“Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That”….But Apparently We Do

On July 28, 2010, WAFF-48 News broadcasted an interview with Antoine Dodson.  Dodson, a man living in the projects, wearing a head scarf, and using street vernacular, energetically spoke into the camera warning the neighborhood about his sister’s close encounter with an intruder and threatening the perpetrator who had the audacity to break into his home.

This situation is what started the fame for Dodson, but he did not know it at the time.  Dodson has become famous for the statement: “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo husband, because they raping everybody out here.”

Jumping ahead to earlier this year, KFOR News broadcast Sweet Brown’s interview on April 8 after her apartment complex was set on fire.  Just like Dodson, Brown was from the projects, wearing a head scarf, and using street vernacular to describe what happened to her home.  She has become famous for her statement: “I got bronchitis, ain’t nobody got time for that.”

But why is the media increasingly airing interviews with African Americans in this stereotypically black persona?  Was it for ratings, or were the interviewees’ best interests at heart?

Sure, these videos have been used as a source of laughter from time to time, especially the musical remixes on Youtube.  Since the interviews show the African American community in a negative and ghetto persona (talking loud with broken English, using dramatic hand gestures, and bobbing the head while speaking), many have asked why have these individuals have been shown in that light?

In the case of Dodson, WAFF-48 News saw nothing wrong with the interview they aired.

“Some have contacted our news room saying that interviews with people like Antoine reflects poorly on the community.  I say censoring people like Antoine is far worse,” Elizabeth Gentle of WAFF-48 News said.

Dodson was not embarrassed by his interview and embraced his new-found fame.

Many of us can understand letting people express how they are feeling, but there should be a fine line between letting someone express himself and using his expressions as a comedy act.  Dodson experienced a tragedy, and society has made a mockery of him expressing the emotions he felt.

In an article focusing on African American English, Cara Shousterman describes how web editor Baratunde Thurston referred to Dodson’s fame as a form of class tourism, similar to what you would view when watching an episode of Jerry Springer.  Thurston believed this because Dodson’s fame and Youtube video could have diminished the severity of what happened to his household.  People were laughing at Dodson, not sympathizing about what happened to his sister.

KFOR News has not responded to the public’s negative responses about the interview, but have instead helped build Brown’s popularity.

From stories covering Brown’s website to where she has made television appearances, KFOR News has shown they support the way the interview came across to the public.  They have even gone as far as posting their favorite Youtube remixes of Brown’s interview on their website.  Brown now accepts the parody of her interview and the fame that goes hand in hand with it.

Brown, however, did not respond the same way as Dodson did when she first saw her interview air.  At first, she was embarrassed.

“I’ve been shown [the video], but I don’t like looking at it because I don’t like looking at myself like that because I look like a joke and I was really serious!” Brown told KFOR News.

Both media outlets viewed the interviews as freedom of expression for the individuals, without censorship, whereas the public has mixed emotions:  some find the interviews comedic and some find them offensive.

Since the media views it as a freedom of expression, is this what we can expect in the future for African American interviews?  I sure hope not.  This illustrates a false persona of the African American population.  I am an African American, and I can honestly tell you that this is not how all African Americans act.

What we see in Dodson’s and Brown’s interviews is the personality of some of the people of this ethnicity, not all.  Seeing the media highlight the negative aspects of an ethnicity is disappointing.  What was intended to be a freedom of expression seems to have turned into a fiasco of obtaining higher ratings.

The last time I checked, mocking a group of people was not newsworthy.

Author Rachel Held Evans on writing and criticism

Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans visited George Fox University March 12 and 13. She took time to speak and engage with the campus and answered some questions from the GFU student body.

Q: Advice for budding writers?

A: Budding writers! Just read a lot, that’s really important. Read everything; read the back of cereal boxes in the morning, read the newspaper, read your textbook… because you have to; read for fun, read fiction, read nonfiction, just soak it all in because there’s no experience in that way that will not be helpful for you.

Try to get a diversity of, as your practicing your writing, try to write some journalism, write for the student newspaper, but also write fiction, also write poetry. All of those will help you in whatever field you settle on. They’ll help make you a better writer.

Q: How do you get over writer’s block or find inspiration again when you’re in that time?

A: Oh gosh, I get that all the time. I call it brain constipation! Having a deadline helps, then I say ‘I can’t afford to have writer’s block anymore, because I’ve got a deadline!’ So, having some sort of really intense deadline helps.

