Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | Volume 39, Issue 2 |
THE VOICE OF NORTH TORONTO C.I.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE PROTESTING AROUND THE WORLD PROTESTS IN HONG KONG >> page 11 CLIMATE ACTIVISM >> pages 3, 4 & 12 Illustration by Megan Christoforidis
2 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | EDITORIAL
The benefits of a plant-based diet
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITORS IN CHIEF Sara Chiarotto O’Brien Emily Sakaguchi
Jane Carli | Sofia Platnick
Kiara Distin | Lauren Keith
Kaya Makivic | Joshua Chong
ARTS AND CULTURE EDITORS Anna Goodman | Jessica Hungate Brendan Weeks
BUSINESS AND TECH EDITORS
Defne Tuncer Lee-Ashley Keshet Jr. Advisory Board
eganism, vegetarianism, and other diets that replace animal-based foods with plantbased alternatives have become more popular in recent years. People from all around the world are giving up meat for multiple reasons. Improvements in health and reducing one’s carbon footprint are just a few. Let’s start with the environmental impact of plant-based diets. If we are trying to become greener by reducing our car usage or limiting the amount of water we waste, we also need to examine the most crucial factor in our ecological footprint: our diet. The United Nations has stated that agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it the greatest human-caused source of distraction to our environment. Additionally, like every other industry in the world, there is a supply-demand cycle for the meat industry. As the demand for more animal-based products increases, companies supply more. This means cutting more trees for pasture, wasting more water and food, and producing more greenhouse gases to transport the animals. According to yourdailyvegan.com, raising animals for food uses 45% of the Earth’s total land. Furthermore, as the demand increases, thousands of additional acres of forest need to be cut down in order to provide space for these new animals. Transporting livestock also produces a massive amount of carbon dioxide. This, in turn, directly contributes to global warming and climate change. Not to mention, more animals require more food and water, which exploits even more natural resources. For example, studies from The Vegan Society have shown that 55% of the water consumed in the United States is for animal agriculture. If we include all the additional resources such as fertilizers and pesticides, we can see how incredibly inefficient animal agri-
business really is. Our natural resources are decreasing every day and, by refusing to make the necessary changes, we are contributing to this problem. Although a plant-based diet may seem contrary to a well-balanced diet, studies have questioned the basis of that assumption. Our digestive system actually better resembles herbivores than carnivores or even omnivores, so refraining from meat and animal products actually benefits our body. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who eat a plant-based diet have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Many people also have concerns regarding the lack of protein in plant-based diets. Michelle Strong, a nutritionist, has said that “vegans and vegetarians are (somewhat) limited in their protein options.” However, well-planned vegan and vegetarian diets follow healthy eating guidelines and certainly provide the recommended amount of protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often a lot of protein. Becoming vegan is feasible, even for teenagers, so long as they have enough knowledge and are able to follow a balanced diet. Taking into consideration the health benefits and the impact on the environment, how many people have actually decided to alter their diets? Are there any other reasons for this? Over the years, there has been a tremendous increase in vegans and vegetarians. In 2018, a survey conducted by Dalhousie University shows that 9.4% of vegetarian Canadians are 35 years of age and under. Over the past 15 years, the number of vegetarians in Canada has increased by 900 000 people making 2.3 million Canadians vegetarian. On top of that, 850 000 Canadians identify as vegan. Meytal Elhav, a teacher in the Toronto area explains, “I became a vegetarian in 1980. I was 11 years old. It wasn’t really a sudden decision because I’ve never liked meat. It was a natural progression that was propelled by a friend of mine who told me that she was becoming a vegetarian. In the 1980s [being vegetarian] wasn’t really a thing”. However, in Israel, where she
Photo courtesy of CNN
used to live, “there was a small company called Tivall, which was growing in popularity and they were introducing soy substitutes for meat. It was rather revolutionary at the time, there was no Beyond Meat, there was nobody making anything like that. My reasons [for becoming a vegetarian] were entirely a personal choice based on taste. Not anything to do with ethics or morality”. When asked if she ever found it difficult to maintain a strict vegetarian diet, she says, “The hardest time in my life in terms of being vegetarian was moving to North America, specifically western Canada and being a vegetarian in the late 80s in Alberta [because] you couldn’t go to a restaurant and order anything from the menu that didn’t have meat in it other than dessert.” She explains that “nowadays [being vegetarian] is a piece of cake, there are so many different options. In the past, it really wasn’t an easy thing. In Israel, it was incredibly easy. The Mediterranean diet is very rich in [different sources of protein]... but nowadays it really isn’t as difficult as it used to be”. Vegetarianism is also often associated with religion. People that follow religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism generally have a stricter diet, which is primarily vegetarian. As a result, according to the Worldatlas, the statistics of vegetarians in countries like India are at an all-time high. As of 2019, 38% of Indian citizens were vegetarians. The amount of vegans and vegetarians on a global scale is not decreasing. In 2018, vegetarians, vegans, and other partly vegetarian groups accounted for approximately 25% of the global population. Plant-based diets have many benefits for the environment and for our own physical health. For those who do not want to give up meat, choosing plant-based alternatives is a way to take part in some of the health and environmental benefits. By altering our diets, we can improve ourselves as well as inspire others to do the same. When deciding whether or not you should follow through with such change, always determine what decision best suits your needs. However, the next time you choose to speak for the environment, think; is there anything more I can do?
Nathalie Adriana Funes Serna Hao Zheng
Sean Lee | Ashley Keller
Hannah Argiloff | Emma Frasheri Jayden Orlotti
SPORTS EDITORS Cassandra Chichora Cameron Gilliland
PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS Sahil Turakhia | Kenneth Salim
Sophie Cohen | Audrey Gong Simone Bellengier | Elise Farmar Sarisha Panday
Sara Chiarotto O’Brien Emily Sakaguchi Kiana Sharifi | Abigail Shin Madison McBride | Jasmine Lem Sehar Sohail | Jordyn Lee
Jessica Pearson | Deena Shirkool
STAFF ADVISORS Baruch Zohar David Silver
CONTENTS External . ...............................................4 Internal..................................................8 Features................................................11 Business & Technology................................16 Opinion..................................................19 Arts & Culture...................................................22 Sports....................................................29 Humour & Games...........................................33
CONTACT US Facebook: @NTCIGraffiti Instagram: @ntcigraffiti Website: www.ntcigraffiti.com Email: email@example.com
EDITORIAL | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 3 EDITORIAL
In the game of youth empowerment, will you be a player?
Maeve Ellis Julia Goldthorp Rachel Lee Senior Advisory Board
ay after day, students are bombarded with school work, meetings, extra-curriculars, and sports games. However, in the dark of all-nighters and boring lectures, we are spurred on by the light at the end of the tunnel: a meaningful future. But with the disintegration of environmental and political processes, that gleaming light becomes a fast approaching, deadly train. As we hunker down with our school work, the real world sprints past us and threats from the future gallop closer each semester. We live our lives oblivious to societal issues that are too important to be pushed to the background as we pursue our studies. And most efforts by youth to do something about the crumbling state of the world go to waste. At present, we have no say in what kind of world we will grow into, or what kind of world our kids will grow up in. Shouldn’t we have at least some way of raising our voices about the education system? If something is to be changed, shouldn’t we be the first on lawmakers’ minds and the first to be consulted? It’s like not telling a track and field athlete the distance they’ll be running. When it comes to power, the ball remains in the adult’s court and, without a voice, youth don’t even have a racket. An example of student voice, or rather a lack thereof, is Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cuts to public education. He often states, “We’re focusing on the students. We’re making sure the students are getting the best education
they can,” as he cuts over one billion dollars from public education, increases class sizes, reduces special education funding, and deems it necessary for all high school students to take four online courses. Maybe with cuts to English classes we’ll also forget what irony is. Ms. Rogow, who teaches Moderns and Classics, says “the cuts to services and staffing are predicted to take away a quarter of the teachers in Ontario. This is a horrific number, and means that there will be fewer courses offered and much larger class sizes. This will, in turn, force teachers to have to cut back on what they can provide to students, in regards to extra help and individual attention.” There are roughly 2 million Ontario public school students who are ignored when it comes to education funding cuts, but there is a more widespread lack of student voice: climate change. Although we did not instigate the climate crisis, our generation is already experiencing its catastrophic consequences. No individual student actions will have an effect. Reusable water bottles and biking to school have the impact of a drop of water in the rising oceans. According to the Guardian, “just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.” How many of those shareholders will have to deal with the environmental Armageddon 50 years from now? While the road ahead seems treacherous, everyday citizens can fight back by putting one foot in front of the other. Thousands of students walked out of school on Friday September 27th, for the #FridaysForFuture Climate Strike. Protests, like these, bring the most important ingredient to the table for students like Kelly Huangfu, who need “more hope.” And that hope has already
engulfed us. There has never been anything comparable to unscripted teenagers being watched by millions everyday online, or a sixteen-year-old leading a movement that had 4 million protestors participating in 2 500 protests in 163 countries, on all seven continents, all in one day. The ability to unite is what makes this generation so powerful. There aren’t any more excuses to leave youth out of the loop. We are increasingly more informed and outspoken about our political views, largely thanks to the internet. We have centuries of information available from a device that fits in the palm of the hand, and we have access to limitless opinions and experiences. Social media gives us a platform to freely express our beliefs and connect with others in an unprecedented way. Ms. Rogow, who has taught young people for over 40 years, said, “students are actually becoming more informed and passionate.” For the first time in history, we as youth have something that no generation has had before. The internet has given us a means of becoming more united and aware as a whole and it has given us an opportunity to act collectively on what we believe. Some may wonder, does the internet truly provide an effective medium for student voices and opinions? According to the Vanier Institute of the Family, “99% of Canadian students surveyed have access to the Internet outside of school” and Pew Research says that 45% of American teens say they are online “almost constantly’’. In other words, teens are constantly online for various tasks, from using social media to schoolwork, meaning that youth can express their ideas with the potential of gaining traction from millions of people all around the world. An example of the power of this base
Photo by Sara Chiarotto O’Brien
being harnessed was last summer, when millions of pro-democracy Sudanese protesters united across the country. The authoritarian government responded with a media shutdown, taking away the voices of all the country’s people. Millions across the world spread the hashtag #BlueForSudan on Instagram and Twitter and changed their profile pictures to blue, a symbolic colour for the protesters. Without this movement, next to no one in Canada would have heard of the revolution, demonstrating the dynamic chant of the protestors, “Bullets won’t kill us, staying silent does.” The North Toronto C.I. students we interviewed were quick to agree about the power of online unification and organization. From Grade 11 student Nathalie Funes Serna’s perspective, “most of the strikes and most of the environmental issues I have seen or been a part of are thanks to social media, particularly Instagram.” “When I saw the Amazon fires happening, I saw that all on social media. People would always spread awareness and post about it. People should use their voices more on social media, because it really does reach people,” said Anjua Sajan, an eleventh grade student. Huangfu reiterated that civic awareness is “already pretty big on social media. At least on my feed.” ‘As students, we are buried sixfeet-under in books, worksheets, and busy schedules; however, like the iconic protest sign says, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” The marathon for student power has been a long one, but, like it or not, we are finally reaching the finish line. Now is the time for a fairer game. Now is the time for youth to be handed that racket.
