Listicles Are Ruining Writing

Listicles Are Ruining Writing

A rant about clickbait and BuzzFeed or BuzzFeed clone website writing.

The Internet has become overloaded with an influx of GIF-centered "writing" many call "listicles." I contend that the majority of people who take writing seriously would agree with me that this style of "writing" is one of the reasons why readers have become so uninterested in creative writing. The people spending numerous hours per week on BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed clone sites who want "cute" photos of non-human animals or GIFs from a famous movie to "tell the story" of an important event or moment such as final weeks or the holidays have very low expectations for what counts as writing. Unfortunately, many websites are falling into the trap of attempting to be BuzzFeed clones in order to get high amounts of traffic. Indeed, claiming that page-view journalism and clickbait sites are the end of writing as we know it is a bit of an exaggeration, however, I believe that this is useful in calling attention to a huge problem that must be discussed. I will admit that writing about this issue on this type of platform is highly ironic since links for listicles and such will be all around this article's link. I apologize for the irony. Of course, writing about this runs the risk of sounding self-righteously pious, but the aim of this article is to appeal to the ego and the super-ego rather than the id as defined by Sigmund Freud.

This is writing?

As I have said, no one who is mature enough to enjoy the art of writing seriously would argue that listicles and page-view journalism are valuable. The argument of "many people enjoy viewing these pieces" is not persuasive enough to convince non-hack writers that the "writing" should be regarded as anything other than offensive, aggravating, and a waste of time. Indeed, BuzzFeeddoes produce decent pieces of writing from time-to-time, however, the website produces listicles and that is simply unacceptable. Admittedly, BuzzFeed is not as infuriating as the other clickbait websites that are slideshows of pictures that will "change your life," however, these other websites do not apologize for BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed clone websites. Not only is it insulting to create a piece of "writing" with 20 images or GIFs with captions, it is flat-out theft. Simply giving attribution to GIFs in a list is not enough. The creation of GIFs is arduous. Period. If someone stole my hard-work to put my GIFs in a list for publishing online I would not be flattered, I would be furious.

What do we do?

If what I have said so far has intrigued you, then I am sure that you are curious about what to do after reading this. I urge you to avoid all page-view journalism or clickbait "articles". I urge you to avoid BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed clone websites until editors and readers appreciate serious, mature writing. Creative writing (poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, etc.) should be read, encouraged, and published instead of what is being passed-off as "writing". I urge you to try your hand at crafting a creative piece of writing because it is much more rewarding, full of emotions, thought-provoking, and able to create an emotional response in the reader. Lastly, I will admit that my claims are not backed by any evidence or credible sources, however, I believe that my experiences do count and should not be invalidated Therefore I urge you to think about what I have written and how it affects you and talk about it.

Cover Image Credit: Tim I Gurung

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15 Movies Every Young Adult Should See

These movies will be sure to hit home and even change the way you view life.

There's something so satisfying about finishing a movie and feeling completely awakened. Sometimes we are exposed to kids who teach us life lessons, adults who strive to go against societal norms, or every-day people who overcome immense challenges. Whatever the case may be, movies have the power to change the way we think and feel about the world. From true stories to heart-wrenching dramas, here are 15 movies you don't want to miss out on:

1. Lion

Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, "Lion" is an emotional movie about a lost boy's journey. When he was just five years old, Saroo got lost and never found his way back to his village in India. A little while later, after being in an orphanage, he is adopted by an Australian couple. Although extremely grateful for his adoptive parents and their selflessness, Saroo seeks to find his birth mother, siblings, and home.

2. "Captain Fantastic"

One of my best friends recommended that I watch this movie and I've never been so blown away. In this film, Viggo Mortensen plays a single dad, but he's not exactly your average dad. He raises his kids in the woods, home schools them, and teaches them valuable life skills and lessons. Ultimately, he does not want to raise his children in a corrupt society. Find out if this family can defy societal norms, or if they conform to the rest. You can find it on Amazon Prime Video.

