The first and last time I watch the VMAs

Adeena Ellison

Staff Writer

So I’ll admit I’ve never watched the Video Music Awards (VMAs) before this year. Growing up in a house without cable made it really easy to avoid obnoxious networks like MTV. Honestly, I didn’t even realize how popular award shows like the VMAs were until Miley Cyrus’ infamous performance went viral. I remember scrolling Facebook this time last year and all I could see were videos about Miley Cyrus dancing with teddy bears and twerking all over Robin Thicke. Maybe because of that, I didn’t really care to go back and take the time to watch the show. When a friend sent me an article about Beyoncé’s ‘feminist’ performance at this year’s VMAs, I decided to check out what all the fuss was about. Maybe I was missing out on something. I was excited to finally contribute to my friend’s gossip about the awards show. Like me, my roommate had also never seen the VMAs. It was exciting to share our first impressions with each other.

Before I even noticed any performers, my attention was caught by the awkwardness of the audience – bored out of their minds. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all those people, sadly swinging their arms and halfheartedly cheering on Ariana Grande as she energetically jumped around the stage and sang. Honestly, before this performance, I didn’t know who Ariana Grande was, but now I know she’s basically a tiny human who has a loud voice. Good to know.

Everything was a blur until Nicki Minaj came on the stage… I didn’t know it was possible to shake your ass in so many ways. But now I know, and there’s no going back. It can’t be unseen. Then Jay Pharoah, the host of the evening, did his sketch. This is a name I was more familiar with, as I have spent many afternoons watching Satuday Night Live trying to avoid work. I had high hopes, thinking he would lighten up the awkward mood of the audience. He only made the show more uncomfortable to watch. At one point he commented on Ariana Grande saying “I’m a little attracted to you and I feel a little weird about it. She looks kinda young, don’t she? You should not be a grown man enjoying Sam & Kat as much as your five year old nephew.”- What were his writers thinking? Did nobody else think this was a super creepy comment?

In the end, I just did not make it through the 90 minute segment to see Beyoncé’s performance. I just YouTubed it to save my time and energy. But I did learn a great deal from this experience. I couldn’t be happier that I’m not an artist who has to sacrifice my dignity by attending or performing at these horrible events. I learned that not having cable was the best gift my parents gave me. I will never again attempt to keep up with MTV and its nonsense. All in all, VMAs watched and lesson learned.

I’m gonna miss you, Genie

Noah Kahan

Staff Writer

Robin Williams was many things to many people. He was a stand-up comedian, an actor, and an all-around good person. But he had a secret persona, following him wherever he went. Robin Williams was severely depressed. Depression has grim effects which present themselves in many different forms, and our society can stigmatize those it affects. This included Robin Williams, who suffered from alcoholism. The sad reality is that many people use alcohol to self-medicate their depression.

Self-medication is a serious way someone with depression can induce self–harm. 

Robin Williams had also recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which could have led to a significant increase in his depressed feelings. Illness can be both physical and mental. Tragedy and Comedy often go hand-in-hand. That is, those with a comedic gift often have tragic lives. Robin Williams was an extreme example of this phenomenon. He was a man with a beautiful gift, the ability to touch hearts, and make others who were suffering smile. But he was also a man with a curse, he walked around with deep sorrow.

On August 11, 2014, Robin Williams ended his life, but this did not remove him and his penchant for making us smile from the world. In fact, his death saw a re-emergence of many of his films and his specials. Robin Williams’ death was tragic in that it removed a comedic genius from our midst. Williams’ comedic genius transcended his deep sorrow.

    Despite his dark and sad exit from the world, Robin Williams will always be remembered as someone who cured the emotional pain of others through his comedy. It takes courage to put on the facade that he did, and bravery to be able to make other people happy despite his own pain. Let us remember Robin Williams for the comedy he brought into the world and the genius he strived to show us.

Scoop’s Corner: “The Giver”

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Most of you have probably read the book, “The Giver.” It’s the children’s version of “1984,” and “Brave New World,” and the predecessor of all Young Adult dystopia novels. Which are apparently a huge thing right now, and I wouldn’t mind if there weren’t so many love triangles! It’s getting ridiculous…

  The book version of “The Giver” had the slightest tinge of a romance, in that 12-year old Jonas develops a crush on his friend Fiona, but these are promptly eliminated with pills designed to take care of that issue. The book is mainly about a boy realizing that everything that he knew is wrong; there is a thing called color, another called music and in the time before there were Communities, people lived with their biological parents and siblings, and they felt things: both good and bad. Jonas learns about all these things from the Receiver of Memory, who he calls the Giver, because he is being trained to take his place. It’s an amazing book, full of symbolism and emotion. It’s terrible to see Jonas go through so much and make such difficult decisions, especially at such a young age.