4 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | EXTERNAL
Youth climate action gains traction Student protesters demand change from government
Photo by Masha Ostrenko
Audrey Gong Copy Editor
n Friday, September 27, climate activists marched in a protest as a part of the Global Week for Future, during which 7.6 million people, mainly students and young adults, gathered across over 150 countries to protest a cited lack of action in curbing climate change. Attendance estimates for protestors in Canada totalled over 800 000, according to the official website for the Global Climate Strike. The Global Week for Future Strikes are now tied with the 2003 anti-Iraq protest as one of the largest coordinated global protests in history. The strikes, spearheaded by the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, are intended to prompt political leaders and influential companies to reduce their ecological footprint in the hopes of reducing the scale of
the Earth’s climate crisis. In Thunberg’s speech given at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, she urges, “how dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.” Protestors demanded the elimination of fossil fuel usage, the termination of the burning and deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and Indonesia, and the transition towards 100% renewable energy. May Boeve, the director of the environmental organization 350. org, and a figurehead of the U.S. Green movement, states, “the path forward is clear: stopping all subsidies and end funding to the fossil fuel industry. Anything short of this would mean betraying, once again, the millions that have gone on strike for the climate this week.” Many students worldwide have organized local initiatives to minimize their carbon footprint, as well as large-scale movements that demand change from the government. For example, The Sunrise Movement, a new youth-led group,
has been focused on pushing The Green New Deal, which according to the Sunrise Movement’s official website is “a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030, a guaranteed living-wage job for anyone who needs one, and a just transition for both workers and frontline communities.” Alongside the support for the Global Week for Future strikes, some question the authenticity of the strikes led by Greta Thunberg, arguing that she is a puppet political leaders use to further their agenda. A commenter under an Instagram post of Greta Thunberg’s speech writes, “I can’t believe it, Liberals have begun to use children to get everyone on board with their political agendas.” U.S. President Donald Trump as well as the conservative host of the Daily Wire podcast Michael Knowles are among some of the notable figures who doubt Thunberg and her movement. Defne Tuncer, a North Toronto C.I. student who protested at the Queen’s Park climate strike be-
lieves that “striking alone will never be enough. Political leaders should start spending money on solutions for climate change and transition out of fossil fuels and unsustainable energy.” The Liberal Party of Canada has made promises to halve the corporate tax rate for companies that develop or manufacture products with net-zero emissions in order to push Canada’s net emissions to zero by 2050 and set a goal of planting 2 billions trees over the next ten years, should the Liberal Party be elected. Over 20 multinational corporations are making new commitments to use renewable energy for 100 percent of their electricity, totalling 300 corporations with renewable commitments, according to the Climate Group. With the recent upsurge in Global Climate Strikes, and youth consistently pushing for environmental action, it is predicted that these movements will continue to gain popularity and bring about new changes, policies and plans.
EXTERNAL | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 5 POLITICS
The election explained Maeve Ellis Advisor
n October 21, 2019, Canada voted in the federal election, resulting in a Liberal minority government. The Canadian election is not a single election.Canada is divided into 338 areas, known as ridings, with 338 smaller-scale elections, all on the same night. Almost all the candidates running in the ridings are affiliated with a national party, such as the Liberals or Conservatives. Canadians only vote for a person running in their local election, not the federal candidates. Whoever wins the most votes in that riding will be that riding’s Member of Parliament (MP) and will represent the residents of that area in Ottawa. With Canada’s current system, how much power a political party has in the House of Commons is determined on the basis of a first-past-the-post voting system, meaning that the House of Commons does not represent the popu-
lar vote. This is because the MPs who win in one riding win a seat, but the votes for the losing candidates are not represented. In this election, the Conservative Party won 34.44% of the popular vote, resulting in 121 conservative MPs, while the Liberal Party received 33.1% of the popular vote and 157 MPs. The Green Party won 6.5% of the popular vote and has 3 seats, the NDP won 15.9% of the popular vote and has 24 seats, while the Bloc Québécois got 7.7% of the popular vote and obtained 32 seats. In Ottawa, MPs vote on bills or newlaws. MPs are expected to vote with the rest of their party. Any MP who doesn’t cooperate risks being expelled from the party. One seat means one MP, and every MP has one vote. For example, if the government in office were to have 200 MPs, every bill the party supported would receive 200 votes. Every bill needs 170 votes from MPs in order to pass, as 170 is a majority of the 338 total votes. If any party has over 170 MPs, that party can essentially pass
any bill they want. This is known as a majority government. From 2015 to 2019 the Liberal Party had 184 seats, making it a majority government capable of passing legislation in the House of Commons with relative ease. As no party reached the threshold of 170 seats, the current Liberal government is a minority government. An independent won one seat, the Green Party won three, the New Democratic Party (NDP) won 24, the Bloc Québécois won 32, the Conservative Party won 121, and the Liberal Party won 157. To pass any bill, the Liberal Party will have to team up with another party in order to get the necessary 170 votes. For instance, the Liberal Party can team up with the Bloc Québécois in order to surpass 170 votes (157 + 32 = 189), the Conservative Party (157 + 121 = 278), or the NDP (157 + 24= 181). Based on the ideologies of each party, it is most likely that the Liberals will work with the NDP. When first faced with a minority government, the party in power has two choices. The first is to form a coalition
government. In this case, the Liberals could merge with the NDP, which would mean they would vote on everything together and have cabinet ministers come from both parties. Coalitions have only happened a handful of times in Canada’s history, and Trudeau has said he does not intend to form a coalition. The second choice is to form a Liberal minority government. All the cabinet ministers would be Liberal MPs and the Liberals would need to agree with enough MPs in other parties in order to pass bills. In a minority government, if there is a non-confidence vote, the government collapses. It is uncommon for minority governments to last longer than two and a half years. If the MPs from different parties do not support the Liberal leadership, they demonstrate this by not passing an important bill proposed by the Liberals, such as the budget. If a non-confidence vote passes, the Prime Minister has to resign, usually leading to another general election.
Potential challenges of introducing mandatory e-learning Areena Rahman Contributor
he Ford Government has unveiled a number of changes within the Ontario curriculum, one of their largest being the introduction of the new online learning platform. Starting next year, students across Ontario will be required to take at least four e-learning courses out of their 30 required credits to graduate. Lisa Thompson, the former minister of education, announced this plan, stating that “the reality of today is that we need to be embracing technology for good. And when it comes to online opportunities for our students, I think we should all agree in this house: we want to make sure that they have every opportunity to put their best foot forward.” Currently, the number of students enrolled in an e-learning course is around 5%, according to the Annual Ontario School Survey by People For Education. The e-learning platform is useful for students who want to graduate early, catch up on credits, or want to take a course that is not offered in their school. Students taking online courses are expected to be organized and responsible, for they must follow the course material without the direct assistance of a teacher. Reactions to the new policy in Ontario have been largely negative. It is believed that the Ford government is implementing this policy for cost-cutting measures. Currently, the details of the plan and how
it will be implemented are unclear. “For us, that huge gap to go from 5% of students to 100% of students in two years is a pretty daunting task, so the first question is: what is the educational purpose of this and if there is an educational purpose, what are we doing to make sure that’s sup-
facilitate them through a course, but not really engage and educate them.” Beyhan Farhadi, a former online teacher in Toronto, conducted a report on the state of e-learning in the TDSB. One of her findings is that the Ministry of Education did not provide enough funding for building capacity and re-
Illustration by Chris Shi
ported?” says Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education. “Online skills are important in this age of technology, but making this move won’t be simple,” Kidder says. People are concerned that, without a proper plan, there will not be proper funding or support, especially in training for teachers. Mr. Taylor, a guidance counselor at NT, says that “even the language used in an e-learning environment is different. Teachers are often referred to as facilitators, as they are really there to guide students and
search for teachers when they licensed the online platform. She said that “teachers were left on their own to figure out how best to teach students the materials in the e-learning curriculum, and were not given the tools or resources to ensure an effective online education.” Ontario currently provides a user agreement that outlines the basic expectations for teachers and students. Another challenge is the lack of face-to-face opportunities that are available in an online learning environment. E-learning does not provide
the same opportunities and extra support experienced in a classroom, where students are able to converse with their teachers privately and come in for extra help. There is no supervision for online courses. A study in the U.S. shows that a common reason for students dropping out of an e-learning class is due to the lack of teacher immediacy. This new policy will also impact low-income areas. Many parts of Ontario do not have reliable internet access, making it difficult for students to visit the e-learning website outside of school hours. Along with that, families that are struggling with finances may not be able to provide the technological support for students to use daily. The Ontario School Survey also found that 54% of schools in low-income neighbourhoods fundraise for technology, compared to the 85% of schools in high-income neighbourhoods. This will not only affect a student’s quality of education, but will further create a system that is favourable to the wealthier class. The Ontario government is looking at expanding broadband, but that is not slated until the 2021 to 2022 school year, a year after the e-learning policy is put in place. Farhadi’s report states, “The shift to modernize high school education will mean cuts to grants for arts, music, physical education and outdoor education, which are all intended to contribute to a well-rounded education.” Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in North America to require students to complete four elearning courses in order to graduate.
