Thursday, 28 October 2010

Meisha on Politics

In my Mass Media class we read about political campaigns and the changes that have taken place. More fitting, we read about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of negative advertisements. Then, we wrote about it.

Here is what I said:

I have to say, I am very happy and excited to be able to express my opinion on this matter--especially considering the current election period in Florida.

Negative political advertisements are, for lack of a better word, annoying. They are just as annoying as the thousands of signs put out by polling stations and the sporadic push poll phone calls made by PR specialists. Whose bright idea was it to turn telemarketers into political PRs anyway? It only makes me want to stop answering my phone if I don't recognise the number--which is a hard decision for me considering the amount of important unidentified phone calls I get from Jamaica on a regular basis. At the very least, it does not encourage me to support any of the candidates, let alone participate in the election. 

These things debase the candidacy and the entire political campaign, in my opinion. How can political advertising even remotely be equated to product advertising? Since when is running for governor the same as choosing which shampoo to use on my dog's hair? Only ignorant, naive or uninterested people can really be swayed from a simple phone call or 2-minute commercial; so how effective can the methods really be? If I really wanted to find out about a candidate's goods and bads there are much more efficient ways for me to do so than waiting around on the opponent to put out an "informative" hate ad.

Although propaganda has long been a method of swaying public opinion, negative commercials on television take it way too far. You are running for President of the United States, not head cheerleader. (Leave all that nonsense for people with nothing better to do.) That form of campaigning does less of accurately informing the public and more of trying to see who is the most popular and willing to stoop the lowest. But a presidential election is not supposed to be based on popularity and ability to "connect" with the public, it should be based on the merit of the individual running and on his or her governmental policies solely. So what if Romney is a Mormon, or Lincoln is awkward and Taft is fat? They could end up being the best president we have ever had; meanwhile you are a handsome anglo-saxon protestant idiot who won the election only because you exploited the image of your opponent through the use of false judgement. (Oh crap, I won. Now what?)

Simply put, telling me that John believes in racial segregation does not tell me what you believe. It only undermines your campaign and more accurately tells me that you are inherently unprofessional and therefore not fit to serve in a political office. 

Taliban Dan... Really?

I wish there was a way to go back to the traditional methods where information was only available through reading articles or listening to debates. This whole rat-race phenomenon--congruent to the "mean girl" rallying up high school popularity votes--is ridiculous. 

Politicians need to get it together.

While I agree that these ads grab our attention I still find them inappropriate. Sure they are completely effective at capturing the public's attention, but at the expense of what? What do we learn from your hate ad other than the fact that you think Dan is a Taliban? Absolutely nothing.

Political debates are where politicians should fight it out. Not in between episodes of Hannah Montana.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I failed my first article today.

I say that in the most modest and disappointed tone--hoping that maybe a few years down the line I can look back on this post and be proud of how far I've come.

As I mentioned in my first blog of the school year, one factual error and you fail. (This includes spelling a person's name wrong.) It does not exactly mean a zero but an F is an F is an F. And I got my first one of my college career--in the one class I should not be getting it in.

This further adds to my conclusion that hard news stories are not my beat. The more I write these to-the-point factual stories, the more I feel the creativity draining out of me. Granted, alternative leads give me more leeway to be creative, but for some reason when I sit to write news stories I only think facts. Then my stories become drab and boring and do not even sound like me. They are just blah.

My high school articles were better.

I hate making up excuses, though. After all, if I want to be a journalist I should be able to write all kinds of stories--and up until this class I thought I could. But I realise that hiding behind my problems will always affect my work.

I just haven't been very proud of any of my articles and it sure does not help that they can forever be found on some online websites. I have not been very proud of any of my blogs or recent essays either. Actually, I havent been proud of anything I have done this semester. My wordplay is dwindling and my motivation for anything school-related (or anything at all for that matter) is hanging by a very thin thread that blows in the dry central Florida wind.

Where is my head? Am I losing my talent at the expense of trying to better my social life and college experience? Am I allowing my problems to get the best of me?

I'd hate to think so. Junior year is no year to be screwing up.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Let Me See Your I.D

For a while I have been battling with the idea of being independent and what makes an adult an adult.

If ever I decide to rely on the law of this land to tell me, it always comes back to one thing: capitalism.

How do I draw that connection?

