POV: Politics

Apropos of Nothing: Favorite music around the US gets put on the map

I love the map showing each state’s favorite musical artist, which people started sharing on Facebook a few days ago. It pretty much tells you everything you need to know about America. A guy named Paul Lamere from the music research company The Echo Nest created the map, and Internet news sources, such as Slate.com and BusinessInsider.com, published stories about it. If you Google “distinctive band by state” you will find plenty of links to it.

The map technically isn’t a map of every state’s favorite musical artist. Lamere’s company discovered that the artists with the most listeners in America are Jay-Z and Drake, because they are two of the most popular musicians in the country right now, like it or not. Forget Red States and Blue States, the real divide is between Drizzy and Hova, even though Drake is notoriously Canadian.

But what’s a lot more interesting than which artist is most popular in a state is which artist is unusually popular in a state, and that’s exactly what the map measures. So, which band uniquely rocks each state’s world?

New Hampshire — The Grateful Dead — New England is now the hippie capital of America.

Vermont — Phish — Looks like folks are getting high on more than just maple syrup up there.

Ohio — Florida Georgia Line — I guess people in Ohio are messing with us, or they just really wish they were living anywhere warmer than Ohio.

Alabama — The Civil Wars — Surprise, surprise: the Deep South still can’t get over The Civil Wars.

West Virginia — Matchbox Twenty — Looks like the mountaineers like to party like it’s 1996.

Illinois — Sufjan Stevens — All Sufjan had to do to win over the Land of Lincoln was literally write an entire album about Illinois, called “Illinois.”

Maine — R.E.M. — It’s a little-known fact that the “M” in “REM” stands for Maine. Seriously, you can check Wikipedia. As soon as I edit Wikipedia.

Virginia — Dave Matthews Band — Hey wait, isn’t the Dave Matthews Band from Virginia? Maybe the Dave Matthews Band is just really, really popular with the Dave Matthews Band.

Colorado — The Naked and Famous — Ironically, this band is neither of those things.

Arizona — Linkin Park — In our defense, lead singer Chester Bennington is from Phoenix. But if we’re going to support good bands with local roots, couldn’t we go with Jimmy Eat World … or maybe just something other than Linkin Park?

Texas — Lady Gaga — Am I just messing with you? ey, maybe this will teach you not to make assumptions based on cultural stereotypes about what specific states will like. Except that, yeah, I am messing with you. Texas’s unique favorite is really country crooner George Strait.

Florida — Rick Ross — Ross is all well and good, but Florida, if you’re going to pick a rapper, how can you not go with the awesomely—named Flo Rida?

New Jersey — Bruce Springsteen — People from New Jersey love Bruce Springsteen, mostly because he’s the only thing their state has produced that they don’t have to be embarrassed about. Bruce has also been amazingly loyal to the Garden State, probably because the state government has secretly agreed that when The Boss goes off to jam with the big E Street Band in the sky, his memory will be honored by officially renaming the state Brewce Jersey.

Here’s what the music map teachs us about good old America:

1. There are 50 states.

2. People in different states like different things.

3. Americans peacefully co-exist, despite having very diverse, and sometimes very questionable, tastes in music.

4. People in this country are accepting of artists from other states. (Jack Johnson is from Hawaii, but he’s most uniquely popular in Wisconsin. Hawaii’s distinctive preference is for a Californian rapper named J-Boog.)

5. There’s a successful individual in this country whose professional name is J-Boog. Wow. I hope he has it on his business cards. That’s what this country’s all about.

Disclaimer: As a general rule, nothing in Logan Rogers’s columns should be taken seriously.

— Logan Rogers is a second year law student. Follow him @AproOfNo

Running towards a fun, healthy life

My Saturday mornings in high school were not spent sleeping in — like those of the average teenager. I spent mine running, screaming and drinking chocolate milk. That is, I ran 5Ks. I ran cross-country throughout my four years of high school, and most of the races were 5Ks. The way my heart would pump before the race started, the adrenaline coursing through my veins, people cheering and screaming along the course, and that last burst of energy that came out of nowhere when I spotted the finish line — all of these are reasons why I love 5Ks.

Just in case you aren’t well-versed in distance lingo, a 5K is approximately 3.1 miles. 5Ks are perfect for racing, jogging and even walking. They are a good way to reach individual fitness goals, stay fit with friends and have fun.

