Archive | Pop Culture

Thought Talk: How have social networking sites affected our generation’s social skills?

Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide, with almost 21% of them in high school.  As many of our peers explore the world of friend requests, “liking” statuses, and posting photos, it seems that traditional friendship has fallen to the wayside.  A person’s “friends” on Facebook are not necessarily their friends in real life. With so much information about seemingly random strangers at their disposal, our generation’s social skills have altered drastically.  Issues like cyberbullying, stalking, and harassment have threatened the high school student’s privacy.  Meanwhile, the importance of a face-to-face conversation or a phone call has been downplayed, as most interactions go electronic.  As more and more of our social lives become connected to the world wide web, traditional relationships are declining.  It this necessarily a bad thing?  What can we do to reverse this trend if we think the trend is bad? Is a virtual friendship just as good as a real face-to-face personal friendship?

KS/APR/11

Posted in Pop Culture, Uncategorized2 Comments

Resolved, that that IKEA have its nonprofit status revoked.

Background: Now the largest furniture retailer in the world, Swedish company IKEA was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad. The business is controlled by Interogo Foundation, a not-for-profit organization valued at $15 billion that is also run by the Kamprad family. Kamprad’s empire is completed by a third entity, the Stichting INGKA Foundation, which, valued at $36 billion, is the largest charitable organization in the world. With such a massive breadth of control, the IKEA system has drawn criticism for what some perceive to be tax avoidance and anti-takeover protection techniques.

Pro:

  • Because the IKEA group is held by a nonprofit, none of their $3.4 billion profit is taxable. Many critics have identified this as a tax-avoidance scheme.
  • Although Stichting INGKA Foundation is the largest charitable organization in the world, only .125% (60.9 million dollars) of their money is spent on charitable giving. The remaining $35.94 billion is used for investment purposes.

Con:

  • The organization’s status as a nonprofit enables it to maximize its charitable contributions and innovations
  • The IKEA foundations’ not-for-profit scheme has ensured the success of IKEA GreenTech, a proactive environmental group, and IKEA Social Initiative, a partner of UNICEF and Save the Children.

Sources:
Clark, C. S. (1997, December 26). Regulating nonprofits. CQ Researcher, 7, 1129-1152.     http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1997122600

Armitstead, L. (2010, October 1). Ikea reveals profits for first time to dispel ‘secretive’ image.     Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8037637/Ikea-    reveals-profits-for-first-time-to-dispel-secretive-image.html

Flat-pack accounting. The Economist. http://www.economist.com/node/6919139?story_id=6919139

Facts & Figures. IKEA. http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/about_ikea/facts_and_figures/index.html

Ikea founder admits to secret foundation. The Local. http://www.thelocal.se/31650/20110126/

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Pop Culture1 Comment

Resolved, that the WNBA be abolished.

Background: The WNBA was founded on April 24, 1996, and has established itself as the premier women’s basketball league in the world. However, in recent years, the WNBA has taken a turn for the worse, suffering a loss in popularity. In addition, the league’s loss of popularity has resulted in financial losses.

Pro:

  • The WNBA suffers numerous financial losses. In fact, it has had a net economic loss every year of its existence.
  • The WNBA’s popularity is next to nothing. The target audience of the WNBA, female basketball players, idolize NBA stars over WNBA stars.  No one is watching.
  • The WNBA simply will never succeed.  It faces fundamental economic and sociological problems that can never be overcome.

Con:

  • The WNBA provides a place for young female basketball players to aspire to, a critical need in developing female athletes
  • The WNBA is still the world’s best female basketball league, regardless of any economic losses or drops in ratings.
  • The WNBA provides an example of the achievement women can reach in sports, and provides an example to other sports wishing to create a professional league for women.

Sources:
http://www.wnba.com/about_us/historyof_wnba.html
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jeff_pearlman/06/16/wnba/index.html
http://www.slamonline.com/online/uncategorized/2010/06/dont-sleep-on-the-wnba/

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Pop Culture3 Comments

Resolved, that the language considered “controversial” in Texas public school books be censored.

Background: The United States was founded on the beliefs that education was to be free of bias and able to fully educate the individual. This said, the Texas School Board has taken issue with some topics discussed in history text books. In its issues with the textbooks, the Texas School Board has found that there is liberal bias and identified controversial “language” and “material”.

Pro:

  • Remove the liberal bias from our children’s history books, seen in the emphasis on Thurgood Marshall and Cesear Chavez and other minorities.
  • Increase emphasis on important parts of our American history, like the National Rifle Association (yes, guns!) and Phyllis Schlafy (no Equal Rights Amendment for women!).
  • America must affirm its stance that the Founding Fathers were white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (though some were deists) who worked with Christian motives.

Con:

  • This is censorship. Censorship is innately bad, especially the censorship of knowledge, as it leads to terrible states such as Nazi Germany.
  • This is a Fundamentalist Christian and Conservative attack on aspects of history they do not appreciate–this type of rewriting of history to support one’s own personal beliefs and value systems is a crime against humanity.
  • Children should learn the cold, hard factual parts of history and then decide their own personal view of it on their own accord.

