Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Super Mario Bros. for NES introduced the concept in the early 80s. After defeating Bowser in the first castle, Mario finds a one of the Toad people who informs him that his journey is far from over. The Legend of Zelda takes this concept to the next level. Link battles through all of Hyrule just to find that he can save Princess Zelda, but he does not really get the girl in the end. These characters are joined by many as the icons that gamers spend hours trying to save and protect. With the significant influence from their games, does this have an effect on how they see real life relationships and expectations of the opposite sex?

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A couple of days ago, Arthur Chu over at The Daily Beast blogged to discuss this very issue. His article highlighted how the recent actions of one man serve as an example for how men have become misguided in their assumptions of finding relationships, love, and sex with women. Being there to save the princess does not automatically mean that the princess must give herself to the hero’s every whim. Also highlighted were shows like The Big Bang Theory, which portrays its lead character living across from a beautiful woman and finding a way to be her close friend until he finally is able to date her. He highlights how these images have distorted some men’s views and caused them to expect a return on their success and good behavior. When those expectations are not met and some men feel slighted by life, they have taken it out on women through violence, rape, and murder.

Chu’s article covers a lot of related elements, but its main point is definitely strong and true. Men, whether video game players, movie watchers, or otherwise, have come to expect that success leads to whatever they want in a partner. In some cases, this presumption even exists without success as an assumed indicator of relationship likelihood. Take the incident in Santa Barbara, CA. Assuming that women owe any man anything with regards to sex, love, or otherwise is naive and chauvinistic. To act against women because you feel slighted is foolish. To enter into any space to kill woman as symbolism of your vengeance against an entire sex for made-up expectations you created is just plain horrific.

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It does not matter if the guy feels led on. It does not matter if the woman one lusts after has been a friend for their entire lives. It does not matter if the guy feels that he is about to permanently end up in the “friend zone.” None of these scenarios deserve the actions that one man perpetrated in that sorority house. I refuse to give his manifesto and YouTube videos any direct attention, but I cannot help but feel disgusted by his expectations of women and his reactions to feeling rejected. Everyone has felt rejected for some reason or another. Maybe there was a job you really wanted or a promotion for which you thought you would be perfect. Maybe you have a sibling who gets more attention than you think they deserve. Maybe a teacher or professor struggles to see a point you made or the effort you put into an assignment. The answer to any of these issues is not to seek vengeance or enact some sort of violence in the name of your damaged ego.

You know what qualities most women seem to appreciate? What about communication? What about respect? What if a man who was interested in a woman just simply asked her if she was interested too? If she said no, is it not time to move on and hope for better luck with someone else?

One of the important things that Chu took time to highlight was the media’s attention on the shooter’s mental illness. While I studied psychology in college and appreciate the controllable and uncontrollable elements of mental and emotional challenges, they do not make up the entire story of a person’s actions and do not absolve a person of wrongdoing. The reality is that rape culture is still prevalent, women’s rights are still not equal in the eyes of human rights advocates, and social culture still fails to resolve perception issues with entitlements and expectations of men over women. the answer is not to keep women for flirting or dressing provocatively. It is not to teach women how to protect themselves from potential attackers or stalkers (even though those are valuable skills given the current social climate). It is for men to learn what it really means to be a man.

Being a man is about respect for oneself and those around them. It is about being advocates for equal rights and treatment for men an women. It is about respecting the choices of other and being accountable for your own. Save the princess if you choose to…just do not expect her to bow to your needs afterwards. Gratitude is nice, but returning affections is a choice that she deserves the right to make. If your princess is in another castle, then do not give up or blame the one in front of you for your situation. Learn to move on and “fight” for what you want but not expect things that are out of your control.

Chu choose the right words when he says, “He needed to grow up. We all do.” Dream about what you want but do not blame others for how it turns out. You only have yourself to hold accountable.

It is only fitting that I get to have such a phenomenal topic to serve as my 100th post on this blog. The Supreme Court made some remarkable steps toward real progress with their decisions announced earlier today. Equal rights in relation to marriage are a step closer to actually being true.

DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was officially pronounced to be unconstitutional in a 5-4 decision. Of course Justice Scalia dissented but it does not matter in the end. This is also not the end of the debate. the Supreme Court did not officially endorse gay marriage or equal marriage, but rather denied the block to the future opportunity. This does serve as a real accomplishment but it is also a major moral victory. It allows gay couples and advocates to feel like there is more acceptance of partnerships beyond “traditional” heterosexual ones.

In addition to DOMA, the Supreme Court also dismissed the case for California’s Prop 8, which looked to ban same-sex marriage. While this did not get rid of the bans in 35 other states, it sets a precedent for additional battles with other state bans. This also brings back the rights of people in California looking for love to mean the same thing for all people.

This was a good day!

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/26/politics/scotus-same-sex-main/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews

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For as long as I can remember, the Washington Redskins have been under fire for the organization’s refusal to change its name. One of several nationally-recognized sports franchises to use a Native American pseudonym for its name, being placed in the heart of this nation’s politics makes it a high target for social justice advocacy groups.

I am a proud supporter of the team, its history and its future, but I am also deeply troubled by the name. The word is derogatory. It negatively classifies a selection of our population in the same way as the n-word or other stereotype and discriminatory slang. No amount of symbolism that gets thrown into the mix can hide the fact that the word is not one synonymous with anything appropriate.

Dan Snyder is probably one of the most hated owners in all of professional sports but he continues to find ways to get more and more people angry and upset with him. He is not the only only to receive a name change pressure but he has public said, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” Besides the concepts of tradition and history, may question is why not?

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In comparison to the Redskins drama, you can look at examples of other Native American-based teams and how they have handled the controversy. The Florida State Seminoles met with their counterpart tribe and were able to come to a mutual agreement over the use of the tribe’s name and likeness in their festivities related to the campus and its sports. This is a situation where the tribe provide the acceptance for the use of their name. The Redskins cannot make the same case. There is no Redskins tribe. It is just a derogatory name used to classify all Native Americans. There is no one available to get approval from.

The Golden State Warriors used to use Native American imagery in their promotions but were pressured enough in 1971 to remove the Native American influence and switch to something representing the state of California. The Atlanta Braves eliminated the human imagery with their logos but retained the tomahawk chop cheer and image of the tomahawk on their uniforms. The Chicago Blackhawks and the Cleveland Indians eliminated some of their imagery but retained some logos on parts of their uniforms, as well as the names. The Washington Redskins have no ability to just change the image (which they tried once before with the spear) because it is still the name that is the main focus. The Indians and the Blackhawks still have some work left to do as well.

There is a part of me that wants to get behind Snyder (*cough*) and VP Karl Swanson and say that you can change the meaning of the word to something more sacred and acceptable, like courage, dignity and leadership. Part of me wants to fall back on the concept of history and tradition. But the reality is that it is not up to me to decide this. In the same way that other populations have chosen which words offend them and which can be reclaimed in positive ways, I to have to respect the Native American population’s right make the choice for themselves. If they deem the name to be racist, then it is racist and needs to be changed.

But still, there is one other problem…what do you change it to? I think the biggest challenge in this fight and why it has been so difficult for the organization to accept their role in continuing to discriminate against a selection of our population is the fact that they have not exerted the energy to and no one has provided a compelling name for the team to be changed to. Unfortunately, a number of great names have already been taken that would be perfect for a team in the nation’s capital (Eagles, Patriots, Nationals, Capitals). Using a name like the Senators would fall flat with the public’s distrust of Congress’s ability to get things done. Maybe these are possibilities…

  • Skins: The abbreviation of the current name may just be a little too ridiculous to justify, though.
  • Warriors: Snyder already trademarked the image for another team but used it in 2002.
  • Braves: Similar to the baseball team, there would have to be a sense of care for the imagery used but this could be one of the best options.
  • Federals: This is just too hokey with the Capitals and Nationals already around…though at least it’s not the Wizards.
  • Natives: This could be similar to the Warriors and Braves but lacks the catchy-ness needed to rally a fan base.
  • Hogs/Warthogs: Another nickname for the current team, it would be a shift but I also don’t think people would get on-board with making this the featured name.

