C MAGAZINE ARTS & CULTURE
THE 51% P.24
Why does only 26% of Congress represent over half the population?
C MAGAZINE April 2021 • Volume 9, Edition 4
Dear readers, As the snow begins to melt in the mountains and Hetch Hetchy is replenished with the run-off, spring brings new life to the Bay Area. As the new comes in, the old must leave and so must we, dear reader, for this is the last issue run by the 2020-2021 leadership team of C Magazine. This year has obviously been challenging, but we are beyond proud of the work we have produced and hope you enjoyed digesting it as much as we had making it. While it is a bittersweet goodbye, we are so excited for the next leadership team to take hold and continue to elevate this publication. So without further ado, we present to you the fourth and penultimate issue of the year. This issue’s cover story, “The 51%,” looks at the gender dynamics in the world of politics. Writers Sophia Baginskis, Reya Hadaya, Emma Joing and Colleen Wang delve into the inequalities of our society and talk with women who are both working to change the precedent of our historically patriarchal government while also empowering their community. The cover of this issue represents a gripping statistic: while women make up 51% of our population, they only represent 24% of our Congress, and only 3% are women of color. The curved rows of people allude to the seating of Congress and the highlighted women even subtly correspond to real politicians. For your visual appetite, “A Perfect Picnic” on page 8 features the three parting editors enjoying one last spring feast in style. With the effervescent Kimberly Lillios and transcendent Atticus Scherer modeling under the lens of the incomparable photographer Alexa Gwyn, this spread encapsulates the glamour of a warm spring day, decorative blankets and pillows,
some broken film cameras and a delectable charcuterie board you can make yourself following the instructions on page 7. In our music section, we bring some disappointing news. Daft Punk, a French electronic music duo, split up after nearly 30 years. Shocking, we know. While we won’t be getting any new releases, we are forever blessed by their iconic music and groundbreaking stage production. The story “Daft Punk: More than Just a Duo,” written by Julia Ragno and Samantha Lee, looks at the inspiring impact the duo made on the music industry. Also on the musical docket is “Fanbase Backlash,” a story written by Aidan Do, Natalie Hmelar and Marilyn Yin that examines the dynamic between fans and musicians as artists break away from their reputations. Our featured artist is the ever glamorous Amanda McVey who is profiled by Megha Madhabhushi and Emma Turnbull on page 13. McVey is a double threat: crushing the runway under the talons of her high heels while also blossoming into a fashion design powerhouse. The title page features her posing for the camera in an original handmade dress with floral appliques, and the story that lurks beyond provides insight into her creative process and journey. Though the seniors are now departing, the rising leaders on staff have our full faith and confidence. We know they will lead this magazine to new heights so we hope you hang on for the ride and watch them flourish. Au revoir dear reader, Alexa Gwyn, Kimberly Lillios and Atticus Scherer Editors-in-Chief
ONLINE EXCLUSIVES find these stories and more at cmagazine.org
The Butterfly Effect By Colin Lai
Behind the Song: Sarah Gross By Ella Rosenblum
Illustrative Voices By Kellyn Scheel
thanks to our
sponsors Alison Mutz Ann Polanski Anne and Billy Spier April Scazzola Betsy Koester Casey Ragno Chris Lillios & Jinny Rhee Christine Hmelar Cindy Wu Daily Essentials David Scherer David Wolter Deb Whitman Debbie Ellisen Debra Cen Donna Do Doug Wolter Elaine Cao Emma Stefanutti Erica & Daniel Galles Gloria Tapson Harry & Harriet Oda Hershminder Sahota Hong Liu Hong Liu & Max Cheng Janet Bloed Jasleen Sahota Jenifer Turnbull Jennifer Mutz Jennifer Wu Jennifer & Don Ragno Jessica Gao Joanie Haney John Ragno Julien Chow
Kar Yee Fransham Editors-in-Chief Creative Director Karen Townsend Alexa Gwyn, Kimi Lillios, Sam Mutz Karen Wolter Atticus Scherer Kate Glasson Kathy Mach Managing Editors Creative Adviser Lisa Maund Leslie Aboytes, Faith Chow, Sukhman Sahota Liz Brooks Mahin & Houshang Behrouz Ellie Rowell, Libby Spier Marjan LaRue Mark McAuley Graphics Editor Online Editor-in-Chief Marty Ragno Samantha Feldmeier Dunya Mostaghimi Mathew Signorello-Katz Max Cheng Social Media Managers Business Managers Melina Lillios Eunice Cho, Sophia Bridget Packer, Rachael Michael Romano Baginskis Vonderhaar Michelle Vonderhaar Michelle Yin Staff Writers Mojo Trials Owen Bittinger, Emily Cheng, Aidan Do, Rachel Ellisen, Erik Moon & Hwa Rhee Feng, Brooke Glasson, Audrey Guo, Reya Hadaya, Jack Haney, Nana & Dzed Baginskis Nancy Warner Natalie Hmelar, Emma Joing, Colin Lai, Samantha Lee, Megha Olivia Han Madhabhushi, Caitlyn Oda, Julia Ragno, Ella Rosenblum, Palo Alto Education Kellyn Scheel, Emma Turnbull, Casey Walters, Colleen Wang, Palo Alto Humane Society Marilyn Yin Pat Ellisen Phyllis Mutz Illustrators Cover Queenie Huang Angela Bi, Wallie Butler, Kellyn Scheel Shantel & David Ferdman Samantha Feldmeier, Audrey Stan & Rochelle Ferdman Table of Contents Guo, Declan Greicius, Hailey Theresa McCann Photo by Alexa Gwyn Hwang, Aaron Kim, Neela Rao, Tony Lillios Kellyn Scheel, Faustine Wang Tony Lin Vi Richert Adviser Victor Wang William Hadaya Brian Wilson
Letters to the Editors
C Magazine, an arts and culture magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and discussion of issues of concern to its readership. C Magazine is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost.
The C Magazine staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserve the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to eicscmagazine@ gmail.com or to 50 Embarcadero Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94301.
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C Magazine is printed 5 times a year in November, December, February, April and May by Folger Graphics in Hayward, CA and mailed to every student’s home by the Paly Parent Teacher Student Association. All C Magazine stories are available on cmagazine.org.
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A Perfect Picnic pg. 8
Let’s go on a Picnic
A Perfect Picnic
How to Aesthetic
culture C Mag Tries
High Speed Hobbies
How Are You Feeling?
To Die For
Back to Campus
One Year In
Make a Mask
music Daft Punk
Let’s go on a Picnic
The rise of picnicking inspires students to host their own and find new ways to express themselves
our friends sit on opposite corners of a patterned sheet that is anchored by a colossal amount of food and drinks. Cake, sandwiches, chips and a charcuterie board are all precisely laid out in an artistic array for the mini photoshoot that just took place. As the food slowly gets picked away, all of the attendees raise their empty wine glasses for the unexpected grand finale. The glasses are turned upside down and pressed into the top of the cake, collecting a glassful of airy sponge and creamy frosting. Everyone laughs as the decorative frosted frogs and mushrooms get destroyed, and the conversation slows down as the sun starts to set. Walking together with masks on and the leftovers neatly packed in boxes, plans for the next picnic outing at a new park with new dishes are already in the works. The cottage core aesthetic of picnicking has taken over our feeds on Instagram and TikTok, complete with artistic picnic baskets and charcuterie boards. This viral trend has encouraged many students to join this recent excitement. One of those students is senior Noelle Burwell, who sees picnicking not only as a popular trend, but also a safe way to hang out with friends during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Getting the chance to go outside and do activities reminds us of our lives before the pandemic,” Burwell said. “It’s great that we are slowly getting back to that.” As a result of mandated social distancing, many people lost contact with close friends. So, people turned to social
media for COVID safe hang-out ideas. Andie Tetzlaff started to see a generous amount of her TikTok feed being dedicated to people having picnics. “TikTok has been the root of many trends, and sometimes people will accidentally go viral,” Tetzlaff said. “So when someone posted a video [of picnicking], I bet others thought to themselves, ‘Hey this is a fun idea, let me see if my friends want to do this,’ and then it spread like wildfire.” Because of the popularized images and videos circulating social media, people who organize picnics often go all-out in their preparation and planning. Some do this by plating elaborate charcuterie boards and others by bringing a myriad of decorative pillows. Tetzlaff also recognizes that the process of creating a picnic takes a lot of effort, but is rewarding and fun at the same time. For example, building a charcuterie board and placing the cheese and crackers perfectly to give it an aesthetically pleasing look that is perfect for a social media post. “A lot of people I know just do things for the social media presence,” Tetzlaff said. “So it makes sense that a colorful and neatly organized picnic would be popular on social media.” Simple yet elegant cakes have been a popular item to bring on these picnics and even how to eat them has been reimagined online.
Text by FAITH CHOW and SUKHMAN SAHOTA Design by SUKHMAN SAHOTA • Art by WALLIE BUTLER “The special knack with the cakes is that you bring wine glasses to eat them with,” Tetzlaff said. “You take a glass and press it down into the cake, almost like you’re scooping a slice into your glass, and it’s just a neat and upto-date way to eat cake nowadays.” The overall theme of these picnics is generally pastel yet upbeat aesthetic. But the thought goes beyond the displays of food, it also influences the outfits that people wear to the event. “Especially since we are approaching the spring season, the bright color aesthetic will probably become even more popularized,” Burwell said. “Having a picnic is a fun excuse to dress up with friends, which we haven’t had many opportunities to do since being instructed to stay inside throughout the pandemic.” With cottage core picnics and aesthetics being on the rise, all types of people have joined and participated in these trends. But the subject of these viral videos often lack diverse representation, which can have an immense impact on the youth these videos are reaching. “Certain characteristics and styles are idealized, and individuals who do not fit into that standard tend to get pushed to the side or don’t get as much support,” Burwell said. “This creates a need, or even an obsession, within our generation to fill our closets with the newest trends, change our bodies to fit ideal standards and even develop feelings of self-consciousness.” While picnicking has become a safe way for friends and family to catch up and just hang out during the COVID-19 pandemic, this particular uprise of picnicking has come from the cottage core aesthetics, meaning there are disclosed dress, food and setup code that are all surrounding this aesthetic. A lot of these requirements fit a particular race and body type. Welcoming all types of people to picnics seems obvious, but promoting these races and body types on social media is crucial to create a more diverse definition of what it means to be aesthetic for the younger generations.
“Having a picnic is a fun excuse to dress up with friends, which we haven’t had many opportunities to do since being instructed to stay inside throughout the pandemic.”
Charcuterie Board 101 Step One: find an elegant board to plate all of your delicious food. One with sides is good for beginners.
Step Two: add your cheeses. On this board there is Boursin garlic and herb gournay, manchego and iberico.
Step Three: add your meat. On this board there is salami, prosciutto and capocollo.
Step Four: add your crackers. On this board there are raisin rosemary crisps and assorted cracker pack.
Step Five: add your fillers and garnishes. On this board there are raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, candied oranges, assorted nuts and rosemary. See this exact board on the next spread!
