Why I Don’t Talk Politics

I spent four years in the NJROTC program at my high school and one of the sections of learning we, as student cadets, partook in. One of the most interesting and helpful sections that we learned was etiquette. We’d always dedicate a couple weeks to this section when our annual Military Ball, a huge formal dance much more upscale than your typical high school prom, was right around the corner. Cadets would learn what to do with a formal place setting at the table (always work from the outside in), how to respectively decline an invitation through an RSVP, how to ask a young lady to dance in a gentleman-like manner and escort her to the dance floor. We also learned how to ballroom dance, which was my personal favorite because I got to dance the multi-step Commander’s Waltz two years in a row. However, the most interesting thing that I learned were the three things that should never, EVER be talked about at the table at a formal event: religion, sex, and politics. As I went more in depth into why it’s like this, it influenced me for the future when interacting with other people.

Now while I do try my best to follow politics and the current debates that are going on right now, I just don’t find a purpose in involving myself in political discussions among my friends and other peers. I’d rather much discuss sports and music, dreams and aspirations, anything that won’t lead to a heated argument due to peoples’ different perspectives on how this world should turn. Especially today is why I find myself to be feeling this way. I don’t know if anybody notices this, but if you say that you support Donald Trump, you’d be ridiculed (at least from what I’ve seen and heard). He’s been given offputting names such as “racist”, “bigot”, or “tyrant”; he’s even been compared to Hitler. On the other hand, Hillary is also receiving criticism after her email scandal, causing her to be untrustworthy in the public eye. Maybe she can seem a little egotistical at times because she’s been in Washington for a long time and believes she finally deserves it. Now, am I saying that I support either of these candidates? I’m not about to say because I don’t want my political views to be spread around. I’d rather keep them to myself.

I choose to look at the world of politics in an artistic, humorous perspective; for example, I constantly watch Saturday Night Live. Their cold opens and Weekend Update reports provide me with a short scenario of what’s happening in the world of politics while also giving me a good laugh. I also watch Jimmy Fallon who implements politics into his hilarious monologues on the Tonight Show. Musically, Green Day’s American Idiot is one of my all-time favorite albums. It was inspired by American politics, such as the presidency of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq (examples include “American Idiot” and “Holiday”). Billie Joe Armstrong, the frontman and lyricist for the band, said in an interview that he had expressed dismay at the then-upcoming presidential election in 2004. Confused by the country’s culture war, he noted the way people were divided on Iraq War. These ideas led to one of the most significant albums of the band’s history and during the early 2000’s. For me, this album gave me an artistic, creative approach on how to view politics and how the world is affected by the subject.

In conclusion, do I really care about politics? I truly do, but not enough to talk about it. I’m not the type of person to donate to particular campaigns and put a political bumper sticker on the back of my car signifying who I support. It’s not important and other people don’t need to know that. Come time to vote is where my opinion really matters. For now, I’ll keep it under lock and key.

Primus: The Most Creative, But Strangest Band You’ll Ever Hear

I’ve recently started listening to Primus a little bit more, and their genre is one that I haven’t exactly been really given my ears to in the past. It’s almost indescribable, and even they can’t even place a specific name to it either; they’ve previously been comically labeled as “thrash-funk meets Don Knotts, Jr.” to “the Freak Brothers set to music.” Even Les Claypool, the colorful, eccentric frontman for the band, who I’ll talk about later, described their music as “psychedelic polka.” Whatever you want to call them, there’s one title that suits them perfectly. Introducing, “funk metal.”

Not one of the most popular songs that they’ve released; in fact, it’s one of their most recent releases within the past couple years. If you want the true, classic sounds of Primus, listen to “My Name Is Mud”, “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”, and “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver” just to name a few. I know what you could be thinking: “What kind of odd names for songs are those?” Trust me, I’ve contemplated the same thing. Ever since I’ve first encountered them on Guitar Hero II with the game featuring their song, “John the Fisherman,” I was mildly impressed. Lately, I’ve been coming back to old music I’ve heard on soundtracks in video games and this is one that I just happened to come across.

Now this is my favorite song by Primus.

If you look into Les Claypool’s playing style, you’d be amazed at his skills. His mix of tapping, flamenco-like strumming, whammy bar bends, and slapping gives the band their melodic sound. That’s what fascinates me the most: his musical ability to play so intricately and lead the band as its voice.

