Unsung Heroes of Representation: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

In honor of the weekend, and in memory of all the hours spent watching TV last weekend, I’ve decided that the time is ripe to begin a new segment: Unsung Heroes of Representation.

What an icon, honestly.

You might ask: Oh golly, who are these Unsung Heroes? Well, hold onto your seats, because they are a blast. Unsung Heroes of Representation has been devised to draw attention to TV shows and other media that represent marginalized identities in positive, realistic ways. Personally, I’m very tired of watching programs that rely upon stereotypes to characterize the few (if any) female, PoC, and/or queer characters – and I’m sure many of you agree.

 

Thank you, Amy.

Thank you, Amy.

That being said, what better way to kick this off than with the show I recently (shoutout to the long weekend) got all of my friends to start watching: Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Tell me that isn't a lit opening.

Tell me that isn’t a lit opening.

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Happy Birthday To Love

Valentine’s Day is my birthday. Some people think that’s sweet. This is especially true of older people, who derive great pleasure from making comments about how I am my parents’ Valentine, or some nonsense about how that means my boyfriend has fewer dates to remember (wow, so sorry one more date would’ve been such a tremendous burden) – but I think it’s pretty dumb.

 

 

Having your birthday coincide with a major holiday is inherently a little frustrating, after all.

 

As a kid (and also now, who am I kidding), I couldn’t help but feel put-out when Valentine’s arrived and everyone around me was more preoccupied with romance than my actual birthday. And ok, maybe that sounds a little self-centered, but I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with needing affirmation from the people around you during the yearly celebration of your existence. Not that I would ever want or expect people not to celebrate Valentine’s Day just because it’s my birthday, obviously; I just mean that, as far as birthdays go, mine is a pretty easy birthday for people to forget.

 

 

Over time, my birthday became more annoying than anything, something to endure and something for which I have learned not to raise my hopes.

 

It has also furnished my room with many stuffed animals (so. many. stuffed. animals.) over the course of the years. Chocolates, flowers, and stuffed animals were hugely dominant among my presents – to the point that I actually had to sit my dad down and tell him I had gotten too old for anymore of those furry little bastards.

 

Sorry, bros. Our time together is over.

 

Fuzzy animals aside, Valentine’s Day offered a yearly reminder that I was single. Obviously, that didn’t matter very much when I was younger, but as I got older I couldn’t help but feel glum that I didn’t have a partner with whom to celebrate the occasion. When you think about it, it’s practically impossible to escape Valentine’s Day. I mean, it’s a monstrosity of an institution.

 

This time of year, commercials are flooded with images of flowers, jewelry, etc. with accompanying voiceovers by posh British women (to make the rings seem more refined? Unclear, but I swear this is a trend). Your favorite TV shows all have a Valentine’s Day special, which either revolves around the struggles of being single or the emergence of tensions between your favorite TV couples. The latter plot is usually written for the sole purpose of letting them make-up at the end of the episode, when they realize the True Meaning of Valentine’s Day (hint: it’s consumerism).

 

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

 

I know many people love Valentine’s Day independently of Hallmark’s machinations, but let’s not deny the role of companies in sustaining this holiday. It’s not a coincidence that we all have a standardized list of Valentine’s gifts in our minds. And Valentine’s Day isn’t even a holiday reserved for adults! From pre-school onwards, it has infiltrated the hearts and minds of all. Who doesn’t remember handing out cards and candy to everyone in their class?

 

 

It’s not like it ended when we were little, either: even in college, we’re still doling out candy-grams and other treats like no one’s business. Not that I’m complaining about any of these things, because who doesn’t support eating a ton and displays of affection, but you have to admit that Valentine’s Day is largely geared towards getting people to buy, buy, buy.

 

 

Let’s not let capitalism ruin this for us, though. There are certainly ways to spend the holiday without emptying your wallet and, regardless, I think that a day devoted to being extra sweet to your partner is lovely. Yeah, I know that sounds gooey – but what can I say, my birthday has grown on me.

