Why I Don’t Write Editorials Anymore

To be clear, things haven’t changed. After all this time, I’m still a very opinionated individual.

It’s true, I don’t write that many editorials anymore- some of the more political “Dear Kath” letters were the closest things to op-ed articles that I’ve written for awhile. But it’s not because I don’t hold opinions on current events (or just in general) anymore.

It’s also not because I’m tired of writing editorials- although admittedly, I’ve grown wary of the single-minded focus with which I immersed myself in opinion articles for several years.

The main reason that I don’t write editorials nowadays is because of the general atmosphere and environment I currently live in. We live in an over-saturation of opinions and misinformation. Everyone talks over one another and drowns each other out. Note too, that this is a world of acidic (and at times toxic) negativity. I feel like that in such an environment, my acerbic, cutting analyses do not serve to be an entirely positive influence. I like to think I’m fighting a good fight and trying to be a voice of reason. However, I think the impact of editorials are still limited.

I look at the streamers and YouTubers- the new media stars and I admire how they help people with their content- by making them laugh and making them feel less alone in the world. Sure, some will say that their content is disposable and silly, but it doesn’t change the impact that they’ve made on thousands or millions of people. And it’s so fucking beautiful.

That is my greatest wish- more than anything else- to bring joy with all my work, no matter what form it may take.

-D

(P.S.- I had to write this editorial though. It was a response to another article that desperately needed to be rebuked. I might write a supplement on this next.)

 

The Yiannopoulos Theory

Time moves far too quickly.

Hello, everyone. My name, as always, is Daniel and this is The Oddity Writer. When we left off, I was rocketing off to cover a big story and left you all without a daily post. So sorry about that, by the way.

milo_yiannopoulos_journalist_broadcaster_and_entrepreneur-1441_8961808556_cropped

But I digress! In case you hadn’t checked Twitter, the so-called big story that I was covering was Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to Emory University a few days ago. I live tweeted a couple of images and videos that documented the bare facts of what was going on before the talk itself began. (I would include the tweets below, but there’s nothing remarkable there. If you want to read them, just check out my Twitter here: It took me awhile to settle in and solidify my thoughts and opinions on it all. But here I am to tell you what I think.

When I was at the rally, there were a lot of Trump supporters and diehard Yiannopoulos fans. They hooted and hollered like partying frat boys when he talked about how Donald Trump was the only candidate who wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, and about how immigration “should be stopped”. And while I didn’t like what they were doing and what they were thinking, I said nothing because they had the right to express their opinion and because I needed to think. I try not to demonize my enemies, and I try to remember that they are human, but it was difficult to not assume the worst this time around.

On the other hand, the protesters and their chalk represented the other extreme on the spectrum that I was not willing to embrace. I’m not willing to sacrifice a freedom of expression for the sake of safety. I don’t believe in an absolute right or wrong, or that my point of view is the absolute by which everyone should live. And most of all, I don’t believe in fueling the fire that these so-called monsters (the Trump supporters) want to start. 614px-european-political-spectrum

What do I mean by that? I mean that these people are expecting anger and fear from them. And they don’t behave calmly and logically, but you act on your impulses and they lash out. They later surround yourself with warm cuddly people who agree with you- and I can’t fault them for that because it’s a natural reaction. I’ve done it before. But because I’m inconsiderate enough to not see my own faults but see them in others, I can tell you that I don’t admire it.

This year, I have seen a supposedly intelligent community capable of discussion do nothing but fight and sling mud and insults at each other and it frustrates and disappoints me to no end. If all our generation can manage is such narrow-minded, impulsively backwards thinking on both sides, then I really worry for the future.

So I’ve led myself to decide to follow this theory of detachmentWhen both sides are being foolish, don’t engage with either of them. Form your own opinions, act independently and forget about them. Hope that reason will rule out. 

I’m done dealing with the bull that these people can dole out. I wish them the best in the fruitless and (in my opinion, idiotic or inane) ventures. I will move forward and help bring positivity where these people refuse to. I will make them smile with jokes, ask them questions, treat them like humans and leave them to their thoughts. But I won’t pick sides or change my own opinion because someone is triggered by it or disagrees with it.

It’s what they deserve.

Thank you all for reading. I’ll see you in the next post.

 

Debate Highlights from Twitter

Hello, you beautiful people!

So my friends and I were watching the Democratic Debate, sharing our thoughts and making wisecracks at one another. And I decided to live-tweet the whole thing.

You can find all my sarcastic remarks here. I hope you enjoy these silly tweets!

