Isolation of the Past and the Millennial Change

Two of the biggest stories in the news cycle of the past two weeks have been Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s taped conversation with his mistress in which he urges her not to associate with black people, and rancher Cliven Bundy fighting off the federal government’s confiscation of his cattle with the help of an armed citizen militia over allegations of not paying $1.1 million dollars worth of grazing fines, only to promote his view in his 15 minutes of fame that blacks might have been better off in slavery than they are now. These two men have both espoused despicable views on the place of blacks in society, but strangely enough, this modest rancher and uber-rich NBA franchise owner have something in common: they are generationally similar (67 and 80 respectively) and they live in isolated communities. From the author of an article for Hot Air, Jazz Shaw:

What do Bundy and Sterling have in common? First of all – aside from the obvious fact that they are white – they are old. And I don’t mean old like me… we’re talking really old. And second, each in their own way are old men who live in a form of isolation. Bundy lives in a geographically isolated, rural region. Sterling lives in the rather insular world of the very wealthy. They also come from a different generation, growing up among attitudes which were common beyond notice in their day but which would probably shock many people today. Without going into graphic detail, I’ll just say that I can relate to that, being raised by a member of that same generation in a rural, farming area.

These men voicing their racist views have not been exposed to the diversity and integration of modern America. Their views are outdated and a product of their generation and upbringing. Our generation the Millennials is the most diverse in American history and, having grown up around diverse groups of people, is more accepting of all peoples. People like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have been isolated from this change and are simply living in the past as they remember it.

The backlash that has come out against Sterling and Bundy I view as a sign that our generation is positively changing the way race is viewed in society. By introducing more young people to more diverse populations, we cut down the chances our society producing of more people like Bundy and Sterling. I think it would be very difficult to find a Millennial who holds the same views as a Sterling or Bundy because of the amount of diversity to which Millennials have been exposed.

I myself am a upper-middle class, suburban, white male who went to a small religious private school for both high school and college. Even someone like me, who stereotypically seems like they would be isolated from diversity, has been exposed to a fair amount of diversity. Through classes like AmCon and experiences like International Night, I have been made aware and sympathetic to the struggles of a variety of people who do not share my demographic background or privileges. Millennial exposure to more diversity has, for the most part, eradicated the Sterlings and Bundys of our generation. While racism, sexism, and homosexual discrimination are still very present in modern culture, generationally and societally we are making great progress.

Keep fighting the good fight Millennials.

Environmental Activism through Adventure

dave-amy-freeman_73160_600x450

When I first heard that the National Geographic Adventurers of the year Amy and Dave Freeman were coming to speak at Olaf I was extremely excited.  At the talk I expected to hear about their daring three-year journey through and around North America: up and through Canada, through the great lakes, then down the east coast, all by kayaking, canoeing, and dogsledding.  Although I did get to hear about the adventure, I was also able to learn about how they are spreading environmental awareness and activism simply through publicizing their wilderness treks.

Dave and Amy are inspiring environmental activism in a couple different ways.  One method including tackling the root of the problem: ignorance.  By electronically logging and documenting their travels, then sharing the journey with over 85,000 students in classrooms through video clips and mileage data, kids were able to start to develop an appreciation for the natural world.  Dave, in an interview with National Geographic, stated that

teaching kids when they’re young that these places exist is a first stepping stone to getting people outside, understanding why these places are important, and working to protect them.

As the kids were even able to get involved in Dave and Amy’s decision-making process, they definitely became more aware of the outside world and potentially inspired in their own adventures.

As Dave noted during the talk, almost wherever Dave and Amy traveled, “the wilderness was under pressure”.  When the couple returned from the three-year expedition, they began to focus their attention on a local environmental issue: the sulfide oar mines proposed in the northern regions of Minnesota.  If allowed to go through with the mining process, any sulfuric acid produced could drain into the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior, causing major water pollution. This map shows the path of pollution from the three mines being considered.

PaddleToDC_route_map-1024x576

Mines of this type are usually located in desert environments, where there is minimal water and chance of contamination; this is not the case in Minnesota.  In order to combat the building of the mines, Dave and Amy are taking part of a “Paddle to DC”, in which they will paddle to Washington, D.C. in a canoe of which all who are part of the opposition movement have signed.  Overall, Dave and Amy aim to make a difference while doing what they love.  In terms of the effectiveness of the campaign, I was initially wary.  I wondered how a wilderness adventure could affect policies or decisions, but soon I realized that this “paddle diplomacy” has definite merit in raising awareness, educating the pubic, and creating action towards positive environmental measures.

