Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hook-Up Culture

Hook-Up Culture –Jack Grimes
It seems, for me, that Grimes shifts back and forth between acceptable evidence and fallacy. He touches on an aspect of commitment and power that I find interesting. According to Grimes, hooking up is easier and less vulnerable than having a relationship, but those involved gain a great sense of power.
First, he explains that power is involved in the act of sexual intimacy. And that nothing is more powerful than feeling the “liveliness” of sex between two people. Something very “powerful” is achieved when consensual sex is practiced. In my opinion, the generation of which Grimes speaks is one that often seeks power without extensive work. More than every, people—especially the youth—are celebrity obsessed and want to live the life of Britney Spears without working for it. This is not to say that many, many people aspire and achieve through hard work, but it only takes a few minutes of watching MTV to validate my point.
Maybe our college-aged youth find hooking up so appealing because of that power aspect Grimes mentioned. After all, hooking up requires little emotional work and only physical vulnerability is needed. If someone hooks up with another for the night, his or her relationship is based on only a few hours of commitment. Therefore it is much easier to accomplish than trying to forge ahead with a traditional relationship, which required a great deal of work and compromise.
Grimes also noted what hooking up is about “…holding back, not giving one’s self, not committing.” This ties into the vulnerability aspect discussed earlier. It takes a level of commitment and maturity to let one’s self become vulnerable and allow another person a level of power.
Grimes did note that he finds the notion of sexual and powerful women “strange.” I think this does nothing to further his claims and most likely will distract his target audience, leaving some of his other claims in the dust. He calls women that hook up prostitutes, while not referring to men in the same way. This is not a fair and balanced explanation of both sides. If one is powerful, then so is the other.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Guantanamo Bay

On his first full day in office, President Obama ordered the closure Guantanamo Bay. This displays, for me, that Obama’s actions are coinciding with his words early on in his presidency. Lofty promises were spewed during this most lengthy campaign and I almost tuned out his hopeful rhetoric. Not because I disliked Obama or didn’t trust him, instead because our government has reacted so poorly and too many promises were abandoned.
To his credit, former President Bush did follow through on certain policies, but I don’t think they were in line with what his people wanted. He made pact to stop terrorism, yet he condoned torture and the killing of thousands of innocent people in Iraq.
The closure of Guantanamo Bay says that the U.S. is ready to lead again. And, our leader is prepared to do so in a lawful and humane manner. It is time for our government to follow the constitution and international laws. Because, after all, war does not constitute betrayal of international expectations and does not give global governance to one leader.
I realize that the process of closing prison camps can be lengthy and arduous, but I also understand that just taking the step toward ending torture is more telling than the time it will take to disband Guantanamo.
Being a large and powerful country, U.S. leaders should set an example for the rest of the world. This may sound idealistic, however if terrorism is illegal in the U.S., it should not be executed in our camps. I praise Obama for acting so quickly and ending tempering the level of hypocrisy our government has displayed for so many years.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Aesthetic Imperative

The Aesthetic Imperative –Postrel

Postrel claims that we (as humans) are drawn to aesthetics because it feels natural and motivational, instead of forced. She says that we demand things and have expectations of stores, businesses, etc to look a certain way. She also claims that we—now more than ever—are educated and place higher expectations on innovators.
Instead of feeling good about something, Postrel says that we are drawn to things because of good design. “That design makes sense” is something she feels would motivate a purchase as opposed to evoking a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Postrel claims that we expect things to look good and that designs make sense. Not only should the display at target “flow,” but also the items on the display look a certain way. This, Postrel feels, is a result our demands.
We are more educated than ever and our expectations are ever increasing, Postrel says. And, as a result, company ceo’s and designers have to work harder to create products to meet our needs.
Great design used to be an opulence enjoyed by the elite. Now, with lower-end retail stores offering “designer looking” items, it is accessible to everyone. This does not mean that design—or concept—has been dumbed down. Instead, it is more utilized and thoughtful.
Think about it: People have been looking to Martha Stewart for inspiration for 25-years, and now we can purchase look-alike items at Macy’s for a fraction of what she paid for the original. Stewart’s retail displays at Macy’s mimic her own home, giving a feeling of opulence and organization. Then, on those displays are beautiful—and inexpensive—items that have been unattainable for the masses until now.
I think that visual/tactile aesthetic is a good thing. But, keep in mind that it can be another marketing tactic. For example, people wear Ed Hardy because it looks original and messy, but it comes at a price. His t-shirts can run upward of $100. Those who purchase his clothing feel original and not manipulated, but should think again because the sparkly displays are aesthetically pleasing and a great marketing tool.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Westboro Freaks

