If one thing is abundantly clear, it’s that the United States’ 2016 presidential election has been an outright circus so far.
As the results of various state elections are beginning to reveal the prospective nominations for both the Republican and Democratic parties, many people are beginning to worry about the future status of the United States. Will America thrive as a nation or will it start to crumble under the new rule of potential leaders?
While concerns have risen from a number of sides of the political spectrum, one major anxiety persists for a majority of the population: What is America to do if Donald Trump becomes president?
Many media outlets, including The Huffington Post and CNBC, have reported that ‘how to move to Canada’ has been trending in online searches recently. According to a poll conducted by market research giant, Ipsos Reid, a staggering 19 percent of Americans would consider moving to Canada if Trump wins the general election.
Fears of a Trump presidency are undeniably warranted; the man has been openly discriminatory on numerous occasions, he has contradicted the very positions that he stands for an uncountable number of times, and he seriously lacks the maturity and experience of what it takes to be a successful president.
Just recently, Trump stated that women who get an abortion should be punished, despite advocating his support for Planned Parenthood just a couple of weeks ago. Moreover, Trump previously publicly stated in a 1999 interview with Chuck Todd that he is “pro-choice in every respect and as far as it goes. I just hate it [(abortion)].” The 7-year-old Meet The Press segment indicates that while Trump may dislike the very concept of abortion, he still believes that women should have the freedom to make decisions regarding their own bodies.
Additionally, a couple of weeks ago, BuzzFeed reported that in an off-the-record interview between Trump and the New York Times, the presidential candidate revealed that he is flexible on his hardline immigration position. Shortly afterwards in an interview with Trump and Fox News, he stated that the policy is negotiable, however only with regards to the size of the wall. If Trump’s attitudes are truly consistent with one another, why does he continue to not authorize the release of his transcript with the Times?
In addition to these instances, Trump has flip-flopped his views with regards to healthcare, combatting terrorism and foreign policy. To put it simply, he is politically unpredictable and erratic – and this leads the public to question even further; is the front-runner of the Republican race just telling voters what they want to hear?
Do Trump’s current radical political stances say more about him as a candidate or more about the public’s social and political perceptions with regards to American society?
Many individuals have protested Trump’s candidacy and proposed policies; and many have nodded their heads in approval as ballots have been cast to nominate the New York businessman.
Like him or dislike him, however, the reactions to his candidacy have sparked a number of movements that call into question the very fabric of American society on both Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle.
The possibility of a Trump presidency has gauged personal and political attention from countless amounts of international media outlets, organizations and individuals both within the US and abroad. He has made consistent headlines in the news and has conversely transformed himself into America’s focal candidate.
Whether the attention is negative or positive, Trump is the primary focus. And this is extremely beneficial to him; it is his obvious political opportunism that has gained him free advertising and media exposure, allowing his political attitudes to somehow impact American voters.
Metaphorically speaking, Trump has become an integral character in the plot of the 2016 presidential election. Whether you see him as the antagonist or protagonist, he has become a core player in determining not only the future state of America, but also that of the Republican Party and politics in the US as a whole.
Each time his name is repeated on television, in the newspaper, through social media, or even in a personal conversation, his political, corporate and personal brand is being further strengthened within American society and globally.
He has learned how to manipulate the media and the American public into making him the Republican front-runner; and he may very well succeed in winning the nomination.
In fact, there is substantial proof that media coverage of particular candidates has grossly impacted current poll numbers. These numbers can be traced all the way back to the Ronald Reagan administration when the former president used the media to leverage himself within the presidential race. More recently, President Obama stated that the discourse that permeates this year’s presidential election if partly due to faulty journalism.
But journalists and reporters are not entirely to blame for Trump’s popularity within the media. Many politicians, including Trump, have committed actions and conducted speeches that do constitute as legitimate news bits.
And that is what makes Trump’s public relations plan foolproof in many ways; journalists need to generate stories for their respective publications, and these are inclusive of the language and actions of each and every presidential candidate.
A particular dilemma is therefore posed for editors and journalists in America who must keep up with the news or else risk losing readership and viewership numbers. Content that discusses Trump is so ridiculous, however, the majority of the population can’t resist tuning in.
And this is what gives Trump so much power – his celebrity status, the constant endearment with his political antics, and his ability to be consistently talked about both within the media and amongst peers.
While it is virtually impossible to cease coverage and dialogue concerning a Trump presidency, it is plausible to minimize the exposure and free advertising that he has achieved so far.
