Bad Readers Reviews: "A Higher Loyalty" and the Current State of the Union

Bad Readers Reviews: "A Higher Loyalty" and the Current State of the Union

After reading "A Higher Loyalty," my perception of Comey has not changed

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When I was 15, the house two doors up was purchased and soon, there was a rotating cast of black-clad, buff men coming and going. Ex-FBI Director James Comey's family and mine had both lived along the border of two towns, each of us on one side. After his appointment as director, his detail moved into the nearest house for sale and I made some new friends.

Because of my experience with his detail (they liked blueberry muffins, couldn't come for Thanksgiving, and gave me a patch right before I moved in exchange for the baked goods I would bring them), I always saw Comey as a good man, albeit pretty naively. During the months leading up to the election in 2016, however, my opinion of him soured when I as a strong-willed Hillary supporter believed he was playing too intensely for Trump's team. After November, though, it became increasingly clear that Comey had made his decisions to discuss, conclude, reopen, re-conclude the Clinton email investigation for moral and non-partisan reasons. My view of him turned more sympathetic and forgiving, returning back to the friendly feelings for my surrogate neighbor.

After reading "A Higher Loyalty" (and the Department of Justice Inspector General's most recent report), my perception of Comey has not changed: Comey acknowledges publicly that he made errors in handling the Clinton investigation and those errors helped Trump get elected. Most importantly, it is clear the decision was not politically driven nor did he intend for the consequences that arose.

https://twitter.com/WalshFreedom/status/1007346194...

However, and I mean this from the sincerest place in my heart: the man cannot write a book. The stories he told were entertaining, thoughtful, and chosen to be impactful. But it was clear from the very first page that Comey did not rely on a ghostwriter for any part of his narrative. With that said, I was easily engrossed by the book and would recommend to any weary member of today's American society. Just as he himself acknowledges, James Comey is not a perfect person. But in the grand scheme of things (and in the much smaller scheme of comparing his leadership directly to Trump's), he is a good one.

While I've never been subtle or quiet about my political beliefs or my stance on Trump, I have remained fairly quiet online and on social media regarding my positions. As we've progressed further into his tenure as president, I've noticed that although his words, policies, and executive decisions have become arguably more erratic and divisive, Americans have seemed to grow more tired and the fight against ignorance and intolerance has wavered a bit. It seems today that even though more troubling stories have arisen, we have grown numb and the most we can work ourselves up to is to say, "Trump is wrong." I myself have fallen into this trend as there's a lot of things I've stopped myself from saying for fear of starting a fight. We are in an age where if two or more individuals disagree on literally anything, the result is a fight, not a discussion.

I can go on an write out all of these opinions I have, but that will take away from the message Comey intended to send with his book: "What is happening now is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay." Most notably, we can't get lost in the headlines and forget what Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was established to look into: the focus, despite the frequent cries that it is a partisan witch-hunt, is not on Trump or Trump's collusion with Russia. Rather, Mueller was called to look into how an aggressive and often enemy foreign body influenced the 2016 Election and what the extent of that influence was. It is a known fact that Russia interfered with the election; Trump and his campaign's collusion is speculatory as of now. Thus, just as the investigation into Clinton's emails was necessary, so is the investigation into Russia's involvement in our democratic elections. After experiencing firsthand the damage provoking and partisan headlines can induce, Comey's argument (and what we should all take away from not only his book but Trump's administration) is that we need to sift between all of the opinions and the headlines and look at the facts that lay before us in the current state of this union.

***As I'm writing this, I have to acknowledge that news is coming to light about Comey's actions during 2016 and the lasting effects it has had on the FBI. For the time being, my opinion of James Comey remains and hopefully it is not proven incorrect.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Sharp

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If You Love These Taylor Swift Songs, You Have 'Track 5 Syndrome'

The fifth song on Taylor Swift's albums can't help but have a special place in your heart.

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Taylor Swift is well-known for her emotional songs that make us both swoon and cry. While there are plenty of them, the best ones are hiding in plain sight. Look no further than the fifth track on Taylor Swift's albums. Chances are, these are the ones you've connected with the most on an emotional level. If these track fives make you hit the repeat button when you're feeling down, then you probably have Track 5 Syndrome.

