RIP Pete Frates

By: Gerry Sullivan Twitter: @gerrysullivan12/@UltSportsBlogs




Finals season is upon us, and if you are anything like me you are probably up late into the night, working on assignments that are due or studying for your exams that are coming up. It’s an extremely stressful time of the year and it is easy for you to complain about everything that you have going on and feel sorry for yourself because you are so miserable.

It would have been easy for Pete Frates to do that. For those unfamiliar with his story, Pete was diagnosed with ALS in March of 2012 at age 27. A former Boston College baseball player, Pete was only 5 years out of college when he was diagnosed. He had his entire life in front of him, but suddenly that future was swiped away with his diagnosis. At age 27, Pete was told that his health was going to quickly get worse, and that he did not have much life in front of him. As his disease worsened, Pete was paralyzed and was forced into a wheelchair, lost his ability to talk, and was fed through a tube. With such a terrible situation given to him, it would have been easy for him to give up, feel sorry for himself, and complain to everyone about how his life was ruined.

But he didn’t.

Pete decided he was going to fight ALS, and he fought like hell. He was the one who really helped the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge explode during the summer of 2014, and the Ice Bucket Challenge helped raise $220 million for ALS research. 

Unfortunately, yesterday Pete’s 7-year long fight came to an end, as he died at the age of 34.

Pete Frates is an inspiration. He taught me and many others that no matter how bad a situation gets, you need to keep fighting and try to make the best of it. He inspired everyone he came into contact with, and was the true definition of a superhero. People not only in Boston, but all over the country, will be feeling this loss.

So, during this stressful time where you are facing some small adversity, just take a second to remember how Pete Frates responded to the most severe adversity anyone could face. He’s the ultimate role model, and every single person on this planet can take a lesson from the way he fought a disease in a way that most of us couldn’t. 

Rest in peace Pete Frates. An inspiration to all, and a leader in the fight to stop ALS.



Watch: High School (1968)



There were a lot of things that interested me freshman year that I never got around to writing about- but better late than never right?

I’m very interested in film because I look at them as a way to learn. The best films in my opinion are the ones that cause you to reflect on things in your real life. I hope to provide plenty of recommendations going forward but there is one in particular that has been stuck in my head recently because I find that some of the major themes in it are more relevant than ever today.

I agree that there’s bigger things to talk about then films but I also don’t think it’s a bad place to start so…

The film:

High School by Frederick Wiseman

The genre:

Cinéma vérité (nerd word) documentary

The context:

Wiseman serves as a fly on the wall inside Northeast High School in Philadelphia during a time when the United States was involved in the Vietnam war.

Things to consider when watching:

-Is it always best to comply with authority?

-What is truly honorable?

-Who pays the price of war?

-Were the students back then different than they are now?

-If it seems like a bad system how do we fix it? If it’s good- why?

Pat you don’t really think I’m going to get anything out of some old ass black and white film do you?

Maybe not but if you put the phone down for an hour and fifteen minutes- you just might (these kids and them damn phones!).


P.S- #EmbraceDebate





NNNN Episode #24 with Matt DiPesa

Had a great conversation with Matt that will give you plenty of ammunition to liven up the banter at your Thanksgiving dinner this year*

Article referenced:

Title: Inside the Radical, Uncomfortable Movement to Reform White Supremacists

Inside the Radical, Uncomfortable Movement to Reform White Supremacists

Quote from article:

“What the fuck am I doing with my fucking life? How are we the supreme race? We’re fucking idiots.”


Editor’s Note:

*- Or maybe wait until Christmas**

**- Or maybe just think about these topics for yourself and have a fantastic holiday season being grateful for all that you have***.

***- Tell a family member you love them.





When the World Turns a Blind Eye

Written by Aidan Poole in his junior year of high school.

He says: “It may be a bit rusty, but the subject matter remains poignant and relevant”.


