Confessions of a Bachelor Rookie

Being a pop culture nut, I have enjoyed my fair share of reality TV. In order to stay on top of everything that is hip and current in today’s culture, it is necessary to survey the reality TV scene, to a certain extent. That being said, one legendary reality TV show that I have never truly clicked into has been the Bachelor. That changed last night when my girlfriends convinced me to watch the finale of the 20th season. Of course, Bachelor news was trending like crazy all throughout the last week. Today, with the finale over, the Bachelor is EVERYWHERE. So, it seemed like a good time to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised with my Bachelor experience.

At first, it was really hard to get into the show. It was SO cheesy, my stomach ached. Working at E!, I know who Ben Higgins is. I know some details about the season through reading various articles. But, I didn’t actually watch Ben interact with girls on a consistent basis on the show. My friends had to give me a recap of the entire season, so I could get into the finale. I couldn’t help but get sucked into the drama. Ben said I love you to two different girls?! Isn’t that against the rules?! Did Mom just throw shade at one of the finalists?! Why does she insist on wearing shorty shorts to every outing?! After watching the finale, I can understand why there is a nationwide obsession with this show. After watching one episode, I wanted to start a drinking game where you take a swig of wine every time one of the contestants stares blankly off into the distance.

I have my concerns about the show. Obviously, I’ve seen the horrible track record of long term relationships from the series. I like to believe that people go into the Bachelor experience with an open heart that’s ready for love, but the premise is so extreme, it’s hard to imagine there being a high success rate. In particular, in this finale, Ben says I love you to two separate women! And one of them inevitably will have to get dumped! For the winner, that’s not the best basis to start a relationship off of. Additionally, the Bachelor season runs for 6 weeks. I don’t believe that 6 weeks is anywhere near enough time to get to know someone on a significant level, period. But within Bachelor world, you aren’t even spending 6 consistent weeks with your main man. You’re getting bits and pieces whenever you can manage to steal them away from other women. This isn’t a healthy way to start a relationship either! In the finale, one of the finalists JoJo pulls Ben aside and implies that she’s upset that she has to “compete” for his love with the other contestant. In my head, yes I felt bad for her, but I also felt bad that she had instilled trust in this silly system.

But, all in all, I believe the Bachelor is good reality TV fun. Ben is absolutely adorable, as are all of the other Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants I have ever seen. They get very attractive contestants to appear on the show, which works with the fact that as Americans we love to watch pretty people on TV, period. It’s an excellent formula from start to finish. I can understand why the energizer bunny keeps going and the public interest hasn’t waned. Additionally, watching the show provides a fabulous reason to hang out with your friends and forget about your problems! Last night, my friends and I made a delicious spread of appetizers, drank a fabulous rose, and had one of the best mondays we’ve had in ages. I know we’re not alone in the way we enjoyed the action. Viewing parties took place all over the country! The way that the team behind the show has created “Bachelor Nation” is something that others shows should aspire to do.

Though I don’t agree with the set up when it comes to establishing long term love, I think the Bachelor is certainly an interesting social experiment. Watching the finale last night made me intrigued enough to watch at least the first episode of the new season of the Bachelorette. I can’t say I’ve been fully converted to Bachelor fan status, but I have much more of an open mind towards the show. In the world of reality TV dating shows, I have seen a full spectrum of programs, from trashy to classy. I sat through Bret Michaels Rock of Love on VH1, which was the bottom of the barrel in terms of over the top drama. If I can find enjoyment in that, I am happy to give the Bachelor more of my time in the future.

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Shout-Out to the Silly

Yesterday, I bought a Taylor Swift coloring book at the airport. Yes, Taylor Swift coloring books exist. And they are fantastic. After buying my copy, I did some research and found out that these celebrity coloring books have taken the nation by storm. In general, coloring books for adults have become a new craze. These books are lauded for their de-stressing abilities, for people of all ages. After taking one on myself, I can understand why they have had such a positive impact. Working my way through my first piece was a wonderful escape.

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My first masterpiece.

In a similar fashion, since the Internet boom, memes have provided comic relief from life’s troubles. The meme craze that went viral over the last week centered on confusing dogs with food items (who would have thought?!).

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Mind boggling.

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I can’t decide!

My head is spinning.

My head is spinning.

Whenever I stumble upon one of these gems, I can’t help but giggle. These memes provide such a great respite from the pressures of adulthood. I have always embraced the silly things in life. From a young age, I have experienced tough issues that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Because of this, I have always tried to see the good in otherwise dark situations. When the Internet came along, I gained a whole new method of finding laughter and positivity when things get rough.

I have always been a fan of memes, for their ability to capture the attention of people of all ages. Some memes make us think about serious issues. In particular, in this election year, there has been an influx of political memes about the candidates that hit deeper than one might expect. But, my favorite kind of memes are pure fun.

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One of my all time favorites.

So, I’d like to give a personal thank you to memes and all other humorous images on the Internet. I have never come up with one of these viral masterpieces myself, but I would like to shout out the creative minds who make memes possible. Most likely, the creators of memes don’t think that they’re going to have a significant emotional impact on those who click on their images. It’s probable that they just want to get a quick laugh and garner as many clicks as possible, which is totally valid. But, the silly thoughts and expressions within memes often times go beyond a superficial laugh for me.

I’m going through a big growth period right now, filled with change. I have moments when I doubt myself and feel overwhelmed thinking about where I am going next. When I get stressed, I greatly enjoy turning to the Internet for a distraction. Silly memes like “Puppy Bagel” provide the perfect medicine. I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Memes can be more than cheap fun. They are a welcome escape from the trials and tribulations of real life. And for that reason, I hope that they stick around for years to come.

In Defense of Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian has attempted to “break the internet” on several occasions, by posting sexy photos. But, when she attempted to do so this last week, she created the biggest uproar yet. Stories covering her latest nude photo and the public response that followed have dominated the online landscape this week.

It all started when she posted this photo two days ago, with the caption “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL.”

Breaking the internet, again.

Breaking the internet, again.

