The Case For An Academic Examination Of Phish Fandom

first_imgThe first-ever Phish Studies Conference will take place May 17–19 at Oregon State University. For much of the Phish community, scholarship is a foreign idea. The enigmatic world of academic conferences and peer-reviewed journals is something that only those in academia are privy to. But for those academics participating in the conference, the chance to blend their livelihoods with their passions is nothing short of a dream come true. For the rest of the Phish community, this is their chance to witness something monumental: the birth of a new academic discipline to validate the deep level of thinking in which this community regularly engages.It was only a matter of time before this happened. The Phish community grew out of east coast college students in the 80s and 90s who eventually had to pursue greater goals beyond Phish tour when the band began their series of hiatuses. This is an intelligent group of people who, for the most part, participate in complex and intellectually inspiring conversations about the band all the time. Fans use their college-born skills to dissect every nuance of the band and this community because, well, because Phish is our life, and who doesn’t want to delve into a conversation about the meaning of life?In fact, there is even a whole discipline dedicated to Fandom Studies. These scholars explain how fandom enhances our lives by allowing us to participate in meaningful discourse, similar to academic communities—which, essentially, are the only places that adults are able to consistently engage in the philosophical engagement that many crave. The fans participating in the conference, a group of the most non-traditional scholars you will ever meet, are men and women who have used the band and the community as case studies for their disciplines of choice in order to gain status as PhDs.This is no easy feat. Academics are stuffy by nature and have very particular views about what constitutes an acceptable area of study. Most do not see modern day jam bands as a good example of groundbreaking research. But why not? We all agree that Phish stands out as a leader in the jam band community, with the unique way they have brought together a neat little community of people who have dedicated a large chunk of their existence to participation in the rituals that are required to be a fan. Ask a fan his or her opinion on a show, a set, an individual jam, and you are likely to receive a dissertation-like response that can rival any peer-reviewed publication. There is no doubt in any Phish fan’s mind that documenting the actions of this band is essential to preserving this cultural anomaly, a band that changed the rules and continues to grow with new fans and new ways of communicating to and inspiring those fans to join the ranks of their dedicated base.In this respect, Phish allows us to hold up a mirror to a culture and reflect upon the ways in which we situate ourselves in the world. As you can imagine, Phish fans are hella-smart, and their papers reflect an engaging look into their various areas of study, which makes it a great way to digest interdisciplinary studies (see: academic buzzword). This is why, in November of 2018, a group of eight scholar-fans participated in a panel of presentations about their individual studies related to the band at the 104th National Communications Conference. Stuffy academics, beware! Scholar-fans are here to shake things up.The conference at OSU is the vision of Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, the philosophy professor behind the online course “Philosophy of the School of Phish”. In fact, this past summer, she brought a group of her students to The Gorge as the lab portion of the class and staged the first ever academic colloquium at a Phish show. Eight scholars presented their research for the students, along with a host of curious fans who braved the sweltering heat in order to debate the concept of the “wook” and the statistical formula used to predict the rating of a Phish show on Phish.net. It was a glorious afternoon, and a clear indication of how hungry Phish fans are for a deeper and more intellectual view into how they spend their free time. Remember the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?” Well, welcome to early retirement.While the concept of an academic conference about a jam band may raise some questions, as in “whose tax dollars are supporting this?”, it is essential to contemplate the implications of such an innovative proposal. Besides the obvious ability to poke some holes in the academic bubble that is disconcerting for aspiring PhDs these days, there are other benefits to this formula. Firstly, this academic conference will host a panel of students who will have the opportunity to learn how to present at a conference. In addition, they will be connected with existing academics to mentor them in their aspirational studies. This concept aligns with our community as a place where like-minded people are welcome to participate in and be accepted by others who may have more expertise and are willing to share their knowledge. In other words, we must support a deeper level of intellectual engagement in a more public arena in order to expose the nuances of the theories that already guide our lives. An academic conference on Phish Studies, which can attract an audience of non-academics, can illuminate the need for more exposure to bigger ideas which inspire the enlightening conversation that we so desperately need today. There is no better community to support this endeavor than the Phish community.So what can you do? For starters, we can start this dialogue, make it an ongoing, productive conversation that will inspire action where we need it most—the places that Phish fans converge in their views of the world. The financial and emotional support of this community can do wonders for the field of academia that is currently in a precarious place, and the Phish Studies Conference is an excellent place to start.Currently, there is a small price tag for students to attend the conference (academics can generally get some support from their universities). There are also opportunities to sponsor a student’s academic endeavors. Non-phans are also encouraged to come and check out the thought-provoking insights on the fan base with which we’re so familiar. We can do our due diligence to document this amazing world we are privy to, in order to ensure future generations can learn from it. We know that it’s not just about the music. Why not prove it to everyone else?Registration for the Phish Studies Conference at Oregon State University on May 17–19 is now open. For a tentative list of presentations at the conference, click here. You can also click here to learn more about how to make a donation or sponsor a student, or head here for more information.last_img read more