The movie ages Jonas up to about sixteen, and has him played by a twenty-three year old (I get it. You’ll get more people if he’s hot but other than that, why?)

This makes all his actions seem more ridiculous, and idiotic in the film.

It also makes his feelings towards his friend Fiona more intense, and a bit odd especially considering that most of the time, she really doesn’t know what he’s doing. The concept of kissing and affection is absolutely foreign to her.

  The movie also changes around some of the most basic plot points of the novel, in  order to make it more “action-oriented.”

The action happens in the last third of the movie, and seems to exist only to make the movie more marketable to the “tween/young teen” crowd.

For example, in the novels, pills are distributed only to block out romantic feelings while in the movie injections are given to all citizens in order to block all emotions.

  There are other book-to-movie differences: the movie incorporated an unneeded villain, the Chief Elder, whose only goal was to stop Jonas, while in the book, the Giver (and therefore Jonas) was always contacted by the Elders before they made any major decisions and that the identifying “Giver” mark was changed from light eyes to a birth mark.

If you would like to compare the two, read the book and go out to see the movie. You will see major differences. While I understand that books and movies are two different mediums, I feel as though they could have tried harder with “The Giver,” especially since they’ve been working on a film adaptation for ages. It’s disappointing to wait for so many years, only to get a movie that won’t even be remembered by next summer. Percy Jackson fans, I now know how you feel…I never want to go through this kind of pain again.

Life, as seen on TV

Jordan Javelet

Contributing Editor

Today as I was walking through Best Buy, one of the biggest televisions in the store caught my eye. It was a Samsung LED television that boasted a 65 inch display, vibrant color definition, and an image quality that made the video of New York City that was displayed on the screen look as real as if I were actually in New York. But what really caught my eye—in fact, the only reason I even bothered stopping—was the fact that the television was curved.

     A salesman approached me and started listing off the details of the television (as if a college student could possibly afford the $3,000 price tag), and I listened even though I wasn’t really interested in making a purchase. I just wanted to look at the pretty picture of New York for a few seconds before continuing on my way.

     As I was brainstorming ways to make a quick escape from the salesman, he said something that caught my attention: “Really,” he said, “this is the best image quality out there. In

fact, with the color enhancing technology in this device, it gives you a picture that is better than real life.”

     If there was any phrase that was going to convince me not to buy that television, it was that one. And worse yet, as I studied the image on the screen, which had switched to a colorful view of Prague, I was tempted to agree with the salesman. The reds were brighter, the blues richer. The definition made every window in the city visible in a way that the human brain could never process even as the eye saw it, and the cars on the street took on a spectacular, lively potential as they sped through the city and wove between buildings.

     Suddenly, in the middle of Best Buy, I was having an existential crisis hinging on the existence of a television that makes a picture that is better than real life. If I could purchase a television like that, there would be no point in traveling or even in leaving my house, right? I would be able to sit on my couch and display an image of the Great Barrier Reef, and I wouldn’t have to get a SCUBA certification or be worried about all the animals that would probably be trying to kill me as I swam around the Australian waters. I could display the summit of Mount Everest without having to fly across the world and actually climb it. Worst of all, I could play a sitcom on the screen and stay in my house pretending that I had actual friends. After all, the picture is better than real life, right? Why even bother with real life if I can get a better picture on a screen?

     Spelled out this way, it’s obvious that there are flaws in this sort of reasoning. Despite the fact that people are making televisions with displays that are better than real life, I’m sure we can all agree that there is an important distinction between real life and what technology suggests real life might be. Anyone on Instagram knows that social media would be dull and pointless without filters, owns that the whole network is an exercise in posturing as more interesting than you really are. In fact, the more you look at any sort of technology, the more it feels like technology reduces real life into a series of images.

     In 1928, René Magritte painted a work called “The Treachery of Images” (French: “La trahison des images”) in which he painted a pipe and captioned it “Ceci n’est une pipe.”: “This is not a pipe.” Perhaps for the next few years, people will remember that televisions and Facebook and the internet are not real life, and perhaps for the next few years, people will maintain their interest in real-world living. But it is not hard to imagine a world in which people stop thinking this way; as Chuck Klosterman says in his book “Eating the Dinosaur,” “We are latently enslaved by our own ingenuity, and we have unknowingly constructed a simulated world…the benefits of technology are easy to point out…but they do not compensate for the overall loss of humanity that is its inevitable consequence.”

