The Ignored Side Effect of Coronavirus: Women’s Crisis of Reproductive Health

The coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the world in 2020 and will likely continue its effects in 2021. In the grand scheme of global crisis, people are disproportionately affected across different social groups, especially those who have already been in disadvantageous positions. Currently, women around the world are facing unique but severe problems because of preexisting social inequalities. While we concentrate our energy on stopping the coronavirus from spreading, we must put more attention to the social impacts of the pandemic because they will stay even after the pandemic ends if people ignore them.

Journalistic Objectivity

Information gives people leverage to have autonomy over their lives. Unfortunately, information does not reach every sector of society—or rather, truth is not a universal resource. In a world of affinity-based media, it has proved to be a challenge for readers to discern correct representations of what’s happening from distorted versions. This challenge highlights the need for the practice of journalism objectivity. Amid the growing influence of opinionated reporting creating echo chambers, journalism needs to go back to a modified version of the tradition.

Culture & COVID: How museums reached the masses amid a global pandemic

In his foundational study on post-Cold War American power, Joseph Nye spoke to an alternative or ‘soft,’ form of power that lies in attracting others willingly to your position by fostering in them empathy or envy self-identification or aspiration. [1]  Culture, both high and low, signals society’s values, which together with its practices and policies comprise its core role as a tool of soft-power. As stewards of culture, museums have the potential to broker international soft power, working alongside or in partnership with institutions and governments to influence broad-based, positive change. [2] Museums possess an abundance of soft-power resources. Their collections include examples of civilization’s highest cultural achievements, and digitally, they foster awe, pride, admiration—the sentiments through which the persuasive power of public diplomacy operates.

Wolf Warrior Diplomats and the Need for a More Perfect Union

China is on the rise. So is its pride in itself, its culture, and its form of government. Nowhere is this more evident than China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy,” or zhanlang waijiao, the new diplomatic practice adopted by Chinese diplomats after President Xi Jinping took office.

It takes its name from the successful 2017 Chinese action movie Wolf Warrior 2 where the lead character, played by popular martial arts actor Wu Jing, takes down an American mercenary, Big Daddy. The movie is filled with waves of nationalism and is reflective of Xi’s governing ethos of the “Chinese Dream” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

Muslims in France: A Double Identity

This past October, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons provoked another deadly incident. After a French teacher showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammed to his class, he was beheaded by one of his students. Days later, three people were killed in front of a church in Nice. President Macron labeled the incident as an “Islamist terrorist attack.” [1] The recent killings have evoked widespread fear and memories of the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the November 2015, in which two Muslim gunmen broke into Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters and killed twelve people, as well as the Paris terrorist attacks. Can France construct a secure society without alienating its Muslim citizens?

Information Warfare: Social Media and the Unfreedom of Speech

The last decade has shown an increase in foreign-spread disinformation through social media, which has been especially highlighted in recent US and EU elections. In May 2018, Christopher Wylie, a whistle blower from Cambridge Analytica, told Congress, “If a foreign actor dropped propaganda leaflets by aeroplane over Florida or Michigan, that would universally be condemned a hostile act. But this is what is happening online.” [1] He went on to argue that information warfare should be taken seriously, but unfortunately, disinformation on social media has already deeply infected Western democracies. This is evidenced by foreign interference in recent elections of the US and the EU as well as civil unrest directly linked to foreign spread propaganda and conspiracies.

Globalized Hollywood: Good Politics Makes for Bad Art

Since the 1980s, Hollywood films have become an artistic manifestation of American economic dominance. The industry’s major distributors have been able to leverage U.S. foreign power to pave the way for a new international market in countries that have historically shielded their domestic film industry. In 2019, the international box office hit a record $42.5B with Hollywood films comprising 73% of grosses. [1] However, Hollywood’s global power is not without cost. To meet international film-production laws, Hollywood sacrifices artistic autonomy.

Will K-Pop Really Bring About the Downfall of the North Korean Regime? It’s Not Likely.

In a 2019 interview with Time, North Korean diplomat-turned-defector Thae Yong-Ho boldly predicted, “Materialism will one day bring change.” [1] Like Thae, many North Korea watchers are betting on the power of pop culture and its ability to take down a 75-year-old regime. But is North Korea’s trajectory really pointing toward collapse? And if so, does the credit for that go to Korean dramas, K-Pop, and other flows of outside information? The short answer: no, and no.