Sources:
http://www.euroclio.eu/site/index.php/news-mainmenu-730/history-education-news-mainmenu-384/history-textbook-controversy-roils-texas.html
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2827332/the_texas_board_of_education_are_they_pg2.html?cat=9
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2827332/the_texas_board_of_education_are_they_pg2.html?cat=9

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Pop Culture1 Comment

Resolved, That facebook has had a negative impact on society.

Background: With over 500 million active users, facebook has been an increasingly popular subject for discussion. The website gained tremendous popularity within a very short amount of time after its founding in 2004, and is often blamed for the increase in “impersonal” communication by youth around the world. The amount of time spent on the social media site is tremendous, over 700 billion minutes every month. Many disagree over whether or not people spend that time wisely. Do people simply waste their time on the site, or is it beneficial in helping you connect and share with the people in your life, as the front page of the website claims?

Pro:

  • Facebook has provided a platform for public bullying and humiliation.
  • Young people are subject to a lack of exposure to real, personal communication, and are replacing it with virtual substitutions like through facebook.
  • The fairly relaxed security settings have caused many people’s personal information to be leaked to third parties who then use same for their own nefarious purposes.

Con:

  • Facebook has allowed for a quicker and more effective means of communication than ever before in human history.
  • Using facebook, people are better able to organize and communicate with people in their communities, as recently seen in the Arab revolts.
  • People are able to use the website as a place to network and connect with potential employers, past classmates, and co-workers alike.

Sources:
– Facebook Statistics < http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics>
-The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social
Network Sites < http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html>

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Pop Culture4 Comments

Resolved, that feminism has become too radical.

Background: In 1792, a woman by the name of Mary Wollstonecraft cemented her name into the history books by publishing a piece of literature that laid out her beliefs on the rights of women.  This book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was the first book to ever contain purely “feminist” ideals, the idea surrounding the advocacy for the rights of women.  Feminism began as a way to make sure women had equal rights as men.  However, now these feminists seem to be pursuing unfair rights in a socially inappropriate way or in too “radical” a manner.

Pro:
·      Radical feminism can have an adverse effect on the discrimination of women.
·      Radical feminism has been construed into something that is not actually feminism; rather, man-hating and sex-hating humorlessness.

Con:
·      Feminism, even in radical form, has positive effects on the way women are treated.
·      Opponents of feminism try to stereotype all feminists as radicals to undermine their support, meaning feminists should be more radical in order to change this oppression.

Posted in Pop Culture0 Comments

Resolved, that online medical diagnosis sites are harmful to the public health.

In the age of internet, many have turned to the internet in order to find an answer to their medical problems. However, self-diagnoses based on unreliable websites aren’t an appropriate alternative to true medical attention or training. Proponents of the resolution claim that internet diagnoses aren’t always made by licensed doctors, and may contain false or incomplete information.  The site’s tendencies to list vague symptoms can cause people to come to a false conclusion about their health. But the con counters that doctors on the internet have the same chance of making a mistake as doctors in an office. They also note that diagnoses on the internet are cheaper and therefore necessary for lower income families to receive medical attention where they otherwise wouldn’t. So, do online medical diagnoses do more harm than good?

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Pop Culture2 Comments

Resolved, that “The Daily Show” is a legitimate news source.

In 2008, shows like Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show became much more popular with the Presidential election race. Since then, the show’s viewers have largely increased leading up to the mid-term elections. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, jokingly takes on new political news with a (fake) conservative opinion on each issue. Similar to the Colbert Report, it is one of the most-viewed shows on Comedy Central. Proponents of this belief explain that if Fox News is a legitimate news sources, than so is The Daily Show. However, the opponents of this principle argue that The Daily Show is a simple humorous attempt at an imitation of an actual legitimate news source: Fox News. They explain the Stewart is not a news anchor, but rather a ‘news’ comedian. So is The Daily Show a real new source, or is it a blatantly fake comedy show?

KS/MARCH 2011

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Thought Talk: Is Sarah Palin an embarrassment to women?

Sarah Palin may be considered a champion to some, but to many she is viewed as an embarrassment to her gender.  After running for Vice-President along side John McCain in the 2008 elections, Palin jumped on board with the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement.  There are many Democrats and Republicans alike who find her conservative ways and silly comments such as, “I can see Russia from my house,” to be embarrassing.  Conversely, there are those who regard her as a powerful woman, and inspiration to us all.  Are Sarah Palin and her antics embarrassments to women, or an example of a strengthening role of women in politics?

KS/MARCH 2011

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Thought Talk: Is the “Bro” lifestyle detrimental to society?

You’ve seen them playing lacrosse. You’ve heard them blast Dave Matthews from their Range Rovers. They are the “Bros”, a social stereotype that is sweeping the nation.  To many, being a “Bro” is simply the lifestyle of one who enjoys wearing polos (or lacrosse ponies) going to parties, and referring to their other respective companions as “Bros”. However, to many, people who are “Bros” are often considered misogynistic, and promote inappropriate behavior frowned on by society in general. Here we evaluate this lifestyle, and decide that is this just another “phase” for the American Youth? Or something much more harmful?

KS/MARCH 2011

Posted in Pop Culture1 Comment