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Evaluative Claim: Stephen Curry is the Best Shooter of All Time

Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter who has ever played the game of basketball. One reason he is considered so great is because of the accuracy in which he makes his shots. The NBA 3-point shot is 24 feet away. The average percentage of this shot across the league is 35%. When Steph shoots an average distanced three, he makes it 44% of the time. When players shoot from 30-35 feet away, which is considered a long distance three, the NBA average is 22%. When Steph Curry decides to shoot from this range, he averages a staggering 48%. He is also currently 3rd on the NBA’s all time 3-pointers made list. It took him 655 games to do this, while the retired Jason Terry, who is number 4 on that list, took 1,410 games. While he is making threes at an astonishing rate, some may think that he is then the 3rd best shooter, or somewhere up on that list, but not definitively #1. But he is in a situation that is unlike the 2 shooters above him, he is still on an NBA team. Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, the only players that have made more threes, retired in 2005 and 2014 respectively. They each have 18 completed seasons under their belt, while Steph is still considered to be in the prime of his athletic ability in his 11th season. Assuming he played the same amount of seasons with the same pace of 3-pointers made, he would finish his career with 4,076 threes made. Ray Allen currently holds the record with 2,973. His style of play is also very unique compared to other shooters. Both Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, as most shooters, were primarily catch-and-shoot players. Steph’s ability to shoot off the dribble or create his own shot is unlike ever before. He has remarkable handling ability, composure, and the clutch gene all shooters need in order to be feared. In addition, Curry also holds the record for the most 3-pointers made in a single season, at 402. In fact, he’s played 3 seasons that belong in the top 4 for most threes made in a season. He has made the most threes out of anyone else in a season 5 different times, the next most being 3 by Ray Allen. One advantage Steph has had throughout his career was the genetics and knowledge passed down from his father, Dell Curry, who was considered one of the best shooters at the time of his NBA career. Through all stages of his basketball career, he was given key pieces of information and strategy that allowed him to develop his game the way he has. Steph also played on a Golden State Warriors team that consistently had at least 3-4 other all-star caliber players, which makes it hard for teams to focus defensively on one guy. Other players in the past, such as Magic “Ervin” Johnson, have needed to be not doubled, but triple teamed at times while teams going against the Golden State Warriors cannot afford to do so. While he has had a few helpful factors in his NBA career, he belongs to a very exclusive club of former and current NBA players called the “50-40-90” club or the “180” club. This group of players are the only ones to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from three-point territory, and 90% from the free throw line. This club represents players who were able to shoot at a high percentage from all areas of the floor. Often times, a player will reach this feat in 1 or 2 of the categories, but only 7 players have ever been able to shoot well enough for all 3 since the NBA began using a 3-point line in 1979.

Evaluative Claim: The Kardashians Are Overrated Celebrities

Everyone knows of or has heard of the Kardashians, the name is incredibly famous, and no one can argue that they are famous. They have a TV show based on just their family, Kim is one of the most searched celebrities on the internet, Robert Kardashian, their father, was a famous lawyer, Caitlyn Jenner is one of their in-laws, Kim and Kylie are two of the most followed individuals on Instagram with over 150 million followers each, but how did they get this famous? The Kardashians are famous for being famous, not for their talents, authenticity, or creative contribution like other celebrities and entertainers; they are overrated.

Their mother, Kristen Mary “Kris” Houghton, divorced from Robert, and married Caitlyn Jenner, who was then Bruce Jenner, and they had Kendall and Kylie. Robert Kardashian, the father of Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob, defended O.J. Simpson in his 1994 murder trial, where Robert got his fame due to trials controversy and coverage. The Kardashians had already gotten fame because of their father being O.J.’s lawyer, but in the early 2000’s, Kim was a personal assistant to Paris Hilton, during the peak of her fame, where she made appearances on her show and appeared in her paparazzi shots, and she was the personal assistant and stylist of Lindsay Lohan, as well as other celebrities. Her guest appearances brought more notoriety to the family before Robert died in 2003. In 2014, Kim’s bare bottom was released on the front cover of the magazine, PAPER, with the caption, “Break the Internet.” At this point was when the Kardashian name had reached its peak in searches. A writer for Time magazine commented that female celebrity nudes often hold some sort of meaning or message, aimed towards a repressed society or with the goal of tearing down barriers, however, the writer says “We want there to be something more, some reason or context, some great explanation that tells us what it is like to live in this very day and age, but there is not. Kim Kardashian’s ass is nothing but an empty promise.” The peak of the Kardashian’s fame was nothing but a publicity stunt, aimed to provoke the internet in crude ways, not for a hit song or a critically acclaimed movie. In comparison to celebrities who are self-made, the Kardashians lack talent.

The Kardashians also have a reality TV show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” still airing from 2007. While this TV show is the longest airing reality TV show, it lacks all authenticity and ruins the public’s view of what it’s like to be famous. Advertised as a look into their lives, the TV show has staged multiple things, such as two marriage proposals and multiple fights, and glamorizes the fame and fortune of the family, giving a false sense of their reality in order to increase their viewings for a profit. It’s hard to feel like a celebrity is authentic when their life as you view it is staged. Compared to a celebrity like Ryan Reynolds, the Kardashians are not authentic in the slightest, when faced by 20th Century Fox to change the character of Deadpool to promote a more “child friendly hero movie,” in order to increase viewing and box office profits, he did not back down on keeping Deadpool as profane as his character is intended to be, in fact, he even took the Deadpool suit for himself after the filming was complete, after they told him not to. Ryan Reynolds is passionate about the roles he plays, he’s a talented actor, and he’s a genuine person; in comparison, the Kardashians are greedy, untalented, and ingenuine.

The Kardashian’s have had a few creative contributions such as their TV show, fashion lines, as well as their make up lines. However, where is the originality in these? The Kardashians were never pioneers of the reality TV show, nor is theirs considered to be “good.” Their show has been criticized as “lacking intelligence” as well as for its obsession with fame and money. Their fashion and makeup lines put nothing original or new on the table, and they aren’t pioneering anything new anytime soon either. In comparison to the amount of attention they receive, they give little contribution in return.

The Kardashians, famous for being famous, owe none of their fame to anything of meaning, or to any of their own work as opposed to other celebrities who can be called self-made. Their life is a staged, glamorized drama, and those watching from the outside are watching their clown show. The Kardashians are overrated, please stop paying attention to them.

Evaluative Claim: Twitter is a Reliable News Source – Khadija Ahmed

 

    Twitter is an extremely popular social media outlet where many people get their news from. Twitter has millions of daily users, with many getting up and checking it right away. Twitter, is no doubt, entertaining, yet, very politically driven. As the President of the United States uses this app as a public forum, many people also use this platform to broadcast their strong opinions as well. This begs the question, is twitter a reliable news source? It definitely is because as any news source, it reports important information and allows people to form their own opinions on issues. 

    As stated earlier, Twitter is very popular worldwide, whether people are using their app or a web browser. One reason why it is so popular is because of modern day politics. With every new policy, everyone has an opinion. Especially considering President Trump tweets quite often, many people interact with his tweets daily. However, the President is not the only public figure who tweets regularly, as most celebrities and political figures do. This not only gives celebrities and political figures a free, accessible, public forum to talk to their fans, it also allows fans to interact with them easily. By allowing public figures to share news with people directly through Twitter, this creates an objective news source for the public. 

