For Students

UChic Pop Rocks: Jon and Kate Plus 9.8 Million

It seems lately that the lines between reality and hypereality are becoming increasingly and inextricably tangled. With reality shows, fictional TV dramas about reality shows, tabloid magazines that report about the real lives of reality stars, and blogs and news outlets reporting about the tabloid coverage of the real lives of reality stars— not to mention, you know, real life… “reality” is becoming quite the relative term.

The recent Jon and Kate Plus 8 media circus is particularly mind-boggling. Ever since Us Weekly broke the news about Jon Gosselin’s affair, the tabloids have been covering the unraveling marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin, parents of 8 adorable children documented on the TLC show Jon and Kate Plus 8, with frightening fervor. Media attention concerning Jon’s alleged affair with a 23-year-old Reading, Pennsylvania teacher begot affair drama concerning Kate: with the increasing paparazzi attention, Kate has hired a bodyguard who apparently receives more affection from Kate than her own husband, if you know what we mean.

With real-life drama in the magazines and blogs, Jon and Kate have drawn even more viewers to their TLC show, where rubber-necking TV watchers witness first-hand the crumbling marriage they have read about. The premier of the fifth season of Jon and Kate Plus 8 this past Monday drew a whopping 9.8 million viewers— that’s bigger than the Lost premier the night before. So what does this all mean?

UChic Pop Rocks: Will We Ever See Our Friends Again?

While Aniston is out promoting her new movie Management, the little tidbit everyone seems to have fixated on has nothing to do with her new work and everything to do with her past: the elusive Friends movie.

The Daily Mail, a UK news source, had reported back in July 2008 in the wake of the Sex and The City Movie craze that a Friends movie had been greenlighted and was set to be filmed within the next 18 months, according to anonymous “inside sources.” That little morsel from the UK spread all over the Internet, kept alive by fans yearning to see Rachel, Joey and the rest of the gang back together on the big screen...

UChic Hot Topics: Do social networking Web sites promote narcissism?

Ever since Myspace hit the Internet in 2003, social networking has become a staple in many young adults’ and teenagers’ lives. Web sites like Myspace, Facebook and Twitter connect users in a way that has never been done before and make sharing your life easier. However, despite their convenient tools, do they promote narcissistic traits among users?

According to Psychology Today, narcissistic individuals exhibit extreme self importance and a constant need to be the center of attention. Narcissism, known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, gives its victims a preoccupation with themselves and an obsession with receiving affection and feedback. Narcissism got its name from the Greek hero Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection and eventually died because he couldn’t stop staring at himself.

Though, don’t get me wrong, not everyone that uses Facebook or Twitter is a narcissist, but the distinction is easily blurred. These social networking Web sites have created forums for users to share everything- from photos and videos to quiz results- but they have also created a thin line between obsession with one’s self and social networking.

Some users do use these Web sites for exactly what they are- to network with friends, but others seem to utilize these sites for endless self promotion and bragging.

A study conducted by the University of Georgia noted that narcissism correlates with the number of Facebook friends and wall posts that a user has and if you think about it, it makes sense. Somebody that constantly wants attention and feedback is going to have a large amount of friends because they want the maximum attention possible.

Web sites like these bring out narcissistic traits in all of us, even if we aren’t necessarily narcissists in real life. Think about it- when something really good happens to you, like receiving an internship opportunity, do you blast it out to all of your friends on Facebook or Twitter?

But what is the real difference between casually notifying your friends of your achievements and constantly promoting yourself? It is becoming really hard to judge.

I guess the most we can do to figure it out is to ask ourselves the question: what would Narcissus do?

I’m thinking Narcissus would definitely be on Twitter.

Joking aside, are we really becoming a generation of narcissists, obsessed with revealing ourselves to the outside world, or is this just another trend that will die out slowly?

Only time will tell.

Politically Savvy: President Speaks at Notre Dame, Despite Controversy

This past week, universities across the country have been spending millions upon millions of dollars in race to see who can get the best, brightest, funniest, and most famous commencement speakers. Mostly so that college grads can all name-drop about who spoke at their own graduation. For instance, financial analyst, CNBC talkshow host, and two-time nominee for TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World, Suze Orman, spoke at my graduation yesterday.

