// September 15, 2010 by sgwhites
Feminist writer Camille Paglia wrote in the Sunday times that although Lady Gaga claims to represent the freaks and misfits of the world, her manufactured image suggests otherwise.
Though she borrows from erotic icons like Madonna and Cher, Paglia suggest that Lady Gaga's over the top image represents the end to the sexual revolution:
Furthermore, despite showing acres of pallid flesh in the fetish-bondage garb of urban prostitution, Gaga isn’t sexy at all – she’s like a gangly marionette or plasticised android. How could a figure so calculated and artificial, so clinical and strangely antiseptic, so stripped of genuine eroticism have become the icon of her generation? Can it be that Gaga represents the exhausted end of the sexual revolution? In Gaga’s manic miming of persona after persona, over-conceptualised and claustrophobic, we may have reached the limit of an era…
What do you think? Is Lady Gaga's persona authentic or just an image? And does she follow in the footsteps of other sexual icons, or does she miss a beat?
// September 14, 2010 by joshuaheller
Do you agree with a recent study that finds Facebook users to be "insecure" and "narcissistic"?
// September 13, 2010 by joshuaheller
Every year something wild happens at MTV's Video Music Awards that becomes the talk of the town for the following week. Did you watch the shows? Why, or why not? What was the most outrageous moment at last night's VMAs?
// September 11, 2010 by sgwhites
In the nine years after 9/11, has our country really had a chance to heal? This year, the 9/11 anniversary has been at the center of a number of controversies, from threatened Quran burnings in Florida to debate over an Islamic community center set to be built in lower Manhattan to American Muslims toning down Eid Al-Fitr celebrations (Eid is the major holiday commemorating the end of Ramadan; this year, it falls on September 10th.) for fear they will be seen as supporting the attacks.
Although these have been the stories dominating the media, they are not the only ones. At the same time, there will be memorials held across the country, including an annual Buddhist interfaith ceremony in New York.
In light of both the controversies and rememberances in the media, do you think that America has truly begun to heal from the events of 9/11? If not, what do you think we need to do to begin to close the wounds?
// September 10, 2010 by sgwhites
Billboards promoting the new movie The Virginity Hit have drawn fire from parents who say the signs, which ask "Still a Virgin?" and include a 1-800 number to call for help, are going too far.
The comedy, produced by Will Ferrell, is a series of reality style videos from cell phones and video cameras, that follows four guys in an attempt to document a rite of passage--losing their virginity.
Do the promotional billboards go too far, or are they funny? Would you think differently if you didn't know about the film?
// September 09, 2010 by sgwhites
Raising awarenss about breast cancer and preventative care is nothing new. But one campaign, designed to raise awareness among young people, has been banned from some schools.
The campaign, by the Keep A Breast Foundation, includes rubber bracelets sporting the slogan "I love boobies." The bracelets have been banned at some schools, due to complaints that they are inappropriate.
Is the use of provcative language inappropriate as part of an awareness raising campaing? Or should context make a bigger difference?
Is it fair for rival parties to run street people on third-party tickets in an effort to siphon mainstream votes?// September 08, 2010 by joshuaheller
Arizona Republicans are running "street people" on the Green Party ticket to siphon votes from Democrats. Is this fair play?
From the New York Times:
“Did I recruit candidates? Yes,” said Mr. May, who is himself a candidate for the State Legislature, on the Republican ticket. “Are they fake candidates? No way.”
“Are you fake, Grandpa?” he said to Anthony Goshorn, 53, a candidate for the State Senate whose bushy white beard and paternal manner have earned him that nickname on the streets. “I’m real,” he replied.
To make his point, Mr. May went by Starbucks, the gathering spot of the Mill Rats, as the frequenters of Mill Avenue are known.
“Are you fake, Benjamin?” he yelled out to Mr. Pearcy, who cried out “No,” with an expletive attached.
“Are you fake, Thomas?” Mr. May shouted in the direction of Thomas Meadows, 27, a tarot card reader with less than a dollar to his name who is running for state treasurer. He similarly disagreed.
// September 07, 2010 by joshuaheller
It's always tough heading back to work after a long-weekend. But maybe it's because Americans get fewer vacation days than their European cousins.
The new book "Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?" looks at America's misguided culture of overwork.
Do you think Americans are overworked?
// September 03, 2010 by joshuaheller
Millions are expected to hit the road to celebrate the end of summer. After this weekend, summer is officially over. What were some of your favorite moments?
// September 02, 2010 by sgwhites
As President Obama announced on Tuesday, the US military has officially ended all combat operations in Iraq. But the US is far from gone. Support troops still remain, and as the New York times recently reported, civilian contractors will be employed to fill the void as the military withdrawal proceeds.
By October of 2011, the State Department is scheduled to take on the task of training the Iraqi police force and protecting civilians in an unstable country, a task that will rely heavily on civilian contractors.
Is this transfer of authority to civilians a wise idea, in situation where many of the issues are inherently military in nature? Given some of the past practices of civilian contractors, and the lack of regulation surrounding private firms, would a military presence be preferable? Or is this transfer the right decision given the current economic conditions facing the US at home?
