September 2, 2014

Know Thy Selfie

By:  Jose Oropeza

Contributor

If you have an Instagram or Facebook account, chances are you’ve seen one. Sometimes with more than one person, and often with a “#” symbol in the caption.

The selfie, a trend that took social media by storm, rose to hashtag status shortly after the introduction of smartphones – specifically the iPhone 4, which was released in 2010 and came with a front-facing camera.

In 2013, “selfie” was made ‘word of the year’ by Oxford Dictionaries, and is defined as “A photograph that one has taken of oneself and…uploaded to a social media website.” Researchers at Oxford found recorded uses of the word “selfie” rose from less than 500 per billion instances in January to more than 5000 per billion instances in October.

Although the concept of the selfie is by no means new, recent events like Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the 2014 Oscar’s ceremony caused a record breaking, re-tweeted selfie, that crash Twitter. The 2014 EDM song “Let Me Take A Selfie” has given the term new levels of popularity.

Judith Naeignacio, a John Jay sophomore, shared her outlook about selfie content: “These people do the duck face, their tongues sticking out like Miley Cyrus. Trying to look silly and cute, sucking in their stomachs and pouting. Some people are narcissistic.”

Two years after its first 2002 online appearance in Australia, social media outlets like Tumblr have been using “selfie” as a hashtag. Since then, users having been referring to self-taken pictures as such.

Younger people post more selfies on Instagram than older users. In New York City, the average age of people that post selfies is 25.3, a study conducted by the CUNY Graduate Center found.

The Mental Health Association is buzzing about Selfie addiction dominating places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even astronaut Steven R. Swanson got in on the fun. While in orbit, he one-upped his peers by being the first to Instagram a selfie from space.

Selfies are 38% more likely to receive a ‘like,’ and 32% more likely to receive comments when compared to snapshots of places, a Georgia Institute of Technology study found.

Women were found to be more likely to take selfies than men, according to the GIT study. They are also 150% more likely to tilt their head in the selfie.

Women who base their self-worth on their appearance are more likely to post selfies and maintain a large following on social media sites, a SUNY Buffalo study found.

Nikita Shurygin, a freshman at John Jay, doesn’t find the study hard to believe. “I think people who take a lot of selfies are trying to draw attention to themselves.  Maybe they have self-image issues,” he said.

And self-image issues can lead to greater problems. Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old from Britain, spent 10 hours taking selfies on one occasion.  He skipped school, lost his friends, and attempted to take his own life after not being satisfied with the quality of his seflies, The Independent reported.

“People take this selfie stuff way too seriously,” Shurygin said shaking his head. “It seems like selfies on Instagram and the ‘likes’ they receive socially rank people.”

But selfies are not to blame, some experts say.

“Clearly there’s something more going on. Selfies were just a medium [Bowman] was using. It’s not the selfie that’s the problem,” Deborah Miller, a certified school psychologist, said.

“He sounds like he has obsession, and clearly, self esteem issues. His suicide is not connected with selfies, nor are selfies a cause of what occurred.,” Miller said.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment offered to combat this trend of socially handicapped individuals. According to the Beck Institute, CBT “helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.”

Regardless of emerging statistical evidence concerning selfies, they might be helpful to individuals.

“Young adults in college are typically very concerned with their appearance, and when they can take photos of themselves when they look their very best – that’s important,” Miller said.

Selfies can boost a person’s self-esteem, Miller argues. “Individuals are able to stage how they look, and post photos that they find to be most attractive. It’s a quick fix for issues concerning self-confidence, and self-esteem.”

Well, thank goodness for selfies. #winning 

Marcela Sanchez contributed to this article. 

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The Social Disconnect of Social Media

By: Orobosa Omede

Contributor

How many people do you know in this day and age who do not have a social media account? Everyday a new social media site is created. There are over 2 million social media outlets that currently exist. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, it seems like in today’s society, social networking has become a custom, and a distinctive part of regular everyday life.

The social networking audience continues to grow. According to Emarketer.com In 2013, over 1.73 billion people world wide had access to some form of social network site and media outlet. Statistics show that by 2017 the audience will increase drastically to 2.55 billion.

Social network sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn, allow you to communicate with just about anyone you please to connect with, this includes friends, family, and coworkers. Through these sites you are able to share thoughts and ideas as well as connect in a social environment online. You can as well conduct research on people of your choice.

Through social media people are able to communicate with one another all around the world, build relationships without actually seeing the person face to face. However, this form of communication may seem convenient, yet it is the leading reason for desensitized relationships.

20-year-old John Jay sophomore, Aisha Sheriff, said, “there’s not a day where I’m not on my phone. I use Facebook to communicate with my family outside of the country. I find it very convenient.”

Social media has expanded over the years. It’s become more accessible through phones and tablets.  People have access to the online world in the palm of their hands.