If you want to learn more about or get involved with Dave and Amy’s canoe journey to the White House, you can visit their website PaddleToDC.org.

Gretchen Morgenson and the News Industry

Gretchen Morgenson is the Assistant Business and Financial Editor writer of the weekly “Market Watch” column for the New York Times. She is also a St. Olaf alum.  She graduated in 1976 with a degree in English.  Recently, she came to campus to talk to students interested in both journalism and finance.

Morgenson spoke at length about her long and varied career.  Aside from her position at the Times, she has also worked as the executive editor at Worth magazine, a business writer and editor at Forbes magazine, and as a staff writer at Money magazine.  She also gained experience in the financial world as a stockbroker for Dean Witter Reynolds.

“Sometimes the path goes in a lot of weird directions, but if you learn from every experience you had, good and bad, and if you keep in mind what you really enjoy doing, you’ll end up doing what you really love”, said Morgenson.

She arrived at the New York Times in 1998, where she was able to combine her interest in finance and knowledge of Wall Street with her skills as a journalist.  In 2002, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting for her coverage of Wall Street.

She also discussed the rapidly changing nature of the journalism industry, which was especially interesting for me because I consider journalism as a possible career path for me.  Newspapers have declined in popularity in recent years with the rise of the Internet, social media, and blogging.  The traditional big names in the industry such The New York Times and the Washington Post, have had to adjust their business models in order to stay relevant.  Nevertheless, Morgenson emphasized the importance of journalists and the newspaper industry

Morgenson herself is an example of the relevance of journalists.  Since the financial crash of 2008, she has devoted much of her time trying to uncover the true causes of the financial meltdown.  In 2009, she co-authored a book with Joshua Rosner entitled Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon, which explained how oversights by officials Washington D.C. contributed to the crash.

Morgenson went on to dismiss the idea that newspapers were dying or becoming irrelevant.  Reporters are crucial since they inform the public and uncover abuses by those in power.  Financial reporters are especially important in this aspect since they help keep Wall Street relatively honest.  While it is true that the industry needs to evolve, there will always be a need for news.

“The Internet has upset the business model, but I think there is still a keen desire for news, and I think the importance of what good journalists do is undeniable as far as shining the light on the dark corners where sometimes bad times happen.”

Some of our class discussions this week have related to Morgenson’s points about the news industry. We discussed how the rise of television has made the news industry fragmented and inconsequential.  People watch entertainment news shows like the Colbert Report instead of traditional sources like NBC.  But America needs informed citizens and that requires dedicated journalists like Gretchen Morgenson as well as serious news sources.  I’d argue that while the news industry is changing, it has become no less important. It’s up to the American people to pay attention.

Palestine: Life Under The Occupation

I recently attended the Political Awareness Committee’s Panel entitled “Understanding Palestine: A Discussion of Life Under the Occupation”. The panel included so/an professor Ibtesam Al Atiyat and Ruth Hansen of Northfielders for Justice in Palestine and Israel along with a Palestinian St. Olaf Student. The panel began with recognizing and explaining common misconceptions about Palestine and the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Some of the common misconceptions include that Israel has been given a holy land because of the atrocities committed against the Jewish population during the Holocaust. However, this is not the case. Another misconception that comes up frequently is that 1) All Israelis are Jewish and 2) All Arabs are Muslims. Both Israelis and Arabs are  made up of Jewish, Muslims, and Christians.

Prior to attending the panel, I had a class during high school about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but I realized that I know virtually nothing about this international issue. Additionally, what I do remember has a particular angle to it. It presented the story in a way that somewhat glorified the American involvement and opinion of the issue.

In the U.S., it is common to hear about this particular issue and connect it to a religious issue. This is not necessarily the correct approach and often tends to favor the Israeli side of the argument. I was completely blown away by the information revealed at the panel-heart breaking accounts of relocation, strict curfews, and military personnel everywhere. This panel provided me with a new and valuable awareness and perspective that I did not have previously. It reminded me to always approach an issue from a variety of angles and  furthered my interest in learning more about the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.

Mozilla, Brendan Eich, and Marriage Equality

A month ago, Mozilla appointed Brendan Eich to CEO. Approximately a week later, he resigned. Mozilla lost not only one of their first employees, but one of the fathers of the modern internet.

For those who do not burrow into technological lore as I do, Eich helped create Mozilla from the burning embers of Netscape. He also created JavaScript (no relation to Java), a core pillar of the web. Without Eich, would not exist Mozilla, and the internet would be a more… Microsofty place.