Working at E!, I am immersed in Kardashian news all the time. When I saw this picture come up, I didn’t think much of it. Tracking Kim’s career over the years, it’s very clear that she loves her body and enjoys using it to her advantage. Her body has driven her career in many different ways, from photo shoots, to fashion partnerships, to the sex tape that started it all. After the sex tape madness, I think Kim tried to hide her body from the public eye for a while and focus on other pursuits. But when some of those projects failed (anyone remember her music video?), I think she realized that her body is an incredible asset that she would be stupid to ignore.

The last time Kim “broke the internet,” it was with this photo:

Break the internet, part 1.

Break the internet, part 1.

When this magazine spread came out, the response was mostly positive. Yes, there were those people who thought it was overdone and tacky. The Kardashians are not everyone’s cup of tea. But, there weren’t any celebrities speaking out and attacking her for the photos. Some people even applauded her for embracing her body and insane level of fame in such a tongue in cheek way. Unfortunately, her latest photo did not receive the same response.

Since Kim posted her latest photo, the response has been insane. Anyone and everyone has had something to say about it. News outlets have been booming with different opinions. More than before, celebrities have spoken out about the photo. Unlike her past scandalous photos, there have been some scathing comments on social media. In particular, Bette Midler’s comment about Kim Kardashian set off a fire storm:

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Bette is not a fan of Kim K.

Now, I love Queen B. I applaud her honesty and blunt attitude towards Hollywood. I follow her on Twitter and I respect her tremendously, for her career and overall wisdom about life. I think she said this in the realm of her usual humor, wanting to poke fun at extreme things in Hollywood. She doesn’t like to keep her mouth shut on big issues in the public eye. One other celebrity jumped in on Team Bette: Chloe Grace Moretz. She sounded off with this tweet:

Chloe Grace Moretz sees a bigger issue.

The tweet cuts off, but I’m guessing it ends with…their bodies.

I don’t think Bette Midler could have expected the backlash that would come from her comment. In response to Bette and Chloe’s tweets, many people felt that Kim had been treated unfairly. Many people saw no reason for the negativity. Celebrities quickly jumped to Kim’s defense:

Rowan Blanchard sounds off.

Rowan Blanchard sounds off.

Abigail Breslin is Team Kim.

Abigail Breslin is Team Kim.

Ariel Winter calls out the double standard.

Ariel Winter calls out the double standard.

Bella Thorne tells it like it is.

Bella Thorne tells it like it is.

Kim didn’t take Bette and Chloe’s comments sitting down. She sent some jabs back at Bette Midler and Chloe Grace Moretz on Twitter, calling them out for their negativity. Kim is very aware of her powerful status within the celebrity world and she isn’t afraid to defend herself:

Throwing shade at Queen B.

Throwing shade at Queen B.

Chloe Grace Moretz is not on Kim's radar.

Chloe Grace Moretz is not on Kim’s radar.

In watching all of this unfold, the unnecessary fighting between women was very disappointing. A proud feminist, I truly believe that as women, we are already fighting an uphill battle in our society. The glass ceiling is still firmly in tact and we need to fight to get what we deserve in and out of the workplace. Because of this, petty fighting sets us back even further. Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I adore this day because it serves to remind women that we are valuable, we are strong, and we are worthy of respect in our society. It’s a wonderful thing. And yet, this Twitter feud was unfolding at the same exact time. When I watch unnecessary bickering between women, I think of this:

Yes.

Yes.

Life is short. We only have so much time to make an impact. We should spend that time loving and supporting each other, as opposed to tearing each other down. Though I am not a big Kim Kardashian fan, I am a fan of the extended response that she posted on her website, about the entire situation:

”I don’t do drugs, I hardly drink, I’ve never committed a crime – and yet I’m a bad role model for being proud of my body? It always seems to come back around to my sex tape. Yes, a sex tape that was made 13 years ago. 13 YEARS AGO. Literally that long ago.

And people still want to talk about it?!?! I lived through the embarrassment and fear, and decided to say who cares, do better, move on. I shouldn’t have to constantly be on the defensive, listing off my accomplishments just to prove that I am more than something that happened 13 years ago. Let’s move on, already.

I have. I am a mother. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, an entrepreneur and I am allowed to be sexy. It’s 2016. The body-shaming and sl*t-shaming – it’s like, enough is enough. I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me.”

The Kardashians are completely over the top. Their level of fame is so excessive and off the charts, it’s mind boggling. I know many people can’t respect them for the way that they conduct business. They are “famous for being famous.” All of that aside, no one deserves to be attacked for their body. As mentioned above, women are already at a disadvantage in our society. In particular, Ariel Winter’s response to Kim, which pointed out that Justin Bieber didn’t receive a backlash from his nude photo, really stood out to me. This so true! There is a double standard and as women, we need to life each other up, to reverse the stigma.

Additionally, I think this particular story shows the dangerous side of social media. It can create a mountain out of a mole hill, with everyone showcasing their opinions on such a public platform. Would I have posted a picture like Kim? No. Do I think it’s wrong that she did? No. To each their own! I will always support a woman who loves her body. There is enough hate in the world. In this case, I truly believe that you don’t have to agree with what Kim Kardashian did. But you don’t need to attack her either. As she mentioned in her response “You be you and let me be me.”

American Body Image

Unfortunately, there have been two trending stories over the last two weeks that have shined a negative light on American body image. Last week, full figured model Ashley Graham was slammed by former Sports Illustrated model Cheryl Tiegs for “glamorizing” unhealthy habits with her recent Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover. Graham’s cover marked the first time that a plus size model had been featured on the cover of the magazine. Tiegs said that she didn’t think it was “healthy in the long run” to put a full figured woman on the cover. Graham received an incredibly positive response from the public for celebrating her curves, but Tiegs went against the grain. After a public backlash, Tiegs tried to cover up her initial negative comments, but the damage had been done. Today, Laura Prepon, star of the mega successful series “Orange is the New Black,” opened up about the fact that she has suffered from poor body image throughout her life. Specifically, she copped to using hormone injections, because she was “so desperate to make herself look a certain way.” Both of these stories made me very sad and reminded me of how impactful body image is within our society.

Ashley Graham busted beauty standards wide open with her SI cover.

Ashley Graham busted beauty standards wide open with her SI cover.

