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Friday, October 31, 2014 | Last updated: 5:55pm


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Opinion Blog

Wiz Khalifa concert cancelation a disappointment


By Rich Vadasy          Last updated: 08/27/14 2:22pm         

The cancelation of the Wiz Khalifa concert came as shock and disappointment to myself and others who were planning on attending the event. 

MSU spokesperson Jason Cody has since confirmed the cancelation stemmed from a shooting at one of Khalifa's concerts last week. 

Khalifa was performing in Silicon Valley when a 38-year-old male was shot and killed backstage. For this to be the reason of the cancelation, I find that absurd. You can’t attribute violence to music, and that’s clearly what the MSU Residence Halls Association is doing here. Did Wiz Khalifa’s performance pull the trigger of that gun? No. It was a senseless act of a horrible person. For all the RHA knows, Keith Urban could have been performing there and the shooting still would have occurred. 

This is just another example of stereotyping rap music to a “thug” lifestyle. Maybe his concert did attract the wrong crowd, but it’s not like this is something that happens all the time. There have been no other instances like this at his other concerts. 

I guess RHA just has to trust the students of MSU to not go to the a concert with the intent of killing someone. I know a lot of people were looking forward to the concert at the Breslin Center, including myself. At least the RHA is giving full refunds to everybody who bought tickets already. But this was still is a ludicrous overreaction to a crime that had nothing to do with the actual concert itself.


Social media causes strife, even between cities


By Casey Holland          Last updated: 08/03/14 5:46pm         

The world of social media opens up many doors for drama and petty feuds, which is what happened between two news organizations following David Price's trade from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Detroit Tigers. 

Following the trade, Fox 13 in Tampa Bay tweeted a meme comparing a run-down area of Detroit to a beach setting in Florida that read "Good luck, David!" The message with the tweet said "Take some comfort, Rays fans," which was a thinly-veiled insult towards the Detroit area. 

Of course, Fox 2 News retaliated, creating a meme that showed a practically empty Tampa Bay stadium above a Comerica Park filled to capacity. 

Fox13 tweeted a pretty lame meme apology after the retaliation. 

While the exchange was all in good fun, and Fox 2 said in a story that there were no hard feelings towards Fox 13, this is still an example of how social media can prove to be a prime environment for pointless attacks on other people.

When you're behind a computer screen, it's much easier to type up hurtful or snarky comments. Most things said with the help of a keyboard would never be said out loud and in person  — that's why hate comments are so easily spread over anonymous messaging systems. Confidence levels receive a major boost when you're online, and suddenly, no words are off-limits no matter who they could hurt.

Hateful comments can be posted on stories on any news site. Anonymous messages can be sent over social media websites. People online can be attached anywhere, over any medium. 

The Detroit and Tampa Bay exchange was for fun, but still acts as an example of how it only takes the click of a button to send mean-spirited comments and tweets. The Fox 13 tweet was clearly a jibe at the Detroit area, and even if Fox 2 didn't take offense, others could have. 

The Detroit and Tampa Bay friendly feud is only another example of how easy social media makes it to attack each other. With comments left uncensored and nothing to hold them back, the online world can become a hostile environment even for people trying to post their own opinions. 


You don't need to keep up with the Kardashians


By Casey Holland          Last updated: 07/16/14 2:37pm         

An England resident plunged into what she called “major credit card debt,” spending a ridiculous $30,000 on appearance-altering surgeries to change her appearance into something a little more Kardashian.

According to a Huffington Post article, Claire Leeson used credit cards to pay for a makeover to look like Kim Kardashian, which involved breast implants, hair extensions, spray tans and makeup and clothing similar to what to the reality star wears.

From teeth-whitening to silicone pants, Leeson’s escapades plunged her into a debt that she says she won’t be able to get out of.

I can’t fathom why someone would poor this much money into changing their appearance. The article states that Leeson used this as a way to boost her confidence after being bullied about her appearance in high school.

I’m all for retail therapy when you’re feeling down, and I have nothing against people who decide to get plastic surgery — it’s just not a choice I’d ever make for myself. The thing about this is that Leeson went into debt to look like someone she wasn’t.