    While many people can speak freely on Twitter, that does not discredit the authenticity of Twitter’s news source. Official news sources such as ABC 6, NPR, and many others tweet frequently with news that would be reported on TV or Radio, just like regular news. They provide pictures, elaborate extensively with threads, and links with more information to their official websites. If Twitter users are hearing directly from officially news sources, what can be more reliable than that? Not to mention, people are free to comment, quote tweet, retweet, reply, and send these news updates to anyone. The public can interact with the news freely, including being able to challenge them as well by direct messaging them or just simply replying to them. Surely, there are many people who would like to question TV news sources who do not seem as objective, such as FOX who seems partial to right-wing politics. By Twitter falling into these categories, it can most definitely be classified as a reliable news source. 

Evaluative Claim: Travis Scott and the Art of the Concert

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of music in the past year, chances are you’ve heard of Travis Scott. The Houston-based rapper has hit the mainstream of global music with his recent album, AstroWorld, topping the charts of Billboard for weeks at a time. The eagerly anticipated album came after a 3-year hiatus where even a feature was hard to come by. The album boomed, hitting platinum a little over a month later. Even with his incredible commercial success, what sets Travis apart from the rap artists today is his concerts. His energy and atmosphere is incredible by any standard, and his setup surrounding each of his shows is unique. Judging off his musical performance and the stage extras he brings, Travis Scott is one of the best live rap concerts money can buy.

Starting with Travis’s performance itself, you’d be hard pressed to find someone with more passion on stage. When I saw him live in concert, he jumped out from a trap door and immediately began jumping and sprinting around stage on beat to the music. I was honestly impressed he could even rap along doing that much exercise. His music translates well to convert venues with booming bass being at the forefront of what he wants in much of his music, so you can really feel every song. His stage presence –or should I say offstage presence– Is one of the best I’ve ever seen from any artist, regardless of genre. He always makes sure to make each concert crazy in different ways, whether that be by organizing mosh pits, crowd surfing, throwing articles of clothing in the crowd, or bringing fans on stage to ride his rollercoaster set. No matter his antics, he always finds a way to keep the crowd interested in him as the main event.

On the atmosphere, his stage setup and extras give his concerts the extra bit of panache that makes a performance special. His stage setups are always themed to his album, and the one for AstroWorld was no different. With the theme park imagery of rollercoasters and a gargantuan astronaut inflatable blow-up, Travis wanted people to feel what it was like to be visiting the real AstroWorld down in Houston all those years ago. His LED portal centered behind the stage gave snippets of the real AstroWorld along with warped graphics and song specific imagery that made the concert personal and unique. This being said, what I feel was the best way to personalize the concert for each city was the features he brought out for some of the cities on tour. For each of his concerts he would have his star-studded openers of some combination of Gunna, Trippie Redd, and/or Sheck Wes, but for some of the larger cities he would personally invite out artists to come perform with him who are linked to that city. For example, with Atlanta he brought out 2 Chainz, Future, Young Thug, and Rick Ross all to perform. Being headliners in their own right, he makes an incredible concert experience even better by bringing in the best talent rap has to offer.

For those who are fans of rap, there are few experiences better than what Travis Scott gave on his AstroWorld tour. For those who aren’t fans of Rap, Travis will nonetheless give you a concert for the senses as you feel the vibrating bass and heat of the pyrotechnics throughout the concert. For any fan of music, Travis Scott is a must see experience.

Evaluative Claim that Kaleb Wesson is the Best Player in College Basketball

In a recent ESPN article, they ranked the top basketball players in college. Kaleb Wesson, who I find to be the best overall player in today’s NCAA Division I, was ranked sixth on the list behind Cassius Winston who was ranked number one. In my opinion ESPN got it all wrong because Kaleb has the ability to impact the game on many other levels. Kaleb is bigger, has the ability to score from anywhere at a more efficient rate and can take over games just like a leader should.

Size is a valuable asset that plays an important role in how a player is able to play. Kaleb Wesson is gifted in the size category as he is 6’10 and weighs around 270 pounds. For most teams in college basketball he is a nightmare match up for opponents. The ability to use his large frame to get in position to grab rebounds and put hit opponents in positions where they are not able to make a play. Cassius Winston who is seen by many as the most talented basketball player right now is only 6’0 and weighs 180 pounds. Kaleb would be able to score easily on him in the post and would be able to shoot over Winston easily, however Winston would not be able to do that to Kaleb because Kaleb is just too big. Yeah Winston may be faster but Kaleb’s length gives him the ability to block shots even when he is a step behind the guy that he is defending. 

Kaleb Wesson brings is an efficient scorer from anywhere on the floor. A player that has the ability to stretch the floor is big in today’s game. Kaleb shot over 50% from the field and Winston only shot 46% from the field. Wesson also shot 33% from behind the three point line when most big man don’t even try to attempt threes in college. In a recent scrimmage Kaleb went 3 for 4 from behind the three point line as he was Ohio State’s most efficient scorer. 

Cassius Winston runs the point guard position at Michigan State which means that the offense runs through him so some may argue that he has a better opportunity to help his team win. However, at Ohio State offense actually runs through Kaleb in the post, pick and roll and pick and pop. When Ohio State needed points desperately last season, they would find a way to give Kaleb the ball. His passing ability and foot work allows him the ability to create his own shot and pass the ball if he got double teamed like he often did. Compared to other big man who are normally just given the ball when another player creates a shot for them by drawing their defender, Kaleb has proven that he can be a one man wrecking crew. 

 The idea that Kaleb Wesson would be ranked sixth in the nation is crazy talk. A player who NBA scouts are looking at that is able to score and play defense at a high rate with his unmatched size should allow for him to be the number one player in the nation next season.

Definitional Claim: The Jedi Order in the Star Wars Universe is not a Religious Order, but an Oligarchy

Throughout the prequel films in the Star Wars film chronology, we are led to believe through the actions of the protagonists that the Jedi Order is a force of good, dedicated towards protecting peace and order for the good of the Galactic Republic and the galaxy at large.  However, through my analysis (especially the events that occur in Episode 3), it has come to my attention that the Jedi Order is not a benevolent religious organization, but an oligarchy that continuously utilizes trained members of it’s organization in order to influence policy on the galactic scale.  My first criterion is that the Jedi Order resorts to a specialized and somewhat secret method of selecting individuals to allow into it’s rankings, by testing for a microbe present in a person’s bloodstream and allowing them entrance only when this microbe is above a certain threshold.  It is important to note that this process most often happens with the very young, in order to have them train throughout their childhood to become what is effectively a soldier.  Not only that, but the ruling body of the Order, in the form of the Jedi Council, only allow membership for those who they believe best exemplify the tenets of their order, and can refuse an individual who does not display these undefined qualities.  Thus, when Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker applied for entrance, even though his qualifications and abilities were far above what was expected, he was denied membership due to a differing ideology.  Another important criterion tied to this one is how intertwined the Jedi Order was with the Clone armies employed by the Republic.  During the Clone Wars, Jedi Knights and Masters would lead squads or even entire armies of troops into battle, giving them a surprising amount of influence and command over these soldiers.  In fact, this fraternization could have caused revolts within the army if not for the activation of control chips implanted within the Clones.  Thirdly, the Jedi viewed themselves as above the Galactic Law, following no code but that allowed in their belief of the “Light Side of the Force.”  Because of this, one particular incident involved Master Mace Windu attempting to overthrow Supreme Chancellor Palpatine through an assassination attempt.  When Anakin Skywalker attempted to stop the conflict, he even referenced the fact that the Jedi attempted this deed not through any legislative or judicial branches of the government, but instead sending team of hitmen.  Because of this attitude, the Jedi Order represented themselves as a group that is willing to go above the law in order to accomplish what they view as correct, even if they must violate any form of ethics.  It is because of this that the Jedi Order should be viewed as an oligarchy, as they have a selected group of individuals representing their own interests that are willing to subvert and twist the law to accomplish their goals.