6 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | EXTERNAL POLITICS
Trade wars and tariffs hurt Canada Chinese bans and tariffs on Canadian products and American conflicts with China are blows to Canada’s economy
Illustration by Chris Shi
Sophie Cohen Editor
hinese tariffs on Canadian goods and the trade war between China and the United States are leading to economic concerns within Canada and fears of global recession. The decline of Chinese-Canadian relations began with the arrest of the Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Meng was arrested due to fraud and breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran and is currently in the process of being extradited to the United States. This move against the head of one of China’s largest companies has led to multiple bans and tariffs on Canadian products. These restrictions have created “a huge financial loss” according to the Canadian Meat Council, as China is a member of Canada’s top five markets. The first ban occurred during March of 2019 when China banned all Canadian canola products. Chinese officials have said that the reason for this was that the goods were contaminated by pests. This has led to a loss of almost one billion dollars in revenue for Cana-
dian canola farmers and workers since. Additionally, during April of 2019, China’s government announced a new list of banned Canadian agricultural products now including soybean goods and peas. Later, in June of 2019, China banned Canadian beef and pork products. Government officials reported that the goods contained ractopamine, an additive restricted in China. This is a drug that accelerates an animal’s metabolic rate, making them leaner and larger in a shorter amount of time. When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency examined the export certificate, it was determined to be inauthentic. According to the CBC, Canada’s Agriculture Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, said “that the suspect pork shipments and certificates are unlikely Canadian, but were being misrepresented as such.” Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP are now investigating the matter. Many people are accusing the Chinese government of implementing these bans in order to push Canada to release the Huawei executive. The current trade war between China and the United States is another factor negative-
ly affecting Canadian industries. Since January of 2018, the United States and China have been in an ongoing conflict regarding trade and economic relations. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, primarily wants to reduce the $621 billion trade deficit (how much a country’s imports exceeds its exports). He believes that, in doing this, he will create more jobs for Americans. To be able to reduce the deficit, American consumers would be required to purchase more locally-made goods instead of foreign-made goods. Governments often accomplish this by imposing tariffs on foreign products. In 2018, China was the most significant contributor to this debt, as the trade deficit that the U.S. maintained with it was $419 billion. In order to reduce this, the United States has slapped hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tariffs onto Chinese goods so that consumers will be forced to buy other foreign products. China, in turn, continues to retaliate with its own tariffs on American goods in order to incentivize the U.S. to remove theirs. The chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, Mark Zandi, has said that “the trade war with China [has] al-
ready eliminated 300 000 jobs and reduced the [American] GDP growth by 0.3 percentage points.” The investment bank, Goldman Sachs, has also said that this conflict could spark a recession. Due to an increasing chance of a global recession, money invested in the stock market may be in decline. It is normal to have the values of stocks regularly dip down and jump up, but a recession would signal a severe and constant decline. This means that Canadians would be losing a significant amount of invested money. Canada also simply relies on the American economy heavily. Since the trade war began, the United States’s economy has taken significant blows from the tariffs China has imposed on their products. As the U.S. is Canada’s closest trading partner, this has also negatively affected the Canadian economy. The American auto industry, with many business dealings in Canada, has been one of the area’s most affected. Tensions are still rising between China and Canada and the U.S.-China trade war continues to worsen. With no sign of these conflicts subsiding, Canada’s position in international trade remains unstable.
EXTERNAL | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 7
8 GRAFFITI | SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | INTERNAL
Ontario’s cell phone ban The use of phones in the classroom will be prohibited, following strict guidelines Taylor Dejong Contributor
ntario’s education minister, Stephen Leece, has announced that all personal mobile devices will be banned in schools across Ontario. During the spring of the 2018 election campaign, the Ontario Conservative Party proposed a ban of cellphones in the classrooms of schools in Ontario. Premier Doug Ford announced the ban earlier this year, saying it would be in effect for the start of the school year, but the exact date was unknown. In August, Lecce announced that the use of personal mobile devices will be banned in school classrooms starting November 4, 2019. Leece states that his reasoning for introducing the ban two months into the school year is to allow time for students and teachers to implement and accept this new policy. The new code of conduct is expected to include strict guidelines regarding cell phone use. One of the many guidelines is the prohibition of students placing their phones face down on desks, even if their phone is on silent-mode. “Obviously for emergency purposes, for medical purposes and for specific courses that require technological platforms — they’d be permissible,” states Leece.
Illustration by Christina Kim of educators, students, and parents Other technological platforms will be available in Ontario-wide classrooms to ensure that students are still able to academically thrive in a digital world. As well, students will still be able to use their cellphones during spares and lunch. On why the policy is being put into place, former Education Minister Lisa Thompson states that, “Ontario’s students need to be able to focus on their learning — not their cellphones.” Last fall, a provincial-wide consultation conveyed that 97 percent
supported a cellphone ban of some kind. “When in class, students should be focused on their studies, not their social media,” Leece said in a statement. “That’s why we are restricting cell phones and other personal mobile devices in the classroom while making sure technology is available to help students achieve success in the digital economy and the modern workforce.” As well, among the reports sent to the Ministry of Education on
the matter, many teachers complained that not only were cellphones a distraction, but they were troublesome in the classroom for other reasons. Students were seen using phones to cheat on tests and share photos of teachers online without their consent. There are doubts as to whether this policy will work. The Toronto District School Board abandoned a cell phone ban policy in 2011 after officials deemed it too difficult to enforce. Instead, the board gave teachers the option of integrating technology into class work. “Maybe in math class you’re using it simply as a calculator, maybe in history class you’re using it for research — it makes sense. But in another class there may be no reason you should have a cell phone out, in that case students may be told to put it away for now, that they don’t need them,” TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said in a statement. Ms. Markovski, a teacher at North Toronto C.I., believes that a province-wide ban of cellphones may be difficult to execute throughout all the individual school boards in Ontario. While it is hard to say at this point in time, it is possible that an outright ban of cellphones will not result in a drastic change at NT, as a provincial ban may be difficult to enforce.
Record high NT student population Sofia Platnick Editor
here’s something in the air at NT, and I’m not talking about the latest Juul flavour. Maybe you noticed it when you went to Tim’s one lunch and the lineup was all the way out the door. Maybe you realize it whenever you’re periodically late for the same classes because every time you enter the stairwell you find them clogged with students (particularly stairwells BB or CC). Or maybe you were one of the unlucky 11s or 12s who didn’t receive a locker this year due to a shortage. You can feel it in the tight spaces: it’s clear that there’s more students at NT this year than any other time in the past four years. Now you, like myself, might be wondering why this is the case. Sure, the Yonge-Eglinton area has increasingly become more congested with the incessant and inconvenient ongoing construction, along with the seemingly hundreds of condominiums that continue to pop up along Roehampton and Broadway like mushrooms. But it seems that only this year the overpopulation of midtown Toronto has disrupted the NT environment.
Currently, there are 1397 students at North Toronto. This, compared to the projected enrollment of 1307, is well beyond the building’s ideal capacity. It’s no surprise that the number of students has slowly and steadily been increasing over the years, but this increase is hardly normal. For 2017-2018, the projected enrollment was 1248 students. In the year 2018-2019, it was 1260. After speaking to Mr. Mack, he says that this is because, “on August 21, when the school reopened in the summer, we took in an additional 120 students, which is a lot for us. Normally we take in 20 to 30 students over the summer. This year, over 100. Obviously, people are moving into the neighbourhood.” As stated by Mr. Mack, people indeed were moving into the neighbourhood, right into the condominiums that keep cropping up around NT. Mr. Mack says, in regard to the overpopulation, “I think it’s because of the construction in this area [which] has increased so much. There are currently 16 developments planned in what they call the ‘Yonge 3 midtown corridor.’ Each development takes two to three years to build.” Mr. Mack receives a copy of the proposals for new condominiums in the area every time one is proposed by city planning. Some can be
as big as 55 stories, capable of housing many families. This is guaranteed to add thousands of new residents to the area, many with young families. He continues, “A few years ago they were building them. This year, we notice that people are now moving in.” Is there another reason? NT has been rated a top 1-3 school in the GTA for the past several years, meaning it has dedicated staff and adequate funding. Word is out about our incredibly high academic standards and successful university applications. NT has become a magnet for motivated and goal-driven students from all areas in the city who want to get in and take advantage of its reputation. Many of these potential applicants are turned away, but some are not. There are also many families who move into the district in order to secure a spot for high school. With this drastic increase in students, it’s curious that the ‘ghost’ rooms weren’t put to use (those extra classrooms hidden behind cement walls throughout the building). Upon inquiry, Mr. Mack relayed that the most likely reason they aren’t being used now is due to an optional attendance policy. Aside from the finances it would take to get the ghost rooms set up, there is also the issue of NT not wanting to be seen as ‘poaching’ students from other
schools. If the rooms were opened, NT’s max capacity would further increase. While these are the theories, there’s no firm answer regarding the continued vacant states of these ‘ghost’ rooms. The stairwells, especially those on the southernmost side of the building, continue to pose an issue. Frazzled students and humoured teachers have brought up the danger in the case of a fire drill. The school has had the fire chief walk through the building and confirm that those exits labelled are the proper exists, although congestion may still prevent students from getting out of the school in any timely fashion. Mr. Mack has assured that the “designated stairwells are the correct ones based on the proximity of the classrooms. The expectation is that students leave as quickly as they can, and make their way to the field or the walkway.” More condominiums are being built, with more tenants moving in all the time. What does this mean for the future of NT? Of all high schools in the immediate area? Even with the surge of new students in all grades, NT had to turn away all but the students coming from its direct feeder schools (Glenview, Hodgson, and Deer Park). In the case of Grade 9 and 10 students, all I can say is, good luck.
INTERNAL | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 9 PROFILE
New teacher profiles
A few new teachers have joined our community this year. Who are they?
Mr. Marrast Sofia Platnick Editor
r. Marrast can be found all around the school, as he teaches physical education, science, and social sciences. Before coming to North Toronto, he worked at CW Jefferys C.I. for six years, where he also went to high school. During his time as a student there, Mr. Marrast got involved with volleyball, baseball, basketball, and football, and even ran track. When it comes to pineapple on pizza, it’s a yes, “but ONLY when you have chicken and hot peppers, other-
wise, cancel that. It has to be together.” On TV shows, he says his current binge is Kim’s Convenience, but the greatest show of all time would have to be The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air. Mr. Marrast has only good things to say about NT: “It’s amazing. Everybody is really nice, helpful, the school is vibrant, there’s always things going on. We have a million clubs, there’s a lot of engagement. It’s awesome.” While he’s only at NT on days 2 and 4, he’s planning to get involved in clubs and sports teams. He has his eye on basketball and track, and wants to check out the endless clubs NT offers. Photo by Sofia Platnick
s. Ryl worked at William Lyon Mackenzie C.I. before coming over to NT. In high school, she loved doing math, and now teaches math, science, and biology. On seeing North Toronto for the first time, she says, “NT seems like a great school.” She’s amazed at our school spirit, and was exuberant at the way NT got together on Red and Grey day. When she was in high school, Ms. Ryl joined a club called Legacy, where students would act as ambassadors to incoming grade 9s, very similar
Photo by Sofia Platnick
to our very own PALs program. Just like PALs, her school organized spirit days and hosted activities specifically to help grade 9s transition into high school life. Ms. Ryl’s favourite show on Netflix is The Office, as she habitually rewatches the whole series from start to finish. She is not yet involved in any of NT’s clubs or sports teams, but plans on joining them soon. She sees that there’s so much going on at NT and so many activities to get involved with, and is excited to be a part of it all.
