A couple of points on the racial debates stemming from Eric Garner and Mike Brown that I think people are missing

I’ve let the smart people lead the discussions the last couple of weeks amid the racial tension in the aftermath of the Eric Garner and Mike Brown grand jury decisions. But in that time, I’ve also heard a lot of ignorance, too.

Before I continue, let me say that I, too, am ignorant. I have not investigated these cases almost at all. Pretty much everything I know is from what I’ve heard or read on the news.

But I have listened to what people are saying. And it’s led me to two conclusions.

On one side, there’s those who say this should never have become a racial issue. Some blame the media for painting it as such, and argue that Mike Brown and Eric Garner did not die because they were black, but because I can't breathethey broke the law, and then exacerbated it by resisting arrest.

But what these people are failing to understand is that protesters are not viewing these two deaths as isolated incidents. Yes, they are the impetus for the protests, and the spark that brought people together, but it’s become pretty apparent at this point that what people are demonstrating against is something greater.

It’s an endemic that many perceive has existed for years: white cops have treated black people differently than white people. As a white male whose only rendezvous with police was being pulled over for speeding last year (by a white cop, might I add), I obviously cannot attest to this. But after seeing how strongly people are reacting, I can’t help but believe them.

Any one who doesn’t believe this is a racial issue is kidding themselves. It’s been a racial issue for not only two weeks, but for years, decades.

Now that is one side of the coin. The other is the people who are passionately calling for change — white or black. A popular cry is that this is simply another instance in a long trend of missteps by the American justice system, and that nothing will ever change.

I disagree with the latter. I firmly believe that we will see a change, regardless of the grand jury decisions.

The response — the national outrage, the protests, demonstrations, the professional athletes showcasing their opinions on public platforms — will have an impact.

I’m not saying it will be immediate. But I believe that voices have been heard. I think, because of what’s happened, white police officers will severely change their behavior towards black people. No cop wants to be the next Darren Wilson. No cop wants to be caught on camera choking a man to death.

And I think next time there’s a similar decision in the hands of a grand jury, they’ll think extra hard about the consequences of what they’re deciding. Is it the change people want? Maybe not. But it’s progress.

Social consciousness has become more heightened on a national level because of recent events. And I think that’s a success. Outside of the first few days in Ferguson, the protests, for the most part, have been civil. And because of it, I foresee change.

What’s happening now is not quite on the level of the civil rights marches in Selma 50 years ago, but it’s significant, all right.

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Time Magazine had me at “Ebola Fighters”

Time Magazine announced on Wednesday who it’s naming as its prestigious Person of the Year, a distinction bestowed annually to a person or persons who left a huge mark on the most recent year, either positive or negative.

In years past, people from Mahatma Gandhi, to Franklin D. Roosevelt, to Adolf Hitler, to John F. Kennedy all the way to Barack Obama have received the honor. Last year, Pope Francis was the recipient.

This year?

The Ebola Fighters.

Time ebolaAfter first hearing this, I immediately went to Spotify to check out their latest album. Because that has to be a band, right? The Ebola Fighters? That’s an awesome name. I thought maybe they may have even been inspired by the Foo Fighters.

When no results showed, it took me a few seconds for it to register. It’s no band. Time is referring to the healthcare workers who helped fight the spread of Ebola. You remember Ebola, right? That disease that’s killing people by the day in West Africa, and scared Americans for like two weeks a couple of months ago?

Not that they’re undeserving, but I think the American public becomes disappointed when a big award is given to a group, rather than a single person.

It just kind of lessens the whole thing.

Again, doctors who traveled into endemic areas to fight the disease deserve much, much more than being named Time’s Person of the Year.

But it would be like if, at the end of the Grammys, the presenter goes, “And the Album of the Year goes to … every one who has ever played music!”

If it’s not given to a single person, essentially no one wins. Do you think a doctor is actually going to put “Time Person of the Year” on their resume when he or she was one of thousands of people who worked to fight Ebola?

Other recent instances of non-individuals earning Time’s Person of the Year happened in 2011 (The Protester) and 2006 (You).

At least it can be said that Ebola Fighters is much better than those two.

In fairness, who else really deserved it? The normal default winner is the president. But let’s face it, Obama wasn’t winning shit this year. Maybe he can redeem himself and get it again (He’s already won it in 2008 and 2012) in 2014 or 2015, but there was zero chance this year.

So who else? What even happened this year? What about the robot that landed on the comet? That was pretty impressive. Give it to the people behind that.

As far as individuals, though, I’m drawing a blank. How about Taylor Swift? She’s got to get it once. For her cover photo, there could just be a “blank space.”

At the very least, she should look into recording a track with the Ebola Fighters.

 

William and Kate are literally getting the red carpet treatment.

In case you haven’t heard, Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton are in the United States.

The trip has been so widely publicized that it’s received its own name: The Royal Visit.

They sat with President Obama. They’re meeting Jay Z and Beyonce. LeBron James is giving them jerseys. On Tuesday, they laid flowers on the Sept. 11 Memorial at Ground Zero. I’m sure they’ve also heard a particular Lorde song sometime during their travels.

