A Different Breed of Belonging

A Different Breed of Belonging

This starts out pretty narcissistic and ends very sadly.
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I am very unique. So unique, in fact, that I don't feel as though I belong to any one group.

In all aspects of life, I've always felt like I'm a slightly different breed of person compared to my peers. I've always been the "laid-back professional" guy, or a "too formal at a casual party" person. I'm a little too smart for dumb people but too dumb for smart people. A villian with a warm heart, or a hero with a cold one. It's as though, either by subconscious choice or a natural inclination, I'm incapable of just being a regular, stock character. There always has to be some defining quirk that makes me, me.

This innate desire to stand out, I believe, makes it difficult for me to find a place to fit in. It's a frustrating thing, to almost be part of something, but being just different enough that it doesn't feel right to identify as that thing. All throughout life, I've been told to find a place to fit in and have seen people constantly finding a place to call their own. From the first group of friends you made in kindergarten to the current social life (or lack thereof) you have now, we've all wanted a place to belong. In order to belong, we have to have a degree of similarity with the group we seek to join, and the more similarities we share the strong our bond. It's similar to what we look for in potential partners: we're attracted to what's similar and familiar because it appeals to us. In the dating game, we often try to probe and find out what the other person likes and is passionate about, then attack at that point in order to make us seem acceptable. However, we can't be too similar. Having a partner that's exactly the same as you are gets stale, boring, and frustrating after a while. A team full of similarly minded people will never grow, and a country completely in unison will never challenge itself to grow better.

This intricate dance between sameness and difference is a fragile one, and its not uncommon to see a single difference be the deciding factor in finding your group or being lost in thoughts, all alone. this difference could be anything, from a direct clash of ideals to a varying degree of intensity or ability. It's kind of like a developing violinist. In the early stages, they can play the violin, but aren't good enough to be a violinist.

I enjoy playing games, but I've never considered myself a gamer. My blood is Filipino, but I dont really feel too close with the Filipino community wherever I go. Helping people is something I like to do, be it with some physical task or a more serious life talk, but community service and being a professional counselor have never been my thing. I don't have a strong political preference, I'm a funny guy but not funny enough to be a comedian, a piano player but not enough skill to be pianist, a guy that can do martial arts but not good enough to be a martial artist.

Not enough. Not being enough is something that every single person that has ever existed has felt. So many times do I and many others feel like what we're doing and giving to the world is not enough, yet we're too afraid to call out and tell people that "I need help!" We hold back our desire to ask for assistance because we don't want to accept that, even at our best, we aren't up to par. Reaching out for a crutch is synonymous in our society with failure, or being a failure, and we've been conditioned to avoid this feeling like the plague. Yet avoiding failure is impossible. No matter how much we try, failing something is inevitable. The only way to avoid it is to not try at all, but in that case you've already lost.

Usually I like to end these articles with my take on a solution or philosophical food for thought, but in this scenario i find myself with a lack of comment. I myself have no solution or even a place to start thinking. It's a rather curious sensation, not having words when you usually have a thousand is both humbling and terrifying. So I turn the question to you, my reader: How does one handle or cope with not being enough? How should we react when faced with a goal that seems infinitely far, or being told by our peers that its foolish to pursue that dream? What do we do when we're at the crossroads of "should" and "must"?

Ooh, that's an article for another day.



Cover Image Credit: Quotesgram

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Super Bowl Commercials: The Reality Of What Society Values

An In-Depth View At 2018 Super Bowl Commercials
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There are three things discussed the night of the Super Bowl, the score, the halftime show, and the commercials. The Super Bowl sets the platform for the media to produce their best when it comes to product advertisement. Almost a battle to the death, companies spend millions of dollars to promote their products and teams. Normal commercials are a nuisance, but during the Super Bowl, they act as part of the entertainment, especially for those who don’t enjoy the football. With over 103.4 million people watching, what makes the most popular Super Bowl commercials so appealing?

Looking at 2018’s top commercials alone, there are quite a few trends that can be easily noticed. In almost all of these commercials, celebrities are indorsing the product. This choice has obvious motivations, celebrities are easily recognizable, and they give the product credibility when it comes to usefulness and popularity. One of the most praised commercials of the 2018 Super Bowl was for the Amazon Echo, featuring numerous celebrities like Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, and Rebel Wilson. While it is clear that audiences value familiar faces from the Television screen, the appeal to humor is also strong among Super Bowl commercials. No one could have imagined a rap battle between Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, but nonetheless, it made its way into a Dorito and Mountain Dew commercial.