Mr. Kamal Eddine
r. Kamal Eddine came to NT in mid-September, and now teaches social science, biology, math, and physical education. His favourite subject in high school was biology, which led him to pursue a degree in that field. So far, Mr. Kamal Eddine is very impressed by North Toronto. He says, “it’s a very beautiful building. Lots of school spirit, more than I’ve seen at other schools for sure. The kids are friendly, the staff is great, the office admin are all really helpful. It’s been all good things so far.” As far as Netflix show recommendations go, Mr. Kamal Eddine’s favourites would have to be
Mad Men and The Walking Dead. This past summer, Mr. Kamal Eddine helped his family open up a brand new restaurant on the Danforth, which was a lot of work at the cost of a proper vacation. The restaurant is called Beiteddine, and serves Lebanese cuisine. This is a new experience for him, and one that he’s continuing to learn from. Mr. Kamal Eddine is not yet supervising any clubs or teams, but he would certainly like to get more involved, perhaps by coaching one of the soccer teams here.
Photo by Sofia Platnick
s. Nibbs has taught at many schools, elementary and secondary alike, before joining the North Toronto community this year. She has enjoyed a warm welcome from NT, saying, “so far I really enjoy North Toronto. I love the school spirit. Both staff and students have been amazingly welcoming and friendly, and everyone is really dedicated to the school, as well as to creating a really nice community here.” Ms. Nibbs gives an enthusiastic yes to pineapple on pizza, and would
Photo by Sofia Platnick
have to say that Starbucks is better than Tims: “They’re the only ones who have almond milk!” Like Mr. Marrast, her favourite Netflix show at the moment is also Kim’s Convenience, and she highly recommends giving it a go. Ms. Nibbs teaches introduction to business and Grade 11 accounting, and is also involved in Deca, the NT debate team. You can be sure to say hi to her on the third floor!
10 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | INTERNAL SCHOOL LIFE
The Devolution of Red and Grey A look back at Red and Grey Day over the years. Ashley Keller Hannah Argiloff Editors
o the niners who experienced their first ever Red and Grey Day this year, we’re sorry. The alumni in your lives who told you stories of Red and Grey grandeur, unmatched spirit, and unparalleled amounts of fun weren’t lying to you; it hasn’t always been like this, we promise. Allow us to explain: Red and Grey Day, 1991: The Spirit is Back In an archived issue of Graffiti, author Julia Porter describes student body president Cornell Wright. She recounts how he led the assembly clad in a red cape and a norseman helmet, and how the audience was a vibrant sea of red and grey, “waving pom poms everywhere” and “screaming at the top of their lungs.” She noted the amount of school spirit to be beyond what she thought “humanly possible.” After the assembly, nearly the entire student body marched to Northern as a school to watch the football game. Though they lost the game 33-3, “red and grey was everywhere,” and the “cheers never ceased” amongst the crowd. It was a day “to act like a group of lunatics together.” Red and Grey Day, 1999: Red and Grey Unite NT In the opening of his article, Nathan Kalman-Lamb expresses his concerns
that Red and Grey Day spirit may have dwindled due to labour disputes that led to the football team being cancelled for the 1998 season. He arrived at school however, to find three quarters of his homeform class decked out in red and grey, excited to be decorating their classroom at 8:30 am. School spirit seemed “higher than ever,” with “half red and half grey” painted faces crowding the streets during the customary march to Northern to watch the after school football game. Drummers, members of student council, and “spontaneous cheerleaders” led the pack, as they shouted school cheers for the whole two blocks. They failed to incite a reaction from passing cars, and were saddened that they would not honk their horns, but hordes of Northern kids still loudly booed the mob from their classroom windows. North Toronto, in turn, got even louder. Red and Grey Day, 2000: Another Triumph for Red and Grey In this edition, Ilana Goodman describes how although Red and Grey Day had changed slightly, “due to the teachers work-to-rule initiative,” spirit was still running high. Everyone arrived at 8:30 in their red and grey attire — clothes, face paint, and coloured hair spray — and decorated their classrooms. “To hype everyone up in preparation for the event,” signs, posters, and streamers decorated the hallways and encouraged everyone to give it their all. The difference this year were the games “that reflected the frenetic aspect of North Toronto activity.” They set up stations where teams would compete to
pass around a lifesaver on a toothpick, eat a donut off a goal post, throw eggs into a bucket, and by far my favourite, eat brownies out of diapers. Fifth year students even played, and won a game of dodgeball against the teachers where the ‘balls’ were balloons filled with yogurt. Even though there was no football game, “the spirit and devotion of the school took hold and the day proved to be an overall victory.” Red and Grey Day 2001: Red and Grey Day: a true welcome for grade nines In her article, student Audrey Draper describes her first Red and Grey day as a grade nine. At first she believes it to be “a cruel joke played on the grade nines every year” where they would “show up dressed in red and grey with [their] faces painted and hair dyed, only to be completely humiliated.” She was surprised, however, to learn that “all the students and teachers” come “decked out in red and grey.” She also describes the excitement of decorating her homeform class “well worth losing an hour of sleep for,” and recounts “the banners,” “the newspapers,” and even “the food” that decorated the walls. During the customary after-school march to Northern, she thanks the experience of Red and Grey day for making her feel like “part of the school.” Red and Grey Day 2014: #REDANDGREY This was not an article, rather, a collage of tweets, hashtags, and photos in homage to Red and Grey Day that year. Highlights include the NTAA president Robert Gott wearing a crown and sport-
ing complete red and grey war paint, George, our beloved hall monitor wearing his red and grey, a photo of the auditorium, and tweets from various students and teachers. A personal favourite is “Wish today would never end. #redandgreyday #NT #best day ever.” Red and Grey Day 2018: Hannah and Ashley’s Recount from Grade 11 Last year, though the traditions were different from years previous, spirit was as strong as ever. We decorated our homeform classes with various themes, ranging from Wii bowling, Bandits holding Mr. Varahidis hostage, to Breaking Bad, complete with food and decorations galore. Students were free to roam the halls in gleeful mobs of red and grey, excited to visit other homeforms. Fond memories include collecting handfuls of sweets and hijacking the band room aux cord, eventually summoning a small dance party of about 20 students. The winning homeform, Ms. Meyer’s Grade 11 chemistry class, was transformed into a full blown meth lab complete with a fog machine and smoking test tubes of various colours. Students clad in goggles, gloves, and lab coats handed out bags of meth, sorry, crushed Jolly Ranchers to all those who passed by. The end of the day brought the assembly, this time featuring a video of heart-broken teachers offering their farewells to the old mascot, and laying him to rest in the creek at Sherwood park, followed by the unveiling of our brand new mascot. After was the annual football game against Northern, but this time on our own field. In traditional fashion, we still lost. Red and Grey Day 2019: The Devolution of Red and Grey Day This year, there were no longer homeform themes, as they were deemed too wasteful. Many students, especially those in upper grades, arrived at 9:00 am to barren classrooms, populated by nine students at most. Roaming the halls was also prohibited this year, as it was deemed a liability issue. I took a three minute “bathroom break” in an attempt to scout any forms of liveliness beyond my near-empty data management class, but I was quickly shepherded back by one of the many teachers stationed to guard the nowsilent hallways. The only people who were afforded the luxury of visiting other classes were the newly introduced “hype squad,” composed of grade 12s wearing hats, wigs, glasses, and jerseys. Classes ran as usual, with teachers teaching lessons, assigning homework, and even giving out tests. This year’s highlight was the Norseman starting a fight with the Lawrence Park bear during a break in the girl’s field hockey game. The assembly was half empty, and the clumps of red and grey patchy. Yelling was absent, replaced by the sound of people banging their inflatable thunder sticks together in an attempt to entertain themselves. As we will leave the school behind in June, we call upon the 03s to fix things for next year. By the spirit of the Norseman, good luck.