 

Certainly, Valentine’s Day can be obnoxious, and sometimes disheartening, but it can also be tremendously fun. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat really good food, indulge yourself with extra desserts (so I really want an excuse to eat a pint of ice cream, sue me), and let your romantic side take the reins? Take it from me, a true child of Saint Valentine.

 

Do not be fooled: the fun is not reserved exclusively for couples. If Valentine’s Day is about recognizing the people you love, why not bestow your affections upon your friends and loved ones? After all, nothing about being single prohibits you from taking part, and the holiday has a lot to offer: themed parties, desserts on deserts on desserts, discounted candy the day after, and the perfect excuse to treat yo self.

 

So go out there and show Hallmark who really owns Valentine’s Day, Brunonia.

 

You heard Ms. Meagle.

 


Being Liberal at Home

A highlight from my experience this break: “You know what they say . . . if you’re young and not a liberal, you have no heart; if you’re old and not a conservative, you have no brain.”

I’m sure many of you have experienced similar levels of condescension recently, especially considering the fact that Winter Break was, for many, the first time we have seen our families since the election.

Being liberal at Brown? No big deal. I mean, it’s Brown. Being liberal at home, however . . .

Tag yourself, I'm Tina.

Tag yourself – I’m Tina.

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Friendsgiving 2K16

3:30 pm: “Hey guys, I just want to remind you that in exactly 2 months it will be November 23rd, day 1 of my lit Thanksgiving break. If you’re no longer planning on coming to Friendsgiving2k16, tell me now, because I will need the whole 2 months to mourn the loss of you as my friend before my true friends get here.”

Pictured above: basically me the whole time.

Pictured above: basically me the whole time.

“Friendsgiving: College Edition” is a huge deal. While it is technically the third Friendsgiving I have had with my lovely squad, “Friendsgiving: College Edition” stands apart in that we decided to band together and have Thanksgiving at Haverford, my best friend’s college, rather than go home to Chicago. The best thing about Haverford College is that you can slap a “Haver-” onto the beginning of pretty much every word while you’re there.

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Election Day Live-Blogging

7:06 pm: Hey there, Brunonia! The time has come, the votes are coming in, and I am here to give you updates on the conclusion to this wild (seriously, wow) presidential election of ours. Hold on tight, kids.

7:08 pm: With 3 out of 50 states reporting (this is gonna be a long night), Clinton has 3 electoral votes, Trump has 19. (Why is Election Day not a federal holiday – someone please tell me. We should not have to do homework with all of this going on.)

7:23 pm: @ news channels, I don’t really think it’s accurate to say “Breaking News” when the news is that you’re awaiting poll closures. You’re awaiting news, not reporting news – just please chill, ya know. We’re all stressed enough as is.

7:35 pm: 4 states reporting, already sick of hearing “too early to call”. Electoral votes: Clinton 3, Trump 24. Asked friends for an update on how they’re feeling and received a mumbled response of “Odysseus for President” from one of them – seriously, this should be a federal holiday. Now is the time for democratic observance, not Greek classics.

7:54 pm: 5 states now reporting, Brunonia. Trump 33, Clinton 3. 45/50 to go!

8:06 pm: Highly-contested Florida is “too close to call” (as are most states which have been brought up) . Clinton is picking up some traction as Blue states are beginning to report. Electoral votes: Clinton is at 75, Trump 66.

8:21 pm: As we wait for the next set of results to be released, let’s all take a moment to appreciate how cool President Obama is. Regardless of whether or not you agree with all of his policies, he remains the epitome of cool dad.

Moment of silence for how much I’ll miss him. I can’t imagine Clinton or Trump doing half the cute and meme-worthy stuff Obama has done.

8:36 pm: NBC reports: 72 Trump, 75 Clinton. Peers report a lack of surprise as election results are aired and seem generally unfazed by new developments. I mean, same.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

8:51 pm: “At least Rhode Island’s four electoral votes were Blue – all that matters in this election.” -Friend and Rhode Island Resident

9:06 pm: Everyone in the room expresses shock that the election is closer than they thought it would be (“I’m not going to get any homework done” is a consensus, as is “once every four years we can get a little distracted”).

