Reading the news gives me a feeling of being stuck. I feel stuck being a college student, especially in a world that has so many problems. Often I sit on the floor and feel powerless. I want to save the world, but I have classes and the T runs to Boston, not Yemen. Thus, too often my solution to big problems is to not think about them at all. How Brandesian. There is a famine in Yemen right now. Millions of pounds of grain earmarked to relieve the widespread famine are rotting in storehouses, according to the New York Times. Doctors Without Borders says the medical health system has effectively collapsed and the country is a hairbreadth away from an outbreak of measles, cholera and diphtheria.
I watch significantly more YouTube videos than I should. In the heaps of media that I consume on a daily basis, very seldom do I pay attention to advertisements. More often than not, I see adverts as an obstacle; if I am not watching the yellow line creep right toward my next video, I watch ads with the reservation of a jaded consumer. It is only when an advertisement oversteps its role as a distant annoyance that I lean in to show even a minor amount of interest.
Strongmen are destroying modern democracy from the inside out. Whether it be Donald Trump in the United States, Xi Jinping in China, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia or the recently elected Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, every inhabitable continent but Australia has an iron-fisted “strongman” in power. One can observe the phenomenon sweeping international politics: Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, Malta, the Philippines, and innumerable others. It is the year of the strongman, a year that holds none of the auspices of its Chinese counterparts. However, the year of the pig starts with the death sentence for a Canadian citizen held in China on charges of drug trafficking. Two Canadian businessmen are also being detained, but for reasons unpublicized. Ever since the arrest of Huawei’s corporate financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada, recent Chinese actions against Canadian citizens have been construed as suspicious. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg has been charged with smuggling methamphetamines to China. He is alleged to have orchestrated a trade of well over one kilo of illegal substances; in China, one kilo warrants the death penalty. However, it is not the legitimacy of the charge that should be put under scrutiny, but rather the timing.
Many people in the West are comfortable with the thought that the People’s Republic of China is a benign communist state. Especially within its close geographical proximity to the tyrannical North Korea, as well as its history under Mao Zedong, the iron grip of Beijing has with time loosened to a bearable squeeze. One might be taken aback to hear China is still putting people into “reeducation camps” based upon their religion. In the case of Muslim Uyghurs, this is a harsh reality the public seems to turn a blind eye to. Recent unrest across the world has sown seeds of systematic Islamophobia, and China’s government is using this to their advantage.
As college has become a requirement for a widening array of jobs and opportunities in America, it has become more difficult to provide equal opportunities for those who are underrepresented or underprivileged. Affirmative action is a series of policies that aim to tackle this issue. However, America is a strange beast regarding education. The population is so diverse that it is impossible and grossly unfair to treat everyone the same way, yet it is very difficult to be the arbiter of how equality should be.
ne would be hard pressed to find a comedian as well-known and formerly beloved as Louis CK. The dark, raunchy, guilty-pleasure comedy that oozed out of every special Mr. CK delivered spoke to a dark pit in the collective imagination of the audience — it was exciting. In this sense, it is difficult to confront the fact that the crimes he was accused of had already been hiding in his comedy under the guise of benign humor.