Tag Archives: Carolyn Conte

Get a Life, She’s Only 14

Controversial ad offends

 Commercial Against Obsesity Goes too Far

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Opinion Editor

A young girl is in her family room watching TV, chewing on chips while dreaming about being a star one day. The Covergirl commercial ends, and a dramatic black background appears on the screen. White words flash up with sudden sounds, “High Blood Sugar. High Cholesterol. Hypertension.” It goes on, and a black and white picture of a wide girl accompanies the words. “Get healthy. Get moving. Get a life. Cut childhood obesity down to size.” The bigger girl is replaced by a bone-thin child.

    The state of Georgia has been criticized for its ads against obesity, but none of them offended me until this. When I heard a bit about the ‘insulting’ commercials, I was curious enough to watch some on Youtube. The first three left me thinking, “Yeah, it’s sad — but the kids themselves are admitting they want to be healthy and it’s not fun to get picked on. The overall message is to eat healthy, so it’s ok.” The last one I viewed, though, was truly disdainful. The overweight girl portrayed did not speak for herself as in the other ones, and instead written words narrated her health issues — which was good because it was informative — but when it wrote “Get a life,” my jaw dropped.

First of all, this is a totally wrong approach to encourage kids- especially girls- to diet. A person that needs to lose pounds should be motivated positively, not by bullying. “Stigma and prejudice are intensely stressful. Stress puts the body on full alert, which gets the blood pressure up, the sugar up,” said Colombia University Health professor Dr. Peter Muenning in a NY Times essay by Harriet Brown. Basically, feeling ugly and fat will make person more likely to get depressed, sick and gain more weight. There are a bajillion different ways to say ‘eat properly’ or ‘eat in moderation for a longer life,’ but it is plain offensive when you insinuate that the girl has no activities or friends. They have no right to imply that she has no social life, or that she has no potential for happiness. This was an unnecessary smack in the face to insecure obese children, and the phrasing itself was mean.

Then it has the audacity to follow with the expression ‘cut childhood obesity down to size’ and replace the still of the overweight girl with a stick figure girl. Muscle is required for a person to be in shape. A kid 20 pounds heavier than the one portrayed as ‘healthy’ would be average size. Enough kids are depressed because they hate themselves. Overweight and obese adolescents exemplified suicidal rates of 26.8% – more than twice the average of studied subjects, according to Medical News Today.

The sponsors should not be blaming the kids. Children adopt eating habits from their parents, and size structure is also inherited- it’s not easy to be perfect. Instead, the commercial made me feel like obese people are unwanted, useless losers that need to “Get a life” and be emaciated like the last image.  That ad did not make any little girl aspiring to be the next Rihanna put down their chips and exercise. Personally, it made me feel ugly, and like there’s no fun in life if you aren’t thin.

You can watch it now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPyw_VGrC3o&feature=related

USA is Not a Carcinogen

Hugo Chavez lectures Venezuela

Venezuelan President is Suspicious USA Poisoned Him

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Opinion Editor

The cat’s out of the bag. Hugo Chavez knows that the United States gave him cancer. Or, at least that’s what he thinks.

This has to be a joke. The Venezuelan president seriously wondered aloud in a televised speech to his soldiers, “It would not be strange if they [United States] had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now,” and continues to warn the Bolivian president Evo Morales, “Evo, take care of yourself,” according to The Guardian.

    Hugo should spend less time worrying about Evo Morales and more trying to fix his own evil morals. I dare an American to disagree with me that the United States really cares about attempting to poison Hugo Chavez, when we have a financial crisis on our hands as well as a billion other more important issues like the election.

Daniel Wallis of Reuters reports that Chavez told his listeners how Cuban politician Fidel Castro had advised, “Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what,” he said. Yeah, because we definitely sent our troops to Venezuela to pretend to be his chefs and poison his food. (Warning: Sarcasm active). I suppose for now, I’ll keep secret my dreams of being a Venezuelan chef.

Stephen Hawking Bullies Religion

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

I used to think Stephen Hawking was a pretty cool genius. Now I know he is an extremely self-absorbed, grumpy, unhappy man who is talented in science, but can’t see past the tip of his own nose.

His atheistic views came out a bit harsh in his metaphor, “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he explained to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

But “the afterlife” has never been about the brain continuing to function. I thought heaven was based on the belief in souls, or in a spirit. If heaven is real, then based on what I’ve been taught, it is supposed to be where our souls go. Souls are not a physical thing. Our brains are a part of our body, which everyone knows dies. Religions are not denying that we die. It’s about something more that no science can prove. He is totally not thinking about religion in a, well, religious view.

