Generation Me?

1. Inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
2. Psychoanalysis: erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development. -Dictionary.com

Apparently our whole generation is narcissistic. Reading articles about my generation, written by those not a part of it, I wonder about their conclusions. The articles (Don't Go Blaming Me. I Voted on 'Hot or Not.') in the New York Times say that we're narcissistic– but are we? To me, saying that a whole generation is narcissistic seems immature. Is writing off an entire generation just a self-obsessed cop-out due to the bad role models our parent’s generation provided? In my opinion, these articles ignore the role that society plays. Maybe we are narcissistic. On the other hand, we could just be products of the world around us– of the reality TV world we live in. We are told (or at least I was) to sell ourselves. To sell a product you have to believe in it, or at least pretend you do.

In the Ithacan yesterday, there was an article that revealed to the campus that not enough students are politically active. Is this another example of our self-involvement? Maybe we're caught up in other things ( like guitar hero, second life, the hills, etc...) maybe, just maybe, we're too busy with school. Our generation could just be suffering from anxiety about real life. There is so much pressure on us to succeed. We have been force-fed the American Dream so much that if we do break the law by protesting, or if we don't fill up our times with activities that will look good on a resume, we feel we won't get a good job. Maybe we're narcissistic because our parent's generation spent a little too much time talking about being successful and pressuring us to pick colleges while we’re still in middle school and a little less time letting us figure out things at our own pace.

I quote from an episode of Quarterlife, "A sad truth about our generation is that we were all geniuses in elementary school, but apparently the people who deal with us never got our transcripts because they don’t seem to be aware of it."

I’m not excusing us. We need to be politically active. I feel like I am, and most of my friends are. I have trouble keeping my head above water taking 15 credits. Does anyone else? If college was less about success and more about ideas, we would be more politically active.



Community Forum on Racism in Ithaca School District Leaves Some Skeptical

Yesterday evening, on January 24, a community forum was held at the Calvary Baptist Church on North Albany st. to discuss Ithaca’s ongoing problem with racism within the city’s school district. This was a follow-up meeting to a forum held last October, which took place after IHS students voiced concern that minorities were receiving unequal treatment in the areas of disciplinary decisions, expectations, and opportunities for interaction with ICSD officials as well as a feeling of being judged based on skin color and socioeconomic status.
Although the forum gave community members a much needed (and long awaited) opportunity to express their opinions and concerns to Superintendent Judith Pastel and Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Lesli Meyers, there was reportedly an overall sense of frustration among the audience that their concerns would not immediately be met with effective actions.
Two proposals were discussed at the forum. One proposal is to form a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, in which, "approximately 20 students (will) meet monthly with the Superintendent of Schools, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction." This would allow students to give direct feedback to ICSD officials– the lack of communication between students and ICSD officials has been identified as one of the main problems.
The other proposal is to create a Student Discipline Review Panel, consisting of 8-10 students. This would give students another opportunity to voice their opinions to ICSD officials, this time on the concern regarding disciplinary expectations and actions.
For the long-standing race and class issues within the school district and the Ithaca community, this is a step in the right direction. However, some still remain impatient, skeptical, and concerned that Judith Pastel's words are worthless without further action. One audience member reminds us, "These (proposals) are words, not action. This is only the potential for action."


Desperation in Gaza

The top story on the BBC right now is about an impending food shortage in the Gaza Strip, which has been coping with an Israeli-imposed border closure since Friday. Al Jazeera, in its headline story, reports that hospitals have been hard-hit by the blockade and that sewer systems and water systems will have to shut down soon. The BBC quotes EU officials calling Israel's actions "collective punishment," and organizations like Oxfam, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency are warning of serious consequences to public health.

So what does the New York Times have to say about the situation? Their article on the Gaza fuel shortages is the sixth international story listed, not even making the front page of their Web site. (Interestingly, the top story from the Middle East today is about Israel deciding to promote electric cars.) The story appears not to have been updated today, reporting that the "temporary" closure has caused a fuel shortage, which will "affect" hospitals, water and sewage treatment facilities. Israeli officials are quoted saying there is no crisis and that the power plant was shut down basically to get attention. The Times has not mentioned that the UN may have to halt food distribution, nor has it reported on the international criticism of the blockade. The voices of international humanitarian organizations, who seem to be unanimously concerned for the fate of Gaza's 1.5 million residents, are conspicuously absent from their coverage.



Community Forum on Race

This just in from the Village at Ithaca:

There will be a community forum at the Clarion Hotel this Thursday at 7 p.m. to discuss the recent racial tensions in the Ithaca City School District and to develop a community plan to "produce a more inclusive district and community."
The event is being organized by the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service.

Free transportation via Gadabout buses will be provided from Caroline Elementary School (6:15 p.m.) , Ithaca High School (6:40 p.m.), Enfield Elementary School (6:15 p.m.), and Tompkins County Public Library (6:40 p.m.); return buses will leave the Clarion approximately 9:00 p.m.

The public, including the Ithaca College community, is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Slate's Hillary Hatefest

Today, Hillary Clinton finds herself in the crosshairs of Slate's scathing trio of articles titled, "Clinton-itis."

John Dickerson starts off with a look at the PR snafus of Clinton's campaign. Following on the heels of Bill Shaheen's--Clinton's ex-campaign adviser--resignation after publicly commenting on Barack Obama's drug use, the article discusses the Clinton team's continuous mishandling of similar situations, which land her extremely negative press.

The next two articles--Christopher Hitchens's "The Case Against Hillary Clinton" (or "I just remembered what I can't stand about her") and Timothy Noah's "Hillary's 'Experience' Lie"--thoroughly cut her down to size, criticizing Clinton's character and exaggerated claims of "experience."

I'm not the biggest Hill-fan to say the least, but I wonder whether other democratic candidates will be receiving such special treatment from the web-zine. After reading each article, which make some poignant observations, the Hillary hating was just a bit too much, especially with Hitchens's bilious tone. Take into account crucial primaries in the next week and a half, and it all just seems a bit unprofessional from a consistently judicious magazine.

I will give credit to Hitchens for opening his article with this Hillarious example:
On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995—the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy "experience"—Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer... Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually yielded to fact-checking.

Don't block the shot!

While bored on a Tuesday, I took some time and searched YouTube for funny videos. It was most successful. One silly Arnold Schwarzenegger clip in which he attacks and defeats a poorly disguised man in bear suit, check. One cleverly edited cluster of clips from 2006's The Wickerman with Nicholas Cage, check. Then I searched for Bill O'Reilly, typically good material for a chuckle. And I stumbled across this video:

Apparently I'm way behind on this news story. Slate.com has a piece about the incident dated January 5, which covers the story from a insider angle. One reporter was standing next to him at the time. And Bill O'Reilly is selling the "DON'T BLOCK THE SHOT!" T-shirt at his site billoreilly.com.

I guess this is Bill O’Reilly version of hard-hitting journalism.