For those of you who don’t know, there is a major controversy right now among the coffee-drinking community over Starbucks’ iconic red holiday cups, which, for those of you following along at home, are the objects which contain the coffee. Cups. Nothing could matter less. And yet Starbucks is in the midst of a publicity shit-show because some of the more hyper-religious of its customers are disappointed by the lack of religious iconography on its holiday cups. Unfortunately, parties on all sides are missing the point.
The point is that the holidays are a month and a half away. It’s not even December. We can’t jump on the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/New Years/Winter Solstice bandwagon until we celebrate Thanksgiving. Why is Christmas music playing in the mall at all? Why have we had like a gazillion presidential debates for an election that’s a year away? What the fuck is going on?
Au Bon Pain is doing it right. Their “holiday” cups are gray and have little stars on them. Look outside. That’s the spirit of the present moment. The weather sucks and is only going to get worse. Ho, ho, ho. Halloween just ended.
Recently trending on Facebook was the release of Dunkin’ Donuts new holiday cups, “amid the cup controversy.” Truly, no dumber words have ever been typed in the history of seasonal accouterments. And it’s not as if things are just slow for news outlets. In fact, the amount of vital stories happening right now — with extremely important AND tangible implications across the nation — is almost impossible to digest. News is what should be happening right now. Not people’s response to cups which fail to recognize events almost two months away.
I honestly don’t know what the fuck is going on anymore. I need a coffee. I guess I’ll just make it myself and put it in a bowl. Not trying to throw my hat in the ring like this guy.
Happy fall, everyone. Enjoy it while it lasts.
This has been a big week in college news. First off, and most notably, Rolling Stone published “Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report,” a detailed breakdown of what exactly went wrong in reporting the UVA rape case.
Then, there’s The Atlantic‘s “Are Colleges Invading Their Students’ Privacy,” which looks at student privacy in the digital age. The New York Times looks at why public college costs continue to climb in “The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much.” Spoiler alert: it’s not really because of the commonly cited reason, which is less state funding. And finally, The Economist‘s “The world is going to university” attempts to answer whether the American obsession with college is worth it.
In slightly college-related news, GQ’s “The Great Cocaine Treasure Hunt” follows a man hunting for buried treasure–in the form of $1 million of blow.
The New York Times’ “Iran and the Obama Doctrine” is a 45-minute video interview of Obama by revered columnist Thomas Friedman about the historic arms negotiations and America’s relationship with Iran moving forward.
“In Defense of Fangirls,” from Pitchfork, argues that deriding tweens for their Bieber fever and obsession with One Direction is inherently sexist–and needs to stop.
The New York Times has a piece on how California’s drought questions what California is–literally–built on: endless growth on arid land.
And last, but certainly not least, check out the three UCS presidential candidate’s platforms here, here, and here.
The hottest news of the day is Trevor Noah, who was announced this morning as Jon Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show. Grantland has a great piece on everything you need to know about him. And to get a taste of his comedic chops, check out one of his previous spots on The Daily Show, “Spot the Africa.”
Another trending topic this week is political correctness and safe spaces on college campuses, sparked by Judith Shulevitz’s article “In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas” in The New York Times. The piece begins at Brown–because, after all, where else does the media turn when trying to portray liberalism gone rampant? Shulevitz’s article was criticized by many, in the Brown community and beyond, as insensitive and missing the point. The backlash is best encapsulated by Slate‘s “Are College Campuses Really in the Thrall of Leftist Censors?”
Politico‘s “Michelle Obama, Race and the Ivy League” looks at how the First Lady’s experiences at elite, and predominantly white, educational institutions–Princeton and Harvard Law School–shaped her into the woman she is today.
“My rape was bad, but the way I was treated in the process was worse.”
The Hunting Ground is a documentary that explores the world of sexual assault on college campuses, and the processes through which those cases are handled. BlogDH went to IFF’s screening with the intention of gathering student reactions at the end of the film. The night did not go as expected. What started as a montage of adorable college acceptance videos, quickly escalated to a platform for the interwoven narratives of college sexual assault victims across the nation. The overarching theme was to follow the first two women in this movement to file a Title IX case against their school, UNC Chapel Hill. The personal story arcs for so many of the victims made the story hit close to home, with one student who exited the theater saying “that could be me.”
