Archive for November, 2007


So-called serious journalism

I came to UNC-CH with the intention of becoming a journalist. Being a writer is something that I’ve wanted to be my entire life, and I was beyond thrilled to finally be given the opportunity to do so at my dream school.

However, these days I am not so sure about this whole journalism thing. The one thing that attracted me to the field in the first place was the impact I believed the power of words can bring to a single individual. Being a voracious reader myself, I have experienced this impact first hand.

But lately, as I turn the pages of my favorite magazines, read both the Daily Tar Heel and New York Times, and check out the news on CNN, I am disheartened by the so-called serious journalism our news media is presenting today.

Is it really necessary to report for hours and hours about Anna Nicole Smith, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? Is it really worth wasting the space in newspapers and magazines talking about Phil Spector and the Lana Clarkson murder trial? Most people don’t even know who Phil Spector is. And must we, again, as a nation ponder over whether or not O.J is guilty?

It’s not just these frivolous things that irk me. It’s also the reporting on things that supposedly matter. Does the Times seriously have to dedicate the space to an article pondering whether or not Hillary is handling all the criticism of her being a woman well or whether or not Barack Obama is black and patriotic enough? Where did all the serious journalists go? Where are all the news writers that ask the serious questions and make politicians really accountable for the things they do and say?

Where is all the reporting on the situation in Darfur and the ice caps melting at a rapid rate in the Arctic causing the loss of habitat for several species?

Why don’t more Americans know about issues such as these? It’s because the media doesn’t give as much attention things like this. But it’s not all the media’s fault. The media gives the public what they want. So the public needs to change what it considers real news and let media outlets know that they won’t stand for the sensationalist journalism currently being presented to them. Because at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter that Britney Spears ran yet another stop light with her kids in the car, what does matter however is the fact that thousands of people are dying needlessly everyday and we are doing nothing about it and we could be.

By Brittany Murphy

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Ballet over books

Now that the turkey is carved and the pumpkin pie is safely stored in our bellies, it is officially time to start looking forward to the holiday season.

Unfortunately, the sleigh bells and mistletoe of Christmastide coincide with a less than joyful time of year: final exams. While we all wish we could be caroling, trimming our trees, and drinking eggnog (non-alcoholic, of course), we are more likely found in the depths of Davis Library, furiously highlighting an Organic Chemistry textbook.

In order to save the diligent Carolina students from working themselves into an academic coma, I propose a study break steeped in holiday tradition.

The Carolina Ballet is performing The Nutcracker at Memorial Hall this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. General admission for adults ranges from $30-$60, but UNC students may attend for the bargain price of $10.

I know ‘tis the season for all-nighters and emotional breakdowns, but I truly believe that a few hours spent in the dream world of little Clara can bring the stress down a few necessary notches. Ballet may not be your cup of tea. But, I suggest you forget that toe-shoes are involved, especially if this is a masculinity issue, and simply enjoy a Christmas classic for what it is. This children’s story may seem juvenile to some but the talented dancers of all ages, the familiar Tchaikovsky melodies, and the beautiful costumes are sure to conjure visions of sugar plums dancing in even the most Grinch-like person’s head.

Though this review may be preemptive, I attended this production last year and do not regret a second of time that could have been used to study Econ 101. So put down your forty pound course-pack and buy your tickets online at the Carolina Performing Arts website. Happy Holidays!

By Madeleine Clark

Pit Stop

Girl 1: Did she write her paper too well?
Girl 2: Um, I dunno…
Girl 1: Well, I know a lot of teachers who take off for that kind of thing.

Guy 1: I had a really hot dream last night.
Guy 2: Whoa man, stop there.
Guy 1: No, dude, I went on a DATE with a GIRL.
Guy 2: A DATE with a GIRL? Yeah, clearly a dream.

Girl on phone: What if your daddy said you were too ignorant and immature? And right before break! I mean I feel bad for not going home, but seriously. No! I’m not! I guess they’re not going to give me money anymore, so why should I?

Another girl on phone: So I waved goodbye to the speaker and stuff, but when I looked up I realized I had a knife in my hand! He looked afraid! The funny thing is, he was speaking about weapons…

By Kelly Thore

It’s Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about this mini-break. I can’t wait to finally get some home cooked meals and to actually spend time with my family. And that’s exactly what I plan to do — spend time with my family and that’s what you should be doing as well.

