Category: Opinion

Nine-month-old charged with attempted murder in Pakistan

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

For most of us, life as a nine month old consisted of crawling around and learning that ‘no’ really meant no. This is no different for little Musa Khan, hailing from the slums of Lahore, Pakistan. Well, except that he was also charged with attempted murder.

Wait, what? Can this be true?

I’m afraid to admit that something so absurd like this can actually happen. Most news outlets are reporting that bill collectors came to the Khan home to collect money or turn off their gas. The family opposed this, though it’s not clear whether they did so peacefully or by stoning (as the police report in question states). Family members, including Musa, were then charged with attempting to murder the gas company workers and the police, and were booked and fingerprinted.

Pakistani lawyers say it is common for whole families to be punished in an incident, just one example of how the corrupt criminal justice system, full of underpaid and incompetent workers, functions.

Pakistan has a penal code that states children under the age of seven cannot be considered to have committed a criminal offense. Yet, Musa was only granted bail and now he and his whole family are in hiding due to pressure from the police.

It’s clear that the police system desperately requires reform, a general consensus by everyone from the Khan family lawyer to Shaukat Javed, the former Punjab police chief.

Because of the growing attention to the case, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has demanded the police suspend the officer who filed the report and open an investigation into the incident. Nevertheless, the Pakistani police force still has a long ways to go before it can be considered legitimate and fair.

Check out the video below:

San Francisco billboards tackle texting and driving

By Jacob Carter, Staff Writer
@jacobca1995

You might want to rethink texting and driving or risk public humiliation./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Intel Free Press

You might want to rethink texting and driving or risk public humiliation./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Intel Free Press

For those of you who text and drive, I have some advice for you: beware.

In San Francisco, several local drivers were publicly humiliated when billboards were unveiled showing them on their phones while behind the wheel of their cars. The images were captured by a local graphic artist, Bryan Singer, who paid for the billboards with his own money in order to spread awareness of the dangers caused by distracted driving.

“It’s not so much about shaming an individual as it is about making people think twice,” said Singer to a local news affiliate.

For the time being, this type of PSA is limited to the San Francisco area. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if other cities adopted the campaign soon enough. There are numerous statistical reports that illustrate how Americans are in far more vehicular accidents than other areas of the world, and distracted driving figures into nearly a quarter of these crashes.

I admire Singer for attempting a radical method in order to curb these statistics, especially considering the many accidents that still occur and stern warnings have done little to make an effective impact.

There are, however, a few weaknesses with his campaign.

For one thing, the images on the billboard appear too dark to be seen clearly from the road. Mixed with their elevated position and the glare of the sun, I can understand how numerous drivers would be unable perceive the full content of the photograph. The images themselves convey an important message, and I hate to think about the irony of people getting into a car accident because they were distracted by the billboard telling them not to get distracted while driving.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there will never be enough billboard space in the world to make drivers wary of their actions. The odds of being one of those foolish people caught in the act are simply too small to strike an appropriate amount of fear into the hearts of the nation’s most shameless offenders. In their minds, texting and driving seems harmless, and it is because of this ignorance that those statistics will most likely remain constant.

 

Coat hanger necklaces spark criticism without the whole picture

By Robin Ngai, Staff Writer @bluebird1278

Coat-hanger necklaces cause some to re-evaluate the meaning of feminism./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Kate Ausburn

Coat-hanger necklaces cause some to re-evaluate the meaning of feminism./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Kate Ausburn

Earlier in the week, Sara Ryan, a fellow Freep writer posted her opinion about Planned Parenthood and protesters. A few days later, the subject was brought to the media’s attention once again when people realized that the DC Abortion Fund was giving out necklaces.

But these weren’t just any ordinary necklaces, they were necklaces with miniature coat hangers attached to them. And the necklaces were given out to those who donated to the fund in order to support women who could not afford to pay for an abortion.

