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THE WEEKLY MILLENNIAL: Explaining Ferguson, Gaza, and Ebola to Apathetic 20-Somethings

A weekly round-up of the news catered to Millennial readers' limited knowledge base and incalculably small attention spans.
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Demotivated students sitting in a lectu

I have become that friend that all my friends hate talking to.

With endless condescending political rants, I had forgotten that not everyone was paid to keep up with all the shit that is going on in the world and I held it against them. With my Daily Banter articles, I was preaching to the choir and shunning all that hadn’t heard the gospel according to Taibbi.

So, instead of continuing on the path that ends with me spending my 30th birthday alone, drunk rollerblading naked outside the White House telling tourists that their souvenirs are validating lies, I’m going to take the optimistic approach and believe that if my friends were just more aware of all that’s going on in the world, then they would understand how fucked we are unless more people become informed and active in the political realm.

And if the burden on communication is on the communicator, then isn’t it up to outlets like The Daily Banter to try something new to reach out to them? Thus I present to you…


A weekly round-up of the news catered to Millennial readers' limited knowledge base and written with the understanding that they don’t have time to have read most of what I wrote above.

“Without knowledge, there is no power” - Mortal Kombat 

Ferguson, Missouri: America's Melting Pot Is Boiling Over

Summary: On August 9th, an 18-year old named Michael Brown (black) was shot in the St. Louis suburb by a policeman (white) who supposedly stopped Brown for jaywalking, and while it’s not definite, it’s looking more and more like Michael Brown was shot 6 times while standing with his arms above his head yelling, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” People are understandably pissed, there have been both violent and non-violent demonstrations in the streets of Ferguson and around the country, and this has sparked national debates about things like systemic racism in America and the over-militarization of police.

Summary of that Summary: Unarmed black 18-year old shot by white policeman near St. Louis, Missouri. Chaos in Ferguson and national debates over issues like racism and police violence ensue (quick reminder: the looters and rioters are NOT the same people protesting).

In One Tweet Or Less :

A Reasonable Opinion To Have: 
Whenever you’re dealing with systemic issues in our country, there’s going to be massive complexities involved, but in this specific case, it is appalling that Michael Brown was shot, and if there aren’t serious investigations into not just this specific event but the root issues behind it, then we have officially let our country down.

What You Could Say To Sound Extra Smart:
One of the causes of police militarization is the 1033 Program, which "permits the Secretary of Defense to transfer, without charge, excess U.S. Department of Defense personal property (supplies and equipment) to state and local law enforcement agencies." In 2013 alone it gave nearly half a billion dollars worth of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

A More In-Depth Article That’s Still Easy To Understand:
This one over at Vox (whom I assume will be filling these spots a lot.)

Good Golly, Good Gaza

A summary: A lot of people have a lot of opinions on Gaza right now, which is what everyone’s talking about when you hear people say “the trouble in the Middle East." Some quick background: Israel, a place roughly the size of Illinois, was formed in 1948 and the Brits who controlled it at the time promised it to both the resident Arabs and the Jewish immigrants, creating a border situation that looks like a Jewish nation with two pockets of land inside its borders being sanctioned off as Palestinian territories/independent states (the terminology changes on who you're talking to and what they believe politically). It looks like this:


So because no one consulted anyone with common sense when enacting this IRL Sim World plan, there has been near-constant fighting ever since. And while religious differences and border definitions are central issues, this current situation is about "the very unpleasant Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, in which Israel has put the Palestinians under suffocating military occupation and Palestinian militant groups terrorize Israelis." Hamas, that other name you keep hearing a lot, is the name of the main militant group, which is internationally recognized as a terrorist group.

A Summary of that Summary: 
Israel, a Jewish country, is bombing the shit out of Gaza, a Palestinian territory inside its borders because of the terrorist group Hamas’ violent presence there.

In One Tweet:

(this is apparently the main guy from One Direction, so you know this issue is important)

A Reasonable Opinion To Have: 
No matter what side you are on, continued violence is only going to lead to more violence, meaning the bombing of Gaza needs to stop ASAP. Accountability is important, but human lives should be the first priority.

What You Could Say To Sound Extra Smart:
We receive a lot of our news through curated social networks which automatically filter out content that it doesn't think we're interested in. When it comes to divisive issues like this, that becomes a problem because we began surrounding ourselves in information bubbles that don't show the whole story.

A More In-Depth Article That’s Still Easy To Understand:
BBC to the rescue.

Ebola: The Virus You Should Be Aware Of But Not At All Afraid Of

A summary: Ebola, as anyone who read the The Hot Zone can attest to, is like the worst disease ever. And the general news around it is that an epidemic which had started in Guinea in February had spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, causing the death toll to break the 2,000 mark. Reactions by Americans have been almost universally overblown and not based on verifiable sources, but disconcerting news is coming out of Liberia that a quarantine center was attacked, possibly by protestors believing the quarantine was a hoax, possibly by family members of patients who wanted to retrieve their loved ones, or possibly something more terrorist related (we're not sure yet so don't treat any story as fact). This isn't Hot Zone Chapter 1 bad, but as a senior police official told BBC, "This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life."

A Summary of that Summary: There is an Ebola outbreak in Africa, but the odds of you ever having to worry about it personally are miniscule. Americans like to overreact. A dumb thing did happen at a quarantine center in Liberia.

In One Tweet: 

A Reasonable Opinion To Have: 
If we don't blow each other up first, mankind probably will go extinct because of some sort of supervirus, but as of right now, Ebola isn't going to be it.

What You Could Say To Sound Extra Smart:
Americans are forgetting that there are cultural issues in play. Ebola is spread through human body fluids, and in many countries in Africa, it may be customary after someone has died to leave them in the home for up to 4 days, thus increasing the risk of infection exponentially.

A More In-Depth Article That’s Still Easy To Understand:
This BBC article on the outbreak center attack will help keep you aware of facts when American news organizations skew it, and it summarizes the Ebola story well at the bottom.