Sex education in the United States is a mess. The mandates on the subject are very vague and loose, and many developing students have suffered because of it. Under informed kids are at higher risk for STDs and teen pregnancies than students with more thorough sex ed. Two articles I read on the topic that interested me were “What’s The State Of Sex Education In The U.S.?” and “The Sex Study That Could Alter Our Understanding Of Campus Assault“. According to the first article, almost 100 percent of American parents support stronger sex education in middle school and high school. Only 34 states have a mandated policy to teach students about HIV and only 24 have a mandated sex ed class. In those states the guidelines are not remotely clear and do not require schools to teach much specifics, just that there is a sex ed class. The specifics of what has to be taught is pretty much entirely left up to the individual school districts which obviously leads to a gap in knowledge from school to school and especially from state to state. The second article is more about how college students interact with each other. It states much of their behaviors are crystal clear warning signs of students who either did not receive proper education on consent and harassment or even more frighteningly, none at all. Rape statistics in colleges are frightening across the board so if middle and high schools can do something to help that they absolutely should. The second article really shows the effects of the lack of sex ed discussed in the first article. We could use the information in this article in a number of ways. We could very easily use it to show cause and effect which would be effective and eye opening to our audience. There are a number of ways to work that information in but I feel that’s the best one.


The title of our deliberation is going to be “Let’s Talk About Sex (ed) Baby.” It’s a bit on the corny side but it’s memorable and it was all we had. It should definitely grab the attention of people reading it.

Our deliberation is about sex education in schools in the United States, mainly focusing on high school sex ed classes but not ignoring the less detailed forms of sex ed given in middle and elementary schools. We are looking at this issue through 3 different approaches. The first approach will be focusing on the medical aspect of sex ed. STI’s, vaccinations, and how to practice safe sex will all be looked at. The second approach will look at social stigmas surrounding sex and education.The third approach is going to be looking at sex ed in terms of what consent is and how we can make sure to keep all sexual encounters safe and consensual.

My role is being in the summary and outreach mini team. I am going to be finding and reaching out to various people and organizations from this area and try to get them to come to our deliberation. We’ll also be providing a summary and post deliberation questions for people.

Right now my mini team and I are working on a flyer to hang up at popular spots around campus to hopefully entice them to show up and listen to what we have to say. The other day in class we found and listed a bunch of local organizations we want to ask to come listen. Tomorrow we will probably find a time to get together and contact these people to hopefully convince them to come. After that we’ll be coming up with post deliberation questions for our topic and then creating and providing a summary of all 3 of our approaches.

This I Believe

I have never been a normal kid. Ever since I was young I always noticed that I was just a little different from the kids I went to school and played sports with. Like a lot of kids who felt like outsiders, I spent much of my childhood as a very shy and self conscious kid. In pre school it got so bad that I could barely even talk to some people. After a bit of therapy I got past that, but I was still no social butterfly. I was still different. And children aren’t exactly the most understanding people when it comes to accepting differences. I got made fun of for a number of things. How skinny I was and my awkward personality were the primary targets. For years this went on and I always took it very personally. Each insult struck me hard. Then 8th grade rolled around. After years of feeling like an outcast and shying away from every insult that came my way, I started to take a look around me. I realized that kids that age pretty much make fun of everyone, and that I shouldn’t take every insult to heart.

It was just dumb luck that this personal revelation came just after I started getting into comedy, especially in the form of late night talk shows, my favorite being Conan O’Brien. I was inspired with how this lanky goofball managed to get up in front of millions of people and shamelessly mock himself in every way imaginable. That made me realize that the secret to overcoming my insecurities wasn’t to push them down and hope nobody notices them. The secret is to own them, accept and embrace them. I stopped letting my insecurities bother me and instead began to poke fun at them myself. Some people misconstrue this as a coping mechanism for self loathing, but I feel it’s just the opposite. Robin Williams, another favorite of mine, once said, “The world is open for play, everything and everybody is mockable, in a wonderful way.” What he is saying here, what has become my philosophy, is that life is better lived when filled with laughter. We all face pressures and insecurities, but they can all be made less daunting or crippling with humor.

I still have many of the same imperfections I had years ago, but instead of letting them become insecurities, I make them my very own punchlines, and I am happier because of it.


Group Members: Sophia Boudreau, Cameron McGovern, Matthew Hladik, Henry Deteskey, Mitchell Dobbs, Emilio Olay.


Topic: The commercialization of Christmas and other holidays


As a member of this group, I will take equal and fair responsibility of my assigned duties to make sure that this project is finished on time and completed to the best of our group’s abilities. We will conduct interviews, research, and will observe major shopping centers. We will try to understand the different ideologies between age groups to attempt to come to a consensus.



