Friday was an absolutely horrific day for humanity.
The senseless killing of 26 people, including 20 children and the shooter’s own mother, is hard to fully grasp. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around how someone could be so driven to do such a thing. It’s something I’ve thought about at great length over the past few days. And as someone who has always communicated difficult thoughts best through the written word, I felt that putting my thoughts and feelings down was a logical and reasonable thing to do.
After my initial reaction; anger, disgust, unbearable sadness and grief, I began to think, as I’m sure many of you have done, about the causes and effects of this tragedy and how something like this can be prevented in the future.
Some blamed Sandy Hook Elementary School for poor security. Others blamed the shooter’s parents. After it was revealed that the shooter had Asperger’s, some blamed that. Overwhelmingly, however, many people blamed firearms for the atrocities that occurred last week.
Blame was spewed in seemingly every direction. But, as I thought more and more about who was responsible for this horrible act, two people came to mind.
The shooter and myself.
Obviously and without question, the shooter is ultimately the culprit of this heinous crime. He did it. And, just to put a quick end to the anti-gun argument, a gun didn’t do it. Human beings can kill other human beings any number of ways, even with their bare hands. That doesn’t mean everyone should be walking around with no hands.
The real discussion, the most important discussion, I believe we can have coming out of this tragedy is the discussion that a very real battle does exist between good and evil. It’s one that has been raging since time began. In the end, the evil that existed within that shooter drove him to murder dozens of people without cause. But that same evil exists within all of us. Thankfully, good also exists within the hearts of man.
That’s where some of the blame for situations like this one rests on you and me. Too often the good in us loses to the evil in us. We are often too passive, allowing evil to creep in to our personal lives, and eventually, into our collective conscience.
What does this shooting say about our society? What message does it send to us and to the world? I think the answers would shock and humble us.
In the end, I think this shooting is a direct result of pure evil and the byproduct of a “me-first” culture. Ours is the kind of society that teaches children from birth that they can have what they want, and that what they want is what’s best, no matter what opposing voices may say.
It seems almost ridiculous to quote Mick Jagger in a post such as this, but he absolutely nails it.
“You can’t always get what you want…but if you try, sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”
At the risk of sounding archaic, might I suggest that the meteoric rise of the violence phenomenon is a problem that has gone hand-in-hand with modernity? Perhaps when people were more concerned about getting what they need rather than what they want, things like this happened less often. Violence has always existed, but how many stories like this one took place in the 1950s, the ’40s, during the Great Depression? The answer is incredibly few. And I believe that is a direct result of the way people lived their lives back then.
They were less selfish, more self-sufficient, less materialistic, more efficient, less concerned about being politically-correct, and more honest, in general. Today, we have become a society that molds children into mini-egomaniacs. From five years old on, they’re getting a trophy for just showing up to the field. They’re given every luxury, even those that isolate them from the relationships around them that are so important for personal development.
Every misbehavior is passed off as another new “condition” or “disease.” We look for every reason to pass blame elsewhere. Personal responsibility is at an all-time low. Both children AND adults have become spoiled rotten, accustomed to a way of life that puts them at the forefront of their every thought.
It’s time for us to grow up.
A roomful of selfish, egotistical children can be taxing enough. We don’t need a country full. If we’re all kids, who’s the boss? There is none. We’ve eliminated respect for authority, and authority, in general. We’ve pushed God to the side and made ourselves gods. And therein lies the ultimate problem.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, not one school day began without a prayer and reading scripture from the Bible. That was a time in which students feared God and not each other. Slowly, the Bible, prayer and all mention of God was eliminated from our schools, the places where our children grow into adults.
As a student of the Constitution, I must admit that the decisions that led to the dismissal of God from the classroom do align with the principles of the Constitution. However, I hold the principles of the Bible and my faith at a much higher regard.
Since then, there can be no doubt that the moral fiber of this country has been steadily decaying. Eventually, America will be empty of citizens who learned moral lessons from scripture in their school. Think about the events that occurred in Newtown, and then imagine a world worse than that. The day is coming when we won’t have to imagine.
So what can be done about it?
The answer is right at the top of the [outlawed] Ten Commandments: Have no other gods before Me. Too many of us have have “me” gods, with a little “m.” Too many of us are our own gods. We’re all guilty of it. It’s an epidemic.
God sums it up pretty nicely in Second Chronicles.
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Immediately after the events in Newtown, people turned to politics, and the blame game, and gun control, and psychological disorders, school security measures, a number of things. But what we need is to turn to God. God is good, the victor over evil. God is the source of the moral compass we are all born with, but quickly disregard.
This event was a true eye-opener for me. I posted some thoughts similar to these on social media shortly after the attack happened. Those thoughts were met with quite a bit of opposition. After about a day of reading that opposition without responding, I decided that I didn’t care who was against me.
Today, more than ever, it’s time for those who trust and believe in God to defend the One who has so fervently defended us and protected us. Because if we don’t, the consequences will be more school shootings, more corruption, more ugliness, more filth.
Feel free to disagree with anything I’ve said here. Nothing you can say will ever change my mind that this world needs much more of God than it is taking right now, because I don’t think we can take any more death or any more heartache.
God bless us all, and God bless those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT.
Note: This mess didn’t really happen, people. It’s my first foray into satirical newswriting, something I hope to do more of in the future (That’s what she said?).
Samantha Harrison, 39, was arrested in Cleveland and charged late Saturday night with the murder of her husband, Charles Harrison, after what she told police was the “most eye-opening television experience of her life.”