On the positive side, both Graham and Prepon gathered healthy insights from their negative experiences. Graham responded to Tiegs’ criticism by saying that “There are too many people thinking they can look at a girl my size and say that we are unhealthy…you can’t, only my doctor can!” I found this message incredibly inspiring. At the end of the day, your health should be determined by your doctor, but more than that, it should be determined by you! You are in charge of your body. Reflecting back on her past struggles with self esteem, Prepon applauded her OITNB castmates for their positive body image. Being around such confident women inspired Prepon to embrace her body, feel good in her own skin, and overcome her insecurities. We should all hope to have such an uplifting work environment! It’s incredibly important to surround yourself with people that lift you up.

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Laura Prepon found strength in her confident OINTB castmates.

Reflecting on these two stories, I can’t help but think of how much body image has affected me over the course of my life. I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in a household where I was made to feel beautiful, no matter what size I was. From a young age, I was taught that beauty comes from within. It’s more important to be a good person on the inside than superficially “pretty” on the outside. More than that, I have always been taught to embrace my flaws; it’s okay to be different. Even when I was a chubby marshmallow during puberty, my mother and grandmother always made me feel like I was worthy of love. Yes, I had moments of thinking I was “fat.” We’re all human. But, my support system always gave me the encouragement to snap back into place and regain a healthy frame of mind. With a surplus of non-judgmental love, I grew into the confident adult I am today. Sadly, over the years, I’ve realized that not everyone is as lucky.

Since middle school, I have seen many friends cope with eating disorders. It hurts me tremendously to see people I love struggle to love themselves. After diagnosing the problem, I can only imagine how hard it is to rewire your brain and detach from negative habits. American culture circles around superficial standards of beauty that dictate what we should weigh, what clothes we should wear, what haircut we should have, etc. It’s overwhelming for me, and I have a solid foundation of self esteem. For those with eating disorders, the toxic noise must be unbearable. We can all use positive encouragement to properly respect and celebrate our bodies. On that note, here is a list of uplifting body image quotes to help you realize your true self worth and feel your best:

1. “You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” -Amy Bloom

2. “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” -Steve Maraboli

3. “This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”- Oprah Winfrey

4. “Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it’s about knowing who you are. It’s about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can’t have it.”-Geneen Roth

5. “The more I like me, the less I want to pretend to be other people.”-Jamie Lee Curtis

6. “Pretty much everyone I know, no matter what size, is trying some system. Even when someone gets to looking like she should be so proud of herself, instead she’s like, ‘I could be another three pounds less; I could be a little taller and have bigger lips.’ Where does it end? You just have to say, ‘It’s pretty damn good. I am right here at the moment and I’m OK with it. I’ve got other things to think about.”-Melissa McCarthy

7. “I’ve learned that if you’re too skinny, they’ll say something about it. If you’re not skinny enough, they’ll say something about it. I just try to feel good in my own skin as much as I can.”-Jennifer Love Hewitt

8. “You’re a human being, you live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damn red velvet cupcake.”-Emma Stone

*Though a lot of these quotes are from women, members of both sexes struggle with body image. Men tend to keep their issues more under wraps. Society too often dictates that men who speak out on sensitive issues are “weak.” This is not the case! We all deserve love and acceptance.

Yes!

Yes.

 

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Much to my delight, a top trending story in Google News and on Facebook today is the birthday of one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss! Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American poet and author who wrote a series of beloved children’s books that have had an everlasting impact for generations. If you have a little munchkin in your life, or if you just want to embrace your inner child, check out my list of favorite Dr. Seuss books:

1. Oh The Places You’ll Go!

A favorite amongst high school and college graduates, this book, though juvenile in nature, touches on a universal theme of how important it is to believe in yourself. I have a copy at home. When I am lacking motivation or getting down on myself, I crack it open and remind myself of my true potential.

2. The Cat In The Hat

Arguably Dr. Seuss’ most well known book, The Cat In The Hat is pure silly fun. Mike Myers was kind of terrifying in the movie version, proving that the characters within this story are best driven by one’s own imagination.

3. The Lorax

Dr. Seuss knew how to deliver a serious message in a lighthearted package. This book demonstrates that fact, zoning in on the importance of respecting and preserving the environment. The Lorax proves that if we don’t take care of the environment, there could be disastrous consequences.

4. Oh The Thinks You Can Think!

Dr. Seuss was a master of creativity and he liked to pass that skill onto his readers. This book encourages people to think outside the box and embrace the unknown. With the message in this book, Dr. Seuss aimed to make an impact with children and adults alike.

5. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

This story is timeless. The Grinch is the villain that you can’t help but love. Seuss took what could have been a very conventional story about finding love during the holidays and made it so special. Unlike Mike Myers, Jim Carey, in pure over the top form, totally nailed the role of the Grinch in the 2000 movie adaptation.

6. Green Eggs And Ham

I will always remember this story fondly because of special meals during elementary school, when our teachers would try to encourage us to read by (literally) bringing in green eggs and ham! For that and its impeccable rhymes, this story has left an imprint on my heart.

7. Horton Hears A Who

The central message of this story, “a person’s a person no matter how small,” really struck a chord with me when I was younger. Horton’s message has stuck with me throughout my entire life. I feel bad when I step on bugs and I apologize when I walk into inanimate objects. I am considerate almost to a fault, and I can thank Dr. Seuss for that!

8. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Just try saying that ten times fast! Simple in scope, this book is a great place to start with Dr. Seuss’ collection.

9. Yertle The Turtle And Other Stories

It’s hard to resist a character named Yertle the Turtle! Apart from his childish pursuits, Dr. Seuss also enjoyed writing political cartoons. He combined those two passions in the story of Yertle the Turtle, which has an underlying message that many believe is connected to the ascent of Hitler and his quest for domination. The line that implies this story is about much more than turtles? “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down at the bottom we, too, should have rights.” In today’s political landscape, this book remains more relevant than ever!

10. And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book explores the imagination of a boy named Marco, who sees remarkable things as he walks home from school one day. Though more simple in theme than some of Seuss’ other works, it set a strong framework for the legendary career that was to come.

The man who inspired countless individuals, young and old.

While you work through the full list of Dr. Seuss books, check out this hit list of Dr. Seuss quotes to get a quick dose of inspiration!

1. Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

2. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

3. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. 

4. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So. . . get on your way.

5. A person’s a person, no matter how small.

6. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

7. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

8. Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

9. I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.

10. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Thank you for sharing your light and wisdom with us Theodor. Rest in peace.