Instagram: @aidanpoole18

Rwanda 2.jpg

September 1945 marked the end of World War II, in which the Axis powers officially surrendered to the Allies. Although the Axis forces had to pay the economic and political prices of military defeat, the pain ridden experiences of the Jewish population in Europe are too great to compare. The world may have been haunted by war, but European Jews were plagued by something far worse: genocide. Genocide is defined by the United Nations as acts carried out with intent to destroy a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group in whole or in part. During the genocide known as the Holocaust, millions of Jews were systematically dehumanized and slaughtered by the Nazi regime because of their religious alignment. After the war, countries around the world stood together and sang the phrase “Never Again” as a way to honor the nearly 6,000,000 Jews who perished and raise awareness in order to protect the future from potential genocides. In the years immediately following the Holocaust, the world seemed determined never to let another genocide occur. As time began to pass, it became evident that more genocides were going to take place. However, the international community did little or nothing to prevent these massacres from happening. The most notable post-Holocaust genocide took place in Rwanda, in which the Hutu majority slaughtered close to 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority in the span of just three months. Equipped with ample information and the ability to intervene, countries around the world refused to stop the killings. Despite the good intentions of the phrase “Never Again,” those words ought to ring facuous and hollow in the ears of all who hear them, as the world has demonstrated it will never act on this empty promise. Although government officials have the ability to intervene and prevent genocides from taking place, they instead sit in their opulent offices and fabricate excuses for their lack of involvement while pretending to care. These excuses are merely covering up the unnerving truth. Although the international community has the ability to intervene and stop genocide, people constantly choose not to due to selfish and xenophobic tendencies, as demonstrated by the Holocaust, and lack of general interest and humanity, as demonstrated by the Rwandan massacres.

Adolf Hitler was appointed as chancellor of Germany during the year 1933. As soon as his Nazi party held enough influence over the government, they began to eliminate political opposition and perpetuate anti-semitic propaganda in German society. Documentaries such as The Eternal Jew and literary works including Mein Kampf made the Nazi’s sinister plan of Jewish extermination explicitly clear. Nazis fostered a sense of hate among the German people by claiming Jews were biologically impure and blaming them for Germany’s poor economic state following World War I. The national socialist party began to implement laws that deprived the German Jews of civic rights, their homes, and eventually their lives. Any outside observer could peer into Germany and agree that the plan to exterminate the Jewish population was clear as day. Journalists within Germany reported on the events, urgent to make the rest of the world aware.  An article from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states that the US government publicly “confirmed that Nazi Germany planned to murder all the Jews of Europe” (“United States”). This sinister news was “reported widely in the American press.” The people of the United States had access to various reports detailing the German plot to eliminate Jews from Europe. Despite this truth, no action was taken to stop the killings or save those who were being persecuted. Instead, the US government ignored the desperate cries for help as hundreds of Jews were gassed and burned alive every day. The heartless United States claims that it was too busy fighting the war in Europe to intervene. However, digging deeper will reveal that there are a number of darker and more disturbing reasons to explain the failure of the US to get involved and try to save dying European Jews.

One of the reasons that the United States abstained from providing support to European Jews during the Holocaust was simply because members of the government were anti-Jewish as well. One source details that the State Department made certain decisions because it was “characteristically insensitive and influenced by anti-Semitism” (“American Response”). These individuals subscribed to their hateful ideology because they believed in rumors that an organization of Jewish communists would soon try to overthrow the American government and its democratic ideals. In the form of posters and radio shows, propaganda existed in the United States that promoted the idea that Jews were a threat to democracy, striking fear into the hearts of Americans. Other people were anti-Semitic because they believed that a Jewish plot to manipulate financial institutions posed a threat to American economic integrity. The existence of anti-Semitism in the United States government provides a more shocking reason as to why America did not try to stop the killings of Jews. Their reluctance to help can be attributed to racist and backwards motives that the government as a whole would be too embarrassed to admit to.