One thing that also helps is, if this is just happening like one day, just take a break and unload the dishwasher, walk a dog or just do some mindless task. Sometimes just even taking a shower really helps. I really get all my great ideas in the shower! So just simple things, ‘I can’t seem to get anything down, I guess I’ll just go to the grocery store.’ And I’ll come back and I’ll be able to write again.

Another trick is to leave something kind of undone and pick it up the next morning. I used to always try, by the end of my writing day, to finish up the last paragraph of whatever I was working on or finish the chapter, finish the blog post. Now, I go ahead and start the next thing and leave it undone so that when I sit down the next morning, I have to finish and it gets me right into it. Because staring at a blank page is the worst thing for writer’s block. But if there are already some words on the page that I’ve started, getting into it is a lot easier. So you’ve got to like trick your brain into getting into a project by simply starting.

As far as like big time writer’s block when I don’t really know what book I want to write next or I don’t know what I want to do with my career next, just taking a lot of time off and spending time with family and friends and traveling, going somewhere, just doing something other than my work.

Q: Since you’ve had public criticism, do you find that the way that you give criticism has changed?

A: Yes! And this is something that’s been really interesting. I didn’t really realize I was doing this to people until they started doing it to me. There’s this tendency when you start to get more popular and people are reading you and you start to develop something of a reputation, for people to treat you as this caricature. And I would go on these blogs where people were talking about me like I was something other than a human being. It was weird and kind of disconcerting and just this almost cartoonish image of this angry, snarky, hateful woman that I really just don’t think that I am.

When I saw how that was being done to me, I realized how I had been doing that to other public figures, particularly in Christianity, certain pastors and leaders that I had been critical of and I’d think they do and say things that are worthy of criticism. In my response to them I had treated them as their caricature, as their brand. I had kind of fed into that, sort of a mocking spirit of people.

I had this idea that they were immune. The really powerful guys, they’re immune to criticism! I can make fun of them all I want. We sort of think of them as we sort of think about the president. You know? Obviously we can satirize him because he’s the most powerful man in the word. I was treating my brothers and sisters in Christ that way. I didn’t really realize I was doing it until people started doing it to me.

So, now I’m still critical of people or at least of their material, but I really try to focus on what they said. I try to offer a response that I think is an alternative and not focus so much on personality. Because it’s not really about them, it’s about what they have to say and I want to address what they have to say and not rake them over the coals at a personal level. Because I’m realizing now that those are my feelings too! If it hurts me, it probably can hurt them too.

They’re not immune. We have this idea that certain people, certain pastors or leaders or public figures are immune to criticism and they’re not. Or immune to hate and they’re not. And thinking of them as human beings has really helped.

DIY twig bracelet

Today I’m bringing you a super fun DIY that is really easy to do and is affordable. It’s the DIY twig bracelet, and it’s an awesome way to combine the great outdoors with more modern, metallic feelings.

First and foremost, here is a list of materials you will need:

1. Twig of considerable length, preferably wet from the rain (It has to go around your wrist at least once and will need to be formed into a circular shape.)
2. Metal tube beads (I got mine at Michael’s for about $3. Just make sure the holes are thick enough for the twig to be able to go through.)
3. Box cutter or exacto knife
4. Hot glue gun or super glue (Super glue will work better, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used a glue gun.)

Step one: measure your wrist.

This is a pretty straightforward step. Make sure you’ll be able to get the bracelet on and off easily. You should gently mold the twig into the rounded shape that you desire, as it is easily breakable at this stage. Then cut the twig at the appropriate length.

Step two: whittle ends.

Trim down both ends of the twig so that they fit nice and comfortably in the bead. Each end should take up half the space in the bead, so that when you glue everything together, both sides will be attached securely.

Step three: glue together.

Take one whittled end of the twig, put hot glue/super glue on the end, and slide it into the bead. Seal it with a little bit of glue. Allow it to dry, and then do the same thing do the other end.

And there you go! You have a beautiful twig bracelet that all your friends will be jealous of. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Have a great day!

Christians- A bunch of hypocrites or true Jesus followers?

No pre-marital sex. No slander. No swearing. No drunkenness. No greed. No lust. No coveting. These are all rules that Christians as a whole are expected to follow. We set these rules up trying hard to follow them all, but also need to grant ourselves and each other grace when failing to follow Jesus correctly happens.