Training for such a race involves at least a few weeks of long runs, tempos and shorter, easier runs — that is, if you plan to race it. Even if you just plan to walk one, you can still prepare by walking for half an hour to an hour every day. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, walking and jogging support bone strength, muscle definition and a healthy heart and lungs — all added benefits of the regular exercise involved in 5K preparation.

If you don’t like the thought of training alone, you can gather some friends and make your own team. Doing this is a good way to have fun, bond more and push each other to perform at your best. The inevitable laughs, random conversations, mood swings and memorable stories that follow are an added plus and all part of the fun of preparing for and running a 5K.

My favorite memories from cross-country came from long runs and race days. The stories and jokes my teammates told each other got our minds off of the longer runs, and losing our voices while screaming for each other on race day was a good, if unusual, way to spend a Saturday morning. Just having people to train and race with made the experience unforgettable.

You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy a 5K, though. This type of race is so versatile that almost anyone can run or walk one. Even if this type of thing isn’t your cup of tea, you can still go out to support the runners and have a good time with other people in the community.

If you’re interested in running a 5K, several take place around Tucson and in the Phoenix area throughout the year. You can simply Google “Tucson 5Ks” and several helpful sites will pop up to help you find the right race for you. The Southern Arizona Road Runners put on several road and trail races throughout the year, and the UA’s own Wildcat Running Club is putting on its “Sprint into Spring Community 5k” on March 8 at the Kennedy Park Fiesta Area.

Why should you run? Because these local 5Ks are a good way to get into or stay in shape, support your community and meet new people. 5Ks provide a good opportunity to have fun and be healthy and to reach individual or group goals. Many involve music, colors or costumes, which can provide the extra motivation to go out and enjoy something you might be hesitant about.

If you have the right attitude and training and you choose the right race for yourself, you can enjoy the experience of participating in a 5K. So, grab your friends or your iPod — and go have some fun!

Selfies: snapshots of feeling fabulous

From the time it took me to walk from my sociology class to the bookstore — no more than 200 feet — I witnessed the taking of 11 selfies. Most of us, if we aren’t active participants, are at least aware of this craze that has captivated society with the increase of social media use in recent years.

The word “selfie” became Oxford Dictionaries’ 2013 word of the year after its use increased by 17,000 percent, according to an article in Express. Every celebrity from Roger Federer to Miley Cyrus seems to have snapped a quick solo picture at some moment or another, and don’t forget the selfies of Pope Francis and President Obama, both of which were wildly shared on various social media sites. It seems as though everyone has caved in to this addicting trend at least once.

I admit, when I see a photo of someone making the seemingly inescapable “duck face” expression, I have to suppress an eye roll (especially if the photo is paired with an unrelated, inspirational quote). But when I really think about it, a selfie is nothing more than public declaration that says, “I feel good right now, and I want everyone to know it.”

While I don’t feel that people should rely on the validation of others, some selfies I have seen seem to reveal an underlying confidence. A “pre-workout” selfie or one that shows off the “outfit of the day” seems random, but I can respect that the person in the photo was feeling good about themselves in that moment.

Selfies allow each individual to choose how he or she wants to be portrayed to the public, usually in a positive way, and that’s kind of a powerful thing. In a time where the media arguably pressures people to look, dress, act or feel a certain way, being able to take a photo where you feel your best is somewhat liberating. Maybe we should celebrate that.

While I don’t plan on flooding my Instagram account with selfies, I recognize that they aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They may be a little annoying; but if they reflect a positive moment in someone else’s life, more power to them.

Marijuana is a cash crop banks need to accept

It’s not often that you hear of a bank or credit union turning down cash deposits. The banking world is renowned for its perceived greediness and willingness to engage in shady dealings, insider trading and fraud, but in states like Washington and Colorado, where marijuana dispensaries are now legal, money is being turned away by the bag.

While banks have a legitimate fear of engaging in business with legal marijuana businesses on account of federal rulings labeling marijuana as a Schedule I drug — up there with heroin and LSD — risk is the nature of capitalism, and the marijuana vendors should be able to find a safe place to deposit their cash in the banking system.

Legal marijuana businesses like Ryan Kunkel’s in Seattle are being crippled by their inability to open and maintain bank accounts. Running a cash business may provide exclusivity and mystique, but, in reality, it is both difficult and dangerous to maintain a business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars exclusively in cash — hoarding mounds of cash makes businesses more susceptible to theft. By having a bank account or other access to banking systems — like an ATM that operates on debit transfers — these businesses are able to function in a more competitive environment without severely risking their employees or their capital.

