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.

 

The Spectre Incident

Political correctness seems to be the hot topic of the year. Men with heads full of hot gas like Donald Trump continue to bluster away about how political correctness is overdone in order to justify their misguided, prejudiced beliefs and slanderous remarks, and comedians like Jerry Seinfeld refuse to perform at college campuses for fear of being denounced for being racist or sexist with his jokes. This was an issue that I, however, had not really stopped and considered until recently.

Source: Highsnobiety

Personally, I try to make the world a better place each day with some deed, however big or small. As a blogger and an online presence, I try to help those who I feel could use moral support or friendship, and in person, I try to be giving and caring. However, while I consider political correctness to be a common courtesy that should be utilized in society, I find myself concerned that my contemporaries and others will use political correctness in order to create a more stifling environment that is less welcoming to divergent opinions.

Source: Defending Tennessee Blog

I applied early decision to my university because I was excited about being part of a warm, welcoming community full of new, different people. I was fascinated at the idea of encountering new concepts and ideas, and looking at the world from the point of view of my new friends. Upon arriving, I did not find myself disappointed, but I sometimes found myself conflicted and in troubling or uncomfortable situations.

This was neither bad nor unexpected- I wanted to be challenged and enlightened, to step out of my comfort zone, as the University staff encouraged us to. However, I found myself frustrated at the feeling that political correctness was invading parts of my life and stifling my voice, my own opportunities to speak. One such example can be found in my recent experience with a popular college pastime- Cards Against Humanity.

Source: GameSpot

For those who may be unfamiliar with the game, the objective of Cards Against Humanity is to come up with the funniest, most toxic combination of cards to create crude, vulgar and humorous statements- to be the worst human being in the room, as some people say. As a Cards Against Humanity veteran, I found myself frustrated and angry at the most recent game I competed in, where some of my fellow players tried to refuse to read out combinations that they were uncomfortable with and immediately disqualified them, and even going so far as to pick out combinations that were both unfunny and bland. To illustrate, one individual picked the “Homosexual agenda” card because the combination would have cast the homosexual agenda in a positive light, and as a bisexual, she claimed that “the homosexual agenda trumps all”. I felt that such actions, every single time they occurred were missing the point of the game and often took the fun out of such amusements because we were arguing to get the cards read and groaning that the card selected wasn’t all that funny. What did it matter if I laughed at a Cards Against Humanity joke if it was funny? I pondered to myself, It’s just a game, and no one at the table seriously believed in the terrible statements we made.

Later, when I was invited to a late night showing of the new James Bond movie Spectre, I concluded that although the movie had been somewhat weak, that had not stopped it from being entertaining at times. But someone sharply criticized the movie for having an inappropriate relationship between James Bond and the Bond girl, its sexualization and an oddly grotesque title sequence, and the others were quick to concur. And I was left again, for the second time in under 24 hours, my opinion unshared because I did not want to risk putting a damper on the social situation, or be accused of being a supporter of twisted ideals because I found the movie entertaining.

Source: IMDB

Once, my friend was locked in a debate about police brutality concerning the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, and he argued that the police officer was risking his life to protect his city, and that when Brown charged at him, he was merely defending himself. He had a right to, and it must not have been an easy decision to pull the trigger, he argued. He didn’t do it because he was racist, but because he was scared. This opinion led to a lot of criticism amongst us during that year in high school, but we were not so blinded as to not understand the other party’s point of view, and we always heard him out.

That was an idea that we hadn’t stopped to consider before, and I admit to being so narrow-minded as to arguing that the cop could have shot to wound rather than kill that I didn’t stop to think from another point of view because I was outraged at the idea that the man killed a black person because of his race. The media loves itself a villain, but things are not always as they seem.

