ESPN is a joke

Super Bowl Sunday takes control of media coverage for at least two weeks before the game is even played and all that anyone can talk about is #deflategate, and by anyone I mean ESPN. “How much did the balls weigh? How much are they supposed to weigh? The New England Patriots are a tainted franchise.” These are all questions and statements that are being shoved down our throats on television and the Internet. Upon arriving to Arizona (Where the Super Bowl will be played) the Seattle Seahawks addressed the media and of course they were asked Deflategate and the person who pointed out the conflict of interest between the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, and the New England Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft, was not a journalist, but Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

There was a picture posted of Goodell with Kraft at one of Kraft’s parties the night before the AFC Championship game and as someone who does not follow the NFL, the Patriots, Goodell or Kraft on any social media, this was news to me. It explained more than anything an ESPN “expert” or Bill Nye the Science Guy could say because this just solidifies that nothing will happen to the Patriots, except maybe a fine for however much Kraft has in his wallet at the time.


This plays into a theme that reoccurs a lot at ESPN. The two biggest sports headlines (Ray Rice, Donald Sterling) in 2014 had to be reported with the stipulation of “Obtained by TMZ” from ESPN and the Sterling situation is the only time I had seen ESPN put pressure on an organization or league to bring justice to the then owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could even whip out disciplinary measures on Sterling, ESPN had strong reactions from former and current players and other influential figures in the sports world. We already knew what was going to happen to Sterling before it even happened.

When it comes to the other issues ESPN doesn’t seem to realize how much influence they have on the multi-billion dollar industry of sports. They also don’t seem to get that people see them as journalists first, but they have decided to take the role as hype machine. In the case of Rice, TMZ was putting more pressure on the NFL than ESPN.

Do you ever watch ESPN and ask yourself “What the fuck am I watching? What are these grown men yelling at each other about?

It didn’t take that much to show a picture posted on the Internet of Goodell and Kraft. It would take some footwork to obtain an elevator video from a casino where an NFL player knock out his girlfriend, but that’s the job of a journalist. I’m not TMZ’s biggest fan but Danny Ferry probably lays awake at night in fear of TMZ, and rightfully so, he’s the only reason why I’m not happy for the Atlanta Hawks who are currently sitting No. 1 in the Eastern Conference.

Jameis Winston’s rape accusation is another prime example of ESPN reporting a headline, but not digging deeper. The Tampa Bay Times and the New York Times both did in-depth investigative reports on the allegation and found some disturbing information about Florida State University and the Tallahassee Police Department.

Sadly, ESPN has turned its back on professional players and have gone on their knees to serve leagues and owners. Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel did a report on marijuana in the NFL that uncovered that the pills prescribed by team doctors lead to horrible side effects for many players, including kidney failure. Former athletes talk about how they resorted to alternative medicine, marijuana in particular, helped them cope with the pain without the side effects. Yesterday, we found out Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns will probably be facing a year suspension after testing positive for alcohol, something he was not allowed to test positive for after receiving discipline for testing positive for marijuana. Unfortunately, no ESPN anchor, reporter, expert or personality has stuck up for Gordon or called out the NFL’s backwards drug policy. Instead we have “experts” and personalities calling him stupid.

There’s plenty of sites on the Web that are having conversations about pertinent issues in sports, but the sports world that we live in today that has a new controversy every week and we need voices on the only major sports network to shift sports culture from where it’s at to a culture that questions authority and blasphemous rules.


Twitter beefs are making hip-hop look stupid

One of the great things about social media is following celebrities and artist that inspire us with their works of art and it gives us a glimpse of who they are in day-today life. It has also given people a platform to rant about anything on their minds, which is pretty cool given that America is a country based off different opinions and ideas. Thanks, Internet! But when the world of hip-hop clashes with the world of twitter rants, does it take something away from the culture of hip-hop?

Twitter beef has replaced hip-hop beef. For those who are not familiar with the term “beef,” it’s when two emcees battle within their respective songs with insults. The most notable hip-hop beef was between Tupac vs. The Notorious B.I.G., which is sad because most do not end in death.

