Man Is, By Nature, A Political Animal

Man Is, By Nature, A Political Animal

Today, people have begun identifying themselves and each other based on who they vote for.

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In his discourses in The Politics, Aristotle ascertains that man is, by nature, a "political animal." People tend to associate themselves with a group of similar, like-minded people. This provides a feeling of comfort and security cherished by everyone. However, this political factionism often tends to antagonism towards people of opposing beliefs in governance. A recent anecdote took place for me during a screening of the movie The Accidental Prime Minister, a film depicting the tenure of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India between 2004 and 2014.

In May of 2019, India will once again undergo its general elections, with a total of over 800 million eligible voters casting their ballots. Despite having tens of regional and state-level political parties, on a national level, the Indian political spectrum is essentially bipartisan, with the Congress and the BJP being the two major powers. In 2014, the BJP managed to oust the Congress from power, a rare occurrence. The Congress party has historically been the dominant force in Indian politics, due to their affiliation with the family name of Gandhi, and the party being spearheaded by his descendants. In recent years, however, it has led to huge controversies, particularly during their reign between 2004-2014, as accusations of corruption began piling up.

The movie did not hold back its criticism of Dr. Singh's term - showing his eventual surrender to the Gandhi family's wishes, which led to one particularly scathing indictment of the situation - "The Mahabharata had two families. India has only one" - using the great Hindu epic to depict the power that one family wields over an entire nation of over 1.3 billion people.

As a soon-to-be first time voter, it would have been easy for me to succumb to pathos and get swayed into the political propaganda wave that the film was clearly presented as. However, in spite of my personal political affiliations or beliefs, I attempted to pay attention to my surroundings within the movie theatre. Interestingly enough, I noticed that a large percentage of the crowd was full of young adults like me. Another notable aspect was the constant cheers and jeers at the almost satirical portrayal of certain political figureheads.

Most importantly, I noticed the massive political outrage caused by the film. In an era where all the information in the world is accessible at one's fingertips, a film based on a book written by the trusted advisor of the former Prime Minister is somehow the most outrageously offensive thing that some people have seen. Instead of appreciating the eerily accurate costume design, the phenomenal acting by the cast, the focus was drawn to its political nature.

"Disrespectful", "abusing freedom of expression", "failed propaganda": all the labels being associated with this film by the ardent supporters of the relevant political party. Today, people have begun identifying themselves and each other based on who they vote for. This merely perpetuates a further political divide, and, rather than taking a step back and attempting to look at an issue, or even simply a work of art through neutral eyes, it has somehow become imperative to try and tear down everything done by the opposition. Perhaps, Aristotle was right. After all, politics is about power and patronage and man indeed is a political animal: unable to separate itself from its emotional desires and blocking rational thought in face of extreme pathos.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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