Photo courtesy of Kenneth Salim
FEATURES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 11
Is Hong Kong just another Chinese city? An interview with Sasa Petricic, Asia correspondent for CBC News and former NT grad Kiana Sharifi Layout Designer
n June 12, 2019, thousands of people amassed around Hong Kong’s government complex to protest a controversial overhaul of the city’s extradition law that would make it possible to send suspects to mainland China for trial. A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 and has since been ruled under a constitutional principle called “One Country, Two Systems”. There has long been a fear of China’s gradual elimination of their judicial and legal independence and this extradition law was seen as a threat. Since then, the bill has been withdrawn, but the government’s perceived ignorance triggered a reaction and the protests continued — as did the eruptions of violence. Based in Beijing, NT alumnus (‘82) Sasa Petricic is the Asia Correspondent for CBC, primarily covering China. He travels to wherever the big stories occur — currently that is Hong Kong — and focuses on bringing context to why these events are happening. “What’s the police doing? What’s the government doing? And also trying to give it a little bit more context about why it’s happening and perhaps where it’s going” are aspects that Petricic says he is reporting about. Under normal circumstances, he does his shooting as well as reporting, but in dangerous situations, like these protests, he has a cameraperson because it is safer with an extra pair of eyes. Petricic explained that it is important to take precautions: “We have gas masks which we put on when necessary because there is a lot of tear gas.” He notes that the police are using tear gas in such large quantities with the least provocation, sometimes even none. The number of people out on the streets from the beginning has been around one million to two million people, out of Hong Kong’s population of around seven million. “This is huge and I think it speaks to the level of anxiety, the level of distrust of China,” says Petricic. From his first-hand observations, he said, “If you are standing in the middle of the tear gas and seeing the protestors on one side and the police on the other side, you are going to draw conclusions about how each side is acting”. There are, to some extent, a small group of out of control protesters, but they have been careful in targeting the police and issues that specifically have connections to either China, the Chinese government, or the Hong Kong government. “I have been surprised at how disciplined [the protesters have] been at keeping [their] focus on the things that really upset them,” Petricic expressed. China has been very careful to uphold the current situation as just a Hong Kong event and spelling out this narrative that they are independent and
operating with somewhat of a democratic system. “Watching what has been happening with the police over the last while, there is a good case to be made that [the Chinese government] has better equipped and encouraged the Hong Kong police to be tougher and tougher and tougher,” said Petricic. In effect, this would mean do the job that Chinese troops would do. China has tried to make this strictly a Hong Kong problem and solution, meaning to get the police out to deal with it, but not necessarily solve it. The police in Hong Kong used to be very well trusted and were known as the most professional force in the region, but now, Petricic says, “I’ve seen this week after week. Local people will come out and heckle and jeer at the police as they’re doing their job.” Petricic stated that, had the government stepped in and withdrew the bill earlier, a lot of the anger and energy would have been taken out of the protests at that point. It took two months for the government to withdraw the bill fully. He also said, “I think the deeper problem is that the system in Hong Kong is not democratic so whatever the government does, it doesn’t have the same legitimacy if the government of Canada were to do it”. One of the biggest questions people have about the Hong Kong protests is, why are they continuing to happen? And why have they gotten more aggressive? What started as calmer protests has “morphed into a more and more aggressive series of protests”, Petricic says and this was because it was clear that the government wasn’t listening. He also pointed out that, “Yes the government did withdraw the bill, but it took weeks and weeks for that
to happen and it was always at a very slow pace”. Although what the government has and hasn’t been doing is very key to this uprise, he explains that it’s, “How it’s been doing it and this general feeling that the government is a) not listening and b) doesn’t have any real respect for the voice of the people”. Those two reasons have just increased the frustration and anger that has been not only in the streets, but in homes and communities as well. Petricic believes that it’s all been tapping into this perception that as a citizen they can’t elect who governs them, they have no say in what the police do, they have no say in what laws are passed, and when something is not right, they don’t have any recourse. “Every time the government has a chance to make things better and reassure people, they have chosen instead to prove what people fear is exactly what’s happening,” Petricic says. It’s hard to predict where these protests are going to go and when they will end. Petricic articulated that “It is possible for the police to restore calmness at a given time, but I think [it would be] temporary”. The last four months have been a continuation of protests, like the Umbrella movement from five years ago, which ended when the government was not interested in what the protesters, mainly students, had to say, which was a demand for more democracy. The protestors had a limited amount of public support and it seemingly died down. “It left its mark on Hong Kong and these concerns and frustrations and anger has simmered under the surface for the past five years,” Petricic explained. The government has tried to diffuse it, not by dealing with the core demands,
Photo courtesy of Sasa Petricic
but by going after people they see as leaders of that movement, like Joshua Wong and Alex Chow. In undermining that movement, Petricic understands that it has come back in a stronger way because of the lack of effort to deal with the core underlying conflicts. “So they’ve passed this along to a new generation that also mistrusts the police and government, some people calling them the ‘lost generation’, ” Petricic said. He gathers that they have no respect for anything within the system of Hong Kong and it will be very difficult to change their minds; these people may continue to fight the system or simply leave Hong Kong if they have those kinds of resources. He also explained that “this mistrust of the government and police is now much more deeply rooted and it is going to be even harder to convince all these people that their fears are unfounded”. This movement may be beaten into submission over the next month or six months, but the underlying frustrations will not go away. It may be that China’s aim is simply to eventually turn Hong Kong into “just another Chinese city”, a term Petricic has heard being used in reference to Hong Kong several times. When you have a population that has not grown up with strict government policies, but through the expectation that things should get even more democratic, Petricic expressed, “it is impossible to put that genie back into the bottle and to say now you have to live under a dictatorial, totalitarian system and be happy with that”.
12 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | FEATURES POLITICS
Why can’t we achieve gender parity in politics?
Women hold fewer elected positions than men at all levels of government and at NT Jane Carli Section Editor
he recent Canadian federal election saw ten more female MPs elected to parliament than in the 2015 election, bringing the number of female MPs up to 29%. It is clear that as a nation we are far from political gender parity, with wide female representation gaps at every level of government. This is a trend that is present globally: as of February 2019, 24.3% of all national parliamentarians were women; however, nearly half of candidates running for head-of-state positions in elections are female. Narrowing in on North America, Canada has had one female prime minister, Kim Campbell, who served in office for five months. The US has yet to elect a female president. One reason women are so underrepresented is that they don’t run in the first place. Women are more inclined to underestimate their abilities and qualifications to run due to a lack of support from their parents, teachers, or party leaders. This confidence-gap is not limited to politics; it is present across fields such as science and business which have historically been exclusive
to men. Part of the reason for women’s hesitancy to enter politics is the difference in how society rewards women and men for the same behaviour. Men are rewarded for ambition, while women are told to be wary of how they promote themselves and put motherhood before their careers and themselves. Where working women are expected to hold the attitude of “start at the bottom and work your way up”, men are easily given the opportunities to enter positions of leadership and power. Across the last three federal elections, parties recruited twice as many men as women. In some cases, such as the 2016 presidential election in the U.S.A., elections can bring out political bias and sexism. While some women feel empowered to take action when criticized by male political leaders, others shy away from politics because of this. As well, an elected official must spend approximately 250 days in Ottawa, a commitment that may be more difficult for women to balance with their family lives. Journalist Anne Legacé Dawson, a woman who ran twice for the NDP in Montreal, said in an interview that she “really had to think about running” and that “for women, there is a higher price to pay when you run”. North Toronto C.I.’s student
election history mimics those of Canada’s elections. Ms. Hayden, one of NT’s guidance counsellors, notes that over her last fourteen years overseeing student council elections at NT, a total of three female presidents have been elected. Fifth year student, Josh Chong, believes this is because male students tend to vote for male candidates while female students split their vote between male and female candidates. He also says he notices that “there are far more female vice-presidential candidates than female presidential candidates,” He suggests that this could be because some females choose not to run because they don’t think they will win. Hayden believes that the “institutional and covert sexism” embedded in society causes students to associate men with power, rather than women. “We have adapted these sexist attitudes because students see that major leadership roles, such as heads of governments and major corporations, are male,’’ she says. Whether we are aware of it or not, this sexism is an effect of how we have been socialized to interpret gender roles and influences the political decisions we make. Chong also notes that the “presidential position is kind of an outlier; in almost every other club or council, there
is far more participation from females rather than males”. Because of this, he believes that female students choose not to run because they already hold leadership roles in clubs and committees throughout the school where their positions are not determined by a school wide vote. This correlates back to low levels of female confidence, where women have been taught that they are more effective in behind-the-scenes leadership positions. “If females aren’t putting their names forward for political positions at a high school level, it is unlikely that we will see change at larger levels of governance,” Chong says. There are a variety of contributing factors that affect the issues of female representation in high level leadership positions, specifically in politics. Although the gender gap is beginning to close, the percentage of women in power is not reflective of the population as a whole, where women makeup over 50%. Change will require addressing greater issues of sexism and patriarchy present in society. As students, we are the future of politics and have the power to reject the androcentric attitudes passed down through government and greater political leaders.
How to organize a climate strike
Allie Rougeot, organizer for #FridaysForFuture Toronto, shares how she planned the biggest climate protest Toronto has ever seen
Sara Chiarotto O’Brien Editor in Chief
hen Greta Thunberg began her skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate) in 2018, no one could have imagined her small displays of activism would inspire an international movement of millions of #FridaysForFuture climate strikers globally. The success and size of these protests point to an intense desire among young people to protect their future and the world in which they live. However, it would be inaccurate to characterize the movement’s recent demonstrations as acts of youthful frustration and rebellion. The reality of bringing a climate strike to life is far from spontaneous and requires well-organized co-operation and effort from many parties. No one knows this better than Allie Rougeot, the University of Toronto student who has been leading the #FridaysForFuture strikes in Toronto since their inception. Graffiti spoke with Rougeot about the process of organizing the September 27 climate strike, which attracted over ten thousand protestors to Queen’s Park. While most students heard about the strike in mid-August or early September, the seeds of the protest were planted much earlier, in June 2019. After months of weekly strikes,
#FridaysForFuture had built a solid base of supporters and successfully hosted one large protest in May 2019. A climate strike of unprecedented size in Toronto was the obvious next step. After setting her sights on the goal, Rougeot reached out to fellow activists and representatives from other climate justice non-profits for help. “The team that I think of as the Friday’s For Future team isn’t necessarily the one that I think of as the team that organized the strike,” she says. For Rougeot, building a larger team was necessary, not only to tackle the logistics of the project, but also to ensure that the strike gave a voice to all communities affected by climate issues. “If we were going to make it big we should make it more intersectional and as a white downtown student that was not my role.” In order to gain a variety of perspectives, Rougeot and her team put together a coalition of almost ten different groups, including various first nations, immigrant, and racial justice organizations. “Every voice became included in the process” of developing a list of demands. Once the demands and intentions of the demonstration had been set, the team began organizing the details of the event. The first step was to obtain a permit, which was granted from Queen’s Park in about two weeks. Then the bigger challenges were dealt
with, such as renting a sound system, barricades, and a stage, which required insurance. Additionally, #FridaysForFuture had to pay for the transportation of guest speakers, advertising and posters, ASL interpreters, and a number of other last minute expenses. In total, the event cost approximately $15,000. This was financed predominantly through donations from the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, and a public GoFundMe page. Rougeot noted that “this strike was high budget compared to the other strikes but low budget considering what we pulled off.” Financial hurdles weren’t the only worries the #FridaysForFuture team had to contend with in the lead up to the strike. As with any mass gathering, there was also the issue of safety to consider. Rougeot admitted that people taking advantage of the strikes to cause trouble was a big concern of hers. “The night before, I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking, what if something goes wrong?… This is a youth strike; there’s going to be families and kids.” Thankfully, there were no violent incidents the day of the protest. Overall, Rougeot is “extremely happy” with the event’s turnout, but she is clear that this is not the end. She feels that for some, the message was lost in the hype. “Part of me is a little bit angry that there was no real acknowl-
edgement by most public officials [of the intention of the protest]”. She was particularly concerned by the way that politicians, notably Justin Trudeau, referred to the protest as a ‘march’, “as though it was like Pride Parade where we’re celebrating.” Rougeot, who was born and raised in France, notes that the co-opting of a political protest by the government under scrutiny “would be unthinkable in Europe”. Going forward, Rougeot would like to increase the size and frequency of the demonstrations “until everybody is slightly annoyed...and it becomes impossible to do business as usual without encountering some kind of climate protest.” She feels this escalation is necessary until politicians and corporations start treating climate change as their top priority. Although the complexity of running Toronto’s #FridaysForFuture events has increased along with the movement’s size and power, Rougeot believes that there is still ample space for students in the climate movement. #FridaysForFuture was founded by high school students and Rougeot insists that there are still many opportunities and a need “for every high school student to step up.” For now, Rougeot is working on the next protest, which is expected to take place in November 2019.