Bringing the magic to life.

Bringing the magic to life.

 

Confessions of a Crime Show Addict

“9 weeks ago, no one in this room had heard of Den Strang. Now, I am figuratively, and literally, in Hollywood!” Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a special panel led by Dean Strang, the lead defense attorney for the infamous Steven Avery case depicted in the viral Netflix series, Making a Murderer. Dean had many wonderful sound bites during this panel, but this quote in particular sums up why the interest in true crime stories has recently exploded in our country. I don’t need to explain why MaM is trendy. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen how the case has been prominently displayed across a variety of media channels, online and offline, from billboards to social media campaigns. During its debut month of December, stories about Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey dominated Google Trends. This case has grabbed America by the heartstrings and people are fired up! More than that, in relation to Dean’s quote, shows like MaM have turned real life attorneys and their clients into larger than life celebrities. This transformation, and elevation of real life people into the Hollywood spotlight, is a big reason why true crime stories have taken off in the last decade.

It goes without saying: crime has always been around. It has been a source of public interest for generations, dating way back to Jack the Ripper. There has always been interest in murderous people and why they do the things they do. Recently, the FX show “American Horror Story Hotel” capitalized on this interest by making all of its characters develop a taste for killing. In particular, the central character, the Countess, is a vampiric murderess who has made a name for herself by profiting off of the collection of unfortunate souls she’s killed over the centuries. Expertly played by Lady Gaga, the Countess was often applauded for her over the top nature, routinely killing when and who she wanted without many consequences. Watching her character unravel on the show, she was almost lauded for her criminal tendencies, because they made her more alluring and powerful. Within our society, I disagree with glamorizing criminals who have committed crimes with no remorse. I’ve heard it said before and I agree with the statement that the focus should be on the victims, not on the corrupt killers who ended their lives. That being said, I think it is important to tell the story behind high profile crimes. There is value in discussing these cases and exposing the flaws in our legal system and human behavior. But, I don’t necessarily believe that the criminals themselves should be catapulted to celebrity status.

Lady Gaga slaying as the Countess on American Horror Story.

Lady Gaga slaying as the Countess on American Horror Story.

In America, we are obsessed with celebrities. Working at E, I have newfound understanding of just how consumed we are by celebrity culture. If you can turn someone into a celebrity, there is incredible potential for profit, publicity, and business, in general. For this reason, it’s not surprising that celebrity driven magazines like People constantly report on true crime cases. In an effort to monetize these cases, magazines like People write stories that give readers a reason to care, and therefore a reason to get invested in their business. Stories like these propel the news industry and I’m within the target audience. Being a lifelong true crime story fan, these stories are like candy to me; I can’t get enough.

Standard crime cover by People Magazine.

Standard crime cover by People Magazine.

There is a proud legion of true crime fans in America; I’m not alone. When MaM came out, I finally felt like I could come out from under the curtain, and shout “See guys! I’m not that weird! You’re into it too, right?” So, what made this case different? Coming from an online marketing background, I truly believe that the magic of Steven Avery’s case, and its grip on America, is due to the content platform on which it was shared. Similar to the way that the OJ Simpson trial revolutionized how we view crime scenes in real time in the 90s (giving birth to reality TV, essentially), MaM revolutionized the platform by providing an immersive experience for the country to get hooked to, all in one sitting. As a country, we are lazy. With the rise of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, binge watching an entire TV show in one sitting is practically a badge of honor. The makers of MaM capitalized on this, to make the biggest impact possible. It’s been incredibly interesting to watch it all unfold. I’m proud to say that I was ahead of the curve!

We are a nation of ID addicts.

We are a nation of ID addicts.

Apart from MaM, the Investigation Discovery channel is my go to source for all things crime. Cops debuted in 1989, breaking the true crime genre right open. The OJ Simpson trial completely redefined the way news outlets cover crime stories. Shortly thereafter, ID premiered in 1989, providing a 24 hour network for the crime stories that America now craved. A built in fan base for MaM has been around for a long time. ID fans are passionately committed to its content. As ID so sweetly puts it within their marketing campaigns, we are “ID Addicts.” Checking out a nationwide graph of viewers recently, I can confirm that ID fans are present in every segment of the country, a feat that not all networks can attest to. If you became addicted to MaM, I highly suggest that you check out the programming on ID. Covering a wide variety of topics and cases, ID shows range from straight forward news reporting (Dateline) to highly dramatized borderline soap opera storytelling (Deadly Women). Whether campy or reserved, all of ID’s shows ground themselves in something that really happened; there are no fictional tales. With a journalism background and a big interest in the headlines of today and yesterday, ID is perfect for me. On a more lighthearted note, sometimes the dramatic reenactments on ID are so over the top, they illicit laughter. Though they’re a crime channel, they don’t take themselves too seriously. And I like that.

There is an ID show for every mood. When you want tongue in cheek, you should check out Deadly Women, which showcases famous murderesses throughout history. With horrible acting and overly dramatic narration, it sucks you in real quick. In a similar format, if you like your crime show in a sassy package, check out “Snapped” on Oxygen, which also covers famous female murderesses. If you want to get a less feminine view on things, check out Homicide Hunter on ID. Lieutenant Joe Kenda, with far less dramatic reenactments, guides you through the most memorable cases that he covered with the Colorado Springs PD. With a manly disposition and husky voice, Kenda has a way of making you believe every word he says, making his show mesmerizing. If you want straight forward reporting in a buttoned up fashion, check out Dateline. Dateline is widely known for being THE source for true crime reporting, and with good reason. Though they can sometimes sensationalize their stories, the reporting at the center of each episode is done with great emotional consideration to the subjects involved, earning them a lot of respect in my book.

A wonderfully campy promo for Deadly Women on ID.

A wonderfully campy promo for Deadly Women on ID.

I love all of the shows on ID. Depending on my mood, I can always find something that will tweak my interest. Much like fans of MaM have professed their views online, while watching ID, I often shout my opinions at the TV, like when I’m angry that a family didn’t receive the verdict they deserved. In contrast, when I’ve invested an hour of my life in a program and the victim receives proper justice, I sometimes cry as I watch the family members embrace in the courtroom. These shows get you emotionally invested and make you look at the world in a different way. They make you check your privilege, count your blessings, and realize that no matter how bad your day was, there is someone out there who just lost a daughter, a husband, a father. These shows provide important life perspective.

