The Louis situation

Apr 19, 2018

The three western modes of persuasion are as follows: ethos, pathos and logos. When even these ceased to effectively communicate an issue, I turned to a rock. David himself beat Goliath from the simple slinging of one to the temple. I’m not one to resort to such violence, but solve my problems other ways. So please, listen to my tale involving a pet of the week section and a rock named Louis.

I imagine a little context might be helpful. The Missourian, more often than not, publishes a “Pet of the Week” in its weekly diversion section. While this seems harmless enough, I fostered a pit of disdain for it. Not for your pet “Sparkles,” but for what “Sparkles” represents.

Not only were the facts about the animal superfluous beyond reason, they were taking up the space for what could have been left to promote one of Maryville’s sheltered or roaming animals. If you live in Maryville, you are aware of our vast array of roaming animals, cats in particular, if you live on campus. “Sparkles” represented the most heinous act that the diversions section has committed itself toward todate: willful ignorance of the truth.

So getting back to the story, I offered up my opinion to the newsroom in one of our weekly critiques. This fell onto deaf ears, and after much agitation of pets flooding our weekly newspaper, I had had enough. It was time to plan. It was time for a liberal dose of sarcasm and mockery. It was time to find a rock. It was time for Louis.

It took weeks to locate the rock, I spent much of my free time wandering local trails to find the right one. The googly eyes came faster, for Walmart had supplied them. The rock I chose was one that was sitting on top of a log. The question I kept asking myself was how it managed to get on top? Sentience was the only explanation. Thus, Louis, my beloved rock, was born.

I took it home, washed it off and moved along with my plan. In maintaining honesty, I kept my rock in my pocket for the remainder of two weeks. The pact between me and it grew over time. It became a real genuine friend of mine. I needed time to sit on my nest egg.

When the time came, Louis and I took our shot. With an email sent, and a smile across both of our faces, our plan was in motion. The individual responsible for the section replied willinging to our email, and accepted Louis as the pet of the week.

With all the cards laid out on the table, it was my turn to write the final piece of the puzzle. The long wait is over and I can officially say what I’ve wanted to say all semester. The effort sent forth putting a picture of a rock with googly eyes into the newspaper has been greater than that of promoting a weekly shelter animal.

Published April 19, 2018 @TheMissourian

Protest for tomorrow, today

Mar 29, 2018

Change is deeply unsettling, no matter how you look at it. We all go through it at some time or another. Regardless of who you are, it is hard to accept. I am here to tell you that each of us is capable of momentous achievement by being even the simplest proponent of change. Protest is an ultimately effective form of this, shown time and time again.

Every era of humanity brings with it great times of turmoil and political unrest. Opposing sides clash, untimely feuds ensue, feeling are hurt, lives are lost but, most importantly, we progress from where we were last. When human lives band together to change something they feel needs adjusting, it is hard not to consider their cause. As of recent, this is happening again, just as it always has and will continue to do so.

Lives are meeting unfortunate ends at the hands of those holding the trigger, leading to smoking barrels and unloaded ammunition. While the culprits of these atrocities are known to the public, citizens of America cannot come to a consensus to what specifically is to blame.

Protests such as the nationwide walkout, March 14, and the more recent March For Our Lives, March 24, gave groups with an opinion a voice. Luckily, these were carried through with a sense of poise and were, for the most part, peacefully executed. The sad truth is not every movement for change transpires with as much grace as we might hope them to.

There are multiple sides to every issue, but sadly most Americans believe there only to be two. This creates greater tension on both sides to be right, as there is rarely middle ground. For example, the liberal left wants to constrict gun ownership to a certain degree while the conservative right wishes their gun rights to stay to the same- open. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about which side you are on because the majority of shared opinion is congruent with only two opinions, the rest is usually not heard. This is not to say that it can’t, but it is wise to understand what we have to work with.

I have always thought that it is better to try, and then fail, than to never have tried at all. This is an abstract that we can assuredly apply to protesting. When you have an opinion about an obvious, or not so obvious, wrong you see in society you should make that grievance heard. We need to reevaluate how we are communicating with each other. If you do not speak up, who on this earth will, if not yourself? I am sure you have heard this more than enough times, but there is a reason behind that too.

I wish I could sit here and tell you that everything can be solved by protesting, but I would be lying to you. It won’t fix everything, but it’s definitely a start. You are the change, not the protesting. No matter which side you align with, fight for what you believe in. If you disagree with the other side, make your voice heard. Living inside of an echo chamber is hell.

People need to look up to the stars

Humankind’s journey through existence is one fraught with so many obstacles that seem only to pile up, almost ceaselessly, until there seems nowhere really left to turn. However, one frontier, as fantastic and unfathomable as it may be, waits -for us- to be discovered.

On July 20, 1969, almost 7 years after humanity  made it to space, Neil Armstrong stomped the first footprints to have ever grace the moon. Maybe his footsteps were not as expansive as the 2,500 km long crater found on the far side of the moon, but they acted as a symbol for the capacity of human achievement.

Humans, and the pre-human equivalents, have inhabited the earth for as long as any of us can remember and we have learned to adapt and grow with our surroundings. With our ingenuity and ever-growing minds, we have achieved crafting mountains out of molehills. There is no doubt in my mind that we have conquered this earth, reigning in at the very top as the dominant species, but at what cost, and to what ends? What can we do next, if the next obstacle is too high to hurdle?

Can we pull any wisdom out of the phrase, “Do not bite the hand that feeds you,” as we continue to bore holes into the earth to extract materials that won’t be available again for millions of years? This isn’t to say that our society could do without, but it is healthy to recognize our faults as a growing species, literally.

NASA’s budget for 2018 fiscal year comes in at $19.1 billion, and in an outline describing how Congress wants that money spent, “Increased cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships, focuses on the nation’s efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research.”

The corporate figurehead, Elon Musk, the genius behind Tesla and Spacex, is hard at work at not just slowing down the rate at which we spend valuable earth resources, but is furthering humanity’s capacity to physically explore the universe beyond our moon. He’s playing the long-term game, leaving a legacy for himself and hopefully a chance for humanity to survive what’s headed for us next. We need to recognize the importance in what he’s doing and start thinking ahead.

Perhaps destruction isn’t just around the corner, but time, in terms of a human life, is less than a blink of the eye to the universe. Doing what we can now, with what we have, while we have it, is absolutely imperative and is what we should be doing anyways.

In the words of Carl Sagan, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

Published February 8, 2018 @TheMissourian