A Perfect Picnic The editors of C Magazine enjoy one last hoorah of an afternoon together
Photography by ALEXA GWYN • Design by ALEXA GWYN and ATTICUS SCHERER Modeling by KIMI LILLIOS and ATTICUS SCHERER
When Life Gives You a Charcuterie Board... 10
despite knowing they won’t be here for long they still choose to live their brightest lives. sunflowers - rupi kaur
TEACHERS! We appreciate all that you do, now more than ever!
MCVEY Taking on the fashion industry from sketchbook to runway
itting in her room, a bright blonde haired little girl maneuvers a heavy pair of fabric scissors as she cuts away at her shirts, skirts and dresses scattered across the floor. In the eyes of her shocked parents, seven-yearold Amanda McVey was hacking away at her clothes, but in the young girl’s eyes, she was creating a chic, runway ensemble. Senior McVey is a double threat in the fashion industry as both a designer and model. Currently, she is preparing herself for college and a future in fashion, which has led her to spend a great deal of time reflecting on her past and the original roots that sparked these artistic passions of hers. “I’ve always been a pretty creative person, and I always liked dressing myself up and accessorizing,” McVey said. Her design ideas did not come to life until she learned how to sew in fourth grade. Soon after that, McVey’s interest in modeling flourished, and so did her serious intent within fashion design. “I was always a bit taller so my mom thought, ‘Oh, I think [modeling] is something you would like, you could probably do it and you love fashion so I think you’d like it,’ so I started to dabble in [modeling],” McVey said. As with most of her projects, McVey does an equal balance of modeling and fashion design-
ing; when she creates a design, she models it herself. One of her favorites is a pink cocktail dress, made during a three week summer intensive course at Parsons School of Design during the summer of 2019. Despite the pressure to come up with a wearable design in under three weeks, McVey found inspiration in a simple quote and got to work immediately. “My inspiration came from this quote I stumbled across, ‘glorious femininity,’ and I really wanted to embody that,” McVey said. “I felt that orchids really played into that theme and I was obsessed with this light shade of pink at the time so it all came together.” After sparking inspiration and sketching a couple basic designs, McVey’s process entailed pinning a mock-up of her design with a plain cotton fabric called muslin to understand the draping of the pattern, before committing to her final fabric. Next, she made a pattern by tracing the rough muslin pieces to pattern paper, a type of paper that is used to trace and prepare the shapes of the design before the final product is constructed. Finally, she used the pattern to cut her final fabric, the beautiful, silky pink that embodied McVey’s “glorious femininity” inspiration. McVey’s Parsons experience was momentous and life-changing in her pursuit of fashion design. This summer intensive pushed her to not only come up with innovative
“My work over the years has gotten more conceptual.”
Sketches from McVey’s preliminary stage of designing 14
Text and design by MEGHA MADHABHUSHI and EMMA TURNBULL • Art by SAM MUTZ • Photos courtesy of AMANDA MCVEY
designs on paper, but also breathe them to life of the dress did not look the way she wanted. in the company of other aspiring designers. “I was able to fix these later, but that’s an “[This piece] really helped respark my drive example of why you want to take your time when it came to and care when creatactually doing ing clothing,” she said. physical piecMcVey’s advice to someFabric samples es,” McVey said. one pursuing fashion design Through her is to be curious and inquisexperiences in itive to the world around the fashion inus, because inspiration dustry, McVey can be found anywhere. has learned, “Keep a sketchchanged, and book and just put anygrown both thing down because as an artist, anything can inspire and a person. a fashion design— “One of the whether it’s an idea, main things I shape, color or monoticed about tif,” McVey said. my work over Right now, the years is that McVey is working it has gotten as a model and more conceptuindividually al and less idea creating her based,” McVey own fashion said. “That has designs. She a lot to do with the different is represented as a art programs I’ve gone into, model by two agencies: and how my art teachers have pushed me.” a mother agency in New York that focuses Fashion design is not an easy process, and the on developing and improving her skills and possibilities for problems and errors along the an agency in San Francisco that finds her way are endless. But, McVey has learned im- clients to work for. She also works with Paly portant life lessons Theatre as a costume designthrough the chaler, where she manages underlenges she faces. classmen, creates mood boards “If one thing for the shows and helps bring is off at the bethe performances to life through ginning, like your the costumes she puts together. pattern is not quite McVey intends to pursue right or the fabric fashion in the future, in collays funny, if you lege and as a career. Fashion don’t fix it right is a huge part of her life then and there, it’s and a way to express going to cause a herself creatively. series of problems all the way down the line,” “A lot of the time people who arMcVey said. “That’s an important life lesson en’t in the fashion industry look at too, that when you have an issue in the pres- fashion as frivolous, or just aesent, deal with it the best you can instead of thetic,” she said. “I think fashletting it accumulate and worsen over time.” ion is a form of art that is really In fact, one of the challenges she faced while important, with understanding creating her pink cocktail dress was near the how it relates to self expression.” beginning of the sewing process. The zipper hadn’t been sewn in well and the under-arms
“Fashion is a form of art that is really important.”
The negative undertones of popular aesthetics are often hidden behind their perfectly curated styles
his specimen of teenager is often found running around at the beach with a Hydro Flask covered with stickers in one hand and a permanent peace sign in the other. Clad in denim shorts, a worn-in graphic tee and Birkenstock sandals, the classic VSCO girls can be seen driving a white Jeep whilst living out a perpetual summer and documenting it on social media for the rest of us to see. The term VSCO girls and boys—a name which comes from a photo editing app—is attributed to those living out the California high school stereotype with a laid back personality and a questionably fashionable, beach-loving style. Hidden beneath their environmentally conscious and positive vibe, the connotations of this socially accepted category for stereotyping can be harmful. Especially for teenagers who are in the midst of discovering or creating their own identity. Two words: Climatography discrimination. Now hear me out—generally accepted ideas have to start somewhere. Because the VSCO
style is dependent on maintaining a lifestyle of saturated-sunsets-on-the-beach, how can a person living in a colder climate ever relate to these bleached hair, tan bodied individuals? Additionally, accumulating the supplies needed to fit the VSCO mold does not come at a cheap price. Deemed as “essentials” products like the Hydro Flask, Birkenstock Sandals and Urban Outfitters’ distressed tees are anything but an affordable essential for most. Acquiring these “must haves” to be considered “VSCO” also violates one of the better causes promoted by this aesthetic—environmentalism and sustainability. Like other trends that come and go, purchasing new clothes and accessories to try and achieve an aesthetic promotes great waste, especially if in a few months gothic Doc Martens are going to appeal more to you than your Birks. But then again, nothing says “I’m saving the planet” more than owning a name brand water bottle and the right shoes.
Dark Academia S
trolling through cobblestone streets in London on a rainy night, you shiver and clutch your beige-toned wool coat and Burberry patterned scarf with extra vigor. You’ve just returned from a long day studying at the ivy-covered brick library immersing yourself in classic works, letting their romanticized pessimism about the world transport your psyche to new heights. Arriving at your Gothic styled apartment, you start a cozy fire and drink warm earl grey tea in hopes of warming your body and defrosting your soul from the eternal winter of life itself. The Dark Academia aesthetic—one of the more recently popularized styles—is characterized by a romanticization of classical literature and music, Greek and Gothic architecture, ancient art and preppy fashion. Although
deceivingly appearing positive because of its emphasis on academia, underlying this aesthetic are numerous toxic issues as there are with any attempt at creating an exclusive cliché. Primarily, Dark Academia photo sets, and their subsequent recreations by fans posted on social media, promote Eurocentrism by exclusively glorifying Western literature and Greek and Roman art. Furthermore, the photos almost always showcase white, thinner models achieving this style leaving those members of the BIPOC community and curvy individuals to feel like they have no place in this fantasy world. This aesthetic is a step backward to times of underrepresentation and the idolization of white beauty. How do we turn this around? It can start with a handful of Gen Zers blazing a new trail and posting content that reflects what they wish this aesthetic to include.
Soft Girl T
he last codified mainstream persona is the ultrafeminine soft girl who embodies a dreamy, angelic vibe created through a look of pigtails, glossy lips and faux freckles scattered on blushed cheeks and a button nose. Typically dressed in a pastel wardrobe consisting of mini skirts, heart and cloud patterned cardigans and dresses, soft girls earn their aesthetic association almost exclusively through their fashion style. Unlike the VSCOs who tirelessly work towards ending global warming by saving one sea turtle at a time or the Dark Academics who remove themselves from the world by pretending to live in outdated times, being a soft girl requires nothing other than maintaining an ultra feminized appearance. Thus, by having one’s identity be solely based upon superficial notions of beauty and more specifically ultra femininity, the Soft Girl aesthetic promotes exclusivity based on unrealistic standards of appearance. Additionally, by including in the name itself that this aesthetic is binary, people of other gender identities are left feeling socially unaccepted for liking a fashion style deemed to be for girls, not women, girls only. And there is nothing cute, fluffy or nice about (in)advertently excluding others.
Finding a style to follow—or deliberately avoid— which speaks to your greater identity and lifestyle you choose to live, is hard enough for our social media addicted generation. But remembering to align ourselves with aesthetics we believe reflect the better part of our nature must never slip our minds—or at least not as quickly as these trends will come and go.
Text and design by DUNYA MOSTAGHIMI • Art by HAILEY HWANG
CMAG TRIES Weird Food Combos Avocado + Chocolate
The verdict on avocados is almost as divided as the political climate of the United States. Some people indulge in this creamy fruit every day, while others find it tasteless and texturally repulsive. While most can agree chocolate is a blessing, almost no one organically devises to pair this sweet treat with avocados. When combined, some perceive the distinct flavor as harmonious, while others think this pairing should be avoided.
“ This unlikely
combination was unappetizing to me because the avocado's muted taste did not compliment the sweetness of the chocolate." Dunya Mostaghimi, senior
Eggs + Ketchup
Americans consume their sugar-loaded ketchup like no other country, but despite its overall national popularity, many can’t get behind putting the condiment on scrambled eggs. Some see this combination as uncultured and bizarre while supporters see it as a natural act of genius. Who would’ve thought that there would be such controversy about complimenting the multi-tone flavor of eggs with a sweet condiment like ketchup.
“Ketchup is way
too sweet and it ruins the eggs completely." Alexa Gwyn, senior
Text and design by LESLIE ABOYTES and ERIK FENG • Photos by C MAG STAFF
Cereal + Orange Juice
For many people, cereal is the go-to breakfast when you have one minute to grab a bite before school. It’s quick and easy, without sacrificing taste. Combined with milk, this meal is one of the most popular breakfasts in the world. But if there’s no more milk in the fridge, can orange juice be substituted? While many people expressed their disgust on Twitter for this combination, others have justified it by saying that cereal can be combined with anything you like.