In the Twitter era the most notable beef is Iggy Azalea vs. Azealia Banks. Banks has called out numerous artist via Twitter and Iggy has done the same with Eminem over a line where he disses her in a freestyle. If rappers (they are not emcees) take to Twitter to settle a grievance with another rapper or emcee, then there is no difference between them and the everyday troll.

Banks’ situation is something a lot of artists do, call out the most popular person in her genre and hope to boost record and tour sales. Some might say she is sticking up for her race by calling out Iggy but at the same time she is devaluing hip-hop culture in not taking to the mic.

Click here to see how much Banks trolls

The sad part is, rappers are biting into the Twitter beef making them accessories to the murder of the hip-hop beef. Some of the 140 character tweets would be good disses on a track, but they’re using them on Twitter. What the fuck. That’s like Quentin Tarantino releasing Vines instead of films, not saying that any of these Twitter beefers have the artistic talent of Tarantino but the art form is being tainted in the same way.

Hip-hop heads are always begging the mainstream to take notes from the underground, but there was a time when the hip-hop beef coexisted with the mainstream and all of them did not involve Bad Boy or Death Row (There’s even a documentary series about them called Beef). Or even just making a claim at how good your skills are. Chuck D and Guru never had any notable beefs in their careers but a lot of their songs still have that battle feel.

Murs shows how to handle a beef in the social media era

All of this is a direct cause of how pop-y the hip-hop genre has become in the mainstream and this is one of the aspects that hip-hop fans will have to deal with. Even Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi have played the Twitter beef game and those two are pretty well-respected, mainstream artists and they couldn’t articulate their hatred for one another in a verse so they did it in 140 characters.

The thing about drama on Twitter is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean a single thing. Drama in hip-hop is a whole other story. If the beef is executed perfectly, then we as listeners get some very good tracks in the form of a very primitive aspect of hip-hop, the battle (Ice Cube vs. Common), but if one of the emcees slips in a beef it can end their career right there (LL Cool J vs. Canibus).

In short, if you’re an aspiring rapper don’t take to Twitter to start a beef with a fellow rapper. That’s weak and you lose respect. Make a mixtape or post something on Soundcloud or Youtube to show off your battling skills because no one gives a fuck about what you can do in 140 characters.


Film at a high: Do I have a shitty taste in film? Justifying my shitty taste

Even with the diversity problem aside, my favorite movies that were lead by white actors and directors still did not make the cut of the pinnacle of movie making award ceremonies like the Oscars, Golden Globes and the Spirit Awards. Do I give a fuck? No. But it does make me question the general audience.

I do have to stipulate that some of the films nominated I have not seen, because I have no desire to see them. Let’s go through the list of Oscar nominated films I have not seen: Boyhood, Birdman, Theory of Everything, Selma, Imitation Game, Whiplash, Wild, Two Days One Night, Still Alice and The Judge. Movies are expensive.

I want to see some of those movies (Selma, Birdman) but for most of them, nawwww. I used to feed into this critic hype thing and would want to watch these films that were claimed to be “The best of the year.” But soon I realized a lot of these movies aren’t what they were cracked up to be.

Most of them are movies you watch once because everyone talks them up but after that one time how many more times do you watch it?

Argo, The Artist, The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker and Slumdog Millionaire all won Best Picture. If you were to have a movie night with those films you might as well call it “Snore Fest” and if you make it through all those movies without falling asleep AND sober then you deserve an award. To add to that list of films could be last year’s winner 12 Years a Slave, but the only reason I watched that movie only once is because it’s sad as fuck and kind of bums me out for the rest of the day.

At this point you should be asking yourself “Well, what movies did you like in 2014, you fucking pretentious movie snob.”

The films that stuck out to me for 2014 were Nightcrawler, Interstellar, Grand Budapest Hotel, Foxcatcher, Tusk and Obvious Child. I don’t think all of these movies should be up for best picture, but each of them had an aspect that should be recognized. Since Grand Budapest and Foxcatcher are already in the Oscar mix I won’t go too much into those.

