for a few scattered belongings and boxes of coffee shots, and some were totally decked out–complete with bean bags, armchairs, lights, and rugs. One student even invited me to take candy from her communal bowl. It was endearing to see that students had essentially crafted a personal homey workspace for themselves, and were still able to collaborate with others around them.

Honestly, I wish I had more senior friends in the art school, so I could hang out and work in their studios. It seemed as if I were stepping into another world, where the next creative geniuses were diligently at work. I’m excited to continue my art and design journey and looking forward to getting a studio space of my own, placed among talented peers. If you haven’t visited the Stamps senior studios yet, I highly recommend you do so, and immerse yourself in creativity.

Opinion: Bansky Sucks

Banksy is known worldwide for being an elusive, thought-provoking graffiti artist whose work is “anti-establishment” and critiques the ails of modern society. His work has sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars since the early 2000s, and can be recognized by nearly everyone. Personally, I don’t believe he should be hailed as a creative genius; I think his work skirts past deeper analysis of important political and social issues by touching on them with edgy, quirky, and superficial images that appropriate pop culture and add nothing of significance. Brutally put, I think his work is mediocre and he’s a sellout.

The artist, whose real persona has never been quite identified, claims to be counter culture and rail against capitalism, consumerism, and the downfall of society. I won’t talk about how his artwork visually isn’t that impressive, but that the nature of his popularity contradicts his whole ideology. A Reddit user in Auckland detailed their underwhelming experience at a Bansky exhibition, saying that besides the rather repetitive work, the exhibition was sponsored by a number of large corporations, entailed a $35 entrance fee, and ended through the gift shop, essentially going against every anti-capitalist, satirical theme that Banksy’s work is supposed to address.

For example, his 2015 project Dismaland is supposed to be a decrepit, depressing version of Disneyland, featuring distorted sculptures and grimy floors. Instead, it’s just sad in general, and doesn’t say anything new. He also sold some of the pieces in an auction, where the BBC reports that the collection garnered almost $15,000. Moreover, he broke headlines when his Girl With Balloon painting shredded itself after being sold, but could now be worth even more to art collectors. Sure it was amusing for a second, but is it really significant?

Clearly the fame has gotten to Banksy’s head, and his work is outdated. That’s not to say that none of his work has value, as some of it is actually interesting and thoughtful. But I’m not sure how long he’ll stay relevant…

Rainbow Capitalism

Rainbow capitalism, also called pink capitalism or gay capitalism, is when businesses use the LGBTQ movement in order to profit off it. The rainbow color scheme and themes of queerness are incorporated in marketing materials or products. Although rainbow capitalism in theory sounds empowering and supportive within the new era stepping closer to equality, it may also be detrimental to the true goals of the movement by falsely marketing companies as LGBTQ friendly, capitalizing off of consumers.

Having attended my first two Pride events in New York City, I could definitely view the difference between now and then. Pride marches started in the 1970s after the Stonewall Riots, in which LGBTQ patrons at the Stonewall Inn protested constant mistreatment by police. Now, Pride has become more of a consumerist event that overtakes spaces meant for queer people. Corporate sponsors boast large floats of celebrities and rainbow merchandise, effectively erasing queer oppression and turning Pride into a party that ignores current issues of homophobia. While Pride can and should be celebratory for LGBTQ people, corporations have recognized the wave of allyship that is profitable and exploitable for their own purposes.

Part of the reason why rainbow capitalism has been celebrated is because it’s easy–it’s much easier to slap a rainbow sticker on your laptop than it is to address institutional problems such as the exclusion of of queer people of color from LGBTQ spaces or homeless queer youth.

So the next time Pride rolls around, I urge you to think about and educate yourself on the history of Pride and what it means. Are you supporting LGTBQ people and spaces? If you’re an ally, are you helping queer people or treating Pride just as a party? Wear your rainbows proudly, but always remember the fight for equality.