Monthly Archives: April 2010

My First Letter to the Editor

I often complain about the campus newspaper, The Reporter. They often have poorly written articles, and the trap most student newspapers have of endless commentary by students about stupid things with no research or authority.

Today, I read something so idiotic that I finally had to take a stand. The full article was of the stupid commentary while also being offensive article as seen here -http://media.www.msureporter.com/media/storage/paper937/news/2010/04/27/Voices/BugEyed.Beauties-3913558.shtml

In response, I wrote an especially scathing letter to the editor. It’s quite critical of the paper, so it may not get published, but my anger is not to be ignored. And boy do I mean it! Here it is:

Today, my roommate came home in a tizzy. She insisted I read an article in The Reporter called “Bug-eyed Beauties,” and asked if she was crazy for being angry. An opinion piece on giant sunglasses? I consider myself a fairly level-headed person, and I was fully prepared to call her crazy.

After a quick read, I couldn’t believe it – the article got to me. The article was condescending, sexist and somehow also managed to be just plain lazy.

Much as women loved to be grouped together and talked down to, the sentence “Ladies, it’s time for you to stop wearing those ridiculous sunglasses,” put me on edge immediately.

It seemed the article’s author, Kyle Monson, was confused. His premise was that these stylish sunglasses, covering an inch more of the wearer’s face than regular sunglasses, obscure a woman’s identity so much that she is reduced to everything below the neck.

He can’t help but wonder: don’t women want to be noticed? Or are they trying to keep men away? Sometimes they dress like they want men’s attention, and sometimes they don’t; what is this world coming to?

Let me clear something up for you, Kyle. Women don’t always dress for the attention of men. Many don’t pick out their outfit wondering, “Will this attract the appropriate amount of male interest?”

Simply put, women aren’t that shallow or that thoughtful. Normally, they wear what looks good to them. I don’t wear my big sunglasses as a statement of independence or to attract the favor of men. I find oversized sunglasses to be classic and iconic. If I pair that with a little black dress, I feel like Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” And while I don’t wear pants with “juicy” on the butt, I assume it’s  because I’m a slave to trends, not because I’m desperate for men to check out my ass.

“Us guys seem to be backed into a corner here and are doomed to snub all our girl friends while at the same time demeaning them as we check out their asses.” Really, Kyle? That’s how you’re demeaning women? Not reducing our identity to how we look to men?

Let me back up for a moment. While I’ve addressed some of this to Kyle directly, I don’t really think he’s some misogynist pig who meant to tell women how to dress if they really want a man.

But that’s what’s particularly bad about this article – it’s lazy (sorry Kyle). It seems as though he thought of some issue that bothered him somewhat, sat down and wrote an uninspiring rant without talking to one person or finding one fact. Even in an editorial or in commentary, a writer should have something, anything, to lend him as an authority on the subject he’s writing about.

What you have is a nonsensical article filled with veiled offensive language toward women and a ridiculous premise.

I know it seems like I’m taking a light-hearted article too seriously, but our campus newspaper should be held to some standard. Articles should be informative and make readers think with new and interesting perspectives. It should not just be a platform for the journalists’ pet peeves.

And now I can’t help but wonder, isn’t it a popular fashion for men to wear large aviator sunglasses? Keep it up guys, you look great.

Oh, and for having one of my readers actually comment on my blog, here’s a picture of Mark Wahlberg:

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The Colbert Report disappoints

There’s nothing I love more than Comedy Central fake news shows; I mean, how else would I get my news? I normally find twenty minutes each day to have Jon Stewart break it down to me in a way that I can understand and laugh at silly Fox News.

Sometimes, when I find the time, I also watch Stephen Colbert. I have to say, in the way that I like to ruin fun things, I’ve been a little let down by the hilarious ego maniac.

Here’s a question for the three or so people who read the blog: does a “fake” news program have an obligation to get it right? I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.

I say yes. Many people 18-35 use The Daily Show as a primary news source, and frankly, I don’t think they disappoint. In a 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey at the University of Pennsylvania:

“a study of American television viewers and found that fans of The Daily Show had a more accurate idea of the facts behind the 2004 presidential election than most others, including those who primarily got their news through the national network evening newscasts and through reading newspapers”

Not only that, a Time magazine poll named Jon Stewart the most trusted newscaster in America with 44% of the votes, with Brian Williams in second with 29%.

Now you could argue that The Colbert Report is more of an entertainment show, but it still satirizes news. So why am I disappointed?

In the last two episodes I’ve seen (over two weeks), they have reported an inaccurate story. First, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Colbert reported the story of Scrabble now allowing proper nouns. Not true.

More recently, he commented on the story of the airline Ryanair would be charging for the bathroom. Not only would this never be cost effective (they make a lot of money from their drink sales), but Ryanair often makes outrageous claims like this in order to get free publicity.