I have been teased about my appearance before — who hasn't — and I’ve wanted to change how I look, but those feelings passed the older I got. I learned to embrace the way I look because beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

She put herself in debt to turn herself into someone else, someone else who already exists. She was already beautiful before these drastic changes to her appearance were made, before she lost all this money. 

Leeson's decision was irresponsible, and sadly mirrors others that have been made in the past, such as the woman who spent $25,000 to look like Jennifer Lawrence and the 33-year-old man who spent $100,000 to look like Justin Bieber.

Changing your appearance isn't worth putting yourself in debt. It's better to learn to embrace who you are, rather than turn yourself into someone else, because someone out there will think the real you is beautiful. 


Marvel did not need to change Thor


By Sheena Marvin          Last updated: 07/16/14 1:32pm         

Thor is now a woman.

There is no She-Thor, no new character, not even an alternate universe. This is the new Thor.

I can understand that Marvel is targeting a more female audience with a feminine superhero, but I don't see how replacing an existing male superhero with a new female lead is the way to go.

Honestly, there are women out there who watch the Thor movies only to see Chris Hemsworth in action.

The reasoning behind this stems from the norse mythology of Mjolnir, the mystical hammer wielded by Thor. The hammer bears an inscription that proclaims, "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor." This is essentially saying the power the hammer holds is not just exclusive for Thor, but anyone who is worthy can use it. 

Thor, son of Odin and current owner of Mjolnir, finds himself to be unworthy of the hammer, so in his place a new female character becomes the new "Thor," which is now evidently a title and not a name. 

I have no idea what Marvel was thinking when the decision to replace Thor was made — it's just confusing. We already know Thor as the masculine, power- wielding god of thunder. What do we call Odin's son now? 

"That other Thor who was Thor once but he doesn't have powers anymore" does not seem appropriate. I am all for female superheroes being powerful and kicking butt, but this is unnecessary when someone brand new with their own backstory and franchise could be created, or even within Asgard — Sif is a strong female character that could be developed. There is no need to replace a superhero that we adore.


Experience concerts, don't just record them


By Meagan Beck          Last updated: 07/14/14 2:53pm         

When I look back on some of my favorite memories, I think about favorite concerts I have gone to and had a great time enjoying the moment with my friends.

But at this concert — and this is a huge trend with all shows — audience members would rather record the artist in front of them than enjoy the moment.

Last week, I went to a concert and had a really great time seeing two bands live. I attend a decent amount of shows because the atmosphere is like no other.

The people around me at the concert last week taking pictures and videos didn’t look like they were having fun, which is a real shame.

Most of the time, people are recording songs or snapping pictures with their iPhone. Most camera phones are equipped with decent quality lenses, but they obviously do not compare to a professional camera.

A recording on a phone is also going to be shaky because getting a steady shot while trying to dance is impossible. The recording will probably pick up the shouting from the person you’re standing next to at a show, too.

Overall, pictures and video taken at a show will be relatively low-quality so what is the point in taking them? To upload to YouTube? To enjoy the concert later?

I’ll admit, I have gone to a couple shows where I have taken lots of pictures. Afterwards, though, I think to myself, “why didn’t I just enjoy the show?”

Concert tickets aren’t cheap. When the final song is played and you realize you spent half the show trying to get the perfect shot, it almost feels like a waste.

Shows are meant to be enjoyed in the moment. Going to a concert is a chance to forget everything happening outside the area. It’s a time to be excited about hearing your favorite songs from an artist raw and in person.

It’s always nice to go back and reminisce with a couple of decent-quality pictures from a show, but it will be a much better experience if you’re focusing your mind and energy on the band — not your camera phone.


Sportsmanship is far more important than wins or losses


By Michael Kransz          Last updated: 07/10/14 2:56pm         

While some were busy posting videos of Germany's 7-1 victory over Brazil to porn sites, with videos titled "Young Brazilians get f***ed by entire German Soccer Team," one Brazilian spectator displayed the utmost of sportsmanship.

His name is Clovis Fernandes, and he's the self-proclaimed 12th player for the Brazil national team, according to an interview with FIFATV.

Following the German-Brazil blowout soccer match, the internet has been abuzz with images of Fernandes.

