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Elena McNiece
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Johann Hari's article presents a very valid concern. With all these new technologies, some things (like books) are left unused. I do agree with Hari in his belief that books are vital to humanity. They provide information and lessons in a simplistic form. These books are now being read primarily on electronic devices which do communicate the same information, but not as efficiently. I believe this factor is overlooked among society. Hari's perspective on the fate of books is very optimistic. It is far more likely that people will overlook the value of physical books and fairly quickly, books will be completely traded for electronic articles. electronic information takes up less space and is healthier for the environment. The new form of books offers bits of information in small chunks. This appeals to the new ADHD-ruled society that can only focus in short periods of time. Maybe this attention-deficit is caused by the lack of reading physical books. Ray Bradbury said "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." It's an disastrous cycle that can only be solved with physical books.
Very few drinks are better for you than water. Non-sugary herbal tea, cranberry juice, and orange juice are all healthier than water. Soft Drinks (especially Coca-Cola) are NOT healthier than water. The body is mostly made up of water, so our cells would much rather absorb all of the liquid water than have to find the pure water in the Coca-Cola solution. The number one diet change you should make when trying to lose weight is to stop drinking soft drinks. Coca-Cola causes weight gain because of high total carbohydrate and sugar levels, with 138 calories. Water on the other hand, has 0 carbs, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 calories. Muhtar Kent is obviously not "working together" with the population to fight obesity. Many companies, including Coca-Cola value personal income more than widespread health. The overwhelming majority of dietitians agree that people should put down their can of soda and pick up a glass of water!
Schools should not focus heavily on teaching their students cursive. In third grade, my teacher handed out cursive worksheets that the students worked on for about a week. The worksheets provided me with a foundation that allows me to write short, legible words in cursive. This fast activity provided all of the basic training I needed for my cursive writing career. At a young age, students should be quickly shown how to write in cursive, so they will be able to pursue it further if they wish. A teacher’s time needs to be spent teaching students more useful topics. Walthausen’s claim that students feel ashamed when they cannot write in immaculate cursive is absurd. We students understand that most people under the age of twenty cannot write great cursive. But we are reassured with the fact that we excel further than most adults in other areas like technology. The majority of students are willing to sacrifice pristine cursive writing for other knowledge. We live in the twenty-first century. All essays and schoolwork must by typed, standardized tests are taken online, and through my eleven years of schooling, never has a teacher needed their students to write in cursive. Cursive writing has become irrelevant. I predict that within fifty years, cursive writing will no longer be used. And within one hundred years, all of pencil-and-paper writing will cease to exist.
As Gillespie’s article says, I also don’t know of anyone who would challenge the fact that America has become far cruder over the past few decades. I previously assumed that the rates of violence and teenage drinking have skyrocketed as a result of this, but that is obviously not the case. The article is quite broad, and addresses two occurrences that are happening simultaneously, but are probably not affecting each other greatly. In statistics, we often say “correlation does not equal causation”, which, incidentally, directly applies to this social situation. Sure, teenage smoking rates have decreased, but mainly because it is now generally acknowledged as detrimental to your health and unattractive to others. The use of birth control has become more widely accepted and inexpensive, therefore teenage pregnancy rates have decreased by 42% since 1990. A strong focus on education has caused smaller numbers of high school dropouts and larger numbers of college graduates. Countless factors, along with society’s more questionable morals, have helped to change these statistics for the better. This crude American mindset allows for new radical ideas to spread, such as accepting abortion or promoting gay rights. Americans are adopting many new habits, and good or bad, they shape our children and our future. We can become whatever we aspire to be, and knowing the facts is step number one.
Feminism has become a major topic of discussion in the twenty-first century. Feminism is officially defined as “the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Equality between the sexes is a key factor in establishing a healthy community, yet the ideology is rapidly losing supporters due to social issues. As time progressed, the common concept of feminism changed from social equality to female superiority. Many people think negatively of feminism and look down upon anyone who claims they are a feminist. Upon meeting a male my age on a recent trip, he asked me: “ugh, you’re not like a women’s’ activist or anything, right?” As a teenage female, I can confidently say that most males my age have similar ideologies. The mindset of America’s youth needs to be promoting progression, not regression. The dreaded question of: “are you a feminist?” has no easy solution. If one declares their passion for women’s rights, they become a freak in others’ eyes. Yet if a man chooses to say no, they become a sexist, misogynist creature. If a woman attempted to avoid the ridicule and says no, they become a traitor of their own sex. In a 2014 Buzzfeed poll, 57% of feminists said they had received criticism at one time or another for declaring themselves women’s activists. Public standards have a large impact on one’s public opinion of feminism. 78% of voters said they thought celebrities’ public opinions on feminism would affect the general population. After growing exponentially since 1970, Feminism’s peak was in 1996. Its downfall began around the time that the internet became popular. This quick and easy publication of ‘important figures’’ opinions may have contributed to the significant decline in percentage of feminists amongst society. Those who did not believe in women’s rights began to sway the entire general population. Common peoples’ opinions were changed and just like that, BAM, feminists were treated as outcasts. This intimidation creates a vicious cycle of people failing to declare their true opinions. Public opinion must change in order to alter inequality laws. In order for public opinion to change, ‘important leaders’ must blatantly address their feminist ideals to create a safe environment for both the youth, and adults to express their beliefs. It seems as if answering the simple question “are you a feminist?” is not simple at all.
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Apr 2, 2015