Alcohol misuse leads to ER

first_imgAt least 10 ambulances have responded to alcohol-related incidents on Notre Dame’s campus so far this semester, according to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP). NDSP Director Phil Johnson said extreme intoxication should not be taken lightly. “Sometimes a student sees another student drink too much,” Johnson said. “Putting them to bed can be a very dangerous idea … You can’t simply put someone to bed who is intoxicated who might aspirate and stop breathing.” In 2010-2011, Johnson said ambulances transported individuals to the hospital for alcohol poisoning on 78 occasions. The prior school year, NDSP reported 76 alcohol-related dispatches for ambulances, and from 2008-2009, 71. At one of two local hospitals, students can receive treatment ranging from rehydration to stomach pumping for alcohol poisoning. Johnson said these statistics include both Notre Dame students and visitors to campus. Football weekends increase the risk of excessive intoxication on campus, Johnson said, and more alcohol-related trips to the hospital occur during the fall semester. “During the fall we often see an uptick, definitely an uptick on Saturdays [for football weekends],” Johnson said. Emergency medical responders need to evaluate a number of factors when they deal with a student who is extremely intoxicated. Johnson said an EMT will evaluate a patient’s level of responsiveness, general medical history, ability to speak and stand, blood alcohol content (BAC) and other factors. “From a first response standpoint, we make sure we get appropriate medical care to someone who needs it,” he said. In over 20 years with NDSP, Johnson said both law enforcement and campus officials have become more proactive about alcohol education. “I think now that we are more keenly aware of the perils of alcohol with an overdose, we are operating with more caution,” Johnson said. Some students are reluctant to call an ambulance for an underage friend in danger because they are afraid of disciplinary consequences for that person or for themselves, Johnson said. But he said discipline is far from the minds of emergency responders. “We’re trying to make sure people are safe and are getting the best care when presented with a potentially life-threatening situation,” he said. “Call 9-1-1, and take care of the person. Life safety comes first.” Kathleen O’Leary, director of Residence Life for the Office of Student Affairs, agreed with Johnson. “When a friend has consumed alcohol and you are concerned about their well-being, always contact hall staff or NDSP at 9-1-1 for medical assistance,” O’Leary said. “Leaving a friend to ‘sleep it off’ is extremely dangerous … While the University does not currently have a medical amnesty policy, the surrounding circumstances of an alleged violation of University policy are always taken into consideration.” O’Leary’s office handles discipline cases for students who are taken to the hospital for excessive drinking. “When addressing instances of severe intoxication, our office’s primary concern is for that student’s physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being,” O’Leary said. “Students will meet with us to go through the disciplinary process, which we intend to be an educational one.” The disciplinary process is a chance to have “an educational conversation” about decision-making, as well as the University’s expectations and policies regarding alcohol possession and consumption. O’Leary said students could also receive alcohol assessment and education through the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education. “If the Office of Residence Life determines that a student is responsible for a violation of University policy, the nature of the offense and the circumstances surrounding it, the student’s prior disciplinary violations — if any — the impact of the misconduct on the community and prior similar cases will be among the factors considered in determining a sanction,” O’Leary said. According to du Lac, this sanction could include alcohol counseling, loss of on-campus parking and driving privileges, community service and disciplinary probation, among other punishments. Christine Nowak, director of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, said her office exists to educate students about the consequences of alcohol abuse. “We are student-friendly, student-driven and educational,” Nowak said. “We’re not a part of discipline, not a counseling office and not the police. We are giving students the power to make better decisions.” Excessive drinking is a problem on most college campuses, Nowak said. “There’s a progression, and at the far end of that progression is alcohol poisoning, sexual assault and property damage,” Nowak said. “The biggest change has to happen at the student level with students positively confronting other students … This is a safety concern and a health concern.” While some students might shy away from these conversations, Nowak said expressing concern about dangerous drinking habits to a friend is important. “For some folks, that’s all they need to hear from a friend,” Nowak said. “I have great faith that students can change the culture if they want to and make it safe and healthy for everyone … A lot of people have a social life without alcohol.”last_img read more

