Author Discusses Physical, Mental and Social Issues

Andrew Solomon - NYT Best Selling AuthorThe University Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, in conjunction with Shore House of Long Branch, NJ, hosted New York Times bestseller, Andrew Solomon for a book reading and signing in the Wilson Hall Auditorium on Monday, Feb. 24.

Solomon’s book, “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children & the Search for Identity,” explores the lives of families that accommodate children with physical, mental and social disabilities and the obstacles these parents face with loving and accepting their children.

Solomon, a homosexual who has previously suffered from depression, explained that the book’s title is a play on the expression, “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.”

Solomon said that the concept of his book came about while writing an article about deaf culture for The New York Times. He noticed similarities between the acceptance of identities within the deaf culture and the homosexual culture, which lead him to realize that the experience of each subculture is universal.

“I saw the parallels between the deaf experience and the gay experience, and I suddenly thought, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a gay thing and a deaf thing … I’ll bet there are others,'” said Solomon.

“Far From the Tree: Parents, Children & the Search for Identity” narrates the accounts of families dealing with the issues of dwarfism, Down Syndrome, Autism, and several other disabilities. Solomon’s theme for the book was to help parents cope with their child’s disability, and to develop the acceptance of the parents and the children themselves.

In discussing the importance of self , family and societal, Solomon said, “They all feed one another and each of them strengthens the other. You’re more able to achieve self acceptance if you have family and social acceptance; they’re all intertwined.”

Shore House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving people with mental illnesses opportunities to achieve their full potential. According to http://www.shorehousenj.org, Shore House provides opportunities for its members to obtain employment in mainstream businesses and provides various other support resources.

Christian Smithson, a member of Shore House suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), said, “[Shore House] is a place to interact with people just like me. The sense of family helps lift our spirits …. We learn that we are way more than our diagnosis.”

Pauline Nicholls, a consultant for The Shore House, reached out to Solomon to host the reading and signing to create awareness about an issue that the Shore House deals with everyday. “We need to speak up and speak out and I think [Solomon] does that…. The more we start a dialogue, the more we can inform change and reach a point where society can accept those with mental illnesses.”

Solomon said that many parents of disabled children grow closer to their children despite their flaws and learn to celebrate the conditions that they once feared. In his most extreme example, Solomon supported his claim of acceptance by discussing his relationship with the parents of Dylan Klebold, a perpetrator of the Columbine High School shootings.

“We still think that if kids commit crimes it’s because their parents are bad parents…. But in the case of the Klebolds … they’re really lovely people and the actions of their son came from something profoundly broken within [him]. It’s not the parents’ faults,” said Solomon.
Solomon explained that in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre, Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, said that she was able to still love her son because “If you love someone, you love both the good and bad in them.”

Smithson said, “I loved this event because it touched upon a lot more than I thought it would. The author talked about mental illnesses and the stigma that comes along with it and I thought that it was a beautiful thing.”

Kaeili Puopolo, a freshman, said, “[Solomon] was very well spoken and was also entertaining. Surprisingly, the only thing I disliked was that it wasn’t long enough.”

“His perspective on what is commonly referred to as a disability was also interesting to me,” Puoplo continued. “He referred to deafness, Autism, homosexuality, and many other disorders as identities and encouraged acceptance to all differences people are faced with.”

Franca Mancini, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said, “We co-hosted this event to reach out and support organizations in the community. [The University] is a great venue to help get information like this out to the community.”

“Partnering with Shore House to host an event like this is such an important initiative too because they can offer help and assistance that goes far beyond what we can do on campus,” said Mancini.

Delta Tau Delta: The Newest Triad of Greek Letters on Campus

DeltasDelta Tau Delta is officially the newest fraternity recognized by the University. Currently, there are 35 new members who have been named “founding fathers” of the fraternity.

Lorenzo Russomanno, a senior and President of the Inter-Fraternal Council (IFC), said, “IFC was looking to expand, as far as fraternities, after the addition and success of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, especially because we have noticed a significant drop of in the amount of guys interested in Greek life.” According to Russomanno, this year there have been over 120 new females who have joined sororities, while there have been only 32 males.

According to Jon Buchalski, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Fraternity and Sorority Life, “There are two ways new fraternities can come to campus. The way Delta Tau Delta came to campus was the Interfraternity Council voted to expand to new organizations and reached out to about ten fraternities that were not currently on campus. Delta Tau Delta entered an application and the Interfraternity Council decided that they would be a good fit. The other way a new fraternity could come to campus would be to have a group of non-affiliated interested students petition for expansion.”