William and KateWherever they go, they’re being praised, lauded and fawned over. Basically they’re being treated like royalty.

Oh. Wait.

I think what’s fascinating so many people about William and Kate being in the U.S. is the clash of cultures. It’s almost like a bizzarro world. Everyone knows who they are, but they’re so deeply entrenched in English culture that picturing them strolling downtown Manhattan just feels wrong.

It’s like if you put the Statue of Liberty in Germany. Or took Chandler Bing and put him in an episode of Seinfeld. It’s just not right.

Either way, it’s become the most popular vacation since Chevy Chase took his family to Los Angeles. /rim shot.

I sort of feel bad for them. We go on vacation to escape scrutiny and attention. Instead, every moment of their excursion is being carefully documented by the media. Never before has a trip itinerary been this public since the latest installment of “Where’s Waldo?”

It’s always nice to get the red carpet treatment. That’s what everyone dreams of. But it’s probably not as appealing when you get it every single day of your life.

I mean, The Royal Wedding was the biggest event this side of the moon landing. Kate Middleton’s wedding dress has its own Wikipedia page for crying out loud.

Whenever I go to New York City, the only public acknowledgement I get is from the homeless people who badger people waiting on subway platforms.

Even when I try to attract attention to myself by hailing a cap, I get ignored at least a dozen times before one finally stops. I bet William and Kate get cabs to stop for them on the first try. And not the regular cabs, but the extra cool looking SUV cabs. All because they’re royalty.

I guess that’s the difference between being an Internet blogger and being an heir apparent to Queen of the United Kingdom.

But it’s the only difference, really.

 

 

The world desperately needed some good news and we have gotten it in the form of French Toast Crunch

After the unpopular grand jury decisions regarding the Mike Brown and Eric Garner deaths, the world was in need of a pick-me-up.

Even with the onset of the holidays, something still felt amiss. The constant sight of thousands of protesters on television swarming streets across the country created such an unsettling feeling that not even a gingerbread latte from Starbucks French Toast Crunchcould heal.

What we needed some really good news. And General Mills may have just given it to us.

Ladies and gentlemen: French Toast Crunch is back.

After being discontinued in 2006, the brand that brought us Cheerios has decided to resurrect the beloved cereal by popular demand. General Mills announced it on their blog on Friday morning, 19 years after the cereal was first brought to shelves.

I don’t eat cereal anywhere near as much as I used to, unfortunately, but it doesn’t take an expert to understand the unique qualities that this cereal possessed. French Toast Crunch managed to have a sweet, syrupy taste without corrupting the pure essence of cold cereal. The subtle taste akin to actual French Toast synthesized flawlessly with milk, stimulating the taste buds like no other.

The news has been highly received by people on social media, and for a short while, we have a distraction from all the negativity that has reigned in our country recently.

I really don’t want to understate the significance of this. Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the deal. Not only physiologically speaking, in order to provide proper energy to go about the day, but just as far having an enjoyable experience to start your day.

Breakfast is first real important decision we make after waking up. Well, at least from a guy’s point of view. I’m sure girls put intense thought into their wardrobe each day. But I’ve never put much consideration into a woman’s point of view when writing this blog, so why start now?

Picking the right food to eat in the morning can go a long way. It puts you on the right track. And gosh darn it, when you’re craving French Toast Crunch, nothing else will satisfy. Nothing. Cinnamon Toast Crunch can make you feel a little better, but there will still be some regret.

Of course, the cereal was actually never discontinued in Canada, so those bastards never faced this dilemma. They’ve always had the ability to start their day with French Toast Crunch, and for that, I think we should seriously consider banning them from being part of North America.

That’s not extreme, right?

Three holiday songs everyone is afraid to admit they love

Now that the giant tree in Rockfeller Center has officially been, holiday spirit can now enter full blitzkrieg mode.

It’s time to purchase and decorate the ole Christmas tree, watch Home Alone every time it’s on TNT, drink eggnog lattes at your local Starbucks (or the one three blocks away), and gossip about how badly Mariah Carey sounded during yesterday’s tree lighting ceremony.

But what’s the best part about this time of the year? Holiday music.

There will always be the old classics, like Santa Claus is Coming to Town, O Holy Night, Jingle Bells and White Christmas, to name a few (Or Adam Sandler’s The Chanukkah Song, so the Jews, don’t feel left out — but let’s face it: our music sucks.)

But there’s a few other songs that I’m convinced that everyone listens to every December, whether they admit it or not.

And they all happen to come from the same era: the Golden Age of music that was the late ’90s. For me, it’s not the holidays unless I listen to these three songs at least a dozen times.

Let’s jump right into it.

98 Degrees — This Gift

Often the forgotten boy band, people forget that 98 Degrees were pretty damn popular in their time. And in that heyday, they released this holiday gem. The harmonizing, the sleigh bells, the emotion the song stirs about the gretat feeling of receiving and giving gifts during the holidays; it’s all there.

