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Sunday, February 05, 2023

Opinion | Columns

[FILE PHOTO]
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

To Meme or Not To Meme?

It is time we talk about memes and meme culture. I love a good meme, and I assume you do as well, or else you wouldn’t be wasting your time reading a column about memes. Internet memes have become a prevalent part of a Millennial and Generation Z’s daily life. You could even say they have become a sort of coping mechanism. Memes represent the pent-up frustrations and passions of this time in history. Millennials are generally known to be in a worse off economic situation than the generation before, having been handed the failures of our ancestors without sufficient education to craft a solution. Those of us pursuing a college degree have to deal with incredibly high tuition costs and possibly immense student loans. Millennials are characterized as the “anxious generation,” and Generation Z has been reported as naming depression and anxiety as the biggest problems facing their peers, according to The Economist. The only way out of the unearned strife that has defined the short run-time of the third millennia is a good meme. But when should we create or share a meme? When should we not? It must be noted one cannot always meme, but then again there are times when a meme is the most essential service one can provide. For guidance, we look to Shakespeare’s most famed work, “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” or Hamlet, for short.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Return-free filing offers a solution to Tax Day woes

The dreaded day is upon us: April 15. Tax Day. Whether you did your taxes early or waited until the last minute, and whether you did them yourself or had help, you’ve probably thought at some point, “There has to be an easier way to do this.” I’m pleased to say there is. If you weren’t aware there is an easier system, you can blame TurboTax and H&R Block.


www.callyourgirlfriend.com
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

‘I don’t shine if you don’t shine’

Since 2014, co-hosts Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman have used their podcast, “Call Your Girlfriend,” as a platform to discuss pressing social, cultural and political issues. In particular, Sow and Friedman highlight women who are agents, creators and those who initiate change. In doing so, they ensure “Call Your Girlfriend” gives a voice to women.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

How helping our own community can create a better Gainesville in the future

UF’s Black Student Union has taken it upon itself to ensure local high school students have the funds necessary to pursue a college degree. UF’s Leadership Development Institute, a program within BSU, recently created a scholarship called the Rich in Color Scholarship to promote higher education for local high school students who otherwise may be unable to afford it.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Luxury and affordability don’t go hand in hand in Gainesville

Recently Gainesville has become attractive to real estate developers, as reported by The Alligator in “Living in Gainesville: Students choose between luxury and affordability.” I’m from Orlando, so when I arrived in Gainesville, one thing I noticed was that Gainesville was a bit underdeveloped. This causes a less diverse real estate market, with fewer options to choose from. As housing developers continue to invest in building luxury-style apartments, what’s going to happen to all the students who can’t afford the now-average $860 a month for an apartment? How are older apartments going to keep up and remain marketable?


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Food insecurity is a battle in Gainesville

There is an enormous number of Gainesville citizens struggling with food insecurity, The Alligator reported. Food insecurity is one of those issues many people hear about in passing or read about occasionally, but it never seems to receive the attention it deserves. Food insecurity is a devastating issue in our community and it deserves more attention. The people who help combat food insecurity deserve more praise and support.


This image released by Disney-Marvel Studios shows Brie Larson in a scene from "Captain Marvel." (Disney-Marvel Studios via AP)
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

How is it possible for people to relate to superheroes?

When the latest Marvel movie, “Captain Marvel,” was released, there was a good amount of articles that said something like this: “What a great, strong female lead for girls to see on the big screen.” This struck me as odd since Captain Marvel is a superhuman who can fly, dwell in outer space and shoot energy blasts out of her hands. I find this to be a strange role model for anyone, let alone girls searching for a female heroine in their lives. The character seems more super than human, after all.


UF President Kent Fuchs hits the Woah with a student. 
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

I hate that I love the Woah Challenge

If you have opened up Snapchat lately, you might have seen a few videos of people setting up their phone cameras, moving away from the screen and doing a quick dance move with their hands. This is called the Woah Challenge, and it has been spreading like wildfire.


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

My personal struggle with the concept of zoos and captivity

“Blackfish” left a bad taste in my mouth for all animal captivity. After watching the documentary, I swore off all aquariums, zoos and things alike, until recently. I went on a trip to the Georgia Aquarium and I couldn’t believe my friends had tricked me into going to this installment of animal exploitation. How could I put money into the hands of these people who use the beauty of animals for the sake of human entertainment? Who had I become? I was a fraud, a fake animal-lover. But I had already bought my ticket, and everyone seemed excited to see the “fishies,” so I went.


UF wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland runs with the ball after a catch during Florida's 26-10 win against Tennessee on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium doesn’t have to be just for football

It’s a beautiful April day. Beams of sunlight hit the tops of the shimmering bleachers surrounding me. A cool breeze comes through Ben Hill Griffin Stadium every few minutes, just long enough for me to appreciate the fresh air. As a student at UF, this is one of the many unique luxuries I am granted in return for the tuition check I slide over to the Bursar’s Office each semester. The stadium, known to the masses as The Swamp, is one of the most famous landmarks to grace our campus because of its notoriety in college football. However, many students only use it for its main purpose: attending UF’s nationally renowned football games. If you’re one of those Gators, I’m here to give you a wake-up call.


Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rican trap artist, shows off his painted nails on his Instagram. 
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

My painted nails shouldn’t be up for discussion

The fickle thing I’ve learned about nail polish is that its drip is incredibly difficult to account for. No matter the layer, I can always expect the slightest spillover onto my cuticles or fingertips. It doesn’t bother me, but instead it encourages me to keep a steadier hand. Luckily, there’s no second glances or mention of my nail color as more people are accepting of different methods of expression. I’ve run into other masculine-presenting people who wear nail polish, earrings and makeup with eyeshadow and eyeliner. I would dare to say this is not a new trend among LGBTQ+ circles. However, the broadening of gender expression through small things, like nail polish, can still be a big change for others.


Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Individuals can’t save the environment, it’s a group effort

Plastic is bad for the environment. This has been common knowledge for years. What is controversial, however, is demanding that everyone turn vegan and ditch single-use plastic. People fail to recognize that most of the earth’s pollution stems from major corporations rather than individuals. Also, expecting everyone to stop using straws fails to acknowledge the unintended consequences, which could be catastrophic for certain groups. Certainly, if you’re able to, do what you can to help the environment. Ditch the straws or get reusable ones, ask for paper bags the next time you go grocery shopping and reduce the amount of meat you consume, but don’t expect everyone to do the same. We first must hold corporations accountable for their actions, which affect the environment differently.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

The problem with the body positivity movement

Core ideas of the body positivity movement date back to the late 1800s when the Victorian dress reform movement emerged. This movement aimed to put an end to the fad of corsets and tightlacing, to which women succumbed, conforming to the societal standard of a tiny waistline. The movement emphasized acceptance of all body types, regardless of waist measurements.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Cancel culture can be good, but people can change

Lately, there’s been some discussion of something called “cancel culture.” Figures from John Oliver to Tucker Carlson have addressed the topic, with sometimes wildly differing perspectives. Now, I’m diving into the fray.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Putting a price on what makes people happy fosters exclusion

The best part about joining clubs or groups is the different personalities you come in contact with. A visual arts student and a business student can be on the same soccer team. An engineering student and a philosophy student can both be members of a knitting group. Everyone is surrounded by people whose individual lives and interests can be nuanced beyond what we see on the surface level. There is an incredible amount of freedom in having friend groups or gatherings where everyone has different interests, but the one underlying character I have difficulty dealing with is the “hustler” of any group.


Kim Kardashian promoting Flat Tummy Tea on her Instagram.
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Here’s the tea on Flat Tummy Tea

Flat Tummy Tea ads: They pop up almost everywhere on social media. It is possible that you have seen one on your Instagram, or maybe you follow an influencer who endorses the product every chance they get. But is this get-skinny-quick product actually useful? YouTubers have made videos documenting themselves trying the product, and online reviews offer more insight. However, from these reviews, it seems the only thing this product guarantees is that you’ll be running to the bathroom. So why do influential social media users continue to promote such a product, especially one targeted to young girls, a demographic more likely to dislike their own bodies?


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Our divisions are only growing deeper as history progresses

It would be tempting to think the most pressing political and cultural question of our day is the question of political affiliation: Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. We certainly spend a lot of time wondering if someone, especially someone famous, is one or the other, or which party is better, which view is the correct one. We tuck people we meet or see on TV nicely into those groups so we know what to think about them. “He’s a liberal,” we often say to describe a person, or “She leans conservative.” These are meaningful terms to us, capable of telling you all you need to know about another person. We believe strongly in them.


Emily Hart, a 20-year-old UF psychology student, scoops fresh coffee grounds from a bag on Sunday afternoon at Wyatt’s Coffee’s new downtown location at 202 SE Second Ave. 
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Spend your money on coffee at your discretion

I used to be against the habit of regularly spending money on coffee. My parents were against it too. They would forward articles to my sisters and I about saving $5 a day. They would shake their heads in disappointment whenever they spotted us with a Starbucks cup in our hands. Comments like, “Is that coffee really worth it?” and “You could’ve donated that money to charity!” were not uncommon. I understood their logic, so I only bought it when I really wanted to treat myself. My dad is a full-blown caffeine addict with an ensured headache if he doesn’t drink at least three cups a day. I knew it wasn’t smart to get into the habit anyway.


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
OPINION  |  COLUMNS

So you got rejected. Now what do you do?

Everyone has been in this position: You recently applied for a promotion, a job, a program or an internship. You put your all into the application and you think it’s in the bag. Sadly, a few weeks later, you get an email notifying you that you were not selected for this opportunity. You’ve been rejected. You start to think about what went wrong. Why didn’t this company or school see what you have to offer? You begin to wonder what you could have done differently. Rejection is never fun. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling that leaves you insecure, sad and alone. It’s that time of the year when people are applying for new opportunities. While some will get wonderful news, others will get rejected. How do you deal with this?


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