February has only just begun, and already it seems like a lot of interesting things have happened—even though this year has barely started.
Perhaps one of the biggest controversies to happen in 2018 so far is, unfortunately, Logan Paul. As a person who never really was the biggest fan or watcher of any of Paul’s videos, I didn’t want to start with this one, but it’s hard not to: the internet burst into angry, hot flames after the release of his vlog in Aokigahara Forest—dubbed the “suicide forest”. Given that his name is already controversial (thanks to his also-polarizing brother Jake), this video ought to have come as no surprise. But what really shocked everybody, myself included, was his selfish decision to film a dead body.
Similar to his brother, Paul’s incessantly egotistical and rude behavior has crossed over the line—not only did he disrespect and demean a suicide victim, but he disrespected and demeaned Japanese culture with his cultural appropriation, his impudence towards the people and property in his video, and his lack of compassion. What’s worse was that millions of children between the ages 9 and 14 years old—our future generation—watched him act like like a totally ignorant baboon. Despite our steady progression towards a more cultivated society, Logan Paul is tarnishing our progress with his bad reputation and dumb jokes to the public.
Another interestingly great trend that has managed to land itself on our screens is the “Tide Pod Challenge”—another dumb craze that’s, again, causing damage to young people’s health and even causing death. I feel like social media has turned the concept of harming oneself into entertainment—in some cases, it can admittedly be funny, but it’s not so funny when people are actually dying.
Even though 2018 has gotten off to a rocky start, there are already some amazing things that have happened thus far. After witnessing last year’s powerful peaceful protests and then seeing them happen all over again a year later, 2018 has been marked as a year for women. Last year’s Women’s March has become an annual event: it has grown into a powerful movement that fights vigorously for women’s rights. And with both women and men walking the streets in honor of female empowerment, we are making an impact in our society.
Let’s not forget the #TimesUp movement which has circulated all over social-media and even made its way to the 75th Golden Globe awards, with celebrities wearing black to stand in solidarity with those who have suffered from sexual assault and discrimination. As Oprah Winfrey said in her powerful Golden Globe speech: “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”
Those are some of the many events that have been etched in history in the early days of 2018. But aside from these chronicled acts and those other events that have been commemorated for shifting media representation (notable mentions include the first Asian-American to win a Golden Globe and India’s gay prince opening up an LGBTQ center in his palace), there were a few general life lessons that I’ve learned in this blossoming year.
One of them is to cry and scream to the top of your lungs. All my life, I’ve been containing my emotions to maintain positivity in life because I thought that was how things worked. But as I grew, I learned that staying positive all the time led to me beating myself up for not “controlling my negative emotions”. It lead me to be cynical towards myself, because I wasn’t happy. But as time has continued to progress, I’ve been trying to balance both positivism and negativism in order to live my life to the fullest and happiest.
Another life lesson I’ve learned is to not give too many fucks. Since I was young, I have been conditioned to be mindful of others and to be careful in how I portray myself. This led me to accumulate a stockpile of insecurities—many of which I still have today and am trying to overcome.
This year is going to be my year, and it’s going to be yours, too. By looking back at the previous pages, we can learn from our mistakes from 2017—horrible mistakes such as the resurgence of white supremacy, the repeal of net neutrality, the white-washing of film, and the new Republican tax plan. These mistakes have and will affect us, and it is up to us—the millennials, the POC, the LGBTQ community, political activists, and women—to fight back against suppression and aim for a new generation of happiness, positivity and peace. 2018, we’re coming for you.