Controlled Chaos.

For the past few weeks of class time, we have thrown around ideas of making many changes. The blog is under construction, a new Facebook group has been enacted, there is a research paper as well as a semester project is due within this month, most of us are graduating in the upcoming weeks. Also, who’s caught up on this week’s chapters of Bunk?

Speaking of Bunk, here’s a meme.

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Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny

For my research paper, I am particularly inclined to write about hoaxes in terms of what positively and negatively affects people. In class we discussed how the idea of Catfishing is seen as negative, that people are let down when they realize they were being lied to. My topic seems to differ from this idea. If individuals feel as though they are not being negatively affected, they might get joy from a lie.

I want to write about the myths of Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and more. This relates to Bunk hence we had a very interesting class discussion on this topic. I feel as though I can offer a different (outsider) perspective on the topic since I was raised in a Jewish household and was never taught to believe. I am genuinely curious to explore the psychology behind the continuation of these lies. My classmates had very fond memories of how Santa Claus enhanced their precious childhood Christmas experience, but honestly I can’t relate. After class, I brought this up with a family friend and she said her son was absolutely traumatized when he realized Santa wasn’t real.

These myths are HEAVILY commercialized in modern society so I don’t see this stopping any time soon. I’m sure these beliefs must fund a multimillion dollar commercial industry.  

How is the concept of Catfishing different than believing in Santa Claus?

Here are the sources I have so far:

Psychology Today

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-well/201209/is-telling-kids-santa-claus-is-real-bad-idea

Science Direct (scholarly journal)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0885201416300375

 

Parenting Science

https://www.parentingscience.com/Easter-Bunny-and-Santa-Claus.html

The University of Melbourne
https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/sciencecommunication/2016/09/08/santa-claus-to-believe-or-not-to-believe/

David Sedaris: Santaland Diaries (audio)

 

– Leah Bromberg

Surviving the Media Apocalypse. Why Now?

Two podcasts specifically sparked my interest recently. One surrounding the #MeToo movement, and one about surviving the “media apocalypse” which is inevitably coming for us. I’ve decided to write a blog post on both of them.

The media apocalypse is described as an over-saturation of content on the internet that is not original or unique. For example, how every site posts nearly identical listicles that are fueled by clickbait. Companies nowadays are more focused on the amount of clicks rather than the quality of their content. We are seeing many quickly written short articles posted for the sake of grabbing viewers’ attention. This is where facts are often incorrect. For example, if a website is following an ongoing story,  they will race to put out content the fastest rather than providing the most accurate information.

The hosts mention that the internet is mostly free of charge and consumers will not pay for something that they can get elsewhere for free. I agree with this, and this is the reason we see people pirating music, streaming it for free on sites like spotify, watching content for free on sites like Youtube, or illegally downloading movies and tv shows on their computers. People have the option to not spend money, so that’s exactly what they will do. People will not pay for something non-original that they can get elsewhere, and that is why many companies are downsizing their staff.

The podcast also talks about AI functions such as Alexa, Google Home, etc. that don’t necessarily make tasks go faster for us. The host details how asking Alexa to turn on a light for him can actually be more complicated than reaching his arm out and turning a switch. The other host says that it depends on the situation, for example if he is driving home, he can just say “Google, order me a pizza” instead of picking up a phone and dialing while driving. Then he could have a pizza at his door by the time he gets home.

Secondly, I was really interested in the podcast “Why Now?” questioning why so many women were coming forward to report sexual harassment and assault, and why people are believing them after they’ve been swept under the rug for decades. So, why now?

The podcast details women’s accounts with a famous elderly playwright who was married with children. Each woman had the same story that he would gain their trust, make them feel special, then isolate them and force himself onto them. Each woman said the same thing, that he suddenly stuck his tongue down their throat and grabbed their breasts, as if he was entitled to their body; that the woman’s body did not belong to them, but to him. The podcast includes a woman who was repeatedly pressured into having sex for an entire summer while she interned at a theater. Another woman interviewed explained that she had known the man since she was 11 years old and they had a great relationship. When she was in her twenties he came onto her and confessed that he was in love with her and made her say ‘I love you’ back. These women were pressured to stay silent for years of ongoing abuse. This woman actually complained to the theater about his unacceptable behavior, but her abuse was noted and systematically ignored. Women were threatened that they would be labeled “hard to work with” and basically blacklisted from the industry if they came forward with their stories because this man was such an established and beloved playwright. The terrible thing is that this man never thought that he did anything wrong, or that he hurt anyone. It is common that abusers are not aware that they have been abusive until the victim speaks up. That is why it was so problematic for these women to remain silent for all these years.

