The Hunger Games: An No-Spoilers Angle From A Guy Who Hasn’t Read The Books… Yet.

Last Saturday night I chose to treat myself to see a movie which I had meant to see the week before, however I opted out to in order to attend the memorial service for my recently passed high school physics teacher. Throughout the whole opening weekend, I saw a lot of a postings on my Facebook news feed describing how awesome this movie is and why I should go see it. The anticipation was immense, I tell ya.

I’m not going to preach on about why you have to read the book before you see the movie and vice versa. I am not that much of a forward thinking hipster. However as part of the late majority, I will say that the movie stands on its own without reading the book prior, I’m pretty sure some of the concepts and stories positioned in the film are understood better by reading the book first, however it is not necessary and you will not feel alienated or anything, so no worries.

Basically, this movie has been compared to other “last man standing” types of films like The Running Man and the Japanese film Battle Royale, which is practically identical to the Hunger Games in many ways. However, what I liked most about THG (The Hunger Games) was their emphasis on backstory and setting, which plays a huge role in explaining the society and infrastructure placed within the futuristic, dystopian setting of The Hunger Games. Essentially speaking, the film is set in a future republic called Panem where the capitol has divided their nation’s citizens into twelve distinct districts all with different professions which drive their economies. As a punishment for the districts rioting against the Capitol many years before, there is now an annual contest where 12 males and 12 females are selected at random to participate in The Hunger Games. The prize for the champion of the Hunger Games being that their whole district is fed well for the whole year. It goes explained in little detail about why the Hunger Games exist or more details about the riot that initiated the existence of THG, however the context and opening story from the characters in the film, particularly Haymitch and Effie (the curator) bring more light to the backstory. In quick summary, the world in THG is an authoritarian government where the 12 Districts are under the control of the Capitol, and the residents of the districts are practically their slaves and life a life of servitude to The Capitol.

The casting and characters in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games are also memorable as well. Katniss, which is played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film, is a likable heroine who is the film’s protagonist and a young woman of noble virtue. She volunteers herself to participate in The Hunger Games after her younger sister is selected at random to compete. Katniss is highly skilled in hunting/archery, and she is a very powerful fighter too. Peeta, whom is the male representative for District 12 in THG is a brash young man whom is a baker’s son who comes from a wealthier family deveiod of any real hardship. He actually once helped Katniss’s family once when he gave a begging Katniss a loaf of bread. Gale is another boy which Katniss fancies from District 12, whom does not participate in this year’s Hunger Games, but his existence establishes a love triangle which will surely develop in the later books and films for The Hunger Games. The sexual tension is definitely there, and the groundwork is definitely well set in the film. Haymitch whom is played by Woody Harrelson, is an alcohol loving “mentor” whom is at first reluctant to help Katniss and Peeta, however as the movie progresses, you begin to like his character more. This same ratio of likeability also goes for the neurotic and morally complicated curator of The Hunger Games, Effie, whom is very well dressed throughout the film. Other participants in the Games worth mentioning are Rue, who is a young girl from District 7, and Cato whom is a goal oriented fighter, hellbent on winning the games. He represents District 1. There are other characters in the film such as the President of the Capitol and Cinna (played by Lenny Kravitz), also become vital characters later on in the story.

Basically, The Hunger Games is set up like a reality show, where the author (Suzanne Collins) paints the influence of Battle Royale, The Truman Show, Survivor, Blade Runner, and The Running Man to create a very interesting story where the “Tributes” (Hunger Games participants), compete for “Sponsors.” (Spectators whom help the Tributes survive in the Games). This idea of sponsorship becomes critical in the Games where the tributes will often need tools to survive such as food, medicine, water, etc. This self serving idea of public relations, also creates an interesting proposition from Peeta, in which Katniss pretends to be in love with Peeta in order to gain appraisal from the Sponsors. Audiences eat up a good love story you know? The audience of The Hunger Games demand a show, and the Capitol will stop at nothing to make sure that an entertaining show is what they have for their rabid audience.

In a nutshell and without giving anything away, I would recommend seeing the film. Especially if you’re like me and you like to keep on top of all the latest hypes and trends in the entertainment industry. When I walked into the movie theatre that night, I was worried that the audience was going to be mostly bookish females whom were more Team Edward over Team Jacob. However I was pleased to see that people from all walks of life were watching the film, and I didn’t have to worry about having to downplay to my friends about seeing this film on the big screen. (I did see the first Twilight film just for the record though.) After seeing this film, I ordered the books off Amazon in a box set for a very affordable price, and I started asking people about the film online and in person the next day at a volunteer gig I was doing for my Capstone class. Everyone has suggested I read the books, and even one of my friends professed that he read all three books in three days and that I would love them. I’m quite excited to get my hands on these bad boys, and maybe I’ll spend some of my Easter Sunday worming up with these savory tomes of literary deliciousness. Isn’t the book written for young adults anyways? So yeah, it’s worth a trip even if you haven’t read the books yet. I have not given anything away, you will thank me later.