Evaluative Claim: Matt Ryan is an Elite Quarterback

When most people think of elite quarterbacks, they think of the elite of the elite: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, etc. There’s nothing wrong with thinking of those, but there are of course many other quarterbacks who belong in the conversation. One quarterback that comes to mind is overlooked and under appreciated for his QBR, Completion Percentage, and flat out wins. This quarterback lives by the name of Matt Ryan.

“QuarterBack Rating” is one of the most effective ways to measure how well a quarterback plays. A lot of people judge the number without knowing what is consists of. QBR is an equation that uses passing yards, TDs, interceptions, and completion percentage. The greatest quarterbacks to play the game have high caliber numbers when it comes to this, and the record setting QBR for a quarterback in a season comes from Tom Brady in 2007 with and 88.2 rating. Most people would assume the next few would be followed by other big names like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, etc. However, number 6 on that list is held by none other than Matt Ryan’s 2016 season with an 83.3 rating. A rating that is quite frankly incredible. If being sixth highest of all time in anything doesn’t help contribute to being elite at that thing, then I don’t know what will.

Another vital measurement of a quarterback’s skill is their completion percentage. Why does it matter how far someone can throw the ball if they can’t get it on target and complete the catch to their receiver? In his last four years, Matt Ryan has averaged a completion percentage of roughly 69%. Unless your quarterback is Drew Brees, you aren’t getting better than that. That’s even better than Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers. Not only better but over 4% better than each and every one of them. The matter of fact is that Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback.

The final test for Matt Ryan will be the most important one: wins. Sure QBR is nice, and completion percentage is as well, but wins is what truly matters at the end of the day. Some quarterback who aren’t elite have been put in the Hall of Fame even just because they won when it mattered. Matt Ryan has 107 career wins. 107. That is 15th all time and he has played 11 seasons with fuel left in the tank. He has made it to a super bowl and been deep in the playoffs many times as well. Yes, he did have that infamous 28-3 choke against the Patriots, but I would argue that is on Kyle Shanahan’s lack of running the ball rather than Matt Ryan’s arm. Some elite quarterbacks sadly never win a Super Bowl. Heck some only win one. Aaron Rodgers is one of the top 3 greatest if not the best, and he has only ever gotten one. Not because he’s not elite, but because it is a team sport. The point is Matt Ryan does his part day in and day out and that has led to a quarterback franchise record in not only wins but passing yards, TDs, QBR, and many other things.

In the end this question may be debated but when it comes down to it, Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback. His wildly good QBR, along with his effective completion percentage, and consistent wins make up his elite status in the NFL. When it is all said and done, whether the Lombardi trophy resides in his hands or not, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as one of the best to do it.

 

Causal Claim: Instagram creates unrealistic expectations for society.

Instagram is a social media entertainment application founded in 2010 that focuses on user’s ability to share photos and videos. However, the premise of Instagram has shifted from a media sharing service to world where influencers promote products, and regular people upload edited and distorted perceptions of reality. In this day and age, Instagram creates unrealistic expectations for society.

A main feature of Instagram is the home page, in which users are able to scroll through to see pictures and videos that people they “follow.” The home page is a good way to keep up with your loved ones activities, however images people post are typically of the highlights of their life. Photos can be uploaded in groups of 1 through 10, and videos can only be shared up to a minute long. By restricting users, Instagram forces picking and choosing, giving people an even further reason to only post their very best. Being bombarded by constant positivity and images of people who seem to be having the “time of their lives” can have negative effects on people viewing these images day after day. Because it does not capture all events, after consistent exposure viewers believe that other people are truly always happy, and can be concerned that they are not as well off as the rest of the world. University of Pennsylvania researcher Melissa Hunt proved this effect in her 2018 study on “Social Media, Depression and Loneliness.” She wrote, When viewing someone else’s curated life online, it’s easy to see their perfect pictures and think their lives are better than yours.”

In addition to the home page, Instagram users can go to the “explore page” (a term coined by Instagram itself) in order to look for certain people, hashtags, or brands. Instagram’s algorithm puts popular posts at the top, many of which are of models or fitness accounts. These models are often paid by companies to promote products or events, and their posts are heavily edited using tools such as Facetune, a face editing app, or VSCO, a filter app that changes lighting to appeal to the eye. In an article about Instagram models by Cosmopolitan from January 2017, author Olivia Fleming wrote, “Everyone I spoke to for this story admitted to retouching photos of themselves in some way—even if a filter was all they added.” Although this could be seen as promoting confidence, the model (literally) of perfection can lead to unsuspecting viewers questioning their own looks. The relevance of image translates to simple things such as looking in the mirror, going out with friends and feeling confident as you perform daily tasks. A healthy life begins with a positive body image, and the viewing of Instagram’s edited models makes beauty standards unattainable and wildly unrealistic.

A common argument is that social media makes the world more open and provides a connection to the world. In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, social media leads to the  “the empowerment of people.” This may be true, but at what cost? Instagram has positive aspects, such as exposure and community, but it also builds an unrealistic expectation for day-to-day life that slowly deteriorates the mindset of youth and adults alike. Is the benefit of connection worth the insecurities, loneliness and societal norms that become prevalent and destructive?

Definitional Claim of the Melanie Martinez Concert

There are a lot of characteristics that go into an alternative concert. Usually, performances are relatively un-choreographed. The performer feeds mostly off of the audience while they participate in an event called “moshing,” which is something you should expect at any alternative concert in the pit. Melanie Martinez, an alternative singer, did give a great performance in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend, However, it was not an alternative concert. I have been to many concerts before, and have never experienced something quite like this.

Throughout the performance, Martinez managed to have a costume change for almost every single song. Most alternative artists tend to stick with only a few, if any outfit changes at all. One of the more memorable costumes was during “Strawberry Shortcake” where she was in a blow up dress so large, she towered over both her background dancers and the audience. This is something almost unheard of in alternative concerts. Just a quick search on Youtube will show you the more laid back outfits of other alternative bands and performers. She also incorporated a scene change into every song. Props were brought out onto the stage in between every song, while the background changed as well. Most alternative performances generally just use lighting and smoke to create a “scene” or rather a “vibe” for each song. 

One major aspect that set the K-12 performance apart from other alternative concerts, was the storyline that went along with it. While most alternative concerts typically involve intoxicated, performers singing and dancing to relatively un-choreographed moves, Martinez did much more. The production began with a video of a substitute teacher named “Ms. Victoria.” The character continuously spoke to the audience throughout the show, teaching the audience different “life lessons.” Martinez began the first song of the show with the first song off of the album, “Wheels On the Bus,” and continued going through the album in order for the entire duration of the concert. Each song showed a different aspect of the K-12 school experience Martinez attempted to portray. This left the crowd following along with a storyline, something that many alternative concerts do not require their audience to do. The lyrics truly supplied that “alternative vibe” one can expect at a concert like this, but in actuality it seemed more like a show than a concert. The audience never moshed once. They were kept waiting and watching what would happen next on stage. Martinez danced to choreographed numbers along with background dancers, despite the fact that most alternative performances do not incorporate background dancers. 

Melanie Martinez’s K-12 concert was an unforgettable event. However, it did not have many of the aspects of regular alternative concerts. While Martinez may be an alternative singer, she is certainly not an alternative performer. The aspects of her concert made for a great performance, just not an expected one for her genre.