Through the use of social networks intimacy is essentially lost. People lose face-to-face interactions because their communications are mainly online. Being online isolates you from society by creating false realities in a virtual world.

Sheena Chatoo, John Jay sophomore, said, “sometimes I’ll go online for five minutes to check something and I will end up being on Facebook and Instagram for hours. It’s addictive.”

How safe is it really to meet people online?

More and more people each year are signing up for online dating accounts. People are not always who they say there are, and online is the perfect place where people can fall victim to these instances.  People are more likely to be catfished (being deceived about a relationship or a person’s identity online.) It’s become harder for information  online to be  accurate and trustworthy.

Online friendships give a false sense of communication. The development of long lasting meaningful relationships is diminishing due to social media.  There’s a lack of emotional connections being made. The creation of social networks allows people to practically live on the network.

The need to have face-to-face communication is declining. It’s become vastly easier to have relationships with one another

Chatoo said, “I’ve got upset a few times at friend over text, because I misinterpreted what they are sending me.”

Though social media is great for a world of things, communicating with a vast amount of people, exchanging information, connecting ideas and businesses, the concerning aspect is that what ever you put online never goes away.

Social media and networks target a young demographic.  Who “live in the moment” and they are more likely to have these problems.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Priscilla Ambrose  of  Yonkers, New York, said, “Social media sometimes desensitizes emotions making situations appear different from reality. There are certain walls and barriers that these networks provide when it comes to communication and if it is not fully addressed, it will be a problem for our future generation.”

Dr. Ambrose says, “social media serves many purposes, that include giving us a outlet to express ourselves positively, although it could also be used in the opposite way, the technology advances have stimulated us, as we found a different and unique way to communicate with each other, it doesn’t necessarily have to be traditional.”

According to The Telegraph, the sales of in-home electronics, and mobile devices have grown rapidly since 2000. The spending on these products have increased by 2.5 million in the last 5 years. The online newspaper revealed new research  that suggest since 2007 people have gained an increasing amount of enjoyment from these in-home activities and mobile creations such that these provides socializing via the internet, and using games consoles. Social media and networking has increased people’s views of what they find entertaining by 52% last year.

Sharing information seems beneficial, but when its information sheds light on some ones mistake or a person’s embarrassment then it becomes problematic and difficult to escape once it’s let out. This can become stigmatizing for some because instead of the embarrassment lasting a few moments in person, online it’s always there were people could share it with friends. 

Orlando E. Velez, a John Jay student, said, “Everyone’s experience with social networks are different; you have people who can’t live without it and then you have people who don’t care that much about it. In some way what you do online is a reflection of who you are as a person.”

Velez said, “You have to be very careful what you put online; not everything you post is private. The things you put up follows you, and you never know who will see it in the future, if that’s what’s important to you.”

The ability to create and share all sources of information is beneficial to many if the sources are credible, but with social media it’s quite easy for information to be inaccurate. Such inaccuracy spreads to millions of people all over the world that accessing these sites, leaving them misinformed.

Sheriff said, “Each time period has their thing, and I guess ours is being social. Social networks does change the way we communicate, it enhances and improves it.”

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Th[Ink] About Your Future

By: Rehana Sancho

Contributor

By Aruj Ali

By Aruj Ali

With celebrities like Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber showing off their body art on places like their necks, arms, and faces, it is easy to see why young adults outside of Hollywood are increasingly turning towards the tattoo culture. However, students may be unaware of the long-term consequences of having a tattoo that may no longer appeal to the future you.

Although tattoos are seen as an artistic expression of one’s self,  should students be aware of the side effects of having a permanent ink on their skin? When a young adult decides to become tattooed, important factors like future career paths, placement of the tattoo, and understanding how the image they wish to portray in their early twenties may affect their future.

Scott Jones, developer of tattooinfo.net, a website that provides information for tattoo newbies/hopefuls, explains tattoos can be priced in various ways. Although some tattoo shops may have an average hourly rate of $80-100, or are based on the size, and placement, may all factor into the price.

Tattoos are expensive and priced at the discretion of the prospective artist. Artists should also have valid tattooing license, a book of previous work and sanitized work tools . Before getting a tattoo, try to be informed of the process and the removal.

Britney Debnam, a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence University, came to John Jay to interview for a job with Teach for America. Debnam was modestly dressed in black stockings, a white shirt, and a black blazer to mask any visible tattoos. Debnam has five tattoos; three are visible and are about six inches in length. One is placed on her foot, which is why she can’t wear nude stockings.

Debnam says every one of her tattoos are “little photos” of her past, but she does regret a few of her tattoos because they were last minute decisions, based on temporary emotions.

Debnam feels like students who are thinking about getting a tattoo should think about where they will be in next few years and how having tattoos may affect them. Although she regrets a few, she’s still in love with her two white ink tattoos.

