Archive for the ‘Fall ’07’ Category

Occasionally, articles slip through the cracks, or there just isn’t room for them in the print edition. This is one such case. Check out Kaitlin Valli’s article, railing against the phoniness of faux-alt-country ingenue Jenny Lewis. Check out Lewis’ website and decide for yourself.

Jenny Lewis album cover

Why I Don’t Trust Jenny Lewis

I don’t trust Jenny Lewis.

I was introduced to the concept of Jenny Lewis some time last year, when my friend Scott was getting into Rilo Kiley.

“I should download some of their stuff,” he said.

I didn’t mind the Rilo Kiley I had downloaded, and decided to take it to the next step: solo albums. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins had been getting some good reviews, and when I played the album I could see why.

Jenny Lewis has a sweet voice, and her songs were catchy, in a cutesy, folksy kind of way. And, yes, I guess I could have called it “soulful,” like every single music critic was doing during early 2006.

It was all fine, until one day, as I listened to her, it suddenly hit me: None of what she’s saying could possibly be genuine.

It’s all an act, from her lyrics to the twangy guitar and her sad eyes. My male friends had always commented upon how innocent she looked, how sweet. But, I thought, how can that be true? She’s like, thirty two. She’s from Los Angeles. But that was not the worst part of her façade—it was the real meaning of her music.

Her entire album is a parody of old-time country singers, and since no one in that hipster segment Jenny Lewis belongs to had ever really heard anything like it, she stands out for being so different, and therefore, cool.

The problem with Jenny Lewis is that most people tend to believe in the totally constructed image of her—the shy, sweet, earnest redhead with a broken heart. Do we think she’s not completely aware of her own construction?

She’s completely post-modern, but not in a good way. Her music is catchy and sweet, and could mean something to someone, but it can’t mean anything to anyone. If you believe her music, then you believe in a totally false creation.

Modern country music has never been cool, but there’s something about Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash that makes it okay for everyone to listen to them, even if they’re totally not relatable today—they’re classic, so it’s cool to admit liking them. There are no hints of modern country in Jenny Lewis’ album. It’s one hundred percent out of 1950s Tennessee and there’s no real relating to it. She knows she’s made an album that hipster kids can like, because it’s thoroughly disingenuous.

Never is this more evident than in her music video for her single “Rise Up With Fists!!!” The video is comprised of Jenny Lewis and the Watson twins in gaudy outfits, performing on a campy variety show. The song she’s singing is in the style of the artists she’s blatantly mocking. And there’s the proof: as soon as she decided to take a song that could—and should—have been a touching statement on the cheapness of the modern culture of relationships and set it in a music video that clearly mocks it, she completely discredits herself. That, or she just played an elaborate joke simply to mock a genre of music that once meant quite a lot to people.

Either way, Jenny Lewis is not to be trusted.

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Thanks to everyone who made last Monday’s launch party such a success! If you missed the party, we’ll be distributing the rest of the magazines (roughly 400 copies) across campus on Friday. Though they’ll be spread in a variety of locations, you can count on finding a copy in the second floor of Memorial Hall and in the gyms. If you can’t wait to get your DEcon fix, here’s an article to whet your appetite. You may also download a .pdf of the entire magazine on our website, at http://copland.udel.edu/stu-org/DeconMag/pi.html.

Fall ‘07 Cover

My Tango with the RIAA

Normally, I don’t pay much attention to how I get my music. All I know is that I need that song now. To say that I love music is simplifying it. I need music. I know this sounds over-dramatic, but after going through a depressing drought over the summer, I’ve realized that music is how I get through the day. Whether I’m happy, sad, or one of the myriad emotions in between, I can always find a song that will go with it, make it better, or help it along. Broken Social Scene, the Gossip, Arctic Monkeys, Voice, some Mary J. Blige, whatever. I’m not making life-size models of the Velvet Underground in clay, but it seems I’ve developed an unwavering dedication to finding new artists with new sounds and new experiences.

So when I received a notification letter from an IT security goon telling me I was being sued for my enthusiasm for both music and saving money, it was kind of a low blow. I shouldn’t say sued, necessarily. The RIAA kindly made me an offer: $3,000 in forty days or they would bring charges against me for copyright infringement.



Receiving anything that’s all in capitals usually causes me to panic a little, so you can imagine how much I was freaking out reading this letter.“Oh shit!” That was my main thought. I think I dissociated a little. I first read the letter while I was at my job in Philadelphia. It was late summer and I was just doing a routine email check.After reading the letter, I practically ran out of the office. I called the “Settlement Information Line,” where I was greeted by what sounded like a 16 year old trainee, who assured me thousands of people get letters like this every month.Comforting.I didn’t know what to do. I budgeted my money compulsively for a few days, and decided I would have to take their 6 month payment plan. Or I would have to take out a loan. Or…cry a lot. Maybe I could sell my back as advertising space on eBay.My iPod, which was happily full and used to being played all the time, was immediately shunned like it had the plague. I was specifically being accused of “distributing” more than 200 songs using LimeWire. I didn’t know that LimeWire opened up everything on your computer. I should have, but I didn’t. I’ve never had much luck with technology, really.

EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner had made it clear: You stole $200 worth of music from us, so we will threaten to sue you for up to $750 per song. It was also clear that they had completely reconstructed a relationship that had previously been pleasant.

As a lifelong music customer, I felt targeted and disrespected. I understand that I had illegally downloaded music. I did not, however, feel that what I did warranted threats.


According to dear friend dictionary.com, extortion is “the crime of obtaining money by the abuse of one’s office or authority.” I can’t really see what the RIAA did as anything else.


