Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Black Friday: Great sales, but at what price?

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells Ninety percent off. 50 percent off. Signs everywhere are already advertising the lowest prices of the year. Soon people will be pushing others out of the way and fighting to get the last item on the shelf, all in the name of saving a buck. On Thursday we spend time talking about what we are thankful for and eating turkey with our families. Then Friday comes and once-thankful people are fighting over electronics, home décor, and other material goods, pushing and shoving to get the best deal. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Black Friday just as much as the next person. Black Friday has become an integral part of the American Thanksgiving weekend. It’s just as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and football. It’s the day that officially begins the Christmas shopping season. I usually get up early every year and seek out bargains myself. However, I think that Black Friday’s gotten out of hand. According to moneycrashers.com, Black Friday didn’t become the busiest shopping day of the year until 2002. In fact, from 1993 until 2001, it ranked between the fifth and 10th busiest shopping days of the year. Why the sudden increase of shoppers? Stores began to open their doors on Thanksgiving day.Patrons no longer had to wait until the early hours of Friday to go shopping. Stores such as Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target began to offer “early bird” shopping while grandpa was still passed out in his recliner. Despite the savings these stores offer, the stores should remain closed until after Thanksgiving. This is a time for being thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on His people, for laughing with family, and enjoying delicious food—not bundling up and scratching and clawing for the last big screen TV. According to a recent article by USA Today, CBL & Associates, which oversees many malls nationwide including Mall of America, will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Their reason for closing? CEO Stephen Lebovitz stated that they decided to close, so their employees could spend time with their families. The fights and stampedes that have broken out over Black Friday are excessive as well. Car accidents, stabbings, shootings, and even death have occurred because of Black Friday shopping. According the New York Daily News, a Walmart employee was trampled to death in 2013 by bargain-crazed shoppers. In the same store, a pregnant woman was trampled on, which resulted in the miscarriage of her child. Other shoppers go to such methods as pepper spraying fellow customers to get the deal they want,...

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Do you have early-on set Christmas spirit?

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells ‘Tis the season… except that no, it’s not. One of the worst transitions that happens all year generally occurs around this time: early-onset Christmas. Halloween has yet to happen, and Thanksgiving is still weeks away, so there should be no appearance of Christmas music. Somehow the phenomenon occurs in the same way each year. It starts with one or two mentions of Christmas in a commercial or a magazine, and suddenly despite two other holidays between now and then, everyone is in the throes of festive cheer. It seems like an innocent mistake to make, but what real ramifications does it have to start playing “Holly Jolly Christmas” and Michael Bublé’s Christmas album too early? For me personally, it causes a good deal of resentment toward the music. It would be fine if it were simply for the month or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it never stays within that constraint. It goes from a novelty thing, something fun and cheery, to something that simply comes off as obnoxious and overdone. It creates stress that doesn’t need to occur. The easiest fix to this problem is to just keep “Jingle Bells” put away until AFTER Thanksgiving. A month’s worth of the holiday spirit is plenty. The majority of Christmas music is not about the birth of Jesus Christ anyway. If that were the goal, it would be so much easier to support it. There is plenty of other gospel music to enjoy leading up to the actual Christmas season. When the majority of the music is about presents and candy and coming up with all of the hokey traditional ways of cuddling up to someone, it becomes nearly impossible to support more than a month of the endless drivel that is contemporary Christmas music. Even Rudolph and his red nose become annoying when the song gets overplayed. So just calm down, everyone. “Frosty the Snowman” will still be waiting for you come late November. The temperature is more likely to be at the right place for “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” will be slightly less horrifying since it’s actually being played during the right season. There is a time and a place for everything, and since place is up to the discretion of the people, please keep the Christmas music in the right time...

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Inappropropriate costumes are the scariest thing this Halloween

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells Halloween is just around the corner. Many students plan on dressing up and celebrating Halloween in some way, but we should be careful when we put together a costume for the big celebration. Having poor taste in costumes can really ruin the night and cause the costume wearer some embarrassment. While most costumes would be fine to wear to a  Halloween party or while trick-or-treating, there are some costumes that should not be allowed on the streets this Halloween night. Dressing up in costumes for Halloween is a way for some to express themselves in a unique way. However, a Halloween party is not the time, nor the place, to be controversial, especially when a costume pokes fun at a national crisis. It has never been and never will be funny or practical to dress up as a Boston Marathon victim or the Twin Towers. It is considered rude to dress up as a character from a culture other than your own. We have all seen those Native American or Indian princess costumes at our local Halloween stores. Sure, it might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually very demeaning to the people who represent that culture. It would be funny if I went as a Starbucks-obsessed teenager with UGG boots because I represent that specific culture, but it would not be funny if I dressed up as a belly dancer and paraded around in a lifestyle I know nothing about. It can be seen as racist and culturally ignorant. This also includes the use of black face. Black face is seen as racist and in poor taste. One thing that I have never understood is why men’s costumes are so focused on genitalia and women’s on sexuality? I’ve seen so many tactless costumes that focus on these parts and completely detract from the fun and the festivities of Halloween. Another question is why are most women’s costumes so revealing? It’s usually cold on Halloween night, and it’s not practical to be walking around a neighborhood in a costume that shows too much skin. You are able to portray a nurse or vampire without being immodest (and cold). It is also not a good idea to dress young children up as characters from shows portraying adult themes, like Walter White from the TV series Breaking Bad. I understand that this specific costume was very popular when it was airing, but it’s not a kid-friendly show and therefore, is not a kid-friendly costume. While children’s costumes are less controversial than others, parents should still be aware of the messages they...

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Is Netflix taking over the entertainment world?
Oct26

Is Netflix taking over the entertainment world?