It probably comes down to the Warriors or the Braves, which could both keep the colors and most of the imagery but make the biggest change needed (the name). The Braves would pay tribute to the original Boston Braves. The Warriors could also take on more of a tribute to the military, which the NFL has a great affinity for. The colors could remain and be representative of the army and marines, while the logo could be altered to include elements of all branches. My vote would be for one of those two.

Check out this other commentary if you are interested in reading more about this issue.

Our society has found new ways to sink lower into the entertainment basement. While there are plenty of mediums out there that are debasing and crude, screaming obscenities that go viral is now apparently as good as a glowing resume.

The first incident that happened was at the University of Maryland, where a sorority student got angry at her sisters for their lack of participation in Greek Week activities and events and sent them a very colorful and angry email. Somehow, this email was leaked and became an overnight sensation over the internet. The student quickly went into hiding and even the sisters had no idea where she went. Within no time, this student began to receive offers to conduct interviews about the incident and then had job offers thrown her way. Even Vanity Fair and Cosmo wanted to get in touch with her. Meanwhile, the rest of the sorority was sitting back at the College Park campus awaiting the possible sanctions that could be handed down in response to the negative public attention.

The other incident occurred on a news show when the first-time anchor began swearing as they began rolling. His co-anchor was thrown off but eventually recovered. This became the man’s first and last show on this network but he immediately became an internet sensation and has been offered jobs at many other news organizations. He was even, probably jokingly, offered a job with Live with Kelly and Michael.

At what point did it become okay to lack decorum and get offered opportunities that others have worked so hard to achieve? Neither of these individuals deserve what has been thrown their way. Their only claim to fame is losing their cool and overreacting to a simple situation.

“I’m Running!”

Posted: February 24, 2013 in News, Politics

Hilary Clinton has had speculation circling around her for quite some time now. Will she run for president in 2016 or not? All predictions say she will but she has not given a straight answer in any of her interviews or conversations with the media. There is a lot of support for her to run, but, if she chose to, she would meet a lot of tough questions to answer for. The biggest of all of the questions would be her involvement in the Benghazi incident. She has shown an ability to get people behind her and respond to the tough questions, but it would be an uphill climb.

Adding to both the humor and the speculation of her situation, a reporter recently asked her whether she would be in the presidential race for 2016. Specifically, the reporter asked, “Do you have time for a few quick questions about 2016?” Her response … “Not now, I’m running!” A little double entendre to poke fun a the reporter’s question and the constant questions she receives from every angle.

Whether she will actually run or not will remain to be seen (though she probably will), but it is good to see her as more personable than she may have been portrayed in the past.

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Article

While football was originally how the world got to know him, Tim Tebow has made a bigger name for himself in the past year through his speaking arrangements at churches across the country. He has been regarded for his strength of faith, but many have also attached a target to his back and complained about his engagement with religion and its overflow into his media coverage. Tebow appears to be an honest Christian and the media is more of a side effect of his presence in the spotlight.

I believe that he takes a lot of flack for no real reason. I do not have to agree with his line of faith to respect him for his devotion to it. Now he has found himself in a situation where his speaking engagements have people questioning his faith yet again. He has gone to a number of churches that have identities for spouting out disapproval for and anger toward groups different from them. In particular, some of these churches have expressed very vocal opposition toward the LGBT community, Mormonism and the Muslim faith. When some of these concerns arose for a scheduled church appearance for April, the NFL was getting worried and Tebow had to make a tough decision. Although his speeches have focused on the qualities of being a good Christian, it was too much to continue keeping it on his schedule.

I applaud Tebow for making a good choice with how he wants to represent himself, but I think there may have also been some pressure from a couple outside sources that pushed him out of the engagement. As I said, I believe that he is honestly focused on good faith elements, but it has not stopped him from speaking at churches that have some hateful reputations. Whether he ever gets another chance to make an impact in the NFL will remain to be seen, but he has a chance to become quite the motivation speaker and just needs to take more of an effort to take better care of his reputation before he loses the innocence he has maintained up to this point.

