Is the Joke Only Funny Until Someone Gets Hurt?

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, Saturday Night Live has taken our new presidency in stride and as a favor, which is not felt by most of the country. But when is enough too much? The show has featured Alec Baldwin parodying Donald Trump on the campaign trail and also as president. Recently, Saturday Night Live has added more impersonations of prominent figures, both foreign and domestic. Vladimir Putin, played by Beck Bennett, has been a part of the show since 2013 but has been used far more often in 2016-17 in conjunction with Alec’s portrayal of Trump. The addition of White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, played by Melissa McCarthy just last week caused an upset, to the point that Sean Spicer felt the need to mention it at the next press conference. However, Saturday

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Alec Baldwin" Episode 1718 -- Pictured: Host Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump during the "Trump People's Court" sketch on February 11, 2017 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
“The show has featured Alec Baldwin parodying Donald Trump on the campaign trail and also as president.” Photo from: www.indiewire.com

Night Live also reached one of its all-time-rating-highs thanks to that segment. They have also added shorter appearances, including Melania Trump played by Cecily Strong, Ivanka and Tiffany Trump played by Vanessa Bayer, Donald Trump Jr. and Steve Bannon played by Mikey Day, and Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions played by Kate McKinnon.

But is Saturday Night Live taking things too far? Every week Donald Trump seems to go on a Twitter rant about whatever was said or however he and his appointed officials were portrayed. Is SNL beating a dead horse by poking fun at the president? Or are they pointed out how completely ridiculous this presidency is? Yes, the skits they perform are over dramatic versions of events throughout the week. And there is no doubt that SNL is a comedy show, not news media. But, what if Trump decides to react more violently than he does in his 6:30 a.m. Twitter posts? Trump has already tried to silence the scientific community by barring them from posting scientific facts on their official social media sites. What is to stop him from trying to silence all portrayals of him, except those that cast him in the light he wishes to be in?

I personally do not think SNL has gone too far. In fact, I believe they should continue to point out the idiocy and hypocrisy of Donald Trump’s administration.

Makeup as an Artform

Women have used makeup to enhance or hide certain features of their faces since the 1920s, when modern makeup was first invented. Makeup has also been a way for girls and women to express themselves.

Some parents give their daughters little “makeup” kits that include lots of glitter, some “lipsticks” and “eye shadows.” It is a way that young girls can express themselves, whether they’re applying makeup to their own faces or the faces of their dolls/toys.

But as women get older, they start diving into more complex makeup tricks such as contouring and winged eyeliner. But, it goes farther than that. Some people become makeup artists and do makeup for others. They train at a school, or even a makeup store, such as MAC. Makeup becomes their tool for their form of living art. Makeup artists go to crazy new heights in fashion shows and makeup expos, and even for everyday clients.

makeup
“While there are professional makeup artists, women are now becoming more invested in their makeup, even those at home.” Photo from: www.youqueen.com

While there are professional makeup artists, women are now becoming more invested in their makeup, even those at home. There are countless men and women on YouTube trying to encourage everyday people to show off their inner “glam.” Women today are now spending more money on makeup to show that they can enhance their features just like the professionals.

In the 1960s, women went with a more natural look, which was a light coat of mascara and a natural shade of lipstick, just enough to enhance their features in a good way (1). But now women are going for more dramatic looks like cat eyes and hugely noticeable contouring on their cheeks.

Makeup is an art, but there are some people that do not believe makeup should be used. There are men that believe women are using makeup to hide what they really look like, and they even come up with certain memes that demonstrate this opinion.

Even though there are some that don’t believe that makeup is a good thing, many see it as a way of expression, or in a more professional light, an art form.

1 – http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-04/news/vw-2440_1_art-form

Surviving the Radford Plague

If you’re a student at Radford, chances are you’ve heard of the Radford Plague. It’s about as well-known to Radford students as bad parking options, the Dalton Dash, and the phrases light side and dark side. Unfortunately, it seems to be as big a part of Radford’s culture as the lack of A/C in Muse is, and we’re not sure which is worse. The Radford Plague, if you’ve been fortunate enough to have never heard of it or experienced it, is an epidemic of illness, whether that be the flu, flu-like symptoms, or a really bad cold, that spreads like wildfire. Perhaps it stems from our friendly nature here at Raddy and our love of hanging out and being with others that allows any kind of sickness to be so easily spread.