After calling the number they gave me, I was called back several times by the same little girl, pressuring me to make up my mind as to payment. I ended up paying the amount online, through a convenient site that UD actually refers students to when they receive one of these extortion letters.


In retrospect, I should have just ignored the entire thing. At the time, though, I was scared. I didn’t know my rights. I didn’t know what others had done, and I was being threatened.


The university didn’t help either. I called a head honcho in the IT department to try to figure out what had happened and he never returned my message. The woman I talked to at the IT number said she couldn’t help me. UD basically gave me the letter and left me to deal with it on my own. Hands-off. Good luck, you rebel. Maybe they were angry that they didn’t catch me.


Interestingly enough, not all universities have decided to be tools of the RIAA. According to consumerist.com, the University of Wisconsin has refused to forward RIAA letters unless they can provide a valid subpoena. The University of Nebraska is charging the RIAA $11 to process each letter. After all, universities are not working for the RIAA. Right?


The impression I get from UD is that they’d give out your information if they were pressed. After all, we already have “stalker net” through the main udel site that gives out my address.


After paying the money, I got an additional slap in the face by UD by getting a “strike” which would put me on probation for my senior year.


You know, I only wanted some music. With CDs selling at a going rate of $18, it’s no wonder so many students download. What I really don’t understand is why these companies are targeting one of their prime groups of consumers. Why college students, who don’t have any money to begin with?


My guess is because they can. They’re big, powerful, and scary. They’re losing money in record sales. Why not be pro-active and extort as much money from their consumers as they can? A lot of people would rather pay the $3,000 than risk the expenses of a lawyer in court.


All the righteous anger aside, what I really am is disappointed. Music shouldn’t be associated with people like this.


On the positive side, a lot of people are smartening up to the RIAA’s threat tactics. The RIAA is getting denied and accused left and right. Soon enough, they’ll regret this strategy.


Until then, I still plan on being a music head. I’m not going to let the business-heads get in my way. I will never buy a CD from them again, though.


You hear that evil music overlords? NEVER AGAIN!


Now I need to mellow out to some…Rage Against the Machine.

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Launch Party

The launch party was a great success! We handed out hundreds of magazines, and the response so far from the students has been extremely positive. Thank you to all the staff as well as all the students that came out to support our magazine.

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Fall ‘07 Cover

Due to the rain, we cannot hold the launch party at Trabant today. The people who run Trabant also prohibited food and music indoors, so we had no choice but to cancel.

We have rescheduled the launch party for Monday, Oct. 29th on the Trabant patio between 1 and 4 p.m. It is forcasted to be sunny that day, so we should be covered.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the magazine in advance, the staff is setting up a table inside Trabant and will be there between 12:30-ish and 4 p.m. today.

Tonight we’ll have the first “official” meeting of the Winter ’07 issue at 6:30 p.m. in the Scrounge at Perkins Student Center (off Academy St.). If you’re interested in writing, but can’t attend the meeting, feel free to email us with your idea and we’ll hold it for you.

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Check out the latest issue of DEconstruction, enjoy some free food, and listen to Stone City perform next Wednesday (Oct. 24th) from 1 to 4 p.m. on the patio outside the Trabant student center. Bring as many friends as you like or stop by between classes.

We’re already ramping up for the next issue of the magazine. If you’d like to claim an article or just share an idea, feel free to shoot us an email at derridevil@gmail.com. We’ll keep you updated with information about upcoming meetings and events.

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We’ll be having a general meeting this Wednesday (Oct. 17th) in the Scrounge at Perkins at 6:30 p.m. to kick off the next issue. Join us for brainstorming and info about the launch party (Oct. 24th 1pm on the Trabant Patio). We might also have a rough copy of this issue which should go to the printers tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who came out for layout, as well as Prof. Fallik for reserving the room.

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Layout Week

The magazine will be holding layout (how the magazine will look on paper) this coming week. We’ll be meeting every day (Mon. Oct. 8th through Fri. Oct. 12th) from 3 to 6 p.m. in the computer lab in the basement of the library. For layout we’ll be using Adobe inDesign instead of Quark, which we’ve used in the past. Don’t worry if you aren’t experienced with the program, since very few of us are. It’s a learning process and we’re all in the same boat. If you’d like to learn the basics before starting out, we suggest this website.

If you haven’t sent us your final draft, please send it to us by Monday.

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Our next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday (Oct. 3rd) in the Scrounge at Perkins Student Center on Academy St. With layout week (Oct. 8th – 12th) approaching, we need to have all final drafts in by the end of this week. There will be brimstone and an eternity of poking for anyone who doesn’t have their final drafts in our inbox by this Sunday. As always, send them to us at derridevil@gmail.com. If you’re having any problems with the editing process or are interested in the layout process, feel free to contact us.

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Our next meeting will be held this Wednesday (the 26th) at 6:30 p.m. in the Scrounge at Perkins Student Center (on Academy St.). This is the last call for rough drafts. If we don’t have them by this meeting, we will not be accepting them. Music, movie, and book reviews of material already in release are due the same day. If you want to review something which is released between now and Oct. 5th, we’ll set up due dates individually. Finally, if you haven’t been assigned an editor or are having problems with the editing process, feel free to let us know. Send all drafts and other concerns to us at derridevil@gmail.com. If you’re interested in layout, cover design, or photography, please let us know as we’re heading into those stages of production in the coming weeks.

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Just in case you haven’t seen this video, we respectfully present the tasing of a university student. The video induces a strange mixture of hilarity and righteous indignation. The victim was loud-mouthed and histrionic, but this represents the sorry state of our freedom of speech. Meanwhile, nearly every student in the audience appears ambivalent. We’ll be running a story about this incident in the next issue, written by James Adams Smith. In the meantime, enjoy this video and watch out for the rent-a-cops with tasers.

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