NBC reports: Trump 137, Clinton 104. CNN reports: 97 Clinton, 84 Trump. It would be incredibly helpful if news networks had agreed-upon guidelines for when to call states. Trump has drawn more Republican voters than anticipated and is outperforming Mitt Romney (Republican candidate for Presidency in 2012) in many Red states.

9:07-9:12 pm: “I was thinking about the 2012 election, and I feel like it was super chill [compared to this one]- I feel like I didn’t care as much [speaker was in high school, so that’s to be anticipated], but still . . .”

“Does [Trump] even want the presidency?”

“Don’t you think that, in this election, vice-presidents aren’t even known? They’re completely irrelevant.” *everyone dissolves into shouts about Sarah Palin*

“Can Obama just be the president forever? We literally watched 45 minutes of Obama appreciation videos last night.”

9:15 pm: CNN reports: Trump 128, Clinton 97. Glad we’re getting closer to matching across networks now (a friend changed the channel a while back, so now I’m plagued by two sets of numbers – I go to Brown so I don’t need to deal with math, come on).

9:24-9:30 pm: Everyone else in the room has stopped working, fixing their attentions solely on election coverage.

“Gary Johnson’s ahead in that county???” (multiple times)

“[Gary Johnson] must be like ‘yes! People voted for me!!'”

The intense focus on different counties within states is super stressful. I know the newscasters are antsy and need something to talk about as they wait for states to be called, but this is a lot to take in.

“They don’t have any definitive answers [about counties] and just keep saying ‘ah, I guess this county will go that way.'”

“My county has been shown 100 times – I’m famous.” – Friend and Florida Resident

9:41 pm: CNN is reporting 136 Trump, 104 Clinton. Florida is too close to call, as of yet, as is Ohio.

10:06 pm: NBC reports: Clinton 104, Trump 140. Many states remain too close to call. Florida is reporting 95% with a Trump lead of around 100K votes. Trump is several points ahead of Clinton in Ohio.

Trump leads popular vote (49% to Clinton’s 47%), CNN reports.

CNN reports “DOW futures down nearly 500 points”.

“Wow – this is unbelievable.”

10:09 pm: “It’s not looking good . . . but it’s looking good for my midterm being cancelled.” -California Resident, having just entered the room

10:11-13 pm: *someone in Barbour courtyard shouts ‘The Revolution starts now!’, as various comments are made about what Bernie Sanders is doing right now.*

I maintain that “Breaking News” is being used unreasonably across networks. “Breaking News . . . too early to call” is just misleading.

10:23 pm: CNN is reporting Trump 149, Clinton 109. NBC reports Trump 168, Clinton 109. Everyone agrees that this is a “nail-biter” of an election.

10:26-28 pm: CNN projects that Donald Trump will win Ohio, reporting Trump at 167 electoral votes and Clinton at 109.

“Even if Bernie were running, I still think Trump would win: people just hate [Clinton].”

10:48 pm: CNN reports Trump 167, Clinton 122.

10:50 pm: Clinton has 131 electoral votes to Trump’s 167.

11:02 pm: Clinton takes the lead with California and Hawaii. CNN reports that Clinton has 190 electoral votes, Trump has 171 electoral votes.

“Trump’s gonna win . . . Clinton might lose Pennsylvania.”

11:10 pm: Trump wins North Carolina, CNN reports. Clinton has 190 electoral votes, Trump has 186.

11:19 pm: Clinton reported to have 197 electoral votes, Trump reported to have 187. Florida and Pennsylvania, key states, have yet to be called.

11:21 pm: CNN discusses argument that “Democrats have ignored white working class people for too long”.

11:25 pm: Peer discussion turns to Clinton’s comment that Trump supporters are a “basket of deplorables” and the detrimental effects of such generalizing language on election results.