The tattoos are a question mark and a comma, a homage to her days as her school’s newspaper editor. Both tattoos  are  mostly invisible until you look closely.

Professor Alexander Long By Aruj Ali

Professor Alexander Long
By Aruj Ali

John Jay Career Counselor, Barbara Young, admits employers will not always ask you about a tattoo, but if they see one it will be noted. Young, a Baruch Alumna, who holds a master in Public Administration, says if you have a tattoo, do research on the company’s personal appearance policy.

Young advises doing research will prepare you for what the company is looking for in an employee. She tells students,”If you’re going for a job at MTV, tattoos aren’t a problem,” but to also be wise and do your research.

Young explains the purpose of an interview is to “assess the image” after reading someone’s resume. So knowing the company will give you a better understanding of what they expect. Young’s advice for tattooed students? Don’t offer information unless asked for information about the tattoo. This way you’re not drawing more attention toward the tattoo than necessary.

Jordy Frias, John Jay junior, feels students get tattoos because of social pressure, family members who have tattoos, friends, and celebrity influences. “Tattoos are a commitment,” Frias said and, “they prevent you from your choice of certain jobs like the State Troopers and NYPD.” According to the NYPD website, they prefer non-visible tattoos, but if you do have a tattoo you have to be prepared to explain their meaning.

If someone is faced with the decision to remove an unwanted tattoo, there are a few options. The safest way to remove a tattoo is through a doctor. One procedure requires surgery, and another is the laser removal, which is the most popular method.

According to WebMD, 50% of all people who get a tattoo will have it removed by the laser method. The laser method sounds like a bug zapper, it beams a laser at the inked area, breaking the color down, which will eventually be absorbed by the skin. Although this method is one of the most effective, not every one’s tattoo will be completely removed, some will just have a faded scar look to them.

CNN featured an article on their website called “How to safely get a tattoo removed.” Expert dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank  explains the minimum cost to have a small tattoo laser treatment ranges from 80- 100 dollars, and on average clients will have to have 5-12 treatments, maybe more depending on the coloring of the tattoo. Having a tattoo removed can cost you more than you initially paid to have it drawn on your skin.

By Aruj Ali

By Aruj Ali

An alternative to getting a conventional black or multi-colored tattoo would be to try a white ink tattoo. Debnam has two, a question mark, and a comma on her right hand in between her thumb and index finger. Although still noticeable if you look closely, it can be easily overlooked.

Debnam states that the white ink tattoo feels “more personal” to her because it’s only visible to her most of the time. Along with the white tattoo, she has another that says, “Ain’t I a woman,” a quote from female pioneer Sojourner Truth. Debnam explains that Truth, an abolitionist and activist for women’s rights, was one of her only female role models while she was a young girl, which is why that quote is special to her.

Frias tells students to ask themselves, “What is the meaning of this tattoo and is it my personal choice?” Young’s advice is to first, “Try a temporary tattoo, it can be removed.” This way you can see if a tattoo is right for you.  Debnam warns maybe, “wait until you know who you are before getting a tattoo because  corporate America likes conservative.

Prisons Become “The Grey Area”

By Marckincia Jean

Contributor

Provided by Wikipedia.org

A poster for The Grey Area.

 

On March 6, the documentary film, “The Grey Area: Feminism Behind Bars,” was screened in the Student Council conference room for students and faculty. The film addresses education, mental health, and the sentences of incarcerated women in the United States.

The film, directed by Noga Ashkenazi, s the second out of five that the Women’s Center is screening this semester. It addresses the treatment of women in the criminal justice system.

“The Grey Area” focuses on a maximum-security female prison facility in Mitchellville, Iowa. Female students from Grinnell College  want to create classes for incarcerated women and set up five-week courses for the prison in Mitchellville. Through poetry, dance and women studies, they addressed sexual, physical and psychological abuse in the prison.

The courses did not only educate the inmates, but also gave them a sense of empowerment and understanding of social issues and injustice that pertains to women.

Elizabeth Yukins, director of the Women’s Center and an English professor at John Jay, held the screening at the Women’s Center. Professor Yukins chose this film to represent the United States within the film series.

Yukins heard about this film through a friend, who introduced her to the Women Make Movies distributor. This distributor gives grants and resources to people who are interested in viewing non-mainstream films produced for women by women.

“We claim to have one of the most developed legal systems in the world, and yet, as this film shows, there are many people dis-served by the injustices in our system,” Yukins said. “All too often women’s voices, most specifically the voices of poor women, are left out of the conversation about the merit and the problems of our criminal justice system.”

The film asserts that, although taxpayers fund prisons, they do not know what goes on inside these institutions. Although there are 600 female inmates, there are only two mental health specialists employed.

The film emphasizes that the women must not only be treated as offenders, but also as victims, who are in need of mental health treatment.