Another reason that explains the refusal of the United States to aid dying European Jews was the American attitude towards immigrants during this time period. The economy of the United States was already suffering much strain from the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce and the fear existed that increasing the immigration quota would give homeless and desperate Jews the chance to steal American jobs. It is for this reason that in the year 1939, “83% of Americans were opposed to the admission of refugees” (“America”). The working class of the US prioritized the safety of their careers over the lives of European Jews, proving the selfish nature of the country as a whole; they were willing to throw ideals of acceptance and equality out the window for better chances at work. People believed that their economic well-being came before the lives of fellow humans, a practice that proves to be egotistical at heart. Economic factors aside, a general fear and mistrust of those who were different also shaped American attitudes towards immigrants during this period. Harmful xenophobia, or fear of foreigners, permeated every part of society, weaving its way into even governmental politics. One source states that “immigration policies were shaped by fears of communist infiltrators and Nazi spies” (“America”). This illustrates the negative light in which society viewed immigrants. Fear of Nazi infiltration and a communist takeover threatened the United States with destruction. This demonstrates how America’s bigoted worldview prevented them from helping suffering European Jews. Although the United States claimed it abstained from intervention due to preoccupation with war, the real reason it refused to get involved was because it disliked and feared minorities and the negative impact it thought they would have on the country.

Much like in the case of the Holocaust, the failure of the international community to intervene during the Rwandan genocide also has disturbing origins. Racism was always an issue in Rwanda, creating high tensions between the Hutu majority and the frequently targeted Tutsi minority. In 1990, a group of persecuted Tutsis, exiled by abusive Hutus, invaded Rwanda to secure a right to their homeland and protect the rights of Tutsis against vicious hate crimes. The Hutu majority used this event as an excuse to enact a policy of genocide upon the Tutsis, killing up to 800,000 of them over 100 days. Plans for the genocide were explicitly transparent in Rwanda, as the public radio was used to dehumanize Tutsis and promote their merciless slaughter. The radio created a culture of hatred, allowing the genocide to take place. The United Nations peacekeeping correspondent in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, witnessed the events that led up to the genocide personally. He anticipated the start of a slaughter and “gave the UN information of the atrocities that were going to happen” (Merkel). This leaves no doubt as to whether or not the UN was aware of the events going on in Rwanda. Still, despite clear and concise information and knowledge of the killings, the United Nations continually debated whether humanitarian intervention was appropriate to cover up the true reason they did not get involved. The international community abstained from intervening during the Rwandan genocide simply because governments did not care enough to spend time and resources to save lives, suggesting a bankruptcy of humanity in the world.

Those who argued that the United Nations should stay out of Rwanda pointed primarily at the problem with sovereignty. Intervention, “whether humanitarian or not, has always been a problem for states” (Merkel). Many believe that foreign governments should not involve themselves with the affairs of sovereign states in order to preserve the “autonomy and freedom” of the state. Each country has a responsibility to protect its own people. However, the truth is that many times humanitarian intervention is the only way to protect the freedom of states that cannot handle the responsibility of protecting their own people. During the Rwandan genocide, the arguments and regulations defending the sovereignty of foreign states were abused and used as excuses to avoid involvement. Although these arguments have some rationality to them, the truth is that they were a transparent cover to the truth; the UN did not involve itself in Rwanda because it suffered from a severe lack of interest in the matter. By ignoring the glaring evidence of the genocide and refusing to protect the persecuted Tutsis, the United Nations proves itself guilty of this charge. One source details that the international community suffered from “a lack of will to take on the commitment necessary to prevent the genocide” (Winfield). This statement is very true, as it demonstrates that the UN was not willing to pay the financial price of military intervention or spend the time needed to remedy the situation. Instead, they turned a blind eye, proving the organization incapable of carrying out one of its main functions; to preserve international peace.

