Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

By Louise Love

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died, unassisted, of thrombosis related

to kidney disease on June 3 this year at the age of 83.  Throughout his life, Kevorkian espoused causes that were alien to received medical ethics, but it was his advocacy for and practice of assisted suicide that brought him notoriety and earned him the nickname, “Dr. Death.”  Kevorkian persisted in assisting terminally ill patients to end their lives even when the State of Michigan passed laws specifically aimed at stopping him. As a consequence, he lost his license to practice medicine and, ultimately, spent eight years in jail for assisting Tom Youk, a patient with Lou Gherig’s disease, to commit suicide.  Youk’s suicide and an interview with Kevorkian aired on CBS’s 60 Minutes in 1998, led to criminal prosecution and conviction of second degree murder .

In his youth, Kevorkian rejected the Armenian Orthodoxy in which he was raised and frequently challenged the authority of clergy and teachers.  After serving in the medical corps in Korea, he pursued research into the transfusion of blood from dead bodies into wounded soldiers.  He also advocated the use of prisoners on death row for voluntary medical experimentation.

Always fascinated by end-of-life physiology and ethics, he invented the “Thanatron,” a device that enabled a terminally ill patient or a patient in intractable pain to end his/her life quickly and painlessly.   When the technology used in the Thanatron was outlawed, Kevorkian invented the “Mercitron” to take its place.

Kevorkian was defiant in his pursuit of what he believed to be each person’s right to choose when to die.  Fundamentally, it was a right that he wanted for himself.  He said, “I want some colleague to be free to come help me when I say the time has come. That’s what I’m fighting for, me.“

Although Kevorkian has many critics, I believe he was ahead of his time, fighting for individuals’ right to be freed from devastating illnesses and slow, wasting deaths.  Final Exit Network wrote of Kevorkian, “While history will likely record him as a stubborn, intemperate and controversial curmudgeon, it cannot ignore his role in bringing the physician-assisted-dying debate to public consciousness.”

In 2010, Kevorkian’s life and mission were dramatized by HBO under the title You Don’t Know Jack. Directed by Barry Levinson and starring Al Pacino, this made-for -t.v. film has been widely praised for portraying the human side of this controversial figure who is regarded by some as a serial killer (he claimed to have assisted in 133 deaths) and by others as a relentless pioneer who defied the establishment to promote death with dignity.  This debate rages on with only three states in the United States permitting physician-assisted suicide and only a few countries in the world where it is legal.  Needless to say, terminally ill patients travel to these destinations so that they may have some control over the time and circumstances of their deaths.

In his way, Jack Kevorkian was a freedom fighter.  That is why he is “my radical.”

Louise Love is the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim Provost at Columbia College Chicago.

By Kyra Mitchell

At a very young age I aspired to do it all.  I always had a free spirit. I remember standing on cardboard boxes singing and dancing for my family and telling fascinating stories. When someone would ask what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would confidently tell them a singer, an actress, a writer, and a business woman. The best thing about being a little kid is that you believe you can do all that and no one can tell you differently because dreaming is just so easy to a young, innocent and vibrant mind. As I got older and encountered my own bullies, I started to believe that maybe I couldn’t do it all, maybe I just have to pick one dream even though I love every aspiration the same. I started to become tainted by my own thoughts along with everyone else’s opinion.

Years passed by and I transfered to a new school in 7th grade. Our first English assignment was to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I can remember reading the back of the book and it saying she’s a poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. I think my eyes had fallen out of its sockets. I’m thinking to myself how someone could be all of those things especially her being an African -American woman in the 40’s and 50’s where Black people had little to no respect. I hadn’t even opened the book yet and I was amazed. She had inspired me already. I read the book non-stop. Angelou was just so phenomenal to me. I had no idea that there was someone somewhere in this world who wanted to do it all just like me.

For Angelou, doing it all didn’t come easy though. She went through many obstacles. At eight years old, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was subsequently killed by her uncles. The horrific event caused her to go mute for nearly six years. She had to deal with racial discrimination and she later became a teen mother. All of these terrible occurrences didn’t stop her; soon after her son was born Angelou toured Europe and Africa in the musical Porgy and Bess. On returning to New York City in the 1960s, she joined the Harlem Writers Guild and became involved in Black activism. She wrote many autobiographies and poems. She even had been asked to write and read a poem at Bill Clinton’s Inauguration.

Maya Angelou sings, writes, speaks, acts, educates, produces and inspires through life. If that’s not doing it all I don’t know what is. There’s this quote that Angelou has it goes “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” I took this quote to heart. If I want to do everything I want to do I have to go out and get it. I have to grab it, no one else can. Life is going to be hard, no one said it’s going to easy but whatever life throws at me I’m ready to bat and hit a home run! Just like Maya, I aspire to do it ALL!

By Hallie Zolkower-Kutz

The theater is chilly and dark. The first two rows are crammed with overeager, nervous sophomores still filled with first-day-of-school excitement. One man who seems to fill the room with his authority occupies the stage. He stares at his students. He says,
“This is not going to be like any class you’ve ever taken.”
Twenty-five pairs of eyes stare back at him. One of those is mine, and although I didn’t know it at the time, he would be absolutely correct.

