Rappers Are (Not So) Secretly Insecure

(NOTE: This is a sweeping generalization of modern rap artists. It’s also harder than you may think to find popular rap songs that do not include inappropriate language.) 

Have you ever stopped to consider the messages conveyed by lyrics in most of today’s rap songs? Topics that come to mind include: money, weed, money, fancy cars, money, status, money, and a whole host of derogatory words for women. The songs are usually written in first person and detail the ever-so-exciting lives of people with no apparent regard for others. Now, these topics seem to be disgustingly popular based on the sales numbers of the top rap songs, but why? Do that many people actually relate to this supposed lifestyle? Do people tune out the poorly written lyrics and only pay for these albums to bob their head to the beat in a ’98 Sunfire? Maybe you know the reason for their success, but I certainly have no clue. However, one thing I can assure you of is that rappers are actually the most insecure people in the world.

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Take a moment to consider these carefully woven words from the song “Stoner” by the wonderfully poetic Young Thug:

“Every time I walk inside the club I see everybody looking,

You know I’m a stoner, I love drugs and I could never be tooken”

I hesitate to even comment on this quote, as I believe the beauty of the message is better left to speak for itself…But in all seriousness, this is practically a plea for attention and affirmation. I’m no psychologist, but I would conclude that Mr. Young Thug would like everyone to believe that he is the alpha dog of the social scene and desperately needs the acknowledgment of his peers. Consider this exquisite excerpt from Wiz Khalifa’s song “We Dem Boyz:”

“Damn, I’m smokin’ weed in my Mercedes, 
Hol up, these n****s broke, these n****s lazy, 
Man, they money slim, they actin shady, 
I’m in my brand new car, who wanna race”

Wiz Khalifa clearly views people with lower financial status as inferior and does not want to associate with the lower class. Not only does he take pride in his wealth, he is subtly requiring people to view him as elite based on his bank account. Furthermore, Mr. Khalifa has such a longing for friends and acceptance that he is willing to spend whatever it takes for people to like him. For example, just read these words from his popular track “No Sleep:”

“The drinks is on me 
The b*****s, the hotel, the weed is all free 
Get high, I mean so high we gon’ see the whole suite”

The aforementioned quotes are obviously a small sample of modern rap music, but if you don’t believe me, pay close attention the next time you hear a popular rap song on the radio. These people are trying to hide behind the façade of material wealth. Maybe their insecurity is a result of past events, or maybe it’s due to their obvious lack of grammar skills. Regardless of the root of the problem, don’t let them fool you; they are not okay. Do not aspire to achieve their lifestyle or you too will be forced to cover up your true feelings with trashy lyrics and an 808 drum. 

PSA: Shameless Selfies

There is a serious epidemic that has consumed our western society and changed the world we once knew. Everyone from small children to senior citizens have been affected by its widespread influence. It is commonly known as the “selfie.”  The problem has grown to such drastic heights that the Oxford Dictionary had no choice but to develop an official definition: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” We have all either taken a selfie or seen our loved ones take a selfie and, luckily, we live to tell to the story.

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The real problem does not exist in the casual, yet unnecessary self-photography of the masses. We as a society must focus our attention on the extreme cases–those so engrossed with self-photography that they are unable to realize the problem is staring back at them on their LED and retina-display screens. Anyone who cannot go a single day without extending their arm to capture their image with the front-facing camera of a smartphone, or those who cannot resist the urge to regularly take and upload ridiculous mirror selfies have reached the extreme level. If you can scroll through someone’s profile pictures or Instagram uploads and upwards of 80% of the photos are selfies, please seek help for that person as they may not even recognize the severity of their problem.

Early recognition of the symptoms is the key to stopping the spread of self-photography sickness. It may start out appearing innocent as a few friends huddle behind someone’s camera to capture their silly faces, but that is usually how it begins. Before long they will be looking at their own face on their smartphones with such ease and regularity that even Kanye West would be appalled by their self-infatuation. They will not be able to stand in front of a mirror without reaching for their pockets in a habitual routine of snapping a quick “picture of the day.” Do not let anyone reach that point. Please, be on the guard of any loved ones who may have recently been in any sort of contact with the infected. If we want to ensure a brighter future for our children, we must take action. 

Figure Skating Should Not Be An Olympic Sport

Before you lash out on your keyboard about how you “would like to see me try figure skating,” let me first state that I have immense respect for the athletes who spend countless hours perfecting their skills and routines on the ice. I am amazed by the moves they are able to perform and I would be lucky if I could stop on skates without falling! Yes, I even realize that figure skating was the first winter sport added to the Olympics in 1908. But why should an event that requires presentation and relies solely on judges be in the Olympics in the first place?

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Let’s discuss the presentation part first. How can it be that the world’s highest sporting competition which boasts world-record holders and world-class teams also include an event that focuses on choreography and interpretation? The judges literally examine the execution of dance routines on ice. And how about those outfits? I recognize that there is no official graded component directly related to the degree of glitz and glamour, but there are deductions for “costume violations.” Really? There is no way any skater who fails to dress up for a Broadway musical has any hope of winning. How does that qualify as Olympic criteria?

