Saturday, October 23, 2010

Clarity.

What is hope?

It's been a while since my last blog entry, so I've been pretty hesitant to post another one. For the longest time, I knew what I wanted to write about, but I didn't know how to word it just the way I thought would get my point across.

But, what is hope?

A few weeks ago, I was at a concert that closed with a cover with "All You Need Is Love" and, as I was taking in every moment of the song, I reached into my pocket and I found a dollar. Now it doesn't seem like anything monumental, but for me, that's hope. That's what I call a sign. It made me smile, and for that sole reason, that's what my definition of hope is.

Hope is knowing that things will eventually get better. Hope is seeing that friend you haven't in a long time. Hope is finding pennies heads up on the ground. Hope is anything and everything and nothing. It's just all in how you look at the world. And finding that glimmer of hope in everyday life isn't as hard to find as we make it out to be. Hope is always around us, we just need to be looking harder.

Just a thought.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let's Have Some Fun, This Beat Is Sick.

Has Gaga gone goo-goo?

This entry is proof that I, in fact, did write my first college English paper on Lady Gaga. Mainly, for Jess.

Though Lady Gaga is infamous for her ridiculous fashion choices, her latest outfit has sparked controversy amongst the public and various media outlets. The singer arrived at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards clad in raw meat. Since her appearance at the awards ceremony, various groups and newspapers have criticized her provocative ensemble, including Time Magazine, MTV.com and the Wall Street Journal. Though each medium provides different insight on the story, a common question remains: has Gaga gone goo-goo?

The first article comes from Time Magazine Online and focuses on animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), who spoke out against her outfit. In the article, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk condemned the outfit stating that, “meat is the decomposing flesh of an abused animal who didn't want to die (…) not too attractive, really”. This hasn’t been Lady Gaga’s first run-in with the organization- earlier this month PETA slammed her Japanese Vogue cover where she, again, donned a bikini of raw meat. As Time is a credited news outlet for issues regarding politics and the economy, I feel that they present the story from an uninvolved, blasé standpoint. They strive to maintain a certain level of professionalism by formally addressing the story’s controversy (PETA’s remarks) and make no further comment. The article is also short and not advertised on the website’s homepage, a reflection of Time’s ultimate disinterest and disassociation to the story.

The next article comes from MTV.com. The story addresses the PETA remarks, but focuses more on the message behind Gaga’s controversial outfit choice. MTV indicates that Lady Gaga was trying to make a statement regarding the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Gaga defends her dress in the article, saying “if we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones”. I believe that MTV’s coverage of the event is different than Time’s because it caters towards a different audience. MTV.com readers are most likely those who keep up with popular music and culture, probably a younger generation. Therefore, the article focuses more on Lady Gaga and the message behind the dress. By defending her dress, MTV is defending her and her music, the music that keeps their viewers tuned in. Attached to the article is also a video of Lady Gaga from the awards ceremony. Although Lady Gaga is seen wearing the dress in the video, it draws some attention away from the dress by focusing more on the ceremony itself, thus further promoting the MTV franchise. Also, I think that broadcasting Lady Gaga in this dress acts as a symbol of creative expression, something that MTV may feel it should foster in their younger, more liberal audience.

In the last article, the Wall Street Journal Online doesn’t merely address Lady Gaga’s meat dress stint, but evaluates her status as a pop icon in comparison to Liberace. Both artists are known for their musical originality and excessive costumes. However, the article indicates that Lady Gaga may struggle to be an outspoken spectacle while still entertaining her audience like many previous pop icons. Essentially, the article asks one question: is Lady Gaga this decade’s Liberace? While touching on the meat dress, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at Lady Gaga from a cultural and historical perspective. I believe the Wall Street Journal delivers more than just news; it makes us think about the story at a broader level. It is inquisitive, cuts right to the point, and allows people from different generations to weigh in on the issue.

All three articles address Lady Gaga’s meat dress, but they also contrast each other in new and insightful ways. Some make us think, others strive to get a point across. Ultimately, these media sources (a magazine, newspaper, and website) publish stories that serve their audiences and keep them in the know- meat dress and all.

Just a thought.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sandcastles in the Sand.

Do all things eventually come to an end?

Yes, and yes, it sounds depressing. And in this case, I'm not talking about life or the world, so you needn't think I'm suicidal. But at some point, no matter what it is, everything will eventually come to an end:

High school. September. The batch of cookies my roommate just made for me.

So, college. Everyone comes back on fall break and boasts to anyone who is willing to listen about how awesome college is, and how awesome their new friends are, and how awesome those parties were. But what they don't mention is those awkward first weeks when you're treading in water, trying to be yourself and social and like-able all at the same time. That's the kind of phase I'm in. But I think the reason I'm caught up in this phase is because I have yet to accept that things have come to an end, lingering in that in between atmosphere of high school and college.

It's like that great TV show you love to watch just ends. You still love reminiscing about those great moments and laughing about all those classic jokes. But once you face the fact that it's over, it seems that you and everyone around you is trying to find a new television show to fill the void, desperately watching episodes and episodes of show they've never watched before in search of a show that is just as great as their old favorite.

Maybe the lesson we need to start learning is that there won't ever be a show as good as, say, How I Met Your Mother and there won't ever be a time as good as high school. Perhaps I've set my expectations too high, trying to but knowing that I won't ever really find another Barney Stinson or Ted Mosby in a new television show or a Jess or Ryan in college.

In one aspect, I hate watching episodes of shows I'll never watch again just as much as I hate trying to make friends with people whom I know I won't ever be friends with. But the reality is, no matter what, finding that new whatever takes time. If we don't go through with the search, we won't truly appreciate our new friends or new favorite TV show when we finally have found them. I just wish I had a map, or perhaps a TV Guide magazine, to make the search a little easier.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All You Need Is Hug.

