On Being Politically Correct

In today’s tech savvy world, social media is the bread and butter of public relations. Sharing information has never been easier, while public access to information has never been quicker. Celebrities and teenagers alike are able to post their thoughts, feelings and emotions as fast as their mind can think of new ones. In return, they can communicate with their peers, friends or fans instantaneously. Those people can then comment, like, argue, favorite, retweet, share or bash said post on whatever social media platform they choose.

While it allows for free speech in a previously unprecedented way, it also means that people can be targeted, bullied, talked about and bashed unapologetically on a mass scale. Once someone speaks, their words are immediately all over the internet, followed shortly by the online voices of millions of social media users. More often then not, many of these voices can be overwhelmingly negative. And herein lies the issue with social media: Suddenly, everyone believes they are entitled to an opinion, and that theirs ALONE is the right one.

Bullshit.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, not just the anonymous internet users who gain a sense of anonymity and empowerment while hiding behind their computer screens. The public figures are not sorry for having an opinion per say. People have become simultaneously more sensitive to others and more erratic and forceful in their reactions, finding offense in what was meant to be innocent in context. For example, take “Man vs. Food” Host Adam Richman.

While hosting the popular food show about a man forced to eat his way across restaurant challenges in America, Richman gained a lot of weight (Surprise, surprise). However, when the show ended, Richman began exercising and eating better to lose weight and regain his health. Innocent enough…Until he decided to post a photo on Instagram of himself with the caption “Had ordered this suit from a Saville Row tailor over a year ago. Think I’m gonna need to take it in a little…. #Victory #EyesOnThePrize #AnythingIsPossible #fitness #transformation #thinspiration”.

The last hashtag, thinspiration, launched a barrage of negative comments claiming that Richman supported eating disorders and subsequently promoting pro-anorexia websites. In my personal opinion, this is ridiculous. The guy clearly did not know what he was getting into posting this caption/hashtag combo. Naturally, he apologized. Granted, before doing so he went on an offensive tirade against his followers, telling one to “go kill themselves”. Now, do I agree with this? Absolutely not. It was stupid, ignorant, offensive and mean. The only part of his actions I will “defend” is the instagram post itself. I do feel that the use of the hashtag was innocent in nature. If he didn’t know what it meant, and it was clearly being used in the context of his personal mission to be healthy, then okay. As for everything else, he dug his own grave.

For most celebrities who speak out, what happens next is inevitable.

The public figure who voiced those “offensive” words apologizes and claims their words were not a reflection of what they truly think. They are covering their backend to ensure no money is lost because they dared to share their opinion truthfully. In turn, it creates an environment where people are scared of saying what they think for fear of anyone taking offense.

Take Jet’s quarterbacks Geno Smith or Johnny Manziel from the Brown’s. Both have recently been in the press for lashing out at fans in inappropriate ways. Fans unleashed their rants against both men in what can only be described as unapologetically aggressive and offensive attacks. Their responses? Telling the fans to “f**k off” was Smith’s, while Manziel’s approach was slightly more symbolic: He simply flipped them the bird. Obviously, fans were outraged!

Again, most athletes should know better than to let their emotions get the best of them in any game-time decisions. However, I can only imagine myself in their situation and I know that my reaction would most likely be similar, if not worse.

Can you imagine what would happen if you had to apologize for every word you said? Go ahead, study up on all words ever associated with negative press. I guarantee you that you will have problems expressing yourself when asked questions. Now, magnify that by 1,000. When journalists are questioning public figures, they are being paid to bring up topics that make others uncomfortable. So imagine having to avoid speaking when, even taken out of context, people will twist your words and subsequently label you as something you are not.

Political correctness has taken on a different meaning. It used to mean that people steered clear of being blatantly rude or crass when they spoke of others. Now, it means that people should avoid having any opinion whatsoever if there is a small chance of someone disagreeing with it. Again, I find it unfortunate and ridiculous.

