By Samantha Wong, Blog Editor
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:
By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
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.
By Hilary Ribons, Blog Editor
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.”
By Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
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!
By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
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.
By Kristina Saliba, Staff Writer
A flood of reactions has recently surfaced due to rather curvy mannequins being displayed in a Swedish store called Åhléns, the Huffington Post reports. A photo of these uncharacteristically heavier mannequins, sporting lingerie, went viral on a Facebook group called Women’s Rights News. The caption under the photo reads, “Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.”
There were some agreements with this statement, and of course, some disagreements. The many people who embraced the realistic quality of the mannequins commented similarly to a Facebook user who wrote in a comment on the photo, “Gorgeous and feminine” and another who commented, “Yes, now this is the normal body – show the world, change it.” Of course there were negative comments that were not so enthusiastic, like “Skinny women are real women too” and that the mannequins were “Just another excuse to be fat.”
We’ve all heard about the studies that have recently explored the effects that media has on how people perceive their bodies. Ever since we were little, we’ve been exposed to completely unrealistic expectations of how a person should look like, from Barbie’s tiny waste to the airbrushed models on magazine covers. I think it’s great that a store took the conscious effort not to advertise “skinny” as much as most stores do. According to a 2011 article by the Washington Post, a few years ago, clothing store G.A.P came under scrutiny because of how skinny their own mannequins were.
Perhaps the heavier mannequins are a response to the recurring issue of emaciated models (real and otherwise) in the fashion world. Either way, I think it is most certainly a breath of fresh air to see an attempt at showing a different side of things.
By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook plans on adding hashtags, the use of the pound symbol followed by a word or words, to its site.
It’s hard to believe that the hashtag, in its Twitter use, is less than six years old. It was originally introduced to organize tweets and track trending topics, when Chris Messina tweeted, “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”
But hashtag usage has been mangled into something much more annoying. Within the past five and a half years or so, the evolution in use has gone from functional to bordering on the absurd.
The hashtag’s overexposure has even led to a namesake baby, little Hashtag Jameson, born in November of last year, a controversy which sparked debate about the level of integration that the internet and social media have on our lives.
I’ve often seen tweets composed solely of hashtags, (a.k.a ‘hashrash’), or the use of #hashtag, or the use of hashtags on Facebook (in case you didn’t notice, it doesn’t work; in fact, the hashtag becomes as useful as any other symbol on your keyboard outside of Twitter or Instagram).
This last misuse prompted the founding of the Facebook page, “This is not Twitter. Hashtags don’t work here,” as well as multiple Youtube video rants about improper hashtag usage. There is even a Twitter etiquette page on hashtags.org that reminds Twitter users that “Peppering your tweets with too many hashtags is not only defeating the purpose of a hashtag but also very annoying to see. Expect to get unfollowed when you do this.” But some of use still don’t seem to grasp this concept.
I hope I’m not the only one who grimaces a bit with the news of the addition of hashtags to Facebook. Twitter has always been a public broadcast network, and hashtags have only helped the site increase functionality; Facebook, however, has always been a more private and intimate means of social interaction. Hashtags make sense in a news-based context, but putting them on a social networking site can only further commercialize it.
By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
Attention all Twinkie lovers! The Daily Free Now’s official Twinkie reporter, aka yours truly, has good news. Your favorite snack has a good chance of returning to store shelves this summer!
I’m sure everyone remembers Hostess’s announcement that they were filing for bankruptcy last November. Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and other Hostess products have not been produced since the company’s fallout. I honestly believed that Twinkies were never going to appear in stores ever again. But they received a reprieve.
According to an article by the New York Times, in an effort to liquidate its business, Hostess has been auctioning off its various brands over the past four months. Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management agreed to buy the Hostess cake brand for a whopping $410 million. Since no other qualified bids were submitted, Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management will become the new owners of Hostess products.
In a statement, Metropoulos & Co. CEO and founder Dean Metropoulos said the firm was looking forward to having “America’s favorite snacks back on the shelf by this summer.”
So after all the drama and chaos surrounding the demise of the Hostess empire, Twinkies will likely return to stores this summer. Who would’ve thought? It’s great to see that companies actually had interest in continuing the production of Twinkies and other Hostess products like Sno Balls and Ho Hos. Americans have been enjoying these snacks for over 80 years and it would have been a shame for the snacks to just disappear from American culture. Luckily this won’t happen. All in all, I would like to personally thank Hostess for my mini-heart attack and slight depression for the past few months. I now have a new reason to look forward to the summer: an all-American snack will be returning to grocery store shelves.