Celebrities, politicians and famous people who have religions- well most, hopefully- don’t go around telling people how stupid atheists are. It’s one thing to say this to a friend, but to the public when you are a huge role model and figure, it’s just mean.

And another thing! Just because he is a genius at science doesn’t mean he knows everything else there is to know. Even if he somehow saw the end of the world and everything and did know whether God existed or not, who is he to stomp on everyone’s faith? There have to be scientists who look up to him, but are also of a religious denomination. He can keep his beliefs to himself with out making fun of something that he in no way can prove wrong. Condescending the religious is not a way to prove a theory.

Asking for Money While You Pay

Stores ask for donations while you have your cash in-hand

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

Carolyn is a staff writer for The Stampede.

I think that when at a check out, anything more blunt than a visible container labelled for donations to [name here] foundation or a subtle hint to this container, is hypocrisy. Depending on the situation, it may depend- anywhere else seems perfectly acceptable, but while someone has the cash in-hand… it just seems a tad sly to me.

For example, I was at the Walmart and my dad was buying a gift for my grandmother on mother’s day. The cashier seemed to have had a long day, judging by her slouching stance, dulled eyes and impatient eyebrows. She asked in a monotone voice as if she’d been repeating it for hours, “Would you like to donate to ___”? My dad simply replied, “Not today, sorry.”

In the last steps of filling out a check, he asked the cashier to repeat the price, and she changed it to be rounded up a few dollars. Obviously confused, he asked if she was sure. The bored worker told him the true price and added, “but you can just round it up and we’ll give the rest to the foundation.” Starting to get annoyed, he said no. Now, in fair honesty, if I were him I would have just let her have the few extra bucks, seeing as it is for a good cause, but yes — she was using guilt and being rude while attempting to collect donations.

If someone is not going to give their extra cash while waiting in line, then there is no need to pester them while they have their cash already in their hand. It does make a person feel bad, like “Oh, I already have it out, and I’m saying no…” and even if it did result in a contribution, it’s for the wrong reasons.

I wonder how the recipients of a donation would feel if they found out they had this money because a cashier had guilt-pressed their customer.

Besides, the staff can’t possibly assume that just because you are paying x amount of green for a product, means that they can spare more. Especially in this economy, financial situations are more likely to rely on every dollar. Many families have all their income planned out, so the twenty dollars they’re handing over may be the last they have until pay day. Also, the way they dress also doesn’t necessarily reflect their budget. There is no way to tell if a customer is being cheap or not, so please don’t pressure them. What if it really was their last pay check they were spending up, and they had to say ‘no’ to a cancer charity?

Ignoring the possibilities of the victim’s budget state, or how the charity profit-ees may react, is it not a bit ironic that they are asking these questions when it’s most convenient, knowing how it must feel to deny charity, all for a purpose that centers around kindness?

I am not trying to discourage efforts to persuade others to offer their own money for the sake of others, but I wish they would let it be more of a personal choice. There are plenty of other ways to entice donations: posters, staff asking while they don’t already have their wallet out, maybe an announcement on the intercom, etc.

If a person sees, hears and notices all these things like the bell-ringers on the streets, and refuses to get their bucks out at that time, then there’s no need to rub it in their face how they are saying “no” to an innocent, (Hopefully) good-intentioned charity.

Teen killer could strike again

Carolyn Conte is a staff writer for The Stampede

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

It’s the number one killer of 15 to 20 year-olds in the US.  An average of more than 5,000 teens here in USA will die this year because of it.  In 2009, at least 8 teens would die a day from this.

And almost all of these deaths could have been easily prevented- without any money donated, without any labor put in except for a thought: the decision to not distract themselves while they drive.

It could happen to anyone. We hear that a lot, but often we waive it away. It really could happen to anyone. Try and perceive yourself in one of those “some-one’s” situation, cruising along a smooth, empty road on their way home. Picture this anonymous person waiting all day for another special, certain peer to text or call them about, say, going to the dance. They’re so impatient!

Suddenly, “Buh-drung!” They know that sound; it means their phone just received a text. A potentially very important text. The road is empty and straight, and they need to see who it was! If they don’t reply immediately, that friend might assume something. So this “some-one”, this anyone, hexed by mere chance, chooses to answer just this one text. One hand holds the cellphone while they’re reading the message, and the other hand keeps the wheel steady. Their eyes abandon the road for a moment. In those humble few seconds their vehicle passes by a stoplight. A red light silently screams to the diverted some-one to halt, yet only a loud but low “bonnnggg! bongk, bongk!” succeeds in getting the random, anybody-but-you-someone to look up only to catch a final glimpse of life.

