Thursday, October 28, 2010

He's Cute, He Has My Vote.

Last night I was watching the Cafferty File on CNN, and with midterm elections coming up, Cafferty was talking about a popular voting trend based on...good looks.

The latest study released by MIT has found that people will vote for a candidate because he "looks the part" whether they actually know his stance on the issues.

These findings are not just specific to America, but across the globe. Cafferty goes on to explain:

According to the study, just by knowing which candidate looked better, researchers could accurately predict the winner in 68 percent of Mexican elections and 75 percent of some Brazilian elections.

Are we seriously exercising our democratic liberties based off of which candidate looks better?

But this is actually a phenomenon we studied in my business class the other day (yup, the same lecture I mentioned in my last blog post on leadership). People said that key factors in leadership were charisma, competence, and character. Leaders could give off the perception that they would be a good leader if they had charisma, were well spoken, well dressed, and overall in good poise. Their charisma transcended into the public's belief that they must also be competent and have good character - the trifecta for a good leader.

Sounds to me like our society is taking the importance of image too far. If you want to read more about MIT's study you can visit the Cafferty File by going here.

And that's my two cents.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Everyone is a Leader Then Where are all the Followers?

Today in my Commerce 1800 class Making Business Work we had a guest lecturer talk about leadership. As I was listening to the lecture it made me start thinking about how many times the importance of leadership has been thrown at us as students.

In high school while filling out college applications, they emphasized: student leadership, student leadership, student leadership. They made you feel as if you would not be accepted into college unless you were a student leader.

So now all of these ambitious student leaders are all together in one place at UVA, making an even more competitive enivronment as students continue with their belief that we all have to be student leaders.

But the question that I feel needs to be asked is: If everyone is a leader then where are all the followers?

In reality, not everyone can be a leader. I worry that we are creating a generation of people who will all expect that they will assume leadership positions in the real world, which simply isn't the case.

Furthermore, with the obsession of creating leaders, American society is creating a culture where people derive their value out of their power and postion in leadership roles. People who are not leaders or are simply happy to be a follower are left feeling that they are not contributing as much or as valuable compard to the leaders in their community.

What happened to the value of a strong and invested member in their community, organization, or firm? With all leaders, not only are there not any followers, but there are also not any strong members as the backbone of the organization that helps it function.

I worry that our generation is going to enter the workforce running and gunning for every promotion and top position - because it was what we were told to. But this only leads to disappointment and the disregard for the value of sincere and caring members.

And that's my two cents.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Betsy Ross - Fact or Fiction? Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

In April 1776 while Boston was being plagued with a smallpox epidemic George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross approached the upholster Betsy Ross with making an American flag.

Washington, Morris, and Ross were supposedly a part of a secret committee of the Continental Congress ordered to develop an American flag. Washington approached Betsy Ross with the project, and she happily accepted.

However numerous historians have said that this story is mere legend. They say there never was a secret flag committee and a Flag Resolution wasn't even passed until 1777. Furthermore, they claim that during the Revolutionary War the United States did not fight under a single standard flag.

But I believe there is enough historical evidence to make Betsy Ross' story valid. First there is her numerous connections with Washington. She was well acquainted with him, because they went to the same church in Philadelphia, and her daughter is quoted in saying he hired her to embroider "ruffles for his shirt bosoms and cuffs, and that it was partly owing to his friendship that she was chosen to make the flag."

So it makes sense that Washington would approach her, if anyone, for the assignment.

Then in the book Pioneer Mothers of America, the niece of Roger Sherman, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is quoted talking about Betsy Ross. She was talking about how her aunt Rebecca Sherman was excited about America's independence:
"When a little later, George Washington designed and ordered the new flag to be made by Betsy Ross, nothing would satisfy Aunt Rebecca but to go and see it in the works, and there she had the privilege of sewing some of the stars on the very first flag of a Young Nation. Perhaps because of this experience she was chosen and requested to make the first flag ever made in the State of Connecticut."
Sounds like good enough evidence to me! Betsy Ross was the real deal!

And that's my two cents.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

America's got a Mulan too - Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

I don't know why they haven't made a movie about this story...

Deborah Sampson was a poor girl with no family growing up in Massachusetts. With no one to hold her back, she became swept up in the patriot cause and "the zeal which had urged the men to quit their homes for the battlefield found its way to a female bosom."

She completely transformed herself into a man: sewing a soldier's uniform, changing her name to "Robert Shurtliff", and enlisting herself in Washington's Army.

She served for three years, during that time she was wounded twice but continued to fight. None of her fellow soldiers ever suspected that "Robert" was a woman, but they did jokingly call her "Molly" because she never grew a beard like the rest of them!

But one day she contracted an extremely high fever that nearly killed her, and when a doctor examined her, he discovered that Robert Shurtliff was definitely not a man. But surprisingly, the doctor protected her identity and allowed her to continue her disguise as she recovered.

When "Robert" returned to the army, the doctor sent her with a letter to George Washington detailing the confidential information, and without saying a word, Washington simply discharged her from the service and gave her money to help her find a place to live.

Years later Washington invited the woman who so fearlessly fought for her country to Congress where she received a pension and some land in recognition of her service. When she died, her husband petitioned Congress for survivor's benefits and Congress said that there was "no other similar example of female heroism, fidelity and courage" and her husband "has proved himself worthy of her, as he has sustained her through a long life of sickness and suffering (which were) occasioned by the wounds she received and the hardships she endured in defense of the country...the committee does not hesitate to grant relief."

Woah! I still cannot get over this story. I just cannot imagine literally going into battle and on top of that being wounded TWICE and still pushing on. I also think it is really interesting how both Washington and Congress handled Deborah's situation. You would think that back then a woman fighting would be viewed as a disgrace and they would have demonished her. But instead they helped her find a place to live and gave her and her family benefits for her service! When I read this story it made me really glad to know that Congress realized her level of service despite the probable shock of her being a woman and fighting at the time.

And that's my two cents.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Who else is excited about this!?

In October the movie The Social Network will be premiering in theaters, and it is all about the founding of our good ol' friend Facebook! Plus it stars Justin Timberlake - so that should be your reason to go see it right there :)

I'm really interestd to see this movie, purely because of how much Facebook has impacted our generation. I'm hoping it is going to show past generations that Facebook isn't something to be tossed off, but it has very legitimate purposes and benefits.

Take campaigning on facebook: Candidates are so much more accessible to their voters through their facebook pages. What's more democratic than that?

Or take marketing: almost every company now has a facebook page to sell their service or product to consumers, making it more accessible for buyers and gives companies more face time without having to pay pricey tv ads. What's more capitalist than that?

Of course there are the negative aspects of Facebook that our past generations have cried foul on. Facebook has quickly made our generation narcissitic and obssessed with...ourselves. Look at me, look at how awesome my life is, don't you wish you were me? And unfortunately, what's more American than that at times?

Good or bad, Facebook has affected this generation and ultimately represents this generation. It has completely changed how we socialize and communicate with each other. Eitehr way, I think The Social Network will be a movie worth seeing since it is truly about our generation and what we have contributed to society. It is a movie about us.

And that's my two cents.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Restaurant Review: Filomena, Georgetown

Today my family and I went to an Italian restaurant called Filomena in the heart of Georgetown, Washington DC and we loved it so much that they told me, "You have to write a review about it on your blog!"

So this is my review about it on my blog haha.

From the outside it looks really small and like not much is going on in there, but the restaurant is actually downstairs, and it is really pretty and well-decorated and actually a big restaurant, much bigger than you would first suspect.

They have both a buffet, and you can select entrees from their menu. The buffet is nice, because even though it is an Italian restaurant the buffet offers other foods such as fried chicken and brunch. But if you order an entree, you get the salad buffet included, so it is like the best of both worlds! The buffet AND an entree :)

Now to the main course: the food. We all agreed that it was DELICIOUS. Plus you didn't have to wait long for it either. The prices were also very reasonable for a nice Italian restaurant in Georgetown. My pasta alla carbonara was $11.95, and the 5 of us walked out spending $70 total.

Filomena is a really great deal, but the trick is to go during lunch time, when the prices are cheaper. You get the same amount of food for a LOT less.

We are definitely planning on eating again at this restaurant - the drive into Georgetown from Northern Virginia is easy and underground parking is everywhere. Filomena is right off of M street - the main hub of Georgetown. So you can also enjoy walking around the Georgetown shops and spending time with your favorite men: Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden, and Calvin Klein :)

Click here to go to their website for more information and directions.

So what's better than a nice afternoon eating pasta in a city you love for a great price?

And that's my two cents.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

America's favorite heroine...may be a myth - Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

While the majority of our "Founding Mothers" during the Revolutionary War supported the cause by running the households and businesses while the men were away fighting, there were also a fair share of women on the battlefield.

But the most well known of these women, Molly Pitcher, may have never even existed.

According to the story, a woman named Molly brought water to the soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth. They would say, "Molly, Pitcher," calling her for water, and that is how her name became Molly Pitcher.

Then Molly saw her own husband shot on the battlefield. I cannot even imagine the horror...but she just continued the fight and took his place firing the cannon.

Some say that Molly Pitcher is just a generic name for all the women who were water carriers on the battlefield, but there is sufficient historical evidence by eyewitness accounts that there was a woman at the Battle of Monmouth working the cannons.

A woman by the name of Mary Hays was also accounted for at the battle, and she is believed to have been Molly Pitcher, because Molly was a common nickname for Mary at the time (I know right, don't ask me why, but anyway, it was). Mary even received a pension for her services in the Revolutionary War.

Sounds like good enough evidence for me - I'd say Molly Pitcher was real, let's not dilute her to mere folklore.

And that's my two cents.