During the soccer match photographers captured Fernandes clutching a World Cup replica and looking on in deep sorrow. Then, later, a smiling Fernandes was spotted handing his prized possession away to a German fan.

Rumor has it, he had these words to say: "Take it to the final! As you can see, it is not easy, but you deserve it, congratulations!" according to the Independent.

Fernandes' display of sportsmanship is exactly the reason why sports have been played for thousands of years and will continue to be played for thousands more.

Sports have a near-immortal stature because they transcend all differences and borders; they are a testament to the achievements of human ability, not those of a nations, races or genders.

Sure, we identify with the teams of our colleges, our cities and our nations, but when we, as spectators, act in bitterness and spite after our team's loss, we become petty and make sports all the less enjoyable and all the less uniting.

Sports are more than wins and losses. Sports are enjoyable for what occurs during the match itself, with all the skill, strength, luck and cleverness that are displayed.

When Fernandes gave away that which signified his love for the Brazil national team and wished the best for those whose team beat his, it was a moment of sports transcending the petty squabbles and shining through as a testament to the human.


Burger King's Pride Whopper is great for LGBTQ awareness


By Meagan Beck          Last updated: 07/06/14 4:51pm         

Last week in San Francisco, the city held its 44th annual Pride Celebration and Parade, and Burger King offered a rainbow-wrapped Pride Whopper.

With CEOs of different companies voicing discriminating opinions, seeing one among the crowd showing support is refreshing.

The “Pride Whopper” had the phrase “we are all the same inside” written on it. At $4.19, the Pride Whopper was exactly the same as a regular whopper from Burger King.

According to an article in The Detroit Free Press, money raised from Pride Whopper sales was to be donated to the Burger King McLamore Foundation, which provides scholarships benefiting LGBTQ high school seniors graduating in 2015.

The Detroit Free Press also said the specific location handed out and estimated 50,000 rainbow Burger King crowns to parade spectators and marchers.

Senior Vice President of global brand management at Burger King said in The Detroit Free Press article said the Pride Whopper shows how the Burger King brand believes in self expression.

More companies should show their support for the LGBTQ community and not just during Pride Week.

Sadly, the Market Street Burger King was the only location to offer this special item. Due to its success, it would be great for Burger King’s image if the Pride Whopper was available in every city when Pride Week is occurring.

The Detroit Free Press Article said Burger King has no plan to bring the promotion to other cities but the promotion is worth broadening.

Providing the Pride Whopper is not only a conversation starter but also raises awareness for the LGBTQ community.

Lansing’s own 25th annual Pride Week begins on August 22 and who knows — maybe the “Pride Whopper,” or another similar support campaign, will be available and rainbow-colored Burger King crowns will be seen during the parade.


Hunters don't hunt just for sport


By Beth Waldon          Last updated: 07/02/14 1:54pm         

Texas University Tech cheerleader Kendall Jones is under personal attack by animal rights activists as she continues to hunt big game in Africa. At first I assumed she was killing these animals for fun and disapproved of her for it, but then I discovered she might be doing more good for wildlife than people realize. 

Jones has stirred up all kinds of controversy with the use of her "Support Kendall" Facebook page. I've seen a mix of reactions spread across my Facebook newsfeed, "You go girl!" or "These are animals that my coworkers, friends, and I have given our lives to protecting and to see someone make a spectacle of murdering them is not only disheartening; it's disgusting." 

Either way, Jones has everyone's attention. 

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition requesting to ban her page from Facebook. Meanwhile, a petition was started in South Africa, signed by more than 38,000 people requesting to ban Jones from Africa. 

As I continued to read about Jones and her mission, one question came to mind: If it's not for the sport, why does she do it?

One major theme that appeared on Jones' support page was wildlife conservation. At first I thought I was missing something and I kept wondering, how does she conserve wildlife if she's killing it, especially if some of these animals are endangered species?

On the Kendall Support page, Teddy Roosevelt and his conservation activism was admired. The page mentioned that even the "father of conservation" hunted big game. Here's a quote from the page that sums up Jones' perspective: "How can it be possible that someone can love the earth, and take from the Earth in the name of conservation? For some folks, they'll never understand. For the rest of us...we were born that way."

