Tag Archive: Social Commentary


You’re going to love this

Calling all English speaking people — yes, that is everyone reading this right now — it has come to my attention that those red marks scrawled across your paper by your high school English teacher just weren’t enough to make you realize the error of your ways.

Now, I understand I may be resurfacing some pretty awful memories from those days when educators actually took off points for grammar mistakes… but this is a pretty serious issue, and I will not rest until it is adequately addressed.

You are probably tired of reading this already. You are probably wondering when I am going to get to the point . You’re hopefully going to get what I’m saying soon. And I’m sure your friends correct you on AIM all the time.

I know this sounds like the silliest pet peeve to have, but it really bothers me. When someone misuse your and you’re, I cannot help but to think them a complete and utter fool. And even for those who you are enlightened enough to practice the difference between you’re and your, do not think it beneath you to politely correct others. They will appreciate it, and so will their high school English teacher.

By Anika Anand

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The not so glamorous Greek Life

I hear sorority and I think martini glasses, pearls, headbands and polo sweaters. I hear fraternity and I think kegs, The North Face gear, Croakies and those really funny looking shoes that I just learned the name of: Wallabees.

I apologize, but these are stereotypes that I just cannot move past.

Though I always knew being a sorority girl just wasn’t for me, I decided to be open-minded that first week at Carolina when the sororities were advertising themselves in the Pit. Suddenly, I found myself seriously considering the pros and cons of “rushing,” of “pledging,” of joining a… sisterhood?

While “rushing” may give you an opportunity to meet and socialize with people who are looking for the same thing, you have to wonder what it is these potential candidates are really looking for.

At first, the answer seems obvious. Everyone’s looking for some friends to kick it with. However, in Greek life, you aren’t just hanging out with your 30 new friends, you’re also sleeping in the same house, eating from the same kitchen, studying with the same people, attending the same cocktails… and the list goes on.

This is not to say that you can’t have friends outside of your sorority, but really, how often does that happen? Most sorority girls can attest to this: your friends outside of your sorority are either in a different sorority or they are thinking of pledging to your sorority or you know them from high school.

Now, to discuss the rushing process. I am quite aware this may be an oversimplification, but this is just my opinion after all. You walk from one sorority house to another, meeting and mingling and getting sized up by the house’s members. They make snap judgments about your appearance that are apparently synonymous with your personality. The rare sorority member may take a little extra time to get to know you (because of family ties, friend ties or money ties), and then they will decide, essentially, whether or not they want to be your “sister.”

Then, you receive bids… similar to how houses, cattle and antique objects are bid on… and then you choose (if you are given a choice) which house you want to join. Every house on campus has a certain reputation, and you are chosen by that house to uphold that reputation. Greek life encourages friendship after being accepted into a certain stereotype or image. Essentially, Greek life encourages friendship after paying your member dues. So really, you are buying new friends.

I won’t even get into the pledging process, for fear that this column has already offended too many people. Despite my (what you may call) cynicism, I do understand that there are some benefits of Greek life. After all, I did consider joining at one point. Greeks do a great deal of service work, and they provide great ties with alumni. At a school like Carolina, with an incoming class of 4,000, it is easy to get lost in the crowd; Greek life offers a guarantee of finding your niche immediately.

I’m not entirely bashing the Greek lifestyle; I’m just saying that I won’t be one to go out and buy a pair of Wallabees any time soon.

By Anika Anand

Perhaps it’s because we have minorities running for president for the first time. Perhaps it’s because Bush is just so terrible. Perhaps it’s because this is the first election without incumbents in the primaries since 1928.

Whatever the reason, the U.S. presidential primaries, traditionally a quiet and rather boring process to the majority of Americans (even to the half that does vote) have become the latest craze with up to the minute updates on the latest polls, the latest endorsements, but mostly the latest gossip.

In the place of American Idol chitchat, people are talking about surprising and even scandalous campaign endorsements. Oprah endorsed Obama, but what about power to the women? Ted and Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama, but what about their close relationship with the Clintons? But wait, who is endorsing Clinton? It seems like Obama has all the celebrities (Stevie Wonder included). On the Republican side, McCain has… oh right, President Bush!

So, are people really paying more attention than usual to the primaries or is all this just “media hype”? After all, CNN advertises live debates among the candidates like ESPN advertises a boxing match. Most major online news sources have special sections for “the campaign trail.” It appears as though the elections have taken Paris Hilton out of the headlines in the newstainment world.

The internet tells the truth — like the 500,000 views on YouTube of the Hillary/Obama “fight” at the South Carolina democratic debate. Of course that figure doesn’t compare to the over 3 million views of Obama’s music video, “Yes We Can.”

But YouTube is only one outlet. We can’t forget Facebook. There are now over 500 Facebook groups and special applications for candidates to create their own profile pages.

In 2004, there were no Facebook groups or Youtube debates. Of course, therein lies the answer to the question, when did presidential primaries become cool?

Politics has become trendy thanks to our generation, and the internet. As up and coming voting-age youth, news networks and social networking sites are paying attention to us, and in turn we are paying attention to them — maybe even more than reality TV shows.

By Mary Lide Parker

Election 2008 geeks

I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people that thrive off of election season. I love the campaign ads, the debates, the bumper stickers and the controversy. I love it all. I love watching CNN, and I still cling to the idea that Anderson Cooper and I may one day wed. Despite how alluring watching things like “The Real World” or “Hogan Knows Best” may be I must admit that during this season I turn on the news when I wake up, and turn if off when I go to bed. I’m an Election 2008 geek.

While I sit here in my Pokemon shirt (seriously) and my glasses, I’ll reveal to you that while there are so many different ways to approach Election 2008, being an election geek is probably best. If you’re going to vote, you might as well be as well-informed as possible upon doing so.

