MILLS | Haha, I’m Sad

There’s something about throwing up a janky peace sign to yourself in a greasy mirror post-weekly Wednesday night sobbing session (no, not the one you had scheduled in your G-Cal that should have ended forty-five minutes ago, the one that came after you hit that point in the night where you realized it was an all-nighter kinda night) that gives you the strength to wash off your runny mascara that you paid an extra ten dollars for and wipe off the remnants of the half a gallon of chocolate milk you impulsively bought at Jansen’s twenty minutes ago (even though you’re lactose intolerant and wanted to go Vegan three days ago) and walk back into the Cocktail Lounge. I know what you’re thinking, “wow, Sara, that’s like really messy, maybe you should see someone” or “maybe just stop buying the chocolate milk?”, but I sweaarrr it’s totally not about me, and if it was, I’m only sometimes lactose intolerant. “It just be like that sometimes,” my freshman year self told the mirror as she vehemently denied the toxic pattern in thinking she was developing. 

And yet so many of us are fine with the culture of casual depression. Predicated on the normalization of our mental illnesses and declining mental health as a coping mechanism, there emerges what I like to call: the increasingly dangerous “I’m sad lol” and “I hate my self-ie” culture. In Mikhail Lyubansky’s article “Robin Williams and the Mask of Humor,” he recalls his work with troubled youth, explaining their different manifestations of depression: some being so sad they’re unable to utter words, others angry to the point of violence, and a third group, the hardest to reach, “the entertainers”.

MANGA MONDAYS | Advertising with Anime: Places as Products

If you’re ever riding a train in Japan’s Tottori prefecture, you might be lucky enough to ride the “Conan Train.” Which, as it happens, is exactly the same as a regular train, except for the fact that the outside is a giant advertisement for the “Conan” anime (that’s “Case Closed” in America). Why, you might ask, is there such an over-the-top advertisement for an anime in the middle of Japan’s least populous prefecture? Surely the advertisement would reach more people in Tokyo? As it happens, Tottori prefecture is the home of Gosho Aoyama, the author and illustrator of the Conan manga. Thus, it’s not that someone is advertising the anime or manga.

THE WORLD AROUND YU | America Under Trumpism


I grew up in a minority-majority enclave in the Bay Area. My elementary school was made up of 800 students whose demographics were made up of roughly fifty-percent East Asian and fifty-percent South Asian. There, at school, you could probably count the number of white kids on one hand. Almost everyone had immigrant parents and spoke at least two languages. There, you would see not just Christians but Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Atheists, just to name a few, playing together during recess.

ON MY MIND | Cultural Appropriation, Giraffes and You

You already know what this is about. And I get it, Halloween’s over – cultural appropriation isn’t a hot topic anymore. The people have moved on. Wait until next year. Wait for the hashtags to pop up again, wait for the flame wars and public smear campaigns, wait for the liberal think-pieces, wait for the conservative backlash, wait for those little voices of incredulity and derision – the voices of “reason” – to percolate up through your subconscious.

WHITE KNUCKLES | Bucket Lists and the Ancient World

We all have the painful awareness that, during our lifetime, we will not have time to read every book worth reading, to visit every place that fascinates us, to learn what we’ve always dreamed of doing, to play musical instruments and knit scarves. In response to this anxiety, we make lists; bucket lists. Things to do, things you must see, 100 movies to watch at least once. They help us keep track of the meaningful time, of the time that does not dissolve between library hours and scheduled meetings and meals and sleep, the time that crystallizes in scrapbooks and gleaming pictures, in timeless anecdotes and stories repeated over and over. Cornell has its own bucket list, 161 things to do.

MANGA MONDAYS | Conventions and Stereotypes

A while ago I attended the Kyoto International Manga and Anime Fair, which, as far as I can tell, is only international insofar as foreigners get in free. But hey, I’m not one to turn down a free anime convention. But, it turns out, the price of the convention was actually a two-hour wait in a line that extended all the way around the block and into the parking lot of a nearby museum (did I mention it was raining?). But honestly, it was pretty worth it. It was all the usual things you’d expect from an anime convention – shops, cosplay, live events onstage, fellow nerds getting way too excited about TV shows they like, etc.

THE E’ER INSCRUTABLE | Fimbulwinter: The Rhein’s Fury, Part I

“Jetzt komme, Feuer! Begierig sind wir,

Zu schauen den Tag,

Und wenn die Prüfung

Ist durch die Knie gegangen,

Mag einer spüren das Waldgeschrei.” -Friedrich Hölderlin, “Der Ister”

Almost two thousand years are to be retrospectively traversed from the death of Hitler to the object of my next inquiry. This is an ode to the Rhein river, the fosterer of an independent Germany, and a blessing, and a curse. In 55 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar built a bridge over the Rhein. The river was dark, wild, and churned with the same malevolence which the peoples of the sunnier Mediterranean perhaps perceived in the spectral shapes flitting amongst the German pines.

FECKLESS AND FRECKLED | Cultural Appropriation in Fiction: A Liberal Hoax?

“You liberals get off my lawn!” commands Lionel Shriver in her recent New York Times Op-Ed. Shriver, who might be more well known for her bellicose opening address at the Brisbane Writers Festival earlier this month than any of the 13 books she’s published, has more than several bones to pick with the “left,” or anyone who is not a blatant homophobe, sexist, racist or otherwise elitist. The author was asked to speak on the topic of “community and belonging.” She chose instead to focus on identity politics.  A valid substitution, given all the discourse about campus activism and trigger warnings. Personal identities have never truly been personal; they’ve always affected our communal spaces.


Hello, world! I am the iPhone 7.* You might have heard about me. Apple—my divine maker, God of contemporary consumer electronics as ordained by the capitalist super-state—released me into the free market a few days ago. I am here to converse with you about—that’s right!—the dreaded “us.”

You and me. We need to talk.

ATARISTOTLE | Super Smash Bros. in the Black Community

So if you’ve read my bio or just know me personally, I absolutely adore the party, fighting-game Super Smash Bros. So much so, that winning or losing in a game of four player free-for-all or one-on-one I will physically  transform this angry, volatile beast that has me taking my shirt off and foaming at the mouth to play again and again and again. And if I can’t do that, I will train alone in my room for a few hours the next morning until my nails chip and the skin on my thumbs peel. Silently, I savor every moment. 

Sounds unhealthy? You bet.