Another example that demonstrates the baffling degree to which the world refused to care about the Rwandan genocide is the infamous speech delivered by Bill Clinton to the devastated Tutsis after the massacres ended. The weary crowd that gathered to hear him speak expected an official apology, aid for the damage, and a promise for the future. Instead, the US president refused to apologize and merely acknowledged that “we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred” (Power). This statement suggests that America took at least some amount of action to prevent the slaughter of Tutsis, but this is a lie. In fact, it was the United States that took selfish efforts to “remove most of the UN peacekeepers already in Rwanda” when the killings began and it was the United States that refused to use its superior technology to shut down the radio in Rwanda, the main tool for organizing killings. He then formulated the excuse that those in America did not “fully appreciate the depth and the speed by with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror” (Power). This claim of not knowing about the depth and scale of the Rwandan genocide is a blatant lie, as it was the first genocide to be broadcast on television, with news reporters covering it extensively throughout the country. Clinton’s refusal to apologize to the Rwandan people is grossly immature, and his excuse of ignorance regarding the issue is disgustingly sadistic. He tried to work his way around the issue with broken excuses, but the truth is that his failure to intervene stems from a failure to care about the lives of fellow human beings. The “out of sight, out of mind” approach that Clinton and other world leaders took regarding the issue is harrowing.A failure to empathize with others around the globe makes for a dangerous future, one where the interests of the self are promoted above the collective and, with it, humanity.

It is true that the United States makes efforts to help a select few suffering peoples and tries to provide humanitarian aid to broken countries every so often. After all, one of the expressed reasons that the US invaded Iraq in 2003 was the effort of “liberating Iraq from this vicious tyrannical regime” to “bring democratic political process” (“A Necessary War”) to the country. This demonstrates that America is willing to get involved in international conflict to protect the wellbeing and freedom of helpless people. However, a closer examination will reveal more selfish motives for the invasion. The Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, had long been an enemy of the US, meaning the invasion was in part a mission to overthrow his regime to push the American political agenda. In addition to this, Iraq is one of the most oil-rich countries in the world. This is an essential product in the United States, needed for the country to run efficiently. It is likely that the greed for oil helped to promote the invasion rather than a benevolent desire to spread democracy. This demonstrates that the US is willing to impose a policy of intervention, but only when it directly benefits them. The implication of these actions is that the country is inherently self-centered and driven by avarice. There was nothing to gain from helping in the Holocaust or Rwanda, so America simply looked the other way and pretended it did not know the scale of the issue.

The international community refuses to stop genocide because of the self-interested and xenophobic tendencies of people who do not care enough to save dying minorities all over the world. To live in a world where governments willingly allow the systematic dehumanization and murder of thousands to take place every year is not only unnerving, but extremely dangerous as well. Genocide is a historical problem as well as a contemporary one. If political leaders and world populations continue to ignore it, the past will repeat itself again and again. If the world community refuses to show human empathy for those in less fortunate situations, an attitude promoting selfishness and greed will rule society, slaying the American ideals of equal opportunity and justice with the mighty sword of inhumanity. Countries around the globe must fulfill their promise of “Never Again” and stop genocides to save the lives of millions and protect the world from a dark future. If this does not happen soon, the world may never see an end to the hopeless vortex of hate and selfishness it has been sliding into.

Works Cited:

“A Necessary War?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service,

“America and the Holocaust.” Facing History and Ourselves,

“American Response to the Holocaust.”, A&E Networks, 2009,

Merkel, Bernard-Alexandre. “The Rwandan Genocide: The Guilty Bystanders.” E-International Relations, 14 Jan. 2010,

Power, Samantha. “Bystanders to Genocide.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 31 Mar. 2017,

“The United States and the Holocaust, 1942–45.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,

Winfield, Nicole. “UN Failed Rwanda.” Global Policy Forum, Associated Press,


Editor’s Note:

Great work Aidan- people have a right to be informed.


Sex is in Danger and We Must Save It

By: Nicole Bates Instagram: @nicolebates_

I have a pretty tumultuous relationship with Tinder.

I first downloaded the app on a whim in high school one night while hanging out with friends. We swiped away until we could swipe no more, giggling girlishly at every familiar face we came across. Then, at the end of the night, I deleted my account, because I of course was not using Tinder seriously to try to meet someone.

Then I continued on with my pretty boring and uninteresting love life, refusing to give in and accept help from the Internet dating app, because in my heart I still had hope for romance. Though I present a cynical exterior at times, inside I am a romantic. I love playing imaginary scenarios in my head, where me and the imaginary boy I had been friends with for years finally realize we love each other and then go on to have a beautiful little love story. Or I would imagine meeting a boy when we both go to see the same movie alone and end up sitting together and falling in love. I watch movies like 10 Things I Hate About You, La La Land, Call Me By Your Name or even Twilight (so bad, it’s good), and I long for these grand, poetic romances; but frankly, I don’t think they really happen all that often in real life.