VAGUENESS

VAGUENESS EVERYWHERE

8619102

Considering their bias, I’d say there’s a high chance. My friend channeled his inner pulp fiction by telling CNN, “I double-dog dare you, motherf***er.”

…Yeah, I found these both happened a lot. I felt bad for Lester Holt and the other moderators for having to put up with this as the candidates went to town on each other.

 

…Man, Martin O’Malley- you got sidelined a lot, but you sure made your time count for something.

See Tweet #1.

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_crop

Oh, and one last thing before I go:

 

Missouri (Through the Fear of It All, Part Two)

“I fear the Robespierres of this movement.” -E.R. 

Good evening and hi, ladies and gentlemen. As always, my name is Daniel. Welcome back to The Oddity Writer. Last time, I explained why I am choosing to publish a highly personal editorial that already expresses a seriously unpopular opinion, and today, I’m going to talk about what happened right after I completed the article, and give my thoughts on it all.

So the day that I completed that editorial, after I nervously handed it off to a couple of people to give feedback on, I received an email from my father telling me his own opinion and also enclosing an article that he felt would catch my attention. However, I didn’t read that first. After a bunch of late nights and facing down an exam, I was so drained that I just wanted to lay in bed and scroll through Facebook when lo and behold, I come across a link to a YouTube video showing a photojournalist being hassled by a couple of university officials and students in Missouri- with one professor in particular calling for muscle to remove the photographer.

I was naturally incensed at the hypocrisy of it, a photographer, a former student no less, being thrown out of a free speech zone and rejected his right to free expression. I know the media has certain issues and has a certain bias, but it still shouldn’t be so scorned and rejected. Moreover, it displayed a certain instability in the movement that I didn’t like. You can be devoted to a cause, but you should never allow it to narrow your point of view, or leave you closed to other opinions. Just because you were wronged, that doesn’t mean you have a free ticket to wrong others.

See this? THIS IS NOT REAL. (Source: http://blogs.solidworks.com/solidworksblog/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/02/Golden.jpg)

However, because apologies were released and because it’s been acknowledged that the situation could have been handled better, I do feel somewhat relieved. And to be clear, I am not and do not intend to imply that this movement is not important or completely unjustified. Don’t get me wrong, that article from the Wall Street Journal was worrying. I read it after this video debacle went down, and there are serious issues afoot in Missouri. Swastikas painted with poop? Racist terms aimed at black people? It’s all deplorable behavior and it needs to be addressed.

Tim Wolfe, University of Missouri (image is from umsystem.edu)

Do I think that a president needed to be removed in order? I honestly don’t know. However, what’s done is done, and I can only hope that moving forward, there will be steps taken to avoid such atrocities.

This is where I would normally finish off an Oddity Writer post. On a line about hope for a better tomorrow, where people have created change for the better, and when I’ve restored your faith in humanity. And I’m sorry. But that’s not how it’s going to end today.

Because I fear for the future right now. The world we live in is a hostile, insane place, and volatile situations like this are what raise red flags and questions in my head. I see Missouri and I see a manifestation, an explosion of issues concerning frustration, political and racial tensions tightening. I worry that the protests in Missouri, spreading across the country will rage on for months as Ferguson did. And I shouldn’t even have to explain this, but here it goes. These actions were meant to beget hatred and to breed chaos, and you all are just perpetuating a cycle, trying to start a revolution and repeat history back in 1964. Guys, there is a reason it’s called history. You need to stop reliving the past. And while I believe there needs to be a resolution, I don’t think it should happen like this.

Spitting on people that you disagree with? Shoving people around in the midst of a safe space and pushing people out when they weren’t even intending to enter their safe space? To quote one of my friends, “What in the flipping anus are you thinking?!” You cannot paint yourself as the good guys when you’re acting like your own oppressors.

Grow up and realize that the world’s not fair. There are other races who face prejudice, yes. Hell, there are people who go through abuse day after day. Do you know how many people, Asian and other races alike, were so shocked that I struggle with mathematics and that science bores me? I grew up with that as a kid. I grew up with bullies who copied off my homework, and I grew up with people who walked all over me, exploited me and took everything that mattered to me, my pride, my identity, and I have a right to be angry. I was angry for a long, long time. But I learned that anger only creates more trouble, more resentment. Nothing good can ever be created out of rage and negativity. And I moved forward. I try to help others now.