This man was Matthew Boswell aka Boswell, Mr. Boswell or, more familiarly, Bos. He is tall, bespectacled and always dressed to the nines, giving off a “you had better take me seriously” aura. He is unlike any teacher I had in high school. I enjoyed his first theater class so much in fact that I signed up for one of his classes every year just to have him as a teacher, and I can confidently say that he is my radical. Mr. Boswell is the only teacher I had in high school who I felt was real. Let me explain…

While most teachers followed the curriculum blindly, Boswell put thought into every assignment, challenging his students in new ways with each one. He wasn’t afraid to experiment with his lessons, always asking us for feedback, really listening to what we said. He was critical but fair, didn’t give out “gold stars” or distribute undeserved praise like most of my teachers. This made any compliment from him worth twice what I heard from others. In my junior year I took his humanities class where, on the first day of school, he told us that this was not a “joke” class or a throwaway elective and we had better be ready to work. He seemed unconcerned when a third of the class was gone the next day. Boswell is not afraid to tell it like it is, a trait that is refreshing after classes with teachers who seem determined to sugarcoat things.

Boswell believes in his students, something he showed by being confident we could complete his challenging assignments. He was unfazed by the looks of horror he received when he passed out copies of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” because he knew, with his guidance, we would all get through it.

Despite his seriousness, Bos has an incredible sense of humor and was never afraid to tell a joke or make a sarcastic comment. Once you earned his respect, it felt like you were part of a secret group with whom he could joke. It was a great feeling to be respected by a teacher enough to participate in his witty rapport. He is my radical because he made me feel as though my thoughts and opinions mattered. Matthew Boswell gave me an experience that I believe all teachers should strive to create. Most importantly, his goal was to get his students to enjoy learning. In my case, he succeeded.

By Erin Simmons

As smoke curled around in the crisp air of the January night, I closed my eyes. A hearty cherry tobacco smell drifted over to me, and I inhaled slowly. That is one of my favorite scents, as it reminds me of my Grandfather Clyde. He rocked slowly back and forth on his wooden rocker, occasionally puffing on his cork pipe. “Snow’s ass deep on a seven foot man, I’d say.” Clyde mumbled. I laughed at his dated expression. He has a lot of those; they never seem to run out. Old chestnuts, I suppose he’d call them.

We sat in silence for what seemed like a long while, not because we didn’t have anything to say, but for the simple fact that we enjoyed the silence. It never feels awkward or uncomfortable, that’s just Clyde’s way. He cherishes the modest things in life. Walks in the woods or a fresh packed pipe are his joys. He doesn’t need much to feel satisfied, laughs often, and appreciates small gestures. He is a dedicated man who sees a job through to the end. When family visits, he doesn’t allow distractions to get in the way. All of his attention is focused solely on the person he is with and what they have to say.

There aren’t many times in today’s world when a person can feel special. Most of us blend in to one another, copying the trends and following popular culture. Clyde makes everybody feel like they have something to offer, and you don’t have to trample over others to receive his praise. Everything in our lives is packed to the gills. We listen to our iPods as we surf the web while texting a frenemy at the same time as we hold a halfhearted conversation with a person we don’t truly care about. Clyde brings my family and I back down to earth. He makes eye contact when he speaks to you. My cell phone doesn’t get service at his house, because the town they live in probably isn’t even on a map (not that anybody outside of New England knows where Vermont is anyway). He holds his family and friends close, and all other unimportant things he casts aside. There is no extra baggage in his life weighing him down, and he is a content man for these reasons.

If everybody could live their lives like Clyde, the world may be less technologically advanced, but they would be happy. No false sense of being or phony friendships would exist. People might use phrases like: “On a sticky wicket”, or “Finer than a frog hair split four ways”, but the words would be involved in a conversation that meant something, not sent over a text. Many people miss out on the important things in life by exhausting themselves in a constant race to nowhere. Clyde has taught me how to be happy for eternity, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

By Angelike Bekiaris

Most people either say too much or say little to nothing at all. There are very few out there who have found the balance between the two. So, if you had to choose between the two, which would you choose? Well personally, I would choose to say what I wanted, much like how Kayne West does. I envy his ability to be so outspoken. It takes a lot of courage and confidence to speak out about what’s on one’s mind.

Kanye Omari West was born on June 8th of 1977. In his early life, his parents divorced. He attended school normally until college, where at first he attended classes at Chicago State University as well as the American Academy of Art. At some point he then dropped out to pursue his music career. His first productions were involved with rapper Grav’s album Down To Earth. West produced eight tracks on the album. Down To Earth didn’t really grab too much attention. His fame came later, when he started producing for A-Fella Records, where he ended up producing Jay Z’s song “This Can’t Be Life”.

He continued producing and had great success with it. West then began to pursue the career of rapping as a solo artist. His pursuit was quite a struggle though, seeing as A-Fella Records only saw him as a producer.

He then got the chance to rap a verse in Jay-Z’s album Blue Print: A Gift Or A Curse. He produced for this album, and was also signed to as a rapper.
As far as West’s outspoken side goes, there were a few times where he has spoken openly about how he feels. One of the most memorable ones I’d say was at the Video Music Awards, where West went to the stage after the first award was given, for Best Female Video, which was presented to country singer Taylor Swift. He took the microphone from her and said, “”Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” This of course made the audience go silent, both from shock as well as disgust. Later on, rapper Wale who was the MC for the house band, told the crowd, “You can’t fault a man for speaking his mind”. This of course was followed by more disgust from the audience, this time followed by booing.
Though being too outspoken sometimes can be taken harshly by most, it is still an admirable quality to have. The way I see it, if you don’t say barely anything or nothing at all, no one really takes note of your presence. But if you take a stand and say what you have to say, then people will hear you. Of course we all have different opinions and thoughts, so not everyone is going to approve or agree with what you say. But it is better to speak your mind, rather than go unheard, and that is why West is my radical.