The Mozilla Foundation infuses openness into their culture. Nearly all of their meetings are public; every line of code written is open-source; and most of the people who work on the products volunteer. No other company does this, such openness is neigh impossible to retrofit onto an existing corporate structure. Their policies addresses issues including conflicts between personal beliefs and community inclusiveness. These “Community Participation Guidelines” include the following:

(i) Inclusion and Diversity

The Mozilla Project welcomes and encourages participation by everyone. It doesn’t matter how you identify yourself or how others perceive you: we welcome you. We welcome contributions from everyone as long as they interact constructively with our community, including, but not limited to people of varied age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views.

Mozilla-based activities should be inclusive and should support such diversity.

Some Mozillians may identify with activities or organizations that do not support the same inclusion and diversity standards as Mozilla. When this is the case:

(a) support for exclusionary practices must not be carried into Mozilla activities.

(b) support for exclusionary practices in non-Mozilla activities should not be expressed in Mozilla spaces.

(c) when if (a) and (b) are met, other Mozillians should treat this as a private matter, not a Mozilla issue.

California's Prop 8 was a political initiative to enshrine a definition of marriage in California's constitution. The LA Times maintained a list of the names and employers of all donors. In 2012, someone noticed Eich's donation, raising a flurry of concern for week, but ignored by larger technology blogs. Mozilla's community openly vented as they are wont to do, on blogs and Twitter, peacefully resolving disagreements, because of community guidelines. According to paragraph (c), Eich's donation was “a private matter, not a Mozilla issue”. Even so, many Mozillians felt uncomfortable, but most abided by paragraph (c) and treated this as a private matter. Left to their own devices, they worked through the discomfort by relying on Mozilla's mission.

When Eich was promoted to CEO, his donation resurfaced, and the storm began anew—stronger and faster. News outlets reported on a global scale. A kerfuffle arises, and Eich stepped down. I want to emphasize: he decided to step down, with added persuasion from outside influences. The board asked him to stay, and he chose to resign.

I disagree with supporters of his resignation. I support marriage equality, and I disapprove of his donation, but Mozilla's structure prevents a CEO from affecting either the culture or the community surrounding Mozilla. Mozillians who wrote about their experiences said he always presented himself in a professional manner and no information indicated he intended on changing as CEO. His choices remain his choices, and as the Mozilla CEO, his power to spread his ideals never increased. His decision aided the Mozilla Foundation, but should have been unnecessary.

Experimenting with Death

There are 32 states in the United States that still practice capital punishment. The death penalty has always been a controversial topic of debate, but new questions are being raised on its legitimacy, as an increasing number of executions are unsuccessful.

These failures are arising because many drug companies no longer sell the traditional execution drugs to states. Thus, states are forced to come up with new combinations of drugs to administer. However, these combinations are not as effective. In January, the state of Ohio executed Dennis McGuire with a unique cocktail of drugs. It took McGuire 24 minutes to die, and although the state proved that he did not suffer, he was making awful choking and gasping sounds for about 10 minutes.

On April 29, the state of Oklahoma botched another execution. When Clayton D. Lockett was administered with a cocktail of execution drugs, his veins supposedly failed so the drugs didn’t make it into his system, and he appeared to be writhing in pain. Lockett didn’t die until more than an hour later when he had a massive heart attack.

Warner and Lockett
Clayton Lockett (L) and Charles Warner (R)

Many are appalled by these results, and understandably so. Lawyers are labeling the process as “experimental” and are calling for independent investigations and autopsies to be conducted. Originally, Lockett’s execution was stayed by a day by both a lower-court Oklahoma judge and governor Mary Fallin due to controversy and uncertainty surrounding the drug cocktails to be used. It was thus scheduled for the same night as that of Charles Warner. However, Warner’s execution was stayed when Lockett’s failed. Madeline Cohen, Warner’s representative, stated that Lockett was tortured to death, pointing out that

Despite repeated requests by counsel, the state has refused, again, and again, to provide information about the source, purity, testing and efficacy of the drugs to be used. It’s not even known whether the drugs were purchased legally.

In addition, eight former corrections officers wrote an open letter opposing these practices, especially in regards to the correctional officers who witnessed the horrific death, claiming that

“No individual should be asked to carry out an execution using experimental drugs and dosages or without proper training and medical expertise.”

