Wednesday, October 24, 2007

bother bother bother bother

As me and my sister were sitting in the sold out theater, getting ready for the new harry potter movie (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), some very strange noises were heard behind us. "Snape...Snape.....Severus Snape" followed by multiple teenagers saying "bother bother bother bother". The end result of this was my sister laughing hysterically and me sitting in confusement, wondering if this was just a game they had made up, if they were quoting something, or if something was seriously wrong. After the movie, my sister directed me to youtube where I watched the videos known as "potter puppet pals" which have become hugely popular in the "potter realm". While there are multiple videos for these Harry Potter Puppets, the one that I have heard the most is Bothering Snape.
Bothering Snape is virtually 1 minute and 15 seconds of harry and ron pushing snape as they scream "bother". The video ends with Snape performing a spell on them and Dumbledore dancing in the end. Like most popular videos on youtube, it has gained almost a cult like following as harry potter fans not only quote the video, but wear t-shirts having to do with it as well. It is amazing the impact many people are having just through this youtube site. Bands like OK-GO have even hit their stardom based solely on videos they have posted, and many entertainment tv shows often show the most popular videos from the site during certain blocks of air time. This is usaully chosen by the amount of viewers the video has. The Potter Puppet Pals have multiple other videos, one of which has over 20 million views. As more videos are put out by the minute, more teens around the US are quoting videos found on youtube. This is why youtube is becoming one of the biggest sites visited for teenagers around the US. Potter Puppet Pals is just one of the many videos found which is used non stop for Potter afficianados everywhere.
When things are looked at from a more political side, these small videos can have a very big impact on the larger picture. Now that more younger children are using the internet and going on places like youtube, they are going to start learning about politics at a younger age. With campaigns playing a huge part on the internet, places like youtube and myspace are giving the candidates videos, pages, and air time to get their points across. Some may say that these are just ploys by new media that take away from that of the traditional side, but in truth it is a way for politics to branch off as it connects to a younger, more technological youth.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Feministe Abortions

Feministe (a feminist blog which discusses more then just womens' issues) recently posted about a recent World Health Organization (WHO) study on abortions and the effects of outlawing them. Feministe does a nice job of mixing quotes from the reports given by the WHO and her own opinions/facts. She brings up many good points all of which greatly support the study her post is about. In her post, she talks about how much more dangerous it would be for women if abortions were illegal. While not giving her actual opinion on abortions, she is able to paint a grim picture through common knowledge and previous studies on this account.

Despite having a large amount of quoted materials in her blog, Feministe is able to throw in a great deal of her own information and common sense which makes the blog twice as effective. Information is used through her blog such as "wouldn’t you know it: It’s the countries with the most pro-choice policies that have the lowest abortion rates" and "And when you turn women into criminals, they’re a whole lot less likely to seek out medical care if something goes wrong". She also brings up a very good argument discussing another downside of making abortions illegal when she says "when abortion is illegal, more women are going to be having dangerous abortions in the first place" . This is a great piece of well thought out information, which can also be shown throughout US history. Ranging back from the days of Al Capone, when the US government started the prohibition era and decided to outlaw alcohol. The rise in Alcohol grew and suddenly normal people were being turned into criminals and many were doing dangerous things to buy and sell alcohol. An anti-abortion law will only hurt many of the females in this country today. Feministe has hit the nail on the head with this one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Your Welcome Student, But.....

In a recent article in the times, author Karen Arenson describes the ever growing trend of thank you notes and their involvement in the college application process. She, as well as I, seems to question what is actually going on in the process nowadays, as she speaks of guidance counselors who push their students to write these letters and parents who even on occasion force their kids to. The most frightening thing about this was likely the parent who actually forced her daughter to write a thank you letter regarding a school she took a tour of when she was a junior in high school. College is supposed to be the time where you break off from your parents and enter the world on your own, realizing that it is up to you to not have to lean on mommy and daddy anymore. It is a terrible idea that you could force a child to do something like writing a letter when it is the beginning of their freedom. Let them make the decision for it is the start of THEIR future.
Another aspect of this story that we have to look closely at, is the fact that many colleges are actually putting these thank you notes in the folders of applicants. Instead of agreeing to look solely at the students academic and extracurricular records, they now will add a thank you note to the paperwork. I understand that it is the nice thing to do and probably makes the application feel a bit more human then some of the others, but the colleges should be focused on the application and not the little personal touch that someone throws in. If a few people do it on occasion, then that is one thing because it is then an act of originality, but by forcing someone to do this or by highly recommending it to mass amounts of people, it takes away the creativity and freedoms that college is all about.