The judges are the real concern with figure skating’s place in the Olympics.  Sure, they have attempted to establish measurements and standards of success within the event, but they are still up to human interpretation. In fact, judges award marks for grade of execution (GOE) from -3 to +3. Even the most difficult of moves executed to the highest degree has potential to be graded differently by each judge as opposed to being rewarded based on unwavering measurements. Don’t kid yourself; it’s a flawed system that is subpar to the standards of real Olympic sports. If you don’t believe me, take a minute to research Jamie Salé and David Pelletier and the 2002 figure skating scandal in Salt Lake City.

“But Connor, what about other Olympic events that rely on judging? You have to apply the same philosophy to them!” Well anonymous protestor, I suppose you are right; the International Olympic Committee should reevaluate sports such as snowboarding for their standards of success as well. On a personal level, I would watch snowboarding over figure skating any day. Then again, I would actually pay to see a pair of skaters attempt the Iron Lotus…

Neknominations: How To Share Your Poor Life Decisions With The World

(NOTE: If you completely disagree with me or are offended by this, that is okay. This is simply my opinion and this blog was written to bring a blunt perspective to the ridiculousness of some of these published videos.)

So you’re at home on a Tuesday night and just can’t seem to think of any good way to remind your friends that you are a complete idiot. Have no fear; you just remembered that you were nominated by your equally unintelligent pals to chug an alcoholic beverage and post a video for evidence of your stupidity! Thanks to today’s amazing technology, you now have the freedom and ability to shoot a quick video of yourself (obviously shirtless to show off your gains at the gym) downing a drink (preferably some hard liquor to show off how much of a boss you are). Whew–that was a close one! Can you believe you almost did something productive with your time?!

You’re also lucky that you remembered the challenge within the 24-hour window too! Can you imagine if you had forgotten to guzzle that beverage on time? There is no way you could show your face to your friends ever again. How could they accept you for failing to shotgun a beer on video in the 24 hours after they nominated you? It scares me to think of all the potential outcomes. I mean, you could have ended up being known as “that guy.” Worse yet, you would actually appear to be a normal, functioning citizen who doesn’t take part in childish games.

Don’t even worry about the news reports of people dying as a result of neknominations. If anything, those prove that everyone who rises to the challenge is part of an elite group of duds. In fact, you should try to make it as unique as possible by not only drinking, but also combining it with some activity you would be proud to show a future potential employer. Any manager would be foolish to not hire someone who can drink alcohol from a toilet bowl while doing a handstand!

Well, what are you waiting for? Turn on your smart phone camera, chug some alcohol, and jump off a rooftop into a hot tub while wearing a suit and tie. Whatever you do, do NOT forget to post that bad boy on Facebook and nominate two of your friends so they too can become heroes!

…………..But seriously, don’t be an idiot.

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Senior Citizens Behind The Wheel

People of the inter-webs,

The following is the first entry in a series of blogs about random things that irritate me to the bone. When this was assigned as part of my communications class, I figured the best way to hammer out a few short writing assignments is to complain. Why not, right?

Now, I know these posts will be extremely relatable to some of you and borderline offensive to others. If you have an opinion on anything I post, I encourage you to respond with comments. We all have opinions, so don’t let me be the only one voicing mine on each particular subject. 

Let’s begin…

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Elderly folks deserve respect and they are often full of wisdom. To all of you hip and cool cats out there, they are what you’d call “OG.” Yes, they may be hard of hearing, cranky, or permanently smell of mothballs, but without them we wouldn’t be alive today. Unfortunately, when a lot of them get behind the wheel, I worry about how much longer I’ll be alive.

Before you get defensive of your Grandpa Donald’s flawless record, I want to clarify that there are indeed some fine senior citizen drivers out there. I’m sure your grandparents are very competent and they wouldn’t hurt a fly. However, let’s be real; there are far too many old men and women who can barely see over their own steering wheel let alone shoulder check to switch lanes. It’s a serious hazard to not only themselves, but also to all other drivers on the road. If they struggle to hear normal volume conversation from four feet away, how can they be expected to hear the warning of a car horn as they turn the wrong way onto a one-way street? How can they read the street signs or identify a pedestrian if they don’t recognize who just walked into the room? Dare I even discuss their reaction time? These problems are not their fault. I just don’t want to fear for my life or the lives of others whenever sweet ole Mrs. Butterfield decides to take a Sunday cruise around the town. 

Now, raise your hand if you have ever gotten stuck behind an Oldsmobile doing 40km/h in a 60km/h zone… That’s what I thought. The sign does read “Speed Limit,” but traveling well below can often be more dangerous than exceeding the legal speed. Road rage is a real thing. 

Finally, senior citizens are the worst at parking. 

You ask, “So what do you expect them to do?” Well, for starters they can call a cab. But for a more systematic approach to the problem of dangerous senior citizen drivers, there must be some form of mandatory road test upon reaching a certain age. Bad habits can develop overtime and with age comes a whole host of health concerns, so it only makes sense to ensure the safety of everyone through a pass/fail test. If someone fails, their license is removed until they can prove their competence. A driver’s license is a privilege and carries a lot of responsibility. I complain because I care.