1st Amendment Rights and Censorship

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One of the concepts I have learned more about in this class is our First Amendment rights as American citizens. I think this is an important subject to be educated in because you need to know your rights to understand whether they are being infringed upon. This topic is becoming more and more important as the number of protests has skyrocketed following a string of controversial events. It is vital that protestors understand their rights to free speech to ensure that conflict is avoided.

In previous classes, we have discussed controversies regarding free speech. A specific example that helped me define free speech and its limitations occurred at Anderson Mill Elementary School. Hudson Jr. reports a fourth-grader was asked to change her essay topic because her topic about LGBTQ equality was deemed inappropriate. The student’s mother attempted to claim that her daughter’s First Amendment rights were violated but her appeal was unsuccessful because the court ruled that the assignment was to be considered school-sponsored speech. This ruling, along with the readings from class, led me to the realization that our rights are limited. Although it may seem like we can say what we want when we want, there are many limitations.

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However, I think the biggest thing I learned from the readings and lectures in this class is companies such as Twitter don’t have to honor your rights to free speech. Since they are private forums merely inviting public discussion, companies can censor you. For example, Twitter has permanently banned former President Donald Trump from the platform for violating its guidelines. When it comes to social media sites, those companies hold jurisdiction over people’s accounts.

Although I am not an expert in the subject, I feel like the readings have given me a better understanding of my free speech rights. Given the current state of America, being educated and knowing your rights is very important. The readings over free speech and censorship have given me closure because I have learned enough to ensure my rights are protected.

At Home with Baker Mayfield

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One of my favorite quarterbacks growing up was Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was a walk-on quarterback for the University of Oklahoma who would eventually develop into a Heisman Trophy award winner and number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. In a tweet from Pro Football Focus, analysts even name Mayfield as the best college quarterback in the last 10 years. An accomplished resume such as Baker’s presents plenty of opportunities. Mayfield took advantage of these lucrative opportunities and has appeared in numerous TV advertisements. Although some were good and some were bad, my favorite series of advertisements came from Progressive’s “At Home with Baker Mayfield” campaign.

This campaign of commercials follows Baker Mayfield through his ventures at his “home” FirstEnergy Stadium. FirstEnergy Stadium is the Browns’ home field, which is why this advertisement makes sense. The premise of this series of advertisements is that Mayfield treats his home stadium where he plays as if it was his home. Progressive is trying to promote their home insurance policies and therefore is trying to make it seem as though Mayfield lives at his stadium. The ad above was released for the Halloween season and depicts Mayfield giving out nachos to trick-or-treaters who do not seem very pleased. At first, I thought this campaign was pretty corny. However, as more and more continue to be released, they are beginning to grow on me.

I see the ad above aired on television or YouTube all the time. I don’t watch a lot of cable tv, so I mostly see this ad on YouTube. Ads on YouTube are very annoying to me because I just want to watch my video, but when this one airs it makes me chuckle. Sticking with the at-home theme, this ad follows Mayfield as he does various tasks in the stadium. However, Mayfield’s actions are narrated by a play-by-play announcer. These ads stick to the football theme and make jokes about how he lives his life in the stadium. I see the connection between the house theme and Progressive wanting to promote their services, but to me, it seems like they are trying to create conversation about their policies through funny commercials featuring a well-known football player. Overall, these ads are very creative and I find them funny at times.

Spencer Rattled?

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Lately on campus there has been a controversy surrounding the quarterback position for the football team. Coming into the season, the Sooners named former 5-star recruit Spencer Rattler the starting quarterback. Due to Oklahoma’s high-powered offense, Rattler opened the season as the Heisman favorite. However, the Oklahoma offense stalled early in the season and many blamed it on Rattler’s poor play.

The season came to a turning point when Lincoln Riley subbed-in true freshman Caleb Williams during the second quarter of the Red River Rivalry. Caleb Williams, the top recruit in the 2021 class, was called upon to provide a spark to a dead Oklahoma offense riddled by turnovers. On Caleb’s first play in the game, he took what seemed to be a stop by the defense and turned it into a 66 yard touchdown run.

Down 28-7, Williams led the Sooners to a 55-48 win and caught the attention of many football fans around the nation. Williams would then earn the start against TCU and Kansas winning both games and solidifying his spot as the starting quarterback.

So, with Williams leading the Sooners, where does that leave Rattler? Many assume Rattler will eventually transfer to look for an opportunity elsewhere. Rattler even went as far as to remove OU from his Instagram biography. He has since put OU back into his bio, but many believe Rattler will not be a Sooner this time next year. However, Oklahoma fans don’t need to be worried. With Caleb Williams, Sooner fans can breathe a sigh of relief. We are in good hands for the foreseeable future.

Top Ten Treats

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Every year on Halloween, millions of pieces of candy are handed out to children in costumes across America. The Nation Retail Federation reports that the average expected spending for those who participate in this holiday comes in at $102.74. However, my focus every year was to go out, not stay in and hand out candy. From my experiences as a Trick-or-Treater, nothing tops going to a house and leaving with a Snickers bar. However, others may prefer different treats this time of year. Below is my subjective list of the top ten candies to receive on Halloween.