By Ann Jacob, Staff Writer
Last Tuesday, the Team 26, a group of 26 cyclists from Newtown, CT including the father of one of the children who was killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School last December and Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) arrived in Washington, D.C. after a four hundred mile bike ride from Newtown.
Team 26 is named for the 26 students and teachers who were killed in Newtown three months ago. When the group arrived in D.C. they were greeted by well-wishers, and their objective was to talk to legislators about gun reforms.
Ultimately, the goal of the Team 26 and the other group associated with Newtown, Sandy Hook Promise Innovative Initiative is “a ‘call for ideas’ to reduce gun violence and a commitment by leading venture capitalists and angel investors to fund promising innovations in gun safety, mental health research and related new technologies.”
David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times wrote a piece last week on the odd relationship between the decline in gun ownership and the increase in gun sales. He posits that this can be attributed to a fearful few Americans purchasing many guns, while most Americans stay away from guns. As Horsey reports, according to the General Social Survey, “the number of U.S. households with guns dropped from 50% in 1973 to 34% in 2012. This decline has shown up everywhere, including the historically gun-toting regions of the South and West.” The question remains: if gun ownership is declining and American views on guns and gun ownership is shifting, why not use this moment to develop consensus?
The New York Times created some graphs on American views’ on gun control in January, which illustrate that most Americans favor background checks on potential gun buyers, a national database of gun sales, as well as a ban on high capacity magazines. Also, most Americans favor stricter gun control laws.
So, if specific kinds of weapons that use high capacity magazines meant for the battlefield are used in mass shootings, why not limit those kinds of weapons? According to an article on Politico.com, opponents of gun control legislation, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) state that legislation to ban specific weapons would be violating the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which grants U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. However, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) put is best in the Judiciary Committee when she questioned how many guns Americans need. Sen. Feinstein has proposed a ban on “157 different models of assault weapons, as well as magazines containing more than 10 bullets,” which is set to come before the Senate soon.
The important part of the legislation that Americans who are opposed to such legislation need to keep in mind is that even though the bill may ban 157 weapons, there are still over 2000 guns that people may purchase legally, as discussed in the Rachel Maddow Show. The bill essentially is limiting or banning the types of weapons or magazines that have been involved in the most horrific mass shootings in the last few decades. Hopefully, the Senate and the House will come to a consensus on this issue, if not for the safety of our citizens and country, then at least for their own political futures.
By Ann Jacob, Staff Writer
Last Wednesday, as the statue of Rosa Parks was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol building, people gathered across the street in front of the Supreme Court, to protest for the rights Parks vehemently fought for and are currently being debated in the Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder.
According to a broadcast report by USA Today, at issue are Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which stipulate that areas prone to prejudice and discrimination must request permission from the Justice Department before changing voting laws. While some legislators feel that this protocol is outdated and therefore unnecessary, others feel that these laws still offer valid protections.
Conservative members of the Supreme Court seem to be approaching the renewal of the Act with more skepticism than in past. Justice Scalia suggested the reauthorizations by Congress could be attributed to what he called the “perpetuation of racial entitlement” (audio: just past 51min; transcript: page 47), and therefore will continue to be reinstated based off of this principle instead of the imminent threat of prejudice and discrimination that inspired the inclusion of the sections to begin with.
Other Conservative justices claim that the stipulations are directed at specific states, and are therefore unconstitutional.
Justice Breyer voiced his opinion on this, “Of course this is aimed at states. What do you think the Civil War was about? Of course it was aimed at treating some states differently than others.”
While it is true that we should not treat some states differently from other states, what I think these Supreme Court Justices fail to remember is our shared troubling history with voting. Do we not remember the Mississippi Three during the Freedom Summer? Do we not remember the march to Selma across the Edmund Pettus Bridge? Do we not remember the Ku Klux Klan and the discrimination of poll taxes and literacy tests?
While the picture of voting rights and voting in America is not as divisive and dangerous as it used to be, we should not forget the troubles of our recent past. Our country has come a long way to give everyone equal rights and equal protection under the law, and still has a way to go. We are on our way to perfecting our Union, but stripping minorities of protections at the poll is not a step in the right direction.
Perhaps the reason many Americans are against these Sections of the Voting Rights Act being repealed is due to the fact that Mississippi, the state from which this Supreme Court case originates from, only formally ratified the 13th amendment to the U.S. constitution abolishing slavery in February of this year. This is 148 years after it became the law! I feel that Rev. Al Sharpton best summed up the feelings of protesters when, on the steps on the Supreme Court, he said, “Last year the voter ID laws and the long lines and the ending early voting and the stopping Sunday to the polls showed that Jim Crow’s son James Crow Jr., Esquire is still trying to do what his daddy did, and that’s rob us from the right to vote.”