3. "The Glass Castle"

"The Glass Castle" is a film adapted from Jeannette Walls' memoir. She and her siblings grew up in poverty, always on the go. This is her story about growing up with unemployed parents, who struggle with abuse and addiction.

4. "The Hunting Ground"

This eye-opening documentary, which I watched on Netflix, moved me to tears. It's about the prevalence of sexual assault across college campuses in America and goes into detail about the court system and the efforts that are being made to stop these assaults.

5. "Short Term 12"

"Short Term 12" follows a young woman, named Grace, who works at a residential treatment facility, essentially a foster home for troubled kids and teens. Faced with many issues in the facility, as well as relationship issues with her long-time boyfriend and co-worker, Grace must do her best to handle everything that life throws at her.

6. "To The Bone"

Netflix's "To the Bone" is about a teen girl, named Ellen, who battles anorexia. She also has to deal with her parents and step-parents, who are not very helpful in her troubles. They send her to a group home where she meets unexpected friends and gets help from a unique doctor.

7. "Cyberbully"

This drama follows Taylor, a teenager whose life goes downhill after she gets a laptop for her birthday. She joins a social media site and soon becomes the victim of cyberbullying. What's worse? She's bullied by her own classmates. This film truly captures the power that words and intentions can have.

8. "Boyhood"

"Boyhood" was filmed over the years from 2002 to 2013. The fact that it includes the same actors and actresses throughout the movie is incredible and truly makes you feel as though you're growing up with the characters. It's a coming of age movie you don't want to miss.

9. "Soul Surfer"

"Soul Surfer" is a true story about champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack when she was a teenager. Miraculously, Bethany survived the attack. Her courage and determination to get back in the water serve as an inspiration to many.

10. "The Impossible"

Back in 2004, one family decided to travel to Thailand on a Christmas vacation. However, their holiday is interrupted two days later when a massive Tsunami hit. Based on a true story, this film shows a young family's fight to stay together.

11. "The Good Lie"

"The Good Lie" follows four Sudanese orphans who are selected to move to America to start a new life. Reese Witherspoon plays an employment counselor and seeks to help them adjust to their new life.

12. "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas"

This film takes place during the Holocaust and follows a young boy named Bruno, whose dad runs a concentration camp. Unaware of the wrongs that are going on around him, Bruno soon befriends, Shmuel, a Jewish boy in the camp. Ultimately, this movie shows what happens when innocent children grow up in an immoral society.

13. "The Way"

After learning that his son has died in a storm while hiking The Camino de Santiago, or The Way of Saint James, Tom decides to walk the trail in his son's place. In the process, he learns more about himself than he ever thought he would and encounters some remarkable people along the way.

14. "Forest Gump"

This classic movie follows the story of a man named Forest, who, although not very bright, always remains positive and seeks to help others. Throughout the film, Forest goes on many unlikely adventures, but perhaps the most unlikely event has to do with a young woman named Jenny.

15. "Unbroken"

Based on a true story, "Unbroken" is the story of Olympic champion Louis Zamperini, who is captured by the Japanese navy while at war. He must fight a different battle than ever before, and fight for his life as he spends endless days and nights in a prisoner of war camp.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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'Lady Bird' Is My Favorite Movie of 2017

“Lady Bird” is a masterful work that includes relatable themes and excellent performances.

Yes, my absolute favorite movie of 2017 is “Lady Bird.” I absolutely adore this movie for so many reasons, and, for me, it was one of those films where I found myself struggling to find things that were wrong with it, no matter how hard I tried to nitpick.

“Lady Bird” features the directorial debut of Gretta Gerwig, and stars many excellent up-and-coming actors including Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Timothée Chalamet, Lucas Hedges, and Odeya Rush. The performances in this film are astounding, especially from Ronan and Metcalf. One theme that Lady Bird presents is the relationship between a child and her parents, one that becomes especially tough due to the perceived overwhelming expectations set before her.