Although under undesirable circumstances, these failed executions bring to light important questions about the continued credibility of the death penalty. It seems the executions of Lockett and McGuire are a violation of the eighth amendment, but autopsy reports will confirm or deny this. Although it is difficult to draw a definite line between the ethical and unethical in these cases, I think experimenting on death penalty victims with various drug cocktails is a violation of their rights as a human being. Despite the heinous crimes they have committed, they still do have those rights. It will be interesting to follow this story and the responses of the remaining 32 states that support the death penalty. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has halted further executions until the review of Lockett’s case is complete, but many are pushing for the United States to follow the global trend and out an end to capital punishment.

 

See http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/30/308372080/oklahoma-governor-calls-for-independent-review-of-botched-execution

and/or

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/29/308081252/oklahoma-poised-to-use-new-drug-mixture-in-double-execution

for more details.

 

Garbage is gross…?

Trash party cartoon
Local newspaper cartoon

I have never been much of a “green” person, yes I recycle, but when a friend of mine asked me to come along to our town’s annual “Trash Party” I was skeptical.  The “Trash Party” apparently, has been taking place annually for the past 42 years in my town.

 

Trash Party gang in 1979
Trash Party gang in 1979

Starting in October of 1972 Norma Glover and Bonnie Miskolczy started the “Trash Party” project.  Their goal was to get the community together, have fun and better their surroundings.  It’s a day in March where people in the community gather together to pick up debris around our neighborhoods.  I didn’t know anyone in the group besides my friend, but the sense of comradery was overwhelmingly supportive.  People provided snacks and beverages to help aid us volunteers as we worked away at bettering our community.  Although it was wet and cold, and the trash surrounding me was not appealing, it got me thinking about how such a small and simple act like this could help move a place to not only being “greener” but healthier for people in our town.

 

Trash party in 2008
Trash Party in 2008
Boy scouts attending the annual Trash Party in 2011
Boy scouts attending the annual Trash Party in 2011

 

 

I spoke with some people like Penny Zezima who had been involved with the “Trash Party” project for the past 30 years and commented on the dedication and commitment of the volunteers.  Penny said

“They [the people] of this town have gathered annually to clean their roads.  They were so dedicated to the effort that they refused to to take time off for refreshments and requested that someone from the Trash Party deliver their goodies to them, so I would drive over with orange juice, coffee and munchkins and track these hardworking people down, often into the woods of Towle Land, in order to give them their pit stop.”

As I continued to talk with Zezima she said that sometimes there are rivalries that arise.

“Small neighborhood rivalries often arose.  For example, Estabrook Road has found families signed up while Munroe Hill has no one signed up to clean—(guess we know who the better neighborhood is).  It becomes a point of pride to have had the largest number of volunteers for your neighborhood.”

After a long day of walking through mud and collecting trash I was tired and really grossed out.  Although this effort was small and only in my local community it got me thinking about how a small act, such as this can help a community become healthier and cleaner.  I completely admit that I probably will never be doing something like this again, but it did teach me how important it is for us to have a clean and healthy environment surrounding us.

 

I wanted to know if other communities around my area also had a program similar to this, so I researched.  There was only one town close to mine that had a “Trash project” of sorts, but it did not look nearly as unifying as the one in our town that not only created a healthier environment but also friendship.  I also noticed that the town’s annual “Trash party” was advertised in other local newspapers because of the popularity.  I had met people from neighboring towns that were participating in the “Trash party” with friends and to better a town’s environment.  With everyone being so concerned about our planet these days I encourage everyone to take some step towards aiding this effort.  Whether it is educating yourself on the topic or physically aiding a clean up effort, whatever the decision is you can’t go wrong when purifying your environment.

 

Active Student Opinions on the Newt Gingrich Talk

As many of you know, Newt Gingrich flew in earlier this month to speak here at St. Olaf in Boe Chapel. The Political Awareness Committee or PAC brought in Newt as half of the CNN show “Crossfire”, with Stephanie Cutter, the other half, being the fall PAC speaker. There is no doubt that, like many colleges, St. Olaf is a generally liberal campus. As a result, the announcement of Newt coming to campus resulted in a variety of reactions from students. Posters were put up around campus urging students to “Boycott Newt” with a homophobic quote from Gingrich placed underneath the exhortation. In response, posters in the same style as the “Boycott Newt” posters, saying “Boycott the Boycott” were placed around campus urging students to attend the speech in the name of hearing out both sides. In addition, as the talk drew near, a group of students organized a “General Assembly” in front of Boe Chapel in protest of the growing influence of money in politics and the murky circumstances that allowed Newt to speak here. I thought it would be interesting to speak with students who advocated for attending Newt’s talk and those who advocated against it and find out their reasons for advocating as such. So through my mysterious connections and multiple meetings in abandoned parking garages, I met with one student who was a member of the General Assembly and another student who was involved with the “Boycott the Boycott” posters. I did not record our conversations but I have detailed the gist of their arguments below which they have reviewed. They also each asked that their names not be mentioned.

