trump’s NFL dispute is nothing but accessible controversy

In 1968, two American athletes – Tommie Smith and John Carlos – stepped atop an olympic podium following gold and bronze wins in the 200m dash. As their national anthem played, both raised black gloved fists, hanging their heads in silent protest against poor treatment of African Americans in the US. In the weeks and months following, criticism and death threats ensued.

48 years later, NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid would take a knee as the national anthem rang out across a football pitch in Santa Clara, California. At first, their gesture went largely under the radar. Then, one year on, president Trump condemned those who choose not to offer their unwavering patriotism.

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i fail to understand political apathy

On June 8th at 22 years old, I cast my vote for the very first time. My voice abruptly shifted from that of one lost in a crowd to one bound by law, counted equally among others in my community – a deep pencilled cross marked in a printed box, an opinion that demanded to be heard.

In the polling booth I’d shut my eyes and tried to remember all it had taken to reach where I’d arrived. Thoughts lingered less on the stacks of forms completed and signatures practiced, of photobooth photographs taken with my tongue pressed firmly against the palate to strengthen a soft jawline, of trains boarded with good intentions of arriving on time to biometrics scans and interviews, and two grand missing from my pocket; but instead more so on the seventeen years preceding my citizenship I had spent feeling powerless. As an American citizen raised in the United Kingdom, I had never experienced the privilege of democracy first hand.

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the wolf of wall street (in review)

Down an American freeway rips a red Ferrari. Elmore James’ slide guitar jumps in, mixing with the hum of the car and aligning with our protagonist’s voice as he arrogantly corrects that the Ferrari was not red, but white, like Don Johnson’s in Miami Vice. In the grand scheme of this film’s debauchery, it’s an easily forgotten line. But this stripped down dialogue speaks leagues – for Jordan Belfort, appearances are everything.

From Goodfellas to The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street‘s director Martin Scorsese has always been a master at making us root for the bad guy. Working once again with frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese takes his familiar blend of men in well tailored suits jacked up on cocaine and deliberately places them on the glass ceiling, allowing us to see the blood on the soles of their fine leather shoes. Unlike his previous movies, he offers no desire for the lifestyle being portrayed, but instead spills a harrowing view of what money can do to egotistical boys playing business.

At its core, this is a film built to criticise the lifestyle of rich white men, made by rich white men. It breathes self-awareness and encourages the ability to know where the line between wealth and greed lies, all while giving us a hell of a ride. Are Scorsese and DiCaprio capable of making a bad film together? Probably not. An essential watch, with excellent performances from Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey.

we’re not more depressed than we were – we just don’t have to make eye contact when we say it anymore

In 2012, Joel Stein branded millennials the ‘Me, Me, Me Generation’ for Time, describing them as ‘Lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents’. Less than forty years earlier, Tom Wolfe had written of the ‘Me Decade’ for New York Magazine, similarly describing the self involved qualities the baby boomer generation had come to possess. Every generation is adamant they have reasoning behind their downfalls; the generation preceding them being at fault, and the generation following reaping the rewards of their hard work.

While those born in the 20s to 40s – the silent generation – lived among an economic crash, their 50s and 60s children survived the repercussions of Vietnam and years of drug-fuelled changes in traditional prospects and attitudes. Western millennials have no great war, nor anything beyond a somewhat unsteady political landscape, yet seem to be in a constant push-pull struggle with their mental health.

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