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Adrian Liu
Opinions Editor, articles in Opinions and Arts & Life. Philosophy, 2020.

The Bent: The emperor’s new clothes

Recently I’ve found myself in settings where earnest, serious-minded people discussed topics that I had difficulty not finding pointless, and the story of the Emperor’s new clothes returned to my mind rather suddenly.

The climate crisis and the limitations of the courts

A three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit recently dismissed a case in which 21 young people asked the courts to demand federal government action on global warming. The panel did not deny the importance and urgency of taking measures to curb global warming, but rather concluded, with reluctance, that the claims were not redressable by the courts.

Music + X: Humanity

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen how classical music interacts with the real world to represent the intricacies of a presidential visit or the struggles of a suppressed nation. Adversity is often adjacent to the process of composing great classical music, and composers have found the source of musical gold out of disunity. But…

Music + X : Revolution

That music and revolution go hand in hand shouldn’t surprise us. The rousing spirit of protest songs like “¡El Pueblo Unido” in Chile, or “Go down Moses” of the American Underground Railroad can be among the most powerful vehicles for expressing the pathos and impetus behind an uprising of the people. In today’s installment of Music + X: classical music’s perspectives on revolution.

The rhetoric of PWR

Not all students hate Stanford’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), but they generally agree that other students hate it. There’s a rhetoric around PWR: a word-of-mouth opinion spread around campus about the two-quarter sequence that nearly all Stanford students take in their first and second years.

Music + X: Politics

From the earliest symphonies to operas made in the past decade, politics has been present in classical music — not only as a subject of composer’s interest, but as a force that shapes the music deemed worthy. Today, we consider two works of music: one by a Russian composer under the microscope of the 1920s Soviet Union, the other by an American composer given considerably more leeway to comment on American international politics of the 1970s.

On flakiness, part four: Counting on people

Shortly before Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, he told Senator Susan Collins that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision disallowing many state bans on abortion, was “settled law.” As Garrett Epps wrote in The Atlantic at the time, “[t]he implication was that Collins, who has indicated support for a…

On flakiness, part three: Flakiness and obligation

The essential sociality of flakiness Talk of flakiness may appear trifling, but it is talk in which we engage nonetheless, and it is telling that we have a word for it. We evidently find some value in identifying certain actions and calling them as “flaking,” and this reveals something of our values more broadly. By…

Greater care in retraction

Late Tuesday (May 14th), The Daily retracted an article, published on the same morning, about a Graduate School of Business Ph.D. student who claimed to have to forage for food. The piece was the second in a series of five (now four) stories about graduate students’ experiences with affordability at Stanford. The paper explained that the story “did not meet The Daily’s requirements for independent verification of facts and source attribution.”

The Bent: On flakiness, part two

What is flakiness? Last week, I surveyed what’s been written about flakiness in this paper, and found that the majority relied on this intuitive notion: Flaking is canceling plans (perhaps at the last minute) without a legitimate excuse. But this does not exhaust our intuitions about flaking. When we decide whether or not to flake,…

The Bent: On flakiness

What is flakiness? We all have certain intuitions about flakiness, but they are surely imprecise. What are the facts required for someone to have flaked — is it lateness, canceling, or skipping with no notice? How about the normative facts? Is flaking simply “bad,” or do we have more complicated attitudes toward it? Over the last few volumes of this paper, Daily writers have fleshed out their own intuitions on flaking in different ways. To understand flakiness better, let’s start with their thoughts.

Three questions to keep asking

What you have most in common with your fellow admitted students you also share with most of this year’s forty-two thousand applicants: you are generally competent and ambitious, and you filled out the application. That’s probably it.

The Bent: The accusation of hypocrisy

If Democrats responded as Republicans did when members of their own party were accused of sexual assault, they would look worse than Republicans. Democrats would be hypocrites, exactly because it’s been Democrats who have largely championed the movement to support victims of sexual assault.

Meredith Monk’s ‘Cellular Songs’ and ways of living

Meredith Monk’s “Cellular Songs,” which the composer performed with members of her ensemble at Bing Concert Hall this Saturday, is an prolonged meditation on the way we live, from the level of our cells to the level of our social fabric. Monk, a fixture of American classical music for over half a century, has given…

Introducing The Bent

Most of us have an intuitive inclination to react in ways that we want to characterize as “ethical.” If I see someone being beat up, I’m inclined to think that this ought not happen...My ought, I want intuitively to say, is specifically ethical.

The shimmering tonal ambivalence of Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s “ocean eyes” is tonally ambivalent: It inhabits multiple keys at once, and in so doing captures the complex, conflicting emotional valences that make up our feelings. Tonal ambivalence is not ambiguity, which would mean that the key is unclear. Nor is it tonal flux, which would mean that the key changes continuously. While…

What matters, and why?

“What matters to you, and why?” is the famous short-essay question we all answered to get into Stanford. But consider this different question: “what matters, and why?”

Being wrong

As I sat down to write my first opinion piece, a familiar thought greeted me: I understand so little of what I’m writing about that I can’t have an opinion on it. This was a thought previously most salient to me in discussion sections. I would stay quiet: an insecurity — insecurity that because I…
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