Four Topics I Have Opinions On From This Month

With snow taking over most of the state, The Herald’s stories are website-only this week, which means I am no longer limited to word counts. To take advantage of this, I will be covering several different topics from the last few weeks that I have opinions on.

The Super Bowl

I’m not a big fan of sports. I’ll go to a football game for the pretzels, and I’ll watch some competitive bowling if it’s on, but for the most part I ignore them. The Super Bowl, however, is a sporting event that is next to impossible to ignore. Or, apparently, to avoid attending.

Though many of the seats in the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, were filled by cardboard cutouts of fans, there were also 22,000 real people in the stadium. Only 7,500 were vaccinated healthcare workers; the rest were fans who were not required to be vaccinated or tested before entering the stadium. Though every attendant was given a personal protective equipment kit with a mask and hand sanitizer, It’s concerning that such a large number of people were allowed to attend the event with zero testing or immunization of any kind, especially when many people are still missing out on major events and family gatherings due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Obviously the attendants were dispersed throughout the 65,890 seats in the stadium to allow for social distancing, but aerosols are aerosols. Also, getting your likeness on a cardboard cutout at the Super Bowl apparently cost $100, which is way more expensive than just photoshopping yourself into a seat after the game.

As an aside, it looks like Mr. Peanut has finally reached full maturity as of this year’s Super Bowl commercial. Last year saw him getting killed off, resurrected at his own funeral with the Kool-Aid Man’s tears, doing meme dances on Twitter as a baby, turning 21, and then finally reaching full maturity just a few weeks before the Super Bowl. Planters’ ad showcased a project they called “A Nut Above,” which plans to give five million dollars to people who have made the world a better place. It sounds like a good cause, but I’m just hoping I never have a reason to write about this nut ever again.

A screenshot of a scene from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," where three characters are standing around a picture of George Washington. One character is throwing a dart at the picture, with the caption, "I've had enough of this dude." The image has been edited so that George Washington's head is replaced with Mr. Peanut's Twitter profile picture, and the word "me" has been placed on the character throwing the dart. "Me" in this case refers to the author of the article.
Original image from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Image edited by Lily Cabibi-Wilkin.

Trump’s Acquittal

Former President Donald Trump was tried and acquitted for the second time on Feb. 13. The U.S. Senate voted 57 to 43 to convict Trump for incitement of insurrection, but because a two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, was needed to convict, Trump was acquitted. In layman’s terms, this means that Trump was tried by the Senate, but was not voted guilty. It also means that he will be able to run for president again in 2024.

Despite the irrefutable evidence given at the trial, despite the fact that the whole world watched Trump rile up and send his mob to the Capitol, Trump has faced zero legal consequences for what happened at the Capitol in January. This is the second time Trump has been impeached, tried, and acquitted.

The cherry on top was when Senator Mitch McConnell, who voted NOT to convict Trump, immediately went on to say that, “There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility.” McConnell could have called the Senate back before Trump left office, but he refused to, and then refused to convict Trump because he believed it was unconstitutional to impeach a president once he had left office. (It’s not.)

Everything about this trial makes me want to throw my hands in the air and yell “forget it, nothing matters anymore!” If Trump can be acquitted twice due to technicalities, political bias, and general nonsense, how is anyone supposed to put trust in their government to do their jobs? What’s the point in relying on them for anything? Why can’t we live in a world where bad people face consequences for doing bad things?

Amy Cooper Charges Dismissed

Speaking of bad people not facing consequences for doing bad things, remember Amy Cooper? The racist white woman from last year who called the police on a Black birdwatcher in a public park because he asked her to put a leash on her dog?

Cooper was facing misdemeanor charges for “falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.” However, those charges were recently dismissed after prosecutors said Cooper completed five therapy sessions as part of a restorative justice program. The sessions apparently focused on “ways in which Ms. Cooper could appreciate that racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others,” and after only five sessions “Ms. Cooper’s therapist reported that it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together,” according to Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi.

If Cooper did somehow manage to have a major change of heart after only five sessions of therapy, then she somehow has the best therapist on the planet. But I have serious doubts. Court-ordered anger management classes, for example, can last as long as 26 weeks/sessions. Normal therapy courses can last almost indefinitely, depending on how many sessions a person needs/wants/can pay for and what sort of issues they’re trying to work through. 

I’m not sure how many therapy sessions a person would need to cure entitlement and racism, but if I had to give an estimate, it would definitely be more than five.

Gen Z v.s. Millennials

Within the last week or so, Buzzfeed has published many articles cataloging various TikToks and social media posts where the general premise is “Gen Z Kid Says in TikTok That Millennials Should Stop Doing This Lame Thing” or “Millennials Say You Can Pry These Cringey Things From Our Cold Dead Hands.” 

While I didn’t expect this age discourse to happen so soon, I’m not too surprised by it. Old v.s. Young jokes have been around for ages. Remember in the ‘80s when all the cool kids were out dancing and sneaking around their lame parents? Or songs from the last 50 years about how parents are lame and only exist as an obstacle to cool teens getting some alone time? Or the “Ok, Boomer” craze of the last few years? It seems like the only generation who escaped the “Old and Lame” vilification was Gen X, the generation old enough to be most Elder Gen Z’s parents. (Mine are Boomer cusps.)

Millennials, who have spent most of the last ten years being treated like snowflake teenagers and destroyers of industries like Chili’s, must certainly feel put out to suddenly be told their hobbies are lame. But if you’re that bothered by a minor on TikTok saying side parts and skinny jeans are lame, it’s time to go outside and touch some grass. Fight the urge to clap back at the teenager saying you’re cringey for having your Harry Potter house on your Facebook profile and save yourself the embarrassment.

On the flip side, I’m very interested to see what Gen Z will get made fun of for in the future. Reality shifting? Comfort characters? TikTok dances? K-Pop Stans? Whatever Generation Alpha (which, by the way, wins Coolest Generation Name in my book) decides to make fun of us for, I have zero doubt we’ll absolutely deserve it.

A chart showing different generations, from The Silent Generation to Generation Alpha.
A chart showing different generations, from Builders to Generation Alpha. Note that Builders are typically known as The Silent Generation, Generation Y are typically known as Millennials, and almost all of the slang terms on Gen Z and Gen Alpha are outdated. Image courtesy of McCrindle.

Categories: Opinion

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