I have been thinking about how to approach a conversation with its members after reviewing the Westboro Baptist Church website on Tuesday. In all reality it would take a bit of soul-searching about how to communicate with people that have very, very little in common with myself.
First, I think it would behoove me to approach the conversation as a listener instead of an argument. Being a combative person, this would initially be a challenge for me. But, to truly listen to someone, it is best to remain quiet and try to relate to something they are saying.
Also, my personal stance on their key issues would cause trouble because I am a very liberal gay man. Thus it would be way too easy to get into a fight with these people.
I have friends of all political parties and when I know a disagreement could ensue, I try to see their point of view and listen to what they have to say. Everyone has their reasons for why they feel. Who am I to judge someone else for feeing they way they do? Unfortunately members of the Westboro church do not take that same approach…
I live my life very open, but in this situation I might remain mum about anything personal to keep them from feeling defensive. No, this is not the approach I normally take. Because they are very open about their feelings, I think they would be rather forthcoming in an interview. People who are willing to protest in public normally don’t have any qualms about talking to a vehicle that could further publicize their opinions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Minor Analysis

Most people agree that puppy mills should be closed or at leastmonitored, but others disagree. Some feel that it is difficult todefine breeding and therefore it should be completely legal. Many feelthat laws should govern breeders, but others feel that it would get inthe way of their practice. Just defining "puppy mill" can be an arduous task. Breeding can be aMom and Pop establishment that involves friends and family. And, onthe other hand, it can be a big business that involves huge revenue. The problem at large, however, is the treatment of animals. Oftenlarge-scale operations slip under the radar and are able to operatewithout governance. Discovering the mistreatment of animals is onlyrecognized once someone has complained. It seems impossible forhundreds of animals to be properly cared for in one establishment,especially when different types and breeds of animals are involved. P.E.T.A., an organization committed to animal safety feels thatstricter laws should in place for dog breeding. Breeders have beenaccused of mating dogs for their looks, instead of preserving thebreed. According to a letter to the A.K.C., from P.E.T.A., they areasking the A.K.C to stop televising dog showed because they feel itpromotes ill-intentioned breeding. States like Ohio have little to no laws protecting dogs within theconfines of a breeder or mill. According to the states website, dogsshould be cared for, but a court ordered search warrant is necessaryto enter private property. Thus making monitoring mills or breedersdifficult. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is in play, but again lacks thedefinition of mills, commercial dealers, and breeders. All three oftenoperate under very different standards and P.E.T.A. representativesfeel that they should individually be held accountable. In addition,the AWA does not cover commercial breeders who sell to the public. Options differ on the governance of breeders and mills, but somestates, including Virginia are passing stricter laws on the issue.
Part Two 1) Laws regarding dog breeding mandate limits on the amount and agesfemale, the housing of these animals, and requires them to obtain abusiness license. Breeders within the state can have no more than 30 female dogs bredat one time and they must be within the age of 18 months and eightyears. This, according to the law, can protect dogs from overbreeding. In addition, all dogs must be kept in floored cages, because somefeel that wire cages can damage the paws of dogs. The law also takes the health of dogs into account. Dogs mustmaintain an exercise regime and breeders must seek regularveterinarian care. Finally, commercial dog-breeding operations are now required toobtain a business license and are subject to health inspections. 2) Most would agree that dogs deserve a fair chance at life. A newlaw in Virginia requires that breeders follow laws to ensure thesafety of dogs. This law comes as a relief to dog lovers andrequires—among other things—that commercial breeders obtain a license,submit veterinarian records, keep the dogs on the floor in comfortablecages, and let them out for exercise. Too few laws have governed breeders and puppy mills are out ofcontrol. While some feel that inspections can be invasive, they shouldbe subject to inspection just like every other business. If they haveproblems with inspections, which are understandable, they should askthat the inspectors contact them prior to arrival to ensure that it isa good time to visit. 3) Once again, animals are being put a head of people. Innocentbreeders are now subject to many new laws that require a myriad ofintrusions like veterinarians and state inspectors. The law now in effect in Virginia takes the business of dog breedingway too far. It is unfair to assume that all large-scale breederscommit crimes. It seems that all we hear about are the bad stories.What about the hundreds of reputable breeders, just trying to make alittle money? Inspections and veterinary rules can be too costly. Law abidingbreeders are now under the radar and at risk of financial collapsebecause of this law. 4) Most businesses in the U.S. are somehow governed. The addition ofthe breeding laws in Virginia only round out other laws surroundingbusinesses. Restaurants are required to uphold particular temperaturesfor safety. Thus it only makes sense for breeders to do the same forthe living being they are raising. Proponents of this law are responding to the outcry of breeders,animal welfare activists, and lawmakers. This comes as little surpriseto the aforementioned organizations because they have long tried forsuch laws. This law is only applicable in Virginia. That leaves 49 other stateswith potentially weaker governance of dog breeding. Constraints havebeen placed because breeders can simply relocate if they wish to notbe inspected.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Obama enters the white house January 20th. This is old news. His possibilities and challenges are staggering, but so many in this nation are looking to Obama for change; the rhetoric of his campaign.
I, for one, do not have huge expectations during Obama’s first four years. He is, after all, entering the white house during insurmountable debt and national unemployment.
On the other hand, I finally feel that Obama will slowly turn the fundamentals of government around. Too much stock has been placed in corporate America. With Obama, it seems that our nation has a chance of recovery, albeit slow.
For the past eight years I have felt completely out-of-touch with our government and most every decision President Bush made. Although I do not agree with everything Barack Obama stands for, I do feel that his ideals are so much closer to my own. Once again, our nation may slowly awaken.