So if you’ve been like the majority of us and have gotten the Plague, here are a few tips that will help you make it through.

Drink fluids

Drinking fluids helps flush out your system and, of course, keeps you hydrated. If you have a fever, it helps you stay cool and replaces any fluids that you may lose. Water, soup, and tea are the best options. Juice with vitamin C is alright, but avoid sugary sodas and even drinks such as Gatorade which have a high sugar content. These will just make you more thirsty.

Get Plenty of Rest

When you’re sick, you need more sleep than usual so your body can fight off whatever’s making you sick, whether it be a virus or bacterial infection. Try not to stay up too late and avoid strenuous activities until you’ve felt better for at least a few days. If you push yourself too hard without having enough rest, you might have a relapse which will put you right back where you started. So rest up. I’m sure you don’t need too much convincing to skip a class and get some extra sleep.

sick
“When you’re sick, you need more sleep than usual so your body can fight off whatever’s making you sick, whether it be a virus or bacterial infection.” Photo from: www.images.medicaldaily.com

Take the right kind of medication

If you have a fever, make sure you’re taking something with acetaminophen (Tylenol), which will help bring the fever down. Acetaminophen also helps relieve aches, pains, and a sore throat. If you have bad cough, take something with dextromethorphan (Robitussin/Delsym). If you have a stuffy head and bad nasal congestion, make sure you take something with pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). If you have the full-blown Plague/flu (fever, aches and pains, fatigue, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat) Dayquil and Nyquil cover just about all those symptoms. Nyquil, of course, makes you tired and helps you sleep, so don’t do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing while sleeping, like driving or operating a forklift. Follow the dosage instructions on the box, and take the medication after you start to feel better to make sure you don’t relapse.

Note: If your symptoms are severe and don’t get better over time, go see a doctor.

WASH YOUR HANDS

This is by far the best way to stop spreading the Plague and to prevent getting it in the first place. Wash your hands all the time—before you eat, before you snack, before you touch your face, mouth, or eyes, after touching germy things like keyboards, door handles, and remote controls, and, of course, after you use the bathroom. Hand sanitizer works in a pinch, but soap and warm water are the most effective.

The Trouble with Trump

Our newest president is always making headlines, ever since he began running for office. It is not uncommon for his name and his face to be the first thing anyone sees when they look at the news. Unfortunately, this is rarely, if ever, a good thing for him or for us.

trump tweets
“It is no secret that when any source of public media makes negative comments about Trump, regardless of the form they take, he immediately responds via Twitter.” Photo from: www.occupydemocrats.com

Donald Trump has had one scandal or public media blowout after another. One of the most significant issues has been his various sexual assault allegations and his gross mistreatment of women. For example, everyone has heard of (and many have seen) the footage where Donald Trump has talked about “grabbing (women) by the pussy,” something that sparked outrage among many (as it rightly should). There have been at least 15 women who have accused Trump of sexually assaulting them (including one of his ex-wives), which is more than enough to cause serious concern. If anyone, regardless of who they are or whether they are male or female, receives sexual assault claims from that many people, then that person needs to be investigated, especially if they are the President.

Another issue with Trump is his rampant Twitter rants and tantrums. It is no secret that when any source of public media makes negative comments about Trump, regardless of the form they take, he immediately responds via Twitter, usually with pathetic name calling and/or slander. In and of itself, this is not a terribly big deal. The issue is that this is the leader of our country, arguably the most powerful man in the world. He is a man with access to nuclear weapons and the entire U.S. military, and he is easily upset over the speech of an actress or a comedy sketch from a TV show that is known for its parodies of pop culture and politics. The question becomes: Why is he so concerned with these people, who he claims are hacks, when he has a country to run? One would think he has better things to do with his time besides respond to these people who he claims to thinks so little of. Trump is far too easily provoked.

There is also Trump’s habit of calling news sources that make negative comments/stories/articles about him fake news. Frankly, this is ridiculous. If Trump has an issue with a news source or believes they are unfairly representing him, then fine. He has every right to combat these claims. But all he does is call them fake news; if he doesn’t like it, then it’s fake news. If the news that these people are sharing is worth garnering Trump’s specific attention (and I’m not saying it is worth it, he has more important things to be worrying about as President), then he could actually provide evidence and make compelling arguments against the stories. Instead he just calls it “fake news”. This man is our President but he’s still acting like a toddler and shouting “Wrong!” at whatever he doesn’t like.

