Britany Ederveen Weighs in on Current Events

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner: I believe that we should support whatever makes other people happy. If someone wants to have blue hair, they can have blue hair. If someone wants to ride their horse to school, then let them ride their horse to school. And, if someone wants to be a girl, then they should be allowed to be a girl. However, my issue with Bruce Jenner’s transition into Caitlyn Jenner, regardless of how you feel about transgender, we are neglecting the fact that Bruce Jenner STILL killed someone in a drunk driving accident, which is not a gender or sexuality issue at all, but rather a moral issue. And, I’m REALLY against drunk driving, because drunk driving is all choices YOU make. YOU have the choice to drive yourself. YOU have the choice to drink. YOU have the choice to leave.

Planned Parenthood Shooting: The Planned Parenthood shooting comes at an interesting time, when there is certainly a prominence of gun culture, and of fear, in our society. In my opinion, whether or not you support the second amendment, guns are still manufactured, so even if we stopped the production and made guns illegal, guns would still exist, and guns would most likely still be a problem; there are plenty of contraband items that people still keep inside their houses. Rather than guns, I think this is more an issue of how we treat mental health in our country (which is not at all). There is such a stigma again going to counseling and getting help, but the thing about it is we all got problems. There is not one person that could not benefit from talking about themselves for an hour.

Paris: There is no doubt this is a tragedy.  When tragedy first strikes, I usually wait a little bit of time before doing too much research, for the mere fact that, news sources always tend to jump on the bandwagon, post the most sensational headlines so they can attract visitors, and inevitably, there is a flaw in the news they are reporting. What I have a problem with is how this suddenly has become a political issue (very kariotic timing for the 2016 Presidential Election). When I type “Paris attacks” into Google, I can’t find any information on what is really happening, because the search engine is clogged with politicians suddenly making this their issue. Like, I really don’t care what Hillary Clinton thinks about the issue, or how Donald Trump feels about the issue; I want to make my own opinions and I want to make those opinions based on the facts I read about, and right now, I can’t find any facts to read.

Essena O’Neill Quitting Social Media: I’m always really disappointed when I click on a juicy, promising headline, like, “Find out what this man has been hiding from his wife for 25 years”, or, “Reasons why men don’t dump their girlfriends”, or in this case, “Model reveals what she did to get stunning pictures”, and the article itself is actually crap and offers me nothing. When I went to look at Essena O’Neill’s changed captions, I expected to find, “I used this filter to decrease my thighs”, “I put on baby oil to highlight my abs”, or even, “I cropped out the kid photobombing me in the back”, and instead, the captions were like, “I didn’t eat for 12 hours”, “Someone paid me to wear that dress”, “I took 100 shots before I used this one”. I mean, that is really good information to note, but I don’t think it targets the issue of social media allowing us to live fake lives, like the story of Madison Holleran does (if you click on the link, be prepared to cry). Plus, I read O’Neill’s blog, and I’m not sure I would deem it quality writing.

Donald Trump for President: Everyone is in a tizzy about Donald Trump for president, and they are all so appalled by his blatantly racist, sexist, elitist comments that he makes. I recently read an article that compared Donald Trump to Hitler, and there seems to be a paranoia about what will happen if he does get elected president. If people don’t want Donald Trump to become president, then they should stop feeding his publicity machine, which means stop #tweeting about him, stop posting statuses about him, stop bringing him up in conversation.

Cecil the Lion: In my opinion, it is not the issue of whether we are a bunch of hypocrites or animal lovers, but rather what we should be asking ourselves is why, as social media posters, are we so fascinated and intrigued by this event? I think two things are going on.

First of all, I think this event reveals how social media turns us all into band-wagoners. I watch this happening every single time there is a controversial issue in the news. Something will happen, a couple of people will post something supporting the same side, and suddenly, everyone is posting similar arguments. This is how ideologies are formed; one group, usually the dominant one, says they believe some concept, and since everyone else fears “being different”, they either keep their mouths shut to avoid verbal execution, or they support the concept, just because it appears as though everyone else is doing it. I was actually amazed at the amount of pictures that changed in support of the gay marriage decision. Now, don’t get me wrong–I completely support gay marriage; I believe the United States was founded under the context of separation of church and state, and that not allowing men and women to marry each other is a violation of that. And, at least on my social media feed, anyone who did NOT support the decision laid low; I did not see any backlash or differing opinions–like, no one turned their pictures black or posted really vehement statuses. Thus, a dominant ideology was formed. So, in the case of Cecil the Lion, a couple people post about how inhumane it is, and all of a sudden, everyone thinks it’s inhumane.

Most importantly, however, I think the upheaval shows our inability to deal with large issues. For some reason, as humans, when things get TOO big, we just shut them out, and we can’t deal with them. This happens in relationships. You might consider a time you were mad at your significant other because they didn’t put the cups back in the correct spot, but what you are REALLY mad about is you have suspicions of infidelity. It has nothing to do with the cups. This happens at work. You might consider a time that you were REALLY stressed about the amount of emails you have to attend to, but what the real issue is that you are feeling inadequate in your job, and instead, project that energy onto the emails. It has nothing to do with the emails. This happens with our role models. You might think of a time when your favorite coach was accused of inappropriate relations with a minor, or your favorite celebrity found cheating on their wife, and you get mad, and turn the issue into the credibility of the news source, but what the real issue is, you feel betrayed. The same is true with Cecil the Lion: perhaps it’s too hard for us to admit the corruption of our human species, so it’s easier, and safer, to just project it on some lion.

Angela Merkel: You go girl! I support Germany. Work makes us better people.

The conflict, it seems, results from conflicting political ideologies and structures. Germany, a capitalist nation, and perhaps the strongest lender in the European Union, values work, production, and efficiency; and socialism, which values collectiveness, cooperation, and generosity. Of all the shareholders in the union, the largest conflict seems to between Germany and Greece.  According to newspapers, Germany, with it’s ‘Nazist’ history, is being described as a dictator, and Greece seems to be taking the role of the innocent victim. For example, Richard Murphy tweeted, “Angela Merkel [the chancellor of Germany] has revived the concept of slavery in the modern political economy”.  Germany has been accused of “pure vindictiveness” as well as “selfishness”, and “tightening the noose” on Greece, all terms that cast Germany as a dictator, an enemy, and a bully, and therefore, an unfavorable opponent. For global viewers, constant references to Germany’s dictatorship and Nazi-history, as well as these antagonistic headlines create a negative view of Germany, and all of Germany’s proceedings.

On the other hand, Greece is being cast as an innocent victim. The trending hashtag is #ThisIsACoup, which sends the message that Greece is being suddenly and illegally forced into surrendering power to the powers in the European Union. The hashtag stream includes pictures of Aristotle, a founder of democracy, with blood running down his nose, memes that attack capitalism by saying, “twenty-first century capitalism is a prison colony”, campaigns to stop buying German, and pictures of the globe that show Greek supporters. An opinion column in the Irish Times says states that, “tormenting Greece is about sending a message”, and calls for, “a Greek surrender”.  The Greeks feel like they are being “forced into labor” and that “Germany is casting iron demands”, and this is, “slavery in the modern economy”. From the Twitter feed to the newspaper headlines, the image constructed of Greece is that they are helpless victims in this crisis; the ‘big bully IMF’ is withholding their money, and only allowing them, unfairly, to deposit $60 a day. Germany is calling for “enforced labor” that is similar to “slavery”. And it is a bit ironic that all of these “capitalist” countries are bashing Greece, the birthplace of democracy (which is a similar rhetorical tactic as referencing the Germans to their Nazi history).

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