Political correctness can definitely be a positive force against men and women who discriminate against race, gender and sexual orientation, against those who seek to gain power and political influence or wrongfully maintain it. However, there are times when it’s just not necessary. When a friend tells a joke you are uncomfortable with, there’s no need to rail about going against misogyny and broken ideals, just tell them you are uncomfortable telling such jokes or back out of the game. One is also, of course, allowed to have diverging and disapproving opinions of a movie. Of course it’s important to instill and enforce ideals to create a better and equal society, but for God’s sake, there’s no need to shove them down other people’s throats simply because you don’t think it’s clear enough. But the point I’m trying to make is that some people who focus on being politically correct should be clear that there is a clear difference between educating people and shutting their opinions down. Moreover, a situation like the one above was an instance that reminded me:

I am a human being. And I sometimes can look at the world and see that it is so beautiful and full of things to explore. Why else is science never finished? Why else do we launch things into space? I look at my fellow human beings and I find that they are beautiful, multifaceted, complicated beings with a point of view that is uniquely theirs. They have lived a life and own a soul that is entirely theirs, and that is what makes a human life and experience. And they have a right to share that, politically correct or not.

(Previously Published as “Sense and Sensitivity”)

Chalk

Sit back and imagine something for me.

It’s pitch black outside, and the only thing allowing the figures to see where they’re dashing are the imposing lampposts and the small lights bordering the paths stretching their little orange lights out into the darkness. It’s by this illumination that these people grab chalk and begin scrawling across the sidewalks and the walls. When the residents of my university wake up and enter the main square, they see “VOTE”, “TRUMP” “TRUMP 2016” and “Accept the Inevitable” written across the walls in garish capital letters everywhere.

The university erupts into an outrage. The news media immediately gets to work reporting on the incidents. Latino and Black Lives Matter activists begin organizing protests and many people take to the Internet to broadcast their outrage, their anger in angry Facebook posts and exasperated Yik Yak updates.

So you know me. The Oddity Writer, the man who stands for what he believes in, wakes up to see “graffiti” plastered across campus. What does he do?

He buys some chalk and makes one small edit.

That thick piece of chalk felt unwieldy in my hand as I knelt before the wall and began carving my words around the large pink name. But I stood back in satisfaction at my work in the end.

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See, I know what this move was aimed to get a rise out of the activists. I knew that the graffiti placers were looking to create chaos and anger. This is why I chose to make a crude joke out of all of it. This way, I have a laugh that I can share with others, and the people who seek the backlash from the activists don’t get what they want.

But even if you’re saying that I didn’t do enough, or if that wasn’t the right way to do things, let’s be real for a second, guys. People who disagree with you exist in the real world. The real world is not safe. This is a debate that’s been raging, dare I use superlatives, since America was founded- what’s more important? Liberty or security? You can try to make the world safe, but you’re going to fail. Or maybe you will, but by doing so, you’ll trade in the concept of liberty that America was founded on. And I don’t care if we end up making this trade for the best of intentions. I refuse to believe in it. The right to dissenting opinions and discussion is a big part of our country and the First Amendment and I insist upon it.

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“EXSQUEEZE ME, I AM TRIGGERED BY THIS UGLY MUG”

If I’m being completely honest right now, I’m more concerned about something else. See, this is the reason why I wrote this post. I’m not entirely sure when- newspapers don’t talk about the time events occurred and I’m not online enough to keep track- but there have been explosions and terror incidents in Brussels, Belgium. At least 31 people are dead and there is chaos over there. People are probably very, very scared right now and they could use our thoughts and prayers.

But what are you college students doing? You’re crying over chalk graffiti. Erasable. Chalk. Graffiti. Seriously? What are you doing with yourselves right now? You’re taking all this way too seriously and giving these defacers what they want- drama. And you’re giving Trump more coverage and exposure that he doesn’t need.

So I suggest that we leave this event with the erased chalk- in the past, behind us. Send your thoughts and prayers to Belgium. God knows they need it right now more than this issue does. Thank you for reading, everyone! And I’ll see you on the next page of this story.

Take care and stay awesome!

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.

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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!

Today.

Hello, everyone!

I’d like to start out by sharing this with everyone- it’s a video that was shared in one of my classes years ago- I don’t even remember when. Please take the time to watch it before continuing to read.