“ I was pleasantly
surprised at first because it made the bland cheerios super sweet but then as it absorbed, the orange flavor completely dominated." Brooke Glasson, junior
Apples + Salt + Pepper
Sliced apples are one of the most common foods involved in flavor combinations—ranging from creamy nut butter to tart lemon juice toppings. But, there is a small portion of the population who also swear by adding salt and pepper to their apple slices. Fans of this combination rave about how the pepper perfectly balances the tart apple while the salt enhances the fruit’s natural sweetness.
tasted of crunchy saltwater with a hint of pepper. It was as if the ocean was made into a solid with 50% of the flavor sucked out of it." Sophia Baginskis, junior
HIGH SPEED HOBBIES Each type of car has a unique history and subculture, which many in Palo Alto adore
s a young child, Paly parent Drew Hudacek loved cars—he could tell you the year, make and model of just about every other car parked on the street even after just a fleeting glance. However, there was one car that caught his eye more than any other: the 1988 BMW 535i. Seeing his friend’s dad roll one into his driveway as a kid, it stuck with him forever. “I remember the kind of look and feel and smell of the car,” Hudaceck said. “I remember just being mesmerized by the car and by the way he drove it.” Decades later, the same car Hudacek fantasized about as a kid now sits in his garage, alongside his other Porsche sports cars and a BMW convertible. Over the last few decades, Hudacek has transformed his childhood dream into an intense hobby of collecting and flipping sports cars. Whether he’s driving at the track, working on his cars at home or going on a relaxing Sunday drive, cars are what’s on Hudacek’s mind. Although Hudacek has had years of experience under his belt, there are many others within the car community who do not. In fact, because there are dozens of subcultures within the broader car community, car cultures capture an extremely diverse mix of people who share a passion for cars all in their own unique ways. Whether it be like Robert Henderson, another Paly parent who has been a car detailer for over twenty years and collector of cars he rarely drives, or Andrew Schultz and Marc Guillet, who have a fascination with the race track, they all see cars as more than a machine to get one from point A to point B. Like Hudacek, Henderson’s love for au-
tomobiles started at an early age. His devotion started as soon as he laid eyes on that one special car- a Porsche 911. “That was the moment when I realized cars are my passion,” Henderson said. “I did everything in my power to earn money so that when I had my license, I could finally have a car.” After years of hard work, going from mowing lawns and then moving on to detailing cars, Henderson was finally able to purchase his first car, a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit. His admiration for cars skyrocketed, and after that, he slowly worked his way up the car hierarchy. Henderson has now gone through a total of 90 cars in his lifetime, buying and reselling along the way. Henderson treats each car with extreme care. Every piece of machinery—regardless of size, shape or color— is like a work of art. “Unlike some of the other guys, I don’t race my cars, my cars are always clean,” Henderson said. “Any kind of marks Marc Guillet and such, would drive me nuts.” Another subculture of car culture are the track racers. Unlike Henderson, they prefer to keep their cars on the run going as fast as possible. Amateur racers like Marc Guillet take their cars to the track to clock in their best times. “[Racing] is often an escape from a world that sometimes has layers of problems that can’t be solved,” Guillet said. “If you’re driving on a track for two or three hours, you’re just thinking about that.” There is also an aspect of excitement while racing. “You’re getting an endorphin release from this exhilarating experience of tactically taking a turn at the exact right moment or hitting the accelerator while turning the wheel,” Guillet said. Not only has car culture been a prominent part of older generations, but it has recently begun to manifest itself into younger generations. Junior Riley Herron’s interest in cars has been passed down through her family line. “My dad and grandpa rebuilt an engine together and other pieces of cars, from the suspension to the seats, from bumper
[Racing] is often an escape from a world that has layers of problems that can’t be solved.” –
to bumper,” Herron said. “This is what influenced my dad to get interested in the mechanics of cars over simply just the looks.’’ Influenced by her father and the many cars he owned as she grew up, Herron was determined to learn more. In January of this year, Herron’s family purchased a 2018 Miata MX-5, a growing family tradition. “When I was around six years old my grandpa gifted my dad his old Miata which I completely adored, so I hope this is something that will continue to be passed down,” Herron said. Miatas are very well-known in the car community for their convenient small size, affordable price and the ability to be simply adapted and modified. “Sometimes I feel like I’m driving a go-cart; it is super fun to drive and has given me so much confidence as a driver,” Herron said. As an extremely personalized community, where many choose to customize their car from the inside out, Miata owners feel a connection between each other. “When I’m driving around and see another Miata, we both get ecstatic and wave at each other which I find so intriguing considering we know nothing about each other except for the fact that we drive the same car,” Herron said. Since automatic cars have become the standard for car companies, manual transmission cars have been on the decline. Many involved in the car commu-
nity such as Herron prefer to drive stick Rabello said. The freedom of customizashift and are persistent on keeping manu- tion allows her to put her knowledge and al transmission alive. vast appreciation for the vehicle to use. Similar to Herron, Paly junior Bia Ra“I have never felt a love so great for bello prefers to drive manual over auto- any hobby or subject in my entire life matic. “When you drive manual you can than my car and researching the culture feel all of the gears and let your car rev up around JDM cars,” Rabello said. as high as you Cars have takwant,” Rabello en over Rabello’s explains. “It’s life, specifically her true that you passion in Japanese become one Domestic Market with the car, (JDM) cars. The once you’re topic has helped used to a cerform her relationtain vehicle ships with a variety and how the of people, learn transmission what she enjoys –Bia Rabello and steering to watch and read and handling about. Rabello has feels, it becomes like an extension of your found a true connection with the hobby body.” of learning about different cars and the Paly junior Bia Rabello is able to take culture that surrounds them. control and use her car as a form of free“I really found myself when I discovdom and relaxation. “My favorite part ered cars and It’s such a genuine and raw about driving definitely has to be roll- feeling that I never want to forget or let ing down my window, breathing in the become tainted because of what other nice smells of the road where I am and people might think of me,” Rabello said. completing a perfect downshift as I enRabello hopes to be able to help and ter a corner or turn that I like to charge encourage those who are interested in through,” Rabello said. learning about cars. “Also never forget Rabello is currently revamping her that you can make friends and ask for own car to be similar to a Japan style EK9 help [and] remember that cars shouldn’t or Civic Type R, which was never intro- be serious; you are supposed to have fun duced to any market besides Japan. “I am and enjoy it,” Rabello said. No matter a huge fan of Japanese cars; I quite liter- how one enjoys cars, they are always doally obsess around the culture of them,” ing it right.
I wish people would understand that girls can be “girly” and also genuinely enjoy cars.”
Text by BROOKE GLASSON, JACK HANEY and MARILYN YIN • Design by BROOKE GLASSON • Illustrations by NEELA RAO
How are you
feeling? Examining the importance of emotional awareness in a world that does not recognize it as an intelligence
The word “intelligence” is often they come from and why you’re mance.” synonymous with academic achieve- reacting that way, you can manage Communications student ment or problem solving ability. them better,” Laptalo said. “If you Hyunah Roh has tutored youngHowever, a different kind of intel- can’t manage your emotions, it’s not er students in the past and believes ligence that is just as important is only uncomher experience emotional intelligence. fortable for “When you have a helped improve According to Paly Communica- you but for the greater awareness of her emotional intions teacher Melissa Laptalo, the people around your own emotions, telligence. better someone’s ability to under- you.” where they come from stand and manage emotions is, the The ben- and why you’re reacting “We can relate better their communication skills. efits of emo- that way, you can to them more be“A lot of interviews ask you to tional intelli- manage them better.” cause we’ve been describe a challenge you faced and gence apply to in their shoes and Melissa Laptalo, Communications teacher how you responded to it,” Laptalo interpersonal they look at us as said. “The higher your emotional c o m mu n i c a role models,” Roh intelligence, the more comfortable tion across many domains, from said. “We can give them advice so you are identifying those moments sports to volunteering to work. that they can avoid any obstacles we in your life and talking about them.” Zander Darby, a senior on the faced.” But what Paly varsity baseRoh has also found interpersonal is the big deal “When you’re talking ball team, cites skills useful for communication with with emotion- with someone in person, emotional intel- customers at her job. al intelligence you always want to give ligence as an im“When I’m working, I’m thinkanyway? Ac- them your full attention, portant factor in ing about what the customer would cording to like not being on your developing trust think or how the customer would E m o t i o n a l phone or making eye and team chem- react,” she said. “You need to know I n t e l l i g e n c e contact.” istry. what to say when they’re not in Hyunah Roh, senior by Daniel Go“A leader with a good mood. I always tell them leman, being good emotional ‘Thank you for waiting’ when they able to read others emotionally can intelligence knows the right time to come in and their facial expressions improve relationships and social in- talk to their teammates or let them lighten up.” teractions. cool off,” Darby added. “Staying Learning about emotional intel“When you have a greater aware- calm and in control during stress- ligence is especially important for ness of your own emotions, where ful situations helps improve perfor- the younger generations growing up
Text and design by EMILY CHENG, ELLIE ROWELL and CASEY WALTERS • Art by FAUSTINE WANG
around technology. said. yond high school, they will face more “Generation Z is getting less and Roh suggests keeping a journal. situations where emotional intelliless comfortable with interperson- “It definitely takes a lot of practice, gence will be necessary. al communication,” Laptalo said. but you start to learn what you should “When you go to college, you’re “Young peodo when you’re going to lose touch with a lot of the ple prefer “A leader with good feeling a certain people you spend your time with evcommunicat- emotional intelligence knows way,” Roh said. ery day,” Laptalo said. “You can stay ing via tech- the right time to talk to With such a connected digitally, but there’s a lot nology be- their teammates or let surge in technol- of emotional intelligence involved in cause there’s them cool off.” ogy and online having to make new friends at your an option to communication, job or in college.” Zander Darby, senior edit.” there have been As we head into the screen-filled Roh also emphasizes the value of increasingly fewer opportunities for future, Laptalo hopes that stuface-to-face interaction. students to brush up on their emo- dents can connect with others more “When you’re talking with some- tional awareness, and they strug- through live conversations. one in person, you always want to gle when they “We don’t give them your full attention, like not are required to normally live “We don’t normally live being on your phone or making eye self-reflect. our lives with contact.” she said. “You have to show “A lot of se- our lives with a mirror in a mirror in that you are listening to the person niors who work front of us, so a lot of front of us, who’s talking, because if you’re not on their college young people tend to be so a lot of listening, they feel like they’re talking application es- very neutral in their facial young people to a wall.” says get real- expressions.” tend to be Melissa Laptalo, The good news is, emotional intel- ly flustered,” very neutral Communications teacher ligence is not fixed and can be devel- Laptalo said. in their facial oped over time with practice. “They’ve never expressions,” “The first step would be getting really had to write about themselves Laptalo said. “I would encourage more comfortable thinking about or be so introspective, and it feels Paly students to practice using their how you’re feeling, identifying why overwhelming because they feel like face more, and that’s something I you’re feeling like that and having they don’t practice that very often.” think Zoom offers as a benefit.” names for your emotions,” Laptalo Similarly, as teenagers move be-
“Generation Z is getting less and less comfortable with interpersonal communication. Young people prefer communicating via technology because there’s an option to edit.” Melissa Laptalo, Communications teacher
Women make up over half of the US population but just a fourth of Congress
n 2021, although women make up 51% of the United States population, they only make up 26.4% of Congress. A generationally sexist society contributes to the marginalization of women and, more specifically, women in politics. As women begin to climb the political ladder like never before, they face harsh criticism and pushback on account of their gender, race and other identities.