In the future, before denouncing his presidential candidacy or typing that angry tweet, think about the implications that the mention that his notorious name has.
Last week, a friend and I decided that we wanted to reunite and catch up over some delectable cuisine in one of many eclectic Toronto restaurants.
After debating between a couple of options, including the city’s iconic Momofuku Noodle Bar and Junked Food Co., we decided on one of the metropolis’s popular exclusive chains, Kinton Ramen.
Since time limited us from trekking all the way downtown, we decided to opt for the physically closest option at Kinton’s Yonge and Sheppard location.
As soon as we entered the bustling and vibrant noodle joint, it was apparent that Kinton’s reputation for being one of the best ramen restaurants in the city was no joke. The interior was packed in with customers sitting at the high-rise wooden tables, and along the brightly lit bar.
After about ten minutes of waiting, we were finally seated at a high-rise table at the back, and provided with menus that informed us about the diverse ramen selection. Guests are able to order various hot and cold tapas, and three different choices of meat in their ramen bowls, including chicken breast, pork belly and pork shoulder.
I decided on the original pork shoulder made with a rich broth, sea salt, bean sprouts, scallions, corn and a nori seasoned egg, while my friend opted for the spicy garlic pork shoulder with chilli pepper, bean sprouts, scallions and grated garlic.
My ramen selection was delicious and plentiful, as salty tastes burst around in my mouth. It was apparent that the ingredients used were strategically posited together in order to create the tastiest types of ramen. The noodles used were thick and blended well with the meat and vegetables to create a savoury lunch meal. Moreover, there was an option to add Sriracha sauce and other delicious condiments to further optimize guests’ customized ramen bowls.
Despite thoroughly enjoying my original bowl at Kinton Ramen, it did seem as though there was one ingredient missing. A little bit more spice could have added that extra zing, however some people do not like spice, so it understandable why it is not included in the original order. Otherwise, the meal scored high and Kinton is a definite recommendation for any ramen enthusiast in the city of Toronto.
If you are reading this, chances are that you have probably heard about the immeasurable value of solo travel at least once in your life. It’s one of those things that is seemingly frightening, but endearing, attractive and mysterious all at the same time. It’s the ultimate strain of independence and the romanticized version of the unknown.
Well, this past year, timid and intrepid Daina flung herself into a whirlwind of the unknown. I did what I thought was impossible for myself – I embarked on a solo travel adventure with only Google maps and my directionally challenged brain to rely on. Disclaimer: these things actually can get you quite far. Exhausted from jet-lag and with some looming traveler’s anxiety, I feared that I would become terribly lonesome on my trip. But wow, was I ever wrong.
During the first evening of my solo travel journey, I lurched quietly and awkwardly in the hostel common area looking to meet potential companions. Within ten minutes of wall flowering, I was approached by an exuberant and friendly Canadian girl who I became close with for the balance of my time in the city of Amsterdam.
After I befriended one person, the rest was easy. I realized that most travelers that I met in hostels were more than open to meeting new people and making new friends. While I had chosen to explore the depths of Europe solo, I was hardly ever alone.
I was flung like a canon straight out of my comfort zone, and given the opportunity to push my own boundaries like I never had before. I emerged from my solo travel experience as an individual who possesses a heightened sense of awareness, understanding and acceptance.
This is something that I largely credit not only to my enriching experience, but also to the independent circumstances that encapsulated my journey. As a first-time solo traveler, being forced to solely rely on myself was extremely intimidating. I argue, however, that staying in youth hostels that focus on community-living largely contributed to the positively powerful experience that I had.
You have the opportunity to meet so many people
Here’s the thing about staying in the same place your entire life: you hardly get to meet any new people. Sure, we meet new people all the time, but the amount of diversity that you will encounter while you travel is incredible. Staying in hostels will give you the opportunity to meet individuals from all corners of the Earth, who all possess varying beliefs and values. Remember, you can learn something new from everyone you meet that can help you grow and flourish as a human being. Take that opportunity and run with it. Not only do you now have the option of exploring the depths of the Catacombs or trekking through the notorious Park Guell with a companion, but you now have the chance to form a lifelong connection with someone who lives half way across the world. Added bonus: you also have somewhere to stay if you ever choose to visit their home country.