According to the film, nearly seven million people in the United States are affected by incarceration and the majority of inmates have a history of sexual abuse. 60 percent of inmates receive treatment for mental illness, depression, substance abuse or anxiety.

The film states the war on drugs is also a war on women. “More research is needed to be done to illuminate how the war on drugs is both a war on women and impoverished communities of color,” said Yukins. “I do consider myself an advocate for justice, largely through the educational work and advocacy work we do at the Women’s Center.”

Symone McLaughlin, a graduate student working in the Women’s Center, attended the screening to learn more about women in the criminal justice system. “I really enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting how little the justice system recognizes trauma, because they do not see them as victims,” McLaughlin said. “I am very excited about attending other films.”

Students listened attentively as the film addressed that inmates who complete a college degree have a 15% relapse rate, whereas those who do not have a 60% likelihood of re-imprisonment.

Many of the inmates come from families that embrace prison culture, where they have been exposed to drugs and violence from a young age. Some inmates have histories of sexual abuse where sound, touch and smell can trigger series of flashbacks that bring anxiety and a sense of vulnerability.

According to thegreyareamovie.com, Yvette Louisell, a 43-year-old inmate, featured in the film, was re-sentenced by the Story County District Court Judge, James Ellefson. Louisell’s life sentence was changed to 25 years. Louisell was convicted of first-degree murder in 1987 at the age of 17 for stabbing Keith Stilwell, a 40-year-old man.

Louisell posed for Stilwell to draw her alone in his home. In the film, Louisell said that when Stilwell locked his bedroom door, telling her that she was not able to leave, she stabbed him out of self-defense because she felt she was at risk for sexual assault.

Louisell is among 37 Iowan women given life sentences as juveniles. Although the Iowa Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama in 2012, declared the life sentencing of juvenile murderers without the possibility of parole was unconstitutional. The judge ruled that Louisell will not be paroled due to the time she has already served. Though it was appealed, Judge Ellefson’s ruling could have allowed Louisell to be released on Feb. 10.

Kachatur Arabachian, a senior at John Jay, who also attended the screening, said via email, “After all that they have been through they remained optimistic. I really admired most of the women for this particular characteristic throughout the film.” Arabachian mentioned that prisoners are often looked at as “damaged goods,” but the film shows that they are able to change, grow and heal.

At the conclusion of the film, a discussion was held where students were able to talk to Yukins.

“I think schools, especially ones like John Jay, need to do a better job at improving student activities that will allow them to get involved,” Arabachian went on to say. “Solving major problems like this begins at the smallest level.”

Rap Album Erupts From Seedy Past

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By Ryan Durning

Staff Writer

Top Dawg Entertainment artist Schoolboy Q’s major label debut, OXYmoron, is his most progressive yet frustratingly ignorant record to date. In interviews he has stated that the theme of the album was documenting all the bad he has done in order to support his daughter.

The former Hoover Crip/college football player/Oxycontin pusher has created an album that lives up to it’s clever title. The album is constantly flip-flopping be- tween honestly brutal introspection and brash celebration of his seedy past which is perfectly summed up by the titular track “Prescription/Oxymoron.”

The first half of the song details his addiction to prescription drugs before the beat flips into a menacing piano loop and stuttering drums that Q uses to brag about selling Oxycontin and whose hook turns into “I just stopped selling crack today.”

The long wait for the album, originally announced after the last TDE album “Good kid, M.a.a.D City,” which dropped Oct. 12, 2013, has only served to highlight some of it’s missteps. The album can be bro- ken down into a repeating pattern of three songs with the middle one usually being the weakest.

schoolboy-q-oxymoron

The album starts off with the brash “Gangsta.” Q is at the top of his game, spitting about his past. This segues into the underwhelming “Los Awesome” where the slurring of his voice makes the track for- gettable, before the pace is picked up again by the lead single “Collard Greens” thanks to the pulsating hypnotic production and a funny guest verse from Kendrick Lamar.

This happens two more times on the album, most notably in the sequence of “Hoover Street”, which finds Q talking about his uncle, an addict, which is by all means a gritty tale, followed by “Studio,” ruining the mood with it’s uninspired romance. Finishing up the trio is the thesis of the album, “Prescription/Oxymoron.”

After the titular track, Groovy Q hits his stride and finishes out the album with hard hitting rhymes, especially in “The Purge” and “Break The Bank,” while flowing better and generally avoiding the minor mistakes made in the first half.

As a member of TDE, Q has amassed a following as the gangsta rapper whose infectious flow and chants of “yawk-yawk- yawk” help to liven up his well tread sub- ject matter of women and gangbanging.