Expansion consultants for Delta Tau Delta Nationals have been in the lower level of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC), since Feb. 10, recording students who are interested in the fraternity and having them fill out interest forms. Once students fill out interest forms, they are scheduled for an interview to see if the students are a good fit for the fraternity.
Anthony Jacobsmeyer, an expansion consultant for Delta Tau Delta, said he is looking for potential candidates who possess the core values of the fraternity. “Delta Tau Delta is focused towards leadership, service and academic excellence. We’re looking for fraternity men, not fraternity boys.” When asked to elaborate, Jacobsmeyer said, “Men are gentlemen who respect the campus and are active in the community whereas fraternity boys are the opposite.”

“I heard nothing but negative things about other fraternities, particularly their inclinations to abuse alcohol,” said Stephen Grzybacz, a freshman. “I joined Delta Tau Delta to get more involved within the University, improve my leadership skills and contribute to the development of a great fraternity.”

Delta Tau Delta’s alumni demonstrated to Charles Lucia, a junior, that Delta Tau Delta is the right fraternity for him. Lucia said that with former members such as Congressman Paul Ryan and Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, is proof that the fraternity has a mission to foster excellence in all aspects of its member’s lives.

“I waited until my junior year to join a fraternity because I am a commuter and my education has always been my number one priority. I did not want the commitment to traditional fraternity practices to negatively impact my academic performance,” said Lucia.

Sororities on campus have also been involved with the recruitment process of new members. According to Jacobsmeyer, there is a competition between the sororities to see who can generate the most referrals. Sororities receive points for each potential new member of Delta Tau Delta that they refer. The organization that generates the most amount of referrals will win a monetary donation from Delta Tau Delta to a charity of the winning organization’s choice.

Currently its Nationals recognize Delta Tau Delta as a “colony.” A colony is a designation given to a new organization that is awaiting official recognition from their national to have a chapter at a campus. Before being recognized as a chapter, new organizations have to prove that they are self-sufficient.

Organizations are able to prove self-sufficiency by hosting philanthropy events, adhering to the academic standard instituted by the University and having a functioning executive board, according to Jacobmeyer. It can take anywhere from 12 – 18 months or longer, to go from colony status to chapter. Jacobmeyer said that there is not much difference between being a colony or a chapter, it is just a designation given by Nationals.

This week, members of nationals will be hosting more interviews and conducting leadership conferences, training, and retreats for new members. The training will teach new members how to run a fraternity, and teach the new members how to work towards its colonization. “I expect to become more of a leader by joining Delta Tau Delta. This fraternity offers many leadership positions, all of which could help me in my future endeavors,” said Grzybacz.

Delta Tau Delta will also be hosting a dinner for the new members on Friday, March at 7 pm. The dinner will serve as a formal meet and greet for new members, and members of nationals. “We will be welcoming those who are interested in building a legacy [at Monmouth] and starting something new. We ask all of those who have not found what they are looking for in other fraternities to show their interest and become members of this fraternity,” said Jacobsmeyer.

Students Learn to Identify Signs of Sexual Assault

 

ImageA sexual assault prevention program called Sex Signals was hosted by the Student Activities Board (SAB) and Catharsis Productions on Saturday, Feb. 8 to discuss the signs of sexual assault as well the presence of it on college campuses.

Sex Signals used an unconventional approach to tackle the serious issue of rape through the use of humor, improvisation and audience interaction. The event featured two actors from Catharsis Productions, who are trained in sexual violence prevention. Performers Christopher Beier and Amanda Moore started the conversation by engaging the audience and asking them about the factors that contribute to sexual harassment. Beier and Moore initially got the audience involved by asking about male and female stereotypes, but eventually switched gears.

Beier and Moore performed an improvised skit titled “Not My Fault,” which depicted Moore questioning Beier about an alleged rape he committed. Beier answered questions from Moore and the audience to clarify the situation and prove he was not at fault for the rape.

According to the University Guide for a Safe Campus Handbook, in 2013, there were two reported cases of sexual assault and one reported incident of sexual contact; however, there have been no cases reported so far in 2014.

