PHILADELPHIA — Mayhem exploded against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Monday morning when she made her first public appearance after being forced out as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “Shame!” yelled protesters enraged at the Florida congresswoman over leaked Democratic Party emails that suggested her staff favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the…
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#VestGate: UK University Challenge Program Ignites Controversy Over What It Means To Be “Intelligent”By Mariam Ansar
University Challenge, hosted by Jeremy Paxman and witness to the UK’s most intelligent of students going head to head to represent their universities, is a show which can clearly be seen to favour substance over style.
Focused on providing only the most gruelling of questions, its reputation is one of baffled English home-audiences rejoicing when answering correctly between themselves, university pride, and the classic jumper-collared-shirt combo. However, one episode, which aired last week, hosted one contestant whose choice of attire raised more than a few eyebrows.
Kamel Shah of King’s College, Cambridge, injected a certain amount of controversy into the show courtesy of his leather vest and gold chain.
Raising questions on the idea of propriety, some argued that the values of BBC 2, typically home of the straight-edged middle-class crowd, had been compromised. For many, the clothing choice was regarded as a sign of disrespect, aligned on ideas of good manners and appropriate attire which being on a show as esteemed as University Challenge supposedly demands:
— The Weirwolf (@jon_weir) September 7, 2015
However, the issue of the vest could be seen to prompt a much deeper discussion. When it comes to representations of intelligence, is there something inherently problematic in disputing the decency of someone who refused to toe the line of what many see as an out-dated ideal?
Shah in his leather vest, dragging #universitychallenge kicking and screaming into the late 1990s.
— Ali (@AliBonce) September 7, 2015
King’s Shah – brave choice of vest-top, defying usual boring clothes expectations for #universitychallenge. Nice one!
— Ted Loveday (@TedTalksUK) September 7, 2015
It is no secret that questions on the University Challenge appeal to an educational standard more at home with the privately-educated than anything else; which isn’t to say that its audience must simply be privately-educated. It simply suggests that when questions are focused on, for example, literature of the 17th century, Latin translation, or minimalism in music, one wonders at the concept of common knowledge, and knowledge in itself.
An example of previous University Challenge questions:
“Your starter for 10: A schoolboy play-on-words between Latin and English, what jocular translation is usually given to the phrase semper ubi sub ubi?
Three bonus questions on the opening lines of novels:
(a) Which novel, first published in serial form from 1914 to 1915, begins “Once upon a time and a very good time it was…”?
(b) “It was a dark and stormy night”’ are the first words of the 1830 novelPaul Clifford by which writer, whose other works include Eugene Aramand The Last Days of Pompeii?
(c) The novels Midnight’s Children, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Robinson Crusoe and Tristram Shandy all open with which word?”
What does intelligence mean and what is it measured by? When contestants famously previously failed to recognise a musical question sampling the modern R&B sounds of Frank Ocean, one must wonder as to what extent the non-typical, but very valid, contributions of the rest of the world are unnoticed by the majority’s standards.
It is very likely that Shah’s vest is improper, a fashion faux-paux which does not do well to read too much into. We cannot be sure that he donned the chain and the vest to question the legitimacy of educational standards. However, it is also clear that the impropriety can be interpreted as a sign of defiance. Within the elitist environment with which we both patrol the playground of the deemed intelligent and set the standard, there are remnants of inequality which would favour the symbolism of, for lack of better words, of the jumper-wearer over the vest-wearer.
#GeekAndGangsta. The hash-tag speaks for itself. It’s clear our clothes feature their own identities, can speak without saying of our cultural awareness. But as culture is so easily manipulated, the inference of what this can mean cannot be easily decided upon.
The conclusion is that Shah chose to don non-typical attire on a game show set to test intelligence and provided the ripples of an aftermath which suggest that clothing is not just clothing: the underlying current of values being tied up with appearance, and in this case intelligence, is definite.
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Two weeks ago an audio recording of Donald Trump, obtained and released by the Washington Post, caused an understandable amount of outrage in the public.
The recording is a disgusting and vulgar conversation between the current presidential candidate and Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” back in 2005, in which Trump describes his sexual advances of a married woman, saying to Bush “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything,” and other very explicit things about women.
Although there are many, many people who are rightfully outraged that the man who is currently running for the most important job in the nation thought that speaking about women in such a demeaning manner was okay, there are still too many people who are still blindly defending his bigotry.
Using the logic of “All men talk about women that way when they aren’t around. It’s just locker room talk,” to attempt to justify blatant misogyny and normalization of rape culture.
But the thing that they don’t understand, or maybe just completely refuse to recognize, is that what he said isn’t infuriating just because it’s Trump saying something ignorant and stupid, like he always does.
It’s not harmless talk, or just “boys being boys.” They aren’t “just words” as Trump keeps saying. It needs to be taken more seriously, especially since Donald Trump is actually an alleged rapist.
He is currently in the middle of civil litigation for the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl.
The now adult “Jane Doe,” whose actual identity has not been revealed, claims that Trump along with a registered sexual offender, Jeffrey Epstein, sexually assaulted her in 1994. Epstein served 13 months in 2008 for the solicitation of an underage girl for prostitution. Both deny these allegations.
The case will be brought to court on December 16th, which is well after the election date. If Trump were to win, he could attend a civil trial only weeks after being elected President of the United State for the sexual assault of a minor.
And Jane Doe isn’t the only woman coming forward after the release of the tapes. A former journalist at People Magazine says Trump physically assaulted her in 2005. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” Natasha Stoynoff writes in a recollection of the incident published by People Magazine on October 12th.
The New York Times also released an article on the 12th of this month, which includes the testimonies of two other women who claim they were touched inappropriately by Trump in the past.
Donald Trump was never qualified to be president to begin with, but people still backed him anyways.
But we need to stop encouraging this behavior, it’s only going to get worse.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Daniel Oines/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 315
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In the music industry, Nashville has once again become a fresh hot-bed for rising talent, which makes new music more difficult to stand out. Artists are having to find new and creative ways to promote and brand themselves in the ever changing city.
Born and raised in Nashville, country singer Mitchell Tenpenny is working on becoming a success in this booming industry.
“I think I stand out by trying to have a different sound and approach to how I present my music,” Tenpenny said. “I want every song to feel authentic and real.”
Tenpenny started playing music when he was in the 7th grade. He went to a friend’s house to play a round of golf but found several instruments to play instead. The next day, he picked up a guitar.
Growing up in Nashville influenced Tenpenny to strive for excellence – to make himself stand out.
“The music scene has changed a lot. I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. Everyone is trying new ways and techniques to make a living in this industry with streaming,” Tenpenny said. “It didn’t exist when I grew up watching songwriters have hits.”
He has seen some of his favorite songwriters and artists break through from the beginning and he said that it is one of his favorite feelings.
“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”
One of his favorite aspects of the experiences the city has to offer is how it is ever changing. The moments all lead to other adventures like hearing his songs, or ones he’s written on the radio or being performed by someone, and getting to write with such talented musicians. Nothing can top those moments for him he said.
His best advice to anyone trying to “make it” in Nashville is to “be there.” Be a part of the city and the culture that is there. It is one of the “tried and true” ways to gain acceptance.
Paying your dues is also just as important. With long hours, hard work, and heartbreak, Tenpenny said a big break will come. You just have to earn it.
“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”Post Views: 756
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