Without his charisma, he pales in comparison to the lyricism that fellow TDE members’ Ab-Soul and recently Grammy nominated Kendrick Lamar bring to the table. Ultimately, Schoolboy has shown that he can make an album that can be both disarmingly blunt and maddeningly mindless.

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

wolf of wall street pic 2

By: Alex Guzmán

Getting in the ring with Martin Scorsese always hits you with a knockout punch. And “The Wolf of Wall Street” is Scorsese at the top of his game. The film overcomes you like that third rail of pure cocaine. Your eyes widen, your jaw clenches, your knuckles turn white and you’re hooked instantly; you become a fiend.

Although banned and censored in several foreign markets, it’s as if Scorsese’s been preparing for the past two years for his title fight, perhaps over the span of 40 years since he directed “Mean Streets.” Trained and ready to hit the audience with a knockout combination, he succeeds.

With 506 F-bombs, hardcore and kinky sex, 99% pure cocaine, hookers, Lamborghinis, multi-million dollar yachts, country clubs, corruption, greed, embezzlement, federal investigations, dwarf tossing and more full frontal nudity than you see in most soft core pornography, this smörgåsbord of a film will leave you both appalled and enthralled. Lemon 714 Quaaludes lead to easily one of the best on-screen drug scenes in contemporary cinema. If this upsets the natural order of your peaceful tranquil disposition then perhaps “Disney’s Cinderella” is more your pace?

 But behind all of the things is the Wolf — the 20-something year old charismatic penny stock tycoon Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). At just a little over 3 hours, it can have you feeling overwhelmed by the abundantly disgusting human nature of Belfort, yet you never lose interest as this film. Martin Scorsese, a master craftsman, leaves you feeling completely and utterly unable to check your text messages, avert your eyes or miss even one second — the entire film is just simply too damn good!

Scorsese doesn’t hold back in “Wolf.” Tidal waves of stinging quips at the real Belfort and America’s greedy capitalist culture wash over the audience in the dark cinema leaving the audience in a deep pensive state of bewilderment and hedonistic guilty pleasures. The question I asked myself in those moments were “am I inspired by and jealous of Belfort, or am I wholly repulsed by him?” This question will haunt you for some time after you’ve seen this film.

As we live in a society that plays up the new American Dream to acquire all the bling possible, we tend to overlook the details of our dreams. “Wolf” leaves you aggressively with the bang that can occur if you’ve acquired the bling vis-à-vis climbing the walls of corruption like Madoff and Boesky only to watch your kingdom crumble to the sea. Bang is almost the perfect word to describe this motion picture in summation actually. Bang is what happens when Belfort takes too many drugs. Bang is what happens when he says “the year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.” Bang is what happens when he goes to federal prison for 22 months for fraud.

You see bling on the other hand would be when while being interrogated by the FBI on his multimillion dollar yacht the S.S. Naomi (which happens to have its own helipad), we see Belfort reach into his pocket to reveal a wad of cash that he comically refers to as “fun coupons” which he proceeds to throw at the two Feds investing him as they leave the Naomi, telling them that the money in his hand is a years salary for them.

 Part of what makes this movie so enjoyable, so keenly cool, and so horrifying and disturbing all at once is writer Terrance Winter’s macabre yet at time hilarious and outright cool storyline. It’s part dark fantasy, part guilty pleasure and part hatred of Belfort that thrust it’s audience onto the edge of their seats again and again throughout the film.

wolf of wall st pic 1

 Jonah Hill and DiCaprio both give the performances of their careers. And the stunning Margot Robbie has just made a name for herself that will carry her very far in her career as an actress. And that name is not just the “Duchess of Bay Ridge” either. Hill is certainly worthy of a best supporting actor nomination at the Academy Awards with his both brilliant — although risky at times performance — I pray he’ll be nominated. And as for DiCaprio, well his tour de force performance has him pushing so many envelopes; transforming himself so well and exposing so much raw and uninhibited emotion that it’s no wonder Scorsese had him cast for the fifth time. He’s remarkable. A real pig most of the time, but nonetheless absolutely remarkable.

 This film is an adrenaline junky and party monster’s wet dream… on anabolic steroids! Belfort: “On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island and Queens for a month. I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my ‘back pain,’ Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, part to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine…well, because it’s awesome.” This movie keeps you teetering on your seat with outrageous lines like this and infamous “The Sopranos” writer Winter’s call for DiCaprio to go from having an internal monologue, to a dialogue with another character while Scorsese’s cinematographer then swings around the camera via Scorsese’s trademark camera action, the “whip pan”, and has DiCaprio look directly into the camera with his piercing blue eyes and corrupt smile and narrate to the audience directly.

 If you think you’re in a mind frame that you can accept this film for what it is — a glutinous hedonist’s paradise that rapidly builds at any cost imaginable — well then, you should definitely go see it.  “Is it good”, people have asked me? “Unequivocally so!” I respond.  In fact, it’s damn near perfect.