This caused an uproar within the conservative and anti-abortion community. People began to attack the DC Abortion Fund and those who donated.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to state my opinion real quick. Personally, I am pro-choice. This does not mean I put down those who aren’t, it is just my own personal opinion. You have a right to your choice and your opinion, as do I.

With that being said, I feel as if people targeted those who wore the necklaces as being “feminists”, thus giving feminists a negative connotation. I don’t believe that it’s fair that women who support this cause are being labeled as bad feminists.

Aren’t feminists supporters of equal rights for all sexes? So, to be a true feminist, shouldn’t one allow for different opinions to be available?

Abortion has and always will be a touchy subject among people, but they are also a choice that women make for themselves. We should not limit their freedom or punish them by calling them names or anti-feminists.

The DC Abortion Fund is set up for women to safely have abortions and not practice dangerous methods instead. As stated on their website, the coat hanger necklaces represent the mistakes of the past. It represents the suffering of women in the past, and those who still suffer today due to a lack of resources— resources that the DC Abortion Fund now tries to provide to women.

‘Bestie’ and ‘DIYer’ make the Oxford English Dictionary’s list of new words

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Should words like "bestie" and "selfie" really be included in accepted language?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Should words like “bestie” and “selfie” really be included in accepted language?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Language is always evolving, accommodating for changes in culture and behavior. Ridiculous at first, new words seem to pop up every week, creeping their way into our daily vernacular. Yet it isn’t until a word is officially entered into a dictionary that the word is deemed acceptable for formal use.

A new list of about 900 terms has been added to or updated in the Oxford English Dictionary just this past week. As if past additions of words like “twerk” or “selfie” didn’t indicate where the evolution of language is headed, this list has some contributions that are sure to raise some eyebrows.

Some examples include bathroom break, beatboxer, bestie, DIYer, do-over, sciency, and the verb form of toilet paper.

While some additions seem necessary to support our current lexicon, controversy arises over whether entries like bestie or the variations of the c-word really exemplify proper English. Many claim that these are just slang and are not appropriate words to enter into a formal dictionary.

However, throughout history we see the continuous cycle of one word morphing into a similar word, which then becomes a standard part of our language.

One common example we use everyday is the greeting bye.  According to dictionary.com, The word originated from the phrase God be with ye, which was then abbreviated to godbwye, after which good (possibly in association with the phrase good day) substituted God to become good-bye, which now has shortened to just bye.

The entries of these controversial words do not necessarily imply our culture is deteriorating intellectually. Rather, it can mean we are simply entering a new phase in history.

One of the most prominent ways to recognize this shift is through the recent competition by Scrabble to let fans choose the first word to be added to the official dictionary. The official Scrabble dictionary is only updated once or twice a decade, so to make an event of it Hasbro invited fans to nominate words via Facebook.

Some of the first words suggested by Hasbro makers themselves were selfie (nine points) and hashtag (14 points). I think of Scrabble as a sort of academic game , so seeing the makers of the game themselves suggesting new additions like selfie only fortifies the new direction the English language is headed.

Whether this direction is a downward spiral to the death of the English language, or just a different phase and generation in time is a relative matter of perspective.

9-year-old blamed for getting bullied over his My Little Pony lunch box

By Kyra Louie, Staff Wrtier
@beammeupkyra

Monday, Grayson Bruce, 9, was advised to keep his My Little Pony lunch box at home because his school deemed it a “trigger for bullying.”

Many children at school had started calling the North Carolinian horrible names, even telling him to “go home and kill himself” because of his infatuation with the popular TV show. Instead of the school actually doing something about the bullies, Grayson is no longer allowed to bring his favorite lunch box to school.

“Saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. It’s flawed logic; it doesn’t make any sense,” Grayson’s mom, Noreen, stated in an interview with WLOS-TV.

And it’s true. It makes no sense to blame the victim and tell them to change their behavior in order to stop the bullying, instead of changing the bullies.

