Sexual Misconduct: The Issue that Doesn’t Go Away

If 2016 was the year of celebrity deaths, 2017 it would seem, has been the year where celebrities, journalists, and politicians, got outed for being a bunch of perverts. For these past several months, it seems like not a day goes by without someone being outed for using their disgusting desires to take advantage of people, some of whom were underage. The question is, why did people just allow these things to happen? What exactly can be done to prevent these things in the future?

First, it should be important to look at how this all came to be. The early seeds of this current phenomenon of sexual misconduct being reported started with the accusations towards current President of the United States-Donald Trump in late 2016, and the accusations towards former Fox News host-Bill O’Reilly. However, this phenomenon as we now know it didn’t truly begin to take off until endless swarm of allegations against the now disgraced movie producer by the name of Harvey Weinstein, became public knowledge. Ever since then, the #MeToo movement took off, and there have been countless prominent people who have finally been exposed for their unacceptable behavior since then. It’s certainly a good thing that so many people who have engaged in depraved behavior are finally facing their karmatic payback, but at the same time, is this really going to mean anything in the long run?

Sexual harassment and assault is of course the exact opposite of a recent issue. It has been around for as long as humanity in general has existed. So how exactly can we make sure that it finally comes to an end? Well, there is certainly no easy answer to that, but it’s a question that’s certainly worth asking regardless.

For starters, given that nearly everyone of the people who have been outed by the #MeToo movement have been men, many would argue that a good step towards avoiding this in the future would be to allow more women in positions of power. While I don’t disagree with the sentiment that toxic masculinity is a major part of the problem in these scandals, I’m not positive that alone is the issue. After all, there have been at least two women who have been accused of being sexual predators from the #MeToo movement, in the form of singer-Melanie Martinez, and politician-Andrea Ramsey. This would seem to suggest that while there is indeed a far bigger problem of men being predators, it is not always exclusive to them.   To be perfectly frank, I think the true issue is sexuality in general.

While this will undoubtably prove to be an immensely unpopular sentiment, I genuinely believe that an argument could be made that the world would be a far better place if sex were not something that is actively glorified. The actions of people such as Harvey Weinstein managed to go on for as long as they did due to the fact that the sexualization of people has been something that has actively been encouraged and glorified. People in Hollywood turned a blind eye to the crimes of people like Weinstein due to the fact that sex has traditionally been viewed in such a lighthearted manner that no one was willing to look at these actions for what they are: depraved acts of abuse. Things are certainly changing now, but as long as sex continues to be glorified in the manner that we see in movies, television, and sports, there will always be people who believe that it is okay to sexually harass and assault people.

Alas, sex is something that has been ingrained into human psychology since the very beginning of time, and it will always be viewed in. In other words, the problem of sexual misconduct in the world will likely never go away. It’s unfortunate, but it must be acknowledged regardless. The most we can do is to report any instances of sexual harassment or assault that we see in our daily lives, whether it’s in the workplace, at universities, or in any other public location, so that the perpetrators in these instances can rightfully be punished for their behavior.


The current era of journalism

The world has been going through some unusual changes lately. To be more specific, the way that news is perceived has been changing. As of 2017, it would seem that the field of journalism has become increasingly centered around the current political climates of places like the United States. News has become an increasingly controversial thing to discuss in this day and age, and the validity of the news we receive has seemingly been called into question now more than ever.

We’ve no doubt all heard from all kinds of different people about how either CNN or Fox News, or any other news source is unreliable, or “fake news”. Politics in particular have seemingly become an increasingly controversial topic, because as far as places like the U.S. and England are concerned, society has become increasingly divided on a number of political issues. It is because of this division that many people have become reluctant about trusting the news, because more often than not, there is bound to be some form of bias from the media.

This begs the question; what should we trust? If the news we listen to or read about will always have present form of political bias, how do we determine what is and what isn’t reliable? Unfortunately, I myself do not have an answer to this question. Politics are a very difficult and complex issue to discuss, and there will always be people whose political beliefs differ from one another. The only thing I can recommend is that we as consumers of the news should try to look at arguments from different sides in order to truly determine what should and what shouldn’t be trusted.

This advice may perhaps be too vague for some people, but it unfortunately is the only advice that I as a blogger can offer for such a messy topic.

The Inescapability of Stereotypes

We all know what stereotypes are. No matter who we are, chances are that we’ve all been associated with a stereotype in one form or another. No matter what a person’s race, gender, religion, sexuality, age, or even their upbringing might be, stereotypes have always existed for them. This does beg a question that I believe is worth asking, can they be avoided?