 

Is Violence Ever Justified?

By: Joseph M. Gomez  

On a bright, crisp October afternoon in New Jersey, the heated rivalry between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots resumed for the 2013 NFL season.  There was no drama unfolding on the football field. However, an unscheduled event that took place in the MetLife stadium corridors that became the event highlight, one which would generated controversy and spark a heated debate.

In American society, social norms have dictated how men and women are supposed to conduct themselves.  Traditionally, men have been told to never lay a hand on a lady.  However, is it fair for a woman to strike a man first and for that man to hit her in return?

Kurt Paschke, a 38 year old man from Long Island was caught on tape punching 26 year old Jaclyn Nugent, a female, in the face.  Paschke, who was a part of a group of Jets fans got in a heated confrontation with a group of Patriots fans including Nugent.  In the end, four individuals including Paschke and Nugent were charged for their roles in the altercation, they also received lifetime bans from MetLife stadium.

Their argument turned physical while in the corridors of the stadium, where punches were thrown.  On the video tape, Nugent was observed running towards the back of Paschke, she threw some punches which led to Paschke turning around and throwing a punch with his right hand into the face of Nugent.

So then, was Kurt Paschke wrong for hitting a woman in the face?  In an interview with CNN, Paschke’s lawyer, Bruce Barket had this to say, “Even a quick review of the video and just talking to a couple witnesses, you can see Kurt was defending himself and (he) shouldn’t have been charged at all and certainly won’t be convicted.”

According to Paschke’s attorney, his client was justified in hitting Jaclyn Nugent because he did so in self-defense.  Theresa Show, 21, a senior at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice says, “No, biologically men are stronger than women, and I think it’s wrong if men would punch back.  She added, “I believe men tend to be stronger.”

Show’s rationale, which can be disputed, is not necessarily out of the mainstream.  The view that women are physically inferior to men is a view that has been maintained across different cultures, religions and ethnic groups.

Another troubling case involving violence between a man and a woman occurred on a winter day in February 2011.  Oscar Fuller, 36, got into a dispute over a parking spot with Lana Rosas, 26.  What would result thereafter would come to surprise not just those involved and their families, but the entire City of New York as well.

Rosas, a woman, was standing in the street holding a parking spot for a friend in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village.  Fuller, who was in his car and looking to park tried to take the spot.  When the two met face to face, a war of would break out which then lead to violence.

According to Fuller, when Rosas started hitting him, he threw a punch, hitting her in the face and dropping her to the pavement.  Rosas was knocked into a coma because of the incident and her family maintains that it was the force of Fuller’s punch that was responsible for her comatose state. Fuller denies this claim, saying that it was her head landing on the pavement which caused the severe injury.

Fuller was charged with misdemeanor assault, rather than the more serious charge of felony assault for which he was acquitted of.  However, Fuller was sentenced to a year in jail.

Wai Chen, 21, a senior at John Jay had this to say, “If a girl hit me I would not get mad, I would not have the same anger if a guy hits me.”  Chen argues that he could take the punch of a female and laugh it off but if he were hit by man it’d be a whole other story.

While there are those who believe it is wrong to hit a woman under any circumstance, and who argue that it is either immoral to strike a woman or that a woman cannot sustain a physical assault from a man, there are those who feel otherwise.

Take for instance Ken Leon, 23, a junior at John Jay College.  Asked what he would do if he was attacked by a woman, Leon said, “I don’t think I’ll hit a girl, if it gets to the extent that she keeps hitting me, I’ll lay one on her.”  He went on to elaborate a little more on what he believes is fair, saying “They want to go to war, they want to have the same rights, why shouldn’t they be treated as us.”

A view such as the one Mr. Leon has might come under attack as being a belief that only men might have.  Bianca Almeida, 24, senior at John Jay seems to have some of the same thoughts when it comes to male/female violence.  She said, “This system is made to benefit the woman… unfortunately the whole system is on the woman’s side.”

Almeida, who trained in combined martial arts back in her home of Astoria, Queens when she was a teen recalled occasionally hitting one of the boys in her class.  She joked that the chief reason she bugged him was because he could not hit her back.

In the lobby of John Jay College’s North Hall building, during the school’s community hour as students swarmed in and out of the building sat Professor and Dr.  Olivera Jokic.  Dr. Jokic, a professor of Gender Studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was sipping on a cup of coffee she purchased at the nearby school breakfast stand and had several things to say regarding the issue of man/female violence.

When asked whether a man is ever justified in hitting a woman professor Jokic shot the question right back saying, “What do you think?”  In making her point she said is the use of reciprocal violence ever right.

The professor, who has a PH.D and two master’s degrees, one from the University of Texas and the other from the University of Michigan continued, saying “If a woman gets raped, should she have the right to rape the person that raped her.”  She then began to question and analyze why it is we as a society value and often feel entitled to certain things, “Why do we value football, parking spots and violence?”

