Heard on the Hill

5.06.2018

HOTH crop

  • “Dora the Explorer’s not a soap opera?”
  • “Why do you need condoms when you have Yu-Gi-Oh cards?”
  • “Classes are canceled again today and my ass is extremely saved”
  • “And then it’s probably going to end with the money shot with people tasting it.”
  • “Does anyone else think this doorknob looks like the Haunted Mansion in Disneyworld?!”
  • Person 1: “Bro I’m so hyped for BLT’s today.”
    Person 2: “Bro me too! Wait, BDSM is for lunch?”
    Person 1: “No bro, BLT.”
    Person 2: “Oh… do u guys like BDSM?”
    Person 1: “Nah bro, i just like missionary.”
  • “If he wasn’t looking so desperately for something to love him, he’d be a great time.”
  • “My dad was a pipe organ major in college.”
  • “Is North Korea the country that likes anime?”
  • “I’m so pissed I could shit myself.”

 

Social Media’s Comparison Effect Causes Feelings of Depression

4.12.2018

Words and photos by Ashley Hocking

During the 83 days between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, I opt not to log on Facebook.

Why?

This stretch of time is also known as Engagement Season.

It’s nearly impossible for me to scroll through the feeds of my social media accounts during Engagement Season without seeing twentysomethings posting about their significant others popping the question, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings.

Forty percent of engagements occur during Engagement Season, according to the Associated Press.

I’m not the only one who elects to avoid social media at certain times of the year. University of Kansas senior Megan Doolittle decided to avoid social media on Valentine’s Day after a recent breakup.

“I’m pretty sure he or his new girlfriend would have posted something, and I would have seen it,” Doolittle said. “It’s really hard when you’re in the midst of a break-up or even just feeling negative about your love life.”

5 tips for avoiding social media depression

1.     Aim to not judge others based on their social media presence.

2.     Try taking a break from social media or reducing your social media usage.

3.     Be authentic on social media.

4.     Embrace your imperfections. Every photo on your Instagram feed doesn’t need to be FaceTuned.

5.     If you are feeling depressed, seek counseling or professional help.

Social media is a modern day tool that enables individuals to connect with friends, but also impacts the wellbeing of those using it.

Social media may help us connect with friends, but it also can depress the hell out of us.

Social media depression is the act of comparing yourself with others based on their on social media accounts.

Research by David Baker and Dr. Guillermo Perez Algorta from Lancaster University in Lancashire, England found that there is a significant association between feelings of depression and negatively comparing oneself with others when using Facebook.

Doolittle agrees with the findings of this research.

“Seeing how other people portray themselves on social media can affect you in a negative way,” Doolittle said. “It can cause a huge comparison effect and make you feel bad about yourself.”

Doolittle’s mom advised her to take a break from social media after seeing the negative effects it had on her daughter. Doolittle deactivated her Facebook account and deleted the Instagram app off of her phone.

“Social media is very toxic,” Doolittle said. “You’re almost all the time better off without it.”

Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing, according to a 2017 survey by Time Magazine of 1,500 teens and young adults. This survey found that Instagram was associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and fear of missing out.

Social media depression and negative feelings associated with comparisons were some of the key factors that made Doolittle decide to scale back on her social media usage.

“When you look at someone’s social media, it seems like they have everything. They have a good job, a happy significant other, good grades, money and fun vacations,” Doolittle said. “Seeing other people are in a really cool location and you’re not there sucks. They’re going to this fun place, and I’m here just lying on my couch.”

Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, said that social media posts tend to focus on the positive moments in a person’s life. Hall is the author of over 40 articles and book chapters on flirting, relationships, social networking and Facebook.

“It’s not as normative to post negative things on social media,” Hall said. “You’re less likely to use social media to gain social support if you feel lonely or blue, than to advertise positive things.”

According to Hall, there are many people who consider curtailing their social media usage.

“Interestingly, a lot more people say that they would be interested in taking a break from social media than people who actually do,” Hall said.

Despite its negative connotations, people can use as a tool to combat feelings of social media depression. Researchers stress that social media can help people with depression if it is used as a mental health resource or a way to enhance social support.

“It’s very possible that you might turn to social media because you might feel like it might help to lift depression,” Hall said.

Heard on the Hill

3.11.2018

HOTH crop

  • “There’s this guy who hangs out at tonic and juggles completely sober. I think I’m in love.”
  • “I don’t drink anything that isn’t blue. Blue is my favorite color.”
  • “Man, I love Cedric the Entertainer.”
  • “And then it’s probably going to end with the money shot with people tasting it.”
  • “Yeah, I watch anime and I’m not ashamed of it.”
  • “I’m dating someone but he doesn’t know we’re dating.”
  • “Everyone picks their nose on their own time.”
  • Person 1: “I’m not a huge country fan.”
    Person 2: “This is bluegrass, bitch.”
  • “Okay, but Goldfish are GOOD for you”
  • “I hope people don’t get creeped out by how much I look at their kids.”

 

The Evolution of Identity Politics and the Devolution of the Democratic Party

3.07.2018

By Logan Gossett

Pride, absent delusion, is a consequence of achievement. I did not abolish slavery, nor was I a pilgrim that successfully cultivated North American soil. As David French noted for the National Review, advances of the past command gratitude, not pride. I am grateful for the abolition of slavery; I am proud, and relieved, that I learned potty-training. There is an important difference between the two.

Delineating what necessitates pride and what necessitates gratitude exposes a microcosm of identity politics’s myriad flaws: it creates fractious, delusional pride in identity rather than unifying gratitude that’s granted potentiality by self-determinism; it replaces gratitude for what our predecessors did (e.g., devise a government that respects self determinism, abolish slavery, and scaffold indiscriminate suffrage) with pride in what we didn’t do (e.g., the aforementioned). By attempting to represent the interests of the marginalized, it suppresses the voices of the individual.