It goes without saying that stereotypes are often harmful, even if they don’t seem hateful on the surface. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that many people would rather just get rid of them altogether, so that we can live in a society where people are judged solely as individuals, and not as members of an entire community. I myself often wish that we could live in a world like this, but unfortunately, such a world might be too idealistic to be exist. Why does this have to be the case though?

In order to truly understand why stereotypes exist, we must first look at why they exist, and the answer to that is fairly straightforward. Stereotypes exist because when people are grouped into communities, many of them will exhibit similar traits to one another. This of course does not mean that everyone, or even most of the people in a particular community  is like that, but because the human mind tends to view things in a narrow black-and-white sort of way, it’s common for people to enforce these traits that several people in a particular community exhibit, as proof that all people in the community are like that. In other words, stereotypes exist people want the world to be as simple as possible.

As unfortunate as the reality of the situation is, stereotypes are unlikely to disappear anytime in the near future. The human mind is simply not conditioned in such a way to completely eliminate such a thing. That is not to say that people must abide by stereotypes, or that they should accept such things as being  true, but we have to realize that they are a part of life. They are simply a byproduct of the human mind’s desire to enforce labels onto people.

In the end, the best way to avoid any particular stereotype is by proving that they do not necessarily apply to you personally.

The Journey of Self-Improvement

Accomplishments, improvements, determination. These are things that we all value as a society. It is safe to assume that nearly all of us would much rather sleep at night knowing that we managed to do something significant and meaningful that day. There’s always a nice sense of satisfaction in knowing that we accomplished something. It’s a very welcoming feeling to have, and it’s one that we all look for in our daily lives.

I personally have had some very recent experiences which I would consider to be important to my own sense of self-improvement. At this same time last year in 2016, I felt almost aimless with my life. I felt that I had no true accomplishments going for me. I was just a college student who didn’t really have much of a drive to get anything done, and no clear plan of what I was going to do after finishing college. As you can imagine, this was not a very pleasant time for me. While I cannot necessarily say that the position I am in right now as I am typing is 100% an improvement over my predicament last year, I can definitely say that I have accomplished things that I likely never would’ve accomplished before.

One very important reason for my improvement in my own personal accomplishments has to do with the career counseling sessions that I managed to receive in the past year. While career counseling had always been something that I previously felt reluctant about, upon self-evaluation, I can safely say that the time I have spent speaking with a professional regarding my own career plans has improved my own personal efforts.

Thanks to the very helpful advice of this trained professional, I have managed to take significant steps in improving my efforts towards becoming a professional writer. In the past several months of my life, I have managed to land several important contacts and connections that have served as a strong step forward in my journey to becoming a journalist. I have come far closer in a achieving my intended goal than I had previously even considered possible. The entire existence of this blog of mine can honestly be attributed to my own improvements that I have made thanks to this aforementioned career counselor.

While I have not yet completed my journey towards reaching my end goals, I can safely say that I have come much closer now, compared to the March of last year. This is my own experience with self-improvement.

The underlying point that I am making is that it is always important to never stop trying. While we will always experience obstacles and feelings of hopelessness in our lives, that does not mean we should just give up. Ambition is a key factor in self-improvement, which is why we should never let go of it. With ambition, we all have the potential to accomplish far more.




2017 So Far

With a year as wildly polarizing and bizarre as 2016, it came off as no surprise that many people have been desperately hoping for 2017 to be a better year. After all, whenever we experience hardships in our lives, we tend to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. This is true for virtually everything in life. When something bad happens, we try our best to look for the silver linings.

Unfortunately, many people would argue that there is no real chance of 2017 being particularly better than 2016, because of the person leading the United States at the moment. With his extremely controversial views on immigration, his equally controversial statements, his losing his top advisor to a scandal, and his recent decision to repeal transgender bathroom rights, it would seem that the people’s worst fears are coming true. One thing is for certain, 2017 hasn’t been a quiet year for the United States thus far.

Of course, since we have just now entered the third month of the year, any judgements about how this year will turn out by December are perhaps premature. Every year has its difficulties, whether we are talking about the everyday lives of people in any given society, or the way the government is taking shape. This of course is a fact that goes without saying, but it’s something that many of us seem to forget, and is therefore worth bringing up.

While many people may have nothing but contempt and fear for what the rest of this year, and the next 3 years may hold for the America, life still goes on. The world has been through worse, and it will continue to endure.

The Fear of Death: Good or Bad?

Death. The fate that we are all aware of. The fate that is inevitable for us all, and that we all fear to varying degrees.

From a instinctual standpoint, the fear of death is our way of ensuring our own survival. Eventually however, it is something that we will all have to face, in spite of our own desires to stay alive. This universally known fact has left me with a question that has been floating in my head for quite some time now; when does the fear of death become too much, or too little?