Steve Irwin: Claim of Value as a Teacher

Not all teachers are created equal. Asking even the most quiet of individuals about their least favorite teacher from when they were in school can get them onto a heated rant about what tortures they endured throughout their class. The same could also be said about their favorite teacher. If one were to listen to all the things people said about his or her favorite teachers, the qualities of patience, knowledge of their subject, engaging lessons, and dedication to their craft would doubtless be brought up. When looking at all of these beneficial qualities, it is clear to see that the greatest teacher to ever teach is Stephen Robert Irwin. Steve Irwin is the greatest all around teacher because of the massive influence he has had on over 500 million viewers in 100 countries.
Part of what makes Steve Irwin so great is his ability to cater to all viewers. Seldom have the words, “I hate the Crocodile Hunter!” ever been uttered from a disgruntled watcher. Young and old alike can enjoy the childlike wonder he approaches nature with. Perhaps this is partly because he is so patient with the animals he deals with—even when being bitten, scratched, or squeezed. One clip in particular comes to mind of when he was being interviewed while holding a non-venomous python around his neck. The snake bites Irwin’s neck while he is talking about what makes pythons so dangerous, and he at first tries to continue talking, but eventually tells the interviewer that it was biting him when he realizes it’s not going to let go. He never loses composure or looks even remotely scared, he just tells the camera man to zoom in on his neck before he unwraps the snake. When the snake lets go, he immediately puts it right back around his neck and continues talking as if nothing happened. The thing that makes him so different than other wildlife explorers is that he understands that he’s coming into these animals’ homes and causing ruckus, and this is just their natural reaction to the situation.
Steve Irwin has gone on record as to have said, “Yeah, I’m a thrill seeker, but crikey, education’s the most important thing,” further proving the outdoorsman’s primary motivation for his program: to help people learn. Irwin also understood that learning about animals teaches people to understand themselves. For example, another one of his famous quotes is, “Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.”
Irwin is immortalized by his patience and passion for his craft. His patience and composure with the Animals he deals with is so engaging and admirable that it can draw anyone in. Viewers are drawn in by the shocking footage of him and his crew taking down a 15 foot croc, but then stay to watch his child-like wonder and compassion as he looks into the eyes of a tarantula. His passion is contagious—he is so full of love that it overflows out of him and inspires men, women, and children all over the world.
It cold be said that Steve Irwin was born to play the part; his parents being the owners of a reptile park, which would later be known as the Australia Zoo. With his tragic death immortalizing him as a saint of the animal science world in 2006, his kids are looking to pick up right where he left off—they, along with their mother, recently opened an elephant hospital in Sumatra—a lifelong goal of Steve’s. What else could be expected from the direct lineage of such legend in the natural science world

Causal Claim: So Far Gone changed the rap game forever

When people think of Drake and his work, they probably think of Take Care, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, and Scorpion. But they cannot forget So Far Gone, Drake’s decade-old third mixtape.This classic mixtape propelled Drizzy to new heights and is a huge contributing factor to his current success. However, So Far Gone did not only affect its creator. It also changed the rap game forever, for multiple reasons.

It is rather surprising that So Far Gone is a mixtape. It consists of 18 songs and lasts an hour and 13 minutes, both of which are pretty substantial for a mixtape. Even Drake himself realizes its similarities to an album, rapping “Dropped a mixtape, that s*** sounded like an album” on his 2009 track “Forever.” As a result, the perception of mixtapes was altered for many, as many artists began to make mixtapes that could also be mistaken for albums. Examples include J. Cole’s The Warm Up, Wiz Khalifa’s Kush & OJ, the late Mac Miller’s K.I.D.S., and A$AP Rocky’s Long Live A$AP. More recent examples include Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage and The Perfect LUV Tape, as well as Playboi Carti’s self-titled debut mixtape. All of these projects are extremely popular, showing So Far Gone’s impact on mixtapes, which thus has had a huge impact on rap.

In addition to changing mixtapes, So Far Gone also changed the substance of rap. There are many instances in So Far Gone where Drake merges lyricism and R&B. On the track “Houstatlantavegas,” Drake sings “Until you find yourself it’s impossible to lose you.” This style from the six god on So Far Gone is one that that Drake has nearly perfected throughout his career. It also showed that Drake was not afraid to take risks, as many rappers shy away from singing on their tracks. However, on So Far Gone, Drake embraced singing, inspiring others to do the same. In other words, many other artists have followed this style of Drake, including The Weeknd, Bryson Tiller, Tory Lanez, and Ty Dolla $ign, all of whom are prominent figures in the rap game.

Finally, the success of So Far Gone symbolizes Drake’s successful transition from an actor to a rapper. Drake starred on the Canadian television show ‘DeGrassi’ for eight years before turning into the rap icon he is today, and So Far Gone serves as the turning point for that switch in Drake’s career. It has also inspired others to do the same. Up-and-coming rapper and former actor DDG is essentially modeling his career path after Drake’s. In an interview with “Genius,” he states “The reason I know Drake is from ‘DeGrassi,’ I used to literally watch ‘DeGrassi’ every day. If he could do it, and be at the top for 10 years, who says I can’t?” Prior to Drake, the rap game had not seen many actors making the change to rap, but due to Drake’s legendary career, which is largely due to the success of So Far Gone, some actors are now trying to model ChampagnePapi. 

So Far Gone will always be remembered as a classic and the foreshadowing of Drake’s legendary career. However, its influence and impact on rap as a whole will also always be remembered. Due to its changing of the perceptions of mixtapes, combination of lyricism and R&B, and serving as proof that actors can turn into successful rappers, So Far Gone changed the rap game forever.

Definitional Argument: Why Piet Mondrian’s “Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow” is a Work of Art

Have you ever come across a piece of art and asked yourself, “if it’s so easy to make, then why should we consider it art?” Many people stumble across this same question when viewing Piet Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow—a 59.5cm by 59.5 cm canvas covered by several white, red, blue, and yellow blocks. When comparing a Mondrian painting to a Romantic era painting, such as an Albert Bierdstat, it is easy to see why many viewers are left saying “a kindergartner can do that” in regard to Mondrian’s work. While Romantic era paintings are created to mimic how real life appears (known as “representation”), abstract art—such as Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow—does just the opposite. All art conveys a message but just takes different avenues to communicate the message to the viewer. Piet Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow is artwork because a piece does not need to use representation to convey a message in order to be considered real art. 

A large reason that the general public rejects abstract art is because they do not understand its purpose; abstract art, unlike other forms of art, is not meant to depict reality using detailed shapes and forms, but instead convey an idea. Piet Mondrian’s piece does exactly that. Mondrian meant for his piece to convey the idea that geometric principles and color can be used to create a spiritual definition of reality without use of standard representational content. Because abstract art doesn’t attempt to represent the world with realistic images in its message, it loses much of the public’s interest. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Piet Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow both convey messages, but because Da Vinci’s painting presents the familiar image of a woman against a rural background, as opposed to Mondrian’s abstract colored blocks, the Da Vinci’s painting is easier to read. For this reason, many people mistakenly believe that Mondrian’s piece is meaningless because they do not understand how to correctly read the piece. Reading abstract pieces, like Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow, is a skill that takes practice to develop.

Mondrian’s abstract piece may not always be aesthetically pleasing, but that does not warrant it to be disregarded as art. Finding a work to be ugly is a subjective matter—someone may dislike a painting but that does not necessarily mean that they should disregard its definition as art. Why shouldn’t this concept apply to abstract art? We may dislike how Mondrian doesn’t communicate his message by creating an image resonating with reality, but that does not give us reason to dismiss the piece as art. Art is a language and if a piece is attempting to transmit a message—aesthetically pleasing or not—it is still considered art. The language that Mondrian uses in his painting is not as familiar to us as Picasso’s “Guernica.” In “Guernica,” there are clear symbols that we know how to interpret because we see them in everyday life, such as a bull, horse, and woman. Yet, this picture is not aesthetically pleasing—it is a gruesome depiction of the bombing of a Spanish town. Still, no one would dare dismiss a painting by Picasso as “not art.” We may not like how Mondrian chose to convey his message in Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow , but that does not merit us to claim it is not art. Objectively, painting without representation is simply just another avenue of conveying a message. Subjectively, the general public may find that painting in this way is distasteful. 