FEATURES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 13 POLITICS
Provincial government bans cell phones in classrooms Students, teachers, and parents hold mixed opinions about new policy
Photo by Sara Chiarotto O’Brien
Kaya Makivic Editor
n 2011, the TDSB lifted their fouryear-long ban on cellphone use in the classroom in order to “prepare [students] for 21st century learning,” according to the student trustee at the time, Jenny Williams. The new rules regarding cell phone use in the classroom “[allowed] teachers to determine whether, and how, devices [could] be used in class”. Since then, technology has advanced significantly, and dependence on technology has grown in academic, professional, and social settings. It has now been eight years since the ban was lifted, and the provincial government run by Doug Ford has set November 4, 2019 as the day they are going to implement the ban once again in schools throughout Ontario. According to the provincial government, 97% of the parents, teachers and students spoken to during consultations last fall said “cell phone use should be restricted in some way”. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said, “when in class, students should be focused on their studies, not on their social media, [which] is why we are re-
stricting cell phones and other personal mobile devices in the classroom while making sure technology is available to help students achieve success in the digital economy and modern workforce.” However, not everyone is sold on the new policy and many are questioning how effective it will really be, as it is still in the hands of the teacher and the school to enforce the rule. As for North Toronto C.I., teachers have varying rules regarding cell phone use in their classroom, however there seems to be a consensus that ideally students should not have their cell phones out during class time. Of the three NT teachers that were interviewed, Mr. Gardner and Mr. Jones said that as a general rule, they do not allow cell phone use in the classroom. “Cell phones are just one form of distractions, and, in general, with distractions I like to redirect” says Jones. Gardner shares a similar opinion, saying that since he teaches mathematics, “[they are] not doing research in class” therefore “it’s only a distraction” and there is no need for cell phones to be out, adding that “studies have shown that it takes twenty minutes to get back on task after you look at your cell phone and respond to whatever it may be”. Although willing to make exceptions when
students ask for permission for reasons they deem valid, not following Jones’ or Gardner’s rule will result in students being sent down to the office “to deposit [the phone] downstairs” in exchange for a note that proves to teachers that the phone was left in the office. Other teachers, such as Mr. Zohar, follow an alternate school of thought. “Students can either put their phones away in their bags, or, more likely, I’d like them to put their phones on their desk in front of them. They can use their phone as they need to during the class but because it’s on their desk where I can see it, so they’re not likely to lose themselves in their phones.” shared Zohar. He continues, “I’m not thrilled about students having their phones with them but what I really can’t stand is students lying about having their phones with them or students being so distracted by their phones for long periods of time that I’ve lost them from the class. I think that in the best of both worlds they wouldn’t have phones, but since they’re going to anyways I’d rather they don’t lie about it”. All three teachers agreed that it’s a matter of enforcement. Gardner said, “if you’re inconsistent with enforcing the rule, you’re going to create
a problem for yourself”. Mr. Jones also said that he really appreciates the support he receives from administration and that if it weren’t for the school’s policy of sending students to the office with their phones, he would not be able to enforce the rule. Jones believes that although this need to stay in contact through messaging and social media is not new and has been a problem for students for years, the habit of being glued to one’s phone “has become even more entrenched over the years”. A stricter rule regarding cell phones would be welcomed by these NT teachers, but to them the provincial government’s ban does not seem effective. Jones and Zohar agree that the government doesn’t have a plan to back up the rule with Jones saying that “people are going to do what they want to do regardless of what they’re told to do. I don’t think the government has a plan beyond the plans that are already in schools, so I don’t think anything is going to change.” Zohar shared that “[he] would actually love a cell phone ban,” however the last time he had a “no cell phones in class rule” it wasn’t nearly as effective as his current rule because of the great difficulty he had enforcing it.
14 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | FEATURES EDUCATION
Government introduces mandatory e-learning
Doug Ford’s new education policies force highschool students to complete four mandatory e-learning credits
Illustration by Christina Kim
Enkhjin Bolor Ema Kazazi Contributors
n March 15, 2019, a document labeled “Education That Works for You - Modernizing Classrooms,” was published by the Ontario government, and stated that secondary school students must complete four of their 30 courses online in order to receive a high school diploma. These changes will take effect the 2020-2021 academic year. Education Minister Lisa Thompson said, “The reality of today is [that] we need to be embracing technology for good. And when it comes to online opportunities for our students, I think we should all agree … we want to make sure that they have every opportunity to put their best foot forward.” Five states in the U.S., Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, and Virginia, require one e-learning credit. In a number of other states, e-learning is encouraged rather than forced. “If Ontario goes ahead with the plan to make four online courses mandatory, the requirement will be four times greater than any other jurisdiction,” said Michael Barbour, an international consultant in online learning and associate professor of instructional design for Touro University California. One e-learning course would
have students spend 110 hours of instructional time in front of an electronic device. Throughout a student’s high school career, this results in 440 hours that are taken out of a classroom and put in front of a computer. However, these numbers do not account for the time needed to complete daily homework, finish assignments, study for tests and quizzes, as well as prepare for the final exam at the end of the course. While the convenience of technology may trump the overall drawbacks of e-learning, thousands of teachers across Ontario will be left unemployed. An estimated 3475 teachers will lose their job over the next four years due to the education cuts. Despite the job losses, it was found that many online teachers do not offer quality learning opportunities to the 630 000 high school students in Ontario. The Ontario Student Trustees’ Association asked students about online learning in its 2017 survey. In the study, students were asked to rate the extent to which online classes provided comparable quality learning opportunities as classes in person. A rating of one meant “not at all”, while a rating of five meant “exactly the same’’ as face-to-face learning. Less than a quarter of the students surveyed rated online courses at a level of four or five. “It was really hard to understand my teacher’s expectations and rubrics be-
cause they couldn’t be there in person to give me feedback, and that’s what I found tough about it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fully understand my teacher’s expectations, so I wasn’t really getting the marks that I wanted. So it just feels a little more distant since the connection with your teacher is not as strong as in a real school,” said Anu Bolor, a grade 11 North Toronto C.I. student, regarding her experience with e-learning. Disengagement, low levels of completion, and high dropout rates are challenges that many students who have taken e-learning courses have faced. “I have very rarely failed anyone who’s completed all the assignments; routinely, however, up to a third of the class will simply not complete the course,” stated Anya Wassenburg, an e-learning teacher, about her experience teaching an online course. Additionally, the average size of online classes would be 35 students. The current average class size for high schools is around 28-30 students. This would mean an extra 12 students a teacher is responsible for, resulting in a far lower engagement level. It will also take time for teachers to build the skills and expertise needed to teach students online, and they will spend more time supervising students who are spending 10 percent of their time in an online course. This will be
especially difficult for those with special needs, unless they are allowed to be exempt from the mandatory credits in general. The question of what counts as special needs is still left unanswered. Along with a large number of students and teachers, experts believe making these credits mandatory is the wrong course of action. Beyhan Farhadi, a University of Toronto PhD candidate whose thesis focuses on e-learning at the Toronto District School Board, says, “The ministry hasn’t paid much attention to e-learning aside from having licensed the platform. In the research I’ve done, only a minority of students succeed and those students are concentrated in really high achieving schools.” Students often do not attend “synchronous” learning sessions, even though attendance is mandatory. “Maybe a third of the class shows up because they can watch it after. There is no incentive for them to be there,” she said. Adding on, e-learning “does not transcend race,” Farhadi said. In her research, she found that Black students were “disproportionately stigmatized, stereotyped, misdirected, pathologized, and disciplined” in the online curriculum. She also found that students who were gifted were overrepresented in e-learning courses.
FEATURES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 15
Dinosaurs had these 5 human diseases too Discovery of ancient diseases gives us better insight into our own health
Nathalie Funes Serna Editor
fearsome, huge, invincible creature with sharpened teeth is what most people picture when they think about dinosaurs. It is hard to believe that these magnificent animals succumbed to the same diseases that humans also suffer from. However, after countless years of research and newly discovered fossils, paleontologists have discovered several diseases that affect humans and dinosaurs alike. 1. Malaria A mosquito that was flying alongside dinosaurs over 100 million years ago was found preserved in amber — just like in Jurassic Park. This mosquito is an anopheline mosquito, and is the same species that spread malaria in humans today. The fossil provides new information on the disease that continues to kill more than 400 000 people annually. Just as mosquitoes feast on humans, they also feasted on dinosaurs, spreading a disease that killed them. The author of this study, George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University’s College of Science, said that understanding the history of ancient malaria might offer clues on this disease’s cycle and on how to interrupt its spread. 2. Dandruff Dr. Maria McNamara and her team from University College Cork were not originally looking for attestations of dandruff in fossils. Dr. NcNamara stated that “[they] were originally interested in studying the feathers, and [while doing so, they] kept finding
these little white blobs. The stuff was everywhere; it was in between all the feathers.” They discussed the possibility of it being “shells, or reptile skin, but [the remains were] not consistent with any of those things. [The] only option left was that it was fragments of skin that were preserved … what we would call dandruff.” This study also suggested that dandruff evolved in response to the increase of feathered dinosaurs at some point during the Middle Jurassic period. 3. Intestinal worms Because worms probably died and decayed shortly after the dinosaur they inhabited died, it is almost impossible to state for certain that dinosaurs had parasites. However, after examining cropolites, fossilized feces, scientists found that some contained tapeworms and trematode eggs, two of the most common parasites found in humans, and therefore concluded that dinosaurs possibly had parasites just like humans. These worms are believed to have reached 60ft (18 metres) in length, which is relatively small considering that tapeworms can grow up to 50ft (15m) in humans. But their size is mere speculation, since scientists cannot determine an exact length just based on their eggs.
covered to be susceptible to osteoarthritis. Bruce Rothschild, a radiologist from the University of Kansas in Lawrence and his colleagues discovered signs of this disease in three of the ten available Caudipteryx fossils, which were alive 130 million years ago. This is the oldest case of osteoarthritis known. 5. Cancer Although cancer is generally thought of as a newer disease, fossil findings prove that cancer has existed for some time now. Radiologist Bruce Rothschild and his team from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Rootstown, scanned over 10 000 dinosaur fossils from several museums in North America. Their findings were clear: dinosaurs also had cancer. The cancerous parts resembled tumours found in human patients. But only
one of the examined dinosaur species had indications of cancer: the Hadrosaurs or duck-billed dinosaurs. According to Yara Haridy, the study’s co-author, these new findings suggest that cancer is “a vulnerability to mutation deeply rooted in our DNA.” Since well preserved dinosaurs’ skin pieces or mummified organs are not available, scientific knowledge about all of the diseases dinosaurs had is limited. However, the few fossilized bones available still talk a lot about some of their diseases. And it is always fascinating to discover that these formidable animals succumbed to the same diseases as humans nowadays. Not only do these discoveries offer fresh and new insights on understanding today’s diseases, but they also allow us to comprehend how past ecosystems worked.
4. Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in humans, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the cartilage, which functions as a protective cushion between bones, wears down, causing intense pain and difficulty of movement. Caudipteryx, a feathered dinosaur that resembles birds today, was a dinosaur species disIllustration by Tanzeem Fatema
How to stay warm this winter The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a winter with lots of “good old-fashioned snow”
Emily Sakaguchi Editor in Chief
f you gained any experience from last winter’s heaping snow trenches, “it’s very, very good, because you’re going to need it this year,” according to Jack Burnett, the managing editor of Canada’s edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. He has been a part of the publication for roughly 20 years. “It’s going to be real snowy [this year],” says Burnett. “Watch where you’re going. Wear shoes with tread.” The almanac is predicting that Toronto’s winter will have milder temperatures but more snow than most winters. This November will see about 10 mm more precipitation than usual, as well as uncommonly cold temperatures in the latter half of the month; it will be “about a degree colder than normal, which in meteorological terms is a lot, as it takes a lot to change averages.”
“In Toronto, there’s going to be snow before December, but snow to really speak of will start arriving in the first week of December.” Burnett says the heaviest snow periods will be from the middle of January to the end of January, the middle week of February, and the first week of March, with the coldest temperatures occurring from the middle of January to the beginning of March. A mild spell is expected around January 29 to 31 to offer some respite. “The good news,” says Burnett is that “it will be snow. Will it be a winter without sleet and freezing rain? No, it won’t be, but there will be a lot more good old fashioned snow, so with that regard it might be a little bit easier [than last winter].” For students in chilly classrooms, Burnett jokes that, “there’s nothing better than a warm bagel in your pocket to help out in desperate times,” but seriously recommends that, “if you have a choice, drink water. In
general, the effects of anything other than water are not necessarily good with regard to feeling warm. Sure, if you drink hot coffee, it warms your inside,” but, once that warmth is gone, the effects of water are preferable. Another way to “stay ahead of the weather” is to “get an interactive radar map app and put it on your phone.” Burnett feels that people “don’t take advantage of technology enough,” as only checking the weather network at night is risky. “Weather can change really quickly, and so they’ll get up in the morning and they’ll plan for their day, and what they thought last night was going to happen that day and that afternoon doesn’t happen, or it’s worse, or it’s better.” With an interactive radar map, you can see “when the clouds are going to come in, when the rain is going to come in, when the snows come in, and you can advance it hour by hour. You can actually zoom in on it, and you can actually see when rain is going to
start on your street, or when the snow is going to start in your neighbourhood.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac, first published in 1792, forms its predictions based on meteorological observations, long term weather trends, and solar radiation. Burnett emphasizes that their process is scientific, explaining, “we don’t take 100 wooly bear caterpillars and put them on a table and watch what they do. We don’t cut up pig spleens or look at persimmon seeds.” Instead, they use computer algorithms to analyze data and search for cycles and patterns. “There has been an effect of climate change,” Burnett mentions. The almanac is “doing some tweaks, some tests,” in order to adjust for the increasing unpredictability as the global climate changes. In the meantime, Burnett recommends staying informed about the weather and prepared for yet another trying winter.
16 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY
business & tech
Is Instagram “therapy” really therapy?
Therapists and doctors against social media as a replacement for professional treatment Hao Zheng Editor
henever the words “Instagram” and “mental health” are seen together, a negative correlation is usually assumed. Most social media, including Instagram, have been proven to be “excellent” platforms for mental health problems to arise. According to a report in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the U.K., Instagram alone caused problems like anxiety, depression, loneliness, and issues with sleep, body image, and bullying. A recent trend, however, “Instagram therapy” has changed this stereotype – online support groups are formed between individuals suffering from mental health problems, where they share their experiences in group chats, post inspiring quotes, and spread educational information related to self-love. These interactions between peers can be extremely helpful for the healing process of individuals. “We support each other through comments and sometimes via [direct message],” stated Caroline, a 50-yearold victim of an abusive relationship that lasted 27 years. She further explained that posting daily and seeing posts from others has created a warm, comfortable, and healthy online environment for her. But is it actually equal to real therapy? “Therapy doesn’t happen over social media, and it shouldn’t,” said Miriam Kirmayer, a Montreal based therapist. Kirmayer thinks it is necessary to draw a distinct line between the online therapy and the actual therapy. “Therapy is much more than meaningful quotes…We work together to figure out what [a patient’s] individual or unique experience has been as opposed to this kind of collective struggle we’re talking about online.” For example, many young people entering the workforce face many challenges such as coping with the working lifestyle, paying bills, meeting family expectations, and handling relationships. All of these struggles, as well as the level of anxiety and depression caused by them, are very different in nature. Furthermore, according to Shana MacDonald, social media expert and assistant professor at the University of Waterloo, this type of “therapy” also lacks authenticity of what would actually happen in real life. Due to the nature of this platform, and of any social media, people can’t be completely “real” online. This means that many would set up their expectations too high based on their experiences with the online groups and start assuming everyone is as nice as they seem online. This will make
Illustration by Yuchen (Lauren) Zhang
them unprepared and become even more vulnerable when they receive negative reactions from others in real life. Another harmful effect of Instagram therapy is that it can spread untrue or misleading information regarding certain serious mental health disorders. Kirmayer reveals how terms like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and depression are used in casual ways to mean something that is much lighter than what they actually mean. Therapists like Kirmayer are establishing online profiles to educate people on the importance of understanding the real meanings of the terms. Joshua Peters, a registered psychotherapist, is concerned that the users of the social media are unable to differentiate between licensed mental healthcare professionals and individuals who are just posting their stories online. By following the psycho-educational and non-therapeutic tips
provided online, users might think that they are getting professional treatment, while actually they are not. These tips could result in a minimized feeling of loneliness in users, but it is only temporary, and therefore ineffective and meaningless. Moreover, the term “Instagram therapy” itself is controversial and ironic, as most teens’ mental health issues are rooted in Instagram itself. It makes people question the feasibility and effectiveness of this type of therapy, which seems to be contradictory with the commonly accepted understanding of Instagram, and social media as a whole. With that being said, “Instagram therapy” can provide an alternative for people who have difficult access to face-to-face mental health services. According to Kirmayer, although it’s not the same as the real therapy, “hearing [that] other people are going through a similar struggle can be very validating, normalizing and reduce feelings of shame,” and therefore, can
be beneficial to the healing journey of patients with mental health issues. “It is not uncommon for someone, or even a youth, who wants to get help, and told that they [have] to wait 12 to 18 months,” says Louise Bradley, the President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, “that simply isn’t acceptable, and it leads us to have our mental health system very, very fragmented.” In this case, Instagram therapy could come into place and help mitigate the feelings of loneliness and helplessness that many people, especially teenagers, have to face. But again, can Instagram therapy be proven to remain reliable and effective in the long run, despite its accessibility and convenience? Are therapists feeling pressured to enter the online space to gain wider exposure to its potential clients so they could get more profits? These are some of the questions yet to be answered.
BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 17 SOCIAL MEDIA
Influenced by numbers
Instagram’s new feature eliminates the display of “likes” on user’s posts
Abigail Coultice Contributor
xplore our community where you can feel free to be yourself” reads a segment from the Instagram App Store description. Instagram is a part of most adolescence social lives, but for many teenagers this app description is a lie. The Instagram community has turned into a society with unrealistic standards of people: those with a certain look will get more likes. Teenagers had been fixated on fitting
in for generations, keeping up with the latest trends and copying popular influencers. Being able to see what society likes through the amount of “double taps” on a picture makes teenagers more likely to want to change in order to fit a popular standard as it is believed that looking the part will lead to social gains. This leaves adolescents vulnerable when dealing with the pressure that comes along with the attempt of instagram popularity. Recently, Instagram made a change to the app in hopes of changing their like-seeking community. The feature of viewing the amount of likes on a pic-
ture or video was turned off. When this update was first released, most teenagers reacted negatively to this change. But this finally gives instagrammers the chance to realize that Instagram is not as influential as it used to be. A study by UCLA Brain Mapping Center studied teens 13 to 18 years old, and discovered that no matter what the content is, if a picture has a high amount of likes, a teen also liked it. Why does a meaningless society now tell teenagers what to view and influence their life just because of the amount of likes it has? It is like they have no freedom when on Instagram. By eliminating the
aspect of Instagram that made many accounts famous, the amount of likes, society has the opportunity to change so the influence on adolescent minds isn’t from “picture perfect” billionaires with millions of likes, such as members of the Kardashian-Jenner family. Instagram’s app description, “Explore our community where you can feel free to be yourself,” can now become a reality with this change Instagram has recently made. Teenagers can now become part of a community where the numbers do not matter, but the memories they share do.
Is the iPhone 11 worth it?
The iPhone 11 comes with some major improvements, but is it worth the investment?