She also believes that our society rape culture, Jokic explained it as, “A rape culture is one that blames the victims of violence that happens to them.”  She added, “We distribute blame and talk responsibility that men and women are different, that they have different relations to their bodies.”

Culturally we have rules, some written and many others unwritten that say how it is men and women must conduct themselves.  Maybe the answer to a violent act should not be another violent act in return, maybe we should consider not laying our hands on anyone.

 

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

By Alex Guzman

“Days ago I was with my family, in my home. Now you’re telling me all that’s lost? Tell no one who I am, that’s the way to survive? Well, I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” Solomon Northup, “12 Years a Slave”

Only for a portion of 134 minutes is it difficult to sit in a dark cinema and live vicariously the experience of slavery through the interpretation of British indie-director Steve McQueen.

Although, given the loaded content of the film, it is easy to forget you’re simply watching his depiction of Northup on screen. You are thrust into an 1840′s-50′s New Orleans slave plantation.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northrop in this version of the infamous story. Ejiofor is profoundly gifted in this role, that his face alone told a story.  Throughout the three acts of this film his face takes us from complacency to bewilderment, surrender and finally elation.

Edwin Epps (played by the provocative yet alluring Michael Fassbender) reads from a tiny blue book of scripture that he has in his possession to his newly bought slaves. He reads from a passage with the deliberate intention of letting his newly acquired slaves know the consequence in which they will pay for defiance of any sort.

Epps feels that he has a biblically endorsed prerogative to dehumanize, commodify, rape and kill, if necessary, his slaves.

Epps has a sociopathic love for a female slave Patsey (played by the talented Lupita Nyong’o) deepens his villainy.

He interrogates the frightened young woman, who escapes the atrocities of her everyday life by regressing and creating tiny dolls out of corn husks while daydreaming of the day she gains freedom through death. When Epps notices she keeps disappearing he is furious and threatens her.

Northup jumps to the aid of Patsey and as a consequence is almost stabbed by Epps, so Patsey places herself between the two men, her back to Northup, she looks into Epps’ ferocious eyes and puts her hand on his cheek and with tears in her eyes admits to where she was.

Edwin Epps’ wife walks out among the confusion in her perfectly tailored white dress, with her hands held daintily in front of her waist and looks upon the quarreling pseudo lovers.

Patsey states that she was in fact at the home of another master, but only to beg and barter for a minuscule sundry which her mistress Mary Epps (played by Sarah Paulson), denied her as punishment for winning her husbands affection.

She puts out her free fist and unwraps her fingers to reveal a tiny portion of what used to be a bar of soap. Mary Epps thinks of Patsey one of the pigs that cinematographer Sean Bobbitt had focused in the foreground, as Patsey approached the pen from behind. Mistress Epps orders Patsey to be whipped for insubordination.

It’s as if the audience was looking at Medusa. For wanting to be human enough to bathe, Patsey is stripped and whipped.  Edwin Epps cannot bring himself to whip her so delegates this task to Northup, who apprehensively takes the thick leather whip in his large hand. Patsey begs him to lash her instead of Epps, and so he does. Mary Epps screams to hit her harder, her eyes ablaze with sickening psychotic delight.

Edwin not wanting anyone else to touch his prized property yanks the whip from Northup’s quivering hand and beats the poor young girl until she nearly passes out.

McQueen and his team push the viewer’s to their breaking point and then draw them back in. It’s as if he’s forcing his foot onto the audience’s necks until they begin to feel faint, and then hastily removing it so that they can catch a huge gulp of air. He’s brilliant at provoking the emotion he wants to evoke, but not oversaturate his audience with just one emotion.

He’s quite talented at being able to arouse a plethora of emotions, yet not in an overbearing way. For instance he’ll utilize cinematic devices such as shooting silhouettes and shadows instead of what’s actually occurring onscreen so that the scene is still graphic, but not provocative. Often, such scenes are quite beautiful actually.

What McQueen is really good is the utilization of one very specific film device which he, his sound department and editor Joe Walker had worked on together. Making the audience uncomfortable through the use of sound.

Upon waking up on the cold, heard ground after being drugged by two men who kidnapped him in order to sell him into bondage, all that can be heard are the chains around his wrists and feet clanking, while Northup wriggles to free himself and tries to recall how he got there in the first place. His guards attempt to inculcate through beating him with a wooden paddle until it breaks over his back that he is no longer a freeman.

All that can be heard is the paddle smacking against Northup’s flesh, his crying and the chains clanking away. McQueen also uses the cinematic device mentioned earlier of shooting Northup in a shadowy abyss created brilliantly. From this scene on, the viewers are drawn in like a Pavlovian dog hearing a bell ring.  They yearn for more.  Not the mental and physical torture, but rather the hope that Northup will be free once again.

