Whether or not you think Donald Trump is a good or bad president, it cannot be denied that he has pulled out victories out of what seemed like unattainable depths: the New York Times famously reported that Trump only had a 15% chance of winning the 2016 Presidential Election. However, thanks in part to multiple social media movements and campaigns, Mr. Trump was able to snag the victory from the favorite yet somewhat electronically silent Hillary Clinton. That’s not saying that Hillary Clinton wasn’t at all active on Twitter; in fact, she averaged twice as many daily tweets as Trump, releasing a whopping 27 tweets per day. Relatively, Trump’s 11 daily tweets seem quite puny. However, it is the infectiously mean and somewhat entertaining quotes that Trump produced that seemed to gain far more traction with Twitter users than anything Hillary tweeted. Though Hillary has the more popular tweet of the two, simply asking The Donald to “delete [his] account” with over 700 thousand likes, Trump immediately pushed back, asking Hillary how many working hours her massive social media force put in to create the tweet, also his most popular tweet of the year with 277 thousand likes. These tweets are so overwhelmingly popular for a reason: they are breaking down formalities in politics. Through twitter, Donald Trump has spearheaded the movement for politics brewing down to a simple shouting match between candidates, a perfect combination of entertainment and brutal discreditation of opponents. Though it is certainly not nice of Trump, and may merit the uproar that his enemies have brought up against Trump’s twitter rampages, it has certainly worked in his favor.
Kid Cudi and Kanye West are back together yet again, and their friendship proves to re-enforce their reputation as one of the best collaborations that have ever occurred in rap music.
“Feel the Love” starts off the album on a fantastic note, with Cudi singing the simple yet epic chorus, his trademark. The beat seems to be made for Cudi’s voice, and together even the ultra-repetitive chorus sticks in a listener’s ears. Kanye drops the best onomatopoeic verse of his career in this song, firing vocal guns into the microphone.
“Fire” continues with a strong, marching beat. While being more instrumentally focused with steady tambourine (and occasional flutes?), Cudi and Kanye both drop angry and somewhat psychedelic choruses and verses. It manages to be internally questioning and externally powerful and sassy. Perhaps this song serves to symbolize the personas of both Cudi and Kanye (neither have been seen as shy in their careers despite both suffering from severe mental issues and depression).
“4th Dimension” serves the best beat of the album and perhaps of the three albums Kanye has produced, sampling a Christmas song by Louis Prima. The song finds Cudi and Kanye at their collective sharpest wits as well.
“Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)” truly is a sequel in every way to the original “Ghost Town” from Kanye’s “ye” album, a victorious anthem dedicated to psychological liberation. Anyone who has ever accomplished something difficult would quickly come to know and love this song.
“Reborn” is a song straight out of Cudi’s debut album “Man on the Moon” all the way back in 2008. From the light pianos to Cudi’s repetitive hooks and (somewhat annoying moaning), everything about this song is a time capsule to a decade ago. Appropriately, this song is about moving forward and finding peace in acknowledging the past and issues and rolling with them. Again, both Kanye and Cudi achieve every goal they set out on this song, acknowledging each of their personal struggles but putting forward a tone of firm acceptance and picking oneself up and moving on, no matter where. The song is somewhat therapeutic.
“Kids See Ghosts” is an extraterrestrial song. The entire song is completely unorthodox. Cudi mumbles quietly in his verse, but his lyrics come across completely clearly, and so does his even quieter chorus. Kanye’s verse comes in as a saving return to form, and his verse talks about the confidence depletion that ironically comes with being successful. Perhaps this song is about seeing spirits and ghosts, things that shouldn’t exist but still do. Mos Def (or Yasiin Bey) continues on this theme, coldly describing a world with “stability but no stasis”, a confused world where synonyms may not exist at the same time.
“Cudi Montage” is the last song finally is the external song on the album. Cudi speaks of the difficulty of bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders, and wonders what light he could possibly shed on the world. But Kanye already knows what light he has to shine. After enough introspection, Kanye West talks about what bothers him in the world. What bothers him in 2018? The worldwide desire for peace growing as a trend, yet the quintessential unending cycle of violence and revenge, a positive loop of death, continuing to exist. The chorus matches the spiritual moments of “Ultralight Beam” from 2016, a hymn-like refrain sung by Mr. Hudson, Kanye, and Cudi, taking turns singing different parts each time the chorus comes around. It is ingenious and amazing, and without a doubt the best song on the album.
Overall I could not recommend the album enough. It is a brisk and well-selected psychedelic rock/rap masterpiece that’s brilliance cannot be denied.
McDonald’s is not a restuarant frequently named as a favorite for cultured eaters.
Perhaps that is why I get exasperated looks or sarcastic remarks whenever I say that McDonald’s is my favorite restaurant. But to me, there is a certain flavor of Americanism and value in each fry, one that is certainly seen in many fast food chains, but one that cannot be topped at McDonald’s.
The restaurant was founded by Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1933 with the goal of making quality American meals available in seconds, making it one of the first “fast food” restaurants in America. Though it’s San Bernardino location was possible, it was not until Ray Kroc joined McDonald’s in the 50’s that McDonald’s began to grow into the global franchising corporation we know it to be today.
Today, McDonald’s continues to represent America to the fullest extent. It is the classic American “first job” for bored teenagers and immigrants alike. Each McDonald’s has a special place in each American community because it provides such comfortable and agreeable “first jobs” in a country where such jobs are rapidly becoming less and less available.