I believe people should watch what they say. Don’t be an idiot, but express yourself and what you believe in. I know it’s hard to believe, but there is a way to speak your mind without offending everyone around you. I know for a fact that I am not the only one who feels this way. Gene Simmons, for one, is a celebrity who has taken this approach. While his opinions are controversial and unfiltered, at least he has enough backbone to stand by what he says.

There is a certain element of irony in that social media, a pedestal of free speech, has in somewhat prohibited just that. Public figures are constantly being pushed to their breaking points, with people bombarding them physically and online with internet trolls picking apart everything about them. To avoid backlash, they choose to keep their mouths shut and avoid speaking truthfully about what they think. Enter Irony: as social media begins intimidating those bold enough to have an opinion into backing down silently and apologetically.

Everybody has a right to their opinions and the right to free speech, not only those hiding behind a keyboard and computer screen.

Graduating from LSU: Class of 2014

So here I am. Four years later, I have officially completed college. All I have left to do is make the short walk across a stage. It seems so simple…but it’s so much more than that. With that quick walk, I come closer to leaving behind my first home. Not the home my parents influenced. But the home and life I chose, built and established for myself.  Walking across that stage, each step was a bittersweet reminder of the time I’ve had here at LSU. Writing it down simply makes everything real for me. As our alma mater will tell you, “Forever LSU”.

Right left right left right left. Too fast. Slow down. I’ve been telling myself that for the past five months. Time seems to go away when you realize you want more. I figured this out the past year, each month going by more quickly. I just want a few more weeks at home.

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Even if just to be with my classmates, my peers, those who I can now call my friends.

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To be with the friends I call family.

 

 

 

 

 To be with the family who invited me to Thanksgiving dinner..and then to join the family photo.

 

 

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Time with the ones who invited me to spring break in Washington DC…and then played tour guide for three days.

Time with my coworkers I have come to know and love.

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Most of all, I want time with the people I have lived with for the past three years. I don’t need a stroll across the stage to remind me that I can no longer call them my roommates.  They know me better than anyone, are closer than friends and I love them like family.

The art of forming instantaneous friendships is a right of passage in college. And it’s a skill I perfected…mainly because I had no choice. Sure, it may be common and could very well fall apart. But the friendships are character building, necessary and represent what college is all about: A social life, obviously.

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When we came to LSU, we knew no one. And looking back on these friendships, I’m glad. I was forced out of my comfort zone in a brutal way. I was able to find people I bonded with, some I no longer call friends. Yet others that I know will be in my life forever. Not only did I find and build myself a surrogate family, they helped me figure out who I was and am. I became more confident in myself, more sure of who I am and what I stand for.

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1236147_3014230434471_465314295_nNot as common, is that we stayed friends for years. The perks of going to a big school are meeting a large variety of people. And after doing so, it became apparent to all of us that we would remain close because there was no one better.

 

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IMG_1896Without a doubt, our friendships will stand the test of time. For us, there isn’t an alternative. At least none I can picture.

 

We’ve built our lives at LSU, established our homes in Baton Rouge. For the Manship School of Mass Communication class of 2014, this is it. It’s the last time we will all be together. The labels of acquaintance, classmate, coworker and friend are irrelevant. Graduates is more than appropriate. And we stand together as one group. Friend or not, we deserve to walk together.

Right. Within the confines of the buildings.

Left. In our classrooms.

Right. In Middleton library.

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Right. In Tiger Land.

Left. In the quad.

Right. Life happened. We earned our degree, earned the right to move on and to start being adults.

Left. We arrived at LSU ready, eager and excited for our futures. We came with aspirations and goals and dreams of the future. We aimed to leave in four years…and we’ve done it.

Right. I leave LSU the same way I came in. Anxious, excited, eager and uncertain.

Left. It’s a heavy feeling to be leaving LSU and the comforts of myIMG_1492 life here. But I leave knowing that my memories, friends and family will be with me always, no matter my location.

Right. I couldn’t be more grateful, more proud, than I am right now.