McQueen really drives home the empirical insight into what it means to be a slave.

For the entirety of the time on Epps’ plantation the viewer experiences by proxy McQueen’s illustration of the day to day livese of slaves. Property with which you can do with whatever you’d like to by constitutional law. Despite the blatant human on human cruelty throughout the picture, there is beauty if you look hard enough.

“12 Years a Slave” is a gut-wrenching, tour de force that is both wrenching and heart warming. It’s as beautiful as it is dark and depressing. It’s an account of 12 years of hell on earth based on a true story. It’s a microcosm of and a glimpse into the 400 years in which slavery occurred.

This film is a must see for anyone who has ever asked the perilous question: “How did I get here?”  It serves to answer this by putting on display what happens when we decide to mistreat one another.

Video Game Review: Batman Arkham Origins

By Ruben Etienne

Oct. 25 saw the release of “Batman: Arkham Origins”, the prequel to Rocksteady’s critically acclaimed “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Batman: Arkham City” worldwide.

The video game was developed by Warner Bros. Montreal and was written by Corey May and Dooma Wendschuch, who between them have written games like “Assasin’s Creed” and “Prince of Persia”. “Arkham Origins” strays away from the action based game style Rocksteady introduced and placed Batman in an open world, story driven video game similar to “Assasin’s Creed”. While it seem initially enticing, “Arkham Origins” does not live up to the expectations set by the two previous games.

The title is misleading; the video game isn’t an origin story that takes players into the story of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman; the game begins when Batman’s presence is an unproven rumor prior to the events of “Arkham Origins”. The video game attempts to highlight the story, but it is riddled with so many plot holes that it can disappoint players when completing the video game.

The game centers around Black Mask hiring eight assassins to eliminate Batman, so logic would dictate that the completion of the game would be defeating all eight assassins and then dealing with Black Mask. If lucky, you’ll be able to encounter six of the eight assassins before completing the game, which is deceptively short for such a seemingly complex storyline.

The game begins to feel like “Assasin’s Creed” with the added gadgets throughout the game, enemies that require different strategies to defeat, and Roger Craig Smith voicing both Bruce Wayne, Batman and Ezio Auditore from the “Assasin’s Creed” franchise. The open world and the fast travel stations throughout the open world also devalues the game and strays away from the action driven video game “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City” masterfully intertwines with its story.

When playing “Arkham Origins” the distinction between side quests and main storyline quests are painfully obvious, while “Arkham City” kept players engaged throughout. The side quests boil down to arriving at a specific place to beat up certain criminals each and every time.

“Arkham Origins” does bring new dynamics to the game that appear to make the game compelling. The detective mode used to analyzing crime scenes argues in favor of Batman’s moniker as “the world’s greatest detective.” The introductions of new villains to the game like Anarky and Electrocutioner, as well as bringing back Batman classic villains like Bane, Deadshot, Deathstroke and the Joker mesh well together; the game gives each villain its due diligence without making the game seem like it threw villains in the game for the sake of throwing them in.

This game has many flaws that make the game painful at times to play. The bridge that connects the northern half of Gotham with the southern half of Gotham is excruciating to cross, and is necessary to cross for certain missions which leads to 10­15 minutes of gliding across the bridge just to reach a point. The fighting system the previous games perfected is devalued with the abundance of gadgets that makes fights less about strategy and more about button mashing.

The game sets itself to be completed by anyone with little to no effort. Completing the video game only completes about 20­30% of the video game itself. The online mode of the game plays similarly to a 3rd person shooter version of “Call of Duty” which is underwhelming considering the games that came before it.On its own, “Batman: Arkham Origins” is not necessarily a bad video game, but when compared to “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Batman: Arkham City” this game is obviously underwhelming.

The fighting system is the same, but the action is few and far in between, and is replaced by an incomplete storyline that ultimately disappoints and it’s vast open world map that is excessive. Despite its new additions of characters and gadgets, the game unfortunately does not live up to the expectations “Arkham City” sets.

First Red Carpet Halloween Contest at John Jay

red riding hood

On Oct.31 Student Transition Programs partnered with the Office of Student Life to bring John Jay their first ever Halloween Costume Contest where students strutted for three main prizes and titles.

Everyone gathered in front of the JJ Café to watch friends and colleagues walk and in some cases crawl across the red carpet.

Once everyone had their chance at fame, the judges announced the winners for the most scariest, creative and extravagant costumes.

The winners are :

 Most Scariest : Jason

Student: Albert Andrews  

jason 1 jason 2

 

Most Creative: Sexi Kitten

Student: Enyer Jimenez

sexy kitten

 

Most Extravagant:  Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke

Students: Jesse Baez and Illiana Cervantes

Miley cyrus robin thicke