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Article & Discussion

After taking a break from the world of politics, I feel compelled to return to the fray of the insane and misguided. While few in Washington are putting forth solutions that make sense for everything ranging from hurricane relief to fixing the economy, the worst of the debates seem to be the ones focused on the right to bear arms. Gun owners and enthusiasts versus safety and security fanatics.

On a personal note, I fall more on the safety and security side of the debate, but there are extremes in every conflict, even when the rational solutions are relatively clear. After the shootings over the past year, the debate has emerged to the forefront of national discussion. This has not been without its radicals though. While most of the public and politicians have vocalized an interest in having a rational discussion over the issues and even revisiting policies that were originally created to make the gun trade safer, the loudest voices are the ones that have been derailing opportunities for real growth and positive change.

Let me start with the most absurd on the pro-gun side…

As absurd as it is for there to be a national holiday for gun appreciation, it was actually more absurd that it was associated with MLK Day when he stood for equal rights in a peaceful society. Larry Ward of FOX News was on-air when he proclaimed that slavery may not have been a chapter in America’s history had black people been allowed gun ownership during the early years of the colonies. Take a moment to let that sink in…Ships delivered men in chains to the colonies and slavery could have been avoided by allowing those trapped in bondage the opportunity to own guns? I think the face of the country would look drastically different had the colonists given their captives the means to fight back. This argument implies an outcome that is all circumstantial, hypothetical and completely outrageous.

Just as absurd was the recent argument that Jews would have been able to fight off Hitler had they been equipped with assault weapons during the Holocaust. Similar to Ward, it has been argued that Jews suffering from oppression would have had better luck than France and Russia fending off the Nazis. While it of course would have been a better situation for the Jews to have been able to better defend themselves and there is no telling how successful they could have been fighting off the Nazis, this is not Inglorious Basterds and we are speaking in hypotheticals again. This is not a worthwhile argument.

It has also been mentioned that Americans need to defend themselves from a government that wants to steal away all of their rights and run the economy into the toilet. While Obama may not be the savior of the US, he is also not the person trying to derail progress in the way the conservative movement has suggested. His policies have been met with massive opposition in the Congress to a point of gridlock. The House Republicans have threatened sequestration, stating their strong inability to agree on the direction laid out by the opposing party. There are fundamental differences in the party platforms but not to an extent that has been painted in a desire to weaken or destroy the country’s current degree of stability. There is no government-issued attack on its people coming and no need for some sort of revolution. So what is the real threat?

Guns themselves are not the problem. People are and have always been. The reality is that the guns are dangerous tools that can be used to protect and to destroy lives. In the hands of individuals with mental instability or ill-intent, tragedy is almost a given. Where is disagree with the gun lobbyists is that everyone owning a gun makes me feel less secure than less people owning weapons. If everyone was carrying around a concealed weapon, I would be more cautious of the possibility that anyone could snap and feel compelled to use their tool of pain to end a life without hesitation. While I know that people would not be killing each other left and right, the idea of guns flowing freely out there does not make me feel safer.

Assault weapons are definitely a bigger issue than handguns, in that one is meant for use in war zones and the other is low capacity. The idea that assault weapons are collectables or can be purchased with ammo for regular citizens to own seems awfully scary. In the recent tragedies at Sandy Hook, Aurora, California and Arizona, assault weapons were accessible to the assailants and multiple lives were lost in each incident. It may be an extremely small percentage of people who fall into this scary category, but one individual can make a huge impact if given access to the right tools. Restricting access to assault weapons seems like a no-brainer. Some people can handle a handgun or a shotgun, much less a semi or fully automatic rifle.

I hope that the combination of the recent tragedies and public nature of this issue at the moment bring about some real revision of the government’s stance on gun control. There are hundreds of policies out there at both a federal and state level that are being blocked by dummy legislation or ultra conservative views that ignore the evolving nature of society from the original colony’s development of the Bill of Rights. Let’s take the time to reflect on what we’ve blocked or misused and find ways to be more mindful of creating a safe and supportive community.