Monday, March 23, 2015

Fraternity Scandal Sparks Parenting Debate

At University of Oklahoma a racist chant against African-American people was being used in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. As a result two students were suspended and the SAE chapter was removed from the university. This is horrific that in a society that is supposed to have moved past racism of this nature it still exist. Something that has come to surface because of this situation is the issue of parenting. The two young men expelled were Levi Pettit and Parker Rice, but there parents reactions were completely different.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, University of Oklahoma
In the case of Parker Rice he issued a statement to the Dallas Morning News apologizing for his behavior saying this it was "wrong and reckless". His parents, however, had nothing to say. On the other hand, in the case of Levi Pettit he has yet to release a statement, but his parents did. They said that  they know their son made a mistake and what they saw in the video was "disgusting", but they also vouched for his character saying that deep down they know his isn't a racist. Finally, they apologized on his behalf saying "we apologize to the community he has hurt".

The difference between the two cases of parenting has sparked a debate between those who believe the Rice family is in the right versus those who believe the Pettit family is in the right. In my opinion the Pettit family is in the right. Having the ability to acknowledge that there son has made a mistake proves to the community that they didn't raise him to be that way. I asked my mom what her opinion was and she said that if she was in this position she would have had her son apologize and she would have apologized as well, and I agree.

Was it "Stolen From" or "Inspired By"?

Williams and Thicke in Blurred Lines music video
The long copyright battle between Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke versus the family of Marvin Gaye has come to an end with Williams and Thicke found guilty of copyright infringement. During my American Studies class we analyzed the songs by playing them one after another and I personally did not hear much that was similar. Though both songs have a similar beat and tone to them they don't sound exactly same to me.

Any type of artist will be inspired by artists before them, that comes with the territory. Another problem is that "there are only so many chords and notes" to use in music which makes it really easy for music to end up sounding the same. This makes me wonder why this particular song was brought to court when many other ones sound even more similar than these two. An example, given in a Chicago Tribune article, referenced two country songs Luke Bryan's "Drunk on You" and Parmalee's "Close Your Eyes". After listening to these two songs one after another I thought I was listening to the same exact song. So, if these songs sound identical then why aren't they heading to court for a lawsuit?

One of Williams' worries is that this ruling will cause the creativity of other artists to be hindered because they are scared of violating a copyright. "Everything that's around you in a room was inspired by something or someone. If you kill that, there's no creativity." I agree with Williams that a ruling like this will scare off artists in the future. What do you think? Is Williams right about the effects of the ruling?