General Assembly student:

Q: Why should students not attend Newt Gingrich’s talk?

There is a lot of background story that was not revealed to St. Olaf students regarding how St. Olaf was able to afford Newt speaking here. PAC has confirmed that this is the way that Newt was brought in but the numbers are unconfirmed. Research has revealed that these are usual amounts. The typical PAC budget for the fall and spring speakers is typically around $20,000 and this is listed on their website. Newt’s speaking cost is typically $50,000 and a first-class plane ticket. The difference in cost was made up by an organization called Young America’s Foundation (link to event). This is an extremist right organization that subsidizes speakers, supports white nationalist groups, and donates money to schools that eschew topics like feminism, Marxism, and post-modernism, etc. YAF is under the same umbrella corporation as CPAC and Citizens United. With recent Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC, corporations can give unlimited money to Political Action Committees, which can then give money to candidates. With all of these recent events, the wealthy are given more power in our political system and control over our political dialogue. The General Assembly is a organized event to get people to think more about the issues of money in politics. People were too willing to accept that an absurd amount of money from an outside source allowed them to see Newt speak.

Q: Do you think protesting the speech and not hearing it was a closed-minded thing to do?

Not at all. The General Assembly would have happened had the circumstances been the same for a liberal speaker. The protest was about money in politics not liberal or conservative ideology. It may have been even more closed-minded or ignorant to attend the speech without any knowledge of how Newt was brought here. I do think it is wrong to allow someone a platform where they can spread ideas that are factually incorrect. If something is factually incorrect, it does not “present the other side” of an argument. It is just wrong. (i.e. Newt Gingrich denying the conclusive existence of climate change) And in the end the General Assembly was a success. People yelled “fuck you” at us leaving the chapel which I saw as a sign that the protest was successful. The status quo was challenged and although for the most part activism is dead at St. Olaf, I think the General Assembly reanimated it. I hope the General Assembly encourages students to stand up for their beliefs and participate more in direct democracy.

“Boycott the Boycott” student:

Q: Why should students attend Newt Gingrich’s talk?

First of all, I disagree with the idea that you should not attend Newt Gingrich’s talk because you disagree with his position. You ought to listen to people’s opinions, ideally first-hand, so you can decide for yourself whether you agree with their reasons for their position, or reject their initial assumptions, or disagree with their reasoning from their assumptions. I think you should hear opinions from their primary source because the media today can spin anything in whatever direction they want. There is a lot of biased reporting. And even if you have the opinion that Newt has “incorrect facts”, he is still entitled to that opinion, and people with incorrect beliefs should not be silenced.

Q: How do you feel about the General Assembly protest?

I agree that there should be more transparency on how Newt was brought in. I don’t see why students can’t start a petition or something to find out how exactly PAC paid his speaking fee or who subsidized it and how much. It is important if Young America’s Foundation reached out to Olaf or Olaf reached out to them. The wealthy controlling politics is a complex issue. On the one hand, I don’t want them controlling who gets to speak, but on the other hand, I don’t see why someone should not be allowed to work really hard, earn their money, and spend it on a political candidate that they truly believe in. People are free to do with their money what they choose. We may need restrictions in the future that limit the amount one can contribute to a politics but we should also preserve the freedom to work for money to contribute to a campaign.

Is love dead? The Struggles of Dating in our Generation

This past week I attended the Sexual Assault Resource Network: Survivor Panel and the theater production In Black, both of which I was completely floored by, not only by the sheer talent and bravery that certain people here at St. Olaf posses, but because the content was so raw and real. I found this honesty refreshing because it was so relatable and before I knew it these events made me cry, laugh, and really think about one vital disconnect that every college student seems to experience: love. It’s just one word, yet it can define one specific moment in time and have so many different meanings all at once. When you think about it, love really runs our whole life, we can experience friendship love, romantic love, admiring love, subject love, lust love, and most importantly love for oneself. We can’t escape it so why not enjoy it?

Well it isn’t that simple. We seem to have a huge disconnect within our generation of what a relationship is and the expectations that we have for one another. This causes for a lot of grey area filled with confusion, hurt, and overall loneliness.