Ronan and Metcalf have an implicit chemistry on screen that makes them both look like a quarreling mother and daughter, resulting in one of the best mother-daughter relationships, I believe, in film history. Saoirse picked up the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and I would be incredibly surprised if she doesn’t pick up an Academy Award nomination as well.

Whether or not she wins that award is anyone’s guess due to outstanding performances from Meryl Streep and Frances McDormand in The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri respectively. Laurie Metcalf also received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Marion McPherson, but was beat out by Allison Janney from I, Tonya. I can’t say enough about the performances in this film, all of the actors are brilliantly cast, and I applaud Gerwig for finding the right actors to fulfill her vision.

Saoirse Ronan as Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson, A24

It’s not just the performances that make this film great, however, but one of the most underrated aspects of this film is the cinematography. I’ve said this in the past about a few films, but one “flag” (so to speak) that a movie is shot well is when you subconsciously sit back and just admire the shot.

There’s a scene where our protagonist, Lady Bird, is at a school dance with her sweetheart, and you see a dark gymnasium, barely illuminated with multitudes of candles. The ambiance of the whole scene made me just sit back, and not only admire the film itself, but the art of filmmaking as a whole. Though Lady Bird probably won’t get nominated for Cinematography, I loved how this film was shot.

One element of these “art” films that remains constant is their relatability to the human condition. A theme that Lady Bird repeatedly mentions is home. Throughout the movie, Christine wishes that she could just leave home, to the point where she writes about how much she despises it in her college essay, yet her teacher believes it to be an affectionate story of her time there.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Near the end, once Christine moves off to college, she realizes how much she truly misses home and her parents who she once thought were so overbearing. This sends audiences the main message of the film: we shouldn’t be so quick to leave home and those we love because we’ll miss them in the end.

SPOILERS END HERE

Another theme that Gerwig’s story conveys is that of self-identity, how we perceive ourselves, and how we want others to see us. Christine lives in a house that is much too small and is relatively incomparable to the houses that her private school classmates have. Later on in the film, Christine lies to one of her wealthier friends saying she lives in a bigger house, but when caught in the lie, her friend asks “Why would anyone lie about that?” This message really hits home because I understood this plot point as a commentary on how society views possessions and house size as grounds to judge a person on.

Christine, not wanting to be looked down upon, says she has a much bigger house than she actually does, but is almost instantly negatively judged when caught simply because she wanted to hide her parent’s economic status.

This isn’t the only sign of this theme. From the second act to the middle of the third act, Christine desperately wants to be included in the popular crowd at school, to a point at which she compromises her best friendship with a less popular girl, and forgoes certain virtues that she held dearly, something many teens, including myself, have struggled with.

One reason I believe this movie has received so much praise is that it speaks volumes to real issues that teens face on a daily basis, but these issues aren’t just generational. Adults can also relate to these struggles as they never seem to go away, and we’ve certainly seen films that provide commentary on such struggles such as Rebel Without A Cause or American Graffiti.

Another component of this film that sets it apart from others is its uniqueness in terms of relationships. I already spoke highly of the mother-daughter relationship throughout the film, but one relationship I find rather interesting is the one between Christine and her drama teacher, who is a relatively minor character.

During the first act, we see the drama teacher crying, confiding in Christine’s mom (who is a nurse) about his presumed depression. Gerwig specifically includes this scene to show us that the world turns outside of our protagonist’s life. In so many films, we see the whole universe be centered around our main characters, but in Lady Bird, things happen that don’t necessarily pertain to Christine, giving off a sense of realism to the film.

Overall, I absolutely adore Lady Bird, so much so that I’d go as far to say that it deserves Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It’s my favorite film of 2017, and I’d recommend that everyone see this film. It’s a classic.

IS IT WORTH IT?

“Lady Bird” is a masterful work that includes relatable themes, excellent performances, and provides a uniqueness that I believe no other film in 2017 as matched, and for that, it deserves Best Picture.

FINAL SCORE: 9.7/10

Cover Image Credit: Youtube | A24

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