Kenneth Vincenzo Salim Contributor
here is no doubt that over the past few years there have been debates on which is better, iOS devices or Android devices. Apple made a big step into the “bezel-less” design concept with their iPhone X, and it was revolutionary for the whole smartphone industry. On September 10, 2019, Apple released their latest and greatest lineup of iPhones – iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. These iPhones are the updated versions of the previous iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, respectively. The new lineup of iPhones still uses the same design as their predecessors, iPhone X, which was released two years ago. There has not been much change on the outside of the new iPhones, but a lot of work was put into the internals of the new iPhones. Let’s see what the new lineup of iPhones has to offer for 2019. iPhone 11 The iPhone 11 still has the same 6.1” LCD display as the iPhone XR that Apple called Liquid Retina Display, and even though it is still an LCD display with a low pixel resolution, it is by no means a bad display. It is still one of the most color accurate displays with an amazing contrast ratio of 4000 to 1, which means that the brightest colour the display can project is 4000 times brighter than the darkest colour that it can project. In comparison, the contrast ratio of a typical laptop or computer display is 1000 to 1. Although the display and design remains the same, almost everything else is new in this iPhone. It received an upgrade for its memory to 4GB from 3GB, and an all-new A13 Bionic chip, which is the fastest chip in a smartphone. It also has a better water resistance rating of IP68 (two metres up to 30 minutes) and one extra hour of battery life compared to last year’s iPhone XR. The main upgrade that the iPhone 11 received this year was on its cameras. It has a dualcamera setup – 12-megapixels Ultra Wide and Wide camera lenses – on its rear camera and a 12-megapixels front-
facing camera. These new lenses enable the new iPhone 11 to take better photos and videos. Apple also introduced their night mode, which helps in very low light conditions and deep fusion, which increases the dynamic range and sharpness of the photos taken. Apple also introduced better video quality on its front-facing camera with the ability to shoot 4K 60 frames per second videos as well as slo-mo videos at 1080p 120 frames per second. The iPhone 11 is available from CAD 979 and you can choose from six different colours: white, black, green, yellow, purple, and red. iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max Both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max use 5.8” and 6.1” OLED displays that Apple called Super Retina XDR Display, and it is arguably the best smartphone displays that are out there. It is HDR compatible, with a 2 to 1 contrast ratio. Same as the iPhone 11, the Pro models also have 4GB of memory and Apple’s newest A13 Bionic chip, while having a better water resistance of IP68 rating at four metres up to 30 minutes. However, what is impressive is the upgrade in the battery life for the Pro models. The iPhone 11 Pro received four additional hours of battery life compared to the iPhone XS and the iPhone 11 Pro Max received five additional hours of battery life over the older iPhone XS Max. It seems that Apple focuses on making the iPhone cameras even better this year since the Pro models now receive a third lense, which is a wide angle lense. All three rear lenses are 12-megapixels with the capability of switching between lenses seamlessly, while the front-facing camera is exactly the same as the one in iPhone 11. All features such as night mode and deep fusion are also available in the Pro models. The iPhone 11 Pro is available at CAD 1379 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in at CAD 1519, with the choice of space grey, silver, gold, and the new colour, midnight green. The new lineup of iPhones for 2019 is undoubtedly impressive, but is it ready to compete with its competitors? The answer to that question is relative to how someone uses their phone. If you love taking cool photographs and cinematic video shots as well as editing it right on your phone, these new
iPhones might be a reliable choice for you. However, the high price point of the new iPhones makes it easier for other competitors to slip in a comparable phone with a lower price point. Make no mistake, the new iPhones are definitely still a flagship device in 2019 since it has a bunch of features up its sleeves. Relating back to how someone uses their phone, are the new iPhones worth upgrading for? Apple made it clear that they wanted to put the iPhone 11 Pro models as the top tier - which is not something that everyone needs or should buy, while keeping the iPhone 11 model as affordable as possible for
everyone. If you are using an iPhone 7 or older devices, and you want an upgrade, the new iPhone lineup would be worth upgrading for. But, if you are using the newer iPhones, there has not been a revolutionary change that would make upgrading to the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro models a reasonable thing to do. A piece of advice would be to wait for another year, since the rumoured 2020 iPhones might have some bigger changes to them. But until then, the iPhone 11 lineup will be the best iPhones Apple has made.
Photo by Kenneth Salim
18 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION
3 ways social media has changed business
From advertising to data analytics, social media is shaking up corporate strategies all over the world
Nathalie Funes Serna Editor
he impact of social media on everyone’s daily lives is undeniable. Social media was originally created to improve and facilitate communication between people. It allows people to talk and message each other pretty much anytime and anywhere worldwide. Consequently, business people saw a great potential to improve their own companies by these means. Nowadays, using media channels has become an unavoidable routine of everyone’s lifestyles. Due to the frequency with which people use social media apps, everyone is constantly and subconsciously immersed in a world full of marketing campaigns and business moves. 1. A different type of influencer Social media and other communication apps, such as Instagram or Youtube, empower ‘normal’ people to the extent that they can have a tremendous influence online. And so, businesses can now hire micro-influencers instead of celebrities. ‘Micro-influencer’ is quite a recent term. It refers to those social media users who have less than 100,000 followers. It seems counterintuitive for companies to hire people with less reach. Although they have less followers, how-
ever, the few they have are more constant and active. For instance, a recent survey showed that those with less than 10 thousand followers have an 8% higher rate of interaction (likes and comments). Employing micro-influencers can turn out to be more efficient because it creates a more targeted marketing. For instance, if a fashion company hires a celebrity with a million followers, these followers might not all be interested in the fashion industry. On the other hand, a fashion blogger with 10 thousand followers will be more useful because its followers have an interest in this field. As well, it is cheaper to hire them. While a celebrity might charge up to 75 thousand dollars, a micro-influencer would charge less than $500 to endorse the same product. This new type of influencer enables businesses to target consumers more efficiently, while investing less money. 2. Improved customer service Social media allows companies to have direct and efficient communication with their customers. Through social media, businesses can address complaints, inquiries, and orders from customers, or even provide instant assistance. For instance, airlines are constantly addressing costumer’s complaints on Twitter regarding missed connections, delayed flights, or lost luggages. This creates a
sense of caring and understanding service, which boosts the probability of someone returning to the same airline just because their complaint was addressed directly and in a timely manner. In fact, a survey indicated that 89% of people say a business can regain their trust if it admits to its mistakes and takes initiatives to address the problems. Moreover, social media is a very productive incorporation to any business because they spend av small amount of money instead of setting up the expensive and traditional phone call system, which requires costly maintenance, and might not be as fruitful. With social media, even small businesses can have a positive and efficient customer service. A successful customer service program creates trust and brand loyalty, making social media a powerful tool. 3. Demands transparency Brand image is an essential component of any business. It is built over time by the messages conveyed in marketing campaigns and through the customers’ personal experience with the brand. But these marketing campaigns sometimes seem forced and even fake in the critical consumers’ eyes. On the other hand, social media platforms allow a more transparent relationship between the company and its consumers. This includes when businesses are more open
about the origin of their products, any charitable work they do, any improvements in the company, and accepting their mistakes and offering apologies. A case that illustrates this is when Apple Music announced a three month free trial for customers, but that during this trial artists wouldn’t get paid. Taylor Swift responded to this by announcing on Twitter a boycott of Apple and that she considered the move “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.” Apple responded back on Twitter claiming that they would change their policies, and that artists would get paid. This apology stood out because it was directed to a single person, and it was on a platform where everyone could see; thus keeping and strengthening a positive brand image with a single tweet. Although social media has brought overall positive additions to today’s businesses, it also brings a negative aspect. Many companies are afraid of the backlash social media can generate. These include situations where angry employees post negative aspects of the company, leak confidential information, or post content that people might find politically incorrect. But this is a small downside compared to the many great advantages social media provides to businesses.
Social media impacts climate strikes Brooke Williams Contributor
n September 27, 2019, everyone’s Instagram timeline was probably flooded with pictures of people protesting at Queen’s Park. It is safe to say that many people know about Greta Thunberg and her strikes. But how did people first find out? Social media gave Greta the exposure she needed- and more. It was a fairly slow start for Greta. In 2018, she left school to strike on Fridays all the way from August to December, with only around 4,000 mentions on Twitter. She was not well known until she made a speech on December 14 at the UN. The speech was reposted, recognised, and public figures shared it. Since that speech, she has skyrocketed online with her now 7.2 million followers on Instagram. Greta has gained lots of popularity over a short period of time with the help of social media. On Friday, September 27th, Toronto hosted what was of one of the biggest anti-climate rallies in history. Major cities such as London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and more
have been holding strikes. They are being held to inspire leaders and politicians to have more action on the worsening climate. All of these were inspired by the young 16 year old sensation Greta Thunberg. Larger groups of people have been striking more recently: as of May 2019, about 2.9 million students have been striking all across the globe. Greta has been striking since August 2018, her first protest sitting in front of Swedish parliament. The event in Toronto was run by Fridays for Future. It was marketed to not only students but “anyone who cares about the planet.” This brought a much bigger audience, because many people are making themselves more educated on the health of the planet. Lots of the information that people may not have known about the strike was on social media. For example, people shared on their stories or on a post the time, date, and location of the strike. This made it easy for people to be aware, because so many people had a quick and easy access to it. But just imagine how different that would have been if people didn’t have social media to rely upon. Finding out the location and time wouldn’t be one swipe away.
Surely people could look it up, but it might be confusing because of all the climate strikes going on in the world. Someone might not find exactly what they were looking for, whereas on social media it would be more local, as people often follow people from their own city. Greta’s powerful messages and fierce passion about the subject draw a lot of attention. Through social media, she has been noticed by some big names. She was called out by Anne Hathaway, Chris Hemsworth, Camilla Cabello, Joe Jonas, and other celebrities- without social media, none of this could have happened. Her quotations and posters were being shown worldwide in the media. “I don’t want you to hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic and act as if the house is on fire,” is one of her more popular quotes. Videos were also being featured on the news. If she hadn’t gained as much popularity online, she likely would not have made it to the news. Because not everybody has social media, being on the news allowed Greta to speak to an even larger number of people. The help of celebrities brought Greta to a wider audience, whether they are 16 or 65. At this point, Greta’s actions have impacted more than just school
children with the help of social media. With fame comes hate, even if it is by protesting for something one believes in. This is especially relevant in this century because of social media. Being behind a screen makes it easier for people to say something that they probably wouldn’t dare say in person. Under the #climatehoax on Twitter, there are many posts complaining about Greta Thunberg. People are tweeting that she is “just a child” and “not a scientist”. However, even if it were hate, it is still drawing attention. Social media for Greta was like a chain reaction. She had her first major speech in the UN, and the rest followed in a blink. By the time the major climate strike was in Toronto, Greta already had a high number of followers. This made it much easier to have a strike because loads of people were aware of what was going on. Greta Thunberg’s journey is continuing to this day and she is still making speeches and participating in climate strikes all over the world. Greta Thunberg’s success shows how fast social media moves, how powerful it is, and how one speech can change someone’s life with the help of the online world.
OPINION | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 19
From console to controvery: do video games cause mass shootings? Videogames get caught in the crossfire of gun control debate
Illustration by Christina Kim
Saul Wolkove Advisor
uring February of 2018, after the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, American president, Donald J. Trump, called a meeting with several publishers and developers of major game companies in order to discuss the effect that video games can have on young people’s minds. While almost everyone criticized the president for using video games as a ploy to lead the public away from pressing issues such as gun-control and universal background checