Week 11 reflection

This week I consumed pretty much the same things as usual. The only thing I find worth talking about right now are the protests occurring on college campuses around the country. I’m going to try to keep this from becoming a rant.

The first thing I’d like to say is that I am not a racist, and I realize that oppression exists in this country/world. There never was and never will be an excuse for racism, and those who continue to practice their racist ways do not deserve a place in society.

I am not a racist. I am a realist.

There is a time for protest, and there’s a way to do it correctly. But what some of these kids are doing around the country is simply unbelievable. Let’s start with the University of Missouri- better known as Mizzou. When the protests first started, I looked to gather as much information about what may have caused it. I found that the root of the main issue stemmed from Mizzou’s president, Tim Wolfe, who was deemed to not have taken significant enough action after a racial incident.

Like I said earlier, there is no excuse for racism. If there’s proof that the incident occurred, then that person should be dealt with accordingly. But the protestors, collectively known as Concerned Student 1950, decided to make the incident more about Wolfe than the incident itself.

CS1950 claimed that Wolfe did not handle the situation appropriately. They also stated that Wolfe has not done a good enough job of dealing with the structural racism that exists on college campuses around the country. Those are legitimate gripes, and if a student feels strongly enough about these issues, then they have every right to protest.

But then I saw CS1950’s list of demands. Highlights of which include Wolfe acknowledging his “white male privilege” and Wolfe’s resignation as president of Mizzou. Are you kidding me?

I was legitimately amazed  at the audacity of these students. Who do they think they are? The president of a school, which you decided to go to, does not owe you his resignation. That’s his fucking livelihood. That’s his job. You don’t get to stomp your feet and say, “Hey you! You didn’t react exactly how we want, so we’re going to protest until you admit you’re a racist and quit.”

No students in the world should hold that power over a president. Especially a president who acknowledged earlier incidents, just not the way CS1950 wanted him to.

As CS1950 is very quick to point out, Mizzou has a long history of racial incidents. I think that’s horrible. An academic institution of Mizzou’s caliber should not be a breeding ground for racism- and I don’t know all the details- but if it is, then that’s a damn shame. But if it’s racial history is so bad, why would you go there? If it’s going to affect you in any way, why would you choose to attend that school? Please do not get my point confused with victim blaming. I’m trying to say that if you can go to Mizzou, there’s a great chance you can attend a comparable school, surely there is one you would feel more comfortable at. I know if I was considering a school with a questionable history- a school that I might not feel safe at- I would absolutely cross it off my list. But that’s just me being rational.

There’s so much more to say about this topic, so I’ll try to keep the rest concise.

  1. Hunger strike kid, Jonathan Butler. Could you imagine if people demanded he acknowledge his privilege of growing up in an extremely wealthy family. He can choose to “suffer” and strike all he wants. He will never know the true suffering faced by some of his peers.
  2. Professor Melissa Click, who called for “muscle” when a student reporter tried to film protestors. I thought ethical journalism had a place at Mizzou. I thought the protestors wanted media attention. Perhaps I thought wrong.
  3. Tim Wolfe resigned because the football team refused to play until he quit. Football teams for programs like Mizzou are businesses. When games are not played, millions of dollars are lost. Once the threat of not playing was made, Wolfe knew he must either resign or risk the university millions of dollars. Which is worse? It’s also worth noting that the head football coach of Mizzou makes about 10 times more than Wolfe did per year.

I’m not really sure how to wrap this up, and I am aware that this is my most opinionated post. But to me, this is me being realistic. Am I biased because of my skin color/gender/economic standing? That’s not for me to decide. There are rational human beings of all races/genders/social classes in this world. Surely those rational human beings can understand my points.

 

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Week 10 reflection

Now that November is here, that can only mean one thing: Call of Duty season. Ok maybe November means more than that, but to me, this time of year will always be more than just pumpkin spice and shitty political debates on Thanksgiving.

The Call of Duty series, better known as Cod, holds a special place in my heart- the video game nerd in me would be lying if I said it didn’t. Much like my feelings towards Star Wars, I think I value Cod because of its nostalgic factor.

