St. Louis Rams: Jocks for Justice

In response to the most heated and controversial issue in the US right now, the murders of unarmed black men by white police officers, protests have taken many forms.  Violent riots broke out in Ferguson, MO as after Darren Wilson had not be indicted.  After the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, Al Sharpton arranged a more peaceful protest, a national march in Washington DC.  Even those who didn’t physically participate in demonstrations still voiced their opinions via social media; the hash tag #blacklivesmatter began trending on Twitter.  While obviously looting stores and violent demonstrations don’t solve anything, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should be allowed to voice this opinion if not inflicting harm on others.  However, last Sunday, when St. Louis Rams players made a grand gesture during player introductions, there was a lot of outrage. Continue reading St. Louis Rams: Jocks for Justice

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Sports: The Importance of Fans and the Community

On Sunday October 12, I attended my very first NFL game in Cleveland, Ohio. I am from Los Angeles, so there never was a keen focus on the NFL as there is no team in the area. USC football is our version of NFL football. After going to multiple USC games, I though I had gained the feel of the live football experience. There was never really any interest in me to go to any NFL games until I got the offer from one of my new close friends at U of M. As an Ohio native and an experienced NFL fan, my friend really sold the live NFL experience to me. He explained how the intensity of the game and the fans create a unique atmosphere that can only be experienced at an NFL game. I was sold.

As my three friends and I are walking to the stadium and I look around at all the people walking alongside, raging from babies to seniors, I realize that this game is more about the city and the community than just the players on the field. People from all walks of life (socioeconomically and racially) are joined together in this special community.

A view outside the stadium from my perspective
A view outside the stadium from my perspective

I had the privilege of sitting in box seats for my very first NFL game. Given that I am a Los Angeles native and it was around 30 degrees that day, I was especially appreciative that I had a nice, warm, private room to watch this game. But, what I realized later is that the box literally kept me in a box and I was only able to witness the incredible atmosphere and interaction between the fans from afar and not actually experience it. The game was incredible, but watching all of these Browns fans rejoicing in success was an even more sensational feeling. The whole stadium was one, cheering and jeering with one big voice. The Cleveland Browns routed the rival Pittsburg Steelers 31-10, putting a smile on everyone’s face as they left the stadium. Continue reading Sports: The Importance of Fans and the Community

Social Contract Theory In The Kitchen

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to a family dinner at a nice restaurant in my town. As I scanned over the menu, I decided that I was between ordering a hamburger and the ribs and I couldn’t make up my mind. I told the waitress, “Hey why don’t you surprise me and choose my dish for me.” After she left the table, my dad looked at me, smiled, and said: “Jon, you’re getting the ribs for dinner.” With a puzzled look on my face I asked him why he thought that and with no hesitation he responded: “Because it cost 5 dollars more.” My dad believed that the waitress would choose the more expensive dish for me because it would subsequently increase her tip.

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In this situation, my dad exhibited classic Hobbesian Social Contract Theory. My dad believed that the waitress, looking out for herself over the wants and wishes of others, would choose to give me the more expensive meal in order to increase her tip. I couldn’t believe this because in my mind, she would have chosen whichever dish she liked best or maybe asked a friend for her opinion. However, my dad being the Hobbesian believer that he is felt the waitress would look out for her own best interest before the interest of her customers.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes believes that people have a natural tendency to do what is best for them, regardless of others. He thinks that in the state of nature people don’t care about what others want or what serves the group best, but instead what would benefit them most.

Selfishness at its finest
Selfishness at its finest

Although this came as a shock to me, the more and more I thought about it at the dinner table, the more and more it made sense. It’s not necessarily stealing from customers, but rather taking advantage of them in order to do what is best for the waiter or waitress. A true Hobbesian person would always choose the more expensive meal for a customer because it benefits them the most. If someone believed in Locke’s Social Contract Theory, the idea of mutual assistance would come into play and the waiter or waitress would choose the meal that they believed would best serve the customer whether it be through their own personal experience or the thoughts of fellow waiters and waitresses.

Unfortunately for me, my dad was correct. The waitress brought me the 19-dollar ribs rather than the 14-dollar hamburger. I couldn’t help but crack a smile to my dad as she showed up with the ribs in hand. The inner optimist in me was crushed as I realized Hobbes might have a point. Not all people are sinister and not everyone looks out for themselves over others, but in the case of this waitress, Hobbes would be proud.

American Black Friday: Let’s go buy more things to be thankful for!

Black Friday is an American nation-wide occurrence that Americans stay faithful to every single year right after the day of Thanksgiving. It has become a nationwide campaign every year to convince Americans to stand in ridiculous lines at ridiculous hours of the night in order to score in on some ‘deals’ right after a holiday where families gather to be thankful for what they have. This parody trailer of Black Friday: All Sales are Final! of the movie The Purge puts the madness into a funny perspective. In class we have talked about identities and why some things, such as American football, are so popular nationwide. What makes something American? Nationalism is something that can be identified with one’s country. While this post is mainly about Black Friday, we cannot ignore that it is the day right after Thanksgiving. It has almost become part of the national Thanksgiving holiday for many people across the nation. This past holiday when asking friends what their plans are, one of the most frequent answers involves Black Friday shopping with the family after eating a delicious meal supposedly feeling thankful for everything you have.

The media does an excellent job of justifying this irony by making everyone believe they will experience the ultimate savings on this day! What is so entrancing about saving a couple of dollars that makes it worth it to cause crowds, traffic and even stampedes? Cards Against Humanity (a card came) might not know but they sure did decide to take advantage of it. On Black Friday they sold out on 30,000 boxes of straight Bullsh**. Literally. They never pretended there was anything else in the box, they just knew everyone would run to the stores because it was the ‘ultimate deal’. $180,000 in revenue for selling poop.

       

Black Friday arrived in England last year (after American firms Amazon and Asda went big on it in the UK) and the result was not too pretty as seen in this video. Even some Americans felt the need to apologize: . There were stampedes and lots of Chaos in the UK this year. Not too different from here in America. There were reports of police being called because people were fighting over Barbie dolls and wrestling over Sony speakers. This year stores were opening up for Black Friday shopping earlier on Thanksgiving. Did this stop people from perhaps ending the national holiday and family time earlier? Nope. Walmart, for example, said more than 22 million people showed up for the opening between the hours of 6pm-10pm and Target had lines forming before its 8pm opening. In fact Walmart is one of the centers where chaos tends to occur on Black Friday. This year there was a disturbing trend on Twitter called #WalmartFights. It was at Walmart where in 2008 an employee was trampled to death during a Black Friday shift.

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What makes Black Friday a national occurrence with such effects all over the country? Does it bring a sense of community like getting together on a Sunday night football? The communal sense of all preparing for a brutal overcrowded shopping center? Could it perhaps be a sense of competitiveness? The feeling that one could be their own winner by “experiencing the ultimate savings!”Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 11.18.55 PM

It has become such a national thing that stores opening on the evening of Thanksgiving, an official national celebration, has not stopped millions of shoppers from lining up outside the stores. Black Friday is also known o be the time where people buy the gifts for the next national holiday: Christmas. Christmas a religious holiday where families say they get together to celebrate the birth of an important figure. That’s another topic however on how it has also been idealized by the media and social culture for a time to give the biggest and best gift ever. It’s a little disturbing how obvious it is too when seeing commercials that say things such as “This year buy the BIGGEST, BEST, MOST LUXURIOUS EXTRAORDINARY gift that they always wanted…at the right price”. Every commercial will try to convince you it is worth every chaotic consequence to end your quality time earlier to shop for material things you probably don’t really need. So what makes Black Friday such a nation-wide romanticized occurrence for millions of people to prepare for war to get the ‘best’ deals on materialistic things right after giving thanks for what you have?

America: The Conformist’s Playground

For many Americans, one of the greatest aspects of our country includes the overwhelming amount of “opportunity” that our country provides. In America, everyone has the chance to be different and make something out of themselves. Whether it is through a different career, political viewpoints, or even cultural differences, America gives citizens the right to “make their own name for themselves.” This may be an aspect of American life that many individuals would claim is essential to being an American — our citizen’s differences are what make this country so great. Although many American’s would view themselves as being their own individual person, unfortunately, conformity is more evident in America now, more than ever. Continue reading America: The Conformist’s Playground

Personal Experiences with Conservatism and Liberalism in Football

Chip Kelly a liberal offensive coordinator, via Wikimedia

Much of my high school years were defined by football.  I played three years of varsity football for Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California, alma mater of Super Bowl MVPs such as Tom Brady and Lynn Swann.  In addition, to attending such a crazed and historic football school we also competed in the WCAL (Western Catholic Athletic League), which many people consider the SEC of California high school football.  Needless to say the game was taken very seriously from the hiring and firing of coaches and coordinators to the seemingly endless practices in the summer.  I enjoyed my time playing and gained many valuable experiences and life lessons I would not trade for the world.  However, one thing that had never struck me until we talked about conservatism vs liberalism n lecture was how coaches more specifically my offensive coordinators were either conservative or liberal.

Continue reading Personal Experiences with Conservatism and Liberalism in Football

Should Tradition be Forsaken in the Name of Feminism?

Exactly 365 days ago (Thanksgiving 2013), my dad poured Cabernet Sauvignon into my mom’s crystal glass. She had been sitting there with an empty glass for over five minutes, waiting passively for him to pour it, without saying a word. When he finally realized that she was waiting for him, he apologized for not noticing earlier.

“What the hell, Mommy, this is ridiculous. Pour your own wine. Stop being passive and subscribing to such patriarchy,” I angrily spouted at my mother at the dinner table in front of our guests.

She retorted (in a much calmer voice) that she finds solace in such traditions.

Should tradition be forsaken in the name of feminism? Is my mom personally guilty of perpetuating patriarchy?

Continue reading Should Tradition be Forsaken in the Name of Feminism?