But all the frivolity of it aside, there has been a surprising amount of controversy this past week over the speaker at Notre Dame: none other than President Barack Obama. Some members of the Catholic church were outraged when the leading Catholic university invited the President to speak there, since he is pro-choice, and the Catholic church is strongly opposed to abortion.

"Presidents from both parties have come to Notre Dame for decades to speak to our graduates -- and to our nation and world -- about a wide range of pressing issues -- from foreign policy to poverty, from societal transformation to social service. We are delighted that President Obama will follow in this long tradition of speaking from Notre Dame on issues of substance and significance," said university President John Jenkins.

However, Obama went ahead and delivered the speech anyways, and discussed the abortion issue while he was there, too.

"I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away," he said. "At some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature."

What do you think? Should the protesters have put politics aside in favor of respect for the President of the United States? Or is it not fair for someone pro-choice to speak at a Catholic university?

UChic Pop Rocks: An Ode to Justin Timberlake, or 10 Things We Love About You

10. His clothing line, William Rast, is not just some oft-hand attempt to make some extra cash and promote his name, but is actually a bona fide collection presented at New York Fashion Week each season to critical acclaim. Timberlake and BFF Trace Ayala enlisted design duo Marcella and Johan Lindeberg to channel their Tennessee roots for an all-American, denim-based look that’s just a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

9. Timberlake manages to keep his long-term relationship with fellow celeb Jessica Biel on the down low and out of the news— even when this couple hits the town, they manage to stay out of tabloids.

8. And on the topic of Jessica Biel: we love her. JT has nabbed one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood who also comes off as low-key and down to earth. And Jessica— we forgive you for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. And the whole Seventh Heaven thing. We promise.

Politically Savvy: Where’s the Line Between Funny and Offensive?

This past Saturday, while we were all cramming for finals, Washington, DC was alive and full of journalists, politicians and celebrities all converging at the Washington Hilton for the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, also affectionately known as "Nerd Prom." It was a lot less nerdy than usual though, since the dinner was filled no only with media and political elites, but stars like Ashton Kutcher, Eva Longoria, and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, to name a few.

The highlight of the evening, which is always broadcast on cable TV, is the two speeches given every year: one by the President, and one by a hired entertainment speaker or comedian. The President, in my opinion, really hit it out of the park with his speech this year, delivering punchline after punchline (video below).

UChic Pop Rocks: Leighton Meester’s “Electro-pop Edge”

Looks like Gossip Girl will finally get to promote the musical talents of its own stars— Leighton Meester has inked a record deal with Universal and plans on releasing a debut album this fall. many including myself have actually kind of liked single that leaked in early April, and Universal seems pleased enough about bringing “this unique facet of her immense talent” to the world. This all sounds well and good, but I have to say, I was hoping that when our favorite GG star took the inevitable celebrity stab at an unrelated industry for which she’s completely unqualified, she would at least give us the gift of a celebrity clothing line.

UChic Hot Topics: The media

This month’s outbreak of the swine flu may have seemed like a possible pandemic, but luckily it wasn’t.

Only one American died in the aftermath of the quickly spreading disease and though over 20 Mexicans died, the numbers aren’t that alarming. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 83 flu-related deaths occurred in 2008 from “normal” flu cases.

Though it was admirable how many hospitals and school systems stepped up to educate and attempt to prevent the swine flu, it became increasingly obvious how much the media exaggerated the issue. While the virus could have spread and infected many more, there was definitely too much coverage of the swine flu.

Politically Savvy: The Supreme Court debate

Last week, Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced that he would be retiring from the bench, at the age of 69. Souter was appointed by the first President Bush and had been on the bench ever since. This touched off a flurry of activity last week as millions of Americans began to speculate: who will President Obama appoint to the Supreme Court now? President Bush had appointed two justices during his term -- it is suspected that Obama will have the chance to nominate at least 2-3 judges during his term. Currently, there is only one woman on the bench (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and there has never been a Latino or Asian American justice. Many people are suggesting President Obama should appoint a woman, perhaps a Latina woman. Many are already speculating that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a frontrunner for the position and a likely appointee.

But should Supreme Court appointments be focused on diversity? What do you think? Is it important to you to put another woman on the bench?


Ditch the Lipstick and Pucker Up!

"Lipstick is so last year. Instead of worrying about your lipstick leaving behind nasty residue on everything from your coffee mug to your boyfriend, pucker up to lip stains this summer!"