It’s quite magical.

Britney Spears — My Only Wish This Year

Britney Spears is probably the last person you’d associate with the holiday season, besides maybe Adolf Hitler, but she released one of the most underrated and little known holiday songs, shortly before her personal meltdown.

It’s an extremely pleasant, clean pop song about wanting to find true love for Christmas. This is the Britney Spears who we could all wish we could remember, before she made songs like “I’m a Slave 4 U” and started becoming extremely trashy.

NSYNC — Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

This one really needs no introduction. Every one loves this song. Even when I was in high school right after NSync broke up in the mid 2000s, people weren’t afraid to admit they enjoyed it.

So now that Justin Timberlake is universally beloved, there’s officially no more reason for anyone to hide their love for this song. If there was one song that rekindled the spirit that lied in late 90s pop music, then this one might be it. You’d never see a song released like this one in our current generation. Now without Autotune or some type of Iggy Azalea rap solo in the middle.

Not only that, but it captured the joyous feeling that we all used to feel as kids around Christmastime.

“We’ve been waiting all year for this night
And the snow is glistening on the trees outside
And all the stockings are hung by the fire side
Waiting for Santa to arrive
And all the love will show
‘Cause everybody knows
It’s Christmastime and
All the kids will see
The gifts under the tree
It’s the best time of the year for the family.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

 

Protests and tree lightings are happening concurrently in NYC right now

There’s an interesting dichotomy going on in New York City tonight.

Throughout city dt==streetsm there’s people protesting a grand jury’s decision Wednesday evening to not indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner in July.

Rockefeller-Tree-Lighting-2014-Far1But in Rockefeller Center, it’s the annual lighting of the giant 85-foot tall Christmas tree, marked by world famous musicians singing classic holiday favorites. Mariah Carey is there, singing that damn song again that, somehow, always feels like it’s stuck in your head even though it only emerges once a year.

Tony Bennett’s out there doing his thing. Darius Rucker sang a tune from his recent Christmas album. Leeann Rimes even made an appearance.

In one part of the city, it’s basically a jolly fairy tale land where NBC is trying to shove holiday spirit down our throats. But in other parts of Manhattan, people are mad as hell.

Just flipping from NBC to MSNBC right now reveals two completely opposite situations. It’s like the difference between District 1 and District 12 in the Hunger Games.

I guess it says a lot about me that I’m choosing to watch the tree lighting instead. But come on. It’s the holidays. We’re days away from Christmas and Hanukkah. Thanksgiving just ended.

I understand that having the right to protest is what makes our country so unique and special. But don’t I also have the right to remain ignorant to current events?

If you’re so passionate about something that you want to march in the cold, or lie down in the middle of disgusting Grand Central Station, then bless you. You have a much stronger will than I do.

And as I type this, the tree was just lit, and a chorus is singing “Joy to the World.”

Indeed, we could all use a little bit of joy right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t bring myself to care about this Peter Pan live show

It’s seemed like you haven’t been able to watch anything on television the past couple of weeks without escaping publicity for the upcoming live performance of Peter Pan on NBC this Thursday.

Whether it’s a commercial, a graphic, or one of its cast members appearing on a talk show, it’s really being promoted to death.

Allison Williams Peter PanMaybe it’s because I’m just not a theatrical person, but I don’t really see the novelty in a television show being live. Is it supposed to dictate my opinion of the production?

It’s one thing to pay money to see a Broadway play, and watch world-class actors entertain you on a stage. That’s why people go to the theater; to see live shows they couldn’t see anywhere else.

The majority of what we see on television, meanwhile, is heavily edited. And the viewer is really none the wiser. As long as the final product is crisp and compelling, then that’s all that matters.

So I’d be perfectly content if NBC was airing a performance of Peter Pan that wasn’t live. I’d be equally as intrigued (which still equates to very little).

That being said, I understand why the network is doing it. Being able to say something is live gives it more panache. It makes it more interesting and unique. Look no further than last year’s The Sound of Music Live!, which, although received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, was a giant commercial success as the most-watched program of the evening.

Peter Pan Live!, starring Allison Williams, will probably follow the same route. I mean, three million people watched a special called The Making of Peter Pan Live! last week. Are you kidding me? That literally must have been as boring as it sounds.

Although, I must ask: why must Peter Pan look like a skinny lesbian? I really don’t mean to sound like a misogynist or be politically incorrect, but how else could I phrase it? It’s a male character being played by a skinny female with short hair. Is that really what J.M. Barrie had in mind?

Just because he has zero muscle, can fly, uses fairy dust, and has a best friend named Tinkerbell doesn’t mean that … eh, nevermind. That’s pretty much as feminine as it gets.

What makes it worse is that Allison Williams is an extremely pretty girl with radiant, flowing hair. She should be a model for a L’Oreal commercial, not playing a wimpy man child who wears a green tunic made of leaves.

I’m not saying I’m going to avoid watching it come Thursday, but I really just don’t know if I’m going to care.

Or maybe I’m just a Lost Boy, searching for a reason to believe.