All posts by WilliamBurley

RU Home for the Summer: Springfield, Va. (Fresh Prince remix)

It’s no secret that I love Radford and have adopted it as my home away from home, but my first home was Springfield, Virginia. To be honest, there isn’t much to say about Springfield since it’s the kind of town where nothing ever happens (though our DMV was the one that gave the passports to two of the 9/11 terrorists). Continue reading RU Home for the Summer: Springfield, Va. (Fresh Prince remix)

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Tragic reactions

Last week we saw a horrible tragedy unfold over the course of four days, which resulted in a total of four dead and one terrified city. Boston has arguably gone through more last week than any city in America has since New York City during 9/11. Take a moment to be thankful that it’s finally over.

Every time there’s a tragedy, we see people react in many different ways on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a nice thing when we see millions of people come together to show their support for the victims. However, if you’ve been following the pattern of my articles, you’d know that nothing is ever that simple. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Tragic reactions

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Bad Atheists

A few weeks back, I talked about why I thought Lent was a good idea, even from the perspective of someone with a secular worldview. It was a message to religious and non-religious alike to learn to accept or even borrow the traditions of other religions, even if you may not agree with the fundamentals.

We live in a country where there is a plurality of religions and where there has always been a notion of “agree to disagree” among people when religion is brought up. In an ideal world, you would think it would be a nice thing to see so many people of so many different creeds coexisting. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Bad Atheists

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Participation awards

Remember when we were little and we would have competitions, and if we won there was always a big celebration, pat on the back or even an award you could take home? Or if you didn’t win, there would always be someone there to reassure you with a “you did your best” speech and that was it? This wasn’t the case for everyone, of course, because of the many educators or sports coaches who subscribe to the idea of giving participation awards to the losing party.

On paper, participation awards sound like a great idea. If we didn’t know any better, we would call it a nice thing.  It teaches our youth to accept their losses as they come and kids don’t feel so bad about themselves afterwards. On the other hand, it doesn’t leave our youth with enough incentive to try to win. Softening the losses with awards and congratulations for a good effort might not be as beneficial to them as it seems on paper. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Participation awards

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Slacktivism

Remember when being an activist meant you would go out in public and advocate an issue that’s important to you? It was something you could take pride in because it takes time and effort to push social change. Now that Facebook is in the picture, people are able to reach many people without needing to get out of their seat. This is both a good and bad thing for the state of activism as we know it. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Slacktivism

God forbid you say God

Remember when we were kids and if someone said something that hurt your feelings, all it took was a few tears and you could have that person sent to the principal’s office? Then somewhere along the way, someone tells you that you can’t let these things get to you and that you need to build a thick shell if you’re going to make it in the real world? Here we are, in the real world now, seeing that the lines between what is politically correct and what is a violation of free speech have become so blurry. People with any influence have to be exceptionally careful as to what they say for fear of committing the worst of media crimes: political incorrectness. Continue reading God forbid you say God

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Polarization

18b
Picture from Know Your Meme.

Remember when we were kids and all we had to fight over was which Pokémon was the coolest or which Superhero would win in a fight? As children, it was our civic duty to argue with each other and prove that your way was the only way. Then we grew up, and those quarrels were replaced with new ones. Whether it’s our hatred for Justin Bieber, One Direction, swag, PewDiePie or the dozens of other trends that preceded them, it always seems that when something becomes popular too quickly, there will never fail to be a counter-movement of people who hate that thing. Like Newton’s third law said first, with every action comes an equal and opposite reaction. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Polarization

The dangers of anonymity in a small community

Radford isn’t the first university to incorporate a “crushes” page onto their online community. Much like the meme page and confessions page, universities seem to have their own special brand of Facebook fads that sweep through and keep people entertained for a few weeks before they lose interest and move on to the next fad. However, RU Crushes seems to have hit RU particularly hard, pulling in well over 2,200 fans in its first week. Continue reading The dangers of anonymity in a small community

Lent and the gift of willpower

Could you give up something you love for 40 days? The Christian tradition of Lent requires you to do just that once a year between the holidays of Ash Wednesday and Easter or Holy Thursday, depending on the denomination, to represent the suffering Jesus went through before he was put on the cross.

During this time, it is said that he fasted for the 40 days and received numerous temptations from the devil.  The season of Lent is typically observed by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans. Raised in a Catholic home, I was always forced to participate and there was always a disdain for the season buried in my brain. The message that was always given to me was that temptation was a sin and this is how I should teach myself to resist temptation. I personally thought my parents just hated when I played video games. Continue reading Lent and the gift of willpower