William McElrath, the Chief of University Police (MUPD), said, “Sexual assault is a big issue on college campuses and society in general. I believe it is one of the most underreported crimes taking place. There is a strong culture of silence involving sexual assaults on campus.”

The most prevalent common denominators in sexual assaults on campus are alcohol and date rape drugs, according to McElrath. “Many of these incidents do take place after a party. I do not recall any sexual assaults involving students where an unknown suspect simply attacked a student and fled. All of our sexual assaults involved some sort of socialization process prior to the assault. The victim most often knew, or recently met, the perpetrator.”

“I think a lot of the time, its engrained in people that the way to stop rape is to make sure that you have your rape whistle and your mace, which is completely, completely backwards,” said Beier. “It baffles me sometimes how much our message needs to be heard, because I think it’s a pretty obvious message: to make sure the people you’re having sex with give consent, and, in addition, … to empower people to step in and call sexual assault perpetrators out.”

Because this event was primarily about the prevention of sexual assault, Heather Kelly, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives, said that the assumption might be made that the event would be a male bashing show; however, the event’s intention was not to pick on men, but to talk about stereotypes for both men and women, and to also talk about a lot of things that are not normally discussed.

According to Beier, the most important thing to do when having sex is to ask for consent. Consent is asking for permission for sexual activities to take place. Beier stressed that “you cannot receive consent from someone who has been drinking. They might not be fully conscious or not in their right state of mind, so to avoid being accused of taking advantage, avoid the situation.”

Moore believes that there are several reasons that prevent the victims of sexual assault to come forward, including the fear of becoming re-victimized by the criminal justice system or the media, the inability to recall the events due to drugs or alcohol, and the fear of judgment by friends, family and peers.

“Sexual assault is more of a problem than people think it is. Sexual assault is one of those problems that are hard to talk about…. but the positive thing is that this event allowed the campus to talk about it … making the campus a more friendly place for victims of sexual assault where they are welcomed and not blamed,” said Kelly.

The University has placed a great emphasis on educating students regarding the issue of sexual assaults. “Sex Signals, Take Back the Night, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and Support Denim Day are all programs that the University holds to raise awareness for sexual assaults,” said McElrath. “Education of both male and female students is needed at all institutions. Everyone should be advised of what constitutes sexual assault, the causes of it, prevention of it, and the lifetime consequences for the victim, as well as the perpetrator.”

McElrath also provided preventative advice for women to avoid being a victim of sexual assault. He emphasized the importance of students being aware of self-defense techniques, the effects of alcohol on decision making and avoiding putting yourself in vulnerable situations by going to parties with people you trust and looking out for each other at all times.

Kevin Long, a junior, said he was very happy with the program, although it was not what he expected it to be. “There was a great combination of comedy and information which made the program interesting and exciting…. I do wish that more people came to the event because those who [are perpetrators] of sexual assault aren’t here and that’s unfortunate,” Long said.

Alicia Torello, a freshman SAB member who helped plan this event, said, “As long as this event spoke to at least one person and allows them to stand up against sexual assault, then the event was successful and did its job.”

In the event that you feel you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault on campus, you should report the incident to the MUPD. Police are trained on how to best respond to these situations and will place the interests of the victims first, including getting medical or psychological assistance. Victims are reminded that they ultimately control the direction of the situation. You can also refer to the student handbook to find the process the perpetrator is subject to if accused of sexual assault.

Now Stop … Zumba Time!

5,6,7,8 Club Hosted Zumbathon to Promote Wellness and Fitness Amongst Students

The 5,6,7,8 Club hosted a two hour long Zumbathon event to raise money for their annual recital while promoting health and fitness during the winter months in Anacon Hall on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6 – 8 pm.

President of the 5,6,7,8 Club Sarah Van Vliet felt that hosting an event featuring Zumba would be a great way to promote the increasingly popular exercise. “Zumba is working out while dancing and our club is a dance club. Since Zumba is such a big craze we thought it would be a good idea,” said Van Vliet.

5,6,7,8’s Zumbathon event was open to both men and women. The club charged each person $3 in order to participate in the event and raised a total of over $35. The proceeds will be used to alleviate the costs for costumes and other expenses for the club’s annual recital that will be held later in the year.

Conducting the Zumbathon event were instructors Alaina Serenelli, a member of the 5,6,7,8 Club, and Isabel Marmolejo, the club co-advisor.