sume they don’t know what they’re talking about. They are dismissed.” This misconception is not only evident in the political realm, but also in all other job fields. According to Harvard Business Review, women do not apply for jobs unless they meet 100% of the requirements, whereas men only need to meet 60% of the requirements beforehand. DiBrienza has grappled with her inherent biases as a Double standards woman running for office. “It’s made me question myIn 2020, more women ran for political positions self and think, ‘Maybe I’m just not as competent as that than ever before. Despite these advances, gender norms guy is,’” DiBrienza said. and stereotypes still affect DiBrienza feels these women in politics. barriers make it more difDr. Jennifer DiBrien- “Society encourages, uplifts and ficult for women to purza, a member of the protects [cisgender] men more sue a career in politics. Palo Alto Board of Edu“Men feel entitled to leadthan it does women.” cation, sees these stereoership positions in a way Dr. Jennifer DiBrienza, that women often don’t,” types manifest in society. Palo Alto Board of Education member DiBrienza said. “There is “Women are taught not to show off, not to brag and an argument to be made to be modest,” DiBrienza said. “It is [considered] not that women don’t put themselves out there, but society polite for women to toot their own horn, sell themselves encourages, uplifts and protects [cisgender] men more as qualified or be overly competitive.” than it does women.” While women in politics are criticized for exhibiting While each woman’s experience in politics is unique, traits such as competitiveness or pride, men are praised many have come out saying that they have dealt with for the same actions. “[Society] has less tolerance for gendered and racial discrimination. Yan Zhao, the women being aggressive, putting themselves out there mayor of Saratoga, has encountered double standards and standing up for themselves [than it does for cisgen- throughout her career, both as a woman and a Chinese der men],” DiBrienza said. American. Society enforces the misconception that women are A woman’s discrimination in politics is not always less competent than men, meaning their experience from indirect products of society, and can in fact be and knowledge is more likely to be questioned. “I’ve very targeted and personal. As a mother running for a talked to a lot of women who say that their professional government position, Zhao was criticized for her diverexpertise is minimized,” DiBrienza said. “People as- gence of society’s expectation that a woman’s purpose
Text and design by SOPHIA BAGINSKIS, REYA HADAYA, EMMA JOING AND COLLEEN WANG Art by SAM MUTZ and KELLYN SCHEEL
is to take care of her children. “During debates, people actually said, ‘Shouldn’t you be at home taking care of your kids?’ to my face.” Zhao said. “It happened multiple times.” While campaigning for mayor, Zhao experienced strong aversion from people for being a woman. “People had this misconception or stereotype that [politics] should be a male-dominated area,” Zhao said. Zhao faced additonal discrimination for being Chinese American. “As a [woman] of color, people told me, ‘I will only vote for white [people]. Your qualification, your vision and your experience do not matter,’” Zhao said. However, Zhao encourages marginalized groups to not be discouraged by these oppositions. “You will get hit left and right. People will say all kinds of things and try to push you down,” Zhao said. “You not only have to be passionate about what you do, but you have to be strong.” Zhao recognizes that her perspective as a woman of color is necessary to provide a government that is truly representative of everyone. “I want to make sure I can set a good example for women of color who are interested in politics so that they see there are opportunities for them,” Zhao said.
moting diversity in the government but also ensuring the recognition of women’s struggles, challenges and achievements. “People don’t realize that [women’s history] even exists,” Edwards said. “There’s a whole bunch of women that are not talked about; there’s no place for them; they’re not celebrated.” Anaya Bhatt, Paly junior and member of Youth in Government, an after-school program, has experienced the effects of the lack of women in government, and specifically women of color. “There was a time when I wanted to run for president,” Bhatt said. “I thought no one would ever vote for me because I’m Indian and a girl.” Identity often contributes to the decisions a person makes, which is why representation in places that govern is necessary. “I never really thought about the fact that the lack of representation resonates so harshly with me, but I guess it really did because that was always the first thing that came to mind,” Bhatt said. People in underrepresented groups who run for leadership positions can often feel the burden of representing an entire gender, race or other identities. “In every position that I’ve run for in Youth and Government, it has been obvious that I was the only woman of color,” Bhatt said. “It’s something that I notice and think about, but I don’t know if anyone else notices.” Because elected officials hold the power to shape our legislation and, by proxy, societal expectations, representation in local and national governments is necessary. “It is vital to make sure that the people making decisions represent all of us and m a k e decisions that are representative of all of us,” DiBrienza said. “It’s about really increasing the quality of life and the experience for the majority of people.”
Representation People conform to and associate themselves with sexist gender roles at as early as one year old, according to a Texas A&M University study. Because developing brains encode the habits they see, representation in media is vital to dismantle these gender roles and double standards. Paly Gender Studies teacher Jaclyn Edwards believes representation is a crucial component in liberating women. “To have gender equity, people have to see [all genders represented],” Edwards said. Representation of women not only includes pro-
“Representation is important, but so is the work that politicians are doing.”
Anaya Bhatt, Paly junior
On average, women do not apply for jobs unless they meet 100% of the requirements, whereas men only need to meet 60% of the requirements beforehand. From Harvard Business Review
The US ranks
75th globally in women’s representation in n government From CNBC
Idolization versus policy In recent years, politicians have gained more popularity than ever before, especially among the youth. Government figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) have risen to become political icons and role models to millions. DiBrienza notices a pattern in the reasons behind idolizing politicians. “Idolization happens because people finally see somebody they want to look up to,” DiBrienza said. “They were either so desperate for someone who had those policies, or they needed someone to validate their beliefs.” While legitimate representation is necessary, it is also important to not focus on an individual, but rather on their policies. “It has to be bigger than the person,” DiBrienza said. “You have to have a system in place where their work continues, even after, for whatever reason, they are no longer with us.”
“During debates, people actually said, ‘Shouldn’t you be at home taking care of your kids?’ to my face.” Yan Zhao, Mayor of Saratoga
The lack of feminist representation in the government has led to people idolizing politicians who are women or who fight for women’s rights. People often praise these figures without carefully examining their policies and actions in the government. “There’s still a large majority of people that vote for candidates just because they’re the same race, sexual orientation or gender,” Bhatt said. “People hope that [these candidates] will lead to more representation, even if they don’t necessarily coincide with their beliefs.” Considering diversity and policy is crucial when judging a politician. “Representation is important, but so is the work that they’re doing,” Bhatt said. “The fact that they look like me or that they identify similarly to me doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to push for things that I think are important.” But when voters look beyond the individual, they are likely going to find that no politician completely encompasses all of their shared values. “When it comes to voting, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices because people aren’t always going to be exactly who you want them to be and stand for exactly what you want them to stand for,” Bhatt said. Like Bhatt, Paly senior and fellow Youth and Government member Maddy Soh agrees that politicians may not meet all the standards people expect them to. “We have to recognize that legislators vote for bills even if they don’t completely match their platform in order to get other people to vote for their bills,” Soh said.
Soh notes the outcomes of having these unrealistic expectations of politicians. She worries about the readiness to “cancel” politicians following one wrong move. People must look beyond the new cycle of popular politicians and critically examine a politician’s policies to make an informed vote about the candidate. “Policy and identity go hand in hand,” Soh said. “Whenever I think about a bill, I think about how it would affect me or how it affects someone like me.” There is an additional aspect of beauty in the bonds women in government make with one another: where there is an understanding of underrepresentation, there is also a connection. “We’re working together, and we might not agree all the time, but it’s okay because at least we’re still trying to represent people,” Soh said. Madison Abbassi, Paly junior, highlights the need for a representation of not only identity but also of ideologies and shared experiences. “If you’re looking at a larger cabinet or a larger administration, you want to make sure that it’s representative of the constituents that it’s working for and that all perspectives are being heard and represented,” Abbassi said. Abbassi notes an important caveat to focusing on women solely for their gender identity, while the attention males receive is directed entirely at policy. “It’s really important to acknowledge identity, especially for
The annual salaries of Black and Latina women in STEM is around $33,000 less than that of men, while nonBlack and non-Latina women’s annual salary is around $25,000 less. From Pew Research Center
“Men feel entitled to leadership positions in a way that women often don’t.” Dr. Jennifer DiBrienza, Palo Alto Board of Education member
female politicians, but we should make sure we’re giving appropriate focus to their policies, the legislation they’re passing and the goals that they’re working towards,” Abbassi said. While the idolization of female politicians is an issue and should not be overlooked, it is important that women receive equal opportunities to hold positions in politics as their male counterparts and are not held to double standards. “Female politicians are more scrutinized than male politicians for things that are not relevant to the policies they’re passing,” Bhatt said. “No politicians should be idolized, and, ultimately, all politicians should be treated equally, regardless of their gender.”
Black and Latina Women non-Black and non-Latina Women Men
Representation in the Senate Women of Color Women Men Women make up 51% of the population, but only 24% of the Senate and women of color only make up 3%. 27
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True crime entertainment has taken the world by storm, but why are people fascinated with such gruesome stories? 29
ver the past year, people everywhere have been scouring the nooks and crannies of music, television, movies, books and podcasts to find some sort of entertainment. Among them is the overwhelming trend of people listening to and watching true crime podcasts and TV shows. Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney, hosts of the popular true crime podcast, Sinisterhood, can understand why so many people have developed this interest. “I think it’s similar to preparing for a disaster, but on a micro-scale,” McKinney said. “Asking why other people got attacked, what they did and what they should have done.” Hearing these cases allows people to analyze certain scenarios in retrospect and think about what they should have done to have a different outcome. “It’s a way for people to cope and deal with the fears that they may have,” Wallace said. “I think people find it fascinating to watch from a birds-eye view. People like scary movies because they’re thrilling and get their adrenaline running and what’s scarier than a real-life horror movie?” Similarly, Amanda Tamplain and Arielle Collins, hosts of the Homicide Homegirls podcast, have also noticed this spike in true crime curiosity. “I think the whole fascination of why true crime is so popular right now is because of the psychology behind it,” Tamplain said. “Understanding what made someone commit a crime and thinking about at what point does someone cross the line to commit a murder.” “My favorite cases are probably serial killers,” Collins said. “I’m so fascinated by the reason and understanding what makes a person become a serial killer.” When it comes to serial killer cases, Collins and Tamplain take time on their podcast to examine each criminal’s behavior and how their past could have influenced their actions. “We talk a lot about nature versus nurture on our podcast, and just about how [someone] decides to one day kill somebody and take a human life,” Collins said.