 

The Perks of Being a Commuting Student

I’m a local kid. I grew up in Radford and was familiar enough with the campus by the time I reached high school. But I never imagined myself actually attending the school. I wanted to move away and go somewhere new. When the time came to prepare for my first semester here, I had to make a decision: keep living at home and drive twenty-some minutes to and from campus each day, or move into a dorm/apartment? I opted to stay at my childhood home. I’ll be graduating this May, and I’m still living there! This might seem like an unusual decision, but ultimately, I’ve been able to live a fuller life because of it. Here are five reasons why I enjoy being a commuter.

  1. No Rent

My parents and I worked out a deal freshman year where I could still live at home for free as long as I was going to school and working. The money I’m saving by continuing to live with them, which would have otherwise gone to an apartment, can now be put towards more worthy endeavors—like saving up for a new car, an eventual apartment, or the occasional treat at Coldstone.

  1. My Sisters

I’m the oldest of four and have a very close relationship with my younger sisters. Because I commute, I’m still able to play an active role in their lives. Some days I pick them up from school; most days I’m helping them with their homework (what I don’t pay in rent I make up for in tutoring services). Being a commuter means that I don’t have to miss out on their formative years and that they can still turn to their wise older sister for advice.

commute
Photo from: www.andrewalexanderprice.com
  1. No Roommate Horror Stories

One of the perks of living with my family is that I already know their annoying quirks and habits. And they know mine! This might seem misanthropic of me, but I’d rather live with my family’s familiar faults than adjust to the oddities of a stranger.

  1. My Mother’s Cooking

I’m a little bit of a Momma’s girl, but my mother is an incredible cook. Seriously. When I don’t have time to prepare my own meals, I’m always bringing leftovers of something she made to school. Before I began attending Radford University, I spent a year away from home. During that year, one of the things I missed the most was my mom’s cooking. Now I can enjoy it any time my heart desires it!

  1. The Campus Community

I think one of Radford University’s strengths is the unity of the students. Being a commuter has never set me apart from my peers. The only difference between me and my on-campus friends is that I have to wake up earlier than they do to get to class. I’m thankful that at Radford, being a commuter doesn’t mean that I have to sacrifice having a social life or being involved with campus-related activities.

The Problem with Trump’s Push for Anti-Immigration

court
“While the court’s decision to put a stop on the travel ban can be brought to an appeals court and overturned, the ban itself is only in effect for 120 days for refugees and 90 days for visitors from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.” Photo from: https://infacts.org

Donald Trump has only been in office a short while (three weeks to be exact), but he has been, and is, making waves in his push for anti-immigration laws. The most significant aspects of this are, of course, Trump’s travel ban and the subsequent freeze the courts have placed on it with a unanimous 3-0 ruling (1), rendering it useless for the time being. And while the court’s decision to put a stop on the travel ban can be brought to an appeals court and overturned, the ban itself is only in effect for 120 days for refugees and 90 days for visitors from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Of course, this whole ordeal, Trump’s anti-immigration push, the travel ban, and the court ruling (and reactions to it), raises some serious concerns.

Firstly, this is not a travel ban, it is a Muslim ban. Trump specifically chose countries that have a high population of Muslims because of the Islamophobia and xenophobia belonging to both him and the people who voted for him. Frankly, this is idiotic, unpatriotic, and (at least) arguably unconstitutional. People (including Donald Trump himself), who know virtually nothing of those they are discriminating against, are just assuming that Muslim equals terrorist. It does not; they are not the same thing and to assume otherwise is ridiculous. One of the reasons why this, and the ban on these countries, is idiotic is because from 1975 to 2015, not a single person from those countries has killed any American on American soil and only 17 people from all seven of those countries have ever been convicted of planning or attempting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil (2).

The people who support this ban would rather pander to their base and unfounded fears. They want to place the blame on an entire group of people and then pat themselves on the back, saying they did something good, rather than actually address the problem and make genuine attempts to stop it. Not to mention how the whole idea of this (Muslim) ban is to protect America and American values, yet we are doing the exact opposite of what America is, traditionally, supposed to stand for. Namely, America is a place where anyone can come and be themselves, and it is a land where you’re supposed to be free to be who you are, free of religious persecution. That was the whole idea of this country to begin with. But apparently, that only applies if you’re not Muslim (or not African American, or not Latino, or not Jewish, or not gay, and so on. You get the point). I fail to see how we are “protecting America and American values” by banning refugees and immigrants from the country. Frankly, if there was ever a time for America to ban immigrants, it would have been back when all of those White Europeans came over and wiped out the Native Americans. But as that didn’t happen, I feel the need to point out that we are a country of immigrants.

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/federal-appeals-court-maintains-suspension-of-trumps-immigration-order/2017/02/09/e8526e70-ed47-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.07278f1b299d
  2. https://www.cato.org/blog/little-national-security-benefit-trumps-executive-order-immigration

All-Nighter

Sleep doesn’t come when I call anymore.

Maybe I’ll rub the tired from my eyes,

And write another thousand words before the sun rises.

I’ll let myself lose a dozen hours in a back-lit screen.

Just because it feels meaningful when compared with the alternative:

Lying in the cloying silence,

Inventing patterns on the off-white ceiling.

 

There is no heartbreak this time,

No creeping anxiety that drags at the back of my mind.

The weight of the cosmos is no heavier than it ever is.

Nothing to fix, nothing to blame.

These words may be the only meaning I ever find in it,

And even they won’t come easy.

night sky
“I’ll pretend every waking hour had been my decision So I can wear the dark circles under my eyes like some badge of honor.” Photo from: https://pixabay.com

Another all-nighter?” he asks,

And I return his well-intentioned smile.

I’ll pretend every waking hour had been my decision

So I can wear the dark circles under my eyes like some badge of honor,

As though my bone-deep exhaustion was a marker of academic fortitude.

But there is no significance or triumph in the reality

That rest has become some unruly beast,

And sleep doesn’t come when I call anymore.

Fanfiction is Good Fiction

Movies, TV shows, and novels have become one of the largest, if not the largest, form of entertainment in the world today. Millions of people enjoy the Harry Potter franchise, the Star Wars franchise, the Game of Thrones franchise, and the Twilight saga, just to name a few of the more popular ones. Most of them are so popular that they are still going strong even after 20 or 30 years. One of the biggest contributors to their continued popularity is the creation of fanfiction.

Fanfictions, for those of you who do not know, are stories that use characters, settings, and backgrounds that already exist. The vast majority of fanfiction is published online and is available for free. The writers (i.e. the fans) can change any part of a character, story, or background, for almost any reason. They can do so if they simply like a character one way over another or if they want to add a trait that’s necessary for telling their story. Fans do this because they enjoy writing, because they wish to see more of their favorite characters, because they are interested in seeing what may happen if they changed a crucial plot point, and so on; the reasons are countless.

Some of these fanfiction stories are of a very professional quality and are novels in and of themselves. On the other hand, some of them can be rather subpar; it all varies between writers. However, there is some controversy over the creation of fanfiction, regardless of its quality. Some consider it a breach of copyright and critique the writers for being unoriginal. Some believe others shouldn’t borrow the hard work of professional writers, directors, and screenwriters. But the situation isn’t as simple as that.

typing
“Fanfictions, for those of you who do not know, are stories that use characters, settings, and backgrounds that already exist.” Photo from: sourcemygarment.com

Fanfiction writers don’t claim to own any of the characters or stories that they base their work on nor do they enjoy any financial gain from it. Many make a point of letting their readers know that they do not own the characters they are writing about. They aren’t mooching off the professional story tellers’ financial gain or reputation; they gain nothing but the satisfaction of writing and having people read and enjoy their work. There is no breach of copyright because there is no claim of ownership.

As for criticisms of unoriginality and lack of talent, those are nothing but a blatant ignorance of all of the hard work, effort, and skill that goes into the creation of any creative work. There is no denying that some fanfiction is just bad; it’s poorly conceptualized and poorly written. Those stories are typically the works of inexperienced writers who are working to improve their writing abilities. Then there are also the writers who simply don’t put much effort in. But there is just as much, if not more, fanfiction out there that is well thought-out and well written, with original plots and ideas. Even the way a person writes can be well-executed; they can give great details and create vivid descriptions. Fanfiction writers can develop new and interesting storylines that can really make you think about and feel for a character.

To suggest fanfiction is merely unoriginal and poorly written is simply ignorant of the skills and creativity needed to make great stories; these are the same skills and creativity that the original creators themselves use.