Marmolejo, a Spanish Professor in the Department of Foreign Language Studies, offered Zumba Fitness classes at the University from 2009 to 2012. “Zumba was a life saver for me!” exclaimed Marmolejo, who has been practicing Zumba since 2007. “When I moved from Ecuador to the United States in 2007, Zumba was the perfect way to beat homesickness.”

Marmolejo also uses Zumba as a way to make new friends, and have fun while working out. She said, “In our spare time, my husband, Christopher Hirschler, who is also a professor at the University, and I would practice the recently learned moves in our living room. Sometimes we’ll have some fun leading a Zumba choreo (dance) at weddings, birthdays, and even graduation parties.” 

Secretary of 5,6,7,8 Club Kirsten Webb said, “I think Zumba is as popular as it is because everyone is really interested in getting healthy and fit.” The senior jokingly continued, “Half the time you don’t realize how much of a work out you’re getting, but you definitely feel it the next day.”

Zumba offers a wide variety of benefits that are hard to find with traditional methods of exercise. According to WeightWatchers.com, “Researchers determined that Zumba is an effective interval-style, total-body workout with built in variety because every class and every instructor is slightly different.”

“If we look at the heart-rate monitor strips during the Zumba session, it kind of looks like an interval workout, going back and forth between high intensity and low intensity,” as stated on WeightWatchers.com by lead researcher Mary Luettgen, M.S. “Because of that, with Zumba you burn a lot of extra calories compared to a steady-state exercise like jogging.”

According to Zumba.com, Zumba was “accidentally” discovered in the 1990’s by Colombian dancer and instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez. Perez forgot his tape of aerobics music for a class he was teaching, so he improvised a class using non-traditional aerobics music, such as merengue and salsa. After Zumba’s original success in Colombia, the exercise was introduced to the US in 2001. A Zumba class now uses elements of hip-hop and martial arts in addition to merengue and salsa, according to the site.

Zumba Fitness is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into an exhilarating dance-fitness sensation. As stated on Zumba.com, over 14 million people are enrolled in Zumba classes all over the world, and it is also possible to burn hundreds of calories per session.

The 5,6,7,8 Club put together a public relations team in order to advertise the event. Club members organized the hanging of flyers, Facebook posting and mass e-mail sent to all University students, employees and faculty.

Van Vliet said that although the turnout was not as large as the club projected, the club will be hosting bake sales to raise additional funds to go towards the club’s recital. “For the recital, we have been working with the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park. We go there once a week to teach [the children] a routine and the children will also be performing in our recital.”

Webb urges students to become involved with the 5,6,7,8 Club. She said, “The best time to join is during the fall semester or the very beginning of the spring semester because around this time we’ve already started choreographing dances for the show.”

Marmolejo said, “I recommend doing Zumba everyday of your life. There is even an app, so you have no excuses.”

‘Tis the Season For Hot Chocolate

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The Monmouth University Street Team, (MUST) celebrated “National Hot Chocolate Day,” by serving free hot chocolate to over 850 students and faculty members, outside the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC) on Thursday, Dec. 12.

MUST continued their vision to create situations that encourage people to think and talk about big, meaningful things, while promoting positive outlook on life. Every month, MUST decides on a “theme” for their event, and for the month of December, the theme was “celebrate”.

MUST President Ryan Murphy explained the process for choosing a theme each month by saying, “There are certain aspects of life that we would like to promote on campus, things that we think might be lacking in daily conversation… Along with the holidays we wanted to promote the idea of ‘celebration,’ in a different way than we normally do it in the holiday season.”

MUST were stationed in front of the RSSC passing out hot chocolate to students and faculty passing by who needed to warm up during the cold winter day. Those who did take advantage of the free hot chocolate were able to customize their drinks to their own liking by adding peppermint, marshmallows, caramel squares and whipped cream to their drinks.

MUST also handed out “Hot Chocolate To-Go” packs, which included a pack of instant hot chocolate and two marshmallows, for those who didn’t have the time to grab a cup, or who might have wanted to make hot chocolate later on in the day.

“Based on the amount of cups and to-go packs we gave away, there were about 850 students and faculty members who were involved in our event,” said Susan Bennett, advisor of MUST. Bennett continued, “In addition to supplying hot chocolate to our own students and faculty members, we also provided hot chocolate to two tour groups of perspective students, and that was really incredible.”