Not only are these stories wrong, but they were something I could discredit with a quick Google search. There’s a little too much truthiness here for my taste.

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Lorraine Crossman is my hero

“Who is Lorraine Crossman?” some of you may ponder to yourselves. Good question; she is, as the title suggests, a great personal hero of mine that I recently discovered.

I’ll tell you how this came about. Last weekend, I saw the newly released “Date Night” with Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Overall, I’d say it’s exactly what you’d expect.

Fey and Carell are a married couple looking to recapture the magic by mixing it up and having dinner in Manhattan. They go to a fancy place where they can’t get a table (sidenote: the maître d’ answers the phone “This is Claw, you’re welcome.” I should answer my phone this way).

Anyway, turns out they took the table of a couple in trouble with a mob boss, and let the hijinks ensue. Funny looking word, hijinks – too many dotted letters. But I digress.

The movie is exactly as you would expect, but maybe slightly funnier. True, I am an out-and-out movie snob, but a lot of these recent action comedies fall short of many things like character, plot, dialogue and comedy short of a few cheap laughs.

This was no exception save for one thing; Tina and Steve.

I was pleasantly surprised with them as a couple. I assumed they were just comedians with hit NBC shows thrown together, but they were believable and cute together.

More importantly, they are funny people. I have a personal bias as I have a crazy lady crush on Tina Fey, but they were both the most redeeming things about this movie. At the credits when they did outtakes, it was almost funnier than the movie. If left to their own devices to just ad lib a film, that might have actually been more enjoyable.

Still, when they got serious it was weird, and the end when they save their relationship never to have problems again, it’s in a rather sexist way that I won’t go into for space reasons.

What the hell does this have to do with Lorraine Crossman? I’m getting there.

There was another (I know I said there was only one, but I lied) redeeming feature to this movie. Mark Wahlberg plays a studly security specialist who never wears a shirt. Tina Fey flirting and Steve Carell being insanely uncomfortable, funny stuff.

I normally stay behind and read the credits, because yes, I am that cool. I see Lorraine Crossman’s name across from the credit “Costumer (to Mark Wahlberg).

How great is that? He doesn’t wear anything the entire movie except a pair of pants, what does that job entail? “I know it’s we’ve already done this seven times for one costume, but I need to take measurements again Mr. Wahlberg, just in case.”

And after a quick Google search, I haven’t found anything else about her except that she’s been Wahlberg’s personal costumer in five other movies!

Quick disclaimer: I’m not a huge Mark Wahlberg fan or anything, but that guy really knows how to not wear a shirt.

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Loyalty (13 points)

Perhaps many of you have heard, I know I have, of the late breaking news of a beloved game. Are you sitting down? I hope so, because Scrabble is introducing… proper nouns!

What?! I was of course infuriated. What will happen to the pseudo-elitism of being good at a word game? Now you can just write any person, place or thing? Outrageous!

At least, this was my first reaction. Then I realized that my overzealous condemnation of something that doesn’t matter was actually reasonable. Some of my favorites:

“I’m trying to find the words to express my annoyance, but I keep drawing consonants.”

“New Scrabble rules spell anarchy.”

“Appall! (10 points). Pox! (12 points). Crazy! (19 points). Zounds! (16 points).”

Even Stephen Colbert has decided to change his middle name to “Qxyzzy,” not with two s’s, that’s a common mistake. Of course, there were other much more dramatic responses that I won’t repeat here in an effort to keep my blog clean.

What’s most hilarious and a relief is that the hype was all for nothing. I’m disappointed that the Colbert Report didn’t check their story, but it turns out that they aren’t changing Scrabble, but Mattel is introducing a new version of Scrabble where there will be a card to draw allowing proper nouns. And Hasbro, not Mattel, is in charge of Scrabble distribution in the United States, so we will not even have this version.

In the end, this makes me very happy that there are people in this world that will defend my beloved (10 points), verbose (9 points) pastime. Hooray.

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Retraction: I should stop feeling things

So this last blog I wrote in a whirl of emotions. After said whirl, I went out to the kitchen to find myself dinner. My friend was around and began telling me about how it went over with the boyfriend’s parents.

This is where it went wrong. The aforementioned emotions whirling, I lost it. I started telling her all these things I was thinking, and boy oh boy. These things sound reasonable and my head, even on paper, but out loud they sound downright offensive. Example:

In my head, I thought that she would want her baby to be raised by two parents who are ready to have a baby and can give it all the things her young years couldn’t provide. It came out, “Don’t you want to do what’s best for your baby?” Followed by the response, “You don’t think I’m what’s best for my baby?” Um, no?

Ouch. It wasn’t so bad in the end, it at least made me see that she wasn’t as flippant as she acted and had thought about this, perhaps I wasn’t giving her due credit.