Tattoos and Piercings in the Work Place

Tattoos and piercings are two of the many ways that people like to express their individuality. If you walk down the street you are most likely to see someone with a tattoo, some form of body piercing, or both. People spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on designs and jewelry to show what they are passionate about. However, with the growing number of people that have these modifications, it is harder for them to get a job or even get past the interview stage in certain companies.

tattoos in work place
“Employers will sometimes bypass a great candidate for their company solely because they have “abnormal” piercings or visible tattoos.” Photo from: https://purposesearchers.files.wordpress.com

Employers will sometimes bypass a great candidate for their company solely because they have “abnormal” piercings or visible tattoos. In a way, this violates the First Amendment, which we all know is the freedom of speech. Tattoos are a way for someone to express their beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, so some think that they should be protected under the First Amendment. Title VII and even the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are also somewhat violated because they prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion and national origin. Paganism is a religion that believes in piercings and tattoos, so employers would be “technically” breaking a law for discriminating against someone with tattoos (1).

Now, this goes to say that some companies have lightened up on their policies regarding tattoos. There are some companies, including Wal-Mart, Sea World, and Walt Disney World, that have policies against visible tattoos (1). Most policies just ask them to be covered up, which most people do not mind doing. However, piercings such as gauges are even more largely discriminated against, more than regular piercings (1). This is because they are facial piercings that can be seen with a uniform on, thus breaking a certain code for the company.

Employers should not have a say as to what a person does to his/her own body. Because the First Amendment is very much a big deal in American society, why can’t tattoos and piercings be made a direct example of freedom of speech?

1 – http://projectcensored.org/body-art-discrimination-violation-first-amendment/

Humans of Radford University

I have a lot of assignments to do. I have a lot of outside readings I have to do. And I have the memory of a one year old infant. And as you know, they don’t have memories. So I have to write a lot of stuff down, then I have to remember that it’s written down somewhere, and then I have to remember where that is. I actually need to go to the…uh…bookstore! Yeah, the bookstore and  see if they have a little board I can write on and get some scissors. So yeah, if I had a better memory, I’d be a lot more productive.

Why Scientific Literacy is Important

Imagine starting your average day. You wake up and look at what the weather forecast has to say about the outside world. You prepare yourself for the day to come, by taking a nice warm shower and using a scented bar of soap. You make yourself a large breakfast with eggs, bacon, pancakes, and a large cup of coffee. You may not have thought about it, but every action you took to begin the day involved science – whether it be the meteorologist telling you the weather by basing their predictions on patterns shown in the atmosphere, the thermodynamics used to heat up water to the perfect temperature for a shower, or the chemistry needed to make sure the pancakes came out as light and fluffy as possible.

To understand how these everyday tasks work, we need scientific literacy. What exactly is scientific literacy? Scientific literacy is described by the National Science Education Standards (1996)1 as “the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.” Now the next question is: why is this important? Why do we need to know how the world works? What is most important about scientific literacy is it gives one the ability to make informed decisions.

chemistry cookings
“You may not have thought about it, but every action you took to begin the day involved science – the chemistry needed to make sure the pancakes came out as light and fluffy as possible.” Photo from: www.martinezgazette.com

For example, having scientific literacy can range from making basic observations to becoming involved with local and global policies. These opportunities can change your life, as well as the lives of everyone around the globe. If you get involved with any sort of environmental committee, you can help decide the purity of water for your community. Scientific literacy can also hone your fact-checking ability. If a person tells you that men have more teeth than women, a way you can check that is by observing a group of men and a group of women and counting their teeth. This is what scientific literacy is about.

Not only will being more scientifically literate help us with knowing why things happen the way they do, it can also increase a person’s skill set. According to Let’s Talk Science (2017)2, “Doing science develops our ability to ask questions, collect information, organize and test our ideas, problem-solve and apply what we learn. Even more, science offers a powerful platform for building confidence, developing communication skills and making sense of the world around us – a world that is increasingly shaped by science and technology.” These skills, especially communication skills, shape our society and personal relations. Also taking into consideration that our world is changing because of the new technologies made every day, in order to take advantage of these technological advances, we must understand why we need them and how to use them. Though the significance of science in average routines may not be clearly visible, knowing about scientific processes will provide the skills needed to be an informed decision maker.