1. Cold As You

From Taylor Swift's debut, self-titled album comes this relatable tear-jerker about a girl who likes a guy who doesn't treat her right.

"Now that I'm sitting here thinking it through, I've never been anywhere cold as you."

My response to that line was always, "And I've been to Alaska, so that's saying something!"

If you've ever fallen for a jerk for some unexplainable reason, this song really hits hard. You don't want to like him, but for some reason, you can't help yourself. To him, you're a mess of a dreamer with the nerve to adore him.

Also, this song may have taught you a new word: condescending.

2. White Horse

This song is from Fearless and has a fairytale theme. If you've seen the music video, which is even more emotional than the song, you'd know that it's about her being cheated on. Even if you've never been cheated on, you can still relate to liking someone who has hurt you and made you second-guess love.

"Now it's too late for you and your white horse to come around."

This guy isn't good enough for a white horse. He probably had to paint it white to trick her. Either way, she doesn't buy it. In the end, he is begging for forgiveness, but she turns him down because she knows she deserves better.

Let that be a valuable lesson to you not to settle.

3. Dear John

This song from Speak Now uses the cliche beginning to a love letter to call out a guy named John (Mayer) who has hurt her. It is almost seven minutes long, but it is well worth the listen. Maybe that's why Taylor Swift made it track five; she knew about the theory and wanted this song to be special to her fans.

"Don't you think I was too young to be messed with? The girl in the dress cried the whole way home."

This guy is a player who played her. She ignored people's warnings to stay away from him, and she got hurt.

You've probably been there. You've probably thought that a guy would change just for you and treat you differently than everyone else. He probably didn't.

4. All Too Well

This song from Red is my all-time favorite Taylor Swift song. I love songs that tell a story, and this one tells one I can relate to. This song was originally ten minutes long until she cut it down to five and a half minutes. She basically threw up all her emotions and then formed them into a beautiful ballad.

"I'm a crumpled up piece of paper lying here 'cause I remember it all, all, all too well."

We all have things we would like to forget, but they're so engraved in our minds and our hearts that we remember them all too well. Sometimes someone hurts you and it impacts you more than you would like to admit.

But you can do what Taylor did and turn that pain into something beautiful.

5. 1989

Of course, 1989 has the fifth track, but it doesn't really fit into the mold. The song is All You Had to Do Was Stay, and it is far from a ballad. Does that mean that Taylor Swift stopped making the fifth track an emotional ballad after Red? No, it doesn't. She just took a break. 1989 was a completely different musical style than what we came to expect from Taylor Swift. That's not to say there weren't any songs that could have made a good track five. If it were up to me, I would have chosen You Are In Love.

"And you understand now why they lost their minds and fought the wars. And why I spent my whole life trying to put it into words."

6. Delicate

Taylor Swift returns after a long time with her sixth album and her fifth emotional track five. Delicate is about her liking a guy as more than a friend but being afraid that her reputation will keep them from being together. It's a delicate topic to admit that she likes him and to confess that she's worried he won't like her.

"Is it cool that I said all that? Is it chill that you're in my head? 'Cause I know that it's delicate."

In the Behind The Lyrics for this song on Spotify, Taylor says,

"When the album starts off...it's more like 'Oh, I don't care about what you say about me.' But then it hits this point on track five where it's like...'Oh, maybe this does actually matter a little bit.'"

She used a vocoder in this song, which she says makes it sound "really emotional and really vulnerable, and really kind of like sad but beautiful." That's exactly what a track five should be like!

Also, in the music video for this song, she makes a reference to Track Five Syndrome. When she's dancing in the subway, there's a column behind her with the words "Track Five" written on it.

Diagnosis

You should know by now whether you suffer from Track Five Syndrome. I suppose I shouldn't use the word 'suffer' because it's actually a pleasant feeling in a cathartic way. Taylor Swift has given us these emotionally vulnerable ballads to help us understand that our feelings, good or bad, are something we need to embrace. That being said, you should go make a Track Five playlist for the next time you need to let your emotions run wild.

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist

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Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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