While definitely a fan favorite, true crime is not solely about murder and serial killers. Both of these podcasts cover a wide variety of topics, which is what keeps audiences engaged. “We try to mix it up, so it’s not just all the same,” Wallace said. “One, because we like to talk about other stuff, but also for mental health. It is a little daunting to just do straight murder all the time, but we try to do 2-3 true crime episodes and then we’ll throw in something fun like a cult or haunting.” The same goes for Homicide Homegirls. “As far as our categories go, if I noticed in our lineup we haven’t covered a missing person in a while, I’ll choose that or if it’s been a while since I’ve covered an infamous murder I’ll do the same,” Tamplain said. They have recently added a new survivor category and have been considering the possibility to add topics like cults and scams. As the interest in True Crime podcasts has increased, so has the number of podcasts which increases the competition. “Many of the hosts are female, so you have to really be able to set yourself apart and not get lost in the crowd,” Wallace said. In order to maintain a steady stream of listeners, each of these podcasts has to provide a unique angle when it comes to analyzing cases. “I think because [McKinney] is a lawyer, we offer a totally different spin on things and just a wealth of knowledge,” Wallace said. “She does a great job of explaining concepts in layman’s terms, so people who aren’t lawyers can really understand.” “I think our backgrounds make us uniquely qualified. Christine worked in a domestic violence shelter. My current job is working with over 60 year old victims of crime, exploitation and abuse,” McKinney said. McKinney’s co-host Wallace also has a degree in psychology, so when the word ‘psychopath’ is used in an informal context, she has the tools and knowledge to unpack that. ”[Wallace] knows that just because somebody is an a**hole, doesn’t mean they are a psychopath,” McKinney said. Homicide Homegirls have the same desire to stand out in the sea of podcasts. They attack their cases from a different angle. “I was a dispatcher for four years,” Tamplain said. “I have been on the other side of it. So I have some knowledge of criminal law codes and things like that.” While each host brings a different area of expertise to each episode, there are other reasons that make these true crime podcasts so stand out. “We do try to focus on the victims,” Tam-
“People like scary movies because they’re thrilling and get their adrenaline running and what’s scarier than a real-life horror movie?”
- Christie Wallace
Text and design by BRIDGET PACKER, ELLA ROSENBLUM and LIBBY SPIER Art by SAM MUTZ, SUKHMAN SAHOTA and KELLYN SCHEEL
plain said. “Sometimes it tends to be more about their murder than them as a person, and we want to individualize them. They weren’t just a news article, they lost their life.” When people think about famous cases, rarely are they remembered by the victims’ name. “Everyone knows Ted Bundy’s name, but unless you’re super into true crime, you couldn’t tell me one of his victims’ names,” Collins said. In one of their episodes about Louisiana serial killer, Ronald Dominique, Tamplain makes sure her listeners pay attention to the victims as well as the murderer. “He murdered 23 men, most of them were homosexual,” Tamplain said. “And while we didn’t have enough information on all of them, I made it a point to read all of their names.” The Sinisterhood podcast makes it a point to use their platform to help alter the systemic issues that cause many of these deaths. “At the end of every case we try to zoom out and have a call to action,” McKinney said. “Asking listeners to call your senator, or look at your state law, for example.” Wallace and McKinney are both comedians, that is how they met. So although there are many podcasts hosted by successful people in their field, rarely do they have the combined experience that goes past their knowledge on a singular subject. “There are podcasts hosted by lawyers; they’re not comedians. There are podcasts hosted by comedians that are not lawyers,” McKinney said. It is no wonder that true crime podcasts have become a phenomenon. The content stretches beyond the entertaining hauntings, cults and infamous serial killers, and into social analysis of violence in our society. As many diehard fans know, true crime entertainment does not just come in the form of a podcast. In the Netflix reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries,” John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer’s original show from 1987 brings to life spine-chilling cases that had previously been tossed aside and declared cold cases. The show aims to showcase these forgotten events in hopes of find-
ing answers for the families of those impacted by these heinous crimes. “The show was created to help solve mysteries and bring closure to people and their families,” Ava Feneberger, the executive assistant, said. Unlike many other true crime shows that end with the capture and arrest of the perpetrator, “Unsolved Mysteries” calls on their viewers to help them solve these gruesome cases. The involvement of the public is what makes this show, in particular, more engaging and memorable compared to other true crime shows. “‘Unsolved Mysteries’ was the first show of its kind to ask the audience to help solve mysteries, and that remains at the core of every episode we do,” Feneberger said. “We always want the audience to submit their tips. Out of more than 1,300 mysteries, the series has helped solve over 260.” When deciding which stories get aired on the show, the creators take their time to read every story submission and carefully pick those that they believe have the most potential to be solved. “There are so many stories that need to be told,” Feneberger said. “We read every story submission we receive and keep them all in a database. Sometimes law enforcement recommends cases to us.” The ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ team hopes that their show will be able to reach viewers all around the world so more people can help those in need of answers. “We hope everyone will watch the show and help us solve a mystery!” Feneberger said. When it comes to true crime entertainment, there is so much more to it than just the retelling of cases about serial killers and heinous murders. Whether you listen or watch your true crime there is something out there for everyone to enjoy because there are so many different categories and subsections to this genre. It is no wonder true crime entertainment is “to die for” when creators take so much time to develop their episodes and connect with their audience.
“I’m so fascinated by the reason and understanding what makes a person become a serial killer.”
- Arielle Collins
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Explore all the ways that students, staff and others feel about going back
s of March 9, Palo Alto High of remote learning. One of these students School has allowed students to was freshman Miya Joshi, who set foot on return to campus twice a week. campus for the first time this past March. Justified concern struck a portion of the “It [online learning] actually had a recommunity worried about safety precau- ally big effect on my mental health,” Joshi tions such as teachers being sent in per- said. “It was hard for me to sit in front of son without vaccinations. Nonetheless, a a screen for seven hours and not be able to significant group of the community also leave my house to see my friends. It’s hard advocated the opposite—a reopening was for me to just learn on my own.” necessary to combat the increasing social, Others voiced their discontent regardemotional and academic isolation of stu- ing the lack of teachers involved in the dents. After just decisionmaking proover a year of livcess. Science teacher ing through a pan- “By late January, I was Michael Mishali is redemic, varying ex- like, ‘I can’t do this covering from leg surperiences provide gery, meaning he’s not unique opinions anymore.’” mobile enough to teach Medha Atla in person yet. Mishali on going back. Principal Brent is considering coming Kline never got to experience Paly culture back after Spring Break because he wants before schools shut down last spring be- to see students again, but thought the cause he was hired on the cusp of all the original timeline felt rushed. chaos. After looking out onto an empty “In the course of the school week, I quad for months, Kline said it’s been fun am least happy on Mondays when I do to see some students fill the space. Zoom-free lessons because I really do miss “It’s like the clouds finally parted and being in a classroom with kids,” Mishathe sun shone on our campus with the li said. “But I wish that we waited a litreturn of kids,” Kline said. “Although it tle longer until more teachers were safely wasn’t a huge amount, I saw a needle’s eye vaccinated until we return.” of what Paly’s about and what it’s like.” Junior and ASB Site Council RepreAnd as far as reopenings go, few things sentative Nysa Bhat agreed. were more highly anticipated than the re“Parents were consulted on this deturn of athletics. Nelson Gifford, athletic cision and sort of the board members director and administrator during hybrid and students, but I felt with the teachers, learning, also shared his excitement for there was not that much representation the full return. for them and their voices were not being “I understand the very real safety heard,” Bhat said. concerns that come with reintroducing Kline said that those involved in people back into a close contact environ- planning the reopening included several ment,” Gifford said. “However, I’m really teacher leaders, counselors, his adminisimpressed with the discipline and consid- trative team and more. Still, many teacheration that students have demonstrated ers have chosen to continue instruction with following the protocols while they’re from home. on campus.” But the consensus isn’t black and According to Kline, one of his and white—some community members are other planning members’ main objectives left stuck in the middle, unsure of whethwas to help students with the challenges er or not to go back at this point. Senior
and School Board Representative Medha Alta was in the middle of the action making decisions alongside the school board, yet was still apprehensive when the first reopening plan was surveyed. “When we got that survey to fill out for the previous reopening schedule I had said ‘no,’”Atla said. “I was going to stay home and committed to that.” The survey sent out in December had been the topic of much criticism at the time because of the limited flexibility in the options to return. However, Atla changed her mind soon after. “By late January, I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” Atla said. “You hit your breaking point at different stages and for me I think late January was it.” Anywhere on this spectrum of comfortability is a valid opinion, so it’s critical that we highlight them all. Mental health specialist Elizabeth Spector, who works in the Wellness Center, echoed this sentiment. “It’s important to weigh all of the factors,” Spector said. “It’s not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to know what it is that you and your family need and use that to guide you.”
Audrey Guo Sophomore
Text and design by RACHEL ELLISEN and AUDREY GUO • Art by AUDREY GUO
he first day not a class went spired architecture and the historic slices that had undergone a phase by without, “Audrey, are Haymarket, located at the heart change and melted together. you in Paly?” of Paly is the ugly duckling of all I moved on quickly to a “CoI was. After months in distance buildings. The Student Center was coa Puffs™ Cereal Bar,” carton learning, an email in mid-January where I’d be spending my next few of milk and complete absence of had assigned me to the Student weeks. vegetables from Center to participate in a new “hyI stood the table. As I brid” learning program. This was in the ate, I reminded before schools would open to ev- C e n t e r ’ s myself that the eryone in March, before Palo Alto d o o r w a y lunch was free. entered the orange tier and stu- and walked From my dents started to feel optimistic. And clockwise, hitting something new first days on campus to the last, despite thinking my days would be with every two steps: desktop com- my weeks in hybrid flew by quickbetter spent in the comfort of my puters, taped-off water fountains, ly. I started packing my own lunch, home than all of the Student Cen- an ominous microwave, vending taking walks around the quad and ter’s discomforts, I decided to give machines gathering dust and fi- even enjoyed a donut from our it a shot. Worst case scenario, it’d nally a small landfill of foldable ta- classroom supervisor. But the best make a pretty good story for later. bles. “Multipurpose room” doesn’t part was that I bonded with my “What’s it like?” even begin to describe the amalga- classmates sitting six feet apart. HyMy classmates and teachers mation of things that the Student brid felt like our secret, a chance would unmute one after the oth- Center is; in fact, “multimulti- to sneak off to school and take the er, asking the same question. En- purpose room” would be a better whole campus to ourselves. cased in a plastic shield, I gave a word. Now in April, I see people rehearsed response: “Hybrid is As I seated myself by six or grumble about the pointlessness good, but it’s surreal.” When each seven other kids behind shields, it of returning to school, how it inquired further, I would then ex- seemed like the Center had been all feels the same, distanced or plain the oddity of having a virtual repurposed again. not. But honestly? Going back to class watch you from the front and But stranger than the classroom school for real, attempting “Zoom then another very real class watch was the food. After two periods in a Room,” it’s been too close to from the back, left and right. This passed, our classroom supervi- real school. This isn’t like hybrid. wasn’t the strangest part though. sor pointed us at a cafeteria table Because it seems that somePaly is located at the heart of heaped with plastic bags and tin where along the way, I forSilicon Valley. Its campus is so boxes. got the unattractive parts of enviable that, while calling their Others worried about the safety a regular school day—how parents or making lunch plans of returning. I worried about the exhausting it can be and the with friends, us students will safety of those lunches. inability to jump into the often say things like “pick me When I opened the tin contain- shower between classes and up at the bell tower” or “let’s er, several things happened very into bed immediately after. meet near the arches” with an quickly. First I spotted a red pack- In the past year I’ve run my air of disturbing casualage labelled “MINI French first (and second) half maraty. And yet, amidst Toast: cinnamon rush” and thon, picked up coding skills, Spanish-inon it, the Pillsbury Dough- taken on risks and challenges; boy greeted me with a big I’ve learned to spend time with smile—the first I had seen all my family and with myself. And day. For the most part I smiled I’ve lived with more freedom than back, until I realized he wasn’t I’ll be getting in years. pointing at the advertised So maybe I’m not ready to refrench toast, but instead sev- turn to normalcy yet. Maybe I’ll eral toast-shaped bread-cake stay remote a while longer.