It's very simple. Everything in this country is based on making money. (And when I say everything, trust me, I mean everything.) The milestone ages we reach are mostly set by the government for their own benefit the benefit of the "economy." Of course it doesn't hurt that we like and willingly partake in the little teasers along the way. Oh, you're 15? You can drive legally now--with an adult in the passenger seat. Sixteen? Here's your license and your first job. No driving past 1 a.m., though, so don't take a night shift. Eighteen; you can smoke your way to lung cancer, party, vote, and are considered an adult. Twenty-one; hooray for legally being able to destroy your liver.

None of these things really prove independency or adulthood, except for culturally--which doesn't help much outside of your house. It might be nice to tell your parents, hey I'm 16 now I'm grown, but big brother does not want to hear it.

The fact of the matter is, if you are still in school and looking for somewhere to live you need a guarantor to sign for you saying that, in case of anything, they will be able to pay your rent. Companies need to know that the money will be paid at all costs. Being a full-time student does not give you enough time to work a well-paying job, and being out of school and within the 18-24 age group probably means that wherever you do work probably does not pay you enough for them to take your name and signature only. That makes you a dependent. If you want to rent a car, hotel room, or go on a cruise, you need to be over 21, or at least have a friend who is. Sorry, being 18+ does not mean a thing. You still need a babysitter.

The one that gets me the most, which I just recently discovered, is that if you are applying for school and claiming residency you cannot put yourself as independent. Even if you survive on your own, you are still considered a dependent as long as you are under 24 and single. In a way, I guess it can be a good incentive for you to maintain a good relationship with your parents, but it does not help when you do not and therefore cannot get their information. It simply gives them the power to control whether or not you get to school and that is unfortunate. It is sad to say, but not all parents are good to their children and I find it very unfair that they can still have so much power, especially if they use it to negatively affect their child, even after we are termed to legally be adults.

At 18, though we can vote and determine who heads our country, there are too many other things we cannot do. And though we will put thousands of other drivers and ourselves at risk, at 16 we are deemed fully capable of operating a motor vehicle on our own. Driving a car is a big deal. If we wait until we are 18 though, there is no need for a practise permit. It is assumed that by then you would have magically learned how to drive by illegally practising watching others around you.

It is all just for the money. Being on the road at 16 just means that we need cars sooner than later. God forbid you have an accident, that's more money to insurance and fixing the car; and the more you are on the road the higher your risk to be in an accident, so why not start from young. Being able to party at 18 means that we need money. We have to look nice, pay for gas, parking and cover when we get there. Being able to legally drink, well that one should be obvious.

So since money makes the world go around, is that what makes us adults? Is our level of independence and ability to be classified as an adult measured by the amount of money in our bank account, not by our age or ability to drive, vote, drink or smoke?

Looks like it.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Woes of a College Student

When I grow up I want to be just like Sam.

In a continuation from yesterday's blog, this morning she was taken into the four hour surgery, half of her head shaved, and she went in like a champion. The surgery was performed, the tumor removed, and she woke up thereafter. Now she is back to being sarcastic and enduring the pain with very little to say.

I think it is funny how these stories end. Have you ever noticed that such tragedies always seem to befall on those who know how to carry it well?

I truly admire her strength.

As for me, I feel like I am slowly losing my sanity. I am overwhelmed, to say the least, by all the things I am faced with. Though I know I could be dealing with much more pain than this, it's the daily struggles that seem to get the best of me. To contradict my blog from yesterday, I quote "Any idiot can face a crisis. It's day-to-day living that wears you out."

To an extent, I certainly agree. In fact, I have even managed to come up with my own diagnosis.

Though I have never lived through any other generation, I think I am entitled to saying that our generation of thinkers is under the most intense pressure of them all. This competitively driven world has us all convinced that if we can't pull off a music or modeling career, or go to school for the first 20 plus years of our lives then we will not be successful. We'd end up struggling to make ends meet for the rest of our lives--working as the manager at a retail store or fast food restaurant, or doing some other unfulfilling and underpaid job.

If you think about it though, 20 plus years in school is really excessive.

In generations past, if you lived until 40 you were lucky. To say that we spend more than half of our lives in school just preparing for life would sound very insane. Is it that because our life expetancy has been raised, someone decided that we could waste a quarter of it in preparation for what is to come? (Assuming nothing tragic happens to hinder that progress.)

