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The TV and movies we watch, the games we play and the music we listen to form a big part of our identity. “Geek culture,” which has become the popular culture of this decade, is a cultural identity entirely based on what media you consume. Dating websites use your favorite music and movies as a means to match you with other people. Essentially, you are what media you consume and that media can influence your behavior and self-image.
If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I appreciate a full, well-trimmed man-beard. While some people might see a man’s unshaven face as rough and barbaric, I know I’m not alone in viewing a well-kept beard as a sign of maturity, authority, and having a general indie-hipster persona. At first glance, trends like beards or tattoos may initially spark connotations of “deviance” or “relapse” from growing up into sophisticated adulthood. But our Millennial generation is turning the tables so that these trends are viewed alongside innovation and professionalism without as much conflict as before.
In 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau, about
45 million people were living in poverty. At the same time, big corporations
like General Motors continue to bring in millions of dollars in profits – $278
million in 2014, according to Standard & Poor – while paying zero taxes.
That’s right, while millions of Americans are living under the poverty line,
struggling to survive, major corporations are reaping the benefits of loopholes
and policies put in place by special interest lobbyists. This figure should
disturb you, as it does me, because when the focus of the government and its
policies is on the benefit of those with the most economic power, the system is
very clearly broken. Yet, those responsible have somehow managed to avoid any
real blame by shifting the focus to those who have no power at all: the poor.
In times of economic recession and political failure, it is
up to the citizenry to alter the course of history, as we must all be the
change we wish to see in the world. Those who rise to the occasion are the
“sheepdogs” of society, guiding the sheep through the meadows and biting back
at the wolves of corruption and bureaucracy.
When people talk about the oil industry in the United States, conversations tend to spiral downhill as we hope for a greener future, but expect no immediate changes. As college students, we especially feel the stretch in our pockets when we pay about $3.50 a gallon at the pump or sigh at our heating and electric bills, knowing it’s all going to the wealthy few up top. But I see America changing its course, and when it does, people will jump on it.
In a time when the wealthiest people in the nation have more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, when they hold more influence than those in office, and when the voice of the people has virtually no effect on the policies being put into place, it is entirely evident that we need a major change in the ways we think and do things. We need a paradigm shift in not only our government, but in our culture and society as a whole. I believe that Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is that change.
Every day I see it more and more frequently, students walking around or standing outside classes puffing away, not on traditional cigarettes, but on electronic cigarettes. Some even smoke them inside buildings while walking to class. This alternative to traditional cigarettes has been around for the past few years, but is just now beginning to gain popularity, especially among young people. However, little is known about the potential negative side-effects of this new craze and it worries me.
The comic book film industry has a huge problem with how it portrays its female characters – in that it doesn’t. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are massively popular, with over 3 billion dollars grossed over 11 movies, not one single movie featured a woman in the title role. Marvel has 11 more movies planned, but only one of those, “Captain Marvel,” is headlined by a woman.
Right now, the government is collecting the metadata – the digital trail you leave on your electronic devices – of millions of Americans and storing it in huge data-mining facilities across the country. Although the second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on May 7 that such bulk collection of Americans’ metadata through a program code-named PRISM is not authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act, a provision that allows U.S. intelligence agencies to access records or other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government remains persistent; and not only is the government basing PRISM’s legitimacy on a vague interpretation of section 215, but they are also violating your constitutional rights and liberty by doing so.
From shortly after noon on a Saturday earlier this month until later that night, it seemed that all anyone could talk about was the earthquake that hit us. Being that the last earthquake to originate in Michigan was in 1994, a shake like this was something a lot of us had never felt before or that a lot of us don’t remember feeling. Through scouring the Internet, it seems that there are two conclusions to this rare Michigan occurrence. Either there are deep, hidden faults in Michigan or these earthquakes are a result of fracking.
A study was recently conducted by two
professors of Princeton University and Northwestern University, Martin Gilens
and Benjamin I. Page, respectively, in which a single question was asked: “Does
the government represent the people?” The study, which “took data from nearly
2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up
becoming law,” according to represent.us – an activist website – found that the
“opinions of 90% of Americans has essentially no impact at all.” The results of
this 20-year-long study is extraordinarily disconcerting, since the will of the
people is meant to carry an exceedingly powerful influence in a democratic society
such as our own; yet, the reality is the exact opposite, thanks to big money
and special interests.
On April 30, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an
independent from Vermont, officially announced that he would be running for the
Democratic nomination for president in 2016. He is the first official
challenger to Hillary Clinton and is the kind of candidate this election
Having recently watched the film myself, I can safely say
that “American Sniper” gives a simplistic and myopic view of Muslims, as there
are no attempts to distinguish between actual terrorists and peaceful Arabs or
Muslims. To the film and its characters, they are all savages. This is likely
the reason that many Muslim students have become concerned for their safety
and dignity on campuses where "American Sniper" as been scheduled to screen.
I believe that a realist perspective is required to solve the qualms of conflicting ideologies. When amid a public relations disaster you must focus on the practical, pragmatic and probable, not the ideological, as this may add fire to the flame with further political foolishness. As is the case for public relations disasters, compromise is absolutely necessary.
On April 25 peaceful protests over the Baltimore Police Department’s involvement in the death of Freddie Gray turned violent, escalating into riots that lasted through the night. Social media exploded with commentary and people condemned the violence and the lootings. No one wants to see a city burn and people get hurt. Several contrasts were made between the peaceful protests led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and these protests. These contrasts were made in order to take legitimacy away from the protests and paint them as being simply violent.
Religious fundamentalists who believe that the Rapture is coming should not be elected to public office.
A news story came out of Midland, Michigan earlier last month about a woman suing Planet Fitness over having her membership revoked after she complained about a transgender woman sharing the women’s locker room. Yvette Cormier was initially shocked because she didn’t realize the “man” was a woman.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed a bill last week that would require Congressional approval of any agreement made with Iran. The bill has the support of both Republicans and Democrats, and The New York Times reported that President Obama has reluctantly agreed to the measure after a series of last-minute compromises and concessions.
Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with over 160 confirmed kills. He was honorably discharged from the military in 2009 and went on to write an autobiography about his experiences. Most people know him though from the recent film, American Sniper, which came out in December of 2014. The movie explores the life as a Navy Seal which Chris Kyle lived.
The presidential elections are coming, and once again we’re wrought with a colossal number of candidates who have enveloped themselves in the flames of fundamentalism, extreme conservatism and globalist-capitalist rhetoric. It’s no surprise anymore to see such fantastically bombastic and absurd candidates, such as Ted Cruz and the retuning Rick Santorum wildly grasping at the presidency with hands soaked in the blood of phony-patriotism, superfluous financial backing and traditionalism-turned-fanaticism.