“Do you know what you do with that pain? You hold it tight! Until it burns your hand. And you say, ‘No one else will ever have to live like this! No one else will have to feel this pain! Not on my watch!'” -Twelfth Doctor

If you’re going to try and resolve things, do it right. Remember what safe spaces are. Don’t harm people. 

Please, just show some compassion.

Last week’s episode of Doctor Who had a section that really applied to this situation in certain ways. Especially a minute in, where they begin talking about the wheel of revolutions. About how you need to think about the consequences of your actions.

Some final thoughts:

You know, I was planning to erase my Tumblr just a little while ago, but I was told that my Tumblr blog had become a safe, fun place and that’s why it hasn’t been reset, why all the reblogs and memes are still there. Because I was touched that I was considered someone that could be trusted, and I want to be there, and leave some silly stuff for the end of the day.

Although I never intended these sites as such, I say it now. The Oddity Writer will always be a safe space, a place where everyone will always be allowed to express their views without judgment. Come in, enjoy some reading, talk with everyone and with me. I care and I’d love to hear about what’s on your mind.

Thank you all for listening, for taking the time out of your day. And don’t forget that you are all important, and unique. There is no one like you in this world. So take care, and respect the world around you. Look at it a little differently.

Have a lovely day, guys. I’ll see you on the next page of this story.

Standing Tall

I generally don’t like writing these, to be honest.

Hello, everyone. I apologize in advance, but a little recurring problem has popped up… again. And I’m writing this little post in order to address some negative WordPress activity that has been bothering me.

But before I get started, I want to set something straight.

I believe in the WordPress community. I see it as a friendly, creative place where everyone can express themselves and inspire one another. I don’t believe that this troll is reflective of the community as a whole because I’ve met so many amazing people on WordPress. I’ve talked before about how you guys have introduced some faith into the potential that humanity holds.

Credits: theramp.org …Okay, it’s corny. But you get what I mean.

To quote a previous blog post that you can read here to get some context in the situation: “They (you guys) are heroes to me.”

I feel like my previous work didn’t properly get that across, and I’m trying to be better at showing my appreciation for you guys now, especially in posts like this which can be seen as really negative. And although I am an advocate for positivity, this needs to be addressed. So, sorry again about this- I promise I’ll have something amazing for everyone tomorrow! 🙂

…Right then. ‘Ello, problem. Hope that my sentimentality didn’t make you go, “Too Long, Didn’t Read” or make you sick. No worries. I suppose you were busy trying to hunt down an non-existent photo of me to manipulate. 

‘Ello. Credits: Tumblr

I’m being sassy because I’m bored. Anywho! Let’s see, what have we here?

Oooh, an incensed troll posing as a free speech advocate, fascinating. Targeting Opinionated Man… ooh, what have we here? A criticism for a recent post concerning his hatred for his birth mother? Accusations of OM being a “cyberbully” with “spam followers”? Bragging about his “achievements” and dismissing those who oppose him as “minions”?

…You know, I’ve met minions before. They’re adorable. But now I’m just getting distracted.

Source: pinterest.com

…But in all honesty, you have got to be kidding me. I look at this… “blog” and I don’t know where to begin. There are inconsistencies and errors, irrelevance…

It’s all just full of…

Credits: YouTube and JonTron.

…Yeah, exactly.

But I think I’ll start with this point: I cannot pretend that I understand what it’s like to be adopted. Moreover, I don’t know much about OM’s adoption situation, so I really can’t comment on that, or about how it must or could have felt like to have been abandoned.

But you really can’t know what it’s like either. Even if you were adopted (and I don’t think you are) there are different circumstances for everyone, and just knowing a Korean really doesn’t give you any sort of justification to write about how OM is consumed by hate and about how he needs to stop being angry about his birth mother and (supposedly,) the rest of the world. What you wrote really sticks out as an irrelevant part of this… thingy.

If Jason had run around saying, “Death to America,” then maybe it would have been relevant to say that the Koreans you knew “always felt they are better off here.” But he didn’t say that. And you know, if you really want to teach or help someone, you don’t point at them and say “this is the exact opposite of what you do.” That’s like saying, “1+1 is definitely not 3. It’s the exact opposite of that.” You just put someone down and they don’t learn the correct solution, that the answer is 2.

Source: cityfig.com …Yes, that statement just now was influenced by Last Week Tonight. Shush.

So my main grievances are the fact that you comment on something without really knowing about it, and then doing such a piss-poor job with the argument, and with the advice you want to give to new bloggers.