Cases like Grayson’s are common. In January, an 11-year-old boy, also from North Carolina, tried to commit suicide after being bullied for liking My Little Pony.

Bullying for any reason is not okay. There’s a reason why the 2011 movie “Bully” was made. This is a large problem in the United States, and there are many campaigns trying to change this.

How schools deal with bullying problems show what behavior is acceptable and which kind of behavior is unacceptable. Telling Grayson that he cannot bring his bag to school to express himself because people will bully him teaches the bullies that they can get away with their behavior because the school administration would back them up.

Eugene Volokh, a writer for the Washington Post, agrees, stating in his column: “And if the school teaches kids that, if they push others around, the school will make those others conform, then the high school students of the future will learn that lesson, too.”

But Grayson has gotten a lot of attention for his cause. His family and friends have made a Facebook Support page for him, and it has received over 28,000 likes, and even Glenn Beck supported Grayson by putting plush toys from “My Little Pony” on his desk.

Grayson is a part of the My Little Pony fandom, and if he still likes My Little Pony when he is older, he will be classified as a “brony.” Unfortunately, bronies are just as misunderstood as Grayson, but they are rapidly growing in number.

These Bronies have been making a scene in the My Little Pony fandom, so much so that there is a documentary about them. Check out the trailer:

Perspective about Typhoon Haiyan and Being Filipino

By Samantha Wong, Blog Editor
@samzwong

The damage of Typhoon Haiyan in Leyte./PHOTO VIA Flickr user EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

It is never easy to hear when your home undergoes some kind of disaster.

I hail from the Philippines. More specifically, I hail from the capital, Manila, located up north in the region of Luzon. Fortunately, my family and most of the Metro were barely affected by the typhoon. It was the southern provinces in the Visayas region that endured most of the damage.

On Nov. 8 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and devastated thousands. The typhoon sustained winds of 313 km/h and gusts of 380 km/h and is one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history. Authorities believe that around 10,000 are dead. President Benigno S. Aquino III declared a “state of calamity” to, hopefully, release emergency funds from the government.

Admittedly, the Philippines is no stranger to typhoons. Typhoon Reming and Typhoon Milenyo hit in 2006 and were some of the strongest cyclones that laid waste to the country.

I remember exactly where I was at the time of Typhoon Milenyo; I was sitting at home for a week with no electricity.

Day in and day out rain poured overhead and while I was cursing the fact that I had no Internet, a little niggling voice in the back of my head reminded me that other people had it worse.

I wasn’t at home when Typhoon Haiyan hit. Since I was in Boston and so far away, I had to hear about Typhoon Haiyan from friends and family back home. Being this far away is not as comforting as one would think. It is not easy to see and to hear the destruction that appears on the news each day.

The comforting thing is to hear the stories of strong Philippine spirit and camaraderie in challenging times.

The Filipinos have coined the term “waterproof sprit” as the Philippines has managed to weather – no pun intended – storm after storm. With each storm the more evidence there is to the fact that we (as Filipinos) are, indeed, waterproof.

It is hard to start all over again when you have little to begin with. The people of the Philippines manage to endure all of this and make the best of each situation. It is through the strength of the Philippine people and the compassion of those who help that the Philippines can grow in the face of adversity.

No matter where I am, I am proud to call the Philippines home. I am proud to be Filipino; waterproof and indomitable.

To help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan:

American Red Cross

AmeriCares

Oxfam International

Save the Children

United Nations World Food Programme

‘Dove’ commercial shows how harshly women judge themselves

By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
@devondelfino

On April 14, Dove released its latest Youtube video, in which women were asked to first describe themselves to a sketch artist, and then others described each women to the same sketch artist. The results indicate that women’s views of themselves are often much harsher than the way that others view them.

The video is a little sad, and shows how skewed self-perceptions can be. In the comments section, Dove claims that “only 4 percent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful.” I don’t know how accurate this data is, but it seems to me that women are pretty severely screwed up when it comes to judging themselves and their bodies.

