Where Is The Love? Music Shaming And Why It Needs To End

Where Is The Love? Music Shaming And Why It Needs To End

You like One Direction? Awesome. Kendrick Lamar? Fantastic. Some hipster band you’ve probably never heard of? That’s great, too.

Everyone loves music—I think that’s a pretty safe assumption to make. Everyone has, at some point in their lives, listened to a song or an album that made them feel something, forming a connection far deeper than just words alone. Music is powerful, and it’s also personal. We have songs that remind us of certain times in our lives—childhood, relationships, friendships, and more. Most people favor a specific genre of music, many are passionate about a certain artist, and some love so many different types of music that it’s impossible to pick a “favorite.” Music is a huge part of our lives, and it says a lot about who we are.

A problem I’ve witnessed, however, is the problem of music shaming. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, music shaming is basically the act of criticizing someone for having musical preferences that differ from your own. It’s a problem most of us don’t even think about, but it happens all the time. The most common target of music shaming is pop music; in our culture, it’s considered “uncool” to like what’s mainstream. To me, that just doesn’t make sense—it’s called popular music for a reason. But still, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been received with an eye roll or a snort for expressing my love for a new One Direction album, or singing along to the latest T-Swift jam. Pop music isn’t the only target, either. I’ve seen all genres—whether it’s alternative, country, EDM, or hip-hop—become objects of equally harsh criticism.

When you think about it objectively, the concept of shaming someone for liking a different style of music sounds ridiculous. Of course we all have different tastes in music. We’re all different people. People like different things. Why is that seen as a bad thing? Just because someone likes something that you don’t, that doesn’t make it “wrong” or “bad.” You wouldn’t criticize someone for eating pepperoni pizza simply because you prefer cheese.

Music is inherently subjective—so why is music shaming even a real thing? Why do we tear others down for expressing interest in something they enjoy? Maybe it’s because the music we like is very important to us, so it’s hard for us to understand why someone would choose to listen to anything else. Maybe it’s a matter of self-validation, and criticizing someone else’s musical taste makes you feel better about your own. Whatever the reason, it’s flawed, it's hurtful, and it's just not cool. In the words of the Black Eyed Peas…where is the love?!

It is completely unfair to shame someone for celebrating something they enjoy. If there’s a certain type of music that makes you happy, you should be able to listen to it and love it openly, without feeling guilty. You don’t have to like every style of music, but at the very least, be respectful of those whose musical taste differs from yours. Music should be celebrated, not shamed—after all, the purpose of music is entertainment and enjoyment. Music is fun; it was never meant to be a competition.

So please, don’t quickly jump to the skip button as soon as those “guilty pleasures” come on shuffle. I want you to sing out those One Direction tunes. Rap along with Lil Wayne. Rock out to the Black Keys. Whatever you listen to, I want you to be proud of it. Embrace the music you love, and if anyone criticizes you for it, send them my way. I’ll set them straight.

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How to Survive Until The Next Season Of Game Of Thrones

When you play the game of waiting, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

HBO finally confirmed what fans have long been expecting: Game of Thrones will not be returning until 2019. While this ensures that we will get the same level of quality, if not better quality, compared to season seven, a year is a long time to wait for new Game of Thrones episodes. And that's if we're lucky!

The season premiere airing January 1, 2019 is a much different time difference than if it airs December 31, 2019. Here are some ways to wait out this long winter between seasons:

1. Come up with theories about the ending of Game of Thrones

Tyrion drinks and he knows things. Maybe you do, too! Even though it's far away, you can start making a drinking game for the show. The crazier the theory, the more you get to drink if it's right. If you are having trouble coming up with theories, listen to the Gods of Tits and Wine, Jim and A.Ron, podcast about the Game of Thrones episodes.

For seasons one, four, five, six, and seven they have up to three podcasts per episode talking about the episode, the lore revolving around the episode, and predictions they have for the future.

2. Play the Game of Thrones board game

If you played the Game of Thrones, would you win or die? At some point, every fan has wondered this question. The closest way to find out is to play the board game with some other fans. Become one of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and fight it out for the iron throne.

To win, you will need military, strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play to spread your influence over Westeros!

3. Write George R.R. Martin angry letters forcing him to get his books done

"There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: Not today." Unless Death's real name is George R. R. Martin; then we tell him he has had two and a half years to finish his book and he needs to hurry up and get it done. We deserve to know the true ending of Games of Thrones, George's vision - not the show runners' view because the two will be at least slightly different.

I suppose you have to be careful about this tip (probably ignore it completely if you aren't brave enough) because George has talked about murder if he hears any more about it. But honestly, someone should step up and do it.