What do you think?
Yesterday, Obama announced that 'Operation Iraqi Freedom Is Over'. Do you think Iraq is better off today than it was seven years ago?// September 01, 2010 by joshuaheller
Yesterday, Obama announced that 'Operation Iraqi Freedom Is Over'. Do you think Iraq is better off today than it was seven years ago?
// August 31, 2010 by joshuaheller
USA Today reports on carrots being rebranded as junk food.
Will this strategy get more people excited about vegetables? What other healthy products could use a makeover?
On its fifth anniversary, how has the legacy of Hurricane Katrina shaped the latter part of this decade?// August 30, 2010 by joshuaheller
How has legacy of Hurricane Katrina shaped the latter part of the decade?
Read Adam Yamaguchi's blog post on what he learned covering Katrina.
// August 27, 2010 by sgwhites
Actress Kathryn Joosten, a lung cancer survivor, recently suggested that Mad Men producers should be including a disclaimer on the show saying that smoking is hazardous to your health.
Aside from smoking, there are plenty of other ill-advised decisions made by the characters on the show. Should we include warnings for those as well? Perhaps one against false identities or cheating on your wife?
In this day and age, is the fact that smoking causes cancer something that we need to be reminded of? Or should we assume viewers recognize that the behavior depicted in the show is a reflection of a different time and place, where we didn’t have the information we do now?
// August 25, 2010 by sgwhites
The Associated Press reported today that credit card debt has dropped to the lowest level in more than eight years as cardholders continue to pay off balances. The average combined debt for credit cards fell to $4,951 in the past quarter, which is down over 13%. This is the first quarter that credit card debt has fallen since the first quarter of 2002.
During these tough economic times, with predictions of a double dip recession looming, cardholders are paying off debt and consumers are embracing a new trend of frugality. But is this a permanent change, or are we just biding time until we can go back to our old spending habits?
What do you think—are Americans finally learning to live within our means, or is this just a temporary arrangement?
After living so much of their lives online, will young people need to change their identity to escape youthful indiscretions?// August 24, 2010 by sgwhites
Who hasn’t Googled their name to see what turns up in a search? Between social networks, blogs, photo sharing, and geolocation, just to name a few, we’re all living more and more of our lives online. But what are the consequences? In a recent interview, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that every young person will one day be automatically entitled to change his or her name upon reaching adulthood, in order to escape the youthful hijinks documented on social media.
Is Schmidt’s prediction accurate? Will the myriad social media sites around now even be in existence in 20 years, or will those embarrassing Facebook photos be collecting digital dust on a server somewhere?
Assuming for the moment that your college days are documented online for all the world, is changing your name really the solution? With new technologies emerging, including facial recognition, is that even a guarantee?
Even if you do change your name, who among us doesn’t have a few youthful indiscretions? Rather than changing your name, should we instead recognize that everyone makes mistakes growing up? Does a photo of you doing a keg stand at a college party mean you can’t also grow up to be a responsible adult? Furthermore, who decides what the cut-off age is—are the things you did before you were 18 that ones that don’t matter? Or 21? Older? What about the gray areas—is drinking necessarily a bad thing? What about nudity—or does it make a difference if that topless photo is from a Pride parade? And what about getting arrested when protesting an unjust law?
What do you think? Should we look forward to a future where changing your identity is a new rite of passage? Or should we accept that youthful antics are a part of life?
Is the egg recall a sign that we need tougher food safety laws? Or should we be reconsidering how we buy our food?// August 23, 2010 by sgwhites
The recent recall of eggs suspected of causing salmonella has resulted in the recall of over half a billion eggs. The CDC began investigating the salmonella outbreak in May 2010, and have tracked the salmonella cases over the next few months, leading to the voluntary recall of eggs from Wright County Egg.
Some have suggested that this most recent recall is a sign that we need stricter food safety laws, pointing to the current system of voluntary compliance and legislation that ties the hands of the FDA. S.510, a bill that would give the FDA additional authority and resources over food safety, passed in the House one year ago but has been tied up in the Senate.
Others have suggested that we need to re-examine our entire food production system. Americans currently enjoy some of the cheapest food prices in history, partially as the result of intensive farming technqiues like concentrated animal feeding operations. Some suggest that salmonella outbreaks such as this are the price we pay for a $0.13 egg.
What about you? Do you think we need tougher food safety laws, or is it time to start re-examining the system of food production in the US?
// August 20, 2010 by joshuaheller
From Avi Buffalo to Jay Electronica, 2010 saw many great artist debuts. NME compiled a list of their 50 Best New Bands of 2010.
Who's on your list so far?
// August 19, 2010 by joshuaheller
// August 18, 2010 by joshuaheller
This article argues that while we might be unhappy with large oil companies, the alternative might be something more sinister. If these companies didn't maintain power, even more corrupt leaders from developing nations would be in control.
Is Big Oil a necessary evil? Are there better solutions?