Police were dispatched to the Harrison’s home after Samantha called 911, reporting what she believed to be a zombie attack.
Charles was found decapitated, along with several wounds believed by police to have been delivered by Samantha using a fire poker.
“Off the bat, we assumed the woman was on drugs,” Deputy Sheriff Will Martin said. “But it turns out she had just finished watching every episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ straight through.”
Samantha told police that, after watching the show, she realized that her husband, having just finished his meal of leftover Thanksgiving fare, was exhibiting all the symptoms of a bona fide “walker.”
“Well, for one thing, he had been sleeping with his eyes open for about 15 minutes, not listening to a damn word I was saying,” she said. “And he kept making little grunting noises, you know, just like you see on the show. Plus, he hasn’t spoken to me in about two-and-a-half weeks. I assumed he was simply being unfaithful, but I should have seen this coming.”
The AMC Network was running a holiday marathon of its hit drama; a show that Harrison claimed she had been meaning to watch, but hadn’t had the time. AMC submitted a brief written statement, calling anyone who takes their show literally “complete and utter imbeciles.”
Harrison would not submit to an on-site drug test. She claimed that she was unsure of how the zombie virus was actually being transmitted and did not want to chance an infection.
Asked if this was the most bizarre TV-related murder he has ever encountered, Martin said “not by a long shot.
“We had a guy kill his entire family, two dogs and a cat included, with a hacksaw after he watched the ‘LOST’ finale.”
I know what you’re thinking. “Holy crap, another Chick-fil-A post about gay marriage.”
Well, you’re only partially right.
If you’ve been a contestant on “The Bachelorette” or living under a rock the past two weeks (I would imagine both experiences would be pretty similar in nature), you may be unaware of the firestorm surrounding Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s recent comments to the Baptist Press, expressing the company’s support of traditional marriage.
What has followed has been one of the most intense debates in recent memory, with individuals and groups lining up on both sides of the issue. Boycotts have been staged, “kiss-ins” have been planned and many harsh word has been exchanged by both parties.
But I’m not writing to trumpet my own opinion on this issue, but rather to discuss something I’ve seen taking place that is far more troubling and far-reaching than a company’s political stance.
In the past week, three major U.S. cities have made efforts to block Chick-fil-A from pursuing a business license within their city limits. Is this not troubling to anyone?
While much of the discussion has revolved around the opposing views regarding gay marriage and these city mayors fighting for the majority opinion within their cities—Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, the truly horrifying aspect of this is that no one has challenged these mayors on their right to do this, or the damaging effect such behavior can have on the very fabric of our country.
Free Speech is a term that’s thrown around quite often. “It’s a free country, I can say what I want.” And we often scoff at that statement. But, in truth, it is one of the most profound testimonies about our country’s principles. Individuals, businesses, organizations, clubs, ANYONE can literally say almost ANYTHING they want.
The one exception is “hate speech.” This is defined as “any communication which disparages a person or group on the basis of some characteristic…”
Many of CFA’s opponents have fired the term “hate speech” at will regarding Cathy’s comments. That’s simply not true. At no point in his remarks did Cathy say anything remotely close to negative about the gay community. Even the reporter who wrote the story conceded that. Cathy merely stated his support for the traditional view of marriage as between one man and one woman, citing his religious views as the basis.
All that being said, Cathy, and CFA for that matter, was well within its First Amendment rights to say what he said.
However, in reading some of the responses by CFA’s opponents, it’s hard to find many that don’t, at the very least, hint at some level of degradation toward Cathy, CFA and its opinions. That, my friends, isn’t how we operate under the First Amendment in America.
Furthermore, not allowing a company to conduct business in your city simply because you disagree with their religious values? I can think of nothing more shameful.
First of all, it’s just flat-out unconstitutional. That shouldn’t take a legal scholar to decipher. The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that it favors the free expression of ideas and frowns upon the limitations placed on or around that speech. This is no more evident than in the Court’s recent decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church, which, as a result of the decision, was allowed to continue protesting at military funerals, despite the overwhelming majority that wanted to stop them.
The discussion of a topic like gay marriage can be a productive one. But I’ve been disappointed by the attacks on CFA for having an opinion. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s obvious now that everyone has an opinion on this issue, so why demonize a business for sharing theirs?
Lest we forget, our forefathers settled this country to escape religious persecution, not unlike some of the attacks leveled against CFA. It’s fundamentally contradictory to support attacks against CFA and those who support them.
We’ll never truly understand and appreciate the First Amendment and its guarantee of Freedom of Expression until we recognize that the same freedom we enjoy is the freedom for the thought that we hate, as well. We have to be willing to stand up for the rights of our opponents.
Voltaire perhaps sums it up best. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The second we stop fighting for everyone’s right to Freedom of Expression without fear of persecution or even legal ramifications, that’s the exact second in which the First Amendment will truly cease to exist.
This is a point in which we should all stand united, regardless of our political affiliations.
After all, would you rather live in a country in which a single chicken joint supports traditional marriage, or a country in which the opinion of the minority is derided, oppressed and squashed?
I recently read a story online about a father who called up his son to tell him about a degrading comment he found on a picture of his son online. The father asked his son, “Doesn’t it bother you that people can go on the Internet and call you a talentless piece of s—-, and never have to say it to your face?”
This is a question that we all, as members of the Internet Age, should be asking ourselves. I know it sounds silly, inconsequential even. But the truth is that this new era of online, anonymous commentary could pose a serious threat to how we, as a society, deal with confrontation.