And who can blame them?

The world of advertising in general has focused on enticing he buyer to believe that through their product, they will get everything they never had; Axe body spray commercials, for example, clearly try to tell men that if they buy and use Axe, they will get the beautiful girl, magically sprout muscles and turn into Fabio (practically).

Constant exposure to false portrayals of the ‘ultimate’ female form are everywhere, from magazines, to advertisements, to television; and it seems that only one version of beauty (a very specific, superficial beauty) has been packaged and sold to women everywhere.

But the problem goes deeper than the images we constantly see, because we buy into them. We are quite willing to spend money on the latest eyeliner or lipstick because we think that it might make us more attractive. The beauty industry is perpetuated by our desire to live up to this unattainable image of perfection that has been edited into existence.

It’s refreshing to see a company reverse the advertising norm and, instead, tell women that they already are beautiful; we could use a few more ad campaigns like this one.

Letter from the editor: Boston marathon coverage

By Hilary Ribons, Blog Editor
@hilaryalexisr

An observer looks past police barricades towards a deserted Boylston Street/ PHOTO BY HILARY RIBONS

An observer looks past police barricades towards a deserted Boylston Street the day after two explosions ended the Boston Marathon early/ PHOTO BY HILARY RIBONS

The past few days have been hard for Boston. After the explosions that ended the Boston Marathon early yesterday, a somberness has fallen over the city. Everyone is still on edge and heightened security remains on Boylston.

Today, Online Editor Melissa Adan and I went down to Newbury to take some photos and interview people the day after the event. The city seems to be slightly quiet and deserted, but perseverant.

In respect of recent events, the online team has chosen to withhold posts on the blog until tomorrow evening.

Though the last couple of days have been difficult, some good has come out of it as well. Whenever something like this happens, though terrible, it offers the chance for people to unite and support each other. Buzzfeed.com  produced a list of ways that the nation has stepped up to aid and support those involved in the Marathon explosions. This included marathon runners completing the race and going directly to the hospital to donate blood, good samaritans who helped at the scene and an ongoing google doc that was created a few hours after the event in which people listed open space they had in their home for visiting runners and their families who couldn’t leave the city.

I would also like to commend the newspaper staff on its coverage of this event. It has truly been trying and I couldn’t be more proud. Staff photographer Kenshin Okubo’s photos are receiving international attention and made it onto the front page of the online edition of the New York Times. Online Editor Melissa Adan’s video has now been featured on NBC Latino, NBC Miami and Miami’s WSVN News. Additionally, the rest of the staff has been producing excellent coverage that is being closely watched by many in this city and the rest of the world.

I believe in the strength of this city. Of course no one will ever forget, but they will move forward. The words Obama said at the press conference held on Monday evening echo throughout the city:

“Boston is a strong and resilient town; so are its people.”

A sign outside of a restaurant on Newbury street, near Boylston, echoes the words of President Obama in a press conference held Monday night./ PHOTO BY HILARY RIBONS

A sign outside of a restaurant Tuesday on Newbury street, near Boylston, echoes the words of President Obama in a press conference held Monday night./ PHOTO BY HILARY RIBONS

Sequel to ‘Finding Nemo’ announced

By Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
@MayaDevereaux

The beloved "Finding Nemo" characters will be returning to the big screen in the prequel, "Finding Dory"/PHOTO VIA www.telegraph.co.uk

The beloved “Finding Nemo” characters will be returning to the big screen in the prequel, “Finding Dory”/PHOTO VIA http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Sequels often have a way of being, to put it nicely, horrible. (Think, “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde,” “Grease 2,” “Dumb and Dumberer,” I could go on forever). Fortunately, we have Pixar to raise the standard as the animation studio’s sequels continue to impress audiences that includes people over the age of eight (the whole Toy Story franchise, DUH?). With “Monsters University,” the sequel to “Monsters Inc.,” out this June, next on the line up is …(drumroll please) “Finding Dory!”