Pop culture references often find their way into commercials, and Super Bowl advertisements are no exception. NFL’s endorsement video spotlights players imitating the final scene from “Dirty Dancing,” the famous 80’s classic. Comical and nostalgic, audiences can admire the willingness and teamwork that went into the video, and that goes into the sport as well. One of the newer concepts introduced this year was a sense of “meta” realism. Commercials acknowledging the fact that they are, indeed commercials. “Stranger Things,”

David Harbour does it all in this year’s Tide commercial, comically dramatizing commercials for beer, cars, jewelry, and the like. The strategy was to be realistic to the mainstream commercial and then comment on one similarity, clean clothes. Clean clothes which were obviously cleaned by Tide. “Is every commercial a Tide commercial?”

Whether the majority liked a commercial for the pop artist, the hilarious concepts, or the fact that it singled mainstream concepts, commercials can easily reflect the society they are selling products to. Olivia Hanewald, Pace University freshman, says, “The one common pattern in the commercials was that they were rich in celebrities. I think that right now, we like to be distracted by the lives of Hollywood.” This clear pattern does suggest that society values the opinions and endorsements of Hollywood as well as the music industry. In having a connection with their very public lives, viewers can have a more personal connection with the products they are endorsing.

While commercials are a tradition on Super Bowl Sundays, there is a possibility of a decline in their audience. With streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, viewers are unbothered by interruptive commercials when watching daytime cable. How will products be endorsed if cable is completely overrun by these services? With modern technology, ads may be incorporated more into streaming services, invading the safe space once known. Societal traditions like the Super Bowl force production companies to produce the best advertisements, spending millions of dollars in the process. These efforts are based from profit, thanks to the enormous number of viewers. Without the viewers, what will become of the future rap battles, dance montages, or every commercial that could possibly be a Tide commercial? We will have to wait and see.

Cover Image Credit: Variety

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Small Wisconsin Town Successfully Overthrows Patriarchy

Men and women alike are celebrating a small-town victory in Cherryfield, Wisconsin.
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CHERRYFIELD, WI — Cherryfield officials confirmed today that they had successfully undone ten thousand years of recorded history by overthrowing the patriarchy.

“A utilities worker replacing an electrical line tried to catcall a passerby and was very firmly admonished by both other citizens and his friends. That’s the only overt expression of male power we’ve seen since Monday, and we’re proud of how it was handled,” Tasha Mohammed, Cherryfield mayor, said.

“I called his mother yesterday and she confirmed that was not, in fact, how she raised him," Mohammed said.

Cherryfield resident Peter Storhelm realized the patriarchy was overthrown on Monday morning when he first saw his wife, Sandra Storhelm.

“She just had this, I don’t know, radiance about her. I realized she was basically a living goddess and an incarnation of creation. I mean, she created a living human inside of her body. Which is absolutely nuts if you think about it," Storhelm said.

Storhelm confirmed he had decided to actually help out around the house for once.

“Yeah, I vacuumed the living room like I said I was going to for weeks but was secretly hoping Sandra would do instead. Honestly, it wasn’t really all that bad. Took twenty minutes. And it felt like the absolute least I could do since Sandra works full time," Storhelm said.

Another resident, James Daless, who works in IT, claimed he was “completely okay with” the promotion of a female coworker to a position he wanted.

“I mean, I’m disappointed, sure,” Daless said. “But I don’t doubt at all that Tammy’s perfectly capable. She’s demonstrated a high level of competence in the past, and nothing about her has made me discount that out of hand. That would be ridiculous. The only thing that would be more ridiculous would be writing a lengthy memo implying that women are categorically worse at this job due to so-called ‘biological differences.’”

Some Cherryfield residents have privately expressed reservations about the changes.

“I told a chick at the bar she’d be prettier if she smiled, and the bartender actually told me off. Can you believe that?” Chad Stuckworth said.“It was just a perfectly innocent compliment with no ulterior motives whatsoever. What makes her think I don’t have the right to demand she make herself look attractive to me?”

Stuckworth, who makes a living streaming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Twitch, suggested he may move out of Cherryfield to neighboring Mountainview, where the patriarchy is still firmly in place.

“This town is run by literal Nazis now, dude,” Stuckworth said. “Like, there is literally no difference between the fascist Third Reich, which attempted to exterminate an entire race of humans, and women wanting a share of respect and power in society. Literally zero difference.”

The mayor of Cherryfield claims the Patriarchy has sent several representatives offering to reinstall traditional male-dominated power structures, but so far residents have declined.

“I think we’ve mostly realized this is better for everyone,” Mohammed said. “It’s an exciting transition, and it seems to be going well. Hopefully other communities will be following suit soon.”

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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