Imagine you’re a minister in 15th-century England. You’ve begun speaking out against the religious intolerance of the king and his court. You have no anonymity. You live in a village in which everyone knows you, your wife, your family and all of your business. So good luck trying to slip in your negative commentary on the king without him finding out who to come looking for.
By the same token, imagine you’re the king. Someone’s just spouted off against you in a public forum. You’re the freaking king. There’s no “ignore” option. You have to deal with it. And you have no anonymity either. As king, you handle your business and squash any hint of rebellion.
Those were the days…
For the most part, confrontations and disagreements continued similarly until as recently as about 15 years ago. If that same minister and king lived in today’s society, AngryPreacher63 would have blasted the king ruthlessly on his personal blog site. Then, someone would have posted a link to the blog on the king’s website, the king would have responded online and the back and forth would have continued until one side or the other tired of it. But the confrontation would have never truly taken place.
To me, that’s a problem. And it’s a problem that we absolutely need to address if our generation wants to do anything of substance.
While anonymity has its place, critical anonymity is nothing more than cowardice. If you don’t believe it exists, just check out the comments section under literally ANY YouTube video ever posted. There are even actual academic theories related to the devolution of online discussions.
See what I mean about issues never truly being solved via anonymous discussion?
Just how powerful would the Declaration of Independence have been if no one signed it. It would have meant nothing. Absolutely nothing. Instead, the men who signed that famous document literally put their lives at stake in doing so. That changed the entire landscape of the American Revolution.
Under the cloak of anonymity, you can literally say almost anything you want without fear of consequence. While there are some legal exceptions when it comes to anonymous speech, it is largely protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. But very few online commentators would utter a word if they were forced to use their real name and put an identity to their opinions, or confront their opponents face to face, for that matter.
But the problem doesn’t end with anonymity. Even those who put their identity out there in online forums and discussions are displaying some level of spinelessness. Sure, you’ve put your ideas out there with a name and face to accompany them. So what? The worst that could happen? The other party…RESPONDS?! I shudder to think how devastating that might be.
The threat of consequence has significantly decreased in the Internet Age, and it’s to our detriment.
I don’t condone violence. But let’s be honest, people would say a lot less if they feared that the one at whom the comment was directed would come to their home and beat them within an inch of their lives. People would be more careful and choose their battles and their words with more discretion. That only serves to make arguments more powerful.
The same can be said for someone sending a text message as a means of confrontation. How many times have we said to ourselves “I’m so mad at him! Look at what I’m about to text him. Does that seem to harsh?” We do it all the time. The text message gives us the opportunity to craft our confrontation and frame it in whatever way we deem appropriate. It also gives us a bomb shelter of sorts, in which we can hide from the ramifications of what we send.
We’ve all had text arguments. You can tell the points at which they escalate by counting the number of words in ALL CAPS and the exclamation points. It’s ridiculous. It’s childish. It’s flat-out stupid. We should stop.
Should this trend continue, we may one day live in a world where the President of the United States is some guy who sat at home on Friday nights and ripped people apart on Twitter. We may become a generation that has no concept of how to resolve conflict or to initiate confrontation. Though confrontation is uncomfortable, it’s a necessary evil.
What if the movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement had lived in today’s environment? Do you think Rosa Parks would go to the city bus system’s website and make an anonymous comment about her disgust with being forced to sit in the back of the bus? Would Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech be sent out as a mass text?
Change doesn’t come without confrontation. Sadly, our generation knows more about signing online petitions than they do about attending organized protests—events where their faces can be clearly seen and their voices loudly heard. If we don’t make an effort to stop hiding behind our cell phones and the Internet, I am certain that none of us will like the society that that kind of cowardice will create.
So, the next time you’ve got a point to make, try actually talking to someone about it. It’s the oldest and most powerful form of communication. Let’s not make it a lost art.
As you’ve all now undoubtedly seen and heard, Whitney Houston died tragically at the age of 48 in a Los Angeles hotel room last night.
If this is news to you, you’ve probably been in a coma for the past 20 hours.
Immediately after news of her passing broke, her greatest hits album rose to the top of iTunes’ most downloaded album chart. Two of her other albums cracked the top five. Seemingly everyone began quoting songs she had sung but not written. And people even began heralding “The Bodyguard” as one of the best movies they’ve ever seen.
That may be true, but only if the only other film you’d ever seen is “The Happening.”
Houston, like many other celebrities before her, became exponentially more popular after her death than she ever was in life. There has to be some kind of psychological phenomenon that explains how that happens. (Amy Winehouse, anybody?)
But Houston also shared something else in common with many other celebrities who have left the world far more quickly than they should have: she battled a serious, not-so-private drug addiction, an addiction that, after learning more about the circumstances of her death, directly led to her undoing.
We didn’t hear much about that in the coverage of Houston’s death, however. And that’s true of many, if not all, of the celebrities who meet the same end by the same means. Instead, we heard hyper-inflated commentary on her greatness, some even putting her on par with Michael Jackson. That’s a discussion for an entirely different blog post.
I don’t think this speaks well of our society.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Whitney Houston was an amazing talent. But I think the coverage of and reaction to her death is just the latest example of a major problem our society has with recognizing the humanity of celebrity icons and categorically praising them without recognizing their flaws.
Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Chris Farley, Amy Winehouse…
I could go on and on and on.
We always seem to let a celebrity’s talent overshadow their addictions, crimes, etc. Their talent always redeems them somehow. This shouldn’t be the case, and we owe it to future generations to change it.