These risks make the high demand business of marijuana distribution much less lucrative and desirable. Being treated like criminals hardly sends the right message for legalization, and it’s a message that needs to change. Legal marijuana distributors like Kunkel live in a capitalist country, and it is odd and outlandish for them to be denied banking opportunities. Have these banks never heard of risk investments?

They aren’t demanding capital, loans or lines of credit that would necessitate some form of credibility; they are simply trying to deposit huge sums of cash. These banks clearly don’t understand the purpose of banking if they’re turning down such large quantities of legitimate money.

Hopefully, the federal government will recognize the legitimacy of the businesses like individual states have. Without federal approval, legitimacy is a rapidly self-distancing object that is just out of reach for legal marijuana dispensaries, something that is certainly holding them back from expansion and complete control of their businesses.

"Happy holidays" preferable winter greeting

“Happy holidays!” is an easy term to express cheer from roughly Thanksgiving through the new year. Of course, in 2013 – as usual – it garnered attention as being anti-Christmas and somehow offensive, instead of being a general wish of good cheer in the winter.

A picture that made rounds on Facebook is of a sign in a tree lot. The sign reads, “Christmas Trees $5.00 per ft. Holiday Trees $10.00 per ft.” This sign is an example of the unnecessary hate “happy holidays” gets this time of year.

I will happily say I come at this as an atheist who is frequently critical of the capitalism and consumerism that loves Christmas. I do the tree, the lights, the presents, the loved ones, the food, the turtleneck sweaters, the Eartha Kitt songs and the Christmas movies. I do not, and I cannot, understand why people insist on being told “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays.”

I get this much. If a holiday is celebrated for religious reasons, it is important to those who observe it and they would like to see it recognized. That is completely fair. Showing it through observance with friends and family, religious groups and practice is super.

However, expecting a stranger, like an employee at your local bookstore or grocery store, to correctly guess a religious background and choice of holiday celebration is ridiculous.

It is not easy to tell if someone celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Boxing Day, Yule, the 12 Days of Christmas, the Gregorian New Year’s, Thanksgiving, the occasional Tết Nguyên Đán or Ramadan that falls in December – or one of the many other holidays this time of year.

Religious and cultural tolerance is part of why “happy holidays” is practical to say, but, in my eyes, the bigger part is convenience. I celebrate three holidays in November and December. “Happy holidays” just as easily is a wish for a good Thanksgiving, Christmas and Gregorian New Year’s as it is for any holiday or combination thereof.

It may be late, since the holiday season has already passed, but here’s an extremely early wish for “happy holidays” and good cheer in 2014.

Wildcat Opinions is hiring

The Daily Wildcat opinions desk is hiring columnists for the spring semester. Send a résumé, cover letter and clips or an argumentative or persuasive writing sample to spring opinions editor Katelyn Kennon at kkennon@email.arizona.edu. Previous journalism experience is not required. Be prepared to write, pitch ideas and work with a great group of people.

Shipping services do not deserve holiday anger

Every year around the holidays, legions of people pride themselves on their ability to “last-minute shop” and get the deals that others didn’t because they didn’t wait long enough in the stores. This last-minute shopping may save marginal amounts of money, but it can also cause gifts to not be purchased or delivered by UPS Inc. or FedEx – something these shoppers seem to think is the shipping giants’ faults. It’s not.

Millions of shoppers every year ship packages with UPS Inc., FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service. It should be to no surprise that packages can get lost in what amounts to hundreds of millions of packages handled in large warehouses by overstressed employees that work long hours lifting and sorting billions of pounds of mail. Yet, people continue to complain that the boots they ordered online on Dec. 22 from their home in Covered-in-Snow-and-Ice-Land, Minnesota – that were made in China, packaged in Los Angeles and distributed from a facility likely in another state – did not arrive on Dec. 24, just in time for them to wrap and put under the tree.

On Twitter, users were berating the customer service representative in charge of UPS Inc.‘s Twitter handle with expletives and accusations – like user @flipgearz claiming, “you just ruined my Christmas spirit by losing my package.”