And now an interlude of photos so you don’t skip ahead or see anything before you should because that’s just naughty.

…That sounds odd. To the photos!

Credits: genius.com
Credits: pixartimes.com and Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille (Aren’t you hungry now?)

…Yeah. There you go.

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day, to ask that you give your mom a hug, treat them to something.

I know that I love my mother very much, and that I do appreciate her role and her guidance in my life a lot. Even if I don’t show it all the time. And if she ever reads this- I want to thank her for not raising me to be a fuck-up, to make me into one of many people with an infinite amount of potential. I have so much of my life left to make you proud, Mom, and I promise that I will. Thank you for believing in me. Although I actually cannot promise that I’ll commit to law school. (I’msosorryIcan’tresistcrueljokeshnnnggh)

I have a lot of followers who are mothers, and I see the love that they give to their children. And it’s heartwarming to see that, and it gives me faith in humanity. I know I say that a lot, but it also means a lot to me.

If you were to talk to the right people, they would tell you that I was- and perhaps still am- a self-centered cynic with no faith in human goodness. But over time, with supporting friends, with all the compassion I see here, believing in something like this isn’t… unrealistic, anymore.

So thank you all for helping me regain hope. And I hope you all take good care of yourselves.

(I also apologize for not releasing “Every Life” today as scheduled, that is coming very, very soon.)

Until next time, everyone! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

Source: http://static.ibnlive.in.com/ibnlive/pix/ibnhome/winkcumber.jpg

CSPA, Futures and Responses, Part II

So while I merely talked about the events surrounding my trip to New York City for the CSPA journalism convention in Part One here, I’d like to share a few valuable lessons that everyone taught me at the convention.

Tips for Online Newspapers: Post Daily and Work Ahead!

Go! Go! Go! Aim for the bulls-eye! Source: seachangestrategies.com

When a relevant event pops up, you can repost a relevant essay or article after a few months (I know Opinionated Man will do this every now and again).

Is there a upcoming release of a new J.K. Rowling book? Re-release an infographic or previous post about her previous books, be it Harry Potter and the Important Object/Organization/Person or one of her books written under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym.

Source: robert-galbraith.com

Here’s a tip that I fell for on my first blog: Don’t call each post or major update an “issue” or an “episode”.

There are exceptions of course. I know Encouraging Life goes through version numbers as the site is altered, but I feel like that’s different. And justified. But something like this blog post or this blog post shouldn’t really be considered an “episode” of anything.

Something I’m personally struggling with is the use of social media- and of different types of media- pushing out content to the people and driving them in with Facebook and Twitter.

Source: http://www.yiyinglu.com/

I try to come up with interesting taglines, but I can’t seem to come up with the time to write some decent Twitter Exclusives. Something I can really admire is Erin Fink-Nottle’s “#Finktion“. She would tell a story over Twitter live for 10-20 minutes, and they were always entertaining to read.

A word of advice that was interesting to me was the idea that you should write about people and not about events.

I started following this trend almost reflexively as I started focusing on character-driven fiction, working on my cast before expanding the world around them for my novel, and it continued into my rant in “Rotten in the State“, my rant that was written to support the community that I was a part of, and to encourage them.

I have pages and pages of notes, but I think I’ll leave you with one last tip here: Be honest about who you are and who you’re with. While this was meant for interviewing purposes, and being on the record, it applies in real life as well.Aaron Cahall, my lecturer told me of a time where he treated his sources like human beings, got involved in the story, and came out all the better for it.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my work! Please let me know about something you’d like to see in the comments below!

I will see you all next time!

(P.S. Part III, the final installment will be available on May 4th or May 5th) 🙂

CSPA, Futures and Responses, Part 1

Hey guys, I hope you’re all doing well.

In this first post after my visit to Columbia University for CSPA, I’d like to update you on what I learned from the convention, and about the new content that’s going to be posted here, and on my personal project, as well as my responses to recent events and reflections.

So first things first: CSPA. As always, the lectures I took were insightful and it was always fascinating to learn about an industry that I’ve always admired, and to meet and listen to people who can be considered experts in the field.