Each to-go packet and cup of hot chocolate had a sticker on it, with a question that related to MUST’s theme of celebration. Although the event was free, each student or faculty member that wanted a cup of hot chocolate, had to answer the question on his or her cup or packet. “The cups that we’re handing out have different meaningful questions like ‘What aspects of society should be more celebrated?’ or ‘What is something that you celebrated as a child, but don’t anymore?’ These are the ideas and things we want students to be discussing for the upcoming holiday season,” said Murphy.

Lisangi Fernandez, a senior, was asked, “What is one way we can celebrate more often?” She responded, “By just getting together.”

Though “National Hot Chocolate Day” was one of the coldest days of the winter thus far, it did not deter members of MUST from handing out free hot chocolate and encouraging conversation on campus. Michael Qualiano, member of MUST, said at first he didn’t know how to feel about the cold, but the substantial turnout had proved that the event was worthwhile.

Throughout the day, there were times where MUST ran out of hot chocolate, due to increased volume in-between classes. Shannen Wilson of the MUST club said, “I think that dealing with some shortages of hot chocolate and staying positive, is part of what our group is trying to promote on campus. Even if there are times where all we are doing is giving away our packets, we will still get our message across to the students.”

MUST took an unorthodox approach to advertise this event, by choosing not to advertise at all. While most groups on campus place an extensive importance of advertising through posters, word of mouth and social media, MUST has a very unique stance on advertising for events. “We didn’t advertise because it’s more fun if it’s a surprise. If you had to plan on being there, it wouldn’t be the same,” said Benett.

Looking forward to next month, MUST has already been brainstorming new themes and ideas for their next event when we return to campus after our break. According to Bennett, MUST will be trying to capture the ideas associated with setting new goals in 2014, and capitalizing on the new semester. Whatever the club does decide, it will be fun for the MUST and the students and faculty.

Michelle Grushko, member of MUST, summed up the event and dealing with the cold quite jubilantly by saying, “Whether the weather is cold, or whether the weather is hot, we’ll be together, whatever the weather, whether we like it our not.”

Drake – Nothing Was the Same – Album Review

PHOTO TAKEN by Taylor Copp

PHOTO TAKEN by Taylor Copp

On September 24th, a month before his 27th birthday, Aubrey “Drake” Graham released his junior album titled Nothing Was the Same. This album had a distinct down-tempo and soft feel in comparison to his previous albums and mixtapes. Although the tempo is much different in respects to his previous works, the message seems constant. Nothing Was the Same seems to include all of the elements Drake possesses that make us love him and that has made his successful, so it makes sense the formula hasn’t changed. Drake is still someone who is still known for his sensitive records, while being able to hop the fence and still have those “traditional” boastful rap records. Nothing Was the Same seems to be a game of chess between arrogance and sensitivity, and with both sides making great moves it’s hard to choose a winner.

Outright and most obvious, Drake’s overall skill of rapping has taken great leaps and bounds from his first mixtape, Room For Improvement. It seems as if he has found his direction and established a direction in which he wants his work to go. His clarity  of vision is apparent within his overall tone of delivery; which he uses a mature approach, relying on directness of storytelling, rather than relying heavily on expletives to orchestrate his point.

The lack of features throughout the album leads us to believe that Drake is very comfortable delivering all parts of his work, rather than depending on outside artists to help express his current state of mind. Its surprising however that Lil’ Wayne, his mentor, does not appear on the album because he has in some shape taken part in his last 4 album-length releases. I don’t necessarily disagree with Drake’s decision, because there seems to be no place for the rugged Wayne, on this cool down-tempo album.

Drake’s willingness to lay out his whole life in songs, and be totally introspective, holding little back is hard to miss throughout the album. The premise of the album overall is reflecting on the hearts that’s he’s broken over the years, the ties that he has severed and his hopefulness to build his future with someone, while addressing the problems that continue to arise due to his achieved status and simultaneously boasting and celebrating his successes, that’s so Drake.