The spirit of Christmas, and just being thankful in general, shouldn’t revolve around material objects, but few of these angry Twitter responders and other complainers seem to realize that. It is almost as if around the holidays, people forget that they’ve ever used a shipping service before and think that because they paid $30, the seven business days they were guaranteed – days that do not include holidays – evaporate into their package arriving when they deem fit.

These shipping and mailing services work incredibly hard, and people need to cut them a break. Personally, I have no pity for the people who order online days or even a week before Christmas; they’re asking for trouble, and they’re going to get it. The employees are people, too, and they shouldn’t be expected to work around the clock and their families for materialistic people who just demand packages that, realistically, are probably not supposed to be delivered for days.

Order responsibly, and behave like adults. The matching Snuggies you ordered for your family to wear on Christmas are not going to kill you when they arrive a day late. So, stop rage-tweeting, and enjoy some family time.

12-month housing valuable option for otherwise homeless students

The second that I hand in my last final exam of the semester, I feel the stress of all-nighters, midnight coffee runs and endless studying begin to melt away.

Some students book their flights home as soon as the temperature begins to drop. Others hug friends tightly as they restock their snacks and set off on a road trip home. It is easy to get so wrapped up in the idea of going “home for the holidays” that we forget that many students across the nation don’t have a place to go home to.

Going home simply isn’t an option for more than 58,000 college applicants who indicated that they were homeless on federal financial aid forms this year, according to CNN. This number has increased from 53,705 applicants last year.

The University of Arizona implemented changes to its housing policy for the 2013-2014 academic school year that combat homelessness on campus. For the first time, UA Residence Life gives students the option to live on campus year-round, according to the Residence Life website. This 12-month housing option allowed students to move in to their dorms in early August, stay in their rooms over winter break, and live on campus while attending summer school.

College should be a time for individuals to focus on finding themselves, rather than finding a place to live, and I am glad to see that the UA is being sensitive to the living situations of all of its students by making this policy change – even if it is overdue.

Striving for academic success, participating in extracurricular activities, applying for scholarships, working and maintaining social relationships are just a few obligations that students are attempting to juggle. The added threat of homelessness once the final bell of the semester rings could be enough to derail these aspects of college that students benefit from the most.

Rent for Colonia de la Paz, the designated 12-month hall for this year, which includes two full kitchens where residents can cook, is $700, according to Residence Life.

While $700 is expensive, the guarantee of having a roof over your head could be worth seeking out the financial means, and having a 12-month housing option is a step forward. Implementing a change such as this reflects the UA’s commitment to its students’ health, academic success and overall well-being.

SlutWalk needs to be renamed

Tucson’s SlutWalk took place last Saturday and I’m pleased to see a (mostly) positive response.

I support action. I support women speaking up, protesting against sexual violence and fighting for sexual autonomy. I think that, despite the specific politics of different brands of feminism, SlutWalk participation is worthwhile.

But I wish SlutWalk would drop the “slut” schtick.

SlutWalk was created in reaction to a 2011 comment by a representative of Toronto’s police department: “if women don’t want to get raped, they shouldn’t dress like sluts.”

Yes, that’s ignorant and misguided. But so too is thinking that the proper, blanket response is, as SlutWalk Toronto’s website says, to reclaim “slut” and reappropriate it to mean something different.

We don’t need “slut” back. We never had it in the first place.

The attempt to take a word traditionally used to denigrate and restrict the sexual behaviors of women and to transform it into a “hoorah” for female sexual freedom is admirable.

By celebrating “slut,” SlutWalk is taking the old Madonna/Whore complex and, instead of eliminating it, turning it into a new Slut/Prude dichotomy, in which the slut is the ideal, empowered woman, and the prude is both oppressed and dangerous to women’s freedom, as a weapon of the other side.

“I’m too sexual — except for when I’m not sexual enough. Those are the classic oppositional forces that women face,” Tracy Clark-Flory wrote in Salon while referencing SlutWalk.

Female sexual activities are still being classified, these two groupings still being used as a signifier of a woman’s worth. The insidious attitudes which prompt us to divide and conquer based on sex have not been weeded out.

Why does a word that means “a woman who has ‘too much’ sex” need to exist at all, whether with a positive connotation or a negative one?

The full spectrum of women’s sexuality and sexual experience is also not represented in the Slut/Prude model any more than it was in the older one. Many women are not willing or able to call themselves proud sluts.

