Call Me by Your Name: Short Form Review

“Call Me by Your Name” is everything, all at once. From the beautiful location of a 1980’s Italy to the expertly acted roles of the two leads, Elio (Timothèe Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), Luca Guadagnino’s Academy Award nominated coming of age drama hits all the right highs and lows of a 17-year-old piano prodigy’s summer love affair with a 24-year-old lab assistant. Sensual, yet subdued. Melancholy, yet exuberant. The film’s slow start and fast finish will leave the viewer breathless, yet pining for more.

Press the Like Button

A common lesson that parents teach their children is that if you do not have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. On the Internet, that rule doesn’t seem to apply.

The Internet has become a place we go to for many reasons, from buying the latest phone, to making serious life decisions, like applying to our dream college or dream job. For other people, however, it has become a place where they can release their inner demons by terrorizing their fellow Internet users.

If one were to log onto YouTube and click on most any video on the website, they would see that, in addition to the positive comments, there are just as much, if not more, negative comments that are attacking either the subject matter or other commenters that have an opinion that is different from their own.

Several YouTube content creators have spoken out against the hate that they and their fans experience on a day to day basis. Some have even made videos where they read the negative comments left on their videos, and respond with either expressions of love or expressions of sarcasm, in an attempt to not take the hate so seriously.

Colleen Ballinger makes these types of videos. She takes people’s comments calling her a ‘talentless bitch’ or other hateful expressions, and creates a light-hearted song out of them, effectively taking the power out of the commenters’ hands.

In the times that we’re currently living in, where the political climate is extremely heated and it seems as if everywhere you turn there is hate and negativity being spread, it’s particularly unnerving to see an environment as expansive as the Internet be turned from a safe haven into a world of hate.

This does not only apply to YouTube. Here at Piedmont College, a mobile application was introduced for the 2017-2018 school year. The purpose of the app was to establish a connection between the students and faculty to make the transition of going into, or returning to college, an easier and more accessible experience.

However, this has certainly not always the case. There have been several instances of arguments breaking out across the app, and they are not always immediately caught by administrators, leading to rising tempers as the arguments escalate.

A recent example is when a student posted about someone who parked in two spots. The post accumulated more than 60 comments, including ones saying the other students should meet up in person to fight out this issue, instead of being ‘wi-fi thugs.’

If it’s jarring for us to see negativity rampant on big time websites like YouTube, it’s even more unsettling to see the hate so close to home.

So, what does that leave us to do? Leave the negativity be to fester and grow, or get involved and potentially be sucked into unnecessary drama?

Simply put, our action should be to resist. We cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into the negative headspace. We have to continue to express positivity in a world that now needs it the most.

Remember that rule. If you don’t have anything nice to post, don’t post anything at all.

Prompt #3

Roger Ebert is a name that is synonymous with both movies and the critic profession, and I feel like that is for good reason. After reading both of his reviews,  I immediately picked up on the reliability of his writing style. He didn’t use a lot of big terms that I would have to pull out a dictionary to understand. He was straight to the point, and certainly did not pull any punches with his Texas Chainsaw Massacre review. As a moviegoer, I appreciate that style of writing, as I will clearly know which movies are worth the ticket price after reading his reviews.

In my opinion, I feel like the Taylor Swift and Stranger Things reviews were written the best. I’m a big fan of the style of writing that was used in both of those reviews. They both used very, for lack of a better term, relatable language, and they were both easy to read as well as being enjoyable. It’s a bit hard to explain why they were so effective in their writing, but perhaps that is what makes them the most effective for me. I didn’t have to read through the review multiple times to understand their points, I just got them.

I don’t feel like the short reviews were very effective. They were both too short for me, and I feel like if the reviewer had actually read/listened through the material they would have more to say about it. However, I do feel like the short review of Autumn was more effective then the Pink review, for the simple reason that it had a longer review attached to it. Even if that review seemed like more of a synopsis of the book then an actual review.

All in all, I feel like one of the most important traits in writing reviews is to not beat around the bush. While brutal honesty isn’t necessary in all cases, I feel like it is important to give your honest opinion on the subject matter. I also feel like it’s important to not use complicated terminology, and just use the K.I.S.S. method when writing your review.

“Yeah, I Heard That Kid is Gay.”

When I was in the ninth grade, I realized that I was gay. No, that opening line was not my memory failing me on a Macklemore song lyric. It was a genuine turning point in my life.

Growing up, I had always looked at the boys at school in a different light then what was expected of me. I did not tease the girls at school because I harbored a secret crush on them. Rather, I idolized the female role models that were featured on the TV screen and felt the way towards boys that I thought was the ‘normal’ feeling towards girls.

When I had the epiphany that the word ‘gay’ was not an insult, but was instead a possible part of one’s identity, I realized that the feelings I had been so confused about actually had a name, and were not as abnormal as I thought they were.

Once I fully realized that I was indeed a gay man, I went through the relatively painless process of coming out to my friends and my mother. Of course, I knew that the course of my life would soon be changing, but what I had not expected was the essence of my friendships taking a turn for both the better and the worse.

There tends to be a certain expectation attached to being friends with an out gay man, especially in the high school environment. On our television screens and in movies, we often see gay men as exuberant, fashion forward, musical loving, and a little bit catty, especially when they are surrounded by a group of their girlfriends. While I am a pretty outward person when it comes to my attitude and humor, and I certainly have my catty moments, I did not, and still do not feel as if I line up with each stereotype that is commonly associated with the gay male.