What next? Oh, yes…

If someone messages you asking for a context, or for more information, this is your chance to tell your side of the story. You don’t just toss someone aside and insult them as far as to post something about them on your blog because you take issue with literally one thing they said. That’s not only an unprofessional and utterly immature move, that’s just illogical.

I look at how you treated Scott and YaYa Says, and it really is unbecoming of a WordPress member, and of a supposed “free speech advocate”. You’re really just shooting people down when they really didn’t say anything hateful- and YaYa has a point, really, you do write a lot about how he has supposedly besmirched WordPress when he has been friendly to many people. You, on the other hand… you don’t really respond to comments all that much from what I’ve seen except to rebut or except that one time when a popular blogger went out of the way to mediate the initial problem and you went out of your way to kiss up to him and to try and explain to him the way you should have tried with other people. (Never mind the fact that your argument sucked.)

In fact, this is what really bothers me the most. You don’t seem to care about your followers. You only seem concerned with getting attention, and that’s just pathetic, and it really won’t get you very far. Look at your stats, they’ll prove my point! 5-7 people liked your most recent post- out of 80,000 people. It makes me think that a lot of your “readers” are inactive because that’s an average number of likes I, a smaller blogger, might get. And there’s nothing wrong with that for me. I love my followers, the one-on-one interaction I have with them and I’m not looking for fame and fortune. But I’m not claiming something I don’t have. I’m not basing my success on Klout scores (which are pretty dodgy to begin with) and I’m not the one warning popular bloggers on my about page on how you would attack any “troll/liar/miscreant” if he or she were “big enough, important enough/public person AND you exhibit any of the above.”

I can only conclude by stating that you really don’t deserve to be called a journalist or a writer because you don’t use your words to help the world. You only use them to tear others and their thoughts down.

Credits: Wikimedia.org (and Wikipedia) (and Ronald Reagan for giving me the idea to reference “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”)

And that goes against everything I stand for. I say all these things and create my own worlds and thoughts and dreams through those words, as many do, and I will not let you push these people, this community that I care for with everything I’ve got. I am Daniel, the Oddity Writer. My 150 followers may be a much smaller number than your 80,000 but I can proudly say that I know and have interacted with all of them. And that’s more important than anything you might value now.

And with that… thank you all so much for reading. Thank you, everyone in this community. I appreciate you so much, and I’m so proud to have met you all and I’m glad that I was given the chance to entertain you.

——————————————————-

For those of you new to this blog, my name is Daniel, and I am the Oddity Writer. It’s nice to meet you. I started this blog as a compilation of great work I had done thus far, and it evolved into something more- a journal of sorts and a place to tell stories and to communicate with some amazing people. I recently hit 150 followers, have been given 150 chances to touch a person’s life, when I expected no one to really read this blog at all.

I hope you enjoy my work. Have yourself a fantastic day!

Tedious

After staring at a computer screen and typing for God knows how long, my eyes withered and dry, I looked up, and proudly submitted my assignment when I see a little comment from my teacher, posted an hour before about how this long and laborious assignment should be handwritten.

I’m so tired and I’m still swearing.

(CLASSIC COMEDY CONCERNING THE AUTHOR’S FAILURE FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT)

The Feeling of Being Stuck

“Aaaarrrrrggh… Nothing’s working!” I slumped back from my keyboard, closed my sleepy, gravel-lined eyes and buried my face in my hands. On my computer screen shone an image of a sculpture on one side and a nearly blank document on the other.

I had selected an art history course for school in hopes that the class would allow me to discuss art and better describe it to others. I wanted to be able to talk about the intricate details, the meticulous crosshatching that might go into a drawing, the smooth opaque and shining marble, or the bronze of a sculpture, be it burnished or stained. There was an art history essay that I had heard about from a teacher, that “read like a stage play and made the sculpture come to life.” It was a challenge that I wanted to undergo.

It was also a challenge that I never got to follow, and that I still struggle with. I did end up writing about art for the class in a preliminary assignment and I did my best to write a work that I could be proud of that flourished, and I received a good score for it. However, this
For weeks, we stared at presentations full of photos and dissecting the art, talking about all the terminology that students needed to know for the AP exams.

It left me wallowing in my discontent. As a person who used to love art, a small child running through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, drinking in the feeling that the art gave off, looking into the past and going with my gut feelings to find meanings and messages, I was disappointed at the terminology, wading through art and tearing it apart, looking for a preset,intended message. Slowly, my work ethic slowed and I began feeling stuck and actually struggled to write.

And that’s why I had no time and resources to get out blog content.