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells I believe that Netflix is taking over the entertainment world as we know it. How so? Well, to begin with, here are a few scenarios that everyone can relate to. First scenario: you go to the movie theatre and it is a horrible experience. You either viewed it with the wrong crowd, movie goers were constantly talking, or someone decided to bring their restless two-year-old child to see Deadpool. Another scenario is that you’ve waited all week for the next episode of your favorite show and when it finally airs it’s just a filler episode. The last scenario is when it comes to lack of money. Have you ever wanted to just stay home and hang out with friends rather than spend money going out with them? Have you ever just wanted to binge on a show? Find that anime from when you were a child? Watch a Disney movie? These situations are why Netflix has become so popular and why it is slowly dominating the entertainment world. Netflix is not only readily available to you in your own home, but it’s also only $8 a month. According to statista.com there are 70 million subscribers worldwide. But, people’s boredom and lack of money are not the only reasons that Netflix is so popular. It is also popular due to Netflix original series. Many of the most popular shows in the past two years have been Netflix originalseries. Popular Netflixshows include Luke Cage, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, and coming soon, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Of course, there are other popular shows on various networks, but in my opinion, Netflix is dominating. Netflix original series plays to a variety of demographics, and because the shows aren’t tied to a network, they don’t have to worry about network executives controlling production. They do not have to worry about something being too violent, having too much cursing, or too much sexuality. This gives Netflix the upper hand over other networks. Other networks do have successful shows, but ask yourself, for how long? Normally around the third season, your favorite show becomes a bit watered down. It’s like you can see production companies putting their sticky hands in and ruining the show. And the ones that are popular either end badly or are cancelled in the middle of a season. From my perspective, all their series are perfection. Others feel this as well because Netflix is continuously cranking out seasons of their best shows. Another thought is that Netflix is taking advantage of our...

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At what point should euthanasia be the end?
Oct12

At what point should euthanasia be the end?

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells Assisted suicide remains a heavily-debated topic throughout the world. Recently, a minor in Belgium chose this method to end his life. Belgium remains the most liberal country in the world when it comes to assisted suicide.  Patients can request physician-assisted suicide due to a terminal illness or a psychiatric condition. Now, almost five people a day die from physician-assisted suicide.  But assisted suicide is not a black and white issue. In the United States, five states allow doctor-assisted suicides including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, New Mexico, and Montana. Patients must be terminally ill (expected to live no more than six months), be of sound mind, and able to administer the pills on their own. What constitutes the word terminal? Many people live months, years, and sometimes decades after they are given only months to live. A person who is diagnosed with a terminal disease may decide to die even though they could live months or even years more. Life is a gift from God and once we open the door to assisted suicide we are opening the door to devaluing life—a life that was paid for by the pain and suffering of Christ. The question now becomes: at what point does life become not worth living? And I think the answer is never. God knew us before we were even born. Surely, with modern technology, there is a way to relieve a patient’s suffering without going to the point of suicide. I understand why patients who are terminally ill and in great affliction want to end their lives. And my heart cries out for them because of the pain they are experiencing.  However, according to Time Magazine, more people seek out assisted suicide because they worry about being a burden to their loved ones and friends. There should never be a point where a person feels like such a burden that they want to end their life. Movies such as the highly-popular summer chick flick, Me Before You, romanticize assisted suicide. In the movie, wealthy Will Traynor is planning on going through a physician-assisted suicide in the next six months because he is paralyzed. Louisa Clarke, his caregiver, decides to convince him to change his mind during this time and falls in love with him. But even though Will loves her too, he selfishly decides to go through with his physician-assisted death. This movie portrays the message that dying is better than living with a disability, which is troubling. A person can still have a fulfilling life while being disabled. Assisted suicide is a tough subject. Should patients be given...

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Body positivity for men is just as serious as women’s

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells The argument can be made that millennials are the generation of change.  In this day and age, millennials are standing up for equality, race, gender, sexuality, sexual consent, representation and body positivity.  I feel as if all these categories are being discussed and changes are happening.The changes are slow, but change is happening nonetheless. There is one issue that I feel is not being discussed. That situation is the inclusiveness of males in the body positivity movement. Body positivity for women has been a top discussion for about five years. Actresses such as Lena Dunham, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Schumer have spoken out and promoted plus sized women in the media.  But where are the men included in this? Shouldn’t men also have a say in their media depictions? Studies show that males have higher pay, are treated better, and are viewed as individuals. As the famous words of the late James Brown says, “This is a man’s world,” and honestly, it is a man’s world. But in this case, males need to be included. In the media, a handsome man is tall, fit, and has a smile of a god. Now think of what is considered the unattractive males in the media. This guy is normally the comic relief— a chubby and short man who isn’t given a second look. Why is that guy not promoted as beautiful as well? For example, earlier this year, Amy Schumer posed nude and supporters cheered her on. But, when a picture of Rob Kardashian surfaced earlier this year, he was ridiculed and labeled as an ugly fatso. Another example of this is the actor Chris Pratt and his weight loss in 2014. Before his weight loss, he was the chubby comic relief and after the weight loss he landed the lead in three films. Nothing about him changed besides his weight. What kind of message does that send? Obviously, the message that it sends is a negative one and does not show inclusiveness of males in this movement. While the media is responsible for perpetuating this image, the exclusivity of males in this movement can also be seen in everyday life.  I have personally been in situations where I have pointed out an attractive male that is vertically challenged and I will be viewed as strange for even giving this short guy a second glance. He is not seen as handsome because he doesn’t “fit” the attractive narrative that is projected in society. I have also experienced a situation where a guy called a girl fat and...

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