May The Odds Ever Be In Your Favor.

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Book Review: A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink and The Art of Possibility by Ben and Rosamund Zander.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I compressed this essay and heavily edited it after finishing it, to fit a 2 page requirement, but it explains the main idea of three textbooks I had to read in a class this semester. I really liked Dan Pink’s a whole new mind which I show an obvious bias towards. The art of possibility is an interesting approach to education, and I really hated the Repko book, which was the gigantic, expensive, and dry textbook I make fun of in this review. I originally was not going to post this review, which is a classroom assignment for school, but I ended up being quite satisfied with how it turned out, which is why I am making this a Butter Yo Bread post. Thanks.

It is not very often in a classroom I find much enjoyment out of assigned textbooks. Often, textbooks are very high in price, and frequently they have no practical application. The professor often ends up tailoring class around a textbook and this usually constitutes as busy work, failing to supplement lecture material. However, in my Capstone course which is a final graduation class for Interdisciplinary Studies majors, the textbooks are carefully selected to bring a balance and tact to a frequently misunderstood major.

Dan Pink’s book, “A Whole New Mind” separates the two sides of the brain into opposite entities which seemingly work together to create a functioning human mind. Ben and Rosamund Zander’s “The Art of Possibility” situates learners in a unique position of what can be taken away from a learning experience and applying it towards everyday life, which serves as the primary objective of education as a whole. Allen Repko’s “Interdisciplinary Research” systematically breaks down the process of research from the perspective of more than one discipline. The descriptions of these three textbooks alone explain the Interdisciplinary Studies major, which is about discovering how different fields of study correlate with one another and how society can benefit from this approach.

I enjoyed Dan Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” the most. Pink effectively characterizes the human brain into two juxtaposing characters that are paired together, needing to find a way to coexist. The left side of the brain is the methodical, numbers and facts obsessed side, which actually makes the brain function. Dan Pink’s portrayal of the right side of the brain, and the one he claims will begin to “rule the future”, is depicted as an abstract thinker with a childlike imagination. Dan Pink explains how left-brain thinking is being replaced by “Abundance, Automation and Asia,” which makes tasks like manufacturing and data-processing into routines done by machines and cheap outsourcing to other countries. To further supplement how right brained thinking can help an analytical left brain dominated society, Pink teaches us to use six aptitudes of right brain thinking, “Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning.”

Zander and Zander’s “The Art of Possibility” is a good second supplement, following A Whole New Mind. The book starts with students writing letters to Ben Zander about why they earned A’s in the course. To Ben, grades are not an indication of self-worth; instead he focuses his teachings around the principle of being a contribution to society, which is ultimately the long- lasting goal of education. Repko’s “Interdisciplinary Research” takes a very hard left-sided approach to the research process, which does not make for an entertaining read like the other two books, but an informative one instead. This Capstone class has been very omniscient towards the left side of the brain, since we have all been in classes which employ a traditional one-sided approach to learning. The methodical left-sided break-down to research is critical, since it easy to get caught in wild brainstorming mental acrobatics which is the right side of the brain. Repko reminds us of the importance to knowing what your disciplines are and discovering the ways opposing fields of study can work together to create new knowledge.

To conclude, I mentioned at the beginning of this brief essay about how the goal of interdisciplinary studies is to apply seemingly unrelated fields of study together to create new knowledge. While I show preference to Dan Pink, you can also appreciate the post-educational benefits to Zander and Zander and the practical interdisciplinary research methods of Repko. Some people like to use smoothie analogies, others prefer chunky peanut butter, it is all the same approach, society is going interdisciplinary and right brainers eventually will rule the future.

Amazon Links:
Dan Pink- A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life.

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HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY?? Is Madonna promoting recreational drug use?

Madonna is an inspiration to millions of people across the world, spanning several decades and generation, her voice is one that travels remarkably well. Over this past weekend in March 2012, a very popular EDM (Electronic Dance Music) event, being the 2012 edition of Miami’s Ultra Music Festival occurred. During Saturday night, up and coming DJ/Producer Avicii is scheduled to perform in front of 100,000 screaming ragers (EDM festival/club goers) on a headlining spot in a super-sold out festival (The festival apparently sold out in 20 minutes this year). Big surprise to the crowd at the festival, as well as people watching the live telestream of Avicii’s performance, the one and only Queen of Pop herself has graced the Ultra stage. She struts on the stage wearing an “MDNA” shirt to introduce Avicii, for which she professes she is a huge fan and that electronic music has been a part of her throughout her entire career.