Harsh. But it’s reality. Waiting until the car is in park isn’t as painful as one might think.

One-Gender Schools

Carolyn Conte ‘14
Staff Writer

There are schools of all grades that limit acceptance to one gender, but depending on the grade level, it could affect the student in a number of positive and negative ways. When enrolling a kid in single-sex schools, there are some factors I think the parents and student should take into account.

I heard of an all-girls preschool advertised, and my first thought was that this is when children learn how to make friends. Perhaps they are too young to distinguish much between a boy from a girl, but if they can, then it makes sense that they will be more likely to shy away from the opposite gender in older grades. If all a kid sees and socializes with in their basic, core-learning years is other kids just like them, I believe they’ll subconsciously learn that those who are different are not their friend. As I considered this, I came to decide that even if they tend to stick with their gender when they enter a mixed class, kids will be kids and learn quickly to get along.

But, if attending an one-gender grade school, when kids and pre-teens recognize male/female differences a lot more, the lack of another gender will be much more obvious to them. Perhaps this is when it would affect them most, for better or worse. One positive benefit could be that their confidence may develop more. Some girls have been known to “play dumb” because they think it will make guys like them, but in a single-sex education, the students would be less likely to degrade themselves like that. Yet a negative factor would yet again be the lack of diversity for kids to learn to socialize easily.

By high school, attending an all-boys or all-girls school shouldn’t affect the social ability of a student much, unless somehow they forget how to deal with the opposite gender, or if in grades school they also attended a one-sex school. The impacts of a same-sex high school seem more beneficial, to me, than they would be in lower grades. High school is when relationships start to become more serious, but so does the pressure of what others think. Attending one-gender high schools may help the teenager feel more accepted. On the other hand, they might feel like they are missing out on relationships.

College years shouldn’t matter much what genders are accepted, because unless the students have gone to one-gender schools their whole life, I suspect they’ve fully developed the necessary social skills of real life. The only downsides of it, to me, would be again losing the chance of romantic relationships that by these years would be much more serious.

Whichever type of gender-ratio education a student gets, they should try to stay balanced.

Lent Reduced to a Type of Diet

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a season of fasting, but in today’s world it seems more like a period of dieting leading up to yet another holiday to splurge. Society seems to have forgotten that they aren’t giving up something — they’re putting aside distractions from God. In my opinion, many religious things have been simplified like this today.

I have often wondered how Christ’s resurrection devolved into a giant bunny rabbit that leaves chocolate eggs for children to find. Bunnies don”t even lay eggs. I can understand how it started as a celebration, especially as little kids can’t fully understand the true meaning. Or even maybe as a metaphor for new life — a stretch, though. But because of this, I would venture to guess that there is a large, increasing number of young kids, especially non-Christians, who don’t know what Easter really is.

When you’re living in a place where a commercial comes on saying “It seems like people save everything for Sunday: barbecues, game-day…” and leaves out the most vital, obvious event that happens every Sunday (I mean mass), what else can you expect? Did we forget though, that our pledge says “One nation, under God”? Just because we have freedom of religion doesn’t mean we have to act like there isn’t a God. Freedom of religion means freedom to choose, not freedom from religion.

It seems that our society is paranoid about insulting people. I’m pretty sure you can’t insult people by recognizing God. Almost all religions believe in God, and with regard to atheists who don’t believe in God, how can they be insulted by what they would just brush away as ignorance?

Besides the whole “true meaning of Christmas,” there are other holidays whose religious background we ignore. Why do we call St. Valentine’s day just ‘Valentine’s day’? And when is the last time people picked clover-leafs on St. Patrick’s day remembering how St. Patrick used it as a metaphor for the trinity, and not just to mean “good luck”? How did leprechauns even get involved in a saint’s day? Or how about Halloween: All Hallow’s Day, aka All Saint’s Day, is now about dressing up and collecting candy. Or, back to lent — Mardi Gras is supposed to be the day where one ‘pigs out’ before the season of fasting, but of course it has been reduced to beads and pancakes. Yet the pigging out part stays!

Thankfully, we have our own school to remind us to keep Lent holy. Many students are giving up junk foods, video games or bad habits. “It can be very beneficial for somebody [sacrificing something for Lent] on their spiritual journey through Lent. It doesn’t always work out this way, but a person may fill their need for God with other things, so taking those other things away helps them to remember God,” said Ms. Rebecca Rooney of the Religion Department.