Controversial Doesn't Mean "Bad"

Controversial Doesn't Mean "Bad"

Some of the best ideas come from crossing lines.
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The idea that modern audiences do not seem to understand, however, is that controversy is not a bad thing. Subjects become controversial because ideas are challenged, or the subject itself challenges audiences ideas or morality. Looking back at some of the more famous works of media that have been controversial, there are two steady pattern that can be noted.

"A Clockwork Orange" from director Stanley Kubrick (adapted from the novel by Anthony Burgess) follows a futuristic gang of rebel teens who challenge society’s freedom with outrages of rape and a good bit of the “ultraviolence”. The film was theme was made to center around the extremist ideas of both freedom and suppression. It was banned in South Africa, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom for promoting gang violence. In the United Kingdom, the violence was often mimicked which resulted in Kubrick withdrawing the movie itself.

Milk by director Gus Van Sant is a movie following political figure and gay rights activist, Harvey Milk, as he runs for mayor of San Francisco. Upon it’s release, the film was banned in Samoa for being promoting homosexuality which contradicted Christianity and the Samoan culture.

Even the famous book ban across america falls victim to this subject. Books such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee which shone light on racism in past decades, 1984 by George Orwell which conceived and birthed the idea of big brother, or the famous Candide by Voltaire, a satirical publication in which mirrored government of the age of enlightenment were all banned in schools across america for either being too explicit or not abiding by the views of the general public.

Now, these are only a couple examples, but it reigns steady through the long list of banned movies and novels. The pieces of literature and film in question are banned upon questioning or challenging social norms. Homosexuality, the idea of freedom and suppression, government, or simply the freedom to put out something as graphic for artistic reasons in light of the first amendment.

Looking at the reasons in which these films and books have been burned, majority of the population would find that more often than not, the claims are ridiculous, and it is valuable or even essential information that kids know about the past or world around them. The same people, however, will be quick to claim censorship on a separate piece because of the same reason that he or she has just claim ridiculous.

In this way, it is easier to look at censorship and controversy through the lens of fictional. The challenge is ultimately to apply this ideology to the real world.

Day after day, both sides of political and social spectrum will witness people being censored for reasons in which are generally quite simply. In 2016 we had the Berkeley incident in which students protested public speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, when he had arrived to give a lecture; a lecture that many people had wished to attend.

On the internet, there are speakers and YouTubers who are labeled as sexist, racist, misogynistic, simply for their opinions being voiced. YouTuber, Blaire White, was sent artwork depicting her own murder because of a recent video in which she voiced her opinion on Transgender being labeled a mental illness. She was sent this work, while herself is a trans female.

The global population will never agree about what topics are correct or incorrect, or what ideas are moral or immoral. This being in mind, controversy is valuable to the general public because without controversy, without the simple exposure of the ideas in which views may seem taboo, if the audience can surpass the hate that he or she has for the opposing viewpoint, they may learn more about themselves and their own ideologies. In the future, much like the films and books in the list above, it may look rather ridiculous from the other side. If we stop giving ideas the power to be "bad", we may just learn more acceptance.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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