Let’s start with Nightcrawler and my most obvious snub for Best Actor Jake Gyllenhaal. If you thought Steve Carell’s performance in Foxcatcher was creepy, then you will have great admiration for the subtly creepy character Jake plays in this film. The anti-hero is just someone you hate for most of the film and when the film ends you hate him even more and for good reason. As much as I would like to see an actor who portrayed the great Martin Luther King Jr. on the ballot, Gyllenhaal is definitely deserving of it too (Again, haven’t seen Selma). Other Best Actor snub: Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher), which begs the question how do you determine the lead and supporting actor in a film like Foxcatcher? I assumed Tatum was the lead with Carell and Mark Ruffalo supporting.



Now onto the most talked about film of 2014, Interstellar. No acting performances in this one deserved to be dubbed a snub, but the guy behind the camera is. Christopher Nolan took us on another visual adventure with this one and gave us an interesting take on the future of our planet, space, time travel, and how slow one guy can walk back to a spaceship with a tsunami-like wave looming. Visually this film was nothing short of exceptional. If the director from Gravity can snag an Oscar for his shitty space movie why can’t Nolan?


Michael Parks in Tusk

We are now at the movie that is possibly my favorite out all the ones listed, Tusk. This Kevin Smith film is downright awesome. Breaking away from his comedy roots, Smith takes on horror in the most innovate way. The story of karma coming back to a Daniel Tosh-like podcaster played by Justin Long is creepy in every way possible. Smith should be recognized for his directing and writing and how Michael Parks is not being recognized for his performance as the deranged, walrus-obsessed torturer is beyond me.

Obvious Child

Jenny Slate in Obvious Child

Finally, the film I most recently watched, Obvious Child. This was an interesting film. It took concepts from films like Juno and Knocked Up, that concept being unplanned pregnancies, and took it the other way. In the two films prior we saw the women make the decision of go through with the pregnancy, in Obvious Child we see the woman without hesitation make the decision to get an abortion.

Jenny Slate’s performance as a down-on-her luck comedian trying to survive after losing her job at a bookstore, paying back student loans, and finding out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with one her friends was one of the most real performances I have ever seen.

The contrasts between her personality and Jenny Slate’s own are only comparable to Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction and what I mean by that is that it seemed like the role was written specifically for her and no one else could have played that role. This was an important film with an important message with an amazing lead performance that was surprisingly recognized by the Spirit Awards. I say surprisingly because this was the first year where I thought their nominations were just identical to those of the Oscars and Golden Globes.

As much as I would love to start seeing more diversity in these awards ceremony, they would first have to start nominating some better films to even get me to watch that boring ass show (Looking at lists of the winners is so much easier and interesting).

Charlie Hebdo magazine cover

Charlie Hebdo and what it means for a nation desensitized from mass shootings

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by gunmen killing 12 employees of the magazine. The country of France has come together to commemorate brave journalist that stood up to government and poked fun at the serious world of religion.

Charb during an ABC interview (September 2012)

Charb during an ABC interview (September 2012)

Outside of the world of cartoonist, the names Charb, Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous were virtually unknown to American culture, but after today’s tragedy their work has been shared all across the internet with translated captions for all of us to enjoy. As the world mourns in an appropriate way, America’s first reactions to the tragedy were not that shocking given our history of mass shootings in the 21st century.

Many took to Facebook to share their thoughts on the tragedy and retweeted updates about the situation, but as an observer of social media in America it seems like I’m having Déjà vu. I saw the same posts after Sandy Hook, but can you name one of the children from that tragedy? Aurora? Columbine? Can you name one person that died in any of those tragedies without Googling? But if Americans were presented with a photo of a shooter from one of our many mass shootings we would be able to identify them, maybe not by name, but by the shorten historic name that it has been given like “The Sandy Hook shooter” or “The Columbine shooter.” This is what mass shootings have become in America, short titles that reference the geographic location of the shooting so we don’t have to go into great detail or explanation about them when we reference them after the fact.

Today we had prominent figures in American culture, from the left and the right, show how desensitized we are.

On the same day of the shooting MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted: “I’ve basically seen nothing today about Charlie Hebdo’s written content: what was it? Was it good?”

Learn French and read it, asshole. The content of the magazine is an interesting facet of this story, but to call out the coverage of, not the shooting itself, but the content and then question if it was good after insane people shot up the office due to the content is soooo American.