Stories are shared about those who have grown up in the church as a true Jesus follower but then beliefs and relationship with God are abandoned when wounds begin to develop upon realization that many in the church are hypocrites, expecting each other to be perfect and judging others based on their sins or past poor decisions.

The truth is, the only person in any church who is perfect is Jesus. The moment this is embraced, and we work together through each other’s imperfections is when the church becomes fully in line with Jesus’s teachings. Instead of being more concerned about other sins, develop a helping hand to guide others along the fault line of being human. This is when a true community of believers is found, when complete brokenness is embraced, and worked to make whole again through the ultimate healer.

Spoken word poet Jeff Bethke says it best, “It’s not a museum for the good people, it’s a hospital for the broken.”

It is so easy to fall into the judgmental Christian trap, but that is not how Jesus was at all. He spent time with prostitutes, the town drunks, the lame, the blind, the weak. He did not pick favorites. He loved and treated everyone the same, even if they weren’t living the typical Christian lifestyle. He spent time with those who needed Him, not those that had already found and experienced God’s incredible love.

It’s time to begin to grant a little grace, and practice exactly what Jesus taught, not what the broken leaders of the church have been teaching. Christian or non-, it’s important to treat others with grace and understanding that we all are just doing our best to survive in this broken world of ours.

The church has imposed so many rules, that it’s difficult to not fall victim to getting so caught up in the list of cannots that walking with Jesus is forgotten about. When we get excited about following Jesus, so excited that His light shines through in all that we do, instead of complaining about the endless amount of rules we are supposed to follow, is when others will get excited about following Jesus too.

Instead of policing each other for our various impurities, work hard to clean yourself up to maintain your relationship with Him as well as polishing Christians already tarnished reputation as judgmental and hypocritical jerks. We can turn around the reputation of Christians. Instead of casting out those who sin or those who aren’t following Jesus, set an example through acts of kindness.

Ask your barista how she is doing, let someone into traffic, let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, be patient while at a restaurant. Let’s try and change the reputation from judgmental Christian to the hands and feet of Jesus. Willing to walk along side and go the extra mile even for those who don’t believe or follow the same Christian guidelines is when we truly start to follow Jesus and His teachings.

The bottom line is this: God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, so we shouldn’t expect each other to be perfect. Grant everyone grace, and try to be nice instead of judgmental. Be the change that is needed in Christianity and in the world.

The Internet Breeds Xenophobia

Technology centralizes communication in modern culture and establishes communication as the basis upon which our lives and actions rest. Increasingly, our world is one of interaction, of other people. Over the past hundred years, the magnitude of our sociability increased both laterally and vertically; as extraneous time and extraneous income grew, families spent more time among one another, and rapid advances in technology and transportation caused our sphere of social influence to swell exponentially. This, perhaps, is the golden age of communication; the state of respect and personalty is more dubious.

My conscious compels me to preface my observations as such: I am certainly not a social reactionary who clamors and fusses over what I perceive to be the tarnished state of people and our culture. I do not wish to regain an antiquated lifestyle characterized by laborious hours of endless toil and an abbreviated lifespan. The problems I address are not unique to our time, but they’re unique to humanity and the human condition. Our society, our state of being, simply allowed them to surface.

Unlike past centuries, when life consisted of work in agriculture – long days in the torrid heat – or smoky, choking factories, life today is, comparatively, creative and cooperative. Speaking in generalities, our work consists of intellectual and service-oriented duties, allowing us not only the time and income to interact with others, but the education and conditioning. We’ve been socialized to be personable, to seek out the company of others, and when interacting directly we take great pains to be polite and friendly.

Why, then, do we foster such a belligerent sense of animosity within our digital interaction? Beyond the personal attacks on message boards and comment sections – which, tragically, are so common they’re essentially overlooked – on websites, our natural posture online is provocative, even on illogically-labelled “friendly” sites like Facebook.

Commenters and writers post inflammatory, biting remarks for the sole purpose of entertainment; it’s not even bullying in the traditional sense. The internet sharks don’t feed on the melancholy of others – it’s not the gratification of a negative emotion or a case of schadenfreude. Instead, to those sufficiently acidic to do so, the results are truly pleasant and entertaining; they launch personal attacks to bask not in the negative emotions of others, but their own positive ones.