Apart from ID, if you are looking for Netflix material that is similar to MaM, I highly recommend Dear Zachary. This Netflix documentary will punch you in the feels and make you want to scream. It will bring you to your knees and make you want to stop believing in the criminal justice system, on a greater level than you experienced with MaM. I guarantee it. I highly encourage you to take an afternoon to learn about the unbelievable and heartbreaking story of the Bagby family. You won’t regret it. Additionally, though I’m far from the only one obsessed with this, my current crime tv favorite is American Crime Story: People v. OJ Simpson on FX. There are countless articles out there that detail the significance of this show, and the incredible talent of the cast. At its helm, Ryan Murphy has created a remarkable retelling of the crime story that changed the way news works, period. I was only 4 at the time the OJ trial happened, but I’ve researched it plenty since. If you’re like me, and you didn’t truly experience the madness in real time, I highly suggest that you let Ryan Murphy take you through the motions. Even if you did experience OJ fever in all of its glory in the 90s, Murphy’s visually stunning retelling of the story is worth your attention. You really feel like you are there, in real time, experiencing everything that the news outlets covered. Though some parts of the show have been sensationalized (all of the bits with the Kardashian kids seem overdone), the show is still very much grounded in the truth. Once you’re hooked, check out E!Online’s regular reporting on the show to properly gauge fact v. fiction!

In the panel last night, Dean Strang addressed the reality perspective directly, urging the audience to never forget the connection between reality TV crime and real life crime. It is important to remember that though you can enjoy the action from the comfort of your couch, there is a real victim that lost his or her life, and there is a real family out there who is still suffering. It’s not fake. When I’m watching these shows, I always try to keep that in mind, so I don’t get too carried away with the drama. Recently, I came home and checked the guide on ID, to see what was on. I remember thinking “Oh that Dateline, I’ve seen that one. But, it’s a really good one, so I guess I’ll watch it again!” Afterwards, I felt kind of awful, in thinking that someone’s murder trial could be “good” or “juicy.” I suppose it’s the car crash mentality, where something is so bad, but so intriguing; you can’t help but get transfixed on the scene. This is where I sometimes feel guilt in my addiction to these shows. But, at the end of the day, it’s not my fault. These shows are hardwired to capture the attention of people like me. The people behind ID and other true crime shows know what emotional buttons to push to hook an audience. Though I enjoy true crime stories, I don’t want to be looked down upon for my interest. I am drawn to these shows for more personal reasons, beyond the superficial shock value.

Talking to my friends who are also into true crime stories, everyone has a different reason why they are drawn to the drama. Many people want to escape away from the drama of their own lives. Watching someone else go through something worse, one’s situation doesn’t seem as bad. This same ideology can be applied to tabloid magazines, which display over the top celebrity drama. Some people believe that enjoying true crime stories and tabloids is kind of selfish; you’re experiencing a positive boost at someone else’s expense. But, I beg to differ. I think it’s acceptable to find joy in escapism. In a world where people often talk shit about other people to make themselves feel better, I would rather take the passive approach, by reading tabloids and watching these shows. It’s as simple as that. There are other people who watch true crime shows because they are fascinated by the psychology behind it all. We want to know why criminals make the decisions that land them behind bars. Watching these shows, you can’t help but be astounded by the psychological backgrounds of criminals, and why they decided to make the choices they did. Did a rough childhood lead them down the wrong path? Or was it a bad boyfriend/girlfriend? Did they join a cult? All of the background circumstances and events that can lead to crime are incredibly fascinating.

As you can probably tell, I am a member of both of these camps. I am drawn to true crime stories because I want to escape from the drama of my own life. But, I also like to think that this escapism, at least on my part, comes from a more respectable place. Throughout the course of my life, my family and I have been put through the wringer. We have experienced things that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else. Not appropriate to go into detail here, but my experiences with my family define the phrase “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I have experienced up close and personal how much people can change and go down the wrong path. I know what it means to be truly “wronged.” With that, I find myself drawn to the people on these true crime shows. A common joke that I get from people is that they should be worried about their safety with me, since I watch these shows. As my boyfriend so lovingly puts it, my “murder porn” obsession gives him ample reason not to piss me off. But, (surprise!) I’m not watching these shows to pick up tips. I watch these shows because I feel a strong connection to the characters, due to my own experiences in life. I don’t just sympathize with the people on these shows; I often empathize with them too. Betrayal, a common precursor to crime, is a common theme on many of these shows. Unfortunately, it’s been a common theme in my life too. Because of that, I feel almost an obligation to hear these people’s stories and show the characters my support, even if they’ll never know that I care.

Often times, when I’m watching ID, I wish I could do more to help the families who have lost a loved one. I wish I could have a greater impact, beyond just watching the show. In the panel last night, Dean Strang addressed this when asked “Do you think that this show will change the way the criminal justice system works?” Earlier in the night, Dean had praised the MaM filmmakers and proclaimed that “a thoughtful true crime series is absolutely worth doing.” In regards to the the MaM case, people have taken their passion so far as to create a petition to get Steven Avery released, which the President of the United States had to address personally. Dean referenced all of this and urged the room, largely lawyers, to apply the things that they learned from the Avery case in their own work and help other people in need.

For the general public, we often feel that we can only do so much. But Dean insisted that getting viewers to question and critique the legal system after watching MaM was a tremendous accomplishment by the filmmakers. Though the public outcry surrounding Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey will most likely not get them out of prison, it does start a significant conversation about the legal system and the manner in which cases like these are handled. As stated previously, Dean encouraged all of the lawyers in that room last night to take what they had learned from the Avery case and apply it in their work with their own clients. Though we as a general public can only do so much, MaM and other crime shows are benefiting the world by exposing important facts about the criminal justice system and inspiring lawyers to do their jobs that much better. There is increased awareness and I truly believe that the right people will run with that knowledge and do something positive with it. Since I started watching more of these crime shows, I have become more in tune with injustice in our society. Now, I speak up more often when I see injustice at play. On a practical note, thanks to these shows, I also know warning signs for when things could go awry in my relationships. For these reasons, I believe that my enhanced perspective from crime shows has been very beneficial.

