Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Virginia Tech

As I'm writing this, it's April 20th; eight years to the day that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris massacred 12 classmates and teachers at Columbine High school, and only four days after Seung-Hui Cho nearly tripled the body count during his rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech. The news is running with the stories and asking the questions that are on everyone's minds: What could have been done stop it? Who was Seung-Hui Cho? Why didn't anyone see the warning signs? Pardon the cliché, but hindsight is 20/20, and it's easier now than ever to go back and put together the pieces that we didn't even know were part of the puzzle.

There are plenty solutions to curbing this kind of violence; from the pointless zero tolerance rules, which only really infringe upon students' rights and piss everyone off, to the insane, such as one Hartford Courant writer advocating for the arming teachers and faculty for protection. (That in itself deserves an entire blog devoted to it. Stay tuned). The problem here is this is not the Sci-Fi movie Minority Report. You can't look into the future to who will commit what crimes and lock them up accordingly. You can't lock up every kid who wears a black trench coat, every boy who thinks guns are cool, and every kid who feels sad or who doesn't have many friends. You can't even take away people's rights by not selling a gun to someone who doesn't look wholesome. The warning signs are there, but these tragedies keep happening and it seems like only afterwards does it become clear just how dangerous these individuals were. Hell, even Cho went to therapy and was and labeled 'an imminent danger' and declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice.

The easy solution to end this kind of school violence, in my opinion, is not possible. I believe the solution is to just ignore the violence. As I said, it's impossible. It'd be a real disservice to the victims and their families if we as a society (media included) just glossed over the incident and moved on without analyzing why it happened, who the victims were, who the killer was and what drove him to perpetrate what is now the worst school killing in history. On the other hand, all this attention is what these kids crave. Yes, the victims deserve to be recognized and memorialized. It is necessary and comforting to the families and friends. These 32 victims were not just nameless casualties, they were human beings with their own lives, own problems, and their set of better honed tools for dealing with those problems; tools that didn't included automatic weapons. They were friends, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, girlfriends and boyfriends. Yet, ultimately these moving tributes don't do much to dissuade future school shootings. This information will probably only validate our nation's future Cho's that killing is the answer. After all, if the victims didn't matter, then what would be the point? To me, it seems like a Catch 22; damned if you do, damned if you don't. Again, pardon the clichés.

I can't help but feel like this just plays into the killer's designs. He was a coward, a weak man who obviously couldn't handle life. Perhaps he just needed help and didn't know how to ask for it. More likely, he was offered help and didn't take it. What he did take were the lives of 32 other people.

In between rampages, Cho mailed a package, a "multi-media manifesto," to NBC. It contained videos, pictures and documents all detailing his motives and reasoning behind the violence. It gave America a glimpse into his psyche; if you've seen the news lately, you'll know that this was one fucked up kid. It almost serves as a warning to potential victims. 'Hey jocks/rich kids, you better watch out who you make fun of. They could be harboring homicidal tendencies.' Perhaps by explaining himself, Cho thought he could make people see his point of view and shift some of the blame onto the victims.

Ultimately, Cho is getting what he wanted. The world, especially the families of those 32 people, will remember his name. They may curse it, but they'll be remembering it. He's getting the recognition in death that he failed to in life. All this probing of his life, especially in the few years leading up the shootings, will only serve to validate that this shit stain somehow made a difference in this world. So until someone comes along and shoots up at least 33 fellow classmates, then Cho's name will forever be synonymous with the worst school shooting this country has seen.

It's a vicious cycle. While the media has the obligation to inform the public, I really believe that they're also playing a small (or perhaps not so small) part in creating the next massacre. Somewhere out there is the next Cho, perhaps sitting down in front of the TV right now, watching the news coverage and relishing the idea of having his name up on the screen one day. If attention and infamy is what you crave, shooting some classmates is pretty much guaranteed to provide it.

Let's just hope Bush doesn't consider the attack on Virginia Tech an act of terrorism and an excuse to send more troops overseas. Ok, I had to try and lighten things up a bit.

