THE FIRST GREAT DEBATE

Hello everyone,

 

What an interesting time we live in! Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debating for the candidacy. I feel like if you went back 20 years, this would be hard to believe. I mean really, Donald Trump? That liberal minded-wait, what? He’s a Republican? Wasn’t he pro LGBTQ and pro-choice for a while? Didn’t he say on camera that we had to increase wages? You’re telling me he’s not saying those things anymore? What happened?

And then there’s Hillary Clinton. 20 years ago, she was aspiring toward politics and her husband was coming up on his own election as president. And here we are. Of course, not everything about Hillary’s career has been great-people knock her for her use of a server in emails, and she has changed positions on several policies over the course of history. She backed NAFTA, which according to many experts has been a major failure. She also initially backed the TPP movement.

That being said, on the debate stage last night, we saw two very different people. At least, that’s how it started. Hillary was focused, expressive, and composed. Trump started out this way too. He even had some good argumentation in regard to trade. His points about taxation of companies matches tariffs that the United States has done in the past. However, as the debate wore on, it became clear that experience outmatched explosiveness.

Trump’s emotional bravado was shut down by Hillary’s hard use of factual information. She presented policy after policy with enough detail to be legitimate, yet not so much that it was hard to comprehend. Constant interruptions by Trump made him look more a child bully than a man ready to run the country.

Regardless of your political opinion, it’s hard to believe Trump was ready for the scale of the debate last night. I mean, the guy turned to calling Hillary’s argument “all words” at one point. Can’t the same be said about his own speech? What does he really get done? Hillary’s composure was undeniable, which was incredible. Sure, sometimes she sounded a bit mechanical, but I’d take a woman who was practiced and firm enough over this character that struggled to stay on topic. And of course, Hillary was not always on topic either-that’s a classic political fault of every president. But her ability to bring things back and eventually come around to the question at hand was unparalleled by her opponent.

Trump’s answer to a race question, purposely pointed at Black Lives Matter movements and police struggles, was turned into a foreign policy answer about eliminating ISIS, and an attack on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s “weakness” in this area. Is this really the person we want running our country? One who “agrees with Hillary” about unification, and yet presses divisive rhetoric and avoids relatively simple questions about racial injustice?

All this in mind, I would say that Hillary pretty clearly won the debate last night. If you didn’t watch it, I highly recommend checking it out. It was surprisingly easy to watch, which was not something I can say about all debates. What do you think? Did Hillary win? Is my analysis fair? Let me know!

TALKING FAME

Hello everyone,

 

It’s time to vent! Success is such an impossibly hard thing. Think about it. How many celebrities are there? Maybe ten thousand? If we assume all those people are American, there’s roughly a 0.003 percent chance that you a celebrity. That’s astronomically low. Yet in spite of that, we are pressured to look, act, think, and talk like them. Celebrities are what drives our culture, which very easily could be how things have developed naturally.

To expand on this idea, the idea of a worldwide celebrity is fairly new. Barring political characters, one of the first real “celebrities” where they would be recognized on street corners and such, was Ben Franklin. He was what I would call a political celebrity, much like someone like Obama. I mean, he was famous before he was actually directly involved in politics, but still. Anyway, Ben Franklin had a lot of positive and negative aspects to his character. For example, he had a few wives because, you know, he couldn’t really get it right. He also had a bit of a struggle with his son, who’s idea of work and such contrasted with his own. That being said, Ben Franklin is also vastly considered to be one of the spearheads of the revolution, and rightly so. Poor Richard’s Almanac did a lot to wake the common person to the injustice of the colonies.

On the other hand, he also taught us to learn from and idolize those we looked up to. Which isn’t inherently a bad time—I mean, religion has been teaching us to learn from those older and wise than us for millennia. Politics has always been telling people how to live. Regardless, it was different prior to the Internet, as well as the vast wealth and accessibility to knowledge.

Which brings me with my problem with learning and idolizing celebrities—we only see their highlights. I mean, every once in a while we hear the stories of the Peter Dinklage’s of the world. In fact, that’s often the one’s we hear most and expect ourselves to match. Yet there can only be so many celebrities. Can you imagine a world with seven billion celebrities? No. And many people will tell you it is hard work to get there. And I’m sure it is. That being said, it’s also hard work to wake up at two am every day to be at work by four am in order to clean the toilets. And you can argue that this job is some how less important than shooting a film, but if you’ve ever woken up daily at 2 am, you probably know that this is not the case. It’s hard. Your body is tired. Now, I’m not trying to discredit the work that celebrities do, but at the same time can we look at the work of the common man and give them a bit more credit?

Ok, with that off my chest, I also want to look at celebrity faults. We hold any mistake by celebrities at their throats. Yet, there’s so many people who do the same things on a daily basis. I’m not justifying things like saying, I don’t know, Mexican’s are rapists, because that’s bullshit and we know it. But take maybe a questionable aspect of a relationship. Take any heterosexual celebrity couple. If the guy went out with another girl, even in a purely platonic way, the paparazzi would be all over them. And that’s unfair. They should be able to live their lives with a bit more quietness. Or not. I guess their lives are for the entertainment of others. What do you think? Let me know!

POTENTIAL FOR POWER

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to discuss the media. Since as most people know, the media holds quite a bit of power in the world. I’m curious to what extent they abuse this power. I’m also curious what the extent of their power is, so I think I’m going to spend some time expressing how their potential power affects the world.

I use the phrase “potential power” because the reach and influence of the media varies based on too many factors for me to begin to understand how they would possibly make an accurate test about it. Let’s start with the most well known outlet—the television. TV has become something that’s pretty common in every household, even if it is secondhand. People who watch the TV for news are subjected to specific content, but content that is relatively current. This means that they have become aware of the news, just like with any other news source out there. At least, that’s the idea of it. However, many people believe that this news is filtered a lot in order to boost ratings. For example, the political media gave an abnormal portion of screen time to Donald Trump during the primaries because he was so obscene, which boosted ratings.

Of course, this is true of many news sources, however, we should stop to question whether this is right or not. For those of you hard core Bernie Sanders supports, or those of you who simply preferred him to Hilary, it’s important to point out that most people thought that Sanders was effectively given a “media blackout.” In other words, most Sanders supporters believed that he was being shut down by the media. Now, this is pretty hard to say, since I know that I could find videos of Sanders all over the internet, but in regard to television, I am not someone who really peruses the TV for content.

If you exist on Facebook, there is a good chance you had one of those friends that constantly blew up your feed with news about Sanders. Which brings me to the second source of media, the Internet. The Internet is it’s own entity that at this point is probably several times bigger that the TV. Hence why streaming television shows, news reports, and so on have become such an enormous aspect of the television stations. Many people get their news from the internet nowadays—whether it’s watching the Daily Show on Hulu, reading the New York Times articles on their iPhones, or just searching the web for general news. I like to think that the Internet is a little bit more unbiased (weird to say, isn’t it?) because there are probably less filters on what is “news” based solely on opinions. I’d imagine the Internet shows topics based on trending stories, which basically means however popular it is.

However, there is a good chance that I am wrong about this. Facebook is often reported as showing liberal topics in their “trending” section more than conservative topics. Now, it’s quite likely that this is because there are simply more liberals on Facebook than conservatives, but it’s hard to say for certain. What are your ideas? Is it scary to think that our news sources could be filtering what aspects of the news we here? Let me know in the comments!