You are completely anonymous
Traveling solo and staying in hostels allows you the unique opportunity of being anybody you want to be. A solo traveler that I met in Belfast once said to me, “I love traveling solo because you are able to experiment with different sides of your character.” Forget the person you are at home, work, or even with your family and friends. The anonymity of single travel allows you to act out your best traits, which further enables you to discover more about yourself and foster self-compassion. Staying in hostels while alone permits you to have all the alone time you desire to learn and grow, but it also gives you the opportunity to mould your character through interactions with complete strangers.
Hostels provide an unlimited list of resources
One amazing thing about staying in hostels is the amount of resources that are at your disposal. If you stay somewhere reputable, generally there a number of services that the hostel will offer to make your stay that much more comfortable. Nearly every hostel that I stayed at in Europe had partnerships with a number of different tourism companies that provided its guests with discounts and promotions. The staff were also able to offer many helpful suggestions and tips for exploring the city. Some hostels even organize communal gatherings and evenings out to further cultivate a well-connected atmosphere.
You will learn so much
I genuinely believe that when you travel, your mind is like a sponge. It absorbs all of this new and enlightening information and stores it in the depths of your brain. When you become inspired, your mind squeezes itself, and all of those enriching experiences pour out to further build your character. Meeting people independently and fostering relationships gives you the unique chance to notice life from a variety of diverse perspectives. Not only will you gain more knowledge about other cultures, but you will also acquire wisdom regarding the pressing subjects of history, art and politics. There’s an old saying that goes “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”, and it truly does.
* See original Elite Daily story here *
It’s 2015, and climate change remains a growing concern.
Just recently, the United Nations held the Climate Change Conference in Paris to discuss current environmental issues and different initiatives that are going to help combat the imminent crisis.
In addition to the annual Climate Change Conference, countries’ governments have begun to prioritize sustainability as a part of their political platforms.
For example, Barack Obama has launched a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, the new Canadian prime minster Justin Trudeau has promised to enhance Canada’s environmental commitment to minimize the country’s carbon footprint and various countries in Scandinavia, including Sweden and Norway, produce energy from over 50 percent of renewable resources.
But anxieties about our precious natural world are not new.
The history of environmentalism dates back to hundreds of years ago, while staunch activism started to proliferate in the early 1900s.
Only recently have governments, corporations and individuals started to pay close attention to environmental news and their own personal practices that may negatively affect the world around them.
Out of all of these efforts, some are genuinely noble, but others are just attempts to jump on the activism bandwagon as a public relations tactic.
It’s called “greenwashing,” and being a theoretical communications major in college, I recognize the term all too well.
Essentially what will happen is that mass corporations will begin to promote their brands as environmentally friendly.
They will say their products are recyclable, a portion of the proceeds are allocated to a “green” charity or even that they construct their products out of second-hand parts.
What tends to distinguish companies that greenwash is that more funds are generally spent on advertising or marketing campaigns than the actual environmental initiative itself.
Gas and car companies are probably the worst propagators of this, and for obvious reasons.
But, there are also a number of other mass corporations that manufacture and sell ordinary items like clothing, beauty products and food that choose to participate in the green trend.
Coca-Cola and Huggies, along with Herbal Essences are just a couple of corporations that have been accused of participating in the questionable marketing practice.
It was just a few years ago when Coca-Cola claimed to be a core purveyor of environmentally friendly initiatives, when they released their so-called green “PlantBottle.”
The company advertised this drinking bottle as “30 percent plant-based and 100 percent recyclable,” when no evidence was provided to support this assertion, causing its credibility to come into question.
Similarly, a few years ago, diaper company Huggies claimed to implement a “green” approach into its business practices.
Packaging was labeled with “go green” visuals, and the product was advertised to be manufactured out of “organic cotton, hypoallergenic properties, in addition to aloe and Vitamin E.”
What really distinguished this marketing campaign as greenwashing, however, was the fact nearly all diaper companies possess these characteristics.
The company also blatant disregarded the fact these products are extremely damaging to the environment.
Most diapers are not biodegradable and end up in landfill, which greatly effects the lives of wildlife.
But massive corporations and businesses have not been the only ones to follow the green trend.
Ordinary individuals are beginning to become increasingly consumed with the protection of the environment or the image of it.
While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I frequently see many friends and other social media users advertising photos of newly purchased, supposedly environmentally friendly products.
Accompanied by artistically edited pictures of food, beauty products or clothing, are captions like “buy local,” “say no to fast fashion” or “support fair trade,” along with a number of supportive hashtags.
When I see this flood of green content on my social media feed, I can’t help but wonder: Do my social media friends and followers really know what it means to be environmentally friendly?