All art conveys a message, and abstract art is simply another category of art that communicates its message without realistic representation. Therefore, a piece does not need to be representational to be considered art. Because Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow conveys a message without representation, it should be considered art.

Causal Argument: Mental Mistakes and the Cleveland Browns

If you’re a notorious Cleveland Browns fan, you can sympathize with the annual dread of raising hopes and dreams for a successful season, only to be let down after watching a few games. The time has come, and 2019 has shown to be no different, with the Browns starting the season with a 2-5 record. However, with numerous new players and potential, talent is not the main contributor for the team’s failure like years before. The NFL is a league of professionals who master precision, technique, and skill. This leaves little room for mental error when trying to win a game, yet the Browns have made an abundant amount of mental mistakes, resulting in only two wins nearly halfway through the season.

    When it comes to analyzing mental error in a professional football game, there are many contributing factors that come into play, all relating to the players, coaching staff, and front office. While it is easy to put the blame on one or the other, the Browns have mentally failed in every aspect.

 To start, when it comes to the players, the Browns lead the league in penalties with 70, averaging 10 a game. Useless penalties can be easily avoided by remembering the snap count, watching the football, and competing physically in a fundamental manner- AKA not holding. In addition, the Browns are 29th in the league with a minus-9 turnover margin, and tied for the league lead in interceptions with 12. Nick Chubb has fumbled and lost the football three times, which can easily be terminated by remembering to put two hands over the football with incoming contact. Many interceptions have been a result from mental error and miscommunication between Baker Mayfield and his receivers. In reality, turnovers committed by the Cleveland Browns could have been prevented with mental clarity and preparation. Granted, the Browns are the third youngest team in the NFL with a lot of new offensive talent (OBJ, Antonio Callaway, Kareem Hunt, etc.), and should be able to improve mentally as time progresses. 

The mental embarrassment can not be fully blamed upon the players, however. For any avid Browns fan, it is bluntly obvious that Brown’s head coach, Freed Kitchens, play calling has been questionable and mediocre at best. In one instance-week 3- he was crazy enough to call a draw play on a 4th and 9 when the Browns were driving for a potential tying score on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. No team has attempted a draw in such circumstances in the last 12, which is completely unacceptable. The coaches needs to put more urgency and intellect into the play calling and formations, or the front office will have no choice but to replace a chunk of the coaching staff, something that has become a norm to the Browns over the years. 

Mental incapability of players and coaches has been prevalent by the Cleveland Browns throughout the 2019 season, yet they’re implications and aspects that affect lack of logic. The young age and staggering potential of the team provides a sense of hope for a turnaround as the season progresses, and the schedule is evidently easier as the games pass by. With easier matches to come and more time for chemistry to be built among a newly formed team, there is still reason for all Browns fans to remain positive and have faith in a bright future. 

Causal Claim that Social Media Is Making Journalists’ job harder

Causal Claim that social media is making journalists’ job harder than ever before

In the past, news spread through print outlets and radio and television broadcasts. But who really listens to that anymore? I know I don’t mainly receive my news by watching television. Millennials mostly get their news from social media outlets, including me, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Generally, social media, when it comes to mass communication, is viewed positively, but what about what social media does to the journalists? Because of the creation and huge success of these apps, the way the public received information altered, changing journalism forever and making journalists work even harder to share the stories they want to present.

Firstly, social media enables many to communicate with others through many platforms: direct messaging, liking a post, and commenting. By doing this, social media empowers individuals to spread news, discuss that information with others, and start a world debate. According to a study conducted by Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch and S. Shyam Sundar at The Ohio State University, “About one-third of Internet users have contributed specifically to the creation or dissemination of news via social media by commenting on a story on a news website, posting a link to a news story on an SNS, or even creating their own original news material” (Hirsch and Sundar 1). These words show that the world no longer needs to rely on the media to receive news.

Consequently, this ability to post anything can ruin the credibility of many. Anyone with a social media account can post something at any time, whether it is true or not and have a large group believe it. And today’s technology with photoshop makes lying even easier. This loss of credibility is clearly seen with the fake news movement that is destroying the public-journalist relationship, for many don’t know who to believe on social media. Also, social media forces journalists to write on a certain topic when it is highly talked or debated about on the outlets. So now, the journalists’ control over their work and what they want to publish is rapidly declining.

With these factors weighing in, it is clear that because of the spread of social media, journalists have to compete with public to maintain their credibility and to do their job. Social media has caused a decline in print journalism—one because it is faster, and two, because many are too lazy to read a long article, and jobs are cut. Journalists have to not only compete with other journalists to get a story out, but now journalists must beat the public to publish a news story first. Now that everyone now possesses the power of sharing news stories, many wonder why journalists are needed when people can just post online. Yet, journalists do still hold a the power to mold what we as a public think. Journalists are credible, it’s their job to be, but social media strips them of that when the public discredits them.

While many might believe that social media helps journalists by spreading the article to a larger audience and making it easier to the audience to locate an article. But most social media users do not click on the article, they just read the headline.

Social media has a bevy of benefits, however, it’s impact on many industries rises. Society is now addicted to social media in every aspect—sharing photos, posting events, and publishing news stories and their opinions on them. Because of this, social media makes journalism even harder, as journalists work twice as hard to get their jobs done before someone else can. Social media is a faster, more efficient way to spread news, mainly because it is easier and majority of the population uses it. Therefore, society is changing, and journalists have to adapt in order to keep their jobs. The demand for reporters are not as high anymore.

 

Work Cited:

Oeldorf-Hirsch, Anne and Sundar, Shyam S. “Posting, commenting, and tagging: Effects of sharing news stories on Facebook.” Computers in Human Behavior. 44, Dec. 2014, 240-249. Elsevier, www.elsevier.com/locate/comphumbeh.

Jesus is King is a mediocre gospel rap album [evaluative claim]

Evaluative Claim: Jesus is King is a mediocre gospel rap album

Kanye West returns for his 9th solo album, Jesus is King, which released on October 25th, 2019. This 11 song, 27-minute album was highly anticipated due to the success of his other albums, like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Graduation and due to the flop of his recent album Ye. It was also hyped up due to his popularity as a celebrity and icon. Kanye West gave this album two different release dates and didn’t deliver before dropping the album months later. Kanye West is known for lying to his fans, in fact, his albums arrive an average of 130 days late, making some impatient, while the hype grows for others. Jesus is King started a few years ago with the leaked name Yandhi, during the making of this album, Kanye had a revelation, he found his love for God and Christianity. He’s always been Christian, evident in songs like “Jesus Walks” on The College Dropout in 2004 and even in his collaborative album Kids See Ghosts with artist Kid Cudi. 12.5% of bars in this album are religious, but Kanye turned a new leaf, and found a new light in Christianity.

            Jesus is King was advertised as a gospel rap album, and that isn’t inaccurate. 94.6% of his bars are religious, and only 22 bars are secular, and 13 of those are on a feature by Clipse on the song “Use This Gospel”. To keep the gospel vibe, Kanye doesn’t use a single cuss word, the first time he has done this in his 15-year discography span. He also uses a church choir, saxophones, and the occasional organ for the gospel sound. This doesn’t mean Jesus is King lived up to the hype or was even advertised properly. Before I go into my evaluation, let’s look at reviews. Jesus is King is on track to become Kanye West’s lowest rated album to date with a critic score hovering at 54-56 and a 5.7 user score. For example, MBDTF, like mentioned earlier has a 94-critic score, and a 9.0 user rating. Let’s look at why this album has ultimately failed. First is due to the hype and the wait, without a masterpiece, fans were certain to be upset. Next is due to the short run time, 27 minutes is incredibly short for a full-length album, but has been a Kanye custom as of late. Ye had a run time of less than 24 minutes, while The College Dropout was 76 minutes long. Next was due to the fact the album was less about Christianity, and more about Kanye West. Here’s an example “What have you been hearin’ from the Christians? / They’’ be the first one to judge me / Make it feel like nobody love me”. This has always been a problem with Kanye due to his massive ego and this album is no different. In 2012, Kanye rapped “The media crucify me like Christ” for his interaction with Taylor Swift at the VMA’s. This is an insanely egotistical line and doesn’t seem very Christ-like. Another issue fans have with this album is the lyrical content. In older albums, Kanye has some nice lyrics and bars. For example “ And what’s a Black Beatle anyway, a f*cking roach/ I guess that’s why they got me sitting in f*cking coach/My guy said I need a different approach/ Cause people is looking at me like I’m sniffing Coke” and even “ Inter century anthems based off inner city tantrums/ Based off the way we was branded/ Face it, Jerome get more time than Brandon/ And at the airport they check all through my bag/And tell me that it’s random”. The first lyric had good wordplay and rhyme scheme, while the second was true to the heart, and described the struggles of being black he faces every day. In 2019, Kanye West’s bars are a little different “Closed on Sunday, you mu Chick-Fil-A/ You’re my number one, with the lemonade”. This is incredibly weak, cringy, and has been given the meme treatment on social media. Another place where this album stumbles is the production and mixing. Kanye is known for innovative production, including the album Yeezus which paved the way for current production in trap music. Kanye want’s you to focus on the other elements of the album instead of the rushed, sloppy, and boring beats in this album, made by great producers including Pi’erre Bourne.

This doesn’t mean the album is horrible, because there are some upsides. Songs like “Selah” and “Every Hour” have a great choir sound, while songs like “Follow God” and “God is” are very deep and meaningful. He had good features including Ty Dolla $ign and the reunited Clipse. The album is listenable, and even praised by some hardcore Kanye fans for his beliefs and the jump he’s made away from what Kanye calls “the devil’s music”. Jesus is King had a chance to innovate gospel rap, specifically black gospel rap, bringing it into fruition, but ultimately failed and that’s why Kanye West’s Jesus is King is a mediocre gospel rap album.

How LeBron’s legacy changed with 1 draft pick (Causal Argument)

LeBron James is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. However, most people believe that Michael Jordan was a greater basketball player than LeBron. NBA players all around the world have modeled their playstyle after Jordan, most notably, Kobe Bryant and Kawhi Leonard. Many different events have led to this conclusion, but a change in a single draft pick a decade ago could have rewritten history and solidified LeBron James as the greatest of all time. This would change the style of play that the next generation of players would model their game after. In the 2009 NBA draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Stephen Curry out of Davidson with the 7th overall pick. This became the remote cause that led to LeBron’s less-favored position in the G.O.A.T. debate.  The New York Knicks had the very next pick and were set on drafting Curry if he was still available. Steph had openly expressed his desire to play in New York and even declined to work out for the Warriors prior to the draft. If the Knicks drafted Curry, the NBA would be changed forever, and LeBron James would be considered to be the G.O.A.T. However, Curry being drafted to Golden State became the precipitating cause of their dominance of the entire NBA for half a decade.

The Golden State Warriors would have never become the dominant dynasty that they have been known to be over the last 5 years. Instead, the Oklahoma City Thunder would take their place as the top team in the western conference. The Knicks would sign Carmelo Anthony in free agency instead of trading for him. The Knicks then begin to thrive with the duo of Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony, beating up on weaker teams in their division, such as the Toronto Raptors. With a slightly higher pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the Raptors take Dion Waiters, leading to the Phoenix Suns drafting Jeremy Lamb 13th overall instead of Houston Rockets 14th overall. In the summer where the Thunder were looking to trade 6th man, James Harden, the Rockets and the Suns were the top bidders. Originally the Suns were unable to complete a trade because they were short on assets compared to the Rockets. Now that they had Jeremy Lamb, they would be able to complete the trade, sending the future MVP to Phoenix. This move would propel the Suns to the top of the western conference competing with the Thunder for a finals appearance.

This gives LeBron and his Heat and Cavalier teams the opportunity to face weaker Thunder or Suns teams, instead of the juggernaut Warrior team that he faced in reality. LeBron James would have been able to win multiple more championships against these opponents. The largest boundary holding LeBron back from being the greatest of all time is his poor record in the NBA Finals (3-6). With all of these changes stemming from the one altered draft pick in 2009, along with many contributing causes, LeBron would have a 5-4 or 6-3 record in the finals, drastically changing how he is viewed amongst the basketball community and solidifying himself as the G.O.A.T. This shows how significant one single action can be. The ripple effect not only changed history for LeBron James, but it changed the route that every player and every team had to face for the rest of time.

 

AJR: Striking Visuals with Recorded Music (Evaluative Claim)

On October 18th, brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met (AJR) began their world tour at EXPRESS LIVE in Columbus, Ohio. Known for their previous songs of “Weak” and “Sober Up” from their 2017 album, “The Click,” the band premiered songs from their new album, “Neotheater.” The concert was opened up by Michael Blume with AJR coming out around 9:45. AJR produced a concert with elaborate and beautifully formed imagery and movement but struggled to find their mouths by the microphones to provide an actual live performance. For those reasons, a great band executed a mediocre concert. 

In many concerts, artists will typically associate a color with each song and add moving shapes in the background to keep the audience paying attention and engaged. However, AJR took steps beyond this simple idea and produced stunning backgrounds to add plot for the audience that paid to see them. For example, in “The Entertainment’s Here,” main vocalist Adam Met walks on a non-visual treadmill in front of the background of a moving cityscape. With an umbrella, Adam pushes away all the water that sprays up at him on the screen, signifying AJR’s growth as a band and how they have overcome the negatives that have come their way. This demonstration was beautiful to witness and added AJR’s interpretation of their own song, allowing the audience to find a deeper level of meaning beyond the lyrics and the recorded version of the song. 

With strengths comes weaknesses and AJR certainly had one evident weakness in their performance… heavily relying on recorded music. In most concerts, especially with hip hop or pop as the genre, many artists will have their recorded music in the background to use in case they need to take a breather or put the microphone out for the audience to sing. Typically, however, the microphone held by the artist will be amplify the voice of the singer louder than the recorded music playing over the speakers. This unfortunately was not the case in AJR. In songs such as “100 bad days” and “The Entertainment’s Here,” Adam struggled to get his mouth close to a microphone which resulted in the audience listening to the recorded music that they had previously been listening to on Spotify or Apple Music in anticipation for the concert. Even in “Dear Winter,” a slower song with only one singer and very little visual work going on in the background, the audience still heard very little live singing from the band. Although it did not ruin the concert, this flawed detail certainly made the audience ponder if they received their money’s worth and contributed to a sense of inferiority in comparison to other concerts happening around the world. 

AJR’s performance time was relatively short, only on stage for roughly an hour and fifteen minutes. However, they performed all of “Neotheater” while returning to a few of their old hits which turned out to be a great setlist. The concert cost was $60 for general admission which turned out to be too expensive for listening to mostly recorded music that one can get for free elsewhere. Overall, the experience was average at best and receives a 6/10 for wonderfully crafted visuals and lighting while lacking actual live performance. 

