The Gist

Monthly Shorts
Deskside with Alfred E. Guy Jr.
Deskside with Alfred E. Guy Jr. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

DESKSIDE with ALFRED E. GUY JR.

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REAL TALK with TED CONOVER

Pulitzer Prize finalist and celebrated undercover journalist whose recent article “The Way of All Flesh” was published in Harper’s Magazine

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Excerpts from an October 29, 2013 Morse College Master’s Tea

On working in a slaughterhouse: “The last 15 minutes of a cow’s life are horrific, but they’re also really interesting.”
On going undercover: “I told Stan [his coworker in the industrial slaughterhouse] that I wanted to write about it. What was missing in his knowledge was that writing about it was the whole purpose.”
On journalism and social justice: “I would love to be able to do what Upton Sinclair did, but when you’re on a line in a meat factory, you don’t feel like an agent of change.”
On veganism: “I wish I didn’t like meat, but I do… Also, I’m not positive killing animals for food is a bad thing. ”
On concrete reform he has inspired: “After I published Newjack [in which he worked as a guard at maximum security Sing Sing prison], an inmate wrote me this in a letter: ‘They cleaned the windows you said were dirty.’”
On riding the rails with hoboes in college: “When it comes time to fall asleep, it’s scary.”
On people: “You can hang out with anybody as long as you don’t think too highly of yourself.”

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FROM THE BEINECKE

By Caroline Sydney

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In this 1969 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Surrealist hand of Salvador DalÍ renders the world of Lewis Carroll into something even more strange and beautiful. DalÍ opens each chapter with a drawing of Alice, her jump rope looping around the first letter of the first word. In the woodcut of the famous tea party scene, shown here, we see a clock that curiously resembles one from DalÍ’s “The Persistence of Memory”. The storybook represents the marriage of two curious minds, and, turning each page, we can’t help but feel ourselves being lured down the psychedelic rabbit hole. The Mad Hatter would approve.

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MAP OF THE MONTH

By Alison Mosier-Mills

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Within the folds of a collection of old maps on the seventh floor of Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, tucked away behind dusty stacks of ancient volumes, the past and the present overlap. Literally.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were designed in London in 1867 to estimate fire insurance liability in British and American cities and towns. They detail outhouses, industrial buildings, water infrastructure, and the dimensions of streets and alleyways. Each map provides a snapshot of the historical moment in which it was produced. Updated every 20 years, the collection offers a wealth of information about city development over time. The 1886 map shown here was Sanborn’s first in New Haven. Like Google Maps today, it depicts Yale’s campus as the city’s center.

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COLLECTOR’S CORNER

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Harry Vandusen ’14 collects bottle caps from craft beers, but he won’t keep a cap until he’s tasted the beer himself. A long-time fan of a good brew, Vandusen began building this collection last semester. The first cap was from a bottle of Miller-Lite (upper left corner), but today the corkboard hosts more obscure varieties. This summer, he and his  dad sampled different brews together, finding interesting labels and splitting a large bottle between them. One cap reads “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.” It topped a dark beer from the Arrogant Bastard Stone Brewery. Another one (“Do What’s Right”) was from a vanilla stout, brewed by the Maine Beer Company. Still, Vandusen said, when it comes to beer, he considers himself an amateur. But he can point out his favorite brews—the ones he tried with his dad.

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HUMOR by Alec Joyner

Advice on Travel in Mediterranean Cities from a Possibly Clairvoyant Man of Transgressive Personality

1.  When in Barcelona, visit the famed Bo de B sandwich shop and, instead of pollo (chicken), order polla (penis) “by mistake.” The Catalonians behind the counter will find you cute and charming, and most likely will not actually serve you a genital sandwich.

2.  When in Valencia during Las Fallas (the Festival of Fire), do not hesitate to accept the large box of firecrackers that a sullen, bored four-year-old girl will offer you at the beach. These will be freely accepted as payment by the old lady who runs the heladería on Carrer Salvador Abril. Then again, she’ll be out of the dulce de leche flavor, so you may as well set off your fireworks in broad daylight in the street — that is, you may as well do what everyone else will be doing, including the old lady herself and the police.

3. When in Marseille, walk around the residential neighborhoods in the hills overlooking the sea while blasting “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes on repeat through your earbuds. You will feel like Euric, king of Visigoth kings, or maybe Zinedine Zidane in a World Cup championship match. In either case, try to restrain the urge to head-butt passersby.

4.  When in Nice, be nice.

5.  When in Rome, go on a free city tour and take copious notes. Come back the next day, lead the tour guide down the entrance hallway of the Keats-Shelley house, beat him to death with a souvenir centurion’s shield, and give the tour yourself. Charge five euros, four for children.

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