I always have been aware that it isn’t that important what I think, really I have. But I haven’t really acted on this thing I know. I’m not used to having my emotions run me, and perhaps this whole self-righteous thing isn’t so noble.

Anyway, to sum up: me = self-righteous bitch, friend = still crazy, but doing what she thinks is best and about to get one devoted Godmother for her kid.

The story ends well. In order to alleviate my guilt, I bought us ice cream. Coldstone no less, delicious.

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Serious Post: what I’m feeling and junk

Hold on to your hats readers (or reader as the case may be), it’s time to be a teenager. Rather than use this blog to comment on my redundant job search or unoriginal musings, this is going to be a diatribe of my feelings.

A friend of mine recently found out she was in trouble in the familial sense. As though that weren’t horrifying enough, she’s keeping the damn thing. On a side note, she never has taken the time to read my blog before, and I really hope she doesn’t start now.

My first reaction wasn’t great perhaps. I know I have a tendency to be self-righteous now and again, but this one really took the cake. I wrote her a lengthy e-mail about why she was being a moron. It didn’t go over well. Lucky she told me while I was away; I’m sure her new super-human pregnancy strength would end me.

Time passed, I came home and told her flat-out that I didn’t agree, but that she was my friend going through a hard time and I was there to support her. After all, this wasn’t about me.

Ah, mature Colleen bringing it home. If only I could be that grounded in my head.

For you see, the selfless and good friend is really squelched by the “what the hell is she doing?” side (again, in my head). It isn’t a me wanting to be right, it’s (wait for some overly dramatic sentiment) just so hard to see my best friend throw so much of her life away while I helplessly watch.

And boy do I want to say things. The way she acts so flippantly about it while I feel like I want to scream and cry just thinking about it makes me crazy. Her attitude toward the whole thing exemplifies her youth and clear unpreparedness to be a parent. My best friend, the person I’ve seen become an amazing human being over the past few years and has helped me become who I am, is going to be completely blind sighted by a decision she’s made that’s going to be worse for everybody involved.

Brief disclaimer: I am totally supportive of choice, recognize the huge and horrifying experience it must be to make this decision, and I would never presume to tell someone what they should do. The exception is telling my friend to think twice before she ruins her life.

What’s worse is I feel completely alone in this, like I have some horrible deficiency reacting this way. My boyfriend was good enough to at least help me get some perspective,  but really didn’t react the way I did. Most of our friends are overzealous, as though she’s getting a new puppy and oh gee won’t that be fun. Not that they should react any differently, it’s just kind of feeding her delusion.

I’ve talked to a few separately who also think she’s getting in over her head, but that’s her decision not theirs, so why does it matter?

Now why can’t I think like that? I’ll be skipping town in a few months, it surely won’t affect me.  But this just makes me sadder.

Even though she assures me she’ll visit two weeks a year (because a low-income, single mother college student can totally swing it), I have essentially lost my friend. I guess there’s the whole selfish enchilada right there; this person who saw me through so much is so much more quickly and definitely out of my life.

I went home this weekend and told my parents. With my dad, it turned into a brief debate on welfare policy (obviously), while my mom was very understanding but sadly realistic.

She had grown up in a small town and had a best friend she had gone off to college with. There were going to be friends forever until, what do you know, she got pregnant. She has gotten married several times since then, and mom hasn’t been to any of the weddings. She’s not even really sure what she’s up to.

More than anything, I wish I could stop thinking about this. I wish I could just plan on what I could do to be a good godmother (because when you think spiritual guidance, you think me), think more about this godforsaken job search and just leave the rest to my friend without judgement or pleading.

I need some sort of higher power to grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change. What a bad time to be an atheist.

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I’ve become boring

This last weekend, the roommates decided to go on a spontaneous road trip to the Mall of America just to get out and do something different. I was invited, but politely declined as I had much to do in the way of homework and the chipping away at the mountain of work required with job searching.

But they wouldn’t take no for an answer. I wish I were exaggerating when I say that they had to beg, bribe and threaten for some time before I finally gave in. It turned out to be a fun outing, I even had a great shopping find and a delicious meal.

This makes me wonder, why do I fight so hard? Why can’t I let loose? Have I become boring?

The simple answer is yes. And then of course I could be asked, “How can you become boring, Colleen? That would imply that you once weren’t boring.”

Touche, hypothetical conversation.

Still, as I’m entering the last legs of my college career, I now have a tendency to work all day. Perhaps it’s not quite as bad as my roommates put it (“why don’t you care about you’re friends anymore?!” and such), but maybe I should try to smell the roses occasionally. Even my own mother didn’t know how to feel about me passing up a mall trip to work.

But on the other hand, shouldn’t I just be allowed to be me? The nerd who has found a new love of overachieving? Stay tuned.

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