Failed Children

As shocking as it sounds, a 6-year-old boy was suspended from school and accused of sexual harassment when he kissed a girl on her hand. This little ridiculous incident happened in late 2013; experts argued that the zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment from the very school was the trigger attributing the cause of the whole event. However, the real question is how it is possible for brainy adults to be slaved by policies that are apparently not working.

Another similar case was a 6-year-old apraxic child in New Jersey suspended from the school due to his movement difficulties, which were said to be sexual, disturbing and dangerous to others by the school officials. Fortunately, the issue was resolved after his parents fought hard with the school district. The school accused the parents might have sexually abused the boy before suspended the boy; the school also ignored notes from doctors confirming the boy’s problems and refused to offer assistance to the boy . To the matter of the fact, the father of the boy is a renowned professor in Neuroscience at Princeton, which made the event more concerning.  The parents are highly educated and respected, but still, it was a nightmare.

The school system is rotten from inside out and filled with careless teachers and principals with no self-pity.

Meanwhile, a retired high school teacher wrote a warning to university professors about how unprepared those pupils are for higher education. I am myself an aspiring residential alien in the US working toward a PhD. My passion is not really to be an educator but a social scientist, but teaching is always an accessory coming along with working in academia. My limited background in teaching has already started to be troublesome. Students are brilliant, however, when they put their thoughts into words, they become utterly terrible. It might be my background in journalism in which writing is an important asset to be trained and improved (despite I have been bashing around how terrible journalists or editors write their stories since the first day I picked up the AP style guidebook).

In spite of being a powerhouse for higher education, is the American educational system failing young generations? Students are stigmatized and troubled with little to none useful knowledges on how to succeed. Educators are frustrated and giving up. What will the next step be? A total collapse of the most fundamental base?

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Susa: A Boy Who Waits His Father

Susa, one of those films shocks viewers awake, is a film mirroring the struggles in modern Georgia through a 12-year-old boy’s eyes. Hand-held shots, pale color tones and minimalistic cinematography produce more than realistic scenes that are captivating and awakening.

Susa (Avtandil Tetradze), the little skinny good boy, is in need of protection and shelter from his father; however, his father’s return has granted him neither. He is angry, frustrated, and sad, but he will not comprise and give in. The film opens with Susa making a kaleidoscope from shattered glass bottles, long silence until the introduction of his friend, Juja. Director Rusudan Pirveli is not shy about revealing Susa’s affection toward Juja. Juja is the temporary father figure to Susa, although, despite the age difference, Juja might be the only friend of Susa’s. Going through harsh weather, working underage, and being bullied on the street, Susa is hardened inside out. As viewers start to perceive Susa as a warrior of life, the film ends with his momentary collapse fighting with his boss; viewers are left wondering if Susa’s disappointment of his father’s return will end him badly, but a seed of hope for Susa to survive and to thrive has been planted.

Social Media for A Better World

The legendary media theory, Cultivation, originally argued that increased consumption of television viewing would not only influence audiences’ behaviors but also create the “mean world syndrome”.  Generally speaking, heavy television viewers would be exposed to more media violence, and in return, they perceived the world as a more dangerous place[1]. However, is the case still standing after social media accelerated the media revolution?

Gen Y and younger might be the group of people who have hooked themselves up with screens for a prolong period of time since their teens or younger. Children who were born after 2000 even have a faster rate of becoming more civilized with new media technologies. While adults are concerned with how new media will pre-mature their children and other dangerous online behaviors, such as addiction and cyber bullying, there are many more examples to give us hope of that social media can be used as a tool for a better world.

A high school student, Tim, who was diagnosed with cancer returned after a successful treatment, but the school refused to put him back into the basketball team. Other students started to protest and launched an online campaign #LetTimePlay to support Tim, and finally, Tim returned to the court where he belongs.

In this hour, there are many professional consultants and media experts are pulling off their hair to design successful online campaigns and carry them out in an effective manner. Those students who stood behind Tim proved the strong and beautiful friendship as well as their potentials to be much better media users for a cause when they grow up. Indeed, hopes of how social media make the human society stronger and better can be seen, and are not fictional.

