Week in review: laurels and darts
Raise your hand if you have ever had a friend on Facebook who seems to constantly post new photos to their profile. According to a study conducted by researcher Michael Stefanone of the University of Buffalo, some women may be inundating your feed with new profiles in order to boost their self-esteem. Steafnone surveyed 311 college-age people and found that the women surveyed tended to base their self-worth on their appearances and post more pictures on Facebook. While we're happy to see people boosting their self-esteem, we are pretty upset that we live in a society, which, in the words of the study, "offers significantly more appearance-based rewards and penalties to women than men." Since American culture drives women to seek approval from others based solely on how they look, we have no choice but to give the culture a dart.
Anyone who experienced last year's Rutgersfest can attest that things got more than a little out of hand. Rutgersfest is meant to be a day of all-out fun but that does not mean that people have to become dangerously disorderly. Thankfully, the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) is looking to preemptively counteract the excessive drinking, which often leads to inappropriate behavior through the "Responsible Drinking Campaign." RUPA has also patterned with Health Outreach Promotion Education (HOPE) in order to tackle alcohol-related incidents at this year's Rutgersfest before they even occur. While it remains to be seen whether this campaign will even make a dent in the normally wild behavior that comes along with Rutgersfest, we give RUPA and HOPE laurels for trying to ensure that April 15 will be a fun but safe day for everyone.
People often crack jokes regarding the special treatment college athletes receive from their schools, a favor target being the supposedly easy classes these athletes get to take. It looks like Stanford University is lending credence to these jokes, however, now that the "courses of interest" list has been accidentally exposed to the public. This list was secretly circulated to student athletes and contained the names of "easy A" classes meant to give the athletes a break from school, so they could focus solely on their sports. This sort of preferentially treatment is upsetting to see. Colleges should treat their students equally, no matter what these students do for the school. Plus, this list makes college athletes look bad and fuels the jokes made about them. For unfairly providing college athletes with lighter workloads, Stanford gets a dart.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is afraid of Muslim radicals in the United States, and he has scheduled hearings on the topic. Though King claims that these hearings are not discriminatory, we have to disagree. Thankfully, so do the hundreds of Muslim-Americans who came together to protest the hearings. Characterizing all Muslims as possible terrorists is dangerous, as it perpetuates — and, in the eyes of man, justifies — the sort of hateful conduct many Americans have engaged in toward Muslims since 9/11. For standing up to the injustice that is King's hearings, we give these protestors laurels. We cannot allow oppression to ever happen on American soil and taking it to the streets to fight that oppression is the best way to combat it.
American governments, at both the state and federal levels, have never been very good to the artists of this nation. Things only get worse for American artists when budget crises hit — see, for example, Bruce Dethlefsen, the poet laureate of Wisconsin, who's $2,000 stipend is set to be cut entirely by Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal. As Dethlefsen himself said, "In good times arts are magical, and in tough times, they are essential." Unfortunately, the government never seems to think so, and America's artists — and American culture as a whole — often have to suffer. For cutting the poet laureate from the budget and thereby sending the message that artists are essentially unimportant in the eyes of the government, Walker gets a dart.