The Latest: Soccer suspended in Mexico

first_imgThe men’s top-tier Brazilian championship is scheduled to begin in April. The decision does not affect state championships currently being played. Some matches were held without any fans this weekend in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo, Rio and other state soccer bodies are set to decide Monday on their course of action.___2:50 p.m.The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority says all of the ski areas and venues that it manages will suspend operation at the close of business Sunday. Valencia’s Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay says that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first Spanish league player to become infected. “I have tested positive for the coronavirus,” Garay wrote on a social media account Sunday. “I feel well and now the only thing to do is to follow the instructions of health officials to remain confined.” Valencia added in a statement that a total of five members of its staff and team have the new virus, without specifying if Garay is the only player. It says that all are in good health and confined at their homes.Garay, who is recovering from surgery after tearing a ligament in February, said in a message posted on Instagram that “it’s clear that 2020 is starting on the wrong foot.”On Saturday, fellow Spanish club Alavés said that two members of its coaching staff had the virus. It said they are in good health. NCAA President Mark Emmert has said postponing the tournament indefinitely was not feasible.___4:45 p.m.Brazil’s soccer confederation has suspended all competitions under its control due to the coronavirus outbreak.The tournaments affected include the men’s Brazilian Cup, the top two tiers of the women’s Brazilian championship, and junior tournaments. 4:05 p.m.NCAA vice president of men’s basketball Dan Gavitt says brackets won’t be created for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments that were canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Gavit says he made the decision and it was supported by basketball committees.“There is not an authentic way to produce tournament fields and brackets at this point without speculating,” Gavitt said Sunday, the day the men’s NCAA Tournament field had been scheduled to be announced. “And, that isn’t fair to the teams that would be positively or negatively impacted by manufacturing March Madness. More importantly, in light of this global health crisis, I believe we need to keep college basketball in perspective.”College basketball’s showcase was canceled on Thursday, leading to suggestions from coaches and athletic directors to release brackets for the event even though it won’t happen this year.“Players and coaches want to see their school name on the bracket,” Gavitt acknowledges. “Members of the media want to dissect matchups. Bracketologists want to compare the work of the committees versus what they’ve predicted. Fans are curious for those same reasons. All of us want something to fill the void we’re feeling. However, anything less than a credible process is inconsistent with the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships. … There will always be an asterisk next to the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships regardless if brackets are released.” The Latest: Soccer suspended in Mexico Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):2:10 p.m.Professional soccer is shutting down in Mexico following Sunday’s matches, which were already being played with no fans present as a precaution due to the new coronavirus. March 15, 2020center_img Gremio players and coaching staff arrived at the Rio Grande do Sul state championship game wearing the masks. Authorities in Brazil have not ordered the cancellation or postponement of sporting events because of the corona pandemic but recommended that games are held without fans. Grêmio beat tiny São José 3-2 with no fans present.___5:15 p.m. Closures include all Nordic and Alpine ski resorts including Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, Belleayre Mountain Ski Resort in the Catskills, Gore Mountain in North Creek and Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, near Lake Placid. All Lake Placid Olympic sites will also be closing, including the Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Sports Complex, The Olympic Oval and the Olympic Center including its museum and retail shops.___6:45 p.m.Soccer players at Brazilian club Gremio have staged a protest of their own by wearing face masks on the field before the start of their game against São José on Sunday. The Spanish league has suspended play due to the pandemic. Most people quickly recover from the global virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The measure applies to the men’s top flight and second division as well as the fledgling women’s league. Soccer officials said in a statement that the suspension would remain in effect until it’s determined that it’s safe to restart play in coordination with Mexico’s Health Department.Mexico previously played soccer matches without fans for several weeks during the 2009 H1N1 influenza health emergency, an outbreak with Mexico as the epicenter.Federal health officials on Saturday night raised the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 41, up from 26 the previous day and 11 the day before that. On Sunday at least two more were announced by state-level authorities.___ Serie A is currently suspended until April 3, along with all other sports in Italy, the European epicenter of the virus outbreak.UEFA has a meeting planned on Tuesday to discuss the calendar. The virus outbreak has also tested the limits of soccer’s World Cup schedule.___1:15 p.m. The Italian soccer federation is planning to ask UEFA to postpone the European Championship.Federation president Gabriele Gravina tells Mediaset TV that Italian officials want Serie A to be completed by June 30.The Stadio Olimpico in Rome is slated to host the opening match of Euro 2020 on June 12, plus three other games of the tournament.Gravina says, “The hope is to finish by June 30. … And we’ll need to insert the Champions League and Europa League also. The deadline is June 30, then we’ll eventually see if we need to exceed that.”He adds, “We’ll propose to UEFA that they postpone the Euros.”last_img read more