My earliest memories with the series trace back to Cod 2 on my old PlayStation. I can remember spending hours on that damn game. As time passed, I played Cod on Xbox 360 and enjoyed playing with my friends. This phase of my life, when Cod was everything, lasted from about 8th-11th grade.

The release of a new Cod every November was something my friends and I looked forward to every year. If you didn’t preorder the game in May, you were missing out. Obviously the games themselves were great and fun to play, but Cod evolved into something much more than just a game.

As opposed to when I was younger- when I played Cod because I genuinely enjoyed the game- one of the biggest reasons why I played the game in high school is simply because of the social aspect.

Here was a way that my friends and I could talk and virtually hang out at all times of day/night. Friday nights weren’t spent at the movies. They were spent with Cod. Snow days weren’t spent exploring and having snowball fights. They were spent with Cod. You get the point.

I think my dependency on Cod was actually a bit ridiculous. It became the only platform my friends would even consider making plans on. If you weren’t on Cod by 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, you would simply be out of the loop. It’s strange how much of a social aspect Cod had on my life and those of my friends as well. And I think they would all agree on that.

But now that I’m old, I have a hard time not cringing when I think back to the days where Cod was everything. I wish I could tell myself to get out of the house. I wish I rode my bike more. I wish I went outside with my dad to throw the ball around. I know hindsight is 20/20, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t change how I used to be.

So now as the new Cod releases, it’s a game I’ll buy, but not for the old reasons. New Ryan doesn’t care about chatting online about plans for the weekend- he just wants to play the game. I like new Ryan a lot better.

What I consumed this week (Week 10)

  • The Office
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • More Daniel Fienberg recaps (finally someone who loves Survivor as much as me)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Far too many old Call of Duty videos
  • Liverpool FC let me down again
  • Made a valiant effort to catch up on The Leftovers….
  • Several internship interviews in Manhattan
  • Walked over 100 blocks combined in my days in the city (gave a homeless woman my metro card), naturally I saw A LOT

Week 9 reflection

I watched Hocus Pocus this past week, and naturally it got me thinking about Halloween.. What a strange day it has become.

When I was a kid (yes I know I’m still technically a kid at 20), few days of the year compared to Halloween. This day of spooky fun was right up there with Christmas and my birthday- quite the exclusive list. Some of my most vivid memories of childhood are from the many Halloween nights I’ve had.

I remember one year when I was really little my parents dressed me up as a blue Crayon (a hit with the ladies). There was also the year when I dressed up as a chef with a plastic butcher’s knife, and the time when I just wore  a scream mask. I always looked forward to Halloween, and I think it was more than just going around and getting candy.

To me, Halloween represents the best time of year: smack dab in the middle of autumn, the leaves are a beautiful array of colors, and sweater weather is in full effect (shameless Neighbourhood reference). The idea of Halloween used to be this indescribable feeling…and then I grew up.

From about 8th grade until now, Halloween has lost its luster. I think I’ve repeated my “Male Nurse” costume for five years in a row. What’s a male nurse costume? Well, it’s the set of scrubs the hospital gave my dad when I was born. Take from that what you will.

Aside from my apathy towards costumes, Halloween just isn’t the same. This year, for example, I worked pretty much the entire day and didn’t even realize it was Halloween until I spoke to my mom on the phone. October 31 used to be a date I circled on my calendar, and now it’s just another day of the year. I guess the only difference is I have to wear a costume to the bar. That’s a must.

I’m not sure what the point of this blog is, but I think it made me realize that growing up kind of sucks. I miss the idea of Halloween, and I miss the happiness it used to bring me.

Week 8 reflection

For some reason, I found myself DEEP down the Star Wars rabbit hole this week. It was one of those moments when I snapped out of a trance and realized I had wasted a couple hours watching Star Wars clips on YoutTube. Does this make me a nerd? Probably. Do I care? Nope.