To an extent, the fear of death is technically a good thing. After all, if we did not have any concerns about our own personal safety, we would’ve all met our ends before we even reach adulthood. With that being said, it’s clear that some people fear death more than others. While some people may be willing to put their fears aside in order to perform dangerous tasks (such as being a soldier, a police officer, or even a stunt-double for an action movie), others are so petrified of their own mortality, that they are likely to be ostracized by their peers for being a “coward”, or in more vulgar terms; a “pussy”.

Most would likely agree that the fear of death should have its limits. If someone is so terrified of death to the point where it is practically a phobia, it can lead to crippling effects on the person’s life that they are so scared for. Like nearly all phobias, there is a name for this specific one; thanatophobia.

The potential ostracization that many people who greatly fear death can face is likely one of the reasons why some might go out of their way to prove their own sense of courage even if it comes across as suicidal, it is because these people often feel the need to overcompensate their own fears. Of course, since exhibiting deliberate self-destructive behavior is often not socially acceptable either, it is clear that one shouldn’t be without the fear of death.

While the extent in which we are scared of dying will always vary between each of us, it would seem that there should perhaps be some kind of middle ground for most of us. The problem with this concept however lies in a single question; what is the middle ground? To what degree should we be scared enough to ensure our own survival, and when does it become too much?

Like countless other philosophical questions, I do not believe there is a simple answer to it. The only thing I can say for certain is that the fear of death is an important concept nonetheless.





The Death Penalty: Is it Reasonable?

As an American citizen, I have no trouble acknowledging how controversial U.S. policies generally are. When compared to many other countries in the free-world (such as it’s neighboring country; Canada) it’s clear that the United States has some policies that are often perceived as bizarre or even inhumane, and one of them has to do with how the U.S. government often treats criminals.

Capital punishment (the death penalty) has existed since the earliest forms of government. Whenever an individual committed a crime that was perceived as being exceptionally heinous, they would be sentenced to an often brutal death, as punishment for their actions. This is a law that still exists in many countries today, including the United States. Given how much the world has changed since the days of old however, this begs the question, does the death penalty have any place in the modern world? Is it still reasonable to arrange for a person’s death, or is capital punishment a dated relic from a darker era in human-history?

Like many aspects of U.S. politics(and politics in general) there is no easy argument for or against the death penalty. On one hand, the idea of killing a human being through premediated processes such as electrocution or lethal injections does sound like a rather cruel way to treat someone, even if that person is considered a vicious psychopath. On the other hand, many would argue that some people commit actions that are so revolting, that death is a justifiable punishment for them. After all, of these people are perfectly contempt with ruining or taking the lives of other people, do they truly deserve to be treated fairly?

I myself am rather conflicted on the use of the death penalty. While I do sometimes view it as somewhat barbaric, I also cannot truly gauge whether or not it there should be cases for it. People who commit truly vile crimes do indeed deserve to be punished (as we all can agree), so how do we determine whether or not sentencing a criminal to death is going too far? Whatsmore, from a certain point of view, couldn’t sentencing a person to death actually be considered a more merciful alternative to a life in prison? At the same time, what if a person who is sentenced to death is actually innocent of the crime? Why should that person have to die through some painful method, just because the law says that the death penalty is okay?

While I certainly don’t want to necessarily say that I am for the death penalty, at the same time, I am not sure if I can truly make a strong enough case against it. Needless to say, it’s clear that debates over the death penalty will continue to persist, especially in the United States, where it is still very much an active law. Like all aspects of politics, different viewpoints will always exist, so it’s just a matter of which one will ultimately win over the other.

Will the death penalty continue to exist, and should it still exist? That’s ultimately for the government to decide.


Child Stars: Why Do They Go Bad?

Child stars. A concept that has existed since the dawn of Hollywood, and one that will not go away anytime soon. On the surface these people seem like they have everything going for them, but unfortunately, the truth tends to be a bit more complicated than that.

Since it is safe to say that anyone who has access to the Internet has likely heard of countless former child stars, most of us are likely aware of the fate that these individuals often find themselves in. While they often start off their life of fame as these innocent and care-free youngsters, many of them are sadly unable to escape a life of drugs and legal issues that inevitably damage their reputations, and personal lives.

The question is, why does this happen so often? Why do these children end up ruining their own lives as they reach adulthood? Since I am simply a college student with a major in Professional Writing and not a celebrity, I obviously cannot speak from personal experience, but I believe I can offer some kind of explanation as to why these former child stars often end up going rogue.