According to an article on Reuters.com, there will be a sequel to the much-acclaimed “Finding Nemo.” The Pixar film, released in 2003, amassed four Academy Awards and a 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That kind of sets the bar high for its sequel, if you ask me. But with Ellen DeGeneres reprising her role as Dory, the film should be in good hands. Going off of the title, hopefully you have gotten the idea that it will be Dory, the fun loving pacific regal blue tang fish, who gets lost this time around.

Though not many details on the project have been revealed to the public yet, we do know that the film will be set along the California coast and will feature Nemo, his father and the fish tank gang, according to Reuters. All other characters are still up in the air as of now, but I know we’re all hoping Bruce the shark and Crush the awesome sea turtle will make an appearance.

Though there are high expectations for Finding Dory, Pixar seems to know what they’re doing and thus far, has not disappointed us. Plus, Ellen Degeneres commented that the script is “fantastic,” which probably means that it is.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait until 2015 for this film, which leaves a ton of time for anticipation. In fact, we have to wait until the end of 2015. Finding Dory is set to be released in November of that year, which in turn means Pixar still has that much time left to make it completely awesome. By that time, I will have graduated college already, but that won’t make me any less eager to go catch it in theaters!

Getting hitched: better now or later?

By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
@devondelfino

Should college students find their spouse in college? Or wait until the right time, even if it's later in life?/ PHOTO VIA www.whattowearpost.com

Should college students find their spouse in college? Or wait until the right time, even if it’s later in life?/ PHOTO VIA http://www.whattowearpost.com

In a letter to the editor, which appeared in the Daily Princetonian last week, Susan Patton, a Princeton alum and mother of a current student, told the women of Princeton to find a husband while they were still in college.

Patton explained her ideas further in an address in the Huffington Post.

She explains, “I understand that this can be seen as retrogressive, but for those women who aspire to what used to be thought of as a traditional life with home and family, there is almost no ink addressing personal fulfillment outside of the workplace.”

Yes, I do find it retrogressive. And limiting such a statement to women who do want this a “normal” life does not excuse the fact that Patton is selling the idea of early marriage to late teens and very early adults who, in my opinion, won’t know what they might want in the next year, let alone for the rest of their lives.

(There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and some women do end up with someone they met in college; but the simple truth is that these are exceptions.)

I have found that college is a time for self exploration; but how can we allow self exploration to occur when we push these ideas onto people who are still in the process of becoming who they want to be. People change, especially from the time that they are just learning to take care of themselves till their mid to late twenties, so I can’t help but think following Patton’s advice would not result in successful partnerships. Intellectual equality is only part of the equation.

But we must consider the opposition: delaying romance in favor of a career.

In an editorial in the New York Times two weeks ago, Laurie Sandell described her experience, in her early forties, of becoming more emotionally attached to her boyfriend’s child than him.

She states, “… I couldn’t imagine meeting someone new, dating, getting engaged, marrying and then trying to have a baby. At a deeper level, I felt as if I already had a child I loved. It was torture to take her through her routines knowing I might have to leave. So I put it off, assuaging my guilt by buying her bath toys and clothes.”

Her heart-wrenching experience serves as a cautionary tale against the lengthy delay of motherhood and family. Any woman who desires a marriage and family is well aware of that infamous ticking biological clock that limits her time line of opportunity. And Sandell had to deal with the repercussions of delaying motherhood.

When considering both sides, one thing is clear: priorities are key. Women should not be bullied into marriage before they are ready for the simple sake of convenience, but they shouldn’t ignore it if it is something that they want, either. There is a difference between telling women to have a healthy, balanced life and telling them that this is their only chance to find someone as intelligent as they are. Perhaps I am too cynical in believing that most relationships in college are bound to fail, but I cannot imagine myself or any of my peers looking to be married in the near future.