One of the last statements that Dean made last night implied an important message that can be beneficial for everyone, not just lawyers. Speaking to the crowd, Dean proclaimed that if you ever wake up in the morning a cynic, with no faith in the work you’re doing, you need to stop. You’re done. Someone else deserves the chance to be in your shoes with the opportunity at your feet. Though Dean was directly addressing a group of lawyers with that statement, I believe that this message can apply to everyone in all walks of life. If you ever wake up in the morning and you have no faith in what you’re doing, there really isn’t a reason to work. You MUST believe in the work that you’re doing to do your job well, no matter what your profession is.

Dean Strang is many things. He is incredibly intelligent, witty, sarcastic, and in the eyes of many women after MaM, a “total dreamboat.” When asked about that final characteristic during the panel, Dean wittily replied “If I am your definition of a sex symbol, you need to get out more.” My favorite Dean Strang attribute is his humble attitude. Even with his immense success, Strang carries himself with a quiet confidence, when it would be so easy to be arrogant. I find that incredibly appealing. I’m not going to try to proclaim that you should watch crime shows to watch lawyers be humble, because I know, in large part, they are not known for that quality. But, I would say that you should watch these crime shows to pay respect to the people that defend the underdogs and comfort families who have been through unspeakable tragedy. There are people out there who wake up every day with faith in their client and an honorable belief that though a horrible crime has occurred, justice can be served. Lieutenant Joe Kenda from the ID channel prides himself on giving “a voice to the victim.” Since victims of crime are too often undeserving of their deaths, that is a voice that I am willing to invest my time in.

Strang Love.

Strang Love.

 

 

An Ode to the Starman

Much to my delight, the number one story in Google Trends as I left the office today was related to one of my pop culture heroes: David Bowie. The specific story that captured the attention of America today was about a tribute performance that Lorde did for Bowie at the 2016 Brit Awards. Recently, I was disappointed by Lady Gaga’s Bowie tribute performance at the Grammys. I love Lady Gaga and I love David Bowie. I was convinced that her performance would be heaven on earth, but for me, it was drastically overdone and miscalculated. I applaud her creative energy, but it was so off base.

First off, she tried to cram so many of his songs into one 7 minute piece, making the performance incredibly manic and disjointed. I couldn’t get into any singular part of the performance because as soon as I hooked onto a song, it was transitioning into something else. In my opinion, David Bowie isn’t really a “Greatest Hits” kind of guy. Yes, he was a musical icon, who has many well known songs. But most of those songs have a crescendo like quality. You have to listen to the full song to get the desired effect. For this reason, the brief nature in which Gaga covered his songs was completely unappealing, and borderline disrespectful to his greatness. Additionally, though I loved the kimono nod to Ziggy Stardust at the start, the white jumpsuit (and the dancing that went along with it) that she wore for the majority of the performance was more reminiscent of Elvis or even Elton John, but not David Bowie, which is incredibly disappointing, because he had SO many iconic looks!

Bowie had a way of commanding the stage with a small collection of powerful movements. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Gaga’s frenetic performance. Even Nile Rodgers in a cameo appearance couldn’t save it for me. I believe that Gaga loves Bowie. Having tracked her career from the very beginning, I can see the clear influence that he had on her work. It’s hard to think of any of my favorite artists who weren’t touched by his powerful influence. Gaga did everything she could to prove this devotion, right down to getting a tattoo of Bowie’s face on her rib cage 24 hours before the show. Alas, to me, it all seemed very gimmicky. I wanted something that honored Bowie’s incredible career in a more understated respectful way. Rather than blaze through 10 songs in 7 minutes, I wanted someone to really nail 1 or 2 songs in their full glory, so all of the powerful meaning would be kept in tact. I got this dream tribute in the BRITS performance, in which Lorde, dressed in an outfit perfectly reminiscent of Bowie’s Thin White Duke character, put her personal touch on “Life on Mars” while backed by members of Bowie’s longtime touring band. This BRITS performance was understated brilliance, and it put Bowie front and center with a stunning photo montage throughout. I highly suggest that you watch it here. Being a huge Bowie fan, I couldn’t help but cry at my desk at work while watching it, unable to accept the fact that this man who made such a BIG impact on my life is gone.

I had been waiting for an excuse to write a long form essay about my love of David Bowie for quite some time. Now, with the perfect SEO backing, I can put my long overdue love note on this blog!

To understand my love for David Bowie, we have to go back to the beginning. Growing up, I was incredibly awkward. Pudgy from a young age with a weird name to boot, I have always stuck out from the crowd. When I was a young child, this didn’t bother me much. I was too focused on Nickelodeon and N*sync to care about what other people thought of me. But, when I reached my middle school years, I became quite insecure. I had an older sister in high school who was blossoming before my eyes, with her physical looks and scholarly pursuits. A tri varsity athlete, homecoming court winner, and ASB president, Jess was everything I wanted to be, and more. And yet, there I was with my overweight body and Bucky the Beaver teeth. I didn’t know how to embrace my imperfections.

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Bucky the Beaver, circa 2001.

Lucky for me, around this time, a savior came to me in the form of a CD I spotted one day at Wherehouse Music (RIP). I was drawn to this CD because of the intriguing scene on its cover. There was a man standing confidently on his doorstep. Everything around him is dark, but he and his clothing light up the picture. For me, this CD stood out from the stacks of other albums because it was so simple, yet so intriguing. Little did I know that the music inside the CD was anything but simple. This CD was “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” by David Bowie. My interest had been peaked enough that I decided to take home the album. It was on sale. Reflecting back on this experience, I miss browsing CDs in physical stores. In the digital age, it’s harder to have a personal experience sifting through albums like I had that day. And boy, the discovery of that CD had a bigger influence on my life than I ever could have expected.

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The album that would change my life.