I think with all the buzz/hype surrounding the new Star Wars film coming out in December, people are starting to remember just how significant Star Wars is/was in American culture. Obviously there are the hardcore fans who live and die by the force, but for the rest of us, maybe Star Wars hasn’t been on our radar since the last film was released in 2005. Yes, 2005- that long ago.

I’m not sure why, but Star Wars is more than just a film series to me. I’m not someone who knows all the intricate details about the lore and all that jazz, but I definitely have a connection to the films. Obviously the first three movies were created well before I was born, so I don’t have much of a connection to them- but the newer three? Those were my childhood.

Episode 1 came out when I was only four years old, but I vividly remember popping in the movie and watching it in my living room. I doubt I understood much about the intricacies of the plot, but I didn’t care. When Episode 2 came out in 2002, I had my birthday party at the movie theatre and watched the movie with all of my friends. Then when Episode 3 came out, my dad took me to the movie theatre late at night to see it. I remember it was the first time I had gone to the movies really late at night (probably 9 p.m.) and I just thought my dad was the coolest for bringing me there. It’s one of those memories that I’ll always remember. It may not seem significant in the long run, but these are the things I remember.

When I think about Star Wars at this point in my life, I get hit with this wave of nostalgia. It’s not a bad thing, I just can’t really explain it. I just shot my dad a text asking if he wants to see the new movie when it comes out over Winter Break. Hopefully he still wants to go with me.

What I consumed this week (Week 8)

  • All of the new Star Wars trailers (this sent me down the Star Wars rabbit hole)
  • Nerded out with far too many Star Wars clips
  • Yuppie Junk
  • The Leftovers
  • Re-watched Harper’s Island (TV review inbound)
  • TRON: Legacy soundtrack…helps me study
  • Marist women’s soccer vs. Manhattan
  • The Mets win the NLCS!!!

Week 7 reflection

What I want to talk about this week is an idea that popped into my head when I heard Bill Simmons on Mike Francesa’s radio show. To me, Bill Simmons is so much more than just a sports personality. He’s more than just a great writer or radio host. He’s the one who stood up to ESPN and got fired. The one who wasn’t afraid of the PC police in today’s society. So hearing him on the same airwaves as Mike Francesa, a maverick in his own right, got me thinking how we need more people like him in this country. People who aren’t afraid to speak their mind. But today, we have no choice but to be afraid.

On the first day of class, we were asked about something that bothers us in culture today. My answer was the the fact that everything we do these days, especially for public figures, has to be politically correct- and if it’s not, you’ll hear about it. Those who defy modern PC standards are usually crucified on Twitter, sent death threats, etc. Why does this happen? Because some people out there have nothing better to do than analyze and look for some “deeper meaning” in a meaningless quote or Tweet.

I’m talking about the people who will watch an interview and take someone’s words out of context. Like the time Jeremy Renner’s comments on a fictional female character landed him in hot water with the PC police. Or the time Lena Dunham preached that Justin Bieber’s lyrics promoted rape culture. Or when Twitter had to apologize for having a “Frat” themed party for promoting that culture…whatever the hell that means. Some people just grasp for straws that aren’t always there and it drives me crazy.

I realize this blog has become a rant, so let me try to get back to my point here. We live in a society where everything we say and do is going to be judged. Now more than ever, we have to be careful what we say, because if someone doesn’t like it, you might end up on the homepage of Jezebel. And that is certainly not what you want!

So when I think of a guy like Bill Simmons, I see someone who spoke his mind without fear of being politically correct, losing his job at the world’s biggest sports media company in the process. It’s a shame we don’t have more people like Bill in the world. End rant.

What I consumed this week (Week 7)

  • Three singles off The Neighbourhood’s new album, “Wiped Out!”
  • Chipotle with my friends from home
  • Starbucks
  • More Mets playoff baseball
  • The 1975’s new single, “Love Me”
  • Michigan vs. Michigan State football (one of the craziest endings I’ve ever seen)
  • Columbia University’s Computation + Journalism Symposium 2015, Day 1
  • Bill Simmons on Mike Francesa’s radio show (absolutely legendary)
  • Liverpool FC’s first game with their new manager, Jurgen Klopp