What you see below are my tweets as I went about the convention and listened, interspersed with my own words. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I’m right here on @marktheredwood. I’m going to talk more about that later on.

However, I ran into a technical difficulty as I sat on that train to New York City, as I gazed out at the gray asphalt, the dreary cold stark sky, the train stations and the people…

And what came after was a turbulent train trip to Penn Station where I ate a cheese sandwich for breakfast and accidentally “lost” (when I say lost, I mean the remains of it flew out of the carton onto a subway rider- DON’T REMIND ME!) a drink…

It was a quick checkin before one of my editors and I dashed off to our first lecture, with Leland Mallett, who discussed the do’s and don’ts of online journalism with us and told us about the distinguished history of our particular room:

Then it was a bit of a sprint to a mischeduled critique session, and then to a class about learning what the journalism wouldn’t teach you by Aaron Cahall of Daggerpress- he told us a lot which I prompty scribbled in my illegible scrawl:

And then as we went to our next class, “Four Levels of Storytelling”, I decided to take a little panorama while my fellow editor, Shrea hid away from the camera.

The class itself was interesting- it discussed emotional responses and the way information was integrated into a story, and it used examples such as a spread of a basketball game:

And then I headed to my final class, taught by Professor Kathleen Neumeyer, where I learned about the importance of avoiding entanglement in a story, about reporting the unadulterated truth (the beginning of the Tweet is in the teacher’s words):

And now I ask you, the readers:

And with that, I have completed my compilation and revisit of CSPA footage, in part two, I’ll be talking more about the knowledge gained from the classes and the “Futures and Responses” of this first update. See you tomorrow, guys.

And of course, thank you all so much for lending me your time and your eyes! I appreciate it to no end.

Look to the Tweets Tomorrow!

I’ll be tweeting from Columbia University about a journalism convention.

In the meantime, my word count for the personal project is slowly climbing- I’ve hit 2000 words and I’ve got two pages of planning for the story, as well as the flashback scenes in my head (and yes, the notes I scribbled on the margins of my notebooks).

In the back of my mind, I’m still thinking about other works that deserve more time and credit than I’ve given them or have time to give, like my memoir about my time with the Wayland Council (see Memoirs and Musings) to the Mark Redwood series, which I feel deserved more time and care- especially considering that this fiction went through many, many drafts.

Anyways, I leave you with a funny, yet relevant joke while I go and sleep so that I can wake up at 5 am for the convention! See you then.

https://www.eviscerati.org/comics/comic/osw/2015/03/My-Brain-Insomnia

The Influence of Social Media

As college decisions quickly approach, high school students are often reminded of how easily the Internet can create or mask their identities. So in order to hide their social media profiles from college officials potentially looking at their applicants, students often change their Facebook names, and bystanders will frequently watch in confusion as unfamiliar, sometimes outlandish names appear in their News Feed and Friends Lists. These changes have raised one question: Is social media a true representation of students’ offline identities?

When asked whether her social media identity reflects who she is, junior Elizabeth O’Keefe responded,  “I feel like they’re similar but you strip away all the problems.” Senior Victoria Seremetis added that it “shows how I want others to see me.”

After polling RHS students, the High Times staff found that most people felt their social media identities relatively or effectively represented who they were. Most students picked 7 on a scale of 1-10, as to how accurately their social media profiles reflected who they were. This leaves room for some inaccuracies, and interestingly enough, no one rated themselves lower than a 6. When asked how exactly students used their profiles most responded that they used their accounts primarily for keeping in touch with both their immediate friends and friends abroad in other states or countries.

Photocred: TRON Betrayal
Photocred: TRON Betrayal

To clarify, “reflection” of a person through social media profiles implies that one’s profile displays one’s interests, likes and personal traits through status updates, group and social circle memberships, or personal photos.

Social media profiles can be both great distractions and mirrors. But the question still remains (and please, feel free to comment below)- is this hypothetical mirror a pale digital reflection?