The appropriately titled article “The Power of Anonymous” touched on a lot of issues I have been considering for quite some time. The carelessness of FC Gossip Girl was properly addressed, but I found more interest in the conclusion of the article.
Lasso Online reporter Paula O’Rourke praised the newly created Facebook page “GMHS Compliments,” noting its uplifting ability amongst a social network torn apart by drama and scandal. “GMHS Compliments” is without a doubt an uplifting and good-intentioned deed, however I think that the end result is a collection of half-hearted praises.
To understand my point, I must first explain my beliefs on social networking. The whole idea of a Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram is to create an image of yourself. You can make yourself out to be whomever you wish, wrap it up in an easy-to share frame and ship it off so that the world can know who you want you to be. With complete control over what you are “tagged” in and what you post, the package you create also comes under your control.
It was just a few years ago in which the big social media scandal around the halls of Mason was “Tom Jones” and a few other fake accounts. Today, in the wake of Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s scandal, the extremes of creating fake online personalities has come to light. However, I believe that there may be a little Ronaiah Tuiasosopo—the hoaxer behind Te’o’s scandal-- in all of us, as we put our best foot forward. I believe that the intent is obviously non-malicious, but is the end result really all that different?
Our generation is constantly being warned of our personal Facebook pages being watched by colleges and future employers. This is one of the strongest motivations behind creating as beautiful a profile as possible. Before deactivating my account until post-college admissions, my profile picture showed myself wrapped in the American flag. For those who know me, this may not be too far off from my genuine self, however I would be lying had I not thought that that particular photo would be a good one to pop up in the event a West Point admissions officer decided to Google me.
As often as we have the opportunity to create whoever we wish to be, we are presented with the opportunity to be nobody. I am of course talking about the veil of anonymity which some internet platforms have created for our generation. I do not believe that most malicious remarks made online would be made in the company of others, as once identity and accountability are removed from the equation, users are free to “express themselves” without consequences.
This point brings me back to “GMHS Compliments.” I believe that the motivation of the campaign was to show that Mason students have the good-hearted nature to support their peers. The page was to show that the internet could be used to build people up, not break them down.
For as much as I’ve talked about cyber-bullying in the above, I do not notice it very much. The most common form of this may be subtweeting (ie. #Oneofmyfollowers best recognize that Johnny is MY MAN #NotIn1000years #goodtrythough), but even that is rare. Whether necessary to prove ourselves as caring individuals or not, the page still couldn’t hurt, right? I don’t think that anyone has been hurt by “GMHS Compliments,” but rather that the sincerity of the compliments have been called into question.
I was talking to a fellow Mason student about the phenomenon of possibly facetious compliments when she said to me, “someone said I am down to Earth, I am a lot of things James, but down to Earth isn’t one of them.”
I admire this kind of self-reflection and honesty and wonder if anyone else feels that a compliment of them may be actually sarcastic. This is one of the problems with anonymous compliments. The other side of the coin is that even if the compliment is not facetious, how sincere is it? If someone does not have the courage to compliment another face to face, what does that say about how much they actually believe in what they were going to say?
I understand that the page is just a platform which makes complimenting your friends and strangers easy to do, but imagine if everyone took these compliments offline and into our halls. This is how relationships are formed—by getting to know someone and what better way to do it than to start off with a compliment.
“Hey bro, fresh shirt”…. It’s as easy as that. Who knows, you two may end up bonding over button-downs and next thing you know, you guys are BFFs.
A compliment to someone in the hall can go a long way. As a matter of fact, even a simple hello, or head nod can make someone feel acknowledged and appreciated. I believe that this is the way in which Mason students can demonstrate our respect and admiration for our peers. We have taken the first steps in starting the conversation online, now it is our opportunity to bring the same joy felt by an online comment into real lives and real relationships.
The hit new movie that received over 265 million dollars domestically and my absolute praise, *The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey* begins a bit slow. Photo credit: Newline Cinema
A good 45 minutes was spent building up the back-story of The Hobbit, lacking action, but is necessary to understand the film. In the fourth installment of the Lord of the Rings series, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) chooses Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), an ordinary hobbit who enjoys leisurely activities and lives a relaxed life in the Shire, to go on, well, an unexpected journey.
The goal of this life-threatening adventure? To retrieve treasure stolen from a kingdom of dwarves, now guarded by the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Together, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and a group of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) embark on an expedition that will test loyalties and redefine the meaning of the word *dangerous.*
The film then quickly turns to a fast-paced fantasy film, which resembles *Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,* the first film of the series that started it all in 2001. While on this mystical journey through an unknown land, the audience learns about the different friendships and rivalries that ignite fierce battles and heroic acts of courage. The director Peter Jackson masterfully exhibits his intended emotions through a mixture of lighting, sound, a stunning IMAX setting, and prestigious acting exhibited through the believable acting of well-known and beloved actors.
