Tag Archives: Think Piece

THINK TIME! Ryan Lochte Should Be Exiled

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte has been under intense scrutiny for the past week following false claims that he had been robbed at gunpoint. Lochte is downplaying the incident on various news programs, stating that he “over-exaggerated” an event which never occurred.

“I over-exaggerate all the time,” Lochte told Matt Lauer of The Today Show, “I flew home from Rio a few nights ago, but that didn’t stop me from telling my friends that I swam back. See, just another classic Lochte-exaggeration!” But few are buying the 32 year old’s defense. Many are debating how the false claims should be handled. Will Ryan Lochte be tried in an international court? Will he be stripped of his medals and banned from competition?

I think the most fitting punishment is that which has not yet been suggested, that Ryan Lochte be forced to live out his remaining days in exile. The olympian should be allowed to keep his medals as a reminder of the life and future he once had. Armed with his medals and a fair supply of food and water, Lochte will be dropped off in a remote section of the Nevada desert. There he may dream of water but never swim within it, unless he is able to discover a cavernous river beneath the rocks. There, he will spend the remainder of his life, gaining both a newfound perspective on life and an impressively long beard.

For decades, local children will tell tales of “Old Hermit Lochte” but few will venture out to see him. Those that do, if Ryan has learned not to take humanity for granted, will learn to swim in the cavernous rivers beneath the state and there, they will become stronger than any swimmer to come before him. Having let go of his pride, Old Hermit Lochte will award his gold medal to the child. Only then will he be permitted to return to society.

Kevin Cole

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THINK TIME! Is it Ethical for The Olympics to Continue When They’ve Given All the Medals to Michael Phelps?

Maryland’s own Michael Phelps retired from swimming this week after winning every medal at the Rio Olympics. You read that right, every single medal has gone to Michael Phelps, the outgoing king of the Olympics. It’s a fact that the media has glanced over in order to avoid embarrassment. Thanks to a logistical error, the 2016 Olympic Committee only made enough medals for Phelps’ competitions and pre-designated them to Phelps as to avoid an international incident.

Funds that may have once gone towards assembling the remaining rewards have been reallocated for water filtration, enhanced security, and mosquito nets. Which begs the question, is it remotely ethical for the Rio Olympics to continue when there are no medals left to give? I think not! Rather, it would be better for NBC and the Olympic Committee to save face by airing their closing ceremony tonight and proceed as if the remain competitions had already occurred. The majority of at home viewers will simply assume they missed the final badminton match as the parade of nations make their way across the screen.

This will be a cleaner alternative to privately informing all camera operators that they may only show medals in extreme wide shots. These athletes are competing for nothing, making a career out of amateur athletics and it adds insult to injury when they are awarded spray painted chunks of cardboard while proving their greatness on an international stage.

Last night we witnessed Usain Bolt weep as he was handed a golden cardboard oval with the word “WiNnER!” written on it via felt tip marker. Meanwhile, Michael Phelps had his remaining medals shipped home in case he was robbed at gunpoint. The medals will be tossed into a swimming pool filled with his other awards so that he can swim like an Olympic Scrooge McDuck as soon as he returns home.

It’s upsetting to think these Olympics will carry on. As a nationwide cardboard shortage becomes apparent, Brazillian authorities are already recruiting school children to make medals out of dried macaroni and Elmer’s glue. If the Olympic Committee has any shred of decency they will postpone all remaining events until the 2018 Winter Games when they can restock on precious metals.

Kevin Cole

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Can We Talk?

That question-turned-iconic catchphrase never needed an answer. Audiences knew that roaring laughter, potential incontinence, and moments of, “Am I allowed to laugh at that?” were sure to ensue.