Insert the digital controversy which commences. While Madonna is chiding Avicii’s audience, she makes a very audacious statement asking the crowd, “HAVE YOU SEEN MOLLY?” People at the festival began to cheer and praise Madonna who has worked with several high profile EDM producers such as Benny Benassi and Martin Solveig on her new album MDNA, which was just released this past Monday, March 26th 2012. While the audience was taking pleasure in Madonna’s introduction “hype-piece”, another well-known DJ in the EDM community, Deadmau5 takes great offense to Madonna’s piece, particularly her invigorating question “HAVE YOU SEEN MOLLY??”

Deadmau5 sees this as a glorification of ecstasy which is highly popular at EDM events and has been associated with electronic dance music since its inception. Electronic dance music and ecstasy are synonymous with each other, the media has glorified this pairing for many years and many people not involved in their city’s club circuits would likely assume night clubs are fueled with people “rolling” on various variations of the “club drug”. “Molly” just happens to be a slang term for MDMA which is the laboratory name for the popular ecstasy drug. As many celebrity beefs happen these days, Twitter is often the battleground for feuds in today’s fast paced technological craze where things can be said in 140 characters and less. DJ Deadmau5 tweeted “very classy there Madonna. HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY??? Such a great message for the young music lovers at…” Following that tweet here comes a second one, justifying his needs to vent his opinions on twitter towards the famed 80’s pop singer. “You’re a role model to 100s of millions. You have a powerful voice; EDM could use your positive influence, not your “molly” talk.”

In response, Madonna has joined twitter for one day to answer fan questions about the new album and upcoming tour. She also used this as a medium to invite Justin Bieber on tour with her. In regards to the Madonna/Deadmau5 twitter feud, she tweets a photo of her wearing a Minnie Mouse headpiece explaining how the “Molly” reference was a throwback to “Has Anyone Seen Molly” a track she had did with DJ Cedric Gervais which did not make the MDNA album itself. Shortly, the Mau5 responded back asking her to be careful about what she represented at EDM events, and he gave her +1 for respectfully clearing it up personally.

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Appealing Film Ratings from the MPAA in 2012

In today’s economy the entertainment industry is undergoing a lot of changes and film makers have become much more heavily invested in less restrictive film ratings. Obviously, this has become a big deal to the film makers because of the audience sizes for PG-13 and PG films being much more attractive in size and revenue over ones that are rated R or NC-17. Usually a G rated film is usually only for family films now a days, which would make this non applicable in this post. G rated films make serious money and are generally most profitable in a whole though.

Recently there has been some upheaval about films that received unfavorable ratings, such as the upcoming film “Bully”, where film director Harvey Weinstein’s (The Artist won the 2011 Oscar for Best Picture), latest flick received an R rating over a couple of f-bombs. In agreement to Weinstein, who’s appeal for the film was rejected (Bully remains an R-rated film.), I think that with the changes of time that the MPAA needs to change their standards on how films/entertainment is rated. While everyone is pushing towards “wholesome family friendly entertainment,” I really think people need to be better educated on the content which isn’t deemed “wholesome and family friendly” and be able to have a better mind for their own when they see a drop of blood or after hearing some choice four letter words. I remember watching Casino Royale back in 2007 thinking this was the most violent and adult PG-13 movie I had seen in years, there is gratuitous levels of violence, suggestive sexuality themes, gambling, and a torture scene. These are things we have become accustomed to in American culture, and yes, people know these sorts of things are not desirable in today’s society, if we become better educated on them, and the potential detrimental effect they can place upon society, then I don’t think this will be as much of a problem. I recently learned about the “Cultivation Theory” where media effects scholar George Gerbner talks about how “people who watch a little too much TV, start to think the world is a more dangerous place than it really is.” End rant.

Lower ratings are now desirable in films because of how sensitive parents have gotten over media effects, and from the cathartic effects movies have had on youth now a days. Youth are constantly being targeted since; they have the ability to nag their parents about going to see a movie on a Friday night with their friends. College students are adults who are able to make their own decisions and thus have begun seeking other entertainment alternatives since going to see movies in an actual big screen theater has become much too costly for most adults to consider seeing a movie now a days. I mentioned earlier how “G” rated movies make the most money in the box office. To articulate this, look at large families with small children. Children are VULNERABLE targets in advertising and can easily command their parents to take them to see the latest Ice Age film on opening weekend. People go to see kid’s films in large amounts, Mom, Dad, little brother, little sister, etc. There is also a good chance this could become a large group outing with multiple families involved, when tickets are about $10 for admission this obviously shows why ”family” films have become very desirable and highly profitable in today’s economy. Think about that.

Some other failed film appeals so far have been “Sea Level” which is an action adventure film that unsuccessfully tried to score a “G” rating, and “Killer Joe” which also failed in its attempt to be rated lower than NC-17. One film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” however did manage to get their film lowered to a PG-13 from an R rating. There is also mention in a LA Times article I read about how independent film makers feel they have are being biased against by the MPAA, thus a majority of independent films get an R rating, although when I watch them, I rarely see any questionable content, just groups of adults talking about complex and existential subject matter. 12 films have been appealed for their ratings in 2012 which is a high number for the MPAA, and most of 700 films the MPAA rates per year rarely get appealed. It’s rare that the MPAA appeals to into the double digits, according to LA Times. I however think that this number will increase as film makers become more and more rating conscious.

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Condescending Wonka: An Brief Analysis of The Internet Meme and Its Uses.

“Internet memes” in today’s popular culture are identified as images/macros with text paired with them to create a humorous effect. Originally, these “memes” originated as exclusive images and inside jokes to internet geeks and those friendly with the various lingo and culture used on the internet. Websites like 4chan, Reddit, and Know Your Meme are well known within internet culture for their use of these types of images. The images typically feature the heads of animals or celebrity figures, which are then paired with text messages that would relate to their own character personified in the image. It is the juxtaposition of the image with its text that the meme creator places on the images that connects with people and makes the image comedic. Eventually these images became quickly relatable to others, thanks to websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr just to name a few, and now they are seen all over the internet on a daily basis. Some popular and current examples could be Nyan Cat, Xhibit’s “Sup Dawg”, Hipster Kitty, and Pedobear, just to name a few, all with algorithms and formula’s to properly use them. Check your Facebook news feed right now, I’m sure a friend or two has shared some hilarious memes with you today. There’s your quick history on memes and viral internet sensations.

Condescending Wonka is a meme I would like to write a little more in depth about, Mr. Wonka’s quick witted and demeaning nature has been quite popular on my Facebook wall as of late. The images comes from a scene in the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” film where Gene Wilder’s “Willy Wonka” character asks the children if they are interested in his new invention, the Everlasting Gobstopper. The image is also used in the classic “You Must Be New Here” meme, which is a screen capture from this scene in the film. In conjunction with the character, Mr. Wonka is viewed as someone who likes to talk down to people, thus which is where his name “Condescending Wonka” comes from. Originally this image started out from another popular meme, “You Must Be New Here” meme which makes fun of noobs (or people who are new to something), and calls them out. Apparently this phrase has been used for many years, Know Your Meme credits this used since the 2000’s decade on various television shows, but I would like to say that it has been used earlier than that.

Shortly afterwards, in comes Condescending Wonka who is also referred to as “Creepy Wonka”, which is a modification of the “You Must Be New Here” meme. Typically Gene Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka in the 1971 classic musical makes Wonka out to be a very eccentric and unusual sort who is not the most socially adept person. Condescending Wonka is a natural play on the patronizing and condescending nature of Willy Wonka. In layman’s terms, “condescending” means to stoop to someone’s level that you would regard as inferior to yourself. Basically, to talk down to someone and attack them indirectly. The meme could also signify irony and dry humor such as a popular meme from Reddit picturing a black Wiemaraner dog with the idea of “running a chocolate lab.”

While this form of humiliation is very demeaning and insulting to the subject of the condescension, it is often quite humorous to the other viewers, and thus is the reason why Condescending Wonka is one of the most shared memes on the internet today.

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Kony 2012: Using People, Persuasion, and Propaganda to Raise Awareness Against Evil War Criminals.

“Kony 2012” is a viral video created by political activist group Invisible Children in March 2012. The video is an emotionally gripping 29 minute piece talking about African war criminal Joseph Kony, and the various crimes he has committed against humanity. The story follows Jason Russell, an activist and member of Invisible Children, his son Gavin, and a Ugandan escaped refugee named Jacob. The film emotionally captures Joseph Kony as a maniacal evil man and how he employs child soldiers, and also commits crimes of making women into sexual slaves, rapes, pillaging, murder, mutilations, and sometimes even cannibalism.

Invisible Children has proposed an “awareness campaign” in which it’s objective is to “make Joseph Kony” famous, the intention on drawing buzz around Joseph Kony so people know who he is and demand for justice against him, which according to Invisible Children and Jason Russell is the only way to get the U.S. government to care about this cause. The video gives Kony’s background as the leader of the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (aka the LRA) which is an extremist group whom rape, kill, and use children as soldiers and are Christians. Also the video does a good job with connecting with people by introducing Jacob, a young Ugandan boy whose brother was killed by Kony and the LRA. To promote awareness of this issue, the video has become viral on the internet and has gained support from many people via Facebook and Twitter. Invisible Children’s approach focuses on “culture makers” whom influence people such as influential celebrities like Rihanna, George Clooney, and Mark Zuckerberg. After influencing the common American people, Invisible Children wants to use this massive group of people to demand change in policy and target “policy makers” whom are politicians in government with the authority to determine if the United States will deploy soldiers in Africa in efforts to arrest Joseph Kony. Invisible Children has not had much success initially with persuading government officials to take action against Kony and the LRA.

There has been some criticism regarding this campaign, since it’s video launch on March 5, 2012. Initially without researching the Joseph Kony crisis, the posters and imagery used in Invisible Children’s campaign glorifies Kony as a figure to be made famous, the posters are made to look identical to posters seen in political campaigns. This is very confusing and misleading to the undecided people whom Invisible Children is trying to convert into activists for their cause. Also, another criticism in this developing story is that just raising awareness on a cause does not provide a solution for it. Take Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden for example. These people are international terrorists whom everyone knew who they were and what they did to become infamous war criminals. However this has done nothing to actually eliminate the problem, which took years of persistence for these individuals to be eliminated/captured. Other criticisms discuss how “America has its own problems with poverty and people losing their jobs to be concerned with international affairs.”, and with how Invisible Children is using sensationalist propaganda and agenda setting to raise money (by selling “Action Kits” and T-Shirts) to support themselves and the amounts of money they spend on advertising and management expenses. There is a plethora of backlash against the campaign, even in regards to inaccuracies in research, and hyping up the numbers to make the story more appealing/engaging to their audience. The true intentions behind this “awareness” campaign are questionable in areas, however the story and motives behind it are very noble. Ultimately, it is you the reader of this blog, and the socially connected people of modern society to decide for themselves if they support this cause or not, there will be people on both sides of the fence.

In the video, Gavin who is film maker Jason Russell’s son asks what he can do to “stop the bad guys from being mean.” This is a demonstration of someone who is young,and is wanting to contribute to the cause, which questions why more young people do not help in getting involved with the Kony 2012 awareness campaign. The viral YouTube/Vimeo video currently has about 20 million views online, and is generating much buzz from celebrities via Twitter such as P.Diddy, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, etc. Invisible Children is calling for a “cover the night” event on April 20, 2012 which in the various cities throughout the world, people are planning to post posters and various propaganda in unison to create more awareness of bringing justice to Joseph Kony in 2012. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the developing weeks prior to April 20th.

See the film for yourself:

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Moombahton- A Quick Primer on a New Genre of Music Founded Nearly on Accident.

Moombahton is a relatively new genre of electronic music which was discovered almost by accident. Last night at Orlando’s “Ignition” night held at Club Firestone, I got to witness Dave Nada (as ½ of Nadastrom) and this “Moombah phenomenon” live and in the flesh at a packed sweaty nightclub filled with ragers and weekend/after school warriors. I decided to wait until I actually experienced a full night of “warped tropical tango party action” before blogging about it.

Essentially speaking this new musical movement was born on accident and out of desperation. Dave Nada is a local DJ in the Washington DC area whom was primarily spinning house music and Latin music. Dave has a cousin in high school whom with his friend Mike, has a track record for throwing wild house parties during school hours which were known as “skipping parties.” The “skipping parties” are promoted word of mouth with no internet or flyers (no paper trail). Dave’s little cousin “Jean Pierre” needed a DJ to play his “skipping party” and about 20 minutes in, people show up and everyone is pretty messed up. Cops usually end up shutting down these parties within an hour as Nada was warned before playing this gig. The crowd consisted of a bunch of Latin high school kids and Nada being the oldest guy there was like “Fuck! I can’t play house/techno shit, I’ll get jumped.” The party started to rage onward with some bachata which was quickly moving into reggaeton. So what happens next is pure innovation in a time of need.

So in attempt to read his crowd and feel their groove… Dave decides to use his collection of Dutch House music he had on some CD’s and he starts playing Afrojack’s “Moombah Remix” however he slows the tempo of the tune down to 108 bpm and that’s when things start to “pop the fuck off” and get funky. The part with the “t-t-t-t-t-turn up the bass” in the Afrojack Moombah Remix, just totally drove the kids crazy at the skipping party, which made Dave want to try this out at other clubs he would play at, and there you have it. After the cops shut down the party and Dave made some edits of Dutch House tunes slowed down to 108 beats per minute, there you have it, the birth of Moombahton. After Nada tests out this idea at some clubs he was DJing at, people reacted quite positively to it, and then the idea began to take off from there.

Musically, this idea is essentially “Dutch House meets Reggaeton” which takes common modern dance music elements such as chopped up vocals, melodic build ups, Latin percussion and elements of Dancehall, Electro House and Dubstep and then mashes them up into a retarded stepchild moving at 108-112 bpm. The genre has met some criticism from members of the EDM community and has slowly gained support from major figureheads in the community such as Skrillex, Diplo, and Porter Robinson. Before gaining support from the big DJ’s, the genre was generally built by online postings, and organic word of mouth. Also producers like Munchi, Dillon Francis, and Dave Heartbreak have become leading stars in the EDM community as a result of this burgeoning Moombahton movement. As a relatively new genre of music comes into existence, its sound and characteristics will evolve as more producers adopt the style and new twists and spins are added to it. Many people can compare this to the dubstep craze which started gaining mass-mainstream popularity in 2010 and has started to become a dominant force in club music worldwide. Moombahton will have a very similar history, and it already sounds quite massive in the club circuits.

Read the interview from Dave Nada for yourself and hear the amazing origins of Moombaton!

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Same Sex Marriage in 2012: a Political and Civil Rights Movement

“What is love, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me… no more” a classic 90s song from club singer Haddaway, “What Is Love?” remains an anthem in gay culture to this day. Fast forward from the early 1990’s to 2012, the political issue of “same sex marriage” is a “hot button trending topic” which many people have very strong opinions about. To quickly summarize the “Montague’s and the Capulet’s” you basically have the supporters who want the same rights as anyone else, to love who you want, and to have the same financial benefits of a traditional man/woman couple. On the other side of the fence, there are the conservative naysayers (who make up a majority of voters) whom strive to uphold the religious values of the institution between a man and a woman.

Homosexuality has existed in the world since the ancient Greek civilizations; the term “lesbian” comes from the Greek island of Lesbos where many women lived in unity on this island. (Just a fun fact for bar room conversation) Throughout the ages of civilization, homosexuality lifestyle has been considered “offensive and sinful.” People have been persecuted, killed, and beaten over a lifestyle which has strong scientific research saying this is a biological instinct from birth, and not a chosen trait of people. Here comes the political misconstrusion… get ready. Insert the birth of the United States of America in 1776. The colonists wanted to start a new life which escapes the values of the Old British Empire and those same colonists fought a war to grant Americans the freedoms they have today. The Declaration of Independence, founded on principles written in the Christian Bible, idealizes itself around the idea of “freedom from religious persecution and tolerance for all”. This document clearly prioritizes itself with the American citizen’s concerns of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Here is where the problem lies.

Gay rights activists are struggling to obtain the same privileges that straight couples take for granted. Even with identified inspirational figures in this movement such as Harvey Milk, Glee, Disney, and Lady Gaga there is still not enough voter support on this cause. Every time a bill reaches the hands of Congress, the vote always fails. Although there has been “civil unions” and some legalization in states like New York and Massachusetts, the majority of VOTERS still disapprove of this notion citing the sanctity of marriage is violated and, that more little girls will like Tonka Trucks and young boys will watch La Cage Aux Folles, thus confusing gender roles for our children. Opponents of gay marriage (let’s call them “Capulet’s”) also mention that this would open a door for “other deviant sexual acts” such as people marrying blow up dolls, or polygamists marrying 10 wives. The “Montague’s” (being supporters of gay marriage and civil rights activists) would rebuttal to that comment, talking about the 50 percent divorce rate in the United States and the lack of morality surrounding marriage of a union between man and woman. Another pro and con based argument for our two warring Montague’s and Capulet’s (I totally love using this Shakespearian analogy) is the idea that opponents would say that there is research considering gays and lesbians to have a 20 year lower life expectancy as opposed to straight couples. On the other end, legally married GLBT people serve a more philanthropical purpose of sending a cultural message to people as a whole to avoid sexually promiscuous high risk lifestyles, which is a plaguing epidemic in today’s gay culture. To put this in simple layman’s terms, people need to pick their stance on humanity of whether you want a more open society where people are granted the freedoms we fought for versus upholding classical values and morals for future generations. This direction is best looked at in the lens of humanity as a whole versus what age old religious doctrines and political figureheads believe.

