Reflections of an Opinionated 20-year-old

This weekend I’m doing some much needed cleaning (and more importantly dumping) around the apartment. So far I’ve come across a few gems: the blackberry curve with the crack in the screen that I threw across the room when my mom made me mad during a conversation a few years back (and the cracked G1 that I threw across the room earlier this year when my then-boyfriend made me mad. I don’t learn); the photo collage that my roomates made for me when I got my undergraduate degree; and my USB drive with writings from junior and senior years of college–gold!

I went straight to the  files from my column writing class Winter ’06, and a few words into the first piece I was dying with laughter. Since experiencing/living in NYC, my cynical personality seems to have magnified, but in looking at these columns from 4.5 years ago I see that I’ve always had quite a mouth on me. This was a comfort, as I’ve had fearful thoughts that NY “ruined” me (now I see that I’ve always been a hot, opinionated mess).

More importantly, though, I think the columns were quite good, aside from blaring grammatical errors. As a “professional journalist,” I can now see the places where an editor was clearly needed, but aside from that I am proud of what I wrote. It takes me back to the person that I was at 20 and I’m proud to see that I still have the same attitude towards foolishness that I had in school. I may have actually lightened up on some of my zero-tolerance standards, and in need of this not-so-friendly reminder.

Anyway, since I wasn’t blogging then and I feel these pieces deserve more eyes than mine and my professor’s, here are the reflections of Brande Victorian as a 20-year-old:

Everybody’s a Rapper (Not): 1/11/06

Everybody’s a rapper these days. “I want to be a rapper” has replaced the “I wanna be like Mike” dream of the 90s. According to sports psychologist, Todd M. Kays, an NBA team drafts 0.03% of high school seniors; I would contend the chances of being a big time rapper are about the same if not less.

In an article about what kids want to be when they grow up on the Family Education Network website, an 8-year-old boy named Eric said, “I want to be a rapper or something because it just seems fun.”

Nothing is wrong with aspiration, but a strong dose of reality and common sense needs to accompany it. This is no knock to rap music, I am actually a fan of the genre; however, I am knocking the ambitionless, get rich quick mentality that characterizes a large proportion of individuals with this dream.

It would be different if this skill emerged from a passion of say, writing. You’re telling your life story and struggles, you’ve been doing it for years as an emotional outlet, one day you add music to it and bam- rap. Then you strive to be the best rapper you can be and you make it big. Congrats, we need more hard workers.

But how about these guys who have grown up on the streets, realize they have a skill but all they do is battle rap a few times a week with other local amateurs. They really aren’t doing anything progressive, yet the first time somebody questions what they’re doing with themselves they say, “I’m going to be a rapper.” Are you really? Read More

Run that By Me Again: 1/18/06

Women who drink at frat houses deserve to be raped. Ignorant I hope is the initial response when reading such a statement; it certainly was in my women’s studies class. This ignorance flew from the mouth of a humanities professor–social critic, Camille Paglia. A woman.

Had a macho anti-feminist group sick of playing the rape blame game made the statement, one might simply excuse the sexism. Had a “less-educated” person, living under a rock, oblivious to the fact that rape is about power rather than beer and short skirts said it, it could have been ignored. But from a well educated, female professor-not so easily.

What sort of twisted mentality gave birth to this ignorant statement of such grand proportions? Read More

Abercrombie and Thong Thong Thong Thong Thongs: 1/25/06

 Thongs–women love ‘em, men love to see women in ‘em, heck songs have even been written about them. Mad TV recently did a parody about a mother who purchased a diaper thong for her child because the regular one was too bulky. While funny in that context, it brought to mind a more serious issue.

Next time you opt to by undies for your little girl, don’t expect the Hanes Her Way 8-pack with bunnies and hearts. You’re more likely to see catch phrases like “eye candy” and “wink wink,” and not on boxer briefs, on thongs.

“Just who is her little butt suppose to be eye candy for,” concerned mother Martina Harmond, questioned.

Apparently for their seven to 14-year-old counterparts, since this is the targeted female market.  Read More

VDay–Not That Serious: 2/15/06

Pillows everywhere are still hanging out to dry all because Tuesday was Valentines Day. Personally I don’t get it. What happens between 11:59p February 13 and 12:00a February 14 that makes a woman’s worlds turn completely upside down?

A couple of my friends simply anticipated being sad. “Tomorrow I’m going to be so depressed,” my roommate said, “everybody wear black!”

Who prepares for depression? It’s a mindset that you allow by letting you seeing someone with a $1 carnation in their hand and a box of chocolates on one day all of sudden make you feel insignificant. Read More

Don’t Trust the Midas Touch: 2/28/06

After spending more time with the mechanics at Midas this week than with my roommates, I thought it necessary to issue some precautionary advice to unsuspecting car owners everywhere.

The issue: A flat tire

Fix: AAA replaced the flat with a donut

Next issue: I need a tire

Fix: I go to Midas, spend one hour waiting for the mechanic to tell me that my tire cannot be patched. I wait another hour for the tires to come in because of course it’s “better” to have two new tires than one and they don’t have them in stock. Finally, I wait another two hours for those tires to be put on with a short interval consisting of the mechanic telling me that I must have new lug nuts which will cost me an extra $40.

Yet another issue: My car is now rattling and ticking like a time bomb.

The fix: Pending…

In the course of this week-long extravaganza, I’ve made some key observations about car repair. Read More

And an article from my feature writing class senior year–

“Buying Black” Hair: 2/27/07

“Buy black” may be nothing more than a token phrase to throw around in our community. Sometimes we purposely make the effort to get the car from the black dealer or buy a suit from the black vendor, but somehow this idea has not translated into the hair care industry. Talk is circulating about the prevalence of Asian beauty supply stores and the regularity with which we frequent them, but it may be our only option in some instances. On the flip side however, many black beauty supply owners are finding it is just as hard to buy Korean as it is to buy black. Read More

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