Matthew Hladik

Sophia Boudreau

Emilio Olay

Mitchell Dobbs

Henry Robert Deteskey IV




The Commercialization of Christmas


Group Members: Sophia Boudreau (spb5605@psu.edu), Henry Deteskey, Mitchell Dobbs (mfd5415@psu.edu), Matthew Hladik, Cameron McGovern (cpm5559@psu.edu), Emilio Olay (eso5042@psu.edu)


Group Responsibilities:


  1. Sophia – Any and all video editing, technology responsibilities, and filming
  2. Henry –
  3. Mitch – Research collection and synthesis. Aid in presenting and constructing script.
  4. Matt –
  5. Cam – Help find clips and images to use in the video and help with the writing for the video
  6. Emilio – Research collection and synthesis. Aid in writing script.


Work Timeline


Thursday, November 30th – collect sources and begin to work on the ideal way to frame the commercialization of christmas and various other holidays. Video clips, articles, interviews, etc. will be searched for and collected, and placed into a google doc for group accessibility


Tuesday, December 5th – research will be finalized, with portions of the project divided up amongst group members Cam, Matt, Henry, Emilio, and Mitch. Each presenting member will be required to know the particular aspect of the project that he is responsible for discussing. Each member will speak for roughly the same amount of time, eventually committing the topics at hand to memory for Sophia to film. Filming will hopefully get started during this class session or shortly thereafter.


Thursday, December 7th – Presentation of various aspects will occur, with Sophia filming. If not during the class session, filming and editing will take place on Friday, December 8th, or when the group has time to assemble and present in an ideal location. Editing and revising will occur during this session.

Friday, December 8th – Sunday, December 10th – presentations, filming, editing, and the remaining facets of the project will be completed and finalized, with a final product produced by the end of the day on Sunday, December 10th. Editing and revising will occur during this session.

RCL 9: TED Talk Script

Comedy is a deeply routed facet of our society. Records of comedians go back all the way to Greece in 425 B.C., and in all likelihood extend back even further. As with literally everything that has existed in this time period, comedy has undergone multiple drastic changes to its style and form.

There have been major stylistic changes in comedy since its creation, but the changes that it has undergone in just the last 70 years are some of the most drastic and most civically intriguing. Comedy in the post-war era was very limiting creatively. Foul language was a huge no-no, language relating to the bathroom was right out. Words relating to sex? Forget about it. But those constraints became less and less stringent as the years went by. By the mid 80’s comedy was becoming less and less family friendly.

Comedy today often talks about social and political issues in unflattering ways, constantly employs foul language, and does absolutely nothing to avoid topics that are controversial in nature.

The controversy and vulgarity are extremely polarizing in today’s society. Many people think that comedians shouldn’t discuss these topics.

Society has a huge effect on comedy and comedy has a huge effect on society.

Popular comedy says a lot about our society. It shows what we think is funny, what we’re comfortable joking about and laughing at. It shows how far comedians will go to get a reaction out of the audience.

Why is comedy becoming more inappropriate?

What caused this shift?

Comedy is an ever-changing art, even more so than many others. We, as a society, shape it so that it, in return, can shape us.


For centuries now, humans have developed countless forms of entertainment. One of the most lasting and timeless of those forms is comedy. Since the dawn of civilization, people have sought out laughter for entertainment. While the idea of comedy is timeless, comedic styles have shifted drastically through the ages, especially in the last 50 or so years. What does this shift say about us? About our society?

In 60’s comedy was family friendly.Comedians rarely swore and told jokes about topics that were appropriate for most ages.

Comedians rarely swore and told jokes about topics that were appropriate for most ages.

Nowadays popular comedy is a much more raunchy and inappropriate brand that brings up questions about society.

Comedians constantly swear and joke about very controversial topics.

Comedy has become a form of entertainment known for causing controversy.

Comedians constantly push boundaries that can either get a laugh or enrage people.

Should we return to a time where comedy was more family friendly or should we allow them to continue to cause us to ask questions about ourselves?


Comedy is a reflection of our society. Comics write things that we laugh at.

Our culture is more comfortable now laughing about controversial topics than we did in the mid 20th century.

But why?

Is it because we have become numb to serious topics? Is it a coping mechanism for the general public? Are we just harder to offend than we were?

These questions are hard to answer but are very important. I believe the shift is a combination of the first two reasons. Offending people, if anything, is easier than it was in the 60’s. But I believe people cope with humor more than they used to. This coping has caused some people to become numb to serious situations and make jokes in especially poor taste.

RCL 7-It’s What I Do

Addario includes many powerful photos in her book. Seeing as she is a photographer telling her stories, this comes as no surprise. This is because Addario knows how powerful of an effect images can have on an audience. While many of the photos in the book had an effect on me, none were more profound than these two. Starting on top, this picture is really devastating. Thinking about that poor man dealing with all the dead is just tragic. My mind goes to thinking if he knew or was close to any of those people. I wonder if any of those lost were his loved ones. I have tried but I can’t even begin to imagine what I’d do if I was in his position. Now the kid, this one really hits me hard. Seeing his battered face is one thing, but those will heal. Seeing the expression on his face, the pain in his eyes, that’s what gets me. By around the age 8 or so, this kid has had experiences no person should ever have to. He has likely lost family and friends at an unfairly young age for no good reason. Those are the wounds that cut deepest, that will take longest to heal. This photo truly captures all of that at once.