If a child does something wrong, you don’t shower them with smiles, praise and “good jobs!” You negatively reinforce the idea that what they have done is unacceptable, hoping that they will eventually stop doing it altogether.
The same standard should be applied to celebrities. By going completely over the top to ignore the faults of people like Houston, while at the same time hailing them as one of the greatest gifts to humanity, only proves to current celebrities and young people aspiring to become celebrities that they can do almost anything they want because they’re talented.
There is no alternate set of standards for famous people.
If you or I were doing bumps of cocaine on a nightly basis, the only television shows we’d find ourselves on would be “COPS” and “Intervention.” But a certain level of fame almost literally wipes the slate clean. This has to stop. And only we can do it.
Doing drugs isn’t OK. Molesting children isn’t acceptable. Murder isn’t cool. For anybody.
The quicker we start recognizing the good deeds of those around us and stop blinding ourselves to the harsh truths of our celebrity “idols,” the better off we all will be, now and down the road.
At this point, if you aren’t using some form of social media, you’re either in a prison or a nursing home. Whether it’s facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc., almost everyone is somehow a part of the online community.
But like every community, there should be some rules. Some are obvious, i.e. don’t seduce children in a chat room or show someone your junk on Chat Roulette. Others, however, are apparently less obvious. There are several categories of frequent violators. These are the people whose posts make us want to give ourselves several open wounds and jump in a ball pit full of salt.
Below is a summary of the ten most obnoxious people we all encounter daily on social media in no particular order:
1. The Single Troll
Being single isn’t nearly as uncommon as it once was. In fact, single people may soon be the majority.
This trend is frightening, however, given the online behavior of some perpetual loners. Try as you might, you will never escape their constant cries for love and affection.
Typical Post: “Someday my prince will come…”
Could you possibly make Disney any more depressing?
Sure, being single has its share of bad times, but begging the Internet for a companion isn’t exactly the best way to cope with your issues. That’s what psychotherapists are for.
Longing for romance is one thing. Sitting alone in your house wearing nothing but an XL T-shirt, shoveling pint after pint of Haagen Dazs into your lonely mouth while watching “Sleepless in Seattle” on an endless loop is another.
But it’s not just the ones who can’t buy a date. There are also violators who seem to attack anything with a Y chromosome after the first date of what they’re sure will be a lifelong relationship ends in misery.
Typical Post: He’s not worth it if I’m just an option and NOT A PRIORITY!!!! I CAN AND WILL DO BETTER!
No. You can’t and you won’t do better.
One failed first date is bad luck. Two is a coincidence. Beyond that, I sincerely doubt that every single man in the universe is flawed and fails to see you in all your glory.
You’re the problem. Get over it, sister. And most importantly, stop telling us about it.
Being single: You’re doing it wrong.
2. The Smother Lover
At the other end of the spectrum, we find the people that seem to have no problems with love whatsoever. In fact, their lives are positively perfect. Nothing could possibly knock them down from this cloud made of Dove chocolate and pheromones
Typical Post: A FANTASTIC Tuesday with my lovvvvveee! Couldn’t be happier!
And I couldn’t be more nauseous.
Don’t get me wrong. Love is a good thing. It makes the world go ‘round…or, whatever. But for Cupid’s sake, woman, give it a rest! (I say “woman” because any man posting something like this is probably a) being prodded by his girlfriend/fiance/etc. to do it, and b) is already silently chastising himself. No need to pile on here.) It just isn’t possible that the only answer you have to the question “what’s on your mind?” is LOVE, LOVE AND MORE LOVE.
Twitter asks “what are you doing?” It is my prayer that these lovehounds refrain from answering said query.
Yeah, your relationship may be great, even close to perfect. But I don’t give a flying frog’s fat crack, and neither does anyone else. Also, on the other side of the coin, these posts could also be a form of self reassurance. Sure, your relationship is the perfect love story…if you keep telling yourself and everyone else enough about it.
So stop, you nimrodic nymphos. Those who don’t have love are pissed at you, and those who have normal relationships know you’re lying. Oh, and they’re pissed, too.
3. The Academic
It’s the 21st century, and a growing number of young men and women are going to college. Unfortunately for us, many of those same people spend more time telling people how smart they are than they do actually getting smarter.
Typical Post: Just 14 pages left in my psychoanalysis of the modern American clown and the historical impact of its makeup, attire and general personality! It’s going to be quite the long night!
I went to college. I wrote papers. Not once in my entire college career did I think that my friends or followers wanted to hear anything about what I’m doing in school. Let’s be real, it annoyed us to no end when an adult asked us as a child what we were learning.
First rule of education: don’t talk about education.
There are only two reasons I can think of as to why you’d want to waste someone’s time by telling them the subject matter, depth and length of your current assignment. Either you’re crying out for sympathy (“OM Geeeeeee, this is SOOO HARD!!!), or you’re pompously trying to prove how smart you are (I know the word ‘socioeconomic!’ Aren’t I a genius?!). Both of those reasons make you a total loser.
If you spent half as much time writing that paper as you did tweeting about it, you might actually put together some coherent thoughts, unfettered by grammatical errors and sentence fragments.
4. The Exhibitionist Expectant Mother
I haven’t had a baby. I’ve only been one. But I can imagine that the experience of pregnancy can be a very exciting time. But it is also a very disgusting time—A time we absolutely don’t need to hear about until that little human pops into this world (and is fully cleaned and sanitized).
Typical Post: I wish this baby would hurry up and GET HERE! I’ve thrown up FIVE TIMES in the past two days! SO SICK!
Posts like this one are less common than the pictures. I would post examples, but I had Taco Bell for lunch, and that doesn’t look too good the second time around. But my lord, do pregnant women love the pictures.
There are two major violations that happen here: the pregnant belly and the sonogram.
Strip clubs have fewer naked women than social media sites. For some reason, women find it rational, and appealing, for that matter, to show off their massive midsection at various stages of gross. Here’s a hint, ladies: If you ever want anyone to find you attractive ever again, you’ll stop posting these belly shots.
Additionally, as stated before, I don’t want to see your infant before it’s about three weeks old. Let’s be honest. Every single baby ever born looks like an alien for about that time. I’ll say it about my kids one day just as soon as I’ll say it about yours. It’s the truth. When you post a picture of your child in your womb, you’re showing us what could be the most private and disgusting thing on God’s green earth.
Even your friends who post things like “OMG, SOO cute, Heather!” are merely lying to you. In their head and to their boyfriends, all they’re talking about is how fat you are and how ugly your baby is.
5. The Runner
I don’t work out. But thanks to social media, I know a crapload of people who do. They’re more than happy to tell you exactly how much they work out while simultaneously making you feel like a worthless, lazy pile of garbage.
Typical Post: Ran 5 miles this morning! Getting up at 6 a.m. wasn’t pretty, but it was so worth it!
We get it. You run. But if you’re looking to impress someone, you should probably tweet Christopher Reeve. Everyone else is less than awed.
I used to run to class all the time because I’m social, not an Academic and I have a life, so I talk to people, which makes me late. So I ran to class and suffered some of the most painful shin splints you could possibly imagine. But never once did I send everyone I know a blast that said something like “Just briskly jogged 0.7 miles! Feelin’ it!”
Not cool, bro.
You see, as much as you may view running as a “big deal,” it’s kind of a mundane, menial task. Nothing to get excited about. Imagine me tweeting every time I downed a sweet tea from Wendy’s or played air guitar alone in my car. Yeah, it makes me feel good about myself, but the whole free world doesn’t have to hear about it (maybe next year, China…).
If you run and you post about that run minutes after you’re finished, I suggest you gallop straight into the nearest ocean.
6. The Copycat
“Stole this from a friend.” That’s the excuse these violators use when they want to post about being intellectually void without being judged by the online community. “This is dumb, but I HAD to share,” is another favorite.
The bottom line is that these people can’t come up with anything original, so they cook up some copy pasta and call it a day.
There were multiple options for this typical post, but you get the idea. Social media is a place where people are supposed to express themselves, not express others. That’s 13 kinds of inappropriate. Also, whoever actually takes the time to come up with things like this needs to meet a human being.
7. The Vague Aggressor
We all know cowards like this. They post something so obviously abrasive and confrontational that it peaks your interest, yet just vague enough so that no one, including the person for whom the message is intended, has any idea who or what is being talked about.
Typical Post: I know I should just move on, but how can I after what you did to me?! Rest assured, I WILL get back at you for all the pain and suffering you have caused in my life!!
These posts are usually followed by comments from others saying “what happened?” or the sly and sneaky “get ‘em, girlfrannnnn” in an effort to decipher this seemingly unbreakable code.
If you’re going to “buck up” on somebody on social media, at least call them out publicly so your post will be entertaining. I save all my guessing games for “48 Hours: Mystery” and “Maury Povich.”
8. The Google+er
These days, everyone’s trying to be hip and cutting edge. People like to discover the next big thing. Some people are delusional enough to think that Google+ is that next big thing. They are wrong. But they’d love to spend all of their time convincing you (and themselves) why Google+ is the best thing on earth (because let’s be real, sliced bread can’t organize your friends into circles…).
Typical Post: Guys, stop wasting your time with Facebook! Google+ has so many rad new features that I’m thinking about deleting my Facebook altogether! Plus, I need more friends on Google+!! Com on over!
No, Christina Aguilera, I’ll pop a squat right here, thank you very much.
I find it interesting that these people go on another social network, tell you how terrible that social network is in comparison to G+, then threaten, without coming through, to leave that social network.
Telling people that Google+ will eventually catch on is like walking into a church wearing a badger and screaming to everybody in attendance “THIS IS GONNA BE HUGE, JUST WAIT!”
Being wrong isn’t hip. It’s wrong.
9. The Undiscovered Artist
These days, everyone thinks they’re gonna be the next Elvis or Van Gogh. But the truth is that the singers sing like Vincent and the painters paint like Presley.
They’ll certainly beat you over the head with their “art” though, whether you like it or not. While there are some obvious exceptions to this rule, the majority of the people who use social media as a means to start their career as an artist or entertainer have little to no reason to do so. But, like many other people on this list, they’re just searching for that positive reinforcement.
Yeah, I’m callin’ Andy Warhol out. So?
He would have been a god and made eight times as much had he lived in the social media age. His friends would comment on something like this and say “Oh, Andy, your copied version of Monroe in different colors is pure genius! You should see what you can do with something else someone else created instead of you!”
The same can be said for music. People seem to really think their music is good. And they only think it’s better because people lie to them and tell them it is. But what else are you supposed to do when some guy posts his latest acoustic cover on his page, rip him a new one and force his untimely death?
Don’t put that on us, Undiscovered Artist. Keep your crap to yourself.