It goes without saying that the food at McDonald’s is not healthy. It never made the claim of being healthy (though recently it has been attempting to rebrand). Morgan Spurlock’s stinkpiece documentary “Supersize Me” has Spurlock’s, a clean vegan, eat only McDonald’s for 90 days, only taking the “Supersize” option when he is asked to by attendants. Needless to say, he vomits, gains weight, and cries. I watched the documentary at age 10, and immediately swore off McDonald’s for years. It was only until recently that I realized how fickle and superfluous Spurlock’s documentary was.
Of course Mcdonald’s is unhealthy. Of course a clean vegan’s stomach will not appreciate nothing but McDonald’s for ninety days. If anything, Spurlock’s documentary is an advisory tale to eat McDonald’s in moderation – but I think that most people know that already.
What is beautiful about American capitalism is that after the outrage caused by “Supersize Me”, McDonald’s almost immediately abandoned it’s Supersize size, and moved to rebrand itself, selling salads and making it’s nutrition facts for foods widely available.
That is the amazing inherent Americanism around McDonald’s, it is a money making machine, but one that depends on the satisfaction of its consumers. If that isn’t americanism, I don’t know what it is.
There is a spoiler alert in effect.
Avengers: Infinity War is Disney/Marvel’s new bid for a summer blockbuster in 2018, and it has without question succeeded. The movie has made nearly $2 billion globally so far, making it second in total gross to only Avatar.
I myself saw the movie a few weeks ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie combines dozens of characters who I and many Americans have come to know and love, such as Chris Hemsworth’s hilariously charming and witty Thor, Chris Pratt’s loveable Star Lord, and of course Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. The script for this movie combines the characters that were previously light years apart smoothly, and they all interact with each other on screen better than anyone could have imagined.
The villain in this movie, Thanos, is also one of the best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen so far. His power his unquestionable, but his interactions with Gamora, his adopted daughter, serve to reveal both his conflict and a pretty interesting argument behind his drive to destroy (half) the universe.
Each of the infinity stones also play a crucial role in the plot. In fact, they almost are the driving elements of the movie, in addition to being the driving elements of the universe. As Thanos continues his quest to gain each stone, the ones he has help both him and the heroes in different ways.
The fight scenes in this movie are breathtaking, and the special effects are better than almost any movie I’ve ever seen.
However, the ending of the movie is frankly awful. Essentially, the movie ends with Thanos winning, or eliminating half of the universe. Of course, this means some key characters die in this movie. The ones who do die include: Black Panther, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, Star Lord and all of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora, Dr. Strange, and a handful of others. However, there is frankly no way that Disney would allow these characters to actually be dead. For example: Guardians of the Galaxy is a billion dollar franchise, that actually has a third movie in the works. How can there be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie with the entire cast of Guardians of the Galaxy dead? Black Panther is the second highest grossing film ever released by Disney, and it is still in theaters. It is also highly unlikely that they will simply let the Black Panther die.
But the reason for such a terrible ending to the movie is simple: so that Disney and Marvel can turn every moviegoer of Infinity War: Part 1 into a moviegoer of Infinity War: Part 2. No one can stand to see the family friendly movie-maker end the film on such a low note, and the second Infinity War will be the only solution to the bitter and lost feeling that comes at the end of Infinity War. Though eventually I am sure the bitter feeling will be a thing of the past, it will still definitely be with me for at least another year.
Recently, the NFL passed a rule that fines players if they choose to kneel during the national anthem. This came after the extremely politically charged action caused a severe drop in ratings of NFL games, and severe rebuke from the President of the United States, who recently disinvited the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles to meet at the White House due to some members of the team performing the gesture.
While perhaps forcing players to comply and not raise concerns on the field is not fair to the players themselves, it is without doubt a fully legal motion for the NFL to take. The NFL is not a government-run organization (though its use of penalties and suspensions may make it seem as one), rather it simply serves as a private organization that conglomerates all players and teams. As such, while they do not have the right to enforce fines on players, they do have the right to make the choice of paying fines or being ejected from the league. While they may not have legal authority to force a fine out of a player, they certainly have the legal authority to eject a player from the league. They are further legally backed since each player signs a contract detailing infractions in the league and fines required as a result.
Many in support of players kneeling during the anthem have argued that the ban on kneeling is flatly illegal, however this could not be further from the truth. Though whether or not is wrong for the NFL to ban kneeling, it is without question that it is legal.
Fun Fact: Money collected from fines is not utilized by the NFL itself. Rather, it goes to former player’s associations that treat retired NFL players who may have been damaged or hurt as a result of the sport.
The Supreme Court has recently ruled on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, 7-2 in favor of the Cakeshop. Though many have argued that this case serves to hurt and allow for further discrimination of LGBT individuals based off religion, the ruling is actually a restrengthening of the first amendment of freedom expression (or lack of expression thereof).
For those not previously aware of the course, the suit arose after a gay couple referred the owner of a Cakery, Jack Phillips to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after he refused to create a wedding cake for them. The Commission ruled in the couple’s favor, and Phillip proceeded to sue the commission on the grounds of disruption of his freedom of expression of religion. Phillips argued that the cakes he makes are forms of artistic expression, and as such, he should not be made legally obligated to express himself in a certain way if his religious beliefs make him unwilling to do so.
The decision can be found here. I highly recommend reading it. In it, Kennedy writes the opinion of the court, insisting that making a cake is a form of expression, not a form of service. As such, Phillips should not be under any legal obligation to express himself in any way, especially if it is against his religion.
I cannot personally agree with Phillips’ evident homophobia, nor do I personally believe his treatment of the gay couple was fair or logical. However, I believe that everything he did was completely legal. People should not be made to say or express themselves in any way, even if it is discriminatory to not do so.
For this reason, this is a great reaffirmation of civil liberties guaranteed to American citizens by birth. If such liberties were withheld, America would be taken towards another step towards totalitarianism.