When it comes to “soooo American” tweets no one trumps the Trump. Donald Trump responded to the shootings by tweeting: “If the people so violently shot down in Paris had guns, at least they would have had a fighting chance.”

And then followed that tweet with this one: “Isn’t interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world?”

Wow. Let me parody one of my least favorite comedians Jeff Foxworthy: “You might be an American if the first thing you do after a mass shooting is defend the guns.”

I saw many posts that emulated Trump’s and Hayes’ tweets.

When the Norway attacks happened I was a little too young to comprehend the situation and people’s reactions, I just knew a guy shot a lot of people and it was sad. But now with this international news making headlines in the states and social media being used more now than it was in 2011, I can only hope that it opens our eyes to how we treat gun violence and how silly we look in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Today should not be a day to push the agenda of gun control, it should not be a day to advocate for guns, it should not be a day to attack religion or ask for a critique of Charlie Hebdo as a publication. Today is a day of tragedy and a group of people trying to silence another who took real issues and transformed them into socially relevant and hilarious cartoons. Tomorrow and every day after that we can have conversations about guns and religion and I’m sure the staff at Charlie Hebdo will have something to say as well.


Latest blog post from a neglected blog: Excuses

The title of this blog post might be a little off-putting, and this lead might be one of the weakest hooks ever cast. But the thought of completely discrediting myself after months of writer’s block for this blog is necessary. Since my last post (April 21, 2014), so much has happened. Not just in society, but life. So many social topics that I had a strong opinion about that never articulated into a blog post comes as a major disappointment to my biggest critic, myself.

Being part of the graduating class of 2014 it’s not like the level of hope was high as far as getting into the industry I went to school for (Journalism). Did my schooling prepare me for the train that was about to hit me? For my specific case, probably not. A family member, my mother, getting diagnosed with cancer is something no one can prepare for. Any dream that I had of applying to publications and conglomerates outside of my Southern California comfort zone had to be put on hold.

Family came first for me and contributing to the household income was of a highest priority for me. But no worry, I have a college degree. A job that wasn’t my part-time retail job at Macy’s should have been easy to get, so I thought. After giving up looking for any type of writing job (Well over 100 applications), I started looking for any type of full time work and fate gave me one of the worst jobs for my set of social skills, sales.

Fuck sales. But I needed the job. I worked for a temp company and my job was going out to businesses that do not use temps and try to convince them to use temps and more specifically our temps. To make a long story short, I got fired after a month, I attempted to keep my Macy’s job during that month but I wasn’t working enough hours so they let me go. Then came a period of time that many post grads find themselves in, unemployment.

Days pass without a job. Finally I have landed a job that is in the general vicinity of what I majored in, social media for a construction company. At the time of writing this I still hold the position at the company. I should be happy. I am happy. But I constantly ask myself “What’s next? What is next for me in terms of self fulfillment?” Because our dreams and aspirations can be completely separate from what our majors were in college. When it comes down to it I want to be a writer, but given my age every company sees “Social Media Expert.” I’m fine with that, for right now. I’m 22.

Comprehending the last 450 words I just typed, I just see them as excuses, self-realization of self pity. I wouldn’t call this a New Year’s resolution but with it being only seven days into 2015, why not? With this post I am pledging a weekly post, not for my readers (obviously), but for myself. I see former colleague’s Facebook updates about their cool new job that has them reporting, editing and writing and for months I just labeled them as privileged people who were able to take unpaid internships after college and work through the ranks living off of some trust fund, which is true in some cases, not all. Now realizing how ignorant my thought process was about other people who I believed didn’t have any issues and had all the time and money in the world to gain a twitter following and start their careers, I see all my pessimism as something just holding me back. With things settling down for me I now have time to concentrate on building a coherent blog that hopefully has some impressive pieces. It’s time to prove to myself that I am more than social media.

No matter how bad “they” say the job market is for a college graduate in a “dying industry,” I’m not going to buy into that hype. Being seven months removed from college I don’t think things can get much worse than they already have been, in some weird, cosmic way my pessimism has lead me to optimism.


Australia threatens great wonder of the world for coal

Coal, as children we feared to see it on Dec. 25, but little did we know the value of the black, combustible sedimentary rock. In today’s world coal is used as a valuable trade commodity, so much so that is has driven money-hungry companies to go to great lengths to obtain it.