 

 

 

Citations

 

1 National Science Education Standards. (1996). Scientific Literacy. Retrieved February 04, 2017, from http://www.literacynet.org/science/scientificliteracy.html

 

2 Turnbull, M. (n.d.). Why is Science Literacy so Important? Retrieved February 04, 2017, from http://letstalkscience.ca/about-us/why-science.html

Society’s Robot-Part 1

“Remember, Cassie, don’t say anything out of line and keep your head up or you may just be pushed down.” I listened to Mother Esther as she packed up my new clothes in my suitcase. I don’t remember ever doing anything on my own until I turned thirteen and was taught how to serve the wealthy. I was sent to my first house at fifteen. They were a nice, old couple. They needed help with little things. They treated me well, somewhat like a daughter. Mother Esther told me this was not so unusual with older couples.

“Now tell me the five rules.”

I took a deep breath and messed with my heart locket. “One: Never talk back or when not spoken to. Two: always smile but never laugh; make yourself look gentle. Three: Always be prepared for anything, even if it’s a beating. Four: Do not allow the men to touch you like you’re a pay girl, not until twenty-one. And five is um…”

“Never feel.”  

I nodded my head.

These are rules I’ve had to follow for the last seven years. I’m once again being sent to a new home in New York. Rule four will no longer apply and I will not be safe from men with wandering hands and lustful eyes. I must serve every need of my new ‘owner’ and tend to his every wish.

Watching as a tree goes by my car window, I remember reading about the trees constantly being cut down to make room for new housing. Most of the deforestation was for people who didn’t have homes. Everyone has a home now, but not everyone is free. I, like many others, must serve the wealthy and elegant. I eat two meals a day, if not less. We all evolve and adjust to survive.

Most servants are girls and are met with disrespect. The few boys who end up with a job like mine are treated as nothing but trash. We are treated this way because we are orphans, unloved and unwanted. Either our parents were rich people who didn’t want a child, or we were a mistake between two lonely servants, forbidden. I’ve learned the only children raised wealthy are those who have one or more affluent parents wanting a child. Otherwise, you end up… like me.

We were taught no differently than wealthy kids, with only a few extra things to learn. About twenty percent of servant girls end up as wives to the men that ‘own’ them, so it’s not that bad.

“Miss Richards, we’re here.” The driver speaks as I look up at the towering house. Climbing out of the car to grab my bag from the trunk, the driver removes my hand and says, “Allow me, miss.” I nod and admire the area around the house. Mr. Addison seems to enjoy all types of roses; I don’t think I’ve seen so many in one place. I grab my backpack and start walking, pulling my suitcase behind me.

Zachary Addison’s would be my third home in the last seven years, although he is my first young bachelor. As I shake, I remember to keep my head up and my feelings locked away, as always. I walk up to the door and ring the bell. The outside gives an impression that the home could hold a hundred or more people, all at once.

mansion
“The driver speaks as I look up at the towering house.” Photo from: www.fm.cnbc.com

The door opens slowly. Eyes wide, I look at a man probably in his late 50’s. He has graying hair but gentle eyes. It’s normal for butlers to open doors when I arrive at new places.

“Miss Richards, I presume?”

Nodding my head, I step in when he moves out of the way. The enunciation of his vowels gave away his accent, almost Yorkshire-like. He is a foreigner, and that relaxes me. “Mr. Addison is away on business until later this evening, but he has requested for you to have dinner with him when he returns.”

“Of course,” I reply.

This is usual. Employers want to look over their new servants, confirm they are healthy and fit.

“May I know your name?” I direct my attention towards the butler.

The three servants of the home talk to each other. We all find ways to talk, release our anger, or help hide each other’s sadness. Showing either emotion is not okay.

“I am Philip, Miss. Now let me show you to your room.”

I follow him up the staircase, trailing my suitcase behind me. The house was clearly made for many servants or a big family. From what I see and hear, there are only three male servants; two were cleaning the house. “Now, you will be the cook and waitress when Mr. Addison has parties. How old are you?” Phillip inquires.

“I’m twenty-one,” I look away, careful to use only my eyes.

His eyes speak more than his mouth ever could. I will have more work than he mentioned if Mr. Addison wants to have his needs fulfilled. He opens a door but doesn’t step inside. The room looks designed for a wealthy daughter, not a servant. “This will be your room till Mr. Addison says otherwise.”

I nod, place my suitcase on the silk sheets, and look around the room.

With cream carpets and little designs running along the floor, up the wall to the edge of the ceiling, I feel out of place. One window sits opposite of the bed,  to the right of the door. Looking back to ask Philip where Mr. Addison’s room is, I see I am all alone.