Conor McGregor is a great UFC fighter (Evaluative Claim)

Many people hate on this former UFC champion for his recent controversial acts, however that doesn’t change Conor McGregor’s impressive ability to fight in the UFC. Conor is not an undefeated fighter, but he still meets the requirements of a great fighter. There are a few certain skills that make a person a great fighter, and Conor possesses those abilities. Between having a great stand up and ground fighting, Conor McGregor is a great UFC fighter.

To begin evaluating McGregor, the first quality that makes a great fighter is mental game. Any true fighter knows that the fight starts long before stepping into the octagon, with the opponents going to press conferences and talking trash to each other to get in their opponent’s head. Conor has some of the best trash talk seen in person and on social media. It’s so good that it even allowed him to get his boxing license and while having a 0-0 record, fight arguably the best boxer in the game, Floyd Mayweather. If Conor can just get his license and step in front of every other boxer in line to fight Mayweather, it shows how good of a trash talker he is.

The next quality that great fighters possess is good timing. Conor, a well-known counter puncher, has some of the best timing in the UFC. It can be proved by watching his fight against Jose Aldo, where he knocked out Aldo in a championship record time of 13 seconds into the first round. Conor is great at timing and at times has been notoriously known for his “magical” left hand. He is also very good at reacting and defending against opponent grapples, having a takedown defense of seventy percent. Not too many can say they have the fastest knockout in UFC championship history, and McGregor can give credit to his impressive timing and fast reflexes.

One other quality that makes Conor McGregor a great UFC fighter is his versatility. McGregor has fought in different weight classes, and at one point was the Champion of two different weight classes at the same time, where he acquired the nick name “Champ Champ”. Not only did he achieve this feat, but he was also able to switch to boxing and go ten rounds with Floyd Mayweather, while not having any professional boxing experience before that fight. This means that Conor McGregor has a vast array of experience and due to this, he knows how to better analyze every situation and come out a better fighter than before, having built off his prior mistakes. All of the qualities listed above are the qualities of a great fighter, and these are the qualities that define Conor McGregor in the octagon. It can be seen from watching his fights that he has something special, and he has used it to become one the of the greats in the world of UFC.

“The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware is a Good Mystery Novel

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is a Good Mystery Novel

As an avid reader (especially of mysteries), I know that it can be hard to find a mystery novel that hooks you from the start, actually keeps you guessing, and is suspenseful. A good mystery will do all of these things and more. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is a good mystery novel because the twists and turns in the plot are unexpected, the action and suspense starts at the very beginning and carries through to the end, and there are several well-developed gothic tropes throughout the story. 

Any mystery can have plot twists and turns, but it takes unexpected convolutions to make a mystery novel good. Ruth Ware takes the story in directions that are not predictable, which keeps the story suspenseful and interesting. When Ambrose’s death is found to be a homicide, Kate immediately takes the blame. Readers believe this, despite Kate’s history of lying. Later in the book, we find out not only that Kate and Luc were in love, but that Luc is the one who killed Ambrose. Kate and Luc were not blood-related, but they were raised as brother and sister, which makes their secret romance unexpected. Luc found out that Ambrose knew about his relationship with Kate and planned to separate them by sending Luc back to his mother, which is why Luc murdered Ambrose. 

Some mysteries can start slow and only pick up speed toward the middle or end of the story. The Lying Game starts with suspense and holds the reader in until the end of the book. Good mystery stories must keep the reader’s attention from the beginning. At the start of The Lying Game, readers learn of Kate’s text to Isa, Fatima, and Thea. From Isa’s point of view, the text seems to bring about strong feelings of nervousness and anxiety, and Isa makes it clear that she knows the meaning of the text. As readers don’t know what the text means, but Isa does, there is a build-up of suspense behind the meaning of the “I need you” message. At the climax of the story, Isa’s baby is inside the house, which has caught on fire. This is highly suspenseful for readers, as a baby’s life is at stake. Luc and Kate go into the burning house and sacrifice their lives to save the baby. 

Gothic tropes are important in developing the atmosphere and overall validity of a novel as a good mystery. To develop a good mystery, several various gothic tropes are necessary. Ruth Ware uses darkness, isolation, dreams, narrative framing, and eroticism to strengthen her novel as a good mystery. A lot of the scenes that take place inside the tide mill house are in the dark because water has flooded the house and knocked the power out. The setting is typically dark and gloomy as well, as it takes place in England as winter approaches. Isa experiences isolation because there is tension between her and her husband, as he doesn’t know about the lie or where she’s been going. There is an instance where dreams are used in this story, and Isa has a dream about Luc in regards to her repressed feelings for him. The framing of the narrative is gothic, as we see only from Isa’s perspective, and have to put the storyline together with her as she learns new information from the other characters. A last Gothic trope that Ware uses is eroticism. The suspected reason for Ambrose’s “suicide” is that he had the girls pose naked and drew pictures of them, and these drawings were found. Also, Kate was in a secret romantic relationship with Luc, which was the real reason for Ambrose’s murder.

Ruth Ware thoroughly makes use of all the criteria necessary for a good mystery novel. Any mystery writer can use these criteria to write a mystery, but the criteria have to be executed in a specific way to make a mystery good, and Ware does all the right things with her execution in The Lying Game. The gothic tropes, relentless suspense, and unexpected plot twists in The Lying Game make it a good mystery novel and make it a diamond in the rough of cheesy, cliché mysteries. This story is one of the good ones: you’ll be hooked from the first page. 

 

Evaluative Argument that Albert Pujols is the Greatest Baseball Player of All-Time

No one in their right mind would ever argue that 10x All-Star, 3x MVP, and 2x World Series champion Albert Pujols is not a great baseball player. Pujols will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall-of-Farmer after he retires and he has enjoyed an illustrious career of nineteen years and-counting over the course of which he has totaled some absolutely incredible statistics. Looking at these statistics, however, it becomes clear that Pujols has eclipsed simply being a “great” baseball player and has firmly thrust himself into consideration for the greatest baseball player of all-time.

Let’s start by considering Albert Pujols’ two most important career milestones: he’s sixth on the list for all-time home runs in major league history and fourth in all-time RBIs, though he will almost certainly move up to third on the list of all-time RBIs by the end of next season. For points of comparison, Pujols has his more home runs than greats like Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and has more career RBIs than even the controversial Barry Bonds.

But what really stands as a testament to Pujols’ greatness was the absolutely historic tear that he went on during his first ten years as a player after entering the league in 2001. For ten years from 2001 to 2010, Albert Pujols had an average stat line of a .331 BA, 43 HR, 128 RBI, and 124 R per year. The fact that these are his average stats over ten separate 162-game seasons points to a level of sustained greatness that the MLB has not seen in the live-ball era. Let’s take a look at Josh Donaldson’s stats from his MVP season in 2015 to put this into perspective: .297 BA, 41 HR, 123 RBI, 122 R. In his first ten years in the league, Albert Pujols’ average stat line was better than that of 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson in every major category. In other words, over the course of an entire decade, Albert Pujols’ average stat line was an undoubtedly MVP-caliber season.

Now there have been players with better career statistics and more successful careers than Albert Pujols, but there are several factors that should disqualify those players from consideration as the greatest baseball player of all-time. Babe Ruth, for example, is often considered the best baseball player of all-time due to his absolute dominance of the MLB in the early 1900s. But Babe Ruth played baseball in an era with much less talented pitchers and in a time before Jackie Robinson broke the color line and opened the doors for black players to enter the MLB. As a result, Babe Ruth was not hitting against pitchers who were nearly as talented as those whom Pujols had to face throughout his career. If Babe Ruth were to play in the modern MLB, pitcher would be throwing so fast that he wouldn’t have enough time to get his massive 54-ounce hickory bat off his shoulder before the ball had already found the catcher’s mitt. The other popular candidate for the “greatest of all-time” debate would be Barry Bonds, who is not in the Hall of Fame and was exposed as a cheater for using steroids during his playing career, and therefore should not be considered the greatest of all-time.