I know it’s easy to be tempted into using this break as a way to catch up on all your work or to get some extra studying in for the exams. However, there is going to be plenty of time to work and study between now and the end of the semester. I urge you to actually use this time to catch up with family and old friends.

Be lazy, eat too much food, gossip nonstop, and sleep to your hearts content. Monday will be here before you know it and then you can start freaking out over that Chem exam! But for Thanksgiving, relax and keep it chill.

By Brittany Murphy

Global warming is gathering dust

Unfortunately for the planet, the topic of global warming is already starting to put people to sleep.

On Thursday, November 8th, famous climatologist and leading expert on global climate change, Micheal Mann spoke to a packed auditorium in Carroll Hall about the causes and effects of global warming. As an ardent environmentalist, I was very excited about the talk. Michael Mann is an originator of the “hockey stick” temperature graph and is one of many scientists who share the Nobel Peace Prize recently awarded to Al Gore.

The presentation was divided into six segments including the scientific consensus, the basic principles and concepts of global warming, the observational evidence to prove that it is occurring, theory versus observations, projections of future climate change and overall impacts.

While Dr. Mann covered each segment thoroughly and concisely, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated as I heard yet again what the “greenhouse effect” is. I was president of the environmental club at my high school. I have taken three classes on environmental action. I own the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. In other words, I know why and how global warming is occurring. Please tell me something new.

I think that most people in attendance already knew or had at least heard the information Dr. Mann covered. Unless you live under a rock or choose denial as a way of life, you must know that global warming is occurring and the main contributing factor is the exponential increase of human generated CO2.

So, did I learn anything new? Yes, Dr. Mann did briefly introduce one phenomenon I have not yet heard about— geo-engineering which is essentially “engineering” our way out of the climate crisis. Instead of enforcing conservation and preservation, some scientists and politicians have suggested creating artificial devices to counteract the causes of global warming. Potential ideas include pumping excess CO2 into the bottom of the ocean, constructing “fake trees”, placing mirrors in space to reflect sunlight and seeding clouds. I agree with Dr. Mann’s remark on the issue, “I am fairly uncomfortable with this.”

Although Dr. Mann’s talk was a good general overview of the reality of global warming, I left the auditorium that evening disappointed. My biggest concern and criticism of the presentation was the absence of new information or different perspective on such a crucial topic. People are already growing immune towards the dire effects of global warming because the information is simply put on repeat sounding like a broken record.

One student summed up my thoughts as we exited the building, “We just watched An Inconvenient Truth minus Al Gore.”

By Mary Lide Parker

Pit Stop

Girl walking by herself in a heavy jacket and shorts: “No pants was a bad choice.”
Girl 1: I can’t go out tonight. I have a ten question quiz in the morning and at this rate, I’ll be lucky if I get one right.
Girl 2: Yeah, you probably should stay in.
Girl 1: Are you going to go out?
Girl 2: Well yeah. I don’t have to study. Me to academics is like George Clooney to sexy.
Girl 1: George Clooney is kind of old.
Girl 2: You’re kind of old.

Guy: Doughnuts are so much better than bagels.
Girl: That’s because they’re covered in sugar.
Guy: I guess. But man, I’d feel like the ugly twin if I were a bagel. Wouldn’t you?

Girl 1: Do you remember when that guy almost tripped on that squirrel?
Girl 2: That was like thirty seconds ago.

By Amy Leonard

Plate by plate

This week at Lenoir, I have seen several different versions of Mexican cuisine served at the World Fare. While the meat morphed from greasy chicken to grainy ground beef, the same unappetizing black beans have been making a continual appearance for four straight days. Though the food may resemble the slop found in a pig trough at the State Fair, Lenoir is convenient and prepaid by our parents. We feel obligated to use up our meals and a parallel obligation to save what minimal pocket money we do have for Thirsty Thursday.