Parent of the Year….
In England, a mother forced her two year old son and three year old daughter to fight while she videotaped them, along with three friends, and shouted gay slurs at her son. They four women were given one year suspended sentences for child cruelty, which in layman's turns, means jack fucking shit. It's sickening to think that parenting is a right, while it should be a privilege. Just because you're biologically fit to be a parent doesn't mean you have any business being one. This is utterly fucking disgusting. I really can't think of any other way to put it, except that it makes Alec Baldwin look like father of the year.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

'Shock jock' fired? Shocking....

Good morning, all! Just a little news for ya. In addition to my blog, I am working on writing my first CD review (since college) for a kick ass website called TheyWillRockYou.com. I will let you know when it's posted so you can check it out. In the meantime, feel free to check the site out for interviews, concert and CD reviews as well as cool photos of some great bands.

Now the fun stuff!

Brutal Honesty
We've all heard the term 'brutal honesty.' In theory, it's not a bad thing; sometimes sugarcoating the truth does more harm than good. Iraq war, anyone? That being said, I'm sick of people being tactless and using 'brutal honesty' to back up their words. There is a time and a place for no-holds-barred honesty; however, there is a difference between brutal honesty and just plain being an asshole. You know the type; the kind of person who'd say something heartless and without tact and then follow it up with, "Hey, I'm a brutally honest person." No, you're not. Don't try to bestow any kind of virtue upon yourself and use honesty as an excuse for hateful words. You're not brutally honest, you're just brutal. Brutal honesty is best appreciated when it's given in a sincere form. It doesn't always have to be kind, but it doesn't have to be malicious.

"Conversate" is not a word. Sorry folks. You can make conversation, you can converse, but you cannot conversate.

Also, when a father and son go on a fishing trip, that's called bonding, not bondage. Bondage may involve fishing wire, but....well, let's just stop there.

This may all seem obvious to you, but I've heard people misuse the above words enough times to warrant a little space in my blog.

Urine Trouble!
A new study has found that niacin, the B vitamin popular for its rumored abilities to flush one's system of toxins and provide clean urine for drug testing, is not only ineffective, but has been linked to various health complications, such as rashes and even liver failure. Oops! So not only is there no real scientific evidence that niacin works, it might be worse for your body than the drugs you're taking in the first place! Listen, Cheech, it might be worth it to lay off the grass for a while if you want to get that job at Jiffy Lube.

Here we go again….
What a debacle this whole Imus ordeal has become. Radio personality and 'shock jock' Don Imus, called the Rutgers' women's basketball team a bunch of 'nappy headed ho's.' Well, the backlash has been pretty severe. I mean, calling someone a ho outside the context of a rap song? What kind of world are we living in?!

The latest is that CBS has cancelled Imus' radio show. It's a sad day for freedom of speech. The good news is that the Rutgers women's basketball team have accepted his apology; after he was fired, of course. No reason not to now. He's been made an example of.

First off, since when is calling a woman (of any race) a 'ho' worthy of this kind of attention or shock? You ever listen to rap music? Calling someone a ho is actually a term of endearment, or at least it is used as such. If you want to stop this kind of verbal abuse towards black women, and women in general, you have only to look towards rappers, most of whom are also black. This is one area that I actually agree with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson about. I'm not an advocate for censorship, but I feel there is a double standard that exists that needs to end.

I've heard the audio of the remark. I believe Imus when he says he was making a joke. Granted, it was in very poor taste, but our culture is extremely two-faced when it comes to what words, and in what context, we will and will not accept. It's also dependent on who is saying them. Let's stop pretending it was the words that were really the offensive part and focus on the fact that it was an old white guy saying them. He gets labeled a racist and misogynist, whereas if he were black, he'd be…well, a hip hop superstar.

Imus is one of those types that is hired and gets ratings because of his controversial views, yet society acts appalled and shocked when he actually says or does something controversial. Should he have thought harder before he spoke? Probably. Do his words deserve the media attention they're getting? Not by a long shot.

By the way, has anyone even brought up the fact that the guy Imus was speaking with called the women's basketball team 'jigaboos?' That seems a lot worse than anything Imus said. Oh well....