On September 4th, 2014, the world lost an incredible talent. The late, the great, the often-irate Joan Rivers stands among the ranks of Phyllis Diller, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and other legends who broke through the walls of the Boys’ Club and paved the way for generations of comediennes to come. She hit the stand up circuit and set it on fire. With her rapid-fire wit and dynamic physicality she was plucked up into the world of television. Those in front and behind the camera loved her instantly. She was bold, challenging everything female comedians were expected to be. She addressed things no one else was talking about. She had no fear or shame when told she was taking it too far. If anything, that fueled her on further.

She became the darling of The Tonight Show and Johnny Carson declared that she was destined for stardom. For over twenty years, she wrote for and appeared on the show. She continued to perform her standup, everywhere from closet-sized clubs to major big-city comedy venues. In 1986, the launch of The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, though short-lived, marked her place in history as the first woman with her own late show on a principal network. The rest of her career consisted of more rises and falls than the breasts of a jogging Kim Kardashian. Joan was fiercely dedicated to her career; determined to book work, whether it was working a huge television gig or simply a few days on a cruise ship. She wrote constantly; plays, books, new routines. Every joke she ever wrote was recorded on an index card and stored in a giant filing system. There’s no doubt that she was as sharp as her tongue. Her mind was always ahead of her words, her responses quick and on point, and her performances were just as impressive and affecting in her last years as they were from the start.

The role of public image in Joan’s life was much like my digestive system after a late night Taco Bell run. Sometimes your satisfied stomach adores you, other times that bastard organ betrays you and damns you to wallow in agony and regret. Plastic surgery became her obsession, and after a number of procedures people began likening her to a freak show attraction. One of the most important things a comedian, celebrity, or anyone really, can learn is to develop a thick skin. Joan’s was thicker than the layers of makeup she put on everyday before being seeing anyone. That toughness, that ability to keep her head held high is something I’ve always admired. All physical traits aside, her public image was and remains highly contested. Some people adore her as a queen of comedy or just enjoy hearing a sassy older woman talking about her vagina. Her lack of self-censorship led many people to view her as a terrible person. I never met her. I can’t judge the content of her character. I can’t judge the contents of her closet because they probably cost more than my college education. She did say offensive things (and I mean really) offensive things. She would be the first to admit that. I won’t even try to separate what was belief from what was performance, because I’m not qualified to judge.

The Joan Rivers I will always remember was a huge inspiration to me. As an aspiring comedian/comedienne/I’ll-go-by-whatever-you’ll-pay-me-for, I studied her performances, her stand up, her everything, because her stamina, fast-talking wit, explosive shouting, and exaggerated use of body and face are right up my alley. If she, along with the other leading ladies of laughter, had not dared to break the walls of the boys’ club, I’d likely be too intimidated to pursue a career in comedy. She had a dream, to be a performer, and let nothing stand in her way. She had the tenacity to keep going, going, going until she made it happen. She refused to let the industry change her, though the backlash often cost opportunities or burned bridges. Her strength was undeniable. You wouldn’t believe how much she could bench press (emotionally). I could certainly use a dose of her confidence when it comes to moving past failure and embracing new possibilities. She often mentioned that she wanted to keep working, keep entertaining, and keep performing until she died. It’s a comfort to know she succeeded, but it’s hard not to think there was more she might have done.

I look up to Joan posthumously. She always insisted that she wanted her funeral to be a grand, ridiculously over the top celebration. She hoped that people would laugh. Still working, still entertaining, still caring. A devoted mother and grandmother, she leaves behind a family, of blood but also of love, who still feel the effects of her presence in their lives. For all of the laughter lines you’ve given to the world and times you’ve made me think, “Someday, I want to be up on that stage, talking about my vagina,” I thank you.

Joan Rivers will not be forgotten. I like to think that she won’t let us. I like to think that ghosts exist, even if only for her. Imagine ecto-Joan Fashion Police-ing everywhere she floats. She can finally get close enough to spot all of the panty lines.

Oh, and as for the haters? You’d better watch out. You know she’s going to be haunting ALL OF YOU.

Hannah Gutman