After listening to Ziggy and the Spiders for an afternoon, my mind was blown wide open to a whole new world of music. Starting from a very young age, I learned the beauty of classic rock from my mother, listening to the Stones and the Beatles in the car on the way to school. I’ve always felt like an old soul, and my musical education helped me tap into that. But, Ziggy and the Spiders were SO different. In particular, the first time I heard the guitar riff at the end of “Moonage Daydream,” my jaw dropped to the floor. Right around this time, the Internet was becoming a thing, so I looked up photos of the band online. I saw WILD outfits. I was mesmerized by Ziggy’s androgynous appearance. Before this point, I didn’t really know what androgyny was. I knew that David Bowie had to be Ziggy, and therefore Ziggy was a man. But, I still had the thought: is this supposed to be a man or a woman? The mysterious allure of it all was so interesting to explore. In the years afterwards, I would continue my interest in societal norms and what makes us uniquely men and women. I got an emphasis in gender studies in college, in part so I could dive deeper into the seed that David Bowie had initially planted in my brain. But, that first album was only the beginning of what Bowie would do for my life.

Much to my delight, after thoroughly wearing out the Ziggy Stardust album, I discovered that there were SO many more David Bowie eras to explore and enjoy. I worked my way through his incredible catalogue of music, jumping back to the folk rock of “Space Oddity,” then forward to the Thin White Duke and “Heroes,” then jammed my way to the “Let’s Dance” era. Every period of music he brought something different to the table. He was constantly changing and evolving. In particular, his song “Changes” would have a tremendous effect on my self esteem. When I first heard the lyrics “turn and face the strange…don’t make them grow up and out of it,” I truly felt like Bowie had written this FOR me. It’s okay to be different, and just because I’m different, doesn’t mean that I have to change to be like everyone else. At the time, I desperately needed this message and he delivered. In his music and his ever changing style, I found who I really am.

When Bowie popped up in one of my favorite movies, Zoolander, I didn’t fully recognize him until his name came on the screen, for I associated him first with so many other iconic looks. The ultimate shapeshifter, Bowie had a fabulous way of flipping the page before his fans got too comfortable. In his eyes, to be comfortable was a bad thing. To embrace your true potential, you have to be willing to go outside your comfort zone. One of my favorite David Bowie quotes that I constantly apply to my own life exemplifies this idea perfectly: “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Following my Bowie musical education, I had a newfound confidence and I viewed the world through an entirely different lens. By the grace of God, heading into high school, I lost a lot of baby weight, which naturally made me feel more self assured. But beyond that, I was ch ch ch changing in other ways, thanks to Bowie. Previously, I had never done anything interesting with my hair, not even layers. I was too afraid of what might happen if other people didn’t like it. Post Bowie, I got my first real hair cut, then my first highlights, then my first full dye job, and I became hooked to the cycle of reinvention. I am now known as a chameleon, like he was. In present day, friends often tell me that they can’t spot me at events because I have a different hair color or cut than mere weeks before. I am widely known for my restless attitude with my look and my bold style choices. During high school, I would lovingly refer to the female student population as “the ponytail wearers association of America.” But, my senior year, I went rogue and chopped off all of my hair into a pixie. I have maintained a short haircut ever since. A very important lesson that I learned from Mr. Bowie is that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Going against the norm can be more fulfilling.

Doing my best Bowie.

Doing my best Bowie.

I have loved dressing up my entire life, even in my pre-Bowie days. But, after my Bowie education, playing dress up entered a whole new arena for me. Throughout my Ziggy internet research, I saw the incredible ways that Bowie would do his own makeup, and I wanted to emulate those techniques for my own unique look. As stated previously, Bowie wasn’t afraid to be androgynous. I have embraced that concept as well. Though I have tried them a few times, “sexy” Halloween costumes aren’t my thing. My focus every Halloween is stepping into the shoes of a character I really love; whether that’s a man or a woman is irrelevant.

This past year, I decided that I wanted to be Beetlejuice for Halloween. When I asked the salesperson at the store “where is the traditional Beetlejuice costume?” she pointed me to the “sexy” girl version with a skirt. I’m sorry, but if I am going to be Beetlejuice, I am going to BE Beetlejuice, and I will not take the second rate female knock off instead just because my gender says I should. I went all out with my zombie makeup and male attire that day and it was an immense success. My coworkers loved it and many people applauded me for my ability to see outside of the usual roles that women are delegated to play at Halloween: sexy nurse, sexy cop, sexy (insert here) etc. I can wholeheartedly thank Bowie for teaching me how to “turn and face the strange.” I plan to embrace this same androgynous attitude at Halloween this year with my most standout look to date. This look concerns another favorite male movie figure of mine and it actually has a lot of similarities to Bowie’s style from the iconic “Let’s Dance” music video. Mr. Bowie always seems to have an influence on me, even when I don’t realize it at first.

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Fuck gender norms. I’m going to be Beetlejuice!

Prior to his passing, if I ever felt insecure about going big with a costume of some kind or a new project, I would often think “What would Bowie do?” or WWBD for short. Now that he has left this earth, this thought has become far more powerful. Like countless other people, I was astounded by the incredible work that Bowie did in the last few years of his life. Refusing to accept his cancer diagnosis as a death sentence, Bowie let his musical energy drive his world instead. He embraced every day as a gift and insisted on pursuing all of the plans he had previously made, and then some! This final surge of creativity brought us the highly lauded Blackstar album and Lazarus the musical. Only Bowie could be given a terminal cancer diagnosis and turn it on its head into a mesmerizing tour de force. While perfectly healthy, many people cannot accomplish anything close to the artistry that he produced during in his darkest hour. He didn’t let the cancer win. He ended his life on his terms and managed to make every minute count, setting the ultimate example that all of us should hope to follow.

Through his actions in the last few months of his life, David Bowie made it clear why he is SO deserving of the title of pop culture icon. Without his musical influence, so many current artists would not have a framework to work off of. Though I have largely covered his musical work in this essay, he was also a highly talented actor. If you’re looking for a Bowie film education, I highly suggest seeking out “The Hunger” and the cinematic classic “The Man Who Fell To Earth.” In the latter, he plays an alien who lands on earth to find water for his ailing planet, but struggles to thrive in a world so different from his own. Watching it, you really begin to wonder where the line of cinema and reality is drawn; he is THAT good.

Bowie made it okay to be different, okay to go outside of the norm, okay to blaze a new path. His innovation and creativity truly knew no bounds. Though his physical body is gone, his spirit lives on in such a powerful way, in the art that he so strongly believed in. Bowie never stopped moving, never stopped creating, never stopped evolving, because he knew that our time on earth is limited. In his honor, I strive to pursue my creative passions with 100% enthusiasm. With his example in mind, I will never be afraid to stand out from the crowd because my unique characteristics are a gift, not a fault. Thank you Mr. Bowie for teaching me how to embrace life with open arms. When I look up at the stars, I think of you, and smile knowing that the man who fell to earth has finally made it home.