11:28 pm: With Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and various other states unreported, peers converging on consensus that Trump seems very likely to win.

“[Clinton] really had to be perfect [to beat Trump], and she wasn’t.”

11:34-36 pm: NBC reports Trump leading with 228 electoral votes to 209 Clinton votes. Donald Trump wins Florida and its 29 electoral votes. CNN reports 216 votes for Trump to 197 for Clinton.

11:43 pm: CNN reports Trump 216, Clinton 209 following Clinton’s win of Washington state.

11:48-50 pm: Trump wins Georgia. Trump leading with 232 electoral votes to Clinton’s 209.

We’ve reached the point in the night at which everyone is playing with electoral vote possibilities on 538 (polling website).

12:08 am: CNN projects Trump at 238 electoral votes to Clinton’s 209.

12:19 am: “Too close to call” has officially become unbearable.

12:26 am: CNN reports that Clinton has taken the lead in New Hampshire – by 18 votes.

12:28 am: Clinton now ahead in New Hampshire by 200 votes. Clinton narrowly ahead in Nevada.

12:30 am: CNN analyst comments that,”The former cheerleader of the birther movement could win the Presidency.”

12:33 am: Various fragments of conversations have taken place over the last hour about the “re-drawing of the map” in terms of the usual patterns of electoral votes across states. Polls which attributed better performances for Clinton have proven incorrect because of the underestimation of the appeal of a Populist candidate such as Trump.

12:35 am: CNN reports that Clinton has won Nevada. Trump retains his lead with 238 electoral votes to Clinton’s 215.

12:44 am: “It’s hard to be a parent tonight . . . they’re afraid of ‘how do I explain this to my children?'” Commentator Van Jones speaks to the fears of those Donald Trump has “insulted, and offended, and brushed aside . . . we don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us [marginalized peoples].”

12:49 am: 39% of young voters voted for Donald Trump, according to CNN.

1:09 am: The divide in the US is “deeper and more painful than ever”, according to CNN analysts. 42/50 states have reported: Trump wins Utah, giving him 244 electoral votes, compared to Clinton’s 215.

1:26 am: Trump maintains leads in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania; Trump also leads Alaska, with less than 30% of Alaska reporting. Clinton leads New Hampshire and Maine by narrow margins; Clinton leads Minnesota.

1:42 am: CNN projects that Trump wins Alaska. Trump has 247 votes to Clinton’s 215. 270 votes must be reached in order for a president to be elected.

2:01 am: The crowd at Trump Headquarters chants “lock her up!” in reference to Trump campaign rhetoric which promoted prosecuting and incarcerating Clinton.

2:04-05 am: Clinton’s Campaign Chair John Podesta speaks at Clinton HQ, encouraging Clinton supporters to remain hopeful: “they’re still counting votes . . . several states are still too close to call, and we’re not going to say anything more tonight . . . your voices, and your enthusiasm, mean so much to Tim, and her, and the rest of us – we are so proud of you, and we are so proud of her! She has done an amazing job, and she is not done yet!”

This draws criticism from those who believe that Clinton is acting hypocritically by not conceding the race, in reference to the flack Trump received for refusing to say that he would acknowledge the results of the election if he were to lose.

2:29 am: Trump wins Wisconsin. 257 Trump votes to Clinton’s 215.

2:37 am: If Trump wins either Michigan or Pennsylvania, he will become the President of the United States of America. He currently leads in both states.

The failure of Clinton’s campaign to recognize Trump’s appeal in Michigan and Wisconsin is indicative of the Clinton campaign’s larger failure to cater to white working class people as well as Trump did.

2:40 am: Hillary Clinton has called Donald Trump to concede the election. She will not speak tonight.

2:42 am: Trump wins the state of Arizona and its 11 electoral votes. Trump has 268 electoral votes, Clinton has 215.

2:47 am: Pence says he is “deeply grateful to the American people” and introduces Donald Trump as the President-elect of the United States of America.