10. The Peter Pan
There are people, on social media and in general, who just can’t seem to grow up. Usually, after someone graduates from high school or college, they typically leave that stuff behind. But in recent weeks, I’ve seen a ton of posts that grown adults just shouldn’t have anything to do with.
Typical Post: SOOO Proud of my DZ girls!! Lookin’ so fly at the Kappa Mu Idon’tgivean Ioda Formal last night! DZ FOR LIFE!!!
I understand that you paid thousands of dollars in college to have friends. I get that. Making friends is hardddddddd. But you’re a big boy/girl now and you don’t have to keep pretending that you’re still fratting/sororitying(?) it up with the homies all the time.
You’re supposed to be a functioning member of society now. Act like it.
Did I miss some? Did I get a few wrong? Let me know what you think. On second thought, I’ll probably ignore you anyway.
This is how you play a wedding… (Taken with instagram)
As I’m sure is the case with many of you, music is a huge part of my life. A good tune can change the course of a day, or even a week in some cases. Musicians, the people deemed talented enough to perform music for money, are the people we blindly trust to churn out quality work that will keep our voices humming and our toes tapping.
And though the music itself is a vital part of the experience, it is the collection of words and phrases gliding atop the notes that can make or break a composition. Lyrics, surprisingly, are the most underrated aspect of musicianship. After deciding upon the topic for this post, even I was amazed at how many songs I enjoyed that featured sub-par verbiage. You’d be surprised, too, believe me.
But the inspiration for this post came from a Southern gospel song I heard recently. The song explored the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 men with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Seems to be a worthy enough topic, right?
The music was predictable: a four-chord jamboree, set to a shuffle beat. But the lyrics were nothing short of entertaining. If the lead singer of the trio hadn’t introduced the song with such sincerity, I would have thought he had written the song purely for humorous entertainment.
“With just five loaves and two fishes,
All your culinary wishes.
And there’ll be no dirty dishes left to do…”
The song goes on to describe Jesus as the “Master Chef.” Go ahead and jump on that reality show, TLC. And it also included what could be the funniest line in music history, gospel or otherwise:
“Jesus borrowed some kid’s lunch,
And he fed that hungry bunch.”
This dandy little ditty prompted me to scour the annals of music-dom for the best of the worst in lyricism.
Does anyone remember the boy band LFO? You know, one of the 50 or more testosterone troupes thrust together by over-zealous producers in the 1990s. Well, perhaps your memory will be jogged by glancing over this collection of the worst lyrics from their incredibly-catchy one-hit wonder “Summer Girls.”
“When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets…”
“Stayed all summer then went back home,
Macauly Culkin wasn’t Home Alone
Fell deep in love,but now we ain’t speaking
Michael J Fox was Alex P Keaton…”
I could continue by pointing out that, in the song, LFO goes on to reference “The Incredible Mr. Limpet,” which, despite its position atop Don Knotts’ cinematic works, should never be alluded to in other forms of popular culture. But I’ll move on.
Sade’s “Smooth Operator” would be a lot smoother if the writer had merely checked out a map of the United States. Check out this little gem that seems to support the stereotype that musicians are, in fact, the dumbest human beings on the planet.
“Coast to cost, L.A. to Chicago”
Perhaps confusion was created due to the incredibly drawn-out journey taken by the Griswolds in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from Chicago to California. But, alas, Chicago is a long way from the coast, sunshine.
Though I tend to give song lyrics with grammatical errors a pass, this particular one was simply too popular (and far too egregious) to overlook. Check out this memorable quip from the “Dawson’s Creek” theme, Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Wanna Wait.”
“So open up your morning light,
And say a little prayer for I…”
Me would like to assume that “I” is the name of Paula Cole’s child, relative or family friend, but me thinks that Cole is simply an “I”diot.
Avril Lavigne wants to make her song lyrics simple enough for everyone to understand. That’s why she explains things this way in her hit “Sk8er Boi.”
“He was a boy, She was a girl.
Can I make it any more obvious?”
Actually, Av, you could, but I doubt the FCC would approve.
And one of my personal favorites comes from Insane Clown Posse’s “Miracles,” which, by the way, is one of the most entertaining music videos of all time. Check it out.
“I see miracles all around me,
Stop and look around, it’s all astounding.
Water, fire, air and dirt,
F#$&ing magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist,
Y’all mother F#$&ers lying and getting me pissed.”
I rest my case, your honor.
Aside from these select few, there are certain artists who are frequent offenders of lyric laws (which I’ll get to later). Below is a list of musicians whose song lyrics (for the most part) frankly just suck.
Now that I’ve provided a pretty exhaustive list of things not to do. Here’s just a few tips to keep in mind, should you ever take the plunge into songwriting. Not that I’m an expert, but hey, I’m not will.i.am.
Writing lyrics isn’t quite an exact science, but it should involve a moderate level of rational and intellectual functionality. But despite the best attempts by I, me, myself, and whoever else to improve lyrical ability, there will always be a group of people who continue to entertain us with their lifeless lyrics. But at least they’re trying.
The Black Eyed Peas recently announced that they wouldn’t be performing “My Humps” in concert anymore because, as will.i.am put it, the song “wasn’t the best, lyrically.” It’s epiphones like that one that give me hope for the future of the music industry.
Weiner: Another example of people over 35 who don’t understand the intricacies (and intimacies, as it were) of Twitter.
Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (Dem.) of New York put an end to his three-week free fall from grace Wednesday when he announced his resignation from the House of Representatives.