Frankly, it’s sick. The internet allows a level of anonymity that depersonalizes, allows the attacker to focus his malevolent energies upon a screen name and an avatar, rather than a human being. Quite obviously, there’s something about a person’s corporal form – the spark of his eyes or the intensity of his gaze – that latches upon the soul, reminding you of the commonality of the human condition.

Online, this dynamic is lost, and the results are often tragic. As capable as humanity is of accomplishing good, of performing astonishing feats of selflessness and empathy, there exists within each human heart a parasite of insecurity, a doubting of one’s validity. Thus, the vileness of humankind forms.

I cannot suggest a remedy to this pattern of dehumanization, and a solution to humanity’s insecurities escapes me. However, I know that dehumanization, personal relief through the belittling of another, constitutes the first, timid steps towards bigotry, hatred, partisanship, and xenophobia. So it begins.


Men’s Tennis Wins Their Sixth Match in a Row

The George Fox University men’s tennis team continued their streak as they won their sixth tennis match in a row with a 6-3 win over Linfield College Wildcats on Mar. 16.

“To be a part of a streak like this has been great,” said Preston Mann. “To date, this is the most successful men’s tennis team George Fox has ever had. The success we have seen this year is based on the culmination of a group of otherwise average guys who came together to build something great.”

The streak has been so beneficial to the team that some of the guys who aren’t normally in the starting lineup have had the opportunity to get some playing time in the second half of the season.

“These are guys who would start on almost any other team in the conference and work just as hard as any of us,” said Mann. “Seeing them get the opportunity to shine in our recent matches has truly been rewarding.”

As a team their main goal at the beginning of the season was to have a 10 match winning streak, and now they’re closer than ever to reaching it. The Bruin men also want to reach nationals, but before that they want to make it to the conference final, and win the conference tournament.

During the beginning of the match against Linfield, the Wildcats seemed to be in control of the game, after capturing wins in the top two double matches, but the Bruins returned to the top by winning five of the six singles matches.

In doubles, George Fox’s Chris Lilley and Peter Brown at No. 1 doubles lost to the Wildcats 8-6. Along with them, James McClain and Matt Deming lost 8-4 in the No. 2 pairing. Chace Stalcup and Mitchell Miyashiro were able to escape with a No. 3 doubles win at 8-6.

During the singles matches Ben Fullhart played his first singles match for the Bruins, and won 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-4). McClain easily won his match 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1. At No. 2 Preston Mann won 6-4, 6-4, and Drew Milton wrapped his win at 6-0, 6-2, at No. 3. Miyashiro dominated his match against the Wildcats 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5. The only loss for George Fox’s singles was at No. 4 where Stalcup lost in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.

“Individually it is an awesome feeling to be apart of this great team,” said Shawn Aldrich. “This is my last season and regardless of how it ends, this season has already been a success because of the effort each player on the team is putting in. Our team motto is ‘One Team, One Dream.’ Every practice or match we are thinking about our motto and it results in playing for each other, and not playing individually.”

The Bruin men are currently 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the Northwest Conference.

State of Campus and Candidate Speeches

The State of the Campus speech followed by campaign speeches from candidates for the 2013-14 school year terms was held March 18 as elections opened. Although turnout was low, anticipation was high.

Associated Student Committee President Wesley Jones was grateful for his time serving the students and included in his speech a reminder, “Jesus has been at the center.” The progress made this year by the ASC includes being able to fund dozens of students’ trips to conferences and other education-promoting events, as well as hosting numerous social events throughout the year.

Jones emphasized the combined effort of all committee directors to execute many ambitious goals including the effort to strengthen “interdepartmental communication” and unite Christian campuses regionally as well as nationally.

After Jones was finished, introductions by Campus Representatives Director Bryan Kasler of this year’s candidates were given and prospective ASC members got their chance to appeal to voters. Several of the positions were being pursued unopposed, but that did not affect the ambition or energy of each candidates’ speeches.

The main focus of each candidate was their gratitude for being given the chance to serve and how, like in the Jones administration, Jesus would remain at the center of all of next year’s goals. Each opposing candidate had unique views on pertinent issues.

The positions for which there is a race are Campus Representatives Director and Communications Director. Candidates were clearly on the same side, even though some had more specific goals for the upcoming year and others focused more on their core values and confidence to do whatever necessary to accomplish tasks as they presented themselves.

Mr. Bruin 2013

George Fox University sophomore Micah Bevis walked away with the title of Mr. Bruin this past week after competing in the sixteenth annual GFU male “beauty” pageant, Mr. Bruin.