2:51-59 am: Trump gives his acceptance speech. “She congratulated us – it’s about us . . . Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”  He continues, saying that, “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”

To those who did not support him, Trump says: “I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help . . . as I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign, but rather a . . . movement.”

“We will also – finally – take care of our great veterans . . . our veterans are incredible people.”

Trump’s speech is very intentional in that it directly contradicts many of the inflammatory statements Trump has made to offend various marginalized groups in the past.

“We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us.”

He also made several comments along the lines of the statement above in an attempt to dispel fears about his temperament and ability to act diplomatically.

President-elect Trump closed his acceptance speech by voicing his thanks to his supporters and family members.


Sorry, Not Sorry

One year into my relationship: We borrow each other’s toothbrushes (leave me alone — I know it’s kinda gross), leave clothes in each other’s rooms, have gone on a trip together — and yet I still apologize every time I’m sarcastic with my significant other. Why?

Honestly, @myself. You know he can take a joke.

Honestly, @myself. You know he can take a joke.

Logically, I know that he has a taste for self-deprecating humor and that we both get a kick out of our banter. It doesn’t hurt my feelings when he teases me because I know that he’s joking. Yet, for some reason, I worry that every joke I make will go too far, that my tongue is too sharp. That’s when I start apologizing, despite frequent reminders from him that doing so is unnecessary. (And, seriously, he does need to be told when his facial hair looks like trash.)

What am I afraid of? It’s not like he’ll suddenly decide I’m no longer worth the time of day when I’m just continuing our tradition of regularly giving each other shit. Everything is clearly a joke, and nothing we say is ever meant with malice.

My petty levels can be pretty high.

My petty levels can be pretty high.

As I thought this over more, I realized that this need to trip over myself in apology is not restricted to my significant other. So many of my social interactions are colored by a constant preoccupation that a joke will be too sassy, that I’ll seem harsh or unlikeable. Essentially, I’m afraid of being viewed as a “bitch.”

The imagined scenario goes something like this: My friends and I are hanging out, good times abound, when I make a joke about what a mess their room is. The room goes silent. Scowls replace smiles. My friends’ attitudes towards me sour, and I am exiled, cast out of the group.

Call me Scar.

Call me Scar.

. . . But, realistically, when would that ever happen? My friends know me. They’re friends with me because of my personality, which includes my snappy sense of humor. Again, I know all of this, but it’s far more difficult to circumvent my gut-reaction to apologize than one might think. Some studies have shown that women have a greater tendency to apologize than men do, not because we have more to apologize for — obviously — but because we have a greater tendency to perceive our behaviors as offensive.

To me, this explanation offers a very accurate rendering of the root of my social anxieties. I view my behavior as more offensive than others might actually receive it, meaning that I’m more likely to apologize, or even to stay quiet and avoid the possibility of annoying someone with an opinion or request (this is why I couldn’t ask my friends to put on SNL the other night when it wouldn’t have inconvenienced them at all — they weren’t even actively watching the computer monitor).

This is a travesty, because I love SNL.

This is a travesty, because I love SNL.

With all of this in mind, and in the interest of enabling future-me to watch SNL in my friends’ rooms (more SNL would be a win for all, not just for me), I’ve resolved to question the origins of my apologies. Am I apologizing for something that warrants apology, or am I just apologizing because I’m (unreasonably) afraid I’ve done something to annoy/upset someone?

That's right, future me.

That’s right, future me.

Obviously, this isn’t a call to forego apologies. There’s a time and place for everything, and being polite is important. But this is a reminder that sometimes we (women, especially) apologize without truly needing to do so — and I don’t need to apologize for something as simple as voicing an opinion or making harmless jokes.

After all, by apologizing for so much of what I say, am I not just apologizing for being myself? If I don’t apologize, and none of my worst fears come true (others’ rejection, annoyance, whatever it may be), then I’ll prove myself wrong for expecting the worst. That, and maybe I’ll discover that some of my friendships run deeper than I sometimes worry: The people you can trust are the people who don’t want you to apologize for who you are.