Do they really know the atrocities that are plaguing our precious planet and what is really contributing to the ongoing climate disaster?
It’s easy to buy a couple of cool products that have been branded and marketed strikingly well, and pass yourself off as someone who cares.
But let me ask you this: Do you really know why it is important to buy local?
Can you legitimately tell me all of the natural ingredients that are in your beauty products?
How exactly do your consumer habits reduce your carbon footprint?
Are you thoroughly educated regarding all of the pollution in our natural world, and the colossal effects it has already had on our planet?
Next time you decide to post that picture of your newly purchased makeup products or those locally grown vegetables, I encourage you to ask yourself these very questions.
And don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that everybody who advocates green initiatives through social media is a poser.
Although this question does still remain, where do we draw the line when environmentally friendly becomes environmentally trendy?
How can we distinguish between those who want to convey a certain image to their followers and those who genuinely are tree-huggers?
Now, by no means would I consider myself an environmentalist.
I only possess a fair bit of knowledge on the subject from my internship with a Canadian environmental magazine last year.
I am aware of the horribly negative effects that humans have on the Earth and how quickly our natural resources are depleting, but in no way do I pretend to care more than I actually do.
I try to make a conscious effort to do what I can (such as recycle or use reusable products), but at the same time, I do not go out of my way to actively reduce my carbon footprint.
While my peers’ and followers’ social media profiles may not be all that genuine, they do accomplish one thing: awareness, the most important tool in achieving any sort of change.
By constantly posting environmentally conscious images, news stories or even statuses, more and more people are exposed to what is happening in our natural world.
People do not always follow the news, but they do follow social media.
That is why maybe — just maybe — these green trendsetters and followers could be catalysts for environmental advocacy, sustainability and most importantly, change.
After all, it’s happened before where social media has inaugurated a revolutionary movement, and it can happen again.
Last weekend was a hopping weekend in the city of Toronto. From Pride Week to Canada Day Weekend to the Blue Jays game and Digital Dreams, Toronto was bustling with eager characters, and the feeling of excitement was in the air.
A natural EDM fanatic, I chose to spend my long weekend at Digital Dreams music festival, and let me tell you, the weekend did not disappoint. With four stages of unbelievable music, a stellar venue, delectable food options and free rides, Digital Dreams lived up and beyond its preceded expectations.
As the sun arose on the morning of Saturday, June 28, festival goers slowly awoke from their slumber to prepare for the big weekend. As I geared up in my festival wear and prepared my flower crown, I was prepared to have one of the biggest and best weekends of the summer.
Our rave crew had wittingly prepared a sign marker in order for us all to be able to locate each other in the massive crowd, a sign that was to become our staple at Digital Dreams. The #digisloth was in full force, and even made its appearance in other concert goers’ pictures and social media feeds.
Photo by Bunk in the Trunk
As afternoon was approaching we made our way to the pre-game to get hyped up for the fun-filled weekend that was ahead of us. We loaded up for the festival over 50 feet above the City of Toronto, overlooking the beautiful lakefront. The view extended to such a width, that you could even see the festival bumping miles away.
Finally it was time.
We made our way to Ontario Place just at the cusp of 6:00PM. The journey there was frivolous, as we were anticipating the awesomeness that was to come.
We scanned our wristbands at the entrance, fleeting into the festival grounds, eager to see Sebastian Leger who was throwing down his set at the Echo Beach stage at the time. For someone who is not typically a fan of the tech-house genre, I got my groove on and was ready to dance to the beat. In my opinion, Leger was easily one of the better Echo Beach sets of the weekend. The crowd went wild as Leger dropped his unreal “Around the World” remix by Daft Punk, and finished off with a bang. The beach was a massive party, with tons of positive energy.
Next we made our way over to the Dreams Stage to view Carnage’s set. The Dreams Stage was decked out with luminous lights, and had some of the most high quality production that I have ever witnessed. Carnage surprised the audience with some hard-style beats, making the audience roar with approval. We felt the vibes from Carnage’s bass, as we then decided to make our way over to catch the end of Claude VonStroke’s set. His music was a little bit too tech for my liking, but that did not stop the tech-heads from shuffling their feet away.
As we crossed the bridge once again overlooking the beautiful venue from Echo Beach to the Dreams Stage, we decided to get our drink on for the remainder of Nervo’s set. As I jumped and bopped to Nervo’s set with my drink in one hand and dignity in the other, I watched the stage flicker with lights as the sun started to set.