~ George R. R. Martin's twitter

4. Pay attention to the upcoming weddings of several cast members

By the time season eight airs, Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) will be married. Even though filming will be shortly delayed so the cast can go to the wedding, I hope the event turns out much better than than purple or red wedding. Also engaged, Sophie Turner plans on getting married to Joe Jonas. While these won't be Game of Thrones weddings, they will help keep the cast in our lives.

To the king and queen of the North!

5. Re-watch the seasons

If you do this too quickly, you'll only end up missing the show more. There are only 62 hours and 50 minutes of screen time versus a minimum of 361 hours left until the season premier. Obviously, you can't watch all the episodes in one — or even two — sittings, but you can binge watching episodes as a reward system for your New Year's resolution.

Every time you go to the gym, lose 3 pounds, or go a week without smoking, allow yourself to watch an episode. Not only will this help you accomplish your goals, but you will be able to shorten the time between no content and new content and you will feel much better about yourself once the new season arrives.

6. Get crafty with Game of Thrones themed items

Even if there aren't new Game of Thrones episodes in your life, that doesn't mean that there can't be new Game of Thrones items in it. You'll be able to get a daily reminder of the best show ever made. Here are some great things you can make:

7. Cry

All in all, there really isn't anything you can do about the amount of time we all have to wait for the new episodes. Combined with the fact that this will be the last season of the best show ever, you have as good of a reason as any to cry. As fans, we are used to crying because of the show.

Let our wait begin. Maybe stay away from all google searches of Game of Thrones if you don't want any spoilers for the upcoming season. I have seen, and was tempted, by many articles about accidental slips of information from cast members. The internet is dark and full of spoilers; I hope you know nothing when season eight finally comes.

Cover Image Credit: Sergi Ramirez

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The Number Of Books You Read This Year Doesn't Matter

Reading shouldn't be a means to an end. Enjoy the journey.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of reading challenges since it’s early January and people are setting resolutions. While setting a goal to read a certain number of books can be great if you’re a kid who is still learning, or an adult who wants to get back in the habit or limit their time on social media, I think some avid readers use it as bragging rights and to me that’s not what reading is about.

There is a lot of pressure to read as many books as possible in a year. Some people are reading 100+. I’m not talking about critics here, I’m talking about the average person. I write book reviews on Goodreads and the site itself is pressuring me to start the Reading Challenge and set a numerical goal for myself.

I don’t see reading as a means to an end or a competition. I see it as an activity. A great, worthwhile activity, and one with many physical and mental health benefits, but not on a higher level than going for a walk or working on a creative project. It’s something one does because one enjoys it. Of course this does not apply to required reading, but reading in one’s spare time.

In my opinion, unless you’re doing it for the reasons mentioned above, you run the risk of rushing through books and not taking time to fully absorb what you are reading. I’m a fast reader – I have hyperlexia – so I know all too well the feeling of disappointment when I read a book too quickly and can hardly remember what it is I just read.

The French have a policy of eating slowly and savoring every bite during mealtime, and I think that same policy can be applied to reading. Of course, one’s natural reading speed cannot be slowed down without breaking one’s immersion, but you can take a break between chapters and write out your feelings or discuss them with someone who has read the same book. Just be careful to choose someone who won’t spoil the book for you.

Along with this argument is a discourse about what is a “real” or “good” book that actually “counts” as reading. A lot has been said about this but I feel like I should address this issue as well. Yes, there are objectively good books. Just because it’s good doesn’t mean everybody will like it. The reverse is true as well. Just because it’s bad doesn’t mean everybody will or should hate it.

I enjoy Warrior Cats to this day despite the glaringly obvious flaws in the writing: the lack of a series bible means that continuity goes out the window quite often, and one character has changed eye color three times in the same book. However, the characters and their relationships with each other feel genuine and human, like people I would actually want to spend time with, and that’s why I keep reading.

Conversely, I can’t stand Twilight because to me character is what makes a story interesting. However, to people who enjoy scenarios more than characters, I can understand why it would be fun and immersive. As has been mentioned in previous reviews, the series is written in a way that allows the reader to insert themselves into the story. There is nothing wrong with enjoying stories like that in my opinion.

However, a literary diet is also important. Read as many books as you want, but if you can, I would suggest mixing up what you read. Mashed potatoes are amazing but you wouldn’t eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. You can think of books as brain food.

Reading a variety of things gives you a wide range of benefits. Again, I’m not telling anyone what to do. As I’ve said, reading is a pastime and shouldn’t feel like homework. But if you’re looking for a reading challenge, you could consider reading books outside of your comfort zone rather than trying to read a certain number of books.

In fact, that’s what I’m going to do this year. On top of my other New Years resolutions, I’m going to try to read books I wouldn’t normally read: romance, politics, religion, contemporary. What about you? What kinds of books are you going to try to read in the new year, if you plan on making this a resolution?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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