“It’s been too close to real school.”
Michael Mishali ive days a week, senior Emma Jacobi can be found Teacher out on the slopes skiing. Before, she would only ski on the weekends—driving up to Lake Tahoe on Fridays and coming back down on Sundays—but distance learning has given her the chance to join a more rigorous team and practice on school days as well. “I decided to, obviously, not go back to school because I wouldn’t be able to go skiing in the mornings,” Jacobi said. Jacobi also had doubts about school safety and didn’t want to expose her parents to COVID-19. Even so, she empathizes with students who feel a lack of socialization since quarantine began. “Since I’m a senior, you’re missing out on all these opportunities that you would normally have, which just overall sucks,” Jacobi said. “Maybe after the season’s over. I would definitely love to go back and see some of my friends but it’s not really a priority of mine right now.” Emma Jacobi Senior
Stacey Kofman Teacher
ne of the reasons I stay at school because I didn’t want to bring [my models] home. I have two skeletons. One is very fragile and breaking and then I have all sorts of little joint models that I don’t want to break.”
feel the absence of students in my life and I do think I will feel better when I’m back on campus seeing kids safely. But I don’t think it’s okay to destroy the safety of schools. Students and teachers should feel safe at school, and the rush back, less than a month before teachers would have been vaccinated, does not feel good to me.”
t feels different to get up and Sima Thomas shower and put on an outLibrarian fit and come and be around other people. Even though my job hasn’t changed, I even feel mentally more engaged in what I’m doing. I didn’t ever really feel like I could totally do my job off campus. Classroom teachers are Nelson Gifford able to log on to Zoom Athletic Director and their classroom is where they are and even if it’s on uring hybrid it was so Zoom, they are a weird to be in a room full classroom. Because of teenagers and there being no I have more physsound, and so I’m ready for there to ical materials that I be sound again. work with, I felt like I Before the pandemic, you go into needed to be here. I Starbucks. What did you see? You saw wanted to make sure people on their laptop, working. Why students were still weren’t they at home? Is the internet getting access to there that much better? They can print books.” make coffee at home. Why do they need to go to Starbucks? It’s the same thing. You know you’re around people doing the same thing, that are giving you energy simply from their presence. So, being at school, you can get some of that energy to know that, in fact, what you’re experiencing is not isolated that we’re all going through this process together. And it’s just that sense of community.”
fter things shut down last got an email telling me that I was going to be parspring, I started to realize my ticipating in hybrid learning, and I just kind of figvalue for things in in-person school, ured out where to go and what to do. It [hybrid learning] Owen Rice like biking every morning to school. was just such a whirlwind of excitement, because I had Sometimes it was a little harder if I Junior been doing so poorly trying to figure out distance learnwas more tired. Sometimes it’d be ing and the slog of being in the same room. less enjoyable. But just starting my I’ve dealt with mental health issues in the past, and day by getting out of the house [at] the thing about that is that even in normal times when a good, consistent time, getting mythere’s no COVID, it’s so hard to get out of bed every self to school and being outside really day and it’s so hard to be around other people. Even helped me mentally get set. Even at though [seeing my friends] was super hard to do, those the end of the day, biking home afthings were how I stayed happy and healthy. And then all ter school outside is always a calmof a sudden it became so easy to just lay in bed all day ing, nice thing for me. It’s the start of and just be totally miserable. my day and it’s the sigh of relief like, Talk to the people you know who are already going ‘Okay, I’m done with my day.’ Just back to school and see what it’s like. And then, unless being at school, walking around like I you’re really convinced that you wouldn’t want to, I once was in between classes ... it’s nice Noah Boyarsky would recommend going just fora day. It might have an to mix it up.” impact that you wouldn’t expect otherwise. Sophomore
t’s been a long, long last few months,” Kline said. “And it’s been a very, very short, fun last [few] weeks.” Tuesdays through Fridays, principal Brent Kline can be ’ve grown so used to befound on the quad checking in with students. As someone deeping at home, it’s out of ly involved in planning the return, Kline said the purpose of my comfort zone to go back opening Paly doors was to let kids get out of the house and to school and be somewhere interact with their peers and teachers. else for a whole day, learning. I Still, many community members didn’t see it that way. Both mean, it could be a good thing the current and initial January plans to return were met with for my mental health and I heavy criticism. don’t really know—we’ll “I try not to take it personally,” Kline said. “It’s easier said see. Right now, I’m than done. I think it’s easy to criticize something that, as an looking at it as a negindividual person, you need and you’re not receiving.” ative thing because I Kline wanted people to know that making these decisions won’t be at home and in involves more than just himself. It’s a conversation bemy own little bubble.” Brent Kline tween administrators, teacher leaders, counselors and others. Principal “Everybody’s had a piece of the puzzle in terms of creating what we created,” Kline said. “Just as any principal, you need to know the whole picture and every single piece that makes up that whole.” And despite claims of little teacher representation, those involved in the planning said they wanted to accommodate as many people as possible. To do so, Kline had to sideline some of his own aspirations. “I wish that we could create a school where everybody could return safely and fully, but we can’t right now. I wish that we could open faster. I wish that we could have more kids on campus,” Kline said. “When it’s all said and done, [the current plan] is the right way to go because I want to ensure that our teachers, our adults and our students are entering a safe environment with explicit expectations and that we’re all following them.”
Isa Morabia Junior
ust last year, at the start of the pandemic, Santa Clara County saw a huge increase in houseless residents with numbers totalling over 10,000 people. On September 14, 2020, Palo Alto City Council approved a bill allowing for “safe parking lots” to be created within the city. Now, in 2021, the first one of these lots has been opened and is taking steps forward to help the ever growing houseless problem. Move Mountain View is a non-profit organization that focuses on combating the houselessness crisis within Santa Clara County. Move Mountain View is actively pushing for the creation of more safe parking lots to better help their cause and the thousands of people experiencing houselessness within Palo Alto and neighboring cities.
Palo Alto City Council enacts a parking lotbased housing program to support the ever growing houselessness rates within the city
Safe parking lots are privately owned parking lot area. parking lots that the owner opens for use Amber Stime, the director of the from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. as a place non-profit, believes that the safe parking for people to park their RVs. However, lots are an integral role to help families county-owned struggling with parking lots, houselessness. such as the lot “Having a home on Geng Road, is a must, it’s a huhave now been man right,” Stime permitted to stay said. “So the parkopen 24/7 due ing lot is just a step to the Covid-19 towards that.” pandemic. In orThe increasing der to get access rent and prices to these parking of homes, particlots, organizain the Bay Amber Stime ularly tions such as Area, has pushed Move Mountain many families out View interview the resident to see wheth- of their living areas and onto the streets. er they should be permitted to stay in the Stime hopes that safe parking lots will provide family units with a temporary home that is much safer then the current living options the houseless population is faced with. “These are family units that can’t afford to live in this area where they can’t afford an apartment,” Stime said. “So they’ve chosen to do the next best thing which is to use their vehicles so they can stay in the area.” Families who are living in RVs and cars are very limited when it comes to space, and often the children of these families are not provided with a safe place to play. Thanks to the safe parking lots, families are provided with enclosed space with good security for their children to roam free without the danger of moving cars or strangers. “One of the beauties of the Palo Alto
“Having a home is a must, it’s a human right. And so the parking lot is just a step towards that.”
lot has been that it’s fenced in and there are automatic gates, so the kids can run around freely,” Stime said. Just by looking at El Camino Real, you can clearly see the sheer number of houseless individuals, with dozens of RVs lined up on the sides of the road being used for living. Move Mountain View currently operates the lot on Geng Road to support the homeless population in Palo Alto. The lot holds 12 RV spots and also unique facilities such as showers and laundry facilities. Before people arrived at the Geng lot, multiple preparations were completed. Move Mountain View interviewed and selected the habitants and recleaned the area with volunteer support. “Currently, we have a lot of people volunteering with food services that are coming through and providing hot meals and food for free,” Stime said The non-profit works with the City Council to receive funding for the lot.
The City of Palo Alto stated in a brief that, “[Safe parking lots] prevent the problem of vehicles reappearing on city streets during the day, which can create line-of-sight issues and other neighborhood challenges.” Stime’s goal is to help get the families into apartments and homes after livAmber Stime ing in the safe parking lot. The lots are meant to serve as a starting point where families could start to create plans for a new home. “I learned that people would be driving around for hours trying to figure out where the safest space is going to be for
“One of the beauties of the Palo Alto lot has been that it’s fenced in and there are automatic gates, so the kids can run around freely.”
them to spend the night. So when you alleviate that anxiety, it leaves a lot of space in their mind to plan,” Stime said Paly sophomore, Johannah Seah, believes the safe parking lot will provide temporary assistance to houseless people, but in the long run she hopes that they will receive affordable housing. As a resident of Palo Alto, she recognizes the disparity between well-off residents and the more unfortunate. “I believe that homelessness in Palo Alto is often overlooked—many people see homelessness as a “poor people issue” and deem Palo Alto a rich town, and thus, a town in which everyone is housed,” Seah said. “However, that is not the case.” Although community opinion on the lots varies across Palo Alto, Stime hopes that people will come to accept the community at the safe parking lot. “Give people a chance to get to know them,” Stime said. “You’d be surprised at how much they are our neighbors.”
Text and design by OWEN BITTINGER and CAITLYN ODA • Photos by OWEN BITTINGER
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One year after going into shelter in place, Paly students reflect on the hardships and triumphs they have faced
Text by SAMANTHA FELDMEIER AND COLIN LAI • Design by SAMANTHA FELDMEIER • Art by KELLYN SCHEEL
Rachel Ho “I ret all came on pretty suddenly,” Rachel Ho said. of days le coup a member one week, I was skipping and , news the on school because of some random virus nly it all locked down.” sudde then pandemic Ho described herself as “scattered” the e Befor gement and and unorganized, she struggled with time mana emic has pand the relied on others for reminders. Ironically, surized, organ been good for her. “I’ve become a lot more it’s se becau gly, prisin rtimpo more lot a been lot a been It’s ant now. more responsibility on me to remember to do stuff.” freshman a As emic, pand the g durin in keep to gled Ho strug s friend her with touch ated gradu she when from JLS to Paly and some of her friends went to Gunn. “It’s been difficult because
they have most people were able to find a lunch group that “It’s just established or a club they could go to,” Ho said. to hang hard because you kind of knew who you were going you have out with at school, but it all kind of falls apart when stuff like to make an active effort to plan a Zoom lunch and that.” the tranDespite the Zoom difficulties of the pandemic, surprisingly, sition from middle to high school has become, they’ve enmore convenient. “It’s been almost normal how helpful beforced a routine on everyone, and it’s been kind of a lot more,” cause I’m definitely more focused and learning able to do Ho said. “It’s actually been easier, because I’m a lot of time homework during passing periods [and] there’s to do homework.” and Ho is also an active member of the Paly Dance Team keep able to Paly Speech and Debate Team, and has been her friends. with touch in ng keepi by l motivated in schoo and con“Just being around friends helps me stay motivated ” Ho said. tinue to push myself even when it’s kind of hard, after the and s thing little the ciate appre to Ho has learned back to norpandemic, she hopes that everything will return without mal and that she can socialize with her friends again guidelines.