10. Skittles

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Skittles barely make the list at ten. I’ve never been a big fan of Skittles but I know many people who would be upset with me if I left them off this list. These are a staple to every child’s Halloween, so they barely squeaked by.

9. Hot Tamales

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This selection might not be popular with many but I have always grown up loving Hot Tamales. My mother used to eat them when I was younger and every once in a while she would give me a few. Their sentimental value lands them at nine.

8. Starbursts

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Starbursts may be higher on others’ lists, but I don’t like the pink flavor. Orange, red, and yellow starbursts are all fine with me, but there is no worse feeling than opening up a pack of Starbursts and seeing two pinks inside.

7. M&M’s

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This may also be relatively low on my list compared to others but that’s just because M&M’s lack something special. They’re just small colorful pieces of chocolate to me. Nonetheless, still good enough to earn the seventh spot on the list.

6. Sweet Tarts

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Sweet Tarts are a nice change to the different variations of chocolate found on this list. The one thing that stands out to me and why I gave them the sixth spot is they are relatively unique. Also, there are different variations of Sweet Tarts in stores that are also good.

5. Hersheys

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Hershey’s is an example of a classic that has withstood the test of time. A simple chocolate bar but always good.

4. Gummy Bears

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Gummy bears are another classic that had to make the list. Nothing much to them but always a favorite amongst kids.

3. Twix

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The top three are all really close in my opinion. Twix lands the third spot only because I think the two candy bars ahead of Twix are just better.

2. Reese’s Cups

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Reese’s cups might be a consensus favorite for many but they make the second spot on my list. A classic go-to all year and especially during Halloween.

1. Snickers

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Snickers bars are the best there is plain and simple. They’ve been my favorite growing up and they’re even better during the Halloween season.

Four Elements that Every Good Film Has

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Movies are a very big part of our culture as humans. Everyone has one or a couple of movies that stand out to them after the first time watching. A couple of movies that come to my mind when thinking of my favorites would be The Dark Knight and Us. I think these two movies share core values that can make or break a movie. The four elements found in most quality films are as follows:

1. Plot

Every good movie has to have a good story. Storytelling and plot are crucial to a film’s success. Boring and uninteresting movies do not usually attract many viewers which in turn makes it hard for the movie to make money. These may be the most crucial elements to a film’s success. For example, The Dark Knight had a very advanced and sophisticated plot combined with some of the other elements below that made it stand out during my first viewing. The same can be said for Jordan Peele’s Us. This plot featured thrilling action along with many twists and turns in the storyline that left many on the edge of their seats.

2. Acting

Coupled with a good plot, actors have to know their roles. When actors understand who they are trying to be and achieve their role in a good story, it usually leads to success.

The scene above from The Dark Knight is a great example of knowing your role and playing it to perfection. Heath Ledger in this scene gives the audience an introduction to the Joker’s chilling and ominous backstory while also featuring a couple of good fight scenes.

3. Cinematography

The special effects and camera work are key elements to producing a good movie. Nobody likes to see outdated graphics or bad fights. A good movie should keep its graphics and effects up to date with the current standards to ensure you can engage an audience.

Avatar was released in 2009 but their graphics lead the standard for movies at that time. The movie’s graphics along with an interesting storyline made them one of the most-watched movies of all time. In fact, Deadline.com reports that Avatar reclaimed it’s spot for highest-grossing film of all time earlier this year.

4. Music

One of the best ways to finish off a well-shot scene is by accompanying it with fitting music. Music in movies can often continue to portray ongoing themes in the storyline and help convey emotions in scenes with no dialogue.

This scene above is from Poole’s Us and shows the end of the movie as the plot twists are wrapping up. Music plays while the camera pans out and shows the thousands of duplicates holding hands. However, the music playing has an uplifting tone that ends the journey for the family but also undertones the eerie situation the story concludes on.

There may be other elements that make or break a film, but, in my opinion, these four elements are crucial in the success of movies around the country.

“Herd” about Colin?

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Some days I find my self with nothing to do and look for ways to waste my time. I catch up on my social media but most days I spend a lot of time on YouTube watching various genres of entertainment. However, being a big sports fan, I gravitated towards several different sport analysis tv shows and podcasts. After watching many sports talk shows, I stumbled upon a segment from The Herd with Colin Cowherd and was instantly intrigued.

What drew me toward Cowherd is his creativity in his segments. During his show he will play games that allow the viewer to make their own opinion on the topics and compare theirs to Cowherd’s. After giving his opinion, Colin always gives a very intelligent and evidence-based answer as to why he thinks he’s right. He also connects with his viewers by drawing comparisons and making connections from the gridiron with everyday situations in life.

“Playoff or Takeoff” – A segment from The Herd with Colin Cowherd

The video above is a segment from his show called “Playoff or Takeoff” in which he is given a list of teams that are on the cusp of being a playoff team and decides if they will make it to the playoffs or “takeoff” after the regular season. Cowherd has many other segments similar to the one above that influenced me to pursue a career in sports journalism.

When debating what career path I wanted to pursue, Colin Cowherd showed me that I don’t have to slave away at a desk doing something boring to earn a paycheck. Cowherd watches sports and shares his opinion with millions around the nation on different platforms and makes a lot of money doing it. Although I know he worked hard to get to the top of the industry, he inspired me to pursue something that I love and not settle when it comes to my happiness in my career.