“Too Much,” a song that discusses the difficulty of maintaining a “normal” life now that Drake is an “A-List” star, goes deeper than the traditional struggles of not being able to maintain privacy. Drake discusses the difficulty to remain close with friends, and even family. Discussing his mother’s battle living a life outside of her own home, not being able to sit down and have a family dinner, to his strained relations with his father. Its clear in this record that although Drake is grateful and content with his career and where he is directed, he feels some sort of disconnect with those who mean the most to him. Although many people have no idea what its like to be famous, or in any sort of public spotlight, Drake is able to make us understand his pains and troubles. This song sticks out because very rarely do artists discuss personal lives beyond personal possessions, like cars, jewelry, homes and women, but here Drake is able to portray the negative side of fame, and connect with his fans.

In the song “Started From the Bottom,” Drake cheers adamantly about his ability to come from “the bottom” of the ladder, to becoming a 26 year old man with the most number 1 hits on the Billboard charts. Of course, even if you do know Drake got his start on the Canadian soap opera Degrassi: The Next Generation, its hard not to celebrate with him, especially for those who have been a fan for years, we can understand his progression, trials and tribulations. The song also is inspirational because in some way, shape or form, we all “started from the bottom” somehow. Whether you’re a student in college who just landed a job, or you’ve grown up in less than ideal economic or social situations, we all can relate to achieving some sort of goal.

The amazing thing about Nothing Was the Same, is that it can take you from gloomy, self reflecting songs, to upbeat and celebratory songs, and this music trip, combined with deep lyricism and production value, continuing to work with Noah “40” Shebib, who has been a perfect match for drake going back to 2008, makes for one great album, which has timeless songs, and a bunch more that you can dedicate to members of the opposite sex, no matter which gender you are.

Are We Ready for Change? The Death of Brian Griffin

PHOTO COURTESY of FOX

Change? Change? Is change really a good thing? When I see someone homeless in the street begging for change, I seem burdened. I understand that it may be in good faith to help someone in his or her time of need, but I’m more interested in how they got there. What series of bad decisions did they make to resort to asking other people for money? So yeah, I’m scared of change. Change also has another meaning: the alteration or modification of something we’ve grown accustomed to. When I woke up this morning and found out about the death of one of America’s most beloved cartoon dogs, I almost lost it. So yeah, I’m afraid of change.

Brian Griffin, the canine star of Quahog, was fatally hit by a car and ultimately killed off of the animated hit series Family Guy. More often than not, when characters are killed off or leave shows, it causes a bit of a stir, but the death of Brain caused an uproar. I was bombarded with links on social media and classroom discussions about the death of Brain and I wonder, “why are we so surprised?”

Family Guy is one of the most absurd shows I’ve ever watched and it seems to play a tremendous role in its success after 11 seasons. So with that said, why is anyone shocked about the demise of Brain Griffin? According to E-Online’s interview with Steve Callaghan, executive producer of Family Guy, Brian’s death seemed “more in the realm of reality that a dog would get hit by a car, than if one of the kids died.” To me, when we start talking about “realm of realities,” I don’t necessarily buy that argument. Family Guy as a series, is outside the realm of reality. Did we forget that the first episode of Family Guy was of Stewie Griffin trying to kill his mother? Or that Brian was a dog, a talking dog, who was arguably one of the most intellectual characters on the show? I just don’t buy it.

For the most part, cartoons generally don’t seem to abide by realms of realities; which makes me wonder, why after 11 seasons did the producers start to care about the absurdity of a dog dying rather than another main character? I also have a problem with the way Brian died. In an episode where Brain owed Stewie money, Stewie torched Brain with a flamethrower, which didn’t kill him, but a car does? Maybe I’m being too cynical, but the chances of surviving a flamethrower attack seem lower than being hit by a car.

The decision to kill off Brian was a bold move though. As a society consuming media, everything seems so predictable. How often do we watch a movie or a show on television and know what’s going to happen next? It’s about time that something happens that shakes up the series; but as for seeing how effective the decision was, as far as ratings go, remains to be seen. Maybe it was Brian’s time to die. The average lifespan of a dog could range anywhere from 6-12 years, so in a practical world Brain’s time to live was coming to an end anyway. If that was the case however, why did Brain have to die violently?

Overall, I don’t know too many people who were happy with Brian’s fate. With people saying: “The dynamic of Brian and Stewie, or even Peter and Stewie are irreplaceable.” Even things like, “It should have been Meg,” makes me wonder how the future of Family Guy will play out. Callaghan stated that he’s not concerned about a backlash from the audience, …our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough, to know that they can trust us. We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series.” I do hope the creators of the show know what they’re doing, but I do agree with many others when I say, “It should have been Meg.”