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The Starman.

The Donald

Since this is my first post, let me start off by explaining the beauty of Google Trends. In my day to day work, I check Google Trends obsessively, to stay on top of which stories are striking a chord with America. Google Trends is a fabulous tool that breaks down the top stories in a variety of categories, including business, entertainment, health, science/tech, and sports. Google Trends arranges its stories based off of search interest and how many news articles are being written on the topic. As you tune into my blog, you will see me referencing Google Trends frequently. If you haven’t tested it out yourself, try it here!

Today, my favorite trending story of the day happened to also be the most dominant story of the day in Google Trends, on both the general channel and the entertainment channel. The winning story of the day circled around a magnificent Donald Trump Game of Thrones mashup that Huw Parkinson made for the Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Politics Show called Insiders. I highly suggest that you take 2:40 out of your day and watch it in all its glory here.

I have a love hate relationship with the Donald. On the one hand,  I hate so many things that he represents. Greed, patriarchy, and misogynistic behavior are the top three items that come to mind, though there are many other traits of his that put a pit in my stomach. A proud feminist, I firmly believe that men like Donald Trump, fueled by a selfish need for dominance, are largely to blame for why women can’t be treated as seriously as we should be. Trump is most comfortable when he has all of the power, as seen in the submissive relationships that he’s had with all of his wives, especially his current wife Melania. Yes, you can point out Ivanka, his daughter, and say that the Donald has given her power within his business affairs. You could even point out Omarosa Manigault, a past Apprentice contestant, who has publicly praised Trump for his generosity towards her and supported his bid for the presidency, as seen in this interview. But, all arguments that I have heard that defend Trump can’t seem to explain away his self centered close minded perspective on the world. And that is the biggest issue that I have with him.

So that summarizes what I don’t like about the Donald. Now that I revisit that love hate relationship thing, I wouldn’t say that I love anything about him. But, I can respect certain things about him, primarily his strong business sense. Over the holidays, my family and I watched a CNN documentary about Donald Trump’s life. I was mesmerized at the sheer amount of projects that he has tried to put his name on. When it comes to ambition, the Donald never stops, and I think that there is something to be respected there. Watching that documentary, I learned that Donald Trump got into the real estate business through his father Fred Trump, who was a real estate icon in his own right. Throughout his entire life, the Donald has known how to utilize his resources efficiently to get to the next rung of success, and I can find inspiration in that. Does he take that too far sometimes? Yes, as stated above, I think he’s incredibly greedy. But, the root principle of maximizing what you have to enhance your next phase of life is valuable.

Being a pop culture fan, the thing that I appreciate most about the Donald is his “I don’t give a fuck what you think about me” attitude. The man has balls and isn’t afraid to be the brunt of everyone’s joke, especially if it gets him publicity. Throughout his time in the public eye, the Donald has made countless appearances that have left a comical imprint on popular culture. From his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to his memorable work alongside SNL great Darrell Hammond, Donald Trump has provided the American public with countless laughs, most of the time at his expense. But, he doesn’t care, as long as he is getting his name out there. Though he isn’t a politician, he understands the political nature of our society, and how to grab everyone’s attention. His comprehension of the American political system can be seen in this Oprah clip from 1988, where he first hints that he could consider running for President some day. At the time, I’m sure no one took him seriously. But, that clip foreshadowed what would actually happen 25 years later.

As seen throughout his entire circus of a campaign, the Donald LOVES shock value. Discussing his campaign with a friend recently, we concluded that if elected, he probably wouldn’t follow through with many of the wild things he’s suggested. His out there declarations could just be a part of a bigger plan to drive attention away from the other candidates. And so far, his plan seems to be working. Comparing him and Jeb Bush, Bush is the frightened mouse and Trump is the mighty lion. There is a reason why Trump is still in the race and Bush recently dropped out. But, is Donald Trump taking it too far?

Many believe that Donald Trump is a monster. When a presidential nominee promotes fascist ideologies and suggests that we build a wall to keep immigrants out of our country, people get fired up, in a bad way. I myself have been appalled by many of the plans that Donald Trump has suggested. But his shock value hamster wheel keeps on spinning, as he clutches on to the specific populations within our country that can resonate with his message. Often times, I have to remind myself that I grew up in liberal southern California. Whether I am approaching issues of race, sexual identity, or some other controversial topic, I have to remind myself that I grew up in a very open minded accepting environment. Many other people aren’t as fortunate. When I look at Trump supporters, I see people with completely different values from my own. But, they are still people, and I think Donald Trump is giving them a voice.

Additionally, Donald Trump is indirectly benefiting from the tension within the Democratic party. I know many people who aren’t content with Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton becoming President. That indecision sends an indirect benefit to Trump’s campaign, creating more potential voters that could vote for him, by default. Donald Trump has proven that he knows how to work the political machine, and I think many people don’t realize how dangerously close he is getting to the presidency. Though he started this race as a joke, the reality tv candidate has now truly become a reality TV politician for America, as stated in this well written NY Times article. We have gone so far down the rabbit hole with his campaign, we can’t just turn it off, like we would do when he became too over the top on the Apprentice. And that my friends, is kind of scary.

I don’t know what the next year will bring. There is still a long road to go within this presidential race, but I can say that though I’ve seen plenty of Trump’s opponents drop out, no one has said that Trump is slowing down. It’s a crazy world that we live in where a reality TV star can actually manipulate the system and have a shot at becoming President. But, I also live in the state where Arnold Schwarzenegger was once Governor. Many people have seen similarities between the two men and their respective campaigns, as highlighted in this CNBC article. So, I can see how Trump’s end goal isn’t impossible. Pop culture has fueled Donald Trump’s career. With his countless TV appearances and commercials, Trump weaseled his way into the center of American entertainment for decades, and now he is using that to his advantage. Only time will tell if he can run with that influence all the way to the White House. In the meantime, I hope the next year brings us many more humorous mashups and opportunities to poke fun at the man with the indomitable ego.