(I’m just kidding! No! That’s not the ending. That would make this post so negative. I just want to say that you, the reader should learn from art and balance that with the fun and fascination that comes with the art. I’m definitely not a model scholar, not just because I don’t enjoy analyzing art and because I cringe when the teacher calls us “art historians”. I challenge you all to live life and enjoy some of humanity’s wonderful messages.)

If You Give a Madman a Gun

Upon reading “Aurora Gunman’s Lethal Arsenal” by James Dao and “The Shootings in Colorado,” an anonymous editorial, both published by the New York Times in the week following the tragic theater massacre, the first word that came into my head was “unnecessary.”

How could someone allow the sale of not one, not two, but three weapons to a civilian? This is, at best, an exploitation of our second amendment rights. One weapon purchase can be understandable; self defense is necessary at times, but seriously, who needs three guns? Even more disturbing than James Holmes’ penchant for firearms is the fact that his guns and excessive ammunition were too easily obtained over the Internet: the American legal system indirectly became Holmes’ enabler and supplier.

We must ask ourselves, why would the United States government not renew a gun-control law on the deadly AR-15, a version of the military-issue M16 notoriously used in Vietnam? Moreover, what use would a civilian have for a semi-automatic rifle, especially one that was banned for ten years? I agree with the statement in “The Shootings in Colorado” that “The country needs laws that allow gun ownership, but laws that also control their sale and use in careful ways” so that crazed rampages and vigilante justice do not become the norm. To prevent another incident from occurring, I feel particular laws ought to be put in place, including psychological and criminal record checks, before we allow a civilian to purchase a weapon. We also need to regulate the sale of bullets per civilian, as 6,000 rounds should really have raised eyebrows. “Stand your ground” laws, which have been instituted as a misguided solution, only serve to escalate violence, as people should not need to fight for their lives. Let’s not forget, we are not living in a first-person shooter video game.

However, I feel that although our politicians have poignantly and appropriately expressed their grief, and temporarily stopped all political competition in Colorado, they are wrong to avoid giving statements on how the gun situation could be resolved. As “The Shootings in Colorado” aptly points out, “…it seems unlikely that they will tell us what they are going to do about it, or that there will be a national dialogue about it, just as there was no national dialogue after Columbine or after Virginia Tech or after Jared Lee Loughner tried to assassinate then-Representative Gabrielle Giffords.” I worry that our politicians do not wish to face any controversial event for fear of alienating certain voters- their campaign is obviously a bigger priority than trying to reform our laws. Perhaps the issues will be addressed when the candidates are placed in power, but I doubt it. Congress might try to solve the issue, but gun lobbyists will insure that negotiations remain in a deadlock. After all, the death of thirteen people barely jolted Congress into adding gun control regulations after the massacre at Columbine in 1999. The two laws that were enacted in 2000 merely makes it a requirement to have a safety lock on the gun, and bans high capacity ammunition magazine importation, but this is like putting a bandaid on an amputation.

Politicians dancing around the subject of gun laws with regards to the Aurora shooting shows that the United States government has directly violated the social contract that Thomas Hobbes outlined in his book Leviathan. The social contract involves the citizens of a nation giving up total freedom in exchange for the security of a strong government, or sovereign. The government cannot fail in its duty to maintain peace, or else the contract is void. In this case, the U.S. government is violating the contract by not prescribing a civil law concerning gun control. The government must take strong action, or else, at least according to Hobbes, citizens will take to the streets in an every-man-for-himself, free-for-all existence.

Texas Republican Representative Louie Gohmert touched upon this phenomenon when he wondered during a radio interview why no one else had a firearm on his or her person to combat the berzerk Holmes. (Has one little politician been playing too much Call of Duty?) But is advocating full-scale shootouts in public spaces a responsible position to take? Do we really want to see Hobbes’ philosophies play out this way? Batman, Superman and Michael Knight are excellent crimefighters when they’re confined to the television screen and comic book pages, but applying their techniques to real-life situations might not be so wise; the potential for casualties is astronomical. Gohmert also failed to realize that it may be slightly difficult to pull out a gun and shoot accurately in the midst of gas and a wave of panicking bystanders without proper training.  

“Batman, Superman and Michael Knight are excellent crimefighters when they’re confined to the television screen and comic book pages, but applying their techniques to real-life situations might not be so wise; the potential for casualties is astronomical.”

How many more tragedies will there be? Congress must stop fretting over getting reelected and actually place reform, however controversial, as a higher priority.

-by Daniel Park, 2012