If you’re not as into Anderson Cooper as I am (most people aren’t, I suppose it’s nothing to be ashamed of), check out YouTube or Facebook for election information. As young voters we have the opportunity to voice our opinions and our concerns. It’s our chance to step up and vote, and as young American citizens, there is no greater privilege.

No matter who we choose to vote for, it is essential that we know exactly why we are voting for them. There’s a reason people often look down on young voters. People tend to think we don’t care or aren’t well-informed.But look around, our generation has more resources than ever before to be well-informed and ready to make a difference. Even if midterms and pre-Spring break papers are piling up on you, take a few minutes to turn on the news or get online, and read about the candidates. Consider where you stand on issues and why you feel that way. The more you know, the more confident you can feel about your candidate, be it Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

As young voters, it’s so necessary that we make it our business to be informed in order to make a difference. It’s necessary that we make it our business to be Election 2008 geeks.

By Amy Leonard

Scriptless?

As the television writers’ strike continues and we, the viewers, watch our last new episodes of hospital dramas before being buried by a sea of re-runs, it’s no surprise that people are beginning to wonder where they will be able to turn for new, original entertainment.

Enter YouTube. Sure, YouTube has been around for a while now, but it always had to compete with…well, actual television. But with writers on strike and television production at stand-still, it is YouTube’s moment to shine. Now instead of turning on the TV every Tuesday at eight, Wednesday at ten, and Thursday at 9, viewers can feel free to turn to their computers any time of day.

Some may have their doubts about YouTube filling the void of their favorite TV shows, but there are so many videos — there’s a 10-minute-or-less clip for everyone. There are gay teenage boys gossiping about celebrities, homeless people playing instruments, bored college students brainstorming new ways to consume alcohol, or, the classic, people hurting themselves while trying to look cool — basically, everything you would find on national television… right?

OK, so maybe YouTube isn’t a perfect substitute for TV, but things could be worse. After all, if you don’t find something to watch, you can just make your own video, post it and watch that. Basically, television writers better make amends quickly, because YouTube is ready to step in.

By Rachel Scall

Happily ever after… in a few years

The current concerns in my life include finals, my complexion, the ever-daunting task of packing my belongings for winter break, and whether or not Dani is going to be kicked off of “A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila.” I like to think that this is the average list of a 20 year old college student. However, at lunch today, I found out I may be sorely mistaken. Somewhere between my pesto pizza and my dried out orange thyme chicken, the conversation topic took a disastrous turn: marriage.

Though initially in shock, a slide show of images promptly hurdled through my mind at the mention of the “m” word: a big diamond ring, two laughing, beautiful people reminiscent of a J. Crew catalog, and a white picket fence. Though horrifically stereotypical, the vision does have a sense of blissful stability about it. I mean, why not just marry the person you are dating when you graduate? You get a built-in opponent for chess, doubles partner for tennis, spotter for lifting, and knot-holder for wrapping presents all at once. Why go through life alone when you can be attached at the hip to someone as soon as you step into the real world?

Call me immature, close-minded, or bitter but marriage is just about the furthest thing from my thoughts. Sure, boys are cute. Some of them buy you flowers and take you on fancy dates. Some of them may even have good intentions, though these gems are few and far between on a college campus. However, at a time when you are supposed to be worrying about what to wear for your next cocktail, I fail to see the point in stressing about a life partner.

Let college change you in whatever way it can. Make a few poor life decisions, take a couple of naps on the quad, and love a few eccentric and fabulous people. I only ask that you do not make marriage a necessary next step post-graduation. And please, stop talking about it at Lenoir.

By Madeleine Clark

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

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

Who are these people?!

Not to be a Debby Downer, but I have a bone to pick with a number of people on this campus. I know that this school is rife with intellectual individuals who care about the next election, the fate of the environment, the war in Iraq, and the winner of this season’s America’a Next Top Model.

The student body seems to have a healthy appreciation for the important things going on in the world. As a group, we are active in voicing opinions on these subjects, raising money, and doing our part to instigate change. However, this indubitably ambitious group of students has earned my disapproval by one crucial flaw: failure to use the stairs in the high rise dorms, even if they live on the third floor.

Sometimes you have groceries. Sometimes you have an injury of unknown causes from last Thursday. And sometimes you fail financial accounting tests and are just too drained to drag yourself up those two flights of stairs. But when a perfectly healthy, well-rested and chipper individual saunters into that rickety Morrison elevator and hits anything less than five, I want to punch them.

It is the same people that get on the U-Bus and insist upon maintaining a two-foot bubble to preserve some ridiculous notion of personal space. Listen kids, we all need to make it from the Hanes Art Center to the B-School in record time and if we are not packed in like sardines, it ain’t gonna happen. It seems these perpetrators are also responsible for cutting in line at Lenoir, then failing to have their One Cards ready for Esther to swipe. I mean honestly, if you are going to be rude must you also disrupt the well-oiled machine that is Carolina Dining Services? Perhaps the same individuals take up the four person tables at Alpine in order to spread out every over-priced textbook they bought at Student Stores. Are they the same people who stick gum on the doors of the study rooms of Davis Library, steal the bricks from the sidewalk, and open their umbrellas in narrow paths set up by construction?

I think I may be on to something. By this point, I am irate and you are appalled that such inconsiderate beings exist. However, it is my duty to admit that you and I ARE these people. Just yesterday I took up an entire couch in the Union to read for three hours. I know that all of you have taken a little joy out of watching a kid face plant in the pit. We are all occasionally lazy, rude, and malicious college students. I may hate you for pushing two, but you hate me for stealing your dryer.

By Madeleine Clark