Women who haven’t had overwhelmingly positive sexual experiences, who have been victims of sexual violence, who perhaps don’t enjoy sex, will find it difficult to participate in a system that equates compulsory sexual-outspokenness and participation with goodness.

In fact, by championing ownership over “slut,” SlutWalk has excluded whole demographics of women from their efforts. That’s just not conducive to a woman’s movement, unless it is one that wants to remain, as many have already accused feminism of being, white.

Back in 2011, SlutWalk’s advent, this was already apparent. An Open Letter From Black Women to the SlutWalk appeared on Facebook.
The signatories of this letter did not recognize themselves, their particular histories and the intersection of their race and gender, in the SlutWalk initiative to reclaim “slut.”

To call themselves sluts, these signatories wrote, would only be to validate years of negative historical perceptions of black women.

The Crunk Feminist Collective, which does explore the territories between blackness and femaleness, further explains this important distinction.

“Black female sexuality has always been understood from without to be deviant, hyper, and excessive,” a piece on the site says.

So, while white women are often denounced as sluts because they do not conform to a prescribed sexuality, black women have mostly been understood as unable to conform to any reasonable standard due to their assumed natures. They were and are, in the minds of many, born sluts.

Why be proud of this?

Victim-blaming sucks. Rape really sucks. SlutWalk has every right to laugh in the face of those who would blame “sluttiness,” whatever that is, for rape rather than blaming rapists.

But for many women “slut” is violence. It is hatred spit in their faces. It is irredeemable. SlutWalk, as it is, cannot do these women any real justice.

Having babies is not a college student's first priority

OK, I’ll admit it. Sometimes when I see a baby, I can feel my ovaries bursting with anticipation.

It’s terrifying; I’m only 19. Grad school exists. Careers.But apparently, according to a recent Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans think I should get cracking soon on reproducing.

And that’s really terrifying.

Women, like me, who want to pursue a college degree, face severe disadvantages in doing so and in achieving their later career goals if they have children so young.

So what are 58 percent of Americans trying to say?

The majority of the 5,100 American adults polled by Gallup believed that women should have their first child before the age of 25.

In reality though, a recent Pew Research study showed that only 3 percent of mothers with a college degree give birth before the age of 25. In fact, 31 percent of all mothers with a Bachelor’s Degree did not start having children until they were over 35.

Why? Because the earlier that women start having kids the more difficult it is for them to continue their education.

I think all of us who have pulled all-nighters preparing for a test could understand the added difficulty, nay the impossibility, of pulling frequent, additional all-nighters calming down screaming babies.

The statistics seem to agree. In Hoffman and Maynard’s 2008 studies on teen pregnancy, they found that only 10 percent of teen mother completed a 2 or 4 year college degree program.

Even if they complete the amazing feat of college education, young mothers can be hurt later down the line too, as they enter the workforce.

Sociologist Joya Misra’s research has found that motherhood has become a greater predictor of the pay gap than gender in America, mostly because of a paltry child care system that prevents women from working full time as mothers.

Another sociologist, Shelley Correll, has discovered that mothers earn 5 percent less per hour, per child, than their childless female peers.

Mothers, in general, are also less likely to be hired if they leave or try to change jobs. Correll’s work showed that employers were half as likely to call back women whose résumés, through mention of an elementary school parent-teacher association, implied that they were mothers.

In our already hostile economic climate, these are risks that the under-30 cannot take.

The Guardian reported that over 2 million of those Americans 20 to 24 years old are unemployed, as are 2.5 million 25 to 34 year olds.

Additionally, student debt has reached a staggering 1 trillion dollars, and studies show that our generation will not reach our median wages until we are 30 years old- bad for mom and bad for baby.

A 2013 Pew Research study concluded its findings on higher education and motherhood by saying that it was “irrefutable… that on average the more education a woman has, the better off her children will be.”

If this is true, why is “when should women start having babies” a question that needs to be asked?

I can’t say I’m glad that yet another facet of my behavior, appearance, and lifestyle as a woman has now been marked out and dictated to me by the larger American public, but I’m more concerned that the dictate is one that limits my opportunities in the public sphere, and is, in fact, not beneficial to me or to my potential baby.

Is America telling its women to retreat to the birthing rooms of lore? To focus on family before personal growth? To trade their identities for ultrasounds? It seems so.

And that makes my ovaries calm down significantly.