In this case, the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation decided to dive into one of the world’s seven wonders, the Great Barrier Reef, to expand Abbot Point into one of the world’s biggest coal terminals. On Jan. 31, Australia approved a plan to dump large amounts of mud and sediment inside the marine park’s boundaries. The dumping will be on a sand bed.

The operation requires a massive dredging operation to make way for ships entering and exiting the port. To allow the ships to pass through, the operation will dump about 106 million cubic feet of dredged mud will be dumped within the marine park under the plan.

Environmentalists in Australia will not go down quietly.

The Environmental Defenders Office of Queensland are planning a lawsuit to challenge the dumping decision in the Federal Court, but have yet to secure a court date. They are representing the North Queensland Conservation Council and are funded by Getup!, an activist group which has raised $130,000 on the issue.

The group of scientists that have worked with the Environmental Defenders Office of Queensland are concerned with at the potential for sediment to spread and cover the coral reefs causing irreversible damage. According to the Australian Marine Conservation Society, fine sediment could travel up to 50 miles.

The Ports Corporation has fired backed and has said they have conducted a thorough, three-dimension modeling over two years to show sediment from the dumping would not damage the coral reef.

The chances of the environmentalist winning this case in the federal court are slim, so only time will tell how this operation will affect the 133,360 square mile ecosystem that holds hold to thousands of species of coral, fish, molluscs, jellyfish, sharks and whales.

But did the Australian government take into account what this might do to their tourist revenue? The pros may not outweigh the cons at this juncture.

Snorkeling in the world’s biggest and beautiful underwater ecosystem might be hindered by the sediment. Finding Nemo was already hard enough and just the fact that this has potential to cause irreversible damage could be a major blow to Australia’s image and revenue, but more importantly to the exotic wildlife that occupies the Great Barrier Reef.

As a society, we are looking into a future where money and tradable goods like oil and coal will dictate whether we take away some of the earth’s most natural beauties.

Is it worth it? Right now to countries and corporations it is.

Sexting a minor is legal in Texas

Every day technology is evolving and every day we have to adjust to the latest gadgets and trends. Texas was forced to adjust to the latest trend of the sexual type of conversation that takes place on cell phones known as sexting.

Last month, junior high school teacher Sean Arlis Williams, 30, was arrested for having a sexual conversation with a 13-year-old student that spanned over six days and included 688 text messages. The conversation included descriptions of sexual preferences, fantasies and dreams about one another. He was arrested on the charge of online solicitation to a minor, but later changed to the fittingly improper relationship between and educator and student.

The case against Williams was eventually dismissed. The court said the First Amendment protected Williams.

The defense used a previous case that was similar to Williams’ case. Is it ok for adults to talk dirty to minors whether it is verbal or over the web or text? Texas says ‘yes,’ but this is a perfect example of a state adjusting to technology in the wrong way.

Texas should take a look in the mirror and ask if they want to be known as the state where sexting between adults and minors is legal. Williams also received a picture from the teenager in which she is wearing a bra with no shirt. Although the 13-year-old reciprocated the 30-year-old teacher’s interest, he should still be accountable for his lewd behavior. Williams still holds his teaching credentials and has already left the district on his own.

This perverse Texas interpretation of the First Amendment allows adults to send, not only sexually explicit texts, but also sexually explicit emails to minors.

Allowing this is tolerating something that can progress into something much worse. Though Williams and his student did physical in actual sexual activities, one could only imagine where their relationship would lead to before she turned 18.

This opens up a whole new defense for teachers who have relationships with their students. It also gives them a way to have a sexual relationship with their students without having any repercussions.

Children are getting cell phones at a very young age. Any teenager will tell you that sexting only leads to one thing. And it is something a teacher should never think about doing with their students.

It is hard to find a silver lining in this sexting law, but one could only hope that the other 49 states look at Texas and see how backwards their adaptation to technology has become. Moving forward, hopefully some sensible law makers in Texas change this and prosecute these sexting teachers for what they really are, pedophiles.

As for now, the only solution to this problem is the parents. Parents should be monitoring who their child is texting, especially in Texas.