But this sad saga has not come and gone without a cost.
Aside from burying his political career alive, Weiner has also tainted something that many consider to be a big part of the American way of life. After filling front pages and newscasts with nearly a month of Weiner stories, the general public has actually grown numb to phallic puns and penile plays on words.
As a young adult male, I’ve spent a decent amount of time in my life laughing at and coming up with jokes that have to do with that certain portion of the male anatomy. Growing up, junk jokes were almost considered a form of poetry or art. A guy with a way with words and a slight case of perversion could hold a crowd in the palm of his hand with this type of material.
But when “Weiner-Gate” went down, members of the news media took advantage of the unique tale of a man by the name of Weiner sending pictures of his weiner to a stable of questionable women. Add that to the fact that the man’s wedding was officiated by none other than Bill Clinton, and you’ve got yourself a comedian’s wet dream.
Conan O’Brien may as well erect a statue of the Congressman in front of his studio, because O’Brien’s comedic take on the issue of Weiner’s tissue was the funniest stuff the man has ever uttered during his short stint on cable television.
But the real laugh stars of this show are the members of the media. At every opportunity, be it verbally or visually, they tugged at the Weiner story for every ounce of humor it had, all the while hiding behind stiff expressions, pretending they were merely reporting the news. Come on, people. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you’re about to explode the second those words escape your mouth. But I applaud your professionalism on camera.
With a name like Weiner, I realize that a situation like this almost makes it impossible not to insert a little suggestive verbiage into the conversation. But come on. When Weiner initially decided to stay in Congress, was it really necessary to run a headline that read “Weiner won’t pull out of the House?” Something tells me you could’ve gotten around that. It’s easy, but it shouldn’t be that easy. Luckily for us, “Saturday Night Live” has already ended its season, rendering them incapable of ruining this perfect storm of innuendo.
But now, after this drastic overexposure of genital jokes, I fear that I, along with the rest of the world, will no longer be able to look at phallic humor in quite the same way ever again.
It reminds me of Mexican food. (Relax, and just go with me, here.) I’ve eaten and enjoyed Mexican cuisine my entire life. It didn’t matter where it was from, or really what it was, I loved the stuff. Then I lived in Los Angeles for two months last summer, stuffing my stomach with the most incredible, authentic Mexican food I’d ever eaten. Since returning, I haven’t been able to eat Mexican food without calling to mind how far superior said food was in the Golden State.
Weiner’s crotch shot debacle has had a similar effect on junk jokes. Sure, I’ll make off-color remarks about the male anatomy moving forward, but no situation will ever reach the penile peak that was the Anthony Weiner story. I just don’t see how it could happen. It’s almost as if this story was prepared by the writers of a sitcom. I mean it essentially brought coincidental humor to its climax.
But the meat of the issue is that phallic humor will have only jumped the shark if we allow it to do so. Sure, I’ll admit that we all need a brief cool down period to recover from this out-of-control ride reminiscent of a local carnival. But we have to thrust onward, moving past this cataclysmic event with a positive penile mindset. There’s no way man’s goods will ever cease to be hilarious, it’s just a matter of continuing to be creative and, more importantly, selective.
Of course, as someone suggested to me, it’s entirely possible that a decline in the demand for dong jokes could boost the value of the “lady-part laugh.” But, let’s be real, it’s far less funny to make fun of those, and if you do, you’re likely to get the mess slapped out of you. It’s simply far too risky.
Pardon my plagiarism, Sinead O’Connor, but nothing quite compares to a good-hearted exchange of humorous crotch quips between friends, or even acquaintances, for that matter. But this event has significantly changed the game, forcing every player to hone their skills.
The moment the Weiner train pulled out of the station, a void was created that no opportunity may ever have the girth to fill. At the end of the day, we are all worse for having lived through Weiner, and we should all be searching for the party to blame. Is it Weiner? The media? The iPhone and it’s complicated text to tweet differentiation?
Call me crazy, but I think the enemies of America have gotten desperate. In early May, we put Osama bin Laden in a watery grave. Then, just a short month later, literally the only man I’ve ever heard of with the last name Weiner comes onto the scene with his shenanigans, threatening the very lifeblood of the American sense of humor. Coincidence? I think not. If Al Qaeda can penetrate the halls of Congress, they’re capable of far more than we give them credit for.
So, when presented with the opportunity to lighten the mood by creatively discussing Kibbles and Bits, you take it and stick it to our enemies who wish to do harm to the American way of life.
For every time you don’t, the terrorists chalk up one more little victory.
Scottie Pippen (left) with an actual member of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players List. Michael Jordan not only improved this picture tremendously, but also boosted little Scottie into the Hall of Fame.
Last week, Scottie Pippen made the audacious claim that Lebron James, by the end of his career, would be the “greatest to have ever played the game.” Knowing that what he had just heard was utter nonsense, and giving Pippen ample opportunity to retract his statement, the radio talk show host specifically asked Pippen whether or not James would end up a greater player than Jordan.
He said, in short, “yes.”
After being chided publicly by every talking head in the country, Pippen quickly softened his statement to avoid inciting a riot from basketball fans and lovers of shoes across the nation. As one of those fans, I have to say, for the record, even if Lebron wins 16 championships to Jordan’s six, he will never reach the level of play Jordan did in his prime. When the early-’90s Pistons invent an entire style of play tailored specifically to shut you down, you know you’re a baller. Sorry, LBJ.