Many powerful leading corporations such as Microsoft, AT&T, Google, Walgreens, and Apple (just to name a few) support same sex marriage, praising it for boosting the economy, and because it allows for a strong, diverse workforce. Gay people are good for business, as the saying goes. The average openly “out” gay/lesbian on average has a higher annual income and also tends to usually be well informed as well as being strongly savvy to current events. Our civil rights activists have come in small little numbers in a truly organic form of word of mouth persuasion. Gradually, over time voter support has shifted, from an 85 percent disapproval, all the way to a 54-45 percent vote as of late 2011, thus gradually going towards overall approval of gay marriage, although this is a very much a slow conversion.

In reality, same sex marriage could take a long time to make fully legal. Although there is a strong consensus of young people who would support same sex marriage, the statistics show that a majority of voters who actually vote on Election Day are older conservative boomers and senior citizens. To provide a solution for this GLBT generation and their straight allies to achieve equality, we need to get people involved in politics and we need people to actually go out and vote. We also need to find a presidential candidate who supports same sex marriage, as none of the current Republicans or Democrats support gays being in wedlock. Not even Obama’s administrations have supported this civil rights issue. Obviously our goals of allowing people to marry whom they want based upon the mere principle of love is a political one, because in the United States marriage is a legal binding between two people, and not just a religious union of two individuals. This will require legislation and convincing people with money, power, and influence to see the world from our perspective. To conclude this article, I would like to personally say that humanity has always been about progressing forward, and never being held back. People are slowly becoming more open minded about two men or two women upholding a family lifestyle, which could really bring a positive image to gays all over the world, as opposed to being “disease carrying sexual heathens” that the media plays them out to be. I vote yes for same sex marriage.


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Pinterest is a new social network which has recently become popular all over the internet and is claiming to be one of the fastest growing sties online. With a demographic of over 80 percent female users, Pinterest also boasts that it is the “first site in history to break through the unique 10 million user mark.” The site is quite simply to put it, an online scrapbook, and a place where people can show their interests visually. Pinterest describes itself as an “online pin board” which allows people to show the world their interests through images found on the internet.

Currently to join Pinterest, it is based on invite, primarily through current users on the site, or through obtaining an invite through Pinterest’s website itself, which is not difficult to obtain. This invite only style of joining new social media websites has proven to be quite successful in recent efforts, such as Google + which has still been unable to really differentiate itself from Facebook and other more traditional social network websites. I believe this could be the reason Pinterest is currently enjoying an online traffic rate of about 11 million users a month.

To actually use Pinterest, there are several ways to share pins on the site. The most convenient way to do this is through the “Pin this!” tab which goes on your bookmarks browser online. When you are surfing the World Wide Web and you stumble upon an image you find interesting, you just click the “Pin this” button on your browser to be taken to a page where you can pin the chosen image on a board of your choice. Users can also upload images from their computers or through web links as well. Pinterest users divide their interests into “Pin Boards” which can be on nearly any subject, from inspirational imagery, cats, kitchens, places to see before you die, yummy kitchen recipes, etc. Inside of these different categories are your pins, which are the heart of Pinterest, which can be “repinned, liked, or commented on.” Predominantly, this website is image sharing website, much similar to Flickr and Tumblr (which has unintentionally become an image sharing website as well.)
Introspectively, what makes Pinterest most interesting out of all things is how there is not much emphasis on “self-promotion”, “online ego boosting”, or “how great I am.” Instead Pinterest is more interested in showcasing how great something would actually be. While a Pinterest user can make a whole page, or pin board about themselves, the essence of Pinterest lies in how great the images themselves are. Businesses have jumped on board this new Pinterest bandwagon, seeing it as a new opportunity to connect with customers and showcase their ideas. There are quite a few different companies both large and small whom attract business by using this relatively new social network. Whole Foods Market for example has a Pinterest board for “Super-Hot Kitchens” which has attracted nearly 20,000 followers. Also, online crafts shop Etsy, is an appropriate fit for Pinterest, using the site to show images of crafts and then linking users to where they can purchase the crafts in the Pinterest Pins. There is a strong social aspect to Pinterest, where you can follow people in a casual way similar to Twitter, and people can “Re Pin” your pins to their pin boards, similar to a “Re-Tweet” which implies agreement with a tweet and sharing it with your followers. I really like how Pinterest uses the casual Twitter lexicon way of following people without a mark of approval (approving friend requests), like what Facebook currently uses.