Closing the door, I sit on a small seat at the end of the bed. “New home, different rules.” Gripping my heart locket a little tighter, I close my eyes and breathe. I will be safe as I always am. I will not fall or break. I will not be human.

Richard Spencer

Perhaps you’ve heard about this white supremacist Richard Spencer getting punched twice on Inauguration Day. As far as I know, we have not had to deal with open displays of racism on campus. Of course, I may be wrong.

I’m not going to advocate any student punching a Nazi. I don’t want you getting kicked out of school.

That said . . . on the morning after this recent election, I looked into the eyes of a young woman and saw fear and uncertainty. My heart broke, and I promised her that I would protect her.

I want all of you to know that if I do see someone berating you, trying to intimidate you, or laying hands upon you against your will because you are not the same as them, I will come to your aid.

richard spencer
“Perhaps you’ve heard about this white supremacist Richard Spencer getting punched twice on Inauguration Day.” Photo from: img.wennermedia.com

I will protect you. I will defend you. I will avenge you.

It does not matter to me what sex or gender you identify as, who you do or do not pray to, who you choose to love, or what color your skin is. What matters to me is that you are a human being and you deserve the same rights, liberties, and dignities as anyone else.

Saying this does not make me a hero like Captain America.

If the day ever comes when you need me, you will know who I am. If I am not there, I hope that you will know others like me in those moments.

Thus far, those in the Radford community have been, in my experience, exemplary human beings. I can only pray that I am not proven wrong.

 

A Need for More Diversity in Entertainment Media

Almost everyone watches TV, plays video games, reads books or does some combination thereof. All these options are great forms of entertainment and a great way to relax. Everyone loves them, but not everyone is represented in them, at least not fairly.

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“In today’s media, there is not much variety. There are very few characters that are African American, Latino, Asian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, disabled, female, Muslim, Jewish or any combination thereof.” Photo from: https://makeitgentle.files.wordpress.com

Most of the characters in any form of entertainment media fit into a well-defined set of basic characteristics. That is to say, the vast majority of them are white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and male. This is not to say there is anything wrong with having characters like this. It’s perfectly fine, but the issue is that in today’s media, there is not much variety. There are very few characters that are African American, Latino, Asian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, disabled, female, Muslim, Jewish or any combination thereof. There are very few characters with these traits, especially compared to the number of them that are white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and male. And when there are minorities present, it is usually only one token minority character, such as an African American in a group with five white people, for example.

This is not to say there should be less white characters or straight characters and so on, just that there should be more characters that are minorities. There should be more African-American female characters, more transgender characters who are gay, more bisexual and disabled Latinos characters, more asexual Muslim characters, more of any and all of them because these types of people exist and they deserve to be seen and heard. People want to see characters that they can connect with and feel good about. They want to see that an African-American woman can be a superhero so they can believe they can be a superhero, just like a white man can with Captain America. (Or almost any other superhero. Think about it, how many of them are white and male?) People want to watch sitcoms and dramas with diverse casts because the audiences are diverse. The simple fact of the matter is that representation matters.

Magic Touch

The eyes were sunken into the head of the blue-tinted body, which smelled of a familiar decomposition, similar to that dead cat she’d been forced to dissect in science class. Death was a new sensation for Charlotte, her first time experiencing it on this mild spring day. Remembering her parents discussing a missing man from their small town, Charlotte deduced she had found him. What a triumphant victory. Her feet stumbled as she ran away, but not before she had taken special notice of the decaying corpse that lay still. About a mile away – or five in the eyes of a child – was the closest road and she followed it home. Only able to conjure a light sleep, Charlotte dreamed of the deterioration she had left behind.

Creeping carefully down a path laced with hemlock, Charlotte walked along the steps she’d taken during the day. Diverging from the road, she traced an unbeaten deer path to the end of a row of trees. She knew where to go from the circling buzzards. Near a secreted lake where cattails grew like wildflowers, the body lay stagnant. The water revealed the carefully hidden body, partially submerged. Now he was more recognizable than before; he looked almost alive.

“How is this possible?” she whispered to herself in horror.

Remembering what her science teacher had told her about death and the decomposition cycle, how decomposition was a quick and unforgiving process, she began her cycle of curiosity.

She leaned in. Getting a closer look at the corpse beneath her seemed to dull her interest, but it didn’t quite satisfy it. She noted his missing shirt, swollen belly, blue tint that seemed less blue than before. She found a nearby stick. After poking his chest, she was unsure what to do next. He didn’t budge. Charlotte wanted to touch him, to feel how cold he was. She leaned in once more, now with a more devious intent. Curiosity took over her mind and body as she placed her delicate finger on the corpse’s shoulder.