In my opinion, we waste way too much time doing absolutely nothing but waking up too early to go and socialise at school; until we get to college and realise that we probably should have taken a bit more from high school, and that we still have four years or more left only to then enter into a world where everyone seems to have a problem finding a stable or worthwhile job at all let alone in the field they spent their last two years of college learning about anyway.

It is a mouthful, I know. But that is how I feel. Like an entirely too long and   confusing run-on sentence that has been continuing for so long that I have forgotten where it even begins and what the point of it was in the first place.

Simply put, I want to be done with school. I want to get rid of this thousand pound elephant that is on top of me telling me that I won't be able to find a job that can support the lifestyle I ultimately want to live. I no longer want to have to worry about what deadline I am missing, or if I've done all the work I was supposed to do for each of my five classes or how much aid I am going to get next semester or how long it is going to take me to pay back these loans.

I'll be damned if I spend over 20 years in school and still have to struggle to maintain for the rest of my life. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Reality Check

I have been laying in bed all day trying to figure out a way to appropriately describe how I am feeling--which I am not sure has been much of a success--without sounding like I am complaining or being negative.

Last night I was reminded just how precious and absolutely unpredictable life is, at the expense of what little sanity I have left.

In my life I have never been shown otherwise. If it is not one thing that tells me to drop all my trivial worries and miniscule problems, it is something else. If you remember the incident with my cousin last year April, it still weighs on my head. Every now and then I realise that he truly is not around anymore for no other reason than the simple fact that his mental disability was overlooked and ill-treated. Though I am grateful he is alive and healthy, it still drives me up the wall knowing he will be locked away until someone with some kind of sense realises he does not belong there.

As for what happened last night, one of my good friends--who I don't see nearly enough these days--has a younger sister who passed out and suffered a seizure. She was just going about her day as we all do, and the next thing she new she was in a hospital bed.

They did an MRI this morning to figure out the cause and found a benign tumour in her head that needs to come out or it will continue to induce seizures. I can't imagine someone younger than me lying in a hospital bed knowing that in a few hours Doctors are going to cut my head open. It makes me weak just thinking about it.

Can you imagine?

One day you wake up and everything is fine, and the next day you don't. You could be as strong as an ox and as healthy as ever one minute, and the next you lose feeling in your legs, get brain damage, go blind, or discover you have cancer.

These things happen to the best of us, the worst of us, and those in between. Most times it hits us by such surprise that we don't know whether to cry, scream or go back to sleep and hope it was all just a dream. It is because of this why I have never been the type of person to hold a grudge or bad feelings toward anyone who was once a part of my life. Not only is it a perfect waste of happiness, it is also a waste of time. Nothing hurts more than to find out someone you share memories with is no longer alive and you did not get the opportunity to tell them you are sorry. By then the problem you had seems so insignificant and you feel nothing short of completely regretful and absolutely ridiculous for making it ruin your relationship in the first place.

I learned years ago not to wait until it is too late. Granted, we never know when it will be, so that just means you shouldn't take too much time to realise that pride has no place in matters of the heart.

My biggest problem now is that I am all the way over here.

In times like these I have no problem getting rid of all rationality and booking the next flight out so I can be right there in the hospital. I'd be completely willing to skip all three of my classes tomorrow and spend the little money I have to do that. With a mother like mine, though, that all seems ludicrous. As usual, it is always about money and budgets and thinking with your brain. But "money" and rationality don't belong in times of an emergency. That is how I know I need to be successful and well-paid, so that when necessary I can book that flight before it is too late and I spend my life regretting it.

If I had one dollar left I would spend that one dollar to go and be there for my friend and her family. Money comes and goes. Always.

I just want to be there for them. Literally. Because that is what my heart and mind are telling me to do. My teachers will understand; and if my grades suffer, so be it. What difference does it make if I stay here and can't concentrate anyway?

On a regular day in this city I lose my mind. Now, when something bigger is happening than petty drama and nonsense, I just feel like a walking zombie who is going to pass out at any minute. I almost had a heart attack during spinning today and I'm not sure if that is due to the fact that I couldn't focus, or that I am so terribly out of shape. (I'm thinking it is both.) But from right here in my lonely room, I feel completely useless.

Sometimes words are just not enough.