t the beginning of the pandemic, Aaron Yuan rarely attended zoom meetings and wasn’t involved with his classes, but after a challenging year of online school, Yuan has adapted to the circumstances. “I’ve been more comfortable participating in class, and also presenting is more comfortable,” Yuan said. “I’ve become a lot better at checking Schoology maybe a bit too, too much sometimes. And also make sure to keep mental notes of what I have to do.” As a junior during the pandemic, Yuan has realized that he has to be more independent in his studies and is expected to learn on his own. In his classes his teachers have been giving fewer lectures and more assignments for him to work on his own. “I feel like it’s sometimes a lot more helpful to have a teach-
er that can guide you,” Yuan said. “But sometimes learning by yourself at your own pace is better.” Although there have been many downsides to the pandemic, Yuan has been able to connect with different peers from both Paly and Gunn since school has moved to online. Yuan and his friends use Discord which allows them to talk over voice, video and text with each other while on school Zoom. “Before the pandemic I lost all contact with my friends who went to JLS because they’re at Gunn now,” Yuan said. “But now I spend all day on a Discord call with them, I also feel like there’s a lot of people at Paly that I usually wouldn’t talk to in person, that I spend more time [on Discord] with now as well.” Yuan has been using Discord since sixth grade to talk to his friends and communicate when playing video games, but has increased his usage of the app to keep in touch with his friends and even form new relationships with people he may not have talked to in person. Before the pandemic, Yuan was an avid runner for the cross country and track team, but after the pandemic hit, Yuan began to run slower and was a final blow towards his motivation to run. When the pandemic is over, Yuan is looking forward to seeing people in person again and regaining his motivation to run with his friends.
n the beginning they were all like, ‘oh the vaccine won’t be ready for at least another year,’ and I was just like ‘oh god, a year, that’s so far away,’ Addie McCarter said. As the pandemic beg an, McCarter found it hard to find motivation for both scho ol and her athletics. When students were told that this was going to be a long journey, with little to no end in sigh t, it was discouraging. It disheartened McCarter to see all the soccer practices, games and tournaments cancelled, however, she quickly found a way to make the best of this situation as she knew it would eventually return to norm al. “This was a good time to work on things that I didn’t usua lly work on at normal practices,” McCarter said. “I cou ld take time to work on things that I specifically needed to get better at rather than the things we needed to work on as a team.” When McCarter wasn’t playing socc er, she found herself trying to knit or reading books. “It was nice to slow down for a little bit,” she said. “Bu t it definitely got old
pretty fast.” McCarter recognizes that the desire teenagers have to be social with friends is strong and not being able to hang out with them has been really challenging. “I’m definitely looking forward to giving my friends a hug, and having a sense of normality,” she said. As McCarter looks to what the future holds, she is hopeful that normalcy will soon come and she is thankful to have gotten through a year that tested her in so many ways.
hen the pandemic first hit, senior Rachel Owens thought like every other student that this was just a three-week vacation from school, and that it would be a fun break. However, she soon realized this was not the case and the uncertainty and confusion she felt about the situation started to intensify. “I don’t think that very many people grasped the reality of the situation,” Owens said. As reality started to set in, it became clear that this was going to be a long journey, and sure enough that has proven to be true. “Now everyone’s just kind of become desensitized to everything,” she said. “They’ve just become really exhausted of the pandemic way of life.” As a senior, Owens shared that it has been an especially disappointing year for her and her classmates, as the traditions and events they had been looking forward to this year were cancelled. “Socially we’ve been hit the hardest just because we had much higher expectations for this year that other grades may have had,” Owens said. In addition to having social events cancelled, Owens and her family have been especially careful about socializing. “My parents are concerned about COVID-19 and have been pretty strict about adhering to guidelines which means that it has definitely been a bit harder to socialize and see
people, especially in the beginning,” Owens said. As important as it has been to limit our social interactions, this limit has caused Owens to adapt with having more time alone. “As someone who is a pretty social person it has been hard to not be able to see people in my day to day life,” Owens said. Although it is hard to see the silver lining in this whole experience, Owens was able to reflect on the year and see the growth she had. “I’m a lot more comfortable with who I am now,” Owens said. “When you’re alone, you are really thinking about who you are, and not who you are in terms of other people’s opinions of you.” While this year has been a challenge for Owens, as well as many people across the world, Owens capitalized on the free time she had to improve and strengthen herself to be ready for whatever life throws at her next.
Tear out the right page and cut out the pattern that fits you best!
Repeat steps 2-3 with your other fabric to get the back of the mask.
Line up the back of your mask with the front, nice side facing down this time. Pin the tops of the nose sections together so they don’t separate. The elastics should be sandwiched in the middle. Pin the elastics down.
To make the mask front: fold your first fabric in half. Lay the pattern in the center, treating it as a template to cut around. You should end up with two mirror image pieces:
To make elastic ties: cut two 1 in. x 4-6 in. strips (depending on size) from your t-shirt fabric. Pull each one the long way so the edges tuck themselves in.
Now start sewing around the mask, starting at the bottom. Leave a couple inches unsewn at the ends.
With the two pieces matched up, sew them together across the rounded nose section. Make sure to knot at the top and bottom.
Lay the front of your mask down so the side you want showing faces up. Making sure they aren’t twisted, position your elastic ties so the ends lay on the edges of the mask and the loops face inward.
Turn your mask inside out. If it fits nicely, sew the remaining few inches closed. And celebrate!
Text and design by AUDREY GUO
Go grab: d
- 2 fabrics (100% cotton is best!) - Stretchy or t-shirt fabric to make elastic ties - Sewing gear (pins, scissors, thread, a needle)
Tips & tricks: - Think earth-friendly. Repurpose an old t-shirt as your fabric - Make it personal. Add beads to your elastics or pick a fun fabric design - Stay safe. Remember that homemade masks are not necessarily as protective against COVID-19 compared to surgical or N-95 masks
More than Just a Duo A reflection on iconic music duo Daft Punk’s legacy after nearly three decades of redefining the world of music
Text and design by SAMANTHA LEE and JULIA RAGNO • Art by DECLAN GREICIUS and KELLYN SCHEEL
fter 28 years “They’re really kind of houseof making hold beats even though people don’t music to- know who did it,” Lee said. gether, the electronic duo Daft Punk was a duo of many Daft Punk have parted ways. firsts—they were entirely unique Musicians Guy-Manuel de and because of their innovation of Homem-Christo and Thomas techniques, sound and visuals, they Bangalter left their community inspired and influenced countless of fans with “Epilogue,” a cryptic artists including Madonna, Kanye eight-minute YouTube video an- West, Skrillex and others. But to nouncing their split. limit their influence to inspiring “It’s pretty rare that an artist individual artists would be unjust, goes out on a high note like that,” because perhaps their most signifisaid Brian Lee, an avid listener of cant achievements was the popularDaft Punk. Many fans were shocked ization of EDM elements in music by the split-up, as well as saddened, across the industry. but despite the fact that they will no “They helped influence a lot of longer be making new music, their sound engineering, and digital proimpact on the industry is everlast- duction that moved into pop muing. Daft Punk’s trailblazing ways sic,” Lee said. “They started using have changed pop music, stage pro- synthesizers and lots of electronic ductions and visual music as well as mechanisms to start making pop paved the way for many artists and music, which was a lot less common DJ’s to soar into popularity. before.” Most people know Daft Punk for Their debut album, “Hometheir few most popular songs, such work,” released in 1997 introduced as collaborations with rapper Kanye heavily-filtered music into mainWest in “Stronger,” and Pharrel Wil- stream music, and was soon followed liams on one of by Madonna’s altheir most popbum “Music” in “Daft Punk ular songs, “Get 2000 which includdid it, they Lucky.” These ed resemblances of were loved by this style. Album songs have been everybody.” played in stadiafter album they ums throughout created entirely Brian Lee the world, even new-sounding mumaking an appearance in the 2014 sic and shifted the pop industry each Olympics when Russian police sang time. a cover of “Get Lucky.” Because of “Most people, especially profesDaft Punk’s mainstream exposure, sionals in the industry, consider Daft most people can recognize their Punk to be influential to most music songs. that we’re listening to now, and most
music that involves a computer,” Lee said. Additionally, Daft Punk can be credited with popularizing big stage productions at shows, especially EDM shows. “They have big screens that are showing and doing things rather than just a DJ up there with some random lights,” Lee said. From 2006 to 2007, Daft Punk did a world tour, which they later turned into their album “Alive.” One of their most notable shows during that tour was a 2006 Coachella performance in which they took to the stage on a platform inside a huge, color-changing pyramid structure. The sides of the pyramid and elaborate array of lights around them changed colors throughout the show. This, combined with smoke and head-banging music, led to a revolutionary and awe-inspiring performance. “That [their Coachella performance] was huge and influenced a lot of the stage production for a lot of other really really big acts,” Lee said. “They were inspired by the giant, big spectacle idea of it.” This performance not only influenced stage productions, but also popularized EDM music in the United States. American DJ Skrillex, cites that performance as his first exposure to EDM music. Five years later, in 2011, he was named best EDM artist of the year by MTV. Even now, Skrillex’s shows bear lasting resemblance to Daft Punk. “That’s the kind of
vibe he [Skrillex] wants to give to a Daft Punk amassed a following of live show, really high energy,” Lee fans from the pop and rap industries said. combined with their original followAdditionally, Daft Punk was a ers. “It’s very hard to make music pioneer in the that bridgmusic industry es any di“The masks really vide but off-stage. They produced two just omit all that especially short films that that divide [criticism] and tell the stories [between allow people to of two of their pop and focus on their albums. The E D M ] , movies “InterDaft Punk music.” stella 5555” and is able to Alex Washburn “D.A.F.T.” are make muvisual accomsic that paniments for albums “Discovery” almost everybody likes,” Lee said. and “Homework” respectively. The “Daft Punk did it, they were loved by animated film “Interstella 5555” tells everybody.” the story of an abducted interstellar Their music merged into so many band and their adventures through different playlists, no matter the prespace and on earth amid their rescue ferred genre of the listener. “Their by an alien space pilot named Shep, music is played across the globe and who dies saving them. across so many different communiWhile Daft Punk was not the very ties,” Paly senior Alex Wasburn said. first to make films for their music, Washburn has been listening to the there’s no denying it overall contrib- duo since late-elementary school. uted to their popularity. Seven years One of the many reasons why after “Interstella 5555” was released, their music is and can be loved by Kanye West released the film “Run- a variety of people is because it inaway” that is a visual accompani- cludes so many different rhythms ment to songs from his album “My that can go along with anything. Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” “[Their music] is good for a dinner “He [Kanye] does all the songs in party or good for when you’re driva different way, with a visual that tells ing,” Washburn said. the story,” Lee said. The last album they produced The Daft Punk fandom has ex- was “Random Access Memories” panded over the years, first starting in 2013. Eight years is a long time with just electronic listeners, but without coming out with any new once they collaborated with materials for any artist. The last colKanye West, Pharrel Wil- laboration recorded was when the liams and The Weeknd, duo collaborated with The Weeknd
in 2016 for his album “Starboy.” Many fans, including Lee, saw the split up as less of a shock, as they hadn’t come out with any new material. “I wasn’t expecting it, but I understand,” Lee said. “I’m not surprised or disappointed.” When Washburn found the news, he reminisced on their music. “When I heard they split up, I just listened to them for a day and that brought back some pretty strong memories,” Washburn said. Not only was Daft Punk loved for their music, many fans also enjoyed the mystery of their masks. The motorcycle helmet shaped masks are one of the quintessential elements that made Daft Punk who they are. Washburn saw the masks as more than an article of clothing. Since artists in the music industry are subjected to inevitable scrutiny and judgement, the masks provided more than an intriguing look. “The masks really just omit all that [criticism] and allow people to focus on their music,” Washburn said. Although Daft Punk’s time is over, their legacy will live on forever. The impacts they have made on the music and film industry have been astronomical and long lasting. Whether it was collaborating with artists from different genres to headlining at Coachella, they have further influenced the EDM community as well as other artists to show that nothing is impossible.