Charlotte’s hand touched the shoulder of the dead man, and she was jolted awake by the shock of his reaction. She jumped out of bed, ran to her window to see what time it was. She noticed it was light outside; her parents must be at work. She grabbed a light jacket and slammed her feet into her lighted sketchers. The door crashed shut.

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“Curiosity took over her mind and body as she placed her delicate finger on the corpse’s shoulder.” Photo from: www.planetside.co.uk

Charlotte knew her path. Led only by fear, excitement, curiosity, and hungry birds, she flew down along the hemlock trees and trampled the deer trail. She disturbed the lake with her feet, unable to slow her erratic pace. She looked at the body and was immediately relieved that it was all a dream. The man lay there, as blue as when she’d left him eight house ago, perhaps more.

For good measure, Charlotte had to recreate her nightmare. She leaned in, took a stick and poked his chest. Nothing moved but the water supporting the body. Looking at the unnatural hue of his face, the question crept into her mind. Do all corpses decompose this quickly? A proper girl would have pushed the thought far from her mind, but Charlotte allowed herself to dwell on the idea for several minutes before continuing with her endeavor. She reached her hand towards his shoulder. Noticing every crevice the decomposition had left on the body, she was careful not to deviate from last night’s dream.

She didn’t have time to process what his skin felt like until a blue-black, half decomposed hand appeared, grabbing hers.

Humans of Radford University

2017 is starting a little shaky. My PC broke. My truck broke down. I’m just so sad and tired all the time. I’m always hungry. It’s been a pretty rough start of the year so far. But, you know, you just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. You don’t let it stop you. As long as you’re breathing, opportunities always arise.

LGBTQA+ diversity on campus

Radford University’s Campus has recently obtained gender neutral bathrooms in several of its academic buildings and in all of its dormitory buildings. This marks a significant positive change towards inclusion and acceptance of transgender and genderfluid individuals, something that is sorely needed during this year with its high political tensions and rise of discriminatory actions and organizations.

Radford’s LGBTQA+ organization, Spectrum, helped to make the inclusion of gender-neutral bathrooms possible on campus. The organization made a great effort to work with the university to make this happen. Spectrum is a group that works hard to provide a helpful and supportive community for LGBTQA+ individuals, and they raise awareness for issues involving them. Organizations like this are a great help to many people and they do a lot to create a better place for the people of their community.

spectrum
“Radford’s LGBTQA+ organization, Spectrum, helped to make the inclusion of gender-neutral bathrooms possible on campus.” Photo from: https://pbs.twimg.com

Because many groups and minorities have to worry about discrimination and fighting for their rights, they develop organizations like Spectrum or Black Lives Matter. Groups like these enable individuals to help each other and work towards equality, to a world where people are free to be themselves without fear of hate crimes and/or prejudice. The inclusion of gender-neutral bathrooms is a step in this direction. It lets transgender and genderfluid people know they are not alone and that people can and will support and fight for them. It shows that, contrary to the beliefs of some, they are not secondary citizens and that their rights and comforts are just as important as everyone else’s.

We need a greater inclusion and consideration of minorities and we are working towards that. People of the LGBTQA+ community (along with African Americans, Muslims, Latinos, and any minority or group subjected to prejudice and unfair treatment) are real, valuable, and important people. They deserve the same treatment and rights as anyone. They are human beings who deserve the same respect and decency that we all demand ourselves. It is not outlandish to show considerations for their needs; in fact, people should show consideration for others at the the bare minimum.

15 Minutes

On one hand, a couple chuckles and mutters to themselves;

They’re lost in their own world, unconcerned with the rest of us.

On the other hand, two girls type away at their laptops;

One giggles and grins at something only she can see.

 

Time passes, the smell of pizza lingers in the air.

The couple have untangled themselves.

The giggling girl and the girl from the couple are chatting and laughing across the room.

Others chime in and the room buzzes with conversation.

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“Time passes, the smell of pizza lingers in the air.” Photo from: www.duratimeclocks.com

The couple eats ice cream while the two girls talk about the dog wandering through the room.

One takes the dog out for a walk, the room wishes her luck and fun.

Silence has descended about the room.

Finally, the girl from the couple turns to me and speaks.