I love Lester Holt. Sure, he may not be Brian Williams, with all his ineffable charm and Clooney-esque eye sparkle, but I trust him to deliver me the nightly news in the bland and middle-of-the-road fashion I’ve come to expect from NBC. His nightly news segment is analogous to mashed potatoes, comforting and not the worst thing for you, but certainly lacking in a lot of key nutrients. Will NBC Nightly news tell you about the current situation in Mosul? Perhaps, but they will also give equal if not greater airtime to an old woman who’s dedicating her time to painting a mural at the local YMCA. Does it touch my heart and make me feel good inside?
As long-time readers (i.e my parents) might know, I take music pretty seriously. Usually, this has alienated my friends who chalk it up to another one of my pretentious behaviors and usually that’s a fair assumption. Because, realistically speaking, it doesn’t matter if you’re listening to your favorite artist on CD or streaming it, at 320 kbps or lossless quality, with open-backed headphones or five-dollar earbuds. If you’re enjoying the music, then you’re enjoying the music, no two ways about it. However, you do have to be able to listen to the music to begin with.
I suppose you could consider me a Frank Ocean fan. I listen casually, although despite my deep love for “Pyramids” and “Thinkin Bout You” I found the rest of Channel Orange to be a little uninteresting and as far as emotional, slow R&B singers go I prefer Blood Orange. However, half my roommates hate him and if there’s any better reason to pretend like he’s the second coming I don’t know what it is. And to be perfectly honest, I love a good obsession and Frank’s fan base did not disappoint. Watching the various Frank Ocean forums slowly go devolve to desperation was truly a pleasure.
Or at the very least, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s policies and classifications have. Drug legalization is a tired old argument that I hate hearing about, if only because at a certain point the claims on both sides reach a level of absolute absurdity (I’ve heard the claim that smoking marijuana cures cancer as many times as I’ve heard it leads to teens and overdosing). However, the DEA’s policies continue to cause more damage than good for our society and need to be addressed as soon as possible. Before I begin, I feel I should say that I frankly don’t care who uses what drug and for what reason. If someone wants to while away their days on a permanent high, that’s not my business.
As much as I hate politics and, more specifically, politicians, it would be a waste if I did not use my column to back my favorite horse in the race, especially with the New York primaries bearing towards us. There is an important choice coming up for Democrats and Republicans alike. Both will have to make the decision to back a candidate who is firmly a part of the establishment, or one decidedly contrary to it (if you’ll forgive my super hip ’60s counterculture lingo). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Hillary Clinton on the side of the political establishment, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Donald Trump opposed to it. Before I continue, I don’t wish to imply that the candidates in either group are interchangeable, far from it.
Everyone’s really limping to the finish line here. Doesn’t it always feels like spring break comes a week too late? Look at me, it’s 3:30 in the morning and I’m just getting around to writing my column the morning before it’s due. While I’d love to say this is the result of the unfair hand of fate, I will be perfectly frank, if I had simply spent more time in the library, I could have finished the 200 some pages of reading, honors seminar essay, opinion column and the rest of the work I had in timely fashion and still make it to bed at a reasonable hour. But instead I chose to go out twice last weekend, stay up way too late and generally procrastinate in my various fashions.
If you’re like me, then you’ve spent the last few weeks agonizing over what you’re going to do this summer professionally. And if you’re really like me, you’ve done nothing about it. It’s hard, man. I can barely summon the willpower to make it to grocery store to keep myself from starving, let alone make decisions regarding my future employment. While I can’t solve your internship problems, I can offer a rewarding alternative: spend the summer in Ithaca.
There are plenty of pressing issues at hand — the environment, our foreign policy regarding the Middle East and the economy to name a few. We hear these topics covered in the presidential candidate debates nonstop and as important as they are, they can draw attention away from other issues important to this country, specifically our broken justice system. There is plenty to be said on this issue — I’d say its most pressing concern is racial bias — but I would like to discuss another worrying trend in our justice system: the increasing privatization of our prison system. Privatizing prisons does nothing for us in the long run. I don’t care what you think the point of prisons are (be it to punish the guilty, or rehabilitate them back into society), when the system becomes private, prisoners begin to become a financial bottom line.
I don’t care if it’s old news by now; I’m going to talk about David Bowie. I can’t say anything about his life, on stage or off, that hasn’t already been said, so I’m going to talk about what he meant to me as an artist. This is by no means a summary of his life, or a compendium of his deeds, or even a tribute. This is simply about how his work impacted my life and how it continues to do so. My initial introduction to Bowie wasn’t anything special.
I do a lot of things that strike my friends as pretentious. The fact that I still buy CDs seems to be a sticking point for a lot of my friends, which never ceases to confuse me. I know we’re in the age of digital streams, but it wasn’t so long ago that everyone still bought CDs; they’re far from obsolete. I’m not a complete luddite; I do stream music, but I like to buy a physical copy of any album that sticks with me. There are benefits to the compact disc.