Other bands who came about in the same era as Primus will probably overshadow them. But look at today’s bands who came about because of Primus: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Muse and Incubus. I always love hearing about today’s bands’ different influences. In fact, now that I think about it, I hear a little bit of Primus in Muse’s song “Panic Station.” Give a listen to Primus if you’re interested in them. They may not an iTunes Top 10 appearance in today’s day and age, but it’ll definitely give you a new perspective on the origin of their genre.

 

Super Bowl Matchup: Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning

The matchup for the big game is set. The Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers in the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl. Sadly, my New England Patriots came so close to making it, but came up short in the AFC Championship Game, and rightfully so. The Patriots showed a lot of weakness in that game; the O-line was letting more people into the pocket than the clubs here at my school (sidenote: Marcus Cannon should not be starting) which gave Brady little to no time to throw the ball. But even when he did have time, he was underthrowing balls at receivers’ feet, especially the one where he was intercepted by Von Miller. That pass should not have been thrown in that direction. Overall, the Patriots have a lot of work to do in the offseason. Nevertheless, let’s get to the big game.

Cam Newton is undoubtedly going to be the NFL MVP. I read a stat somewhere that unless you were the Patriots, Broncos, Saints, Cardinals, or the Packers, Newton had more touchdowns on his own than your entire team. That right there is incredible. He puts on a show every single game and his fans, young and old, adore him. But how much of a show is too much? Recently, Newton has been scrutinized by the media by being too much of a showoff. The quarterback position is claimed to be the centerpiece of a football team, carrying the reputation for the team on his shoulders. They must represent the team in an appropriate manner. Some feel that Newton has not taken this role seriously. Excessive celebrations and running around the stadium like a lunatic screaming doesn’t make the media love him any less. I’ll admit, while I do enjoy seeing his celebrations and mimicking him anytime he “dabs on ‘em,” it can be a bit excessive at times. He claims that because of his race, the media is responding to his actions in this way. Ryan Clark, former Super Bowl winning safety, was on Sportscenter discussing the story and, overall, sticking up for Newton. Why is Newton’s dabbing any different than seeing Gronkowski spike after every touchdown, or Cruz doing the salsa, or even Joseph Fauria with his trendy dances? Newton is enjoying what he does for a living. And damn, does he look good doing it. Because of him, he now leads his team to their second Super Bowl in their franchise’s history.

Peyton Manning is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame after he retires. It’s almost going to be unanimous. He’s broken records, won titles, and is just another example that someone at that age can still play. Knowing that this might be his last rodeo, as he said to Belichick after the AFC Title game, it would be nice to see him go out on top. You can’t help but respect him. Even Belichick said to him that he was a great competitor. The Brady vs. Manning rivalry is always a marquee matchup to watch, usually put in the primetime slot. Currently, Brady leads in wins against Manning, but that’s just overall. Manning has won against Brady where it has really mattered: the postseason. As a Patriots fan, I have a love/hate relationship with Peyton Manning (I just purely hate his brother). But I have no choice but to respect him for his accomplishments in the game and all the great moments he gave us. Also, among the HGH scandals he’s had to deal with recently, I feel that he either did or didn’t. I find it hard to believe, however, that someone who has had four neck injuries/surgeries can heal and return to playing “naturally.” Right? Nevertheless, he is and always will be considered a legendary quarterback that will be talked about for years to come. Coming from a football family, he took to the field in 1998 for the Colts, hitting the ground running. Eighteen years later, he now is about to play, what appears to be his last game, on the grandest stage of them all: Super Bowl 50.

Fun fact: This is the first time that two quarterbacks drafted first overall will face each other in the Super Bowl.

I think this game will be of an “out with the old, in with the new” type. Cam Newton is becoming the new face of the NFL alongside many other young, up and coming quarterbacks (Rodgers, Wilson, etc.). Manning has spent years in the league and his time is slowly coming up. Whether he wins or loses, this will be his last game. In my opinion, Old Yeller has to and is going to be put down. The Panthers will take home the Lombardi trophy for the first time in its franchise’s history. Manning will go home not a loser, but a winner. All of his accomplishments speak for themselves. His resume will not go unnoticed come time for the voting ballots for the Hall of Fame. I look forward to watching this game. Hopefully, it’ll be exciting and Manning will go down fighting and a champion in everyone’s eyes.

On the other hand, good news for all of us sulking Pats fans, they made the Super Bowl after the last two times we lost to Peyton in the AFC title game. Good news for next year? I guess we’ll see.