The podcast concludes that women are coming forward now specifically because they are fed up, broken, and ready to prevent this from happening to the next generation. The podcast identifies Donald Trump’s election as the trigger. The world was beside itself when a known abuser was elected president of the United States. It is so insulting for any survivor of sexual abuse to watch this happen. The women previously interviewed recount how the infamous Access Hollywood “grab her by the pussy” tape made them feel. Donald Trump is the ultimate untouched abuser who is rewarded despite his accusers stepping forward. For decades, no one listened. Donald Trump is the embodiment of everything wrong with American society and if the leader of the free world can get away with abusing women, it will continue to get worse. This is the reason women are speaking out in masses. This is no longer acceptable. Men are being exposed for their toxic behavior that has been ongoing for many years behind closed doors. Women are now being commended rather than condemned because their accounts are overwhelmingly true, as people realize just how often this happens in every industry. Once one women comes forward with their encounters with a powerful man, other women realize that their experience is strikingly similar. If no one speaks up, the abuse against women will continue. The abuse must be stopped, and now is the time to stop it.

Links:

https://art19.com/shows/media-unplugged/episodes/3860879d-fc82-44de-b270-1e0af7f2d84d

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/05/582698111/the-psychological-forces-behind-a-cultural-reckoning-understanding-metoo

 

Students vs. The NRA

As a followup to our class discussion after the most recent school shooting in Florida, I want to continue talking about the aspects that are associated with social media and media coverage. During class we discussed the criticism directed at the students of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School for posting videos of the shooting happening on Snapchat. Since our discussion, the surviving students of the have rallied against US politicians demanding a change. They have raised their voices both online and in person, holding rallies and marches in Florida. I think these students are extremely honorable and brave for making their voices heard while they are still reeling from the trauma of burying their classmates. However, these kids are getting an enormous amount of backlash from adults for speaking against the NRA. I believe these teenagers’ anger is completely justified, students have the right to feel safe while going to get an education. The adults have failed us. The system has failed us. It’s inspiring to see America’s youth taking this issue into their own hands since government officials have shown numerous times that they care more about NRA funding than the safety of America’s students.

I personally feel these students’ pain. Surviving a school shooting in your hometown is unexplainably traumatic. It has been 6 years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which left 26 members of my community dead. Newtown has since healed and moved on, but we are mentioned in the media in the wake of every other mass shooting which has been a LOT. No one really brings this up, but as a community we still are all collectively pretty fucked up after enduring so much trauma and that will never go away. That’s why it’s so painful to watch another town experience the same amount of extreme loss and bombardment from the media and the American public. Watching the videos posted by students was difficult for me because I’ve been in a lockdown due to an active shooter; granted I was a sophomore at Newtown High School at the time and not in the same building as an active shooter, but we did not know that for several hours. The schools are unbearably close in proximity and anything was possible. You have to pass by NHS to get to SHES.

I believe what sets Newtown and Parkland apart is the amount of hope there is for change. Right after the shooting, we quietly mourned and honestly we hoped (almost assumed) that 26 dead children and educators would be enough to enact change. The thing is, dead elementary school children was not enough. Change did not come, and 6 years later our country is faced with a preventable epidemic that politicians refuse to fix. The difference in Parkland is that we have seen this happen far too many times, to too many communities, and the students are absolutely fed up and ready to fight viscously for change. Former president Obama was personally devastated after Sandy Hook. He identified it as the worst day of his presidency. FOX News anchors accused him of crying fake tears and being weak for weeping over wrongfully killed children. He came to speak at my high school and honestly did so much for my community which I endlessly respect. Say what you will about Obama, but I think that says so much about him. Now we see Trump visiting victims in Parkland Florida, posing for pictures with the families while smiling and flashing a thumbs up. Way to read the room, dude.

I’m really confused as to how wanting less dead children is somehow spun into a leftist conspiracy instead of simply being accepted as common sense. Obama tried to pass laws preventing another tragedy but the GOP promptly voted against them and most of his attempts failed. Now, we have Trump reversing the laws that did pass and insidiously suggesting on Twitter that if Democrats REALLY wanted to enact gun control, they would have done so during Obama’s presidency. They did try, for years, and failed because of the opposing side. American government will not get anything done if the 2 parties work against each other to defeat the other. It’s looking more like a sports game than a functioning government. Politicians care more about ‘winning’ and gaining millions dollars from corporations like the NRA than Americans’ safety and wellbeing. It’s simply not productive, or safe. Americans are dying. And the students are starting a revolution that will save lives.

  • Leah Bromberg

Partner Introduction: Carmella Decaria

Carmella is a senior at Manhattanville College. She recently had an internship with Westchester Magazine, writing articles for the company. She mainly wrote lifestyle articles but she hopes to have more freedom with her writing in the future. She felt slightly constricted to only writing lifestyle articles that were required to relate back to Westchester. She has experience in fiction writing, screenwriting, and writing for the media. Carmella hopes to write her own book one day.

Currently, she works with the magazine on campus as an editor. Carmella enjoys reading and writing, as well as cooking.