I can remember just like it was yesterday. I was young, thousands of miles from home, I had left my girlfriend at home to go and do what my country asked me to do. During that time, on a small airbase in Germany, I saw a movie aptly named “The Bodyguard”. I instantly fell in love with Whitney Houston. At that moment, Whitney Houston was the most beautiful, wonderful woman in the world. As a product of the 1980’s, I had always heard her music on the radio and TV but didn’t really pay much attention, until that moment. Kevin Costner was right when he said that no one else could have played that part. Maybe it was the circumstances surrounding my life during that time, coupled with her performance in the movie, but since then that movie and Whitney have had a special meaning to me. So when the news broke of her death I was somewhat shocked and saddened. I was glad to see the public support and sorrow displayed over her death although her career had somewhat faded. The memorials were touching and it was glad to see people pay tribute to her. That being said, what was once a beautiful tribute has turned into media frenzied, money-grubbing spectical. I hate to say it, but the one’s who genuinely want to pay tribute and memorialize her are overshadowed by money-grubbing spotlight hungry people. The first thing I noticed was the mistake on the part of iTunes. Supposedly someone from a branch of iTunes “accidentally raised the price of her albums in the united kingdom. Afterwards apple said it was the fault of some lower executive in the UK branch. Another thing I’ve noticed is some inflated prices from live tribute performances. These are just a few. Sometimes you can take a good gesture and run it in to the ground so much that it trivializes the event you are trying to pay tribute. I think the death of Whitney Houston has become an obvious example of that. I might even go out on a limb and say that some of the same groups of people who are memorializing her every chance they get now may be the same ones that turned their back on her and separated themselves from her for the same problem that led to her untimely death. One aspect brought to light by this tragedy is that “we” as society, especially the Hollywood elite, enable and perpetuate the lifestyle that killed Whitney Houston only to enthrall ourselves in a public display of sorrow that would rival anyone in history. If we had only put forth the same effort before her death she could possibly be alive today. I loved Whitney Houston, and not only do I hate that she died but I really hate they circumstances surrounding her death. Unfortunately it is what it is and we should address that. When I heard that Governor Christie had lowered the New Jersey state flag to half mast, I was somewhat surprised. I thought that maybe it was appropriate as long as Christie did the same for every fallen New Jersey veteran, but the more I think about it the less I agree with the New Jersey Governor. Should we honor a celebrity, especially dying under such circumstances, as we do our soldiers giving their life in defense of our country. Whitney’s death has shed light on several things that are very alarming to me. First that people will come from nowhere, to jump a bandwagon, and do anything if it gives them a few moments of spotlight and an opportunity to make a few dollars. Also it shows the condition of our mental state when a Governor decides to bestow the same honor on a celebrity as which is usually reserved for fallen servicemen and high ranking officials. Is this a foreshadow of what our society is becoming? If so should we be worried? The bottom line is that we turned the death of a beautiful woman into a public spectacle and it is unconscionable. The best thing we could have done is pay the woman a tribute befitting her status and place in society, nothing more, nothing less. That’s what she deserved and it would keep people away with other than honorable notions.
By now most of you are aware of the ad aired during the Super Bowl that most of America has been quick to label “racist”. For those of you that don’t know, a political candidate in Michigan, Pete Hoekstra, paid for an ad to run during the Super Bowl. The ad was directed at his opponent and suggested that the decisions made by congress affected the United States in a negative way (mostly a lack of prosperity) and that in return affected some countries, particularly China, in a positive way. The ad features a young, attractive Asian girl riding a bicycle down a road surrounded by what appears to be rice fields. The young lady stops in front of the camera and begins to speak. She states, in broken English which we will discuss in a minute, that the policy of spending what they don’t have and borrowing from China has hurt the US economy and in return benefited the Chinese economy. She thanks a Michigan senator in particular for her participation in the policies that hurt the US and allowed the Chinese economy to prosper. In the end she says “thank you Debbie Spenditnow”. First of all, as a person who has participated on several large statewide campaigns, I would have been totally against the airing of the political ad. For instance most ads of this nature target something more tangible that can be linked directly to the opposing candidate. Usually a particular stance or political idea, or even a perceived flaw in the professional or personal character. This ad does neither. One aspect I really dislike about this ad is the petty, almost “elementary playground” name calling. The “Debbie Spenditnow”, a childish spin on her last Debbie Stabenow, really rubbed me the wrong way and I think this is one of the most overlooked flaws of this ad. I could probably go on and on about what I don’t like about this ad but let’s get down to the point at hand. Is this political ad racist? Since it aired during the Super Bowl I have seen many posts, much commentary, and much talk making the general statement that it is in fact racist. A majority of the people who make that claim use the fact that young lady in the ad spoke with broken English, in a way that is offensive to Chinese Americans. That would be a good point to argue if she was in fact a Chinese American, but remember she is playing the role of a Chinese and it is common in TV and film to portray foreign languages in a broken accent. The only thing that the ad did was keep a tradition going that has been set and maintained by the most radical of entities in our country, the Hollywood elite. Another aspect I have heard time and time again is the accusation that the candidate is blaming china for the state of the US economy. That point is about as far from the truth as one can get. If you pay attention the ad overtly and explicitly blames the US Congress for the plight of the US economy and in a particular a senator from Michigan. It doesn’t say that china is responsible, only that it greatly benefitted. I haven’t heard this argument as much but some would say that the setting of the ad is somewhat stereotypical and racist. Would it be any more stereotypical or racist if it was an American setting and it involved a person of any numerous ethnicities walking through Manhattan with tall buildings and cabs in the background? How about a white man dressed in carhartt clothing or overalls standing in a wheat field in the Midwest? The bottom line is that I will defend you all day long when you say the ad was not well thought out, or that it was poorly planned, but I just don’t see the racism that people seem to shout, but provide no debate to explain the point of view. Another aspect of the discontent associated with this ad is the treatment and comments directed at the young Asian lady. This young lady holds no responsibility for the poorly planned, “not so smart” aspects of this ad. She is a young aspiring actress who saw an attempt to get much exposure. Even a statewide commercial during the Super Bowl would be a good break for any young acctress. So regardless of what you think about the ad, bashing her serves no purpose and is very distasteful. In closing, I will challenge anyone, anytime to show me a legitimate point where this ad was indeed racist, and I will be more that happy debate anyone, anytime using whatever means you choose to discuss the aspects of this ad.