Why We Should Watch Football on the Weekends // Ben Roller

Look everyone, we all work so hard. In high school, we spent four years working tirelessly to get into an institution such as The Ohio State University and we did it. Now that we are here, we have four or more years of work to set us up for the best possible career path. Despite working our butts off five days straight, we have bizarre professors saying we should spend the weekends, including Friday and Saturday, in the library. I can even recall one specific professor saying that books are our best friends. Was he kidding? We may never know.

To be clear, are books really our best friends? No…they are not. Our best friends are the people in our lives that we can chill out and watch some football with on the weekends. As students at The Ohio State University, there is no better way for us to spend our weekend than putting our feet up on the futon and watching football.  

Football is America’s sport. For over one hundred years, fans have gone out to games or watched on the television to cheer on their favorite team with friends and family, establishing wonderful bonds and memories that last a lifetime. Even if people do not pay attention to the game, they can turn their minds off and yell and cheer for whatever they want. They get to be themselves and have some fun. 

There are a myriad of reasons why football is the best weekend activity. First, the games take around three hours. That is a perfect amount of time to relax and catch up with friends from a busy week. Beyond that, commercial breaks allow for bathroom breaks and halftime gives you a chance to grab some food to enjoy for the second half of the game. With the games being played at noon, four, and seven-thirty on Saturday and Sunday, diehard fans can watch for almost twelve hours with a nap somewhere thrown in the mix. Think about how recharged your brain would be if you simply give yourself the time to relax for one day. 

Some at Ohio State would argue that we are here purely for academics. We should be studying seven days a week and still manage to be part of student organizations, all the while looking for internships for the upcoming summer. Then, those same people will preach about mental health and the importance of it. Although there is no doubt that academics are important, we have to be realistic and give ourselves some time to actually work on our mental health. What better way than football and friends? 

Others at this university are on the opposite spectrum as they value going out to party two to three nights a week. At times, partying can be a great way to get out and socialize with new and old friends. However, at a university such as Ohio State, large amounts of binge drinking can influence a person’s mental and physical state which can leave them feeling regretful and insecure about themselves in the following days, including on Monday when they should be working hard in their studies. 

It is not selfish to dedicate some time each week to mental health. In fact, it is healthy. I challenge you all to give yourself a break this weekend. Invite your best buds over, catch up, and watch Justin Fields throw touchdown after touchdown against Miami. Stay healthy, have fun, and let your mind rest from midterms and homework, even if only for three hours. 

Defense of Carl Grimes

[Viewers of The Walking Dead]

In The Walking Dead, Carl Grimes makes the extremely tough and controversial decision to shoot his own mother after her death. However, Carl did not do this seemingly heinous action for no reason. If Carl had not shot his mother, she would have turned into a walker and could very well likely have killed many other humans. Therefore, due to his love for his mother, his desire to protect his family and other humans, and the necessity for him to become a man, Carl’s decision to shoot his mother to prevent her from turning into a walker was indeed the right decision.

Carl and Lori Grimes had a very strong relationship. After all, they were without Rick, Lori’s husband and Carl’s father, for quite some time, causing both of them to provide for and protect each other. Such a strong relationship between a mother and son is extremely special, and it was noticeable between Carl and Lori. Carl did not want his mom to suffer any more than was necessary because he loved her so much. This instance in The Walking Dead is just like the scenario in the film “The Gangs of New York.” In that film, Amsterdam’s friend Johnny is driven through an iron pike, resulting in excruciating pain. To put Johnny out of his misery, Amsterdam shoots and kills him, just as Carl shot his own mother to prevent her from becoming a walker. So, the main reason that Carl killed his mother is because he loved her and did not want to see her turn into some sort of monster. Therefore, for that reason, Carl Grimes was right to shoot his mother. 

Additionally, Carl shot his mother because he did not want her to hurt any humans, including his own family. Carl had the mindset that one less walker would make the world a safer place because that means there would be one less way for humans to get hurt. Carl believed that even though that one walker was his own mother. Logically, Carl is exactly right. The less walkers the better, so his shooting of his mother was the right action to take because, although it may seem rather miniscule, made the world and other humans safer.

Carl’s decision may very well deserve some criticism. After all, how could a son harm his own mother in any way? Additionally, Carl’s action could essentially be considered a form of euthanasia. However, Carl did what he did out of love for his mother and his family, making his decision the right one.

Finally, another reason that Carl shooting his mother was the right decision is that it was imperative for Carl to grow from a boy to a man. The world in The Walking Dead was extremely dangerous and if people were not mature enough, they would not survive. Carl needed to become a man because he needed to help his father look out for the group and he needed to take care of Judith, his newborn sister. The decision to shoot his own mother had to be extraordinarily difficult for Carl. However, the fact that Carl recognized that it was the right decision symbolized that Carl truly became a man, which is exactly what he needed to become to help himself and his family survive.

Carl’s decision to shoot his mother undoubtedly could be criticized for many reasons. However, it ultimately deserves praise because it was the right action for Carl to take. Carl shot his mother because he loved her and did not want her to turn into a walker, he knew it would make the world safer, even if it was only a little, and he knew that it was necessary for him to become a man, which all validate his decision as the right one.

 

Encomium of Olivia Pope

     Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, is a character from the ABC 6 show, “Scandal.” As the main protagonist, she is expected to be the hero, but she was not. As someone who has watched a lot of TV shows, I have seen a thing or two when it comes to TV. This character is loosely based on Judy Smith, a crisis manager and lawyer. Pope is the “fixer,” a lawyer, someone who makes things go away and spins the media. She does many things for her clients as long as she knows the truth about what they’ve done. 

    She takes honor in what she does, most of the time. She also does it for the praise she receives in the media. Often times, going up in front of the press and delivering good news, that inevitably exonerates the president and White House staff along with high elites, will get you the praise you desire. Justice is also what she claims to want to get, and most of the time she does. She believes in the truth, so if her client is lying, she will not even bother helping them. However, when it comes to her own agenda, even the fixer is not perfect. She also gains a profit, not just financially speaking. While she does gain a lot of money, she is the best in her field, and everyone knows that. She has the advantage that most people desire in their line of work, social status. She is at the top, always. 

    While Pope famously stopped working for the White House earlier in the show, she still had the power and might to control armies and have them to her disposal. Due to the fact that the president was desperately in love with her throughout the entire series, when Olivia was kidnapped, it was rumored to be an African country’s doing. The President, knowing the risks, sent his men to war in honor of Olivia. While the media did not know this, the President’s wife did and realized that Olivia Pope had the US Army to her disposal. 

    Obviously, living in Washington D.C. and being a powerful black woman is not easy. Many people in the show see Olivia is white due to her straight hair, her clothing, her education, and her wealth. However, she earned it all. Later on in the show, there is a 50 minute piece about Olivia Pope. She was sent to a private school in Switzerland and went to Georgetown University, a very prestigious school. With that, she became a lawyer. In the show, it is very apparent that Ms. Pope is not only captivating, but is very intelligent, talented, professional, and always one step ahead. 

    Olivia Pope can be seen as vicious and power hungry, but in her line of work, who isn’t? A lawyer wants truth and answers. A campaign manager wants to come out on top, wearing “the white hat.” This metaphor is what kept Olivia sane in her fast-paced and chaotic life. Although she wants to win, there are limits to what she does. Her peers aren’t like her in that sense. Olivia wants to win, but have morals in the end. It is questionable whether she sticks to them or not. This is what made her an interesting character, being extremely unpredictable. And that is what made her a great character as well.