Left. My diploma, my little sheet of paper, doesn’t just symbolize the past four years, yet next 50 as well.

Forever LSU, indeed.

 

Bama 4

 

 

 

Analyzing the Article “Best Majors to Keep Your Kids From Moving Back Home”

Analyzing the Article “Best Majors to Keep Your Kids From Moving Back Home”

One

When I noticed this article on Yahoo news, I thought it would be an interesting article to educate the public about useful majors. But after the first paragraph, it was obvious that potential college students were not the target audience. However, this article disregarded students completely, aiming the content entirely toward parents.

If you don’t care to read this article, I have summarized it in a letter;

Dear parents,

Here is a guide about how to force your kids into a college major thereby ensuring you have as little contact with them as possible after graduating. There are seven majors you can choose for your child, or they will be unemployed failures. 

Remember, choose wisely or your kids will come to you for help. 

Needless to say, by the end of this article I was utterly offended. And in order to clearly communicate why, I have broken down the article piece by piece.

1

First paragraph in…I’m already annoyed. Now, I’m not sure about you, but my parents actually like me. As I have grown older, my relationship with my parents has evolved into a valued friendship. If I only made contact with them on Christmas and birthdays, they would be hurt and angry with my behavior. Secondly, I would love to take my parents out to lunch. Unfortunately, I am an unemployed student with no foreseeable job offers; There are few places I can afford to take myself, let alone another two people. However, I am more than happy to offer a maximum of three items per parent off of the McDonalds dollar menu.

2

The author seems to realize that the “rocky economy” has widespread effects. This is good.

3

The first statistic makes sense. If the economy is slow, there will be more young people living with their parents. However, most college graduates are 22-24 years old. And as 22 year old, I resent being compared to an unemployed 34 year old.

Onto the Trulia tidbit, I respect that the percentage is realistic. However, the implied tone of the paragraph is insulting “Oh no, graduates who can’t afford to pay rent want to move in with their parents?!” 

First of all, if not my parent’s house, where am I supposed to go? The sidewalk? I, along with every other graduate in my position, have no where else to go. No money + no job DOES NOT equal luxury. And weirdly enough, I don’t feel like living under a highway until I find a job.

Secondly, does the author really think I want to be living at home, mooching off of my parents? After four years away from home, regressing back into living by my parent’s rules is going to be no picnic. Do you think I have been dodging countless job offers, hoping one does hit me? Believe me, I would love a job that would grant me the privilege of living on my own, the ability to pay rent. Better yet, a job that would present an opportunity for me to repay my parents for everything they have given me.

4

Now this is brilliant. If only everyone wanted to be a doctor, we would all have jobs. Unfortunately, that is not the way life works. Additionally, because this article is for parents to read, it lends the idea that parents need to influence their children to concentrate on what they believe is beneficial; Not on what the individual student wants to study.

For the seven majors suggested, I included them all, even the ones I agree with.

1I completely agree that this is a smart choice. My mom is a nurse, and she tells me often that nurses have multiple job offers after college.

2

3

Because everyone wants to be a park ranger, am I right?

4This surprised me. Regardless of how useful a chemistry major is to future employer I don’t know many who could pass the intro course. Let alone flourish within the major for four years.

5No surprise here.

6 I dare you to name 10 well-known schools who offer this.

7

I think final major is what cemented my intense dislike for the article.

Public relations and marketing are similar in regards to job descriptions and responsibilities. I am a PR major, but you look at my resume, all of my experience is in marketing. And guess what? I am, again, without a job.

I wish the author had taken the time to consider the college graduate’s point of view when writing this article. Telling parents that their kids need to conform to certain majors to be successful is ridiculous. The goal of college is to figure out what to do for a living, which career to pursue.

The four years spent in college ends with what we all hope is a job offer. We strive for employment, a paycheck, to maintain the independence we grow accustomed to while living away from home. By scolding us for not accomplishing our goals, the article is simply rubbing salt in the wound of unemployment.