Following this, our crew thought it was time to explore the festival grounds and that was exactly what we did. There were patios scattered around Ontario Place, where people were able to rest and rejuvenate for the upcoming evening sets. It was here where we recharged, and I ate my bacon poutine to get excited for the incredible night that was to ensue.
After a much need half-hour of relaxation, we retreated back to the Dreams Stage for Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike’s set. The duo threw down their usual bangers, but it was a party nonetheless. A ton of shoulder rides were given, as the #digisloth sign was constantly being waved in the air to attract eager ravers. As the darkness was clear over Toronto, the magnificent lights swept the venue, preparing for an unreal opening of Justice’s set.
As Justice opened their set with a bang and a half, we made our way to the Bacardi House of Boom to hear the dirty dubstep of Flux Pavillion.
The bass was beating beneath our feet as we finished grooving to Flux Pavillion’s amazing set. It was a great way to end the day, for what was to prepare us for the even more action-packed day two.
Photo by: Visualbass Photography
As the sun rose on Sunday June 30, we got up and were ready to commence the second day of our digital dream. Despite our bodies being completely exhausted from the day before, we were pumped up for the second day to hear some of the main headliners’ sets. On Sunday, I decked myself out in Canadian spirit, sporting red and white clothing, while also wrapped in a giant Canadian flag.
Since we had arrived a bit later the day before, we wanted to get to the festival grounds early in order to have more time to explore and meander about. We took the subway to Ontario Place, where we scanned our cashless wristbands once again in order to enter the venue.
We arrived at the Dreams Stage just as the Chainsmokers were playing. Of course the duo played their signature hit, #Selfie that made the crowd sing along to the words that everyone hears on the radio. Other than the obvious #Selfie song that was played, the Chainsmokers did not throw down a memorable performance.
Following the set, one of my personal favourite DJs made an appearance on stage, Fedde Le Grande. Fedde’s set was in my opinion, one of the best of the weekend. Fedde played some old favourites, as well as some new tracks, making the crowd dance up a storm. The entire audience exerted such a positive energy during this set. Fedde did not disappoint as the crowd raved and roared, allowing the audience to get amped up for the later sets that were to come.
As we decided to wander around and explore the venue some more, we found the rest of our #digisloth rave crew. Paul Oakenfeld had experienced some flight delays, and as a result was unable to make it for his arranged set time. We grabbed some munchies, exploring Ontario Place as we got prepared for what was to be an amazing set by Dash Berlin at the Dreams Stage.
Unfortunately for festival goers, the rain decided to come down just as Dash was playing his set, forcing anyone who did not wish to get wet to retreat to a sheltered area. We stayed under the ticket booths for about 10 minutes until we decided to brave the rain in order to make it for Dash’s set. We covered ourselves with one single umbrella as we listened to Dash throw down his set to the massive crowd at the Dreams Stage. Dash opened with Sky Full of Stars and mixed John Legend’s hit single of All of Me, allowing the crowd to roar with happiness, and impressing the audience to the extreme. Overall, Dash Berlin played a magical set, and ended it off as a rainbow started to form over the venue, making it for the most perfect moment at Digital Dreams.
Photo retrieved from Toronto Rave Community (Facebook group)
Following Dash Berlin’s unbelievable set, the legendary Eric Prydz graced us with his presence. It was my first time seeing Prydz, and although I felt waves of nausea during his set from the alcohol I had earlier, I was thoroughly impressed. We were able to go on the free Scrambler ride that was offered at the festival, while listening to Prydz throw down some beats, and it was just this that was enough make our ears pop. Prydz dropped tracks such as Insomnia and Not Going Home that made the audience shudder with excitement. I would have to say that I was overall surprisingly impressed with Prydz’s set. As mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of tech-house, but I really did enjoy it nonetheless.
Finally to finish off an unbelievable weekend , the main headliner, Tiesto performed on the Dreams Stage. Tiesto played some bangers, but overall effectively mixed his tracks. His set definitely added to the extremely positive vibes that were being exerted at the festival. We jumped and dance around to Tiesto’s set, as we finally got ready to head home and reminisce on one of the most amazing weekends of the summer.
Overall, Digital Dreams was an incredible weekend of amazing music, positive vibes and outstanding production. I have not been to too many festivals, but can honestly say, this year has surpassed any others. I cannot wait for Digital Dreams 2015.
Rave crew 2014