When all is said and done, there is one major flaw in the film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien*s well-renowned novel. If you never read the novel version of "The Hobbit," you would not realize this, but the movie has a few noticeable differences to the book. This includes characters in the movie that were never introduced in the book, such as wizard Radagast the Brown, character appearances changed to fit the *Hollywood* image, for example, making the hobbits less rotund and elderly as portrayed in the books, and changing the personalities and incentives of characters to fit a somewhat different storyline.
Besides some inconsistency between the novel and book, the movie has it all! A pinch of humor here and there, well-paced battles and moral lessons that teach you that it is not always best to take the safe road because sometimes it*s more important to do what your heart tells you is right.
It all comes down to this: a fight between good and evil, which was expertly presented in the movie adaptation, *The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.*
I give this movie four out of five stars, and I can*t wait for more! Count me in for the sequel, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which will be released in 2013.
Social networking sites and media of all kinds have had an enormous impact on society for years, especially on the younger generations as sites such as Twitter and Facebook become a crucial piece of our everyday lives. Though as great as these sites can be, they can also be equally as bad when abused by a select few.
There has been a Twitter account made that takes after the hit show “Gossip Girl,” where an anonymous character blogs about the lives of teenagers living in Manhattan, blackmailing and creating drama around their personal lives. This show is one of the most popular and talked about T.V. shows that recently had its series finale and has apparently influenced an anonymous student at George Mason to become a copycat and try to recreate a show in Falls Church.
Earlier this month, the account, @FCGossipGirl16, was created for the first time but was quickly deleted after receiving an outburst of rage and disbelief among Mason students who spoke out to the anonymous creator of the account.
Mason students spoke out saying, “this is so embarrassing,” and “who would ever create this…so stupid #whatareyouthinking.”
I was proud to see my fellow Mustangs stand up against something that could potentially cause someone personal harm.
Unfortunately, the account reappeared with a different username just a few weeks ago, and is claiming that it’s here for good. This time around, the account has been praised for humor and a source of entertainment, even though there have been personal public attacks against students and their personal business.
Many students claim that all the things that are posted are false or made up because people are sending in false information in hopes to make fun of the person who created it, showing them that no one will take it seriously.
However true or false this information may be, it is not going to be known or received as a joke to everyone that reads it, and can especially make someone who it is directed at feel personally victimized.
I would just like to take a moment to remind the person who is behind this account, and to anyone who has encouraged this person by tweeting at them, sending in (false) information, “favoriting” the Tweets, or even just following that the laws about cyber bullying in the state of Virginia as well as in the United States are extremely serious.
The National Conference of State Legislatures defines cyberbullying/cyber harassment as “sending threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or blog entries or websites dedicated solely to tormenting an individual.”
According to the Virginia Code § 18.2-152.7:1, “If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
I would also like to point out how easy it is to track an I.P. address back to the computer that was used in order to figure out who is behind the account as well as the G-mail email account that was provided for “anonymous” tips.
I think that whoever is behind this account should realize that this Twitter account is not a made-up television series about rich kids in Manhattan, it’s dealing with real people in real life with real emotions who could really end up feeling hurt and/or victimized from any Tweets, no matter how true or false they may be.
I sincerely hope that those students who have encouraged the anonymous Mustang hiding behind this Twitter account think before they act, and when interacting with the account, remember how much of an influence an abundance of feedback from Mason students could have on his/her decision to keep this account active.
To end on a positive note, I would like to point out the advantages to social networking sites, such as GMHS Compliments, a Facebook page dedicated solely to compliment and say nice things about students from our school for all to see. The Facebook page was just recently created and has been praised among the George Mason student body. If you have compliments to share or would like to see if you’ve been mentioned, you can visit the page and friend them at https://www.facebook.com/gmhs.compliments, or search GMHS Compliments on Facebook.
As we enter the new year and temperatures steadily drop to near freezing, layering clothes and keeping as warm as possible becomes the most important aspect of dressing for this winter weather. However, I have shockingly noticed an unhealthy trend that seems popular this year: girls who wear incredibly short skirts and shorts without any form of protection for their bare legs.
Not only does this look ridiculous in the middle of winter, but it is also not a smart decision when considering that we are also in the middle of cold and flu season. I’m no doctor, but I am pretty sure that if I took part in this fashion trend I would either freeze to death, catch a nasty cold, or at least be miserable all day.
So why do girls do this? I really have no explanation; I mean I can SEE the goose bumps on their legs. Maybe they don’t feel the below-freezing temperatures that have caused me to want to cry every morning when I wake up, and that has led me to wear layers even to bed. Maybe these girls don’t see the frost on the ground and on cars that I have to scrape off every morning while wearing three jackets. Lucky them!
People who know me (especially classmates in my video production or forensics classes) know that I get extremely cold fast and in the winter I am cold 90% of the time. I realize that not everyone is as sensitive to the cold as I am, but I also do know for a fact that it is January and we are waking up to temperatures in the thirties.