Places like Qdoba or Biski’s might be within your budget, but for those of us unwilling to part with $7, or maybe not even hungry enough for a full meal, there are few smaller items on the menu to fulfill our needs. So what can you do when you cannot stomach Barbeque Monday or Tuesday’s tequila lime shrimp wrap? Never fear Carolina students! Affordable and delicious alternatives to the daunting dining hall really do exist on Franklin Street.

Tucked behind Qdoba on Martin Luther King Blvd. is a great little place to get instant gratification for a cheap price. No, this is not a subsidiary University Massage, but a bustling sushi bar called Kurama. Though usually crowded around dinnertime, I recommend taking a seat in the central island which features a circular conveyor belt. From this vantage point, you are able to watch the sushi chef dice, chop, and roll popular specials at a frenzied pace to be placed on the belt for your convenience. You can simultaneously choose something for your palate and for your price range as the plates are color-coordinated according to cost. The pink dishes are $1, the yellow are $1.50, the pale blue are $2 and so forth and so on up to the $5 gold plate.

If you are a sushi connoisseur and prefer something above and beyond the pink-plated California roll, there are several more elaborate and pricy dishes listed on a board above the chef. The spider roll, consisting of tempura fried shrimp, spicy Japanese mayonnaise, and vegetables, is my personal favorite. Lava rolls, the UNC roll, and spicy crunchy crab are other popular dishes among veteran Kurama lovers.

For those of you who are wary of raw fish, I do not recommend this locale for your dining experience. There are soups and salads on the menu, but not enough to make a full meal out of. I also regret to inform you that the service can be quite slow once the meal is finished and you are waiting for your check. Be assertive and you should not have a problem but I do not recommend stopping by if you are on a tight schedule.

By Madeleine Clark

Sexual healing has a whole new meaning

Call me butch, but I like to lift weights with the boys. Contrary to the majority of the female population at UNC-CH, I am comfortable doing my physical fitness routine on the first floor of the SRC.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Even if you’re not interested in working out, you should check out the SRC for a first hand glance of a blatant sexual dichotomy. There is a stark juxtaposition on the downstairs level of the SRC: the girls pounding away on the treadmills on one side of the room; the guys lifting weights on the other side. The girls watch the boys. The boys watch the girls. Both sexes watch themselves in the mirror. Everyone is hot and sweaty and pushing themselves to the furthest extent of their endurance.

The sexual tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

It makes sense really. Why do people go to the gym? They want to look good naked. Why do people wear minimal and often form fitting clothing at the gym? It’s easier to move in, it’s comfortable and oh yeah, check out that girl’s tight butt.

Really though, my favorite scene in the gym is the big, Schwarzenegger-looking character who works out every day and every day, he checks to see how much his beloved muscles have grown by blatantly flexing for himself in the mirror.

In the middle of the gym.

I’ve really never understood this phenomenon. Sure, this audacious jock wants his muscles to look like the guy on the protein powder package but can he not adore himself in the privacy of his own room? Away from the judgmental fitness and societal critics (yours truly) who will label him a narcissistic imbecile? No, he needs to ensure that tight butt girl can see how big his muscles are too.

The guys aren’t the only culprits of hot bodily manifestations though. Girls often choose to stretch out their gluteus maximus on the mats conveniently located right next to the squat rack.

But not everyone feels hot in their workout gear. The effects of the sexuality radiating from the SRC are actually twofold —some embrace it while others run from it. Many self conscious girls prefer to wear short skirts and makeup in front of guys instead of t-shirts and sweat. Solution? The second floor of the SRC.

So is this sexist? Are we really incapable of feeling comfortable engaging in strenuous physical activity in the presence of the opposite sex?

Yes.

We are young, healthy, hormonal and all too observant at times. Therefore we have no choice but to continue working out amidst the waves of sexual energy. After all, we have to get our motivation from somewhere.

By Mary Lide Parker

Sorry, Christian Troy.

I’m sure a lot of you, if you’re like me anyway, and have celebrity gossip websites lining your Mozilla tool bar, have heard about the passing of Donda West, Kanye West’s mother. It is very, very sad.

I’ve read several different accounts of what happened, but the official statements released by Kanye’s representatives only confirm her death.

However, it is rumored that she had undergone plastic surgery recently, and her death was caused by resulting complications. This same source also reports that she was having a breast reduction and a tummy tuck, and that these procedures were denied to her by a doctor because the operation could turn fatal due to a health condition she had. The source says she went ahead with the surgery anyway.