I did some research on a few reasons why hunting conserves wildlife and I was caught by surprise. According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, hunters pay $796 million each year for hunting licenses and fees. This money goes towards conservation programs. 

Here's a complete list of reasons why hunting is conservation.

If those who are attacking Jones would take a second to acknowledge her conservation efforts rather than spend so much time hating her, they'd be surprised. 

Jones managed to feed over 100 villagers with the meat from an elephant she hunted.  Not only that, but she helped conserve the White Rhino population by assisting a veterinarian take a rhino's blood and DNA samples, get measurements, treat a leg injury and provide antibiotics.

After taking all of that into account, she doesn't seem so bad after all.


Unity is not un-American


By Katie Krall          Last updated: 06/29/14 1:52pm         

Some people believe their dislike for something negates its reality. Ann Coulter recently made the executive decision that soccer isn't a real sport. 

If you haven’t read Ann Coulter’s column about all the reasons soccer isn’t a real sport, I highly recommend you do. In it, she evenly disperses her efforts in insulting not just soccer players and fans, but also women, liberals and anyone not natively born in the U.S. I guess there is something to be said about a column so ridiculous it’s hard to decide if it’s a serious opinion or a parody stunt for attention. 

Coulter’s opening line tells us she’s held off writing about soccer because she didn’t want to offend anyone - a truly admirable idea for a columnist, I’m sure - and proceeds to launch into a list of 9 reasons she thinks soccer is the worst. These reasons range from the fact that in youth leagues girls can play with boys to the simple idea that it’s foreign and therefore useless.

I can understand a person’s dislike for the sport - yes, Ann, it is a real sport - because the drama factor isn’t always in your face like American football and there are sometimes scoreless games. It’s not for everyone. I don’t agree with the comment about lack of potential for major injury or personal disgrace (everyone please wave at Luis Suarez,) but it doesn’t bother me as much as Coulter’s bigotry.

I can’t understand a person using their contempt of soccer to belittle and degrade women. I won’t understand that person using it to belittle and degrade other nationalities. 

The whole article comes across as misinformed and moronic. Telling us soccer isn’t a real sport because little girls can play in a co-ed team with little boys is mean-spirited. Telling us “soccer moms” are labeled as such because they’re perpetually alarmed is downright insulting. And professing the hope that “New Americans” will drop their love of soccer “in addition to learning English” is what happens when willed ignorance gets on a computer.

People all over the globe are watching to see which countries will move on and what the major upsets will be. The World Cup brings a certain unity, which is necessary during these tumultuous times. What is not necessary is the snarky criticism of Ann Coulter. 


Blogging offers outlet for creativity, acceptance


By Casey Holland          Last updated: 06/25/14 5:57pm         

I can spend hours scrolling down my dashboard on Tumblr and laughing at text posts and reblogging quotes, but the website also provides a safe place for people to talk about any troubles they may be facing in their lives.

Social media as a whole has the opportunity to provide that to people — Facebook and Twitter share your life events, big and small, with the world. Instagram provides opportunities for body-positivity with an abundance of selfies, and Snapchat lets people send ridiculous pictures that are wiped away within 10 seconds.

But Tumblr, a blogging website, lets people know they’re not alone.

Websites like Tumblr have helped boost my own confidence, and have done the same for countless users around the globe. Many blogs promote acceptance of everyone, no matter their race, gender or sexual orientation. Users might stumble upon a post one day that stops them in their scrolling and, as they read through this person's story, they find they can identify with them.

And sometimes it's easier to spill your guts to strangers on the Internet over the friends you see every day. 

Like all social media outlets, there's always the risk of receiving hateful messages. But what overrides the hate mail are the kinder messages people send with the anonymous option, sometimes saying something as simple but comforting as "I'm here for you."

Blogging gives people a safe environment where they can talk with people who share their interests. Aspiring writers and artists have a platform where they can post their work for feedback. 

Whether it's a creative outlet or a place to document the highs and lows of their lives, users can receive support from people they might not have even met before. For people like myself, who have struggled with their self-esteem for most of their lives, it can be just what they need for a confidence boost.