There is such an easy solution to this problem: wear tights or leggings! I promise that your legs and immune system will thank you. Most stores in the mall now offer tights in all thicknesses and patterns to fit your needs. So please head to Tyson’s as soon as possible to explore the wonderful world of leg wear.
Another trend that I’ve seen all year is the one where a girl will wear booty shorts or a mini skirt with UGG boots. I’ll admit, this was a trend when I attended middle school and I did participate a couple times to my dismay and embarrassment, as I do often when thinking about my good old middle school days. However, now that we have all entered this magnificent land of George Mason High School, I’d like to push these girls in the right direction.
I saw a girl this year who wore denim short shorts with tall UGGs. I’m cringing as I type. This was just a really confusing outfit that I had to witness. Even if you girls like having your feet toasty while your thighs turn into ice blocks, just know that this also makes your legs look stubby and short. Sorry.
Maybe we should applaud these girls on their tolerance of any weather, whether it is snow or 80 degrees. On second thought, maybe they should just dress appropriately for the winter temperatures. As they say, prior proper planning prevents poor performance.
Editor In Chief
I may not be a film maker, or even a film connoisseur, but I’m sure adapting anything into a movie that is meant to be experienced live is no easy feat and especially when it’s “Les Miserables,” one of the most beloved and acclaimed musicals of all time.
As a loyal fan of the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, I was not particularly excited for the film version. I felt a movie wouldn’t do it any justice, as musicals are more palpable when performed live right before you. I still maintain that the stage adaptation will always be better than any film, but I was still pleased and impressed with how the movie approached it, despite a few faults.
Though “Les Mis” is praised for its vocal power, the vocals in the film were my greatest disappointment. I wish that the producers didn’t cast Hollywood stars at the expense of competent singing. And yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Crowe and Miss Seyfried. I’m sorry to say Russell Crowe was a weak Javert, and knowing this story and this show, a weak Javert simply won’t do. With his complex character and powerful ballads, one cannot afford to have this character be anything short of incredible.
Crowe was not. To be blunt, the man can’t sing, but he could have at least brought some of his alleged acting ability to the role and yet, his eyes were empty of real emotion. I don’t care how many awards the man has been nominated for, it is a truth that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and I saw no turmoil, no thought process, and no soul in them.
With eyes of “a deep, celestial blue” and “golden hair,” Amanda Seyfried fit Victor Hugo’s description of Cosette perfectly. However, I found that she had a limited range of emotion, wearing only her wide-eyed expression the whole time. Not only that, but I thought her voice was seriously lacking; that, and it didn’t blend well with the voice of dashing, Tony-winner Eddie Redmayne, who played the brave and handsome Marius with such compelling skill. Sure, Seyfried could hit the high notes, but I was longing to hear the full, lush soprano voice that Cosette should have.
Furthermore, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Hugh Jackman but, I’ve heard him sing better. However, I thought his inspired acting made up for any singing he lacked. Playing the demanding lead role of Jean Valjean, he took the audience on an emotional journey and his redemption at the end of the film became ours.
As for the Tenardiers: bravi! What can I say? Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were spot on.
And let’s not forget Anne Hathaway. Her Fantine was appropriately desperate and pitiable and her rendition of the showstopper “I Dreamed a Dream” was enough to turn anyone into a sobbing mess.
However, my favorite character has always been Eponine, so naturally I was disappointed by how much of her role they cut out of the movie. Despite having her part shrunken, British newcomer Samantha Barks artfully brought Eponine to life, mastering the character’s tough yet vulnerable persona.
Besides the principal characters, I thought it was the ensemble that made this movie shine. The student revolutionaries carried the show with their camaraderie and boyish charm. Enjolras, leader of the student rebellion, who was played by Broadway favorite, Aaron Tveit, was a standout. Additionally, the townspeople depicted the reality of starvation and poverty with heartbreaking honesty.
Overall, I think the highlight of the film adaptation was its ability to pull off visuals that the stage can really only imply. I loved being able to actually see Paris and the revolution become real on screen. The scenery gave the musical new life. Nevertheless, the power of the story and the emotion lives within the score – the sweeping music and emotional lyrics - in which case “Les Mis” is a more powerful experience on stage where its score can resonate with the audience so much more.
Despite that, I don’t think anything can beat the film’s ending. Though I was welling up throughout the film, the finale truly brought a stream of tears to my eyes. It was a vision of hope. With the barricade of the students’ dreams, the people rising, their bravery, defiance, and will to fight for a new, better world made my heart swell and I couldn’t help but want to step into the movie and sing with them.
As they let out the chilling final notes to the words “tomorrow comes,” I felt the weight of a powerful story, its message of redemption, and its beautiful score, reminding me of the promise of tomorrow.