These are all, of course, rumors. But if there is any truth, the truth is it’s absolutely tragic.

And this tragedy does not end with Donda West. Hollywood is filled with celebrities who have things nipped and tucked like they’re going on lunch dates. Men, women, teenagers… it seems like the worst thing in the world these days is to be changed physically by the biological clock. Just about every day I read an article somewhere about so and so having a little work done, and often times the after picture looks even worse than the before! (cough, Ashlee Simpson, cough)

And it doesn’t stop with the celebrities. I know a girl who got rhinoplasty for a high school graduation gift. What happened to money, dorm trinkets, or in the very Laguna-Beach-esque manner, a car? What is that saying, congratulations on making it through high school, now please, go have your nose broken?

I personally cannot imagine feeling so disgusted with any part of my body that I would willingly go under the knife to fix just for the sake of cosmetics.

In fact, in a week I have to get my wisdom teeth removed and I am absolutely terrified. How is it that people can go have much more invasive cosmetic surgery and I cant even stomach being sedated for 30 minutes to have my teeth removed? I just don’t get it.

Why is it so unnatural to age? Aging can be beautiful. It shows wisdom and experience. Why would you want to wipe that away with a face lift?

I’m not saying all plastic surgery disturbs me. One of my very good friends was born with a cleft-lip and palate, and had surgery when she was young to correct it because untreated, she could have had many complications as she got older. Surgeries that have UTILITY are a very different case than someone who just wants to see the end of crows feet or have the one-too-many-nights of Buffalo Wild Wings sucked out of his or her thighs.

Essentially my advice to you is this: love who you are. Sure, we all have things we’d like to change about ourselves, but is it really worth risking your life?

By Kelly Thore

Revisiting a ‘Nightmare’

I’ll admit it. When “Oh my Gosh, let’s see ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ in 3-D,” hit the conversation about Friday night’s activities, I was a little weary through my excited smile. Shameful as it is to admit this, the movie horrified me as a child and the idea of facing this literal “Nightmare,” yet again, wasn’t all that appealing.

Walking into the theater, my excitement about wearing the classic “3-D glasses” took center stage, pushing my nerves aside. Nothing can evoke childhood flashbacks quite like wearing cheap, plastic glasses that make your eyes burn a little for a few hours after taking them off.

The previews were enticing. They included everything I loved about 3-D movies as a child. My friends and I sat there and swatted at the air as digital images came uncomfortably close to our faces.

Come movie time, I was prepared to endure an hour and a half of ghoulish terror. All of Tim Burton’s movies have a tendency to terrify me, “James and the Giant Peach,” included. I mean, what’s more terrifying than a giant piece of fruit and an exotic spider? Nothing in my book, no sir.

As the movie’s signature, “This is Halloween,” theme song rang out, I remembered that the tune was somewhat catchy and realized that it would be stuck in my head for a while.

Not to criticize a classic, as I understand that this could potentially be a touchy subject, but not only was the film much less terrifying than I remember it (although Jack Skellington’s face is forever sketched into my mind and therefore my nightmares, how apropos), the story itself was a lot slower than I remember. The message of course, is good. Don’t try and be someone you’re not. Jack Skellington can’t be Santa Claus. I’ll have to agree.

I looked at the clock on my cell phone several times throughout the film. I’m generally easily entertained, but this movie failed to do the trick. I will admit, some of the characters were so ridiculously absurd that I smirked a couple of times, but the amusement was short-lived.

I did however, overcome what I assumed would be a lifelong fear of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” No longer am afraid that a Halloween freak show will invade my favorite holiday.

All in all, the experience was fun, but the re-release of the movie in 3-D got a little more hype than it was worth. The 3-D glasses are always fun, but the 3-D effects in the movie weren’t nearly as impressive as the effects in the previews, which was quite a let down. No witches came flying at our faces, we didn’t have to dodge any digitally created pumpkins. Nothing.

My advice? Don’t spend eight dollars on the 3-D version of this classic. If you get the hankering for some Tim Burton, just head to Blockbuster and save a few bucks.

By Amy Leonard