Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's official...American culture has reached Peak Bro.


RIP: The Bro, 1976–2015
The origins of the bro are as murky as the water in a fraternity basement wading pool, but he is believed to have been birthed in 1976, in an article by music writer Lester Bangs. More recently, the experimental 1992 film Encino Man, which boasts an impressively low 16 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes, introduced the term into popular culture, where it proliferated like a bad strain of the clap on the Duke campus. It is not clear whether Pauly Shore or Brendan Fraser, the comedic duo that powered that little-loved cinematic engine, were themselves bros, or whether they remain bros to this day. Their current whereabouts are unknown, and perhaps best kept that way.
The Bro Is Still Kicking After All These Years 
A joint study of Entourage by Monmouth College and the University of Missouri-Columbia last year shows that tidings of the bro’s death may have been premature. According to the researchers, the bro’s negative characteristics are, in fact, more appealing than ever. In an era when traditional gender expectations are shifting, it seems viewers are drawn to the bro's more offensive qualities to offset their anxieties over the changing role of men in real life.
Research on sexual storytelling in male-dominated military settings has found that these groups facilitate conversations that lead friends to prioritize male-male friendships over male-female friendships, which are perceived to be "dangerously feminizing." Womanizing behaviors, on the other hand, facilitated these friendships. So Entourage is hardly to blame for a pre-existing "bros-before-hoes" culture in certain circles; but, as this study confirmed, discussion around it can't be helping, either.
Escape to Bro-Topia
Mr. Huntington built the treehouses over several months last year with the help of what he called a “bronado” of friends. He hired contractors to build the skate bowl at the same time.
Senator regrets ‘bro with no ho’ comment about colleague Lindsey Graham
Kirk was apparently referring to Graham’s recently-launched presidential bid. “I’ve been joking with Lindsey,” he is heard saying. “Did you see that? He’s going to have a rotating first lady. He’s a bro with no ho.”
A ‘bro’ asked the CIA about Osama bin Laden’s porn stash. The agency answered.
In hopes of uncovering the terrorist leader’s pornographic predilections, a determined bro named David Covucci decided to send the CIA a FOIA request on behalf of the esteemed online periodical of jockish 20-somethings known as BroBible. 
The Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1966, essentially allows any U.S. citizen to petition the government for official information. 
“It’s a pretty powerful tool for journalists and Bros alike,” Covucci wrote, noting that he believes “us dudes” have a “right to know what the world’s most wanted” was watching.
Jason Aldean Lashes Out Against Bro-Country Label
“It bothers me because I don’t feel like it’s a compliment,” the star says of being tagged as bro-country. “To me, it’s sort of a backhanded thing that comes from a very narrow-minded listener, and I don’t know who came up with that ridiculous term.” 
Music journalist Jody Rosen actually coined the term in an article in New York magazine in 2013, talking about the huge success of Florida Georgia Line‘s “Cruise” and songs by Luke Bryan.
Bro-Country Is A Plague, And Florida Georgia Line Is Patient Zero
Bro-country embodies everything that country-music haters hate about country music: forced drawls, offensively catchy chords, a fervor for reckless self-determination, hedonism, convenient religiosity, and backward conservatism with an undercurrent of racism. 
It's also pretty much loathed by any artists who consider themselves authentic country musicians. These artists don't see bro-country as real country. 
Bro-country might sell well, but it's bad music that justifies bad behavior. Its ethos lacks any regard for responsibility, respect, or moderation. Its lyrics condone misogyny, alcoholism, overconsumption, and that's about it. Music doesn't have to be progressive. It doesn't have to be ethical or political. But it shouldn't dumb down just to double dollars. It shouldn't be simple for the sake of convenience. Listeners deserve more than that, even if they're too busy stomping their boots and choking down whiskey to realize it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Syrian refugees flee to Ukraine, Ukrainians flee to Western Europe

Most of the recent refugee focus has either been on Libya or the Rohingya.

Some refugee tales, however, are bitterly ironic.

One Syrian man resettled in Ukraine...only to end up a restaurant owner in Donestek.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians fleeing to Poland and Western Europe have seen rejected visa and asylum applications.

God only knows where Western Europeans will go if disaster strikes at home. Rest assured, it won't be to Hungary.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Russia's Nuclear Options: Nukes in Crimea, Power Plants in Asia

On one hand, Russia has threatened to station nuclear weapons in Crimea as it sees fit...scaring the fuck out of everyone in Europe already worried about Ukraine and the disturbing Russian saber-rattling across the region (more on that in a future post).

On the other hand, Russia's spreading the nuclear love elsewhere.

Russian firm Rosatom will start construction on a nuclear plant in Iran later this year...even as Iranian nuclear talks continue.

Interestingly, this construction is not barred under current agreements.

Meanwhile, Rosatom has also begun talks with India over transferring nuclear technologies across various fields. Currently, they're building a power plant in the country's Tamil Nadu province (the southern tip).

Rosatom, by the way, is Russia's state nuclear corporation. According to their website, they are also building plants in China, Belarus, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.

Of course, they also have a nuclear weapons division.

Truly, Rosatom is a one-stop shopping destination for nuclear products. Too bad its main customer is Putin.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Controversial Politicians of Instagram, From Aaron Schock to Ayatollah Khomeini

Aaron Schock resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives over two months ago when his own popular Instagram account helped prove that he misreported his travel plans as well as his use of federal funds and campaign finances. Just recently, he paid $122,000 back to the federal government.

However, this hasn't stopped other political legacies from benefiting from the popular photo/video sharing app normally associated with benign narcissistic banality.*

Famously shameless ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has one.

Ayatollah Khomeini's tribute account was recently reactivated.

Even Chechyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov -- who recently called for keeping women locked up and away from WhatsApp -- announced his two upcoming film roles from his Instagram account.

Then again, even ISIS makes cat memes.

*not linking to mine here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

France's Sustainability Double-Whammy

Recently, France required all new buildings in commercial zones to have either plants or solar panels on their roofs. This follows a new law requiring supermarkets to distribute unsold edible food so it doesn't go to waste.

Let's hope more nations follow the French example. Especially the ones still subsidizing their farms.

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