The Gist

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Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

REAL TALK with THE BLACK PANTHERS

By Eric Boodman

In 1969, Black Panther Alex Rackley was tortured and killed by other members of his party. The resulting trials, held in New Haven, sparked enormous antigovernment protests, including a May Day rally in 1970 on the Green. Yale opened its doors to the protesters, allowing them to sleep and eat in the residential colleges. On Feb. 26, 2014, Yale hosted a panel in which former Panthers discussed their experiences of the events. The panelists included Kathleen Cleaver, researcher at Yale Law School and former Panthers communications secretary; John Williams, lawyer for the Panthers; Ann Froines, one of the May Day rally organizers; and Beverly Gage, Yale history professor.

Black Panther copy

Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University

Cleaver, on the state of U.S. politics “Democracy was going down the tubes every day of the Vietnam War, and I don’t think it’s existed since.”
Williams, on his generation “We drank the 1950s Kool-Aid deep. A lot happened in the 1960s that were so profoundly disillusioning — the war, the assassinations — and we were pissed.”
Williams, on Yale’s involvement with the May Day rally “New Haven is unlike New York because it’s a one-industry town, and that industry happens to be thinking.”
Cleaver, on J. Edgar Hoover’s fear “The Black Panthers was a national organization of mostly teenagers. We had a few people over 30. How was that the biggest internal threat to the United States?”
Cleaver, on the NHPD’s wire-tapping of panthers’ phones “The New Haven Police’s wiretap was so wide that they were tapping my phone in San Francisco.”

 

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LAUGHING MATTER

By Alec Joyner

 

Dear the makers of Arthur:

Over the last decade, your show has really fallen off in quality. Like, a lot. I’m a double-major in French and Film Studies at Yale and I’d like to think I know a thing or two about le cinéma and la télévision and le Nétflix. Back when I was ten, Arthur was killing it: the scripts were well-paced, the plots were suspenseful, the voice acting was on point. I felt like I could really relate to all the characters, even whiny-ass D.W. And at the end of every episode, I felt like I had learned an important life lesson. Like, it’s cool to wet the bed, sometimes — you know, in moderation.

Now, I can barely even watch the show. You guys totally abandoned your audience. I’d like to see some character development. Dimension. Nuance. Narrative arc, morons, ever heard of it? These animals are still doing the exact same stuff they were doing ten years ago! When are you gonna have the episode where Arthur takes way too much Adderall and starts psychoanalyzing his own shrink? How about a bottle episode where he and Buster hitchhike cross-country with a grizzly bear voiced by Nick Nolte? A bottle episode is a separate thing, as if it’s sealed inside a bottle. Oh wait, that’s every episode of your show.

Anyways, here’s one for you: have Season 18 center on Arthur taking over his dad’s catering business. Slowly, he discovers that it’s just a money-laundering front for the Elwood City mafia and the inherent moral dilemma just breaks him. Make the mob boss a weasel, like literally a weasel. That’s free of charge. You’re welcome. Don’t even list me in the credits, I don’t want anything to do with your crappy show. Here’s another idea: Kill off The Brain.

Think about it. Irony. You wouldn’t understand.

Thanks for nothing,
Cliff Whippleton III

 

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FROM THE BEINECKE: THE COMPOUND OF ALCHYMY

By Elizabeth Miles

GistAlchemy

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

If you seek more magic in your life, consult The Compound of Alchymy (George Ripley, London, 1591), a manuscript that contains the “right and perfectest meanes to make the Philosophers Stone.” As Ripley points out, the secret to changing metal to gold has been sought by thousands of people throughout history, but few have succeeded. Ripley laments arduous years of experimentation, probing the “rare inscrutable secrets of natural Philosophie” by “distillation and other transmutation of Plants, Hearbs, Stones and Mineralls of all sortes.” Ripley dedicated his work to “the Most High and Mightie Princesse, Elizabeth,” imploring her Majesty to allow him to “profit some ways this Royall kingdome and State” by publishing his mystical guidebook.

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MAP OF THE MONTH: HOLY LAND

map

Yale Digital Archives

This map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land is a mosaic on the floor of the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. From the sixth century, the mosaic contains the oldest surviving cartographic depiction of Jerusalem. In 746, an earthquake devastated Madaba, and the city was abandoned. This map was uncovered in 1884 during the construction of a Greek Orthodox church at the same site. It originally contained over two million tessera tiles. When it was new, the mosaic likely helped pilgrims orient themselves within the Holy Land. Today, it is useful for locating Biblical sites. Excavations in Jerusalem at sites depicted in the map revealed the Nea Church and the important road Cardo Maximus.

 

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COLLECTOR’S CORNER:


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Priscilla Kellert ’74 FES ’81, all-around outdoorswoman and director of Yale’s Freshman Outdoor Orientation Program (FOOT), has been collecting pig magnets for nearly 25 years. Her favorites — especially during the frosty winter months — are the sunbathing pigs from the Caribbean. “They remind me of warmer days!” she says. Kellert’s house in East Rock is home to dozens of pigs: stuffed animals, statues, paintings, cards and piggy banks. But at her house in Vermont, she says, “I have cows on my refrigerator!”

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