First, it is of course worth mentioning that not all child stars end up taking a turn for the worst as they reach adulthood. It would be unfair to throw all of these people under the bus, as there are always exceptions to these supposed “rules”, with one notable example being the now-deceased Shirley Temple, who had managed to live a quiet adult life up until her passing. That being said, while talents like Temple may have been able to escape the curse of stardom, others have not been so fortunate. With all of this in mind, I believe there is a key reason as to why things often end badly for these people, and it primarily has to with the overwhelming experience of being famous at such an early age.

As children, these celebrities are often praised precisely for being these energetic and innocent people who were able to win over the hearts of millions. Fame however, is clearly not an easy thing for people to cope with. Being famous means that these people must live up to certain expectations, and must constantly live with the fact that anything they do in public is going to be documented and talked about. Given how frustrating fame often is for adults, the fact that many of these people had to deal with it as children naturally only makes things more difficult.

To add insult to an already fatal injury, once a child star loses the “child” image, they can no longer get by on simply being cute and innocent. They must then find their own identities as adults, which is not a simple task for the average person, much less for people who are celebrities. We often seem to forget that celebrities are human just like the rest of us, and that life for them is not necessarily easy just because of their wealth and fame.

While we do tend to ostracize these former child stars for the missteps that they take later in their lives, we should remember that they are often the victims of intense ambition at an age where they were too young to even truly understand the reality of the situation.

Perhaps the key thing to take away from the lives of many of these celebrities is that fame is not necessarily a good thing. Being famous can often lead to one being blinded by too much ambition, and being introduced to these ambitions at such an early age only makes things more difficult for these people.

Many of us may envy celebrities for their fame, yet resent them for being recognized for seemingly lacking any significant talent, but we should also remember that just because someone lives a simple life, does not mean they are worse off than someone who lives a life of glamour. Living a simple and quiet life means that a person would not have to worry about keeping up a public image in order to avoid being ostracized, and would also be less likely to suffer from too much ambition.

When all is said and done, I believe that ambition is the greatest enemy for any former child-star.

A.I. vs. Humanity

Could machines potentially be the cause of civilization’s demise? Not yet perhaps, but some would argue that such an event might not be too far off, thanks to a recent development in technology. In the technologically dominated era we live in, there’s no doubt that most of us are familiar with the term “artificial intelligence” or “A.I.” for short. The term was first coined by computer scientist-John McCarthy (1927-2011), and refers to machines that are seemingly able to function independently from a human controller. This concept is certainly something that has drawn some concern from the public, which is perhaps best apparent in a large number of science fiction stories that have been released within the past century, such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and James Cameron’s The Terminator. Of course, the scenarios presented in those films have yet to occur in the real world, but nevertheless, there have been a growing number of individuals who have expressed their own concerns with the advancements in this technology, including renowned geniuses like Stephen Hawking.

According to Tanya Lewis of Live Science in her article “A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence”, the earliest concepts of artificial intelligence can actually be traced as far back as ancient Greece, which involved myths about artificial beings (or robots), and from the philosophical concept of “human thinking as a symbolic system” in Lewis’ own words. According to Lewis however, A.I. as a field wasn’t founded until a 1956 conference at the Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, resulting in John McCarthy coining the term, as mentioned earlier.

This reveal of the concept of A.I. was initially met with optimism and excitement, but the road to making this concept a reality wasn’t a simple one, as the above article attests. Government funding in the field eventually experienced a drop from around 1974 to 1980. According to Lewis, this period had come to be referred to as the “A.I. Winter”. This was not the end of the field of A.I. however, as it would experience a revival later in the 1980s by the British government, in an effort to compete with the Japanese. Following this “A.I. Winter”, and the subsequent revival of the field, there have been other developments in artificial intelligence that would eventually lead to the modern day phenomenon of virtual reality, and self-driving cars.

When one examines the impact that artificial intelligence may have over society in the future, it’s easy to see where these fears come from. As expressed by Gary Marcus of The New Yorker website with his article “Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence”, the fear of A.I. primarily stems from the possibility that machines could potentially surpass humans in intellect by the end of the 21st century, thereby rendering us “obsolete”. Among these concerns, is the fact that we may be looking at a future where machines are able to completely dominate fields like mathematics, engineering, and science on their own. In addition, there is also the concern as to whether or not machines that possess artificial intelligence will possibly attempt to battle humanity for resources. After all, if a machine is able to think and process on its own, who’s to say it won’t possess other desires that sentience can provide, such as self-preservation?