In the Federalist Papers’ lauded tenth entry, James Madison, writing as Publius, attempted to reconcile the rift “factions” create between liberty for all individuals and security for asset-possessing individuals. The essay’s undulating principles extol self-determinism and employ representative government to uphold it. In the Federalist Papers’ tenth entry, Madison says “[But] it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”

Factions as Madison describes them will naturally form between those with commonalities, but the individuals therein included are not defined by their faction. The social advocacy of the Federalist Papers No. 10 is that the republic should 1) safeguard factions from dictating a nation’s legislation and 2) prevent factions from overriding an individual’s inherent self-determinism.

Identity politics creates factions that prescribe allegiances to individuals — whether by skin color, income, sexual orientation, or any another appraisal method. This conflates the best interests of an individual with the best interests of factions.

The waxing of identity politics in American political rhetoric has diluted discoucourse. News and op-eds are replete with self-parodying presuppositions about opposing factions.

For example, Chauncey Devega wrote for Salon in January, saying “Trump and the Republicans’ attempts to connect Democratic support for the ‘Dreamers’ […] with murder and gang violence, is one more example of how the American right has sought to incite violence against any groups or individuals it perceives as political enemies.”

A simplification of Devega’s rhetorical use of identity politics here is “the right hates hispanics.” The purported objective of the right to incite violence against hispanics in this example is a gross presupposition that ends discourse between democrat and republican factions before it can begin.

Joshua Mitchell, a professor teaching political science at Georgetown University, explained identity politics attribution of factions in City Journal’s publication.

Identity pertains not simply to the kind of person that we are. People have been sorted (and self-sorted) into kinds throughout history. Identity is different. First, it carries a determination about guilt or innocence that nothing can appreciably alter. Its guilt is guilt without atonement; its innocence is innocence without fault. No redemption is possible, but only a schema of never-ending debts and payments.

The issue of identity politics begins with devaluing self-determinism and it ends with what Mitchell described as debts. He continued to expound on the varying degrees of indebtedness, describing a christian hetersexual white male as the “epicenter of guilt.” The closer an individual is to the epicenter guilt, the more guilty and, thus, “indebted.” The further an individual is from the epicenter of guilt – heterosexual white male – the more innocent they are.

Mitchell posited that the panacea for the wounds of past transgressions, like slavery, is to unify around a gratitude for the potential America helps scaffold for all individuals, regardless of race and its arbitrarily prescribed modern debts. This is the dream Dr. Martin Luther King worked toward and, as Mitchell concluded, “If the party cannot find a cure for its confusion, it will expire in the paroxysm that identity politics produces.” Some traditional liberals share Mitchell’s sentiment toward identity politics.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Columbia University professor Mark Lilla denounced identity politics. “Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored.” Lilla continued, “Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America […] they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity.”

Identity politics have a checkered history in the United States, starting with the Ku Klux Klan. Fivethirtyeight observed the synergy between left and right – or even black and white – identity politics without acknowledging it.

In his New York Times op-ed, Lilla observed that “Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.” Democrats are playing the identity game. In doing so, they renounce the hope and human commonalities inspired by traditional liberalism and opt for a convulsive emphasis of differences between American factions.

Of course, democrats with a rooting interest in identity politics decried Mark Lilla’s denouncement of it. Lilla’s coworker at Columbia, professor Katherine Frank, objected to Lilla’s counterpoint to identity politics, saying “Lilla’s op-ed does the more nefarious background work of making white supremacy respectable. Again.” This, despite Lilla’s explicit objections to identity politics largely because of white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

The democratic backlash caused by Lilla’s objections to identity politics is illustrative of the corrosive in-fighting identity politics creates, fracturing the democratic party internally, and widening the cataclysmic chasm between the democrats and republicans.

Identity politics appears to subvert the autonomy of individuals in favor of projecting the needs of the individual’s factions. Author Shane Phelan attempted to reconcile this conflict in Identity Politics: Lesbian Feminism and the Limits of Community. “[she need not] agree that my understanding of a good life is the true, the best, the purest. What she need do is believe that I mean what I say; that is, she must agree to treat me as a being competent to speak of my own desires and motives directly, even if she suspects that I am not.”

Phelan’s mechanism for identity politics depends on the individual’s voice being heard. In democratic identity politics, as professor Joshua Mitchell stated, the most important characteristic of individuals “is that we are white, black, male, female, straight, gay, and so on.” Rather than respecting the individual’s ability to express their desires and motives, this information is presupposed by our characteristics (i.e., identity) through identity politics.

Unifying gratitude for the liberty James Madison advocated for in the Federalist Papers has been replaced by a fractious pride in identity through democratic identity politics. Although democratic identity politics seeks to rectify the concerns of the marginalized, it mutes them.

 

Heard on the Hill

3.04.2018

HOTH crop

  • “I’m sorry I got lipstick on your blunt.”
  • “Guys at K-State are so much hotter!”
  • “This dressing is dry, kinda like Hillary Clinton”
  • “Ah, he keeps bitin’ his wiener.”
  • “Yeah, I watch anime and I’m not ashamed of it.”
  • “You bit my ankle when you were blacked out last night.”
  • “I would say you and I must be watching different porn, but with the amount of porn I watch that is statistically unlikely.”
  • “It’s not probable cause if a dog’s sniffing your ass.”
  • Person 1: “Why should my tax dollars pay for your medical expenses?”
    Person 2: “Because, TODD, we’re trying to live in a fuckin’ society here so maybe be a team player for once?”
  • “Does your vagina ever fall asleep?”

 

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