How music from our past is making a comeback to compete with new releases
ictures from childhood often elicit physical and emotional cringe— anything from the clothing you wore to the eccentric poses. One token of our past, however, that almost always prompts a smile rather than a grimace is music. Many songs from our childhood have been regaining popularity thanks to the nostalgia that they evoke. These songs are being brought back from under the radar through platforms such as TikTok. Junior Arohi Bhattacharya appreciates this rise of older songs that carry with them a plethora of emotions. “I really love that older songs are gaining popularity through social media platforms,” Bhattacharya said. “To me, it almost stops time and brings back the feeling of old memories and cheerfulness, especially in the time that we’re in now.” Bhattacharya, like many others, associates songs with memories. As songs of the past are now heard in many different places, they dig up these forgotten memories and act as a source of happiness in these difficult times. “I was reintroduced to one specific
song called ‘What the Hell’ by Avril Lavigne, and it just made me pause and wash away all my cares in the world,” Bhattacharya said. “Old songs are gaining popularity because many of us are connected on social media and are becoming comfortable enough to share these songs and artists through these platforms.” Another reason older songs have added appeal in comparison to modern songs is their ability Arohi Bhattacharya to very clearly mark certain times in our lives. Sophomore Karol Bermudez describes music as a tool to connect time. “It’s interesting how powerful music is and how it allows us to ‘time travel’ through decades,” Bermudez said. One song Bermudez has heard making a comeback is ‘Chasing Pavements’ by Adele. “Although the song was released in 2008, I grew up hearing Adele a lot in my household, so it was always in my head,” Bermudez said. “It felt great knowing that one of the songs that I really enjoy listening to is able to reach a wider audience and that more people will be able to appreciate it the same way.” Both artists and fans
“I really love that older songs are gaining popularity through social media platforms.”
alike have one main goal when making or listening to music: to spread awareness of their songs and reach a wider audience. TikTok has given artists the opportunity to reach this wider audience, benefitting both artists and their fans. While everyone’s music taste is different, songs of the past have a way of uniting these different preferences. However, some songs and genres face more barriers when trying to make a comeback. Bermudez believes that artists like Cuco faded into obscurity because the bedroom pop genre died out after 2018. The genre was very prevalent from 2016 to 2018 and Cuco was one of the standout artists. “Nowadays, people on TikTok enjoy more R&B, rap, pop, international and alternative music,” Bermudez said. There seems to be a set genre of music that gains popularity on social media platforms. Artists may try to overcome the limits that come with the genre of music they create, and when they succeed, they have created a huge hit. Sophomore Katie Firtch believes that social media platforms are not only enabling old songs to make a resurgence, but also promote a greater variety of artists.
Text and design by EUNICE CHO and RACHAEL VONDERHAAR • Art by SUKHMAN SAHOTA “Now that the internet is a much more mainstream factor of everyday life, unsung artists are being brought to the forefront,” Firtch said. “The exposure has been a constructive phenomenon for everyone, artists and listeners alike.” As children, we did not have the direct access to all songs that we do now. We relied on CDs and tapes to listen to, which sometimes proved to be limiting. Even with the growing popularity of iPods and other similar devices, songs had to be purchased individually and were expensive. Now, however, millions of songs are accessible on any given platform, allowing old music to be more easily incorporated into peoples’ usual songs. As more older songs are added to music and social media platforms, many fans are finding ways to spread the music of their favorite artists. “Older or unheard of songs are gaining popularity because fans of the bands are finding niches where they can openly share their love,” Firtch said. People are generally less open to finding new songs that are outside of their genres, or musical comfort
zones. However, TikTok provides exposure to songs that are outside of these comfort zones, allowing older and less popular songs to gain popularity, even if they were unpopular in the past. Even with the increased accessibility of music, some artists remain unknown. One group of such artists are one-hit wonders, who fail to produce popular music even after gaining a platform and releasing more music. “Some [one-hit wonders] have genuine talent, and were simply unable to maintain their careers, while others were lucky, and the stars just happened to align in their favor,” Firtch said. As the name suggests, one-hit wonders tend to fade into obscurity after reaching their peak in fame. The fact that the music of these artists is known may be a testament to the quality of their music, as they are given the opportunity to expand their fanbase but
fail to do so. “Personally, I don’t tend to listen to [one-hit wonders’] other music because their hit record will typically set the bar high for their future works,” Bermudez said. “When they aren’t able to reach that bar, many people, including me, tend to be disappointKatie Firtch ed.” However, through TikTok, many of these one-hit wonders’ songs are being brought back to life. While fans take an active role in bringing attention to artists, it is partly through the algorithms of TikTok and other platforms that allow unknown, or even forgotten, artists to be brought to light. Firtch believes that these breaks come by chance. “You don’t know what’ll be popular next, and that’s part of the thrill of exploring,” Firtch said. Not only do many of these songs and artists bring up our younger memories, but they play a role in who we are and how we have grown up. Connecting with your childhood through music on platforms such as TikTok has brought back the old happy memories that those songs used to bring us.
“Now that the internet is a much more mainstream factor of everyday life, unsung artists are being brought to the forefront.”
Taylor Swift and Playboi Carti are two sides of the same coin, both trying to maintain fan support as they explore new styles
he release of the long anticipated album, “Reputation,” One of the most prevalent examples of this complex dynamwas dropped on November 10, 2017 and Taylor Swift ic is the artist Kanye West. West is known for his controverwatched her streaming numbers fall at rapid rates. Her sial, often disruptive statements. Paly junior Mathew Signo“Reputation” album, one of her most stylistically diverse al- rello-Katz, has been a listener of West for a few years, but bums, faced escalated criticism. has recently questioned being part of the fanbase because of This was a revolutionary drop because it strayed from the West’s political outbursts. norm that an artist’s primary goal should be to please their fans; “I was remarkably disappointed to see Kanye’s attemptinstead it offered a personalized, in-depth look into the explo- ed close allyship with former president Donald Trump,” Siration of a new genre. Sophomore gnorello-Katz said. “As someone Bella Daly was initially confused who supports the Democratic by the dramatic discrepancies in Party, I began to rapidly distance styles. myelf from Kanye. Supporting an “Initially, I wasn’t in love with artist with such controversial opin“Reputation” because it was so difions made me question whether ferent from everything she had put or not being a part of this fanbase out before. I remember listening was in my best interest.” to ‘What You Made Me Do’ and In the modern day world of being so confused about it,” Daly music, performers often act in the Sophia Krugler, senior best interest of their fans because said. “But the more I listened to it, the more it grew on me.” artists are bound by their need to Senior Sophia Krugler has been a huge Taylor Swift fan since make a living and they rely totally on their fanbase to do that. 4th grade and initially loved “Reputation,” continuing to sup- This often results in the self-censorship of port Swift throughout her genre switching journey. artists on controversial topics and con“I’m glad she took a risk with “Reputation” because it gave stantly monitoring and being cauher the opportunity to continue changing styles and have more tious off posts made on social freedom as an artist,” Krugler said. “[Taylor Swift] pretty much media. said, ‘I don’t care what you think,’ which I love.” As well as limited freedom Although Krugler believes “Reputation” was one of the most of speech, artists are limited daring albums, she continues to support Swift, regardless of the with freedom of expresgenres Swift decided to release. sion. In some cases, artists People naturally support artists as fans, but this support is of- release albums which they ten constructed off of more than just musical talent. Especially work extremely hard on, recently, musician’s personal lives have been playing a bigger only to be faced with backrole in the strength of their fanbase. lash of fans.
“I’m glad she took a risk with “Reputation” because it gave her the opportunity to continue changing styles and have more freedom as an artist.”
he recent release of the album “Whole Lotta Red” has received comparable backlash to Swift’s “Reputation” album because the American rapper Playboi Carti similarly deviated from his expected style of music. Paly junior Anika Chang, an avid Playboi Carti listener, understands the mass criticism that the rapper has faced. “Fans who are used to who the artist first was can find it difficult when the artist begins developing a style that is different,” Chang said. “We’re just used to the ‘baby voice’ Carti that we heard in [his past albums].” Playboi Carti’s new releases held less of this typical high voice and more gasping and sputtering, which was a style that differed from what many of his listeners preferred. Due to many fans openly expressing disappointment in Carti’s music, the legitimacy of his fanbase has been thrown into question. With Playboi Carti’s music style diverging from its traditional form that fans have gotten used to, opinions on what defines a “true” fan has transpired. “True fans who respect the artist should support someone’s change no matter the circumstances because in terms of style, artists are constantly developing,” Chang said. “While fans might not fully agree or even like the change, it’s important to recognize an artist’s development and support them.” Paly junior Dylan Oba takes a similar stance on Carti’s recent backlash from his fanbase. “I don’t think that fans who resist natural development are truly fans because fans are
supposed to support creators throughout their creative development,” Oba said. Although ‘Whole Lotta Red’ faced criticism, Oba believes that it may even benefit Playboi Carti in the long run. “Backlash is good for the creator because it shows that they need to change their style. This will help the creators learn from their mistakes so that in the future, better music can be produced,” Oba said. Artists nowadays are held to a high standard because fans are constantly analyzing and critiquing artists who explore vast musical genres. Artists are criticized if their new material does not live up to the hype of previous albums and their careers hang by a thread. They tend to decline musically because they are confined to one genre and the consequences for altering their music style causes many to question if their self-respect or revenue is more important. Artists such as Taylor Swift and Playboi Carti fell victim to this harsh backlash after both artists released what some may call an “experimental album.” Sophomore Hailey Beck doesn’t believe in canceling an artist for new and different music. “Some people may not like it, but in the end fans should be happy with new music,” Beck Anika Chang, junior said. Beck didn’t love the album but understands sometimes through experimentation there is failure. She continues to support Playboi Carti because she doesn’t just enjoy his music but is in support of the artist himself. At the end of the day, there is a fine line between supporting an artist as a whole and just supporting their content. Any artist understands that to stay relevant they must create content based around their fan bases wants and needs. That is the sad reality; an artist can’t explore creatively without risking their career.
“While fans may not fully agree or like the change, it’s important to recognize an artist’s development and support them.”
Text by AIDAN DO, MARILYN YIN and NATALIE HMELAR • Design by MARILYN YIN • Art by KELLYN SCHEEL
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