In terms of my own blog, I have already begun to incorporate photos and videos to improve the quality of the blog. Addario knows that images can have a profound impact on a viewer and, as you probably already know, my blog is about movies, which can use imagery to achieve profound effects in the same way. Last blog I used videos to show scenes that I was talking about because, even though I could go on for pages about them, it will never compare to seeing it for yourself.

RCL 6 It’s What I Do

As a conflict photographer, it is no surprise that Addario sees more than her fair share of war and conflict while doing her job. However, she also deals with conflict in her personal life and even within her own mind. There was one quote that I believe can be considered as the crossroads of all of these conflicts. On pages 151-152 she says, “The sadness and injustice I encountered as a journalist could either sink me into a depression or open the door to a vision of my own life. I chose the latter.” This quote really got to me because it connects to my life. I’ve never been a big fan of big changes in my life. Ever since I was a kid they just made me nervous. And obviously leaving home, leaving everyone I knew behind and going to a college that nobody from my school goes to has been the biggest change in my life so far.

This past summer was the most fun of my life. I enjoyed every second of it and became closer to my friends than I ever had been before. But I knew deep down that our days together were numbered, that all of us would be going off to schools around the country. This started to have an impact on me in August. I was so sad about leaving everything I loved behind that I began to realize I wasn’t even thinking about what I had to look forward to here. When I realized this everything changed. I knew that I was going to encounter a world of experiences here and couldn’t let nostalgia ruin that. I knew that, even though my hometown felt warm and safe, my time there had to end. I realized the future could be whatever I wanted it to be. From that moment on, I have never looked back.


The Beatles were at the forefront of social change in the 1960s. They opened the floodgates that popularized political music to the American public. Though their accomplishments in music are virtually unrivaled, it may not have been the same were it not for some of their inspirations, namely Bob Dylan. His music was political even before the Beatles’ was, though he wasn’t able to make it as popular. Like the Beatles, he called for social and political change in his songs. Most notably in his hit “The Times They are a Changin,” which many consider to be the most political song ever.

Dylan compares the social change to a flood with the line “And admit that the waters around you have grown. And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone.” What he is saying here is that society is beginning to accept African Americans and that this acceptance is spreading like a flood, and that if people become tolerant they will be fine, but if they resist the change society will leave them behind. This sentiment also is evident in the line “Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.” “Swimming” refers to becoming tolerant. Those who remain racist will not be able to cope with the new accepting world and will, according to Dylan “sink like a stone.” Dylan calls for “writers and critics who prophesize with [their] pen” to stop lying to and negatively influencing the public and to start being good journalists.

Dylan makes a number of Biblical references talking about how those that have been oppressed by those in power will soon be in power themselves, and that those who were in power will be powerless.

This song’s influence became clear immediately after its release. It was instantly used as an anthem for social change. Beyond the 60’s, the song has continued to have a lasting message of acceptance. This is because, despite originally being written about the Civil Rights movement, the general lyrics are universally tied to acceptance over intolerance.


The song is civic because it calls for people to strive for social change. Dylan was very rightfully disgusted by the treatment of African Americans in America at the time and was glad that things had begun shifting in towards equality. All things considered, this song can more or less be described as an absolutely scathing diss track directed at any racist or intolerant people. It was extremely effective in its goal to spur change, as it became somewhat of an anthem of acceptance.

How The Beatles Changed Music

From the moment The Beatles hit the public radar it was clear that they were no ordinary rock group. They instantly began challenging basic ideologies surrounding rock and roll as well as music in general. In addition to their ingenuity in the recording studio, they also completely altered the course of music in America, and in the process broke the barrier between the British and American music industry.

Paragraph 1:

Music in America during the early to mid 20th century was mostly made to be danced to

The Beatles wrote their music to be listened to

They weren’t the first to do this in America at the time but they were the ones who successfully made it happen.

After they succeeded music in America shifted to the point where most music was made for listening instead of dancing

Don Maclean even brought attention to this in his hit song American Pie with the lyric “We all got up to dance, oh but we never got the chance.”

Paragraph 2:

Music in Europe and America was frankly different up to the early 60s.

“The reputation that was out there in Great Britain was that you can’t make it in America. They just want to listen to a different kind of music.” -Michael Cheney

The Beatles were different in that many of their inspirations were American musicians, most notably Bob Dylan.

Once the Beatles broke through to the American public the idea that British musicians couldn’t make it in America was quickly and violently forgotten.

Quickly after the Beatles hit it big here the cultural phenomenon known as the “British Invasion” struck.

This was when bands from Britain came to America and started having tremendous success. The Rolling Stones and The Who being the most notable to follow in the Beatles footsteps.

While The Beatles storied run as world famous band was criminally short, their impact is one that will never be forgotten. From their creativity in the studio, to their arrival in America, all the way down to the day they tragically broke up, The Beatles were changing the way people thought about music. Though they stopped making music together almost 50 years ago their impact is still being felt today and will be for a long time to come.