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Am I the Only One: Part V: Lord of the Rants

Am I the only one sick of music reviews, critics, and most of all, fans who think they're critics? Seriously, log onto amazon.com sometime and read through user reviews. Every fucking music review should just read "(insert band)'s latest release is not as good as their last one." It's not even worth reading them anymore. Go online to I-tunes or Amazon.com and listen to music clips. Make up your own mind. It pays off. Listening to a bunch of tweenagers complain that My Chemical Romance's latest release just doesn't speak to their generation like the last album did is enough to make one sterile. Seriously, if I read the words "overproduced" and "sell out" one more time, I'm going puncture my ear drums with a screwdriver. To all bands: you cannot please your fans. Stop trying. Make music for yourselves and yourselves only. In fact, you're probably better off putting out a debut album, getting great reviews (nothing to compare it to of course) and then breaking up and reforming under a new name. Blame the fans for it, too, just to make them feel bad.

Am I the only who doesn't give a shit who the father of Anna Nicole's baby is? I'll admit I was once curious, but no more. I know that I'm not the father, and that's good enough for me. The only possible way to get me care about this is if it turns out her son was the baby's father. But, I don't think we'll be that lucky.

Am I the only one sick of reading about kids having sex? I don't care if it's with each other, or with teachers, animals, or trees. It's just getting obnoxious. I'm sick of reading about awkward pre-pubescent sex romps in our nation's schools. Though I suppose if they're old enough to do drugs and kill each other, then sex is probably the least harmful thing they could be doing; but only after they finish their geometry homework. I really hope their parents are firm on that rule. Regardless, I don't need to hear about it. I'm only concerned with the sex lives of two individuals: myself and my girlfriend. Can you see why I wouldn't make a good catholic? Ok, Ok, I'll stop. No more religion jokes today.

Am I the only one who is more than a little disturbed by people who admit to being bad drivers? Not to sound like a sexist, but I've heard this from a lot of girls. They think it's just hilarious that they are totally frightened to drive on the highway and that merging just about causes them to void their bowels. Yes, we get it. You need a big strong man to drive you home from work. Enough of that rubbish. You wanted your driver's license, so act like a responsible adult. There's nothing funny about poor driving.

Am I the only one who doesn't care about Oprah's book club? Seriously, the woman's busy. Between opening up all these schools, her TV show, her magazine, and her line of sex toys, her construction company, and her zoo for black orphans, do you think Oprah actually reads these books? I don't. I'm willing to bet someone on her staff writes up recommendations for Oprah to read aloud and pretend that she actually has read the book. Maybe she even has the author on to talk about the book. Who knows? I've never watched her TV show. All I know is that Oprah's Underpaid Staff's Book Club doesn't quite sound as exciting to those diligently waiting for directions. Some of you might disagree. Possibly Oprah does read the books herself. So what? Seriously, go to a library. They have plenty of books, many of which I'm sure are better than anything Oprah or her staff can come up with. Don't be afraid to think for yourself. It might be a little scary at first, but it's quite rewarding.

AM I the only one psyched that it's baseball season? Fuck yeah! Go Red Sox!

Am I the only one annoyed by rolling briefcases/bags? Seriously, when did this start? Why does everyone at work look like they're on their way to the airport? If you're just going to go upstairs and sit all day long at a computer (like me), it wouldn't kill you to exert your body a bit. And never mind the fact that anyone walking behind one of these jetsetters can't get by them without practically tripping over these stupid bags. Seriously, folks, a 10 lb laptop computer and a half-frozen Lean Cuisine do not necessitate rolling luggage.

I know I said no more religion jokes but….

Am I the only the one who wonders why we have no chocolate Jesus' on Easter? Seriously, Jesus, bunnies, eggs and chocolate are the big Easter icons. We have chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Why no chocolate Jesus'? Perhaps nailed to a delicious wafer cross? A peanut butter filled Jesus would be delicious. I got it: Reese's Jesus. The marketing pretty much writes itself.

On that note, Happy Easter!!