I have only been a Pinterest user for about one week now; however I have encountered some opportunity areas for Pinterest to develop. The biggest obstacle for this young online startup is revenue. There is currently no advertising on Pinterest, the only real way Pinterest is making any revenue at all is through affiliate linking, which is also used by retailers like Essentially, affiliate linking just allows links to the products, and Pinterest can modify the links so that Pinterest gets a small cut of the revenue upon a product being sold through its website. For new users, there are other obstacles which are prevalent, such as the learning curve which can be kind of high if you are unfamiliar with using bookmarks tabs, or if you’re using a mobile browser. One of my own biggest Pinterest gripes is how there is no pinning of images allowed directly from Facebook. Since Facebook still continues to be the dominant social media juggernaut, it would be nice to be able to pin images posted by friends on Facebook. Also, as the website is still in its infancy, there is no setting yet to make pin boards private, which could be an issue if someone wants to use Pinterest to convey ideas for a potential project, but not want other people to see it.

Pinterest has a lot of potential to stay around and change how people interact through social media. Today’s society is becoming increasingly more visual, I remember taking Visual Communication last semester at UCF and learning about this ongoing trend for people wanting to see things versus reading them. With any small businesses Pinterest is still learning the ways of social media, as the whole world is doing. I’m hoping Pinterest can find a way to keep its own purity and uniqueness while not encountering some of the problems found through spam and advertising such as what runs rampant and Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Pinterest at

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M.I.A. and The Hand Gesture Seen Around The World.

Politically motivated club/shock rap artist M.I.A. has been the talk of the internet news world since Sunday when she graced the Superbowl stage with fellow female pop revolutionaries Madonna and Nicki Minaj. This year’s Superbowl game drew in 113 million viewers, which is the most watched game in history according to Nielsen. During M.I.A.’s short 10 second verse on Madonna’s Superbowl Extravaganza while performing Madonna’s new single “Gimme All Your Luvin'”, M.I.A. finishes her verse with a spontaneous and slick middle finger to the camera which manages to get past the 5 second delay which is supposed to filter out such controversial content before it can be aired on national television. The cameral delay system started with the now heralded Janet Jackson exposure incident from 2005’s Superbowl. Madonna’s 2012 Superbowl performance marks a change in gears for the historic event since 2005 when the more recent acts of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and The Black Eyed Peas were all family friendly acts which had been labeled as being “safe” for families to watch on national mainstream television.

A quick synopsis on our spotlight-stealing British revolutionary, M.I.A. is the type of artist who is motivated by her own personal motives, and is not the type of artist who aligns herself with being politically correct towards middle aged American soccer moms. M.I.A.’s art is revolutionary in both her coarse political motives involving third world violence and struggle in her home of Sri Lanka, all the way to her over the top Art Nouveau/Punk mentality which dominates a majority of her creative efforts. Controversy is nothing new to this alternative-friendly shock artist, M.I.A. is a very personal type of artist who “just wants her story to be told.” She is definitely an artist of passion and vision. With that being said…

M.I.A. is SUPPOSED to be controversial. Anyone who is familiar with M.I.A., both musically and visually are well aware of this. A lot of us fans and music reviewers, including notorious hipster blogs like Pitchfork and Hipster Runoff would expect this sort of behavior to come from our Sri Lankan princess. I have been an M.I.A. fan since her “Kala” album from 2007, and I will certainly tell you M.I.A.’s rebellious and seemingly reckless nature is something well known across the industry in both independent and mainstream music circles. M.I.A.’s biggest hit “Paper Planes” is chart topping single which features gunshot sounds and lyrics condemning the government and pledging several conspiracy theories, M.I.A. has a track record for being on a government watch list due to her lyrical content. Chances are quite high that M.I.A. knows her role within being asked to be on stage with Madonna at the world’s most watched television program and the opportunity this leaves for a smaller scale artist to leave their impact on the world. With a new album slated to release this year, this spontaneous gesture could be the push M.I.A. needs to come back to prominence after the lower performance of 2010 album “MAYA.” M.I.A’s new song “Bad Girls” just released it’s music video this past week.

NBC and the NFL released an apology press release regarding the inappropriate gestures and while nothing official from the FCC has been released yet, M.I.A. will most likely be paying some hefty fines. Contractually, M.I.A. signed a contract with the NFL stating she would pay any fines imposed by the FCC as a result of her actions, prior to her performance with Madonna this past Sunday. Will the middle finger be worth the fines? Is this really just a publicity stunt for M.I.A.? Does this quick hand gesture send M.I.A.’s message to the world? Who knows, but it has certainly attracted much attention to the rapper, on Monday, M.I.A. is one of most googled subjects for the day. Let’s hope the new album lives to the hype.

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