Who needs a hug?

If anyone has ever asked you that question, it's probably because you were in that bad kind of mood when all you need is to wrap your arms around someone to feel better. And at that moment in time, a hug was the cure for your terrible day. But if you're someone like me, you tend to wrap your mind around the idea that hugging, unless we're talking special cases like the previously mentioned embrace, means nothing.

This may sound overdramatic, but think about the last time you gave someone a hug and I guarantee you that it will fall into one of the following three categories:

1) the "I'm leaving the party" hugs,

2) the "I just got here and you haven't seen me in a while" hugs, and

3) the "obligation to hug you even though we're not really friends, but everyone else is hugging" hugs.

It seems like no matter where you go, what you do, and who you are with, the hug has replaced the handshake as the informal greeting. And like the third kind of hug, once hugs hit a small gathering of friends, it becomes an infectious obligation to each member of the group.

Quite frankly, I've got nothing against hugs. Hugs are awesome, and believe me, I've had some great hugs before. But when someone gives me a hug, it should be because they want to, not because they feel obligated to. To tell you the truth, hugging gets awkward, especially if it's the latter case and you get stuck in a hug with someone you're not really friends with.

So simply put, hug me if you mean it, and if you don't, just know that I'm totally cool with a high five.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Maggie May, Mags May.

Do the little things matter?

Yes. I'm telling you right now, they do. People may contradict this statement, but to many, many people out there, myself included, the little things matter.

Today, while clocking away hours behind a desk at work, my friend Amanda walks in. Now, let me preface this by saying that I call Amanda my friend in the loosest sense of the term. I would rather veer towards a more lacksadasical word choice for our relationship; perhaps acquantances would do it justice. Bottome line: we talk once a month, see each other at parties of mutual friends, and make awkward small talk when absolutely necessary. Amanda walks in, carelessly throws me a "Hey, Mags" and continues to walk on by.

"Hey, Mags".

In the moments after hearing that, I realized something spectacular. This girl, this friend of mine, would typically never call me "Mags". My name is Margaret. I go by Maggie. Only close, close friends feel the need to shorten my name even further and call me "Mags". But the small fact that she so carelessly called me "Mags" really made me smile.

This is no giant leap for mankind. Amanda and I won't become attached at the hip, best friends. Our friendship won't even change. She probably won't ever even call me "Mags" again. But for the sole fact that she left me with a smile when she walked into work today, I can honestly say that the little things do matter.

Just a thought.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

Do people change, or is it perhaps that maybe we have changed all along?

It's an interesting thing to think about. I came across this question today as my friends and I reflected on the friends we used to have in comparison to the friends we have today. Of course, time passes by and whether or not we are at fault, friends seem to come and go. They're there when we need them, no matter how temporary their friendship may be. But the remarkable thing is, how do we justify why some slip and others don't? Different interests, different paths we choose to take. These reasons may be the ones we tell ourselves to explain these separations. And certainly the most popular one that most people, myself included, tend to revert to is simply:

They've changed.

And, to some extent, maybe this is true. Off hand, even I can think of various people who have drifted in and out of my friend circle. And, yes, I can see various ways in which they have changed: whether it be their own morals, interests, or other aspects of their life.

But maybe the root of the problem lies within our own morals, interests, and lives. It's easy to chalk something up to others, in fact it's human nature to place the blame on others when it is most convenient for ourselves. Deep down, I think it's mainly because we change as well. Example: One friend and I were inseparable for years during high school, she had certainly proved trustworthy and I considered her one of my closest friends. To this day, I've seen her maybe three times and each time we see each other, it turns into an awkward encounter, one in which we're treading in conversational waters, struggling to find things to talk about amongst each other.

Unfortunate? Yes. Necessary? Perhaps. Maybe the point of having friends that come and go is to grow with them, change accordingly, and set ourselves back on the path we choose to take in life. So maybe my friends now might not be here forever, but for the time being, they've taught me more about myself than I ever could.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Annie, Get Your Gun.

My warm welcome to Blogspot.

Where to begin? I came across my sister's diary this afternoon (she assuredly assumes I haven't a clue where she hides it) and began flipping through the pages only to find endearing stories of her middle school world, little clippets into the life she leads at school, her friends, and how she looks at the world. And I couldn't help but steal from her an entry that simply read:

Do you think having a very mean, rude, opinionated older sister can have an impact on your entire life for the worst? yes.

I immediately, and selfishly I'll admit, placed the blame on my other sister for causing my sister to even question this. But I began thinking, and did even more wondering about the question she asked herself. In turn, I asked myself:

How much influence do I really have on my siblings?

I have two younger sisters for whom I strive to be the perfect student, athlete, community activist, etc. I volunteer, I play instruments, I read, I rarely do anything that my parents frown upon, I abstain from typical teenager stupidities (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.). But how have these decisions really affected my sisters? I asked my sisters to imagine themselves at my age and what kind of person they'd like to be. Their answers correlated almost exactly to the kind of life I lead. Now, perhaps they felt they needed to respond accordingly because I was the one who had asked them in the first place. But I'd like to put more faith into them than that and opt to answer my question optimistically: I've had a great influence on my siblings, and will continue to do so until otherwise notified.

As reassuring as this is, this worries me. Yes, I've worked extremely hard to get to this place in life where I am my sisters' role model. But I also want them to understand that they need to be themselves to figure themselves out without my help just as much as I still need to find myself. I'm not asking for them to revoke my role model status, but perhaps for a little wiggle room: room for mistakes, room for the fear of failing, room for exploration and discovery without having my sisters follow my every move.

Just a thought.