The Dark Side of Freedom of Speech

People often consider it is getting better as we enter the next phase of the Internet, aka big data, but, there are a significant amount of people trolling around and having fun being so-called Internet haters.

A freelance writer, Amanda Hess, recently wrote about how women were not welcome on the Internet. She shared her stories of being life-threatened by haters on Twitter. Meanwhile, female public figures like the Duchess of Cambridge, Hilary Mantel, and Mary Beard have been sharing similar terrifying experiences on the Internet. Life threats and sexual harassments can be easily circulated and accumulated because of the Internet, and they are as harmful and painful as physical abuses.

Most public figures are often attacked by haters, and women are not the center of the issue. However, behind those extreme examples, there are more to this event. Words that sound civil can also discriminate gender equality. Fix the Family, a religious online activist blog, posted an article arguing why women should not be sent to colleges. Despite how ridiculous it sounded like, Fix the Family certainly abused their privilege from Freedom of Speech. Their words did not involve life threats nor sexual harassments, but they have been stabbed on women just as hard. Neither is their pro gender inequality attitude humanitarian, nor is it Christian at all.

While hate speech is outlawed and starts to become more apparent and more of a social issue, how each individual cyber resident can police our online environment and create a healthy online society remains unanswered and needs urgent attentions.

Jil Sander Menswear F/W 2014: She Still Has It

Some may argue that designers will eventually grow out of the favor and become the history, however, there are so many strong cases arguing that fashion designers are as everlasting as world-class scientists, award-winning authors, and many other big names imprinted in the human history forever. Jil Sander set up another great example to prove this when she returned to her own label.

While the fashion industry is pretty much dominated by British, French, and Italian designers, American and Belgian artists are thriving to make sure people have a taste of waffles and pancakes. However, Germans seem lack the ability to make themselves stand out in this competitive business. Huge Boss became something for teenage brats with parents who are doctors or lawyers. But Jil Sander is about to change the dynamic and put German on the table. Raf Simons was great, however, Jil Sander is simply better. Modest, simple, sportive, powerful, strong, and Sander’s designs are skilled, gifted, and loved.

Saint Laurent Paris Menswear F/W 2014: He Wows People without Trying

Heard too much about Hedi Slimane being the revolutionist, however, I was still worshiping Levi’s and Nike when he left Dior Homme. When Slimane crossed Yves off Yves Saint Laurent, he has already succeeded. People started to literally stare at him for some fashion miracles. There are designers who can design beautiful clothing and designers who are born to rein the fashion industry. Slimane’s return to YSL was his declaration to take control of the modern fashion industry, especially mens’ fashion.

While other designers are exploring new territories, Slimane presented another collection quite identical to what he has been known for, skinny tailoring, skinny pants, great leather jackets, and long coats. Even the colors are pretty much the same as the previous F/W collection, however, the whole show was still something intriguing. A wild and rugged luxury. Models walked on the show were not those typical pretty humans, but more like those who have been living on the edge and blessed with weirdness and uniqueness. No matter how ridiculous those pieces look on the deadly skinny models, I am confident that every piece will be very wearable with some attitudes attached.

Dior Homme F/W 2014: He Shall Return

When Kris Van Assche took over Dior Homme at a quite tender age, the linkage between a giant fashion power house for menswear and rock n’ roll cold turkey vanished and gradually a new marriage of sophisticated French menswear and well rehearsed symphony  became favorably celebrated. Van Assche’s religiously guarded attitude toward simplicity might not favor many Hedi Slimane’s hardcore fans, but he is still the head designer for Dior Homme, which means he must be doing things right.

The newly showcased collection from Van Assche for Dior Homme is somewhat surprising, and people can even see denim on the runway. If you see a pair of jeans on the runway, there must have been something really wrong unless it is a Dior Homme Show. While many other designers went for a bubbly and happy winter, Van Assche was still working around with uniform liked pieces. However, those dots and stitched-on patterns are stunning without being excessively overwhelming. The whole collection is still filled with enough fun military themes. Comparing to previous two F/W collections, this collection is like a throwback to when Van Assche first took control of the label and a little bit more Slimanish in a Van Assche way, somewhat rugged and slender. Very interesting on the eyes, and definitely something special on the bodies.