     Technology raises important questions of authenticity and truth. A television can display New York City in a beautiful and artistic (read: color enhanced) way, but what is shown on the screen cannot convey the energy of a hundred thousand people walking shoulder to shoulder down Fifth Avenue. It cannot convey the human spirit of New York City.

     Maybe the Best Buy salesman was right: a curved television can produce an image that is better than real life. But I do not want my life to become a series of images on a color-enhanced LED display, curved or not. I want to walk down Fifth Avenue. I want to touch the shoulders of the people I pass. I want to make contact with humanity.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Too #trendy?

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

Over the summer, a new charitable organization hit the Facebook “trending” ticker. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge went viral during summer 2014, convincing 2.4 million Facebook users to douse themselves in icy water for the good of the cause. Users would get a bucket filled with water and ice cubes, and dump it on their heads or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Then they nominate 2-4 friends to do the same. In my opinion, this is a wonderful public advocacy campaign, and other charities should follow suit. To date there have been 2.4 million Facebook posts and 3.7 million videos uploaded with the hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge (www.bbc.com).

The posts and videos are meant to raise awareness and donations for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association. ALS, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” is a neurodegenerative

disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The motor neurons slowly die and the brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement. Patients in later stages of this disease can become totally paralyzed. Early symptoms of ALS often include muscle weakness, speech problems, and difficulty swallowing or breathing. When muscles begin to atrophy, they no longer function proper-ly and can look “thinner”.(www.alsa.org)

Skeptics of the #icenucketchallenge argue it’s too trendy, people are being environmentally wasteful, and it’s not actually helping. I argue that the Ice Bucket Challenge is, in the end, doing much more positive than negative for the cause and other charities should strive to attempt a similar media fad. I’ve seen videos of people using rain water, cold shower water, or substituting an “ice bucket” with sand or grass to raise awareness about one of California’s worst droughts in history. There are eco-friendly ways of fulfilling the challenge. I also agree that this is a short-lived movement, but it’s getting the job done. Donations to the ALS Association have gone from $2.7 million to $98.2 million over the course of a summer.

Similar organizations in Britain have also received these benefits. Sure, this will probably not continue, and yes, people are not giving from the goodness of their hearts, but the ALS Association is still receiving higher donations than ever before. Big-time celebrities and local families are opening their wallets for a cause that could truly use the money. It may not be a “genuine” charitable gift, but the money is still being raised for research and other aide.

Getting people who are not personally affected by a disease to donate their extra spending money is no small feat. And while there are criticisms and drawbacks to the challenge, I believe that in the end the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought much needed funds to a worthy cause, and other charities should strive towards creating a similar media buzz.

IT Student Survey Results

Goucher College Information Technology:

Earlier this month, we asked you for your help, insights, and opinion about technology at Goucher. Why? We want to be sure that we continue to adapt campus technology and support to meet the needs of student inside and outside the classroom. We also want you to know that your opinion matters. Why? Because Goucher students provide great suggestions.
This summer, Information Technology will be looking into expanding many of our printing services. We hope to be able to allow Web Print to work from the Goucher Visitor network, and to enable Swipe-to-Print to work on printers in other academic buildings beyond the Athenaeum.
In the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, the Center for Teaching Learning and Technology (CTLT) discounted the lending policy that allowed students to borrow equipment. This policy was changed primarily because of problems getting equipment returned on time if at all. For equipment that was returned we often found there were missing cables or chargers that made the devices useless to future students. The collection was also aging and required a good deal of repair. Currently, the CTLT circulates a large collection of iPad minis to professors who use them for various classroom assignments. The iPads are highly versatile and allow us to make the biggest impact for our investment.

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“Blackfish” stirs controversy

Andrea Phillipedes
Contributor

Growing up, I was  fascinated by mammals, both on the land and in the sea. I have visited zoos, aquariums, and marine parks in my young life. Some of my favorite memories as a child occurred at these places, whether it be swimming with dolphins in Hawaii or watching the killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium in SeaWorld Orlando. I was always acutely aware that these habitats at zoos and marine parks were a bit small for certain animals, but I never really thought about it in great depth.
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