That said, Pippen’s verbal misstep, and typically backhanded move last week jolted my disdain for MJ’s number two guy. Pippen has always left me with a particularly rough case of indigestion, but the timeliness of his comments gives me a reason to share my feelings on Pippen with the Interwebs. So, here goes.
Scottie Pippen is, far and away, the most over-rated athlete in the history of organized sports.
He was over-rated during his playing career and is certainly over-rated since his retirement from the game in 2004. Nearly every accolade Pippen “earned” throughout his career can be attributed to the force that was Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Give Michael Jordan Glen Rice, Detlef Schrempf or even Bo Outlaw and he could have won six championships, maybe more. Though many argue that Jordan never won a title without Pippen, I would counter by saying that the addition of a “Pippen-esque” player (a six-foot-nineish guy with a decent inside game and a solid jump shot), combined with Phil Jackson’s coaching prowess, led to the Bulls’ glory run. Pippen surely couldn’t have done it by himself (see the 2001 Portland Trail Blazers).
But just how much does Pippen owe His Airness? I’d say quite a lot.
Consider this. Pippen was an All-Star seven times in his 17-year career (‘90, ‘92-‘97). Of course, the 1993-4 and 1994-5 seasons were without Jordan, during his unbelilevably futile attempt at a pro baseball career. Pippen-ites might point to these two years as proof of Pippen’s inherent greatness.
I can easily explain these blips on the radar.
After Jordan retired in ‘93, Pippen became, I’ll admit, the best player on the reigning championship team in the NBA. Beyond that, Jordan had made the Bulls “America’s Team.” How could the best player on the most beloved team in the NBA not make the All-Star Team? Pippen’s appearance was a gift to Chicago and to NBA fans, who, need I remind you, voted him in in the first place. Forget the fact that it took Jordan’s mid-season return in 1995 to spur Pippen’s 31-31 Bulls on to the playoffs and an eventual Eastern Conference Finals appearance against the Orlando Magic. That team was a shell of its former championship self that season, Pippen included. But alas, Pippen got another sympathy vote. Pathetic.
And despite all of the championships he won with Jordan, many forget about the championship he almost lost for the Greatest of All Time. In the ‘91 Finals, the team of the new decade, the Bulls, faced off against the team of the last decade, the Lakers. The old superstar, Magic Johnson, toe-to-toe with the new face of the league, Jordan. In ‘91, Phil Jackson used Pippen to defend the opposing team’s best offensive player. This was a winning strategy during the regular season, but faded as the playoffs began. In each series, the Bulls’ opponents’ best player eclipsed their season average in scoring while being guarded by Pippen. While Magic Johnson didn’t score more than his 19 PPG regular season average in the Finals, he scored 18.6 PPG, and made up for the difference with 12.4 assists per game. These numbers wouldn’t sound so incredible if you didn’t take into account that Magic Johnson was entering the twilight of his career at this point, and would retire a year later. Had Jordan not been Jordan in that series, the Bulls most certainly would have lost, due in large part to Pippen’s shoddy defense when it counted.
After Jordan retired following the 1997-8 season, Pippen had been in the league for ten years. Most NBA players are still peaking at that point. Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and the like all had several All-Star appearances after their tenth anniversary with the league. Pippen had zero.
Pippen’s “post-Jordan” career is a prime example of his hyper-inflated market value. Both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers put Pippen’s name on the marquis as their “star.” ESPN’s Greg Anthony certainly wasn’t going to carry any team to victory on his back. And though both of these squads made the playoffs with Pippen, they failed to produce a championship, the Blazers even blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, a series in which Pippen both figuratively and literally dropped the ball.
Without Jordan, no championships, no All-NBA honors. Nothing. And yet, in 1996, at the beginning of another Bulls “three-peat,” Pippen was honored as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players. He was one of 11 active players, including Jordan, Malone and O’Neal, to be included in the list of the league’s top athletes of all time. Even typing the words “Pippen” and “50 Greatest” in the same sentence angers me. Alex English of the Denver Nuggets and one of my childhood heroes, Atlanta Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins were left off the list while Pippen waltzed on without a second thought. Looking over the list, Pippen is the only name that even gives me a slight reason to pause. Everyone else the NBA named deserved to be there: Dr. J, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, etc. Pippen?!
I argue for English and Wilkins over Pippen because they were 1) consistent, and 2) essentially a one-man team. Both English and Wilkins made the playoffs year after year, despite the fact that they were frontmen to a band of players that would serve as opening acts to opening acts. I can’t name a single member of the ’70s-era Nuggets, nor could a non-Atlantan name a single member of the ’80s Hawks. But everyone knows the ’90s Bulls. Pippen had help. Wilkins and English were doing it almost entirely by themselves. And had it not been for an Indiana kid named Larry Bird, Dominique just may have brought a couple of championships home to Atlanta as well.
For the life of me, I can’t explain the amount of “Scottie Slurping” that goes on in the sports world. When he mouthed off about Lebron being the greatest ever, people reported it as if his opinion really mattered. It doesn’t. The remarks were clearly evidence of bitterness he harbors for playing second fiddle to Jordan for his entire career.
As a kid, when Michael Jordan’s likeness was banned from video games, I refused to play as the Bulls. I didn’t want to play in any world, virtual or not, in which Scottie Pippen was my best scoring option. Pippen’s inflated worth has done nothing for the NBA but soften the accomplishments of the NBA’s greatest player, it’s as simple as that.
Add all this to the fact that Pippen is a spot-on look-alike for Osama bin Laden, and every American has reason to be suspicious.