It became challenging to navigate the rough waters of high school with this new identity that everyone seemed to want a piece of, all while I was still trying to figure out what this identity meant to me.

What was even harder to deal with, however, was the friends that I had prior to coming out, who now wanted nothing to do with me.

Just as there were certain expectations to having a friendship with a gay man, there is also a certain stigma attached to it. Almost all of the heterosexual male friends that I had established relationships with now wanted to keep me at an arm’s length. In addition to their own social pressures, they did not want to be seen hanging around with the ‘gay kid,’ in fear that they too would be classified as gay, which in my high school was still as much of an insult as it was in middle school.

This did not do wonders to my mental health. I pondered stopping my behaviors that could be classified as stereotypical, or even rejecting my identity as a gay man altogether. That was the best course of action to survive high school.

But there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I graduated, moved out of the country bumpkin town, and enrolled in a college that has thus far been nothing but nurturing to my identity as a gay man.

I have true friends that do not hold me to any expectations. I am happily ‘married’ to one of my closest heterosexual male friends. As I look back, I realize that no, I can’t change.

I’m gay.

And that’s ok.

Prompt #2

As far as editorials go, a common quality that they all tend to share is that the writing holds a personal significance to the author. Even if the source of an editorial tends to be under the veil of the vaguely identified ‘Editorial Board,’ it can be pretty easily inferred that the opinions stated in the editorial piece reflect those of most to the entirety of the staff of the publication. For the five editorials we were given to read for this prompt response, the main similarity that I found was that four out of the five editorials were either about, or can be related to the current generation of students, both in America and internationally. While students and the school environment itself are the central topics of three of the four editorials I previously mentioned, “Twitter Walks a Fine Line on Free Speech,” can also be correlated to this generation of students, as Twitter gained prominence rather recently in the grand scheme of things. This generation of millennials is also often accredited in aiding Twitter’s takeoff and prominence as a news source.

The main difference that I took note of between these editorials and last week’s columns is that these editorials are backed up more by facts, while the previous articles were based more on the respective author’s personal experiences. The columns created more of a narrative through the writing, case in point being the spanking column. While there was some factual information sprinkled in, the overall writing was very opinion based. The editorials from this week, while some were certainly emotionally charged, there were more facts and objective information and viewpoints that were used to back up the writing.

Writing style wise, all of the editorials had strong introductions that grabbed my attention and made me want to read all the way through. My favorite editorial that I believe was the most effective was “the truth is out about… time to act,” published from the Sacramento Country Day School editorial staff. I could feel the passion of the writing through the computer screen, and I could tell that, without a doubt, the writer of this piece is fed up with the unjust treatment of the international students. It was also interesting to note that this piece came straight from the school’s news source. I was happy to see that the school’s students took it upon themselves to speak out, rather than a big time publication such as the Washington Post having to swoop in and report it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the Washington Post’s reporting abilities, but there’s something to be said for the school to have it’s own voice.

It was also interesting to read “Dumbing down high school,” as I was in all “gen real education” classes in high school, save for two AP classes. I remember that while taking both the SAT and ACT, the mathematics section was my worst score for both of the tests. I certainly didn’t feel like the classes I was required to take in school prepared me enough for the tests, but I also knew that I wasn’t prepared to take the AP classes, or at least that is what the school told me. It was pretty interesting to read about the ‘educational fraud’ and compare it to my own school experience.

If I had to choose one editorial that was the least effective, I would choose the Twitter article. I feel as if it was a bit too short, and it didn’t impact me as powerfully as the other articles did. All in all, I enjoyed my time reading all of the editorials, and they all made me think about their respective topics in ways I had not considered before.

Prompt #1

One thing that I have noticed about myself is that I have, regrettably, a considerably low attention span when it comes to reading news articles that are on any topic. Even with news articles covering topics that I would consider myself passionate about, such as those that relate to LGBT+ rights, I tend to not read the entire article for whatever reason, be it distractions from friends or simply because I am not in the mood to analytically read. After realizing this about myself, I decided to make a goal for myself going into the new year (although I refuse to call it a resolution, simply because if I do, it won’t be fully realized) to become more ‘news savvy’  for lack of a better term. Reading through all of these articles, I made sure to try to pick up on as many details as I could, and do a couple of read throughs for each article to make sure that I did not miss any important points or details.

The main thing that each of these articles have in common, is perhaps what they do not have in common. Each article covers a different topic, while also having the same overall compassionate tone of writing that lets the reader know that the author is not just writing the article to meet a deadline or assignment. They genuinely care about the topic they are writing about. As far as writing styles go, my favorite has to be either “We Are the Church,” or “The Girls Who Fainted at the Sight of an Egg.” The simplistic yet emotionally powerful style of Conine-Nakino resonated with me, while my sensory neurons really enjoyed the imagery rich style of Aribisala. To be honest, I do not feel as if any of the articles were ineffective, as the various writing styles dealt with their respective topics effectively.

If I could ask any of these authors a question, I would want to check in with Maria Ramos, the author of “Mexican in the Age of Trump” about how she is doing. I noticed that the article was written in April, and even though in the grand scheme of things, the time span between April of last year and the present day is not a long time, a lot can happen in the span of just 24 hours. I would like to know if she has been able to get back in touch with her family, and if life in general is going well for her.

All in all, my goal of becoming more ‘news savvy’ has certainly set off on the right foot with this first reading response assignment. On a semi-related note, I’m glad that I was never a big fan of eating eggs, as after reading Aribisala’s article, I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at eggs the same way again.