Before going to the rape panel I had always pictured rape as something where you are physically attacked by a stranger and forced into sexual acts. It never really occurred to me that rape more commonly happens with someone that the victim knows and trusts. The assaulter could be someone that you’re dating or friends or acquaintances with. There usually isn’t something mentally wrong with the assaulter either; it could be that cute TA or that cool older senior, or someone that has been your friend for a long time. Most of them just don’t know when to stop or listen, or sometimes they want to assert their dominance over the victim or sometimes they just don’t know how to communicate. The act itself and the repercussions that follow thereafter are so much more than just sex.

I had a really hard time organizing my thoughts after the panel so being the art major that I am, I decided to draw it out so I could understand and organize my ideas more clearly. I scanned it in so you can take a look at it if you want. It just depicts a scenario where rape happens with someone you know because of miscommunication and differing expectations

rape?-1rape?-1

After hearing the survivors stories it made me question even some of my own experiences with relationships and the wavering question of what is acceptable and what is not. What is my body and self really comfortable with? I had always assumed that the anxious feelings of insecurity were normal in a relationship and that I was just being crazy and needy when I wanted more than casual sexual activity. I thought that I was in the wrong for wanting something real with a college relationship because I had been brainwashed into thinking otherwise.

Hearing about the panel survivors’ strength and recovery processes helped me realize that no you are not crazy; this does not have to be the norm if you do not want it to be. You do not owe anything to anyone, even if they show you affection and do nice things for you. Do not assume, do not expect, but rather communicate and listen.

Why are these things not at the core of all relationships? What has happened to our generation where we can’t formulate coherent thoughts unless we plan it out in a thoroughly checked text message that has so many underlying meanings that no one can even decipher the real message behind it? Have we not developed the necessary human interaction skills for speaking face to face? Finding love could be made so much easier if we cut the bullshit and established our intentions with one another once the feels start because clearly this method of less communication is not working.

Next, this question of whether or not love exists for our generation was extended in In Black’s skit called board game. It’s this scene where a guy asks a girl to play a game with him. Essentially the game is actually not a board game at all; rather, it is the game of life and describes the complicated notion that whoever cares less in a relationship is winning.

I thought this only furthered the idea that our generation is distancing itself from one another, as these other forms of interaction become our main mode of communication. Is this a defense mechanism? If you never cared about something in the first place, it can’t hurt you if it leaves right? You have the power over your own emotions then. Are we too immature or too afraid to let anyone in, to be real and vulnerable for 2 seconds with another human being? Why hasn’t our generation figured out that we all just want the same thing in the end? We’re just looking for love.

Why do we have this miscommunication? Is it because we have become accustomed to synching more with our iPhone apps than with our own species? Is it because we see movies about college that depict the stereotypical drunken one nightstand hook up? Do we come into college with expectations for others and ourselves that aren’t necessarily what we want but rather what society tells us is normal? Or is it just easier for us to throw the whole thing out the window and curl up in our protective shell of not caring?

I will leave you with one burning question for our generation…

Where did all the feels go?

New Yorkers upset by Tall Buildings – Not an Onion Article

While perusing my Facebook wall, I came across a story from NPR on “All Things Considered” that dissects the issue of tall skyscrapers in New York City.  Of the adjacent neighborhoods that border the large city, many community members have been up in arms about the tall buildings and their resulting shadows.  When the shadows are so long and expansive, it often cools down the area and reduces the amount of sunlight to the community.  It may seem like a very niche problem, but the bigger issue the city dwellers face is the influx of high class big money entering the city constantly.  The article reports that million dollar investors are coming to their city and living in these ungodly large buildings.

Now imagine that you are living in city life with your small house but the park that you always go to is now (literally) overshadowed by the omnipotent business life. Granted, New York City dichotomizes Northfield and any town but this article empathizes with the now overshadowed city inhabitants.

I personally wouldn’t consider this news; over course tall buildings are going to provide more shade than usual.  However, it’s on the page of NPR, the most well respected radio site in the nation and on “All Things Considered” which always brings a wide variety of items that include all of the things that are considered.

My beef is with the news system at a whole; making news and ideas that aren’t truly going to inform and help the public be better citizens or even entertain them.  I’m all for informing citizens about different cultures of living in rural versus urban settings, but this is a bit extreme. I consistently urge for news writers to aim for cogent and pertinent stories rather than superfluous fluff.

 

nyc-shadows-1-523277d8835693d8772057d331f6cd15d7f2965c-s3-c85