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation about A.I. is the fact that these machines are being used as weapons by the military in the form of what most of us would refer to as “drones”. The function of these machines is even mentioned in an article from the New York Times titled “The Pentagon’s Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own”. In this article, it is said that these machines are able to identify any human target it is authorized to kill, and is able to carry out the kill with an almost disturbing level of accuracy, despite not having any human pilots. On the surface, this certainly sounds like it would make for a convenient method of “protecting” our sense of national security, but there are also some troubling implications to these weapons, including the inevitable arms races that are expected to result from them.

Aside from the fear of arms races for these A.I. weapons, there is also a growing concern over whether or not giving killing machines any level of sentience is a good idea. After all, if robots that are designed to kill are given the ability to act on their own, could it be possible that they may end up diverting from their primary missions, and kill on anything they might consider a threat? For anyone who’s familiar with practically any science fiction story involving artificial intelligence (namely the Terminator movies), this may come across as rather silly, but according to the article by the New York Times, Air Force General Paul J. Silva has apparently stated that the United States government could be a mere decade away from being able to build fully independent robots that could kill without even being given orders, though he does provide some relief by suggesting that the government has no current plans to build such a machine. Regardless of what the intentions of the U.S. government might be however, the fact that other countries are attempting to build similar weapons could make the scenarios presented in the Terminator movies a distant possibility.

Within the science community, opinions on artificial intelligence appear to be split. While some scientists            are no doubt embracing the technological advancements that A.I. provides, others appear to have expressed their own concerns. According to an article written by Michael Sainato of Observer Opinion, some well-known figures such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have issued warnings about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Stephen Hawking in his own words suggested that being able to perfect A.I. would be “the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks”. Elon Musk, meanwhile, has similar concerns, believing that A.I. could very well be our “greatest existential threat”, unless we take extreme caution in its development, while Bill Gates has echoed the belief that A.I. could lead the end of human jobs. All three individuals seem to share the same underlying fear; A.I. as a whole is something that must be kept in check, or it could end up showing negative effects on the human race as a whole.

For myself personally, I have a rather conflicted opinion on artificial intelligence. While I am not personally “scared” of the possibility that machines will try to compete with us for dominance, I am somewhat weary of how much we have come to rely on them. I certainly do believe that machines are very helpful tools that in many ways have made life better; artificial intelligence certainly is acquiring a rather notable level of prominence over basic human thinking. We constantly rely on things such as Google Maps and Siri to help guide us, to the point where we many of us likely wouldn’t know what to do without them. Artificial intelligence is definitely an impressive tool, but it shouldn’t become something that we endlessly rely on. If we place all of our trust in the current state of technology, it could lead to stagnation for civilization, thereby preventing us from making any true progress. This admittedly does tie into the concerns mentioned earlier about how machines will possibly “steal” jobs from humans, but it also into the concern that we may end up stagnating as a species, which would essentially be self-destructive for us. This leads us back to the earlier question; will A.I. be the cause of our demise, or will they instead be tools that can help continue our growth as a species? There may be no easy answer to this question, but it is one that has certainly been asked within the science community.




Further Readings

Lewis, Tanya. “A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence.” LiveScience. N.p., 4 Dec. 2014. Web.

Marcus, Gary. “Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence.” The New Yorker, 24 Oct. 2013,

Rosenberg, Matthew, and John Markoff. “The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Oct. 2016. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.

“Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence.” Observer, 10 Sept. 2015

The Upcoming Week: Will the U.S Endure?

As most of us are already aware, our 44th president of the United States made his farewell address last night on January 10, 2017. The speech he delivered was undoubtedly an emotional one for many people, particularly because it is viewed as the dawn of a new era for the United States, and one that many Americans are not looking forward to in the slightest. To many Americans, Obama’s farewell address can practically be considered a sort of calm before the storm, as it likely represents the end of an 8-year era for the United States of America.

With Donald Trump soon to become the 45th president of the U.S., it is safe to reason that the nation will be in for some notable changes, most of which will undoubtedly prove controversial. With that in mind, will the United States endure a Trump presidency in the long-run? The answer to that seems obvious; yes.

It should be remembered that the United States has endured countless hardships in the past, before ultimately improving itself in the long-run. While it is very likely that these next four years won’t be easy ones for the majority of Americans, we do have to keep in mind that there will always be hardships and obstacles that we as a society must face. While it would be preferable to not have to face these obstacles in the first place, there’s no denying that life is full of difficulties. We simply have to live through them, in order to make things better in the future.

In conclusion, even though Trump’s presidency is a less than preferable turn of events, we should remember that it is not the end of civilization. As long as we continue to exist as a society, we always have the opportunity to change things for the better. As of right now, Trump’s presidency is indeed an unfortunate time for many Americans, but that does not mean that we should simply give up. After all, things often get worse before they can become better.