So, this brings me back to Tinder.

At the end of my second semester at UMass, when the famous “Swipe-Off for Cardi B” took place, I re-downloaded Tinder so I could do my part to contribute to the competition as a UMass student.

During this period, I probably changed my Tinder an embarrassing amount of times. First, I created a real account fully-equipped with my most flattering photos, but with “only for Cardi B” in my bio, just to show people even though I’m on here showing off my best self, I don’t want to be bothered (but if you’re really cute and do message me I might respond). Then I decided this was stupid, so I deleted all my photos and put up one picture of Cardi B, just so there would be absolutely no confusion.

Since then I have created and deleted several Tinder accounts, put myself on “pause,” swiped away, matched and messaged, but never have I actually met someone from the app.

And through all this time I have remained single with a relatively dull love life. So, what does this mean? I suck. I’m unattractive, uninteresting and un-dateable… or maybe I’ve just fallen victim to a bigger societal problem in the world of dating.

According to journalist Kate Julian, who wrote Why are young people having so little sex? for The Atlantic’s December 2018 issue, we have entered a “sex recession.” She cites several reasons as to why we are seeing a decline in rates of sexual activity among young people, but a big one I found to be super relatable as a college student is social media. The platforms that are supposed to bring people closer together are actually pushing people further into isolation.

You sit alone in the dining hall or you take an elevator ride with a stranger and you go on your phone. Our phones are now like crutches that give us a socially acceptable way to avoid social interaction. The windows of opportunity to “meet people” are dwindling when the norm is becoming to always be on our phones when we are out of our comfort zone. So, we turn to online dating apps, because it is easier than having to face the scariest thing of all-

Talking to a stranger and not knowing what might happen.

In her article, Julian acknowledges that in this sexual awakening where people are liberated to freely practice whatever kind of sex they want, these apps are helping people in niche sexual groups find each other. So she states this sex recession may be a mostly heteronormative one.

However, the bigger problem of losing our ability to socialize affects everyone. I personally believe that sexuality is a spectrum, and if we allowed ourselves to be open to new people and new connections more often we might have better luck finding fulfilling romantic and sexual relationships.

Another problem in finding sexual and romantic relationships is that in a “#metoo” age, the stakes for a man flirting with a woman are higher than ever before, because his actions could quickly be spun into sexual harassment. No man wants that.  Similar to Kate Julian, I would definitely consider myself a feminist: I support women sharing their stories, and I believe women always deserve respect from men, but a part of me empathizes with these men. I can imagine how stressful it must be not knowing how to flirt anymore because you don’t know where the “line” is.

Girls dream of men stumbling into their arms in some magical, romantic way at a coffee shop or on the bus or even maybe in the library, but how is this ever going to happen if every time a man flirts with a woman it is interpreted as creepy.

There is a fine line between what is acceptable flirting and what is not, but eliminating it all together can make for a lot of lonely people, who may be able to find companionship in one another but never will because they are too scared of what might happen.

With this mass crucifixion of straight males, nobody wants to be the next one to be ousted for mistreating a girl, but that doesn’t mean talking to girls in person (NOT on the internet) has to be out of the question.

There’s no harm in striking up a conversation with someone who you find intriguing and finding out what things you may have in common. And if the conversation progresses to something more, you begin to hang out, you try to figure out if it’s a “date” or not, this can be one of the most exciting parts of dating!

The most important thing to remember is just to ask for permission before doing anything sexual to make sure you are both on the same page, and you can have a mutually pleasurable sexual experience ( which if you read Julian’s full article, you’ll see is rare these days!)

Sex is fun! And humans are unique in that we have sex our entire lives just for recreation! Even in situations that couldn’t possibly lead to reproduction, we still have sex just to have sex! Sex is good for your happiness, and it does not and should not be tossed to the sidelines just because it is too complicated to navigate in the modern world. Go read Julian’s full article and figure your sex life out, because it is important for your health and well-being!