Mr. Bruin has been a long-standing, ASC-run tradition on the campus of GFU, aiming to support local charities through ticket sales and individual contestant fundraisers. This year’s festivities greatly differed from years past in this sense though, as Mr. Bruin, for the first time, did not function as a fundraiser but a simple, fun event for students, free of charge.

“I think ASC just wanted to give all students the opportunity to attend,” says Student Life vice president and member of this year’s Mr.Bruin panel of judges, Brad Lau.

This year’s class representatives, elected by their fellow peers, were freshmen Andrew Bergh and Brogan Groth, sophomores Micah Bevis and Josh Garcia, juniors Justin Vanier and Brenden Thompson and seniors Spencer Eager and Jason Kelly.

With the assistance of senior, and host, Onjalai Flake the contestants opened the night with a self-choreographed dance, setting the theme for the night as they appeared in full superhero attire.

“My favorite part was being with the guys and having a great time, that plus our outfits were hilarious,” says Bevis.

After a quick introduction of each class’s representatives, contestants were each given five minutes to showcase their unique talents in front of the GFU community and the panel of judges.

After a few magic tricks, songs and dramatic reenactments contestants then entered the question and answer part of the night, giving some insight into their personal character.

At the end of the night, Superman Micah Bevis stole the show, earning him not only the crown but also the title of Mr. Bruin 2013.

“I actually didn’t think I would be selected at all, but it was awesome when I was,” says Bevis, “Mr. Bruin is such a great experience. If I had the chance I would do it again”.


Is Switchfoot coming to GFU?

“If Switchfoot were to come to Fox, how much would you be willing to pay to see them in concert (hypothetically speaking, of course)?”

This message was posted on the Spiritual Life Facebook page of March 1.

Comments flooded within minutes with students replying that they would be willing to pay anywhere within the range of $10-$40.

According to Spiritual Life Coordinator, Kayin Griffith, SpiL is still working towards hosting Switchfoot.

“[We’re] still not sure, but we’re looking into it and are hopeful about the possibility,” Griffith said. “We’re working with their agent currently to figure out if finances and if logistics can line up. We hope to know by mid-April.”

Switchfoot, the internationally renowned alternative rock band from San Diego, Calif., is planning a spring tour to promote their upcoming album and movie, “Fading West.”

This 80-minute movie, projected to release on July 2013, follows the band in the course of several months as they tour, surf, and write throughout locations such as Bali, Australia, and more.

In an interview with “Land of Broken Hearts,” bassist Tim Foreman said, “…the concept of the movie is basically what we live. We are always writing, always touring and always surfing, so we will be just diving into the journey as it unfolds. We’ve been talking about this for years now and it came to the point where we were finally like, are we going to do this thing or not? If so, let’s make it happen.”

Foreman described the movie as a mix between U2’s “Rattle and Hum,” and the movies “Dumb and Dumber” and “Endless Summer.”

Swithfoot’s “Fading West” fall tour is scheduled to run from September to December. The tour will include a screening of the movie and a concert featuring songs from the new album.

Cross your fingers, GFU. Hopefully, you’ll be able to jam to Switchfoot next fall!


History Knows No Color

Now that Black History Month has come to an end, my friends and I got into an interesting debate about other minorities and their history.  We learn about every culture’s history at some point throughout our education, although a majority of the history we learn is Caucasian history.

Do not get me wrong, I am grateful that we have a Black History Month to allow everyone a chance to learn about Black history, but there is more to history than just black and white.

Many other cultures have contributed to the country throughout history, but yet we do not hear much about them.

At times during February, I hear students on campus ask why do we even celebrate Black History Month, or why does it have to be a month long.  I feel as if the black community could ask the same question in the fact as to why is white history is the dominant history taught in schools.

The way we are taught, history could be deciphered as majority white history, with a small contribution from the Black community.

What directed the debate between my friends and me was the fact that despite what is given in our textbooks, we do not really know what contributions other cultures have made.  Mostly, we learn about contributions made by other cultures when it somehow relates to white history in some way.

Every culture should be equally represented and their history shared in the education system.  From what I have perceived throughout my own educational experience, white history has been interpreted as the most affluent part of history because it is what is mostly taught.

Even if it is a week, every culture should have a period dedicated to their history.  Even if there is no direct contribution to American history, American society has become so diverse that every culture should be represented and shown that they matter.