As the documentary layered the various complexities that victims face on college campuses, at times going against inert administrations, athletic infrastructures, and the fraternity system, one would stop to catch a breath and think, “this must be the end of the movie,” only to be hit with another punch to gut. When the film let out, very few attendees wanted to speak with us. Some shook their heads, declined to comment, and one person said, “I have no words.” We gathered what afterthoughts we could, but we also would like to acknowledge that the film was very intense, and many people were unable to talk about it immediately afterwards. Another student said, “I don’t know if I have anything positive on the subject,” illustrating the moroseness that hung over the audience, despite occasional messages of hope.
In many of the featured cases, students filing sexual assault charges were downright ignored. When you did see change, it was often followed by a lack of institutional memory. Many have clamored for college administrations to inform their student body of potentially dangerous areas on campus in regards to sexual assault. Wesleyan did that just a few years ago, by sending out an email warning incoming freshman to stay away from a certain fraternity house, because they could not secure it as a safe environment. It was met with outrage from alumni, parents, and some students. The next year, they did not send out the email, and by Halloween a student was raped in the fraternity house. Despite the anticipated backlash, another student leaving Granoff still insisted that “Brown-specific sexual assault data should be reported to students, because the issue goes well beyond protecting image (of the University).” Continue Reading
In possibly the most shocking web content of the week, The New York Times sought to answer how a middle-class, private-school-educated Egyptian boy ended up joining ISIS. The result: a nine-minute video entitled “Three Friends, One Jihadi.”
The Atlantic also aimed to elucidate the disturbingly opaque terrorist group with “What ISIS Really Wants.” The piece posits that in order to stop ISIS, one must understand their motivations, desires and goals, no matter how abhorrent they may seem.
And then there’re the domestic battles: firstly, the origins, implications and stakes in the fight over the AP U.S. History curriculum in Oklahoma are clearly laid out in Politico‘s “AP U.S. History controversy becomes a debate on America.” Then, this week’s edition of racially coded comments about President Obama, brought to by Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, who accused Obama last week of not loving America, has received his fair share of backlash, none better articulated than New York Magazine‘s “If Giuliani’s Obama Smear Wasn’t Racist, What Was It?”
In lighter news, Vanity Fair (as well as Lady Gaga) pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music with a delightful interview with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
We’ll start with one of the more controversial pieces circulating the internet this week: Jonathan Chait’s “Not a Very P.C. Thing To Say.” Chait’s thesis is simple: political correctness, and the subsequent (or concurrent) culture it operates in actually works against that which it claims to advocate for. In other words, political correctness isn’t bringing us any closer to equality. What isn’t simple is the ensuing discussion, with Gawker and Slate publishing particularly thoughtful responses.
Parking lots and gas stations are lit 10 times as brightly as they were just 20 years ago. The Atlantic has been producing some great video content recently, including “What Happened to the Milky Way?” exploring how 99 percent of the U.S. living in light polluted areas affects our culture and health.
Then, there’s the Super Bowl content. Deadspin‘s “The Patriots Knew Exactly What Was Coming” is an in-depth look into what will soon be dubbed Carroll-gate.
Another internet back and forth this past week began with Nicholas Kristof’s “Where’s the Empathy?” a story about his high school friend who just died of multiple organ failure, “but in a deeper sense…died of inequality and a lack of good jobs.” It serves as an anecdotal counterpoint to those claiming the poor have it easy by living off welfare. The Economist published a response piece entitled “Hard problems,” which argues that if we were a truly empathetic nation, we would make it harder to qualify for benefits to incentivize searching harder for work. And then, New Republic published a response to that piece, “Welfare Doesn’t Destroy Families. Poverty Does.”
The New York Times‘ “The Surprising Power of Blue-State Republicans” looks into exactly that: the surprising power of blue-state Republicans.
“The Trip Treatment,” from The New Yorker, illuminates the renaissance of research on the potential medicinal qualities of psychedelic drugs.
And last, but certainly not least, “The Mental and Physical Toll of Student Loans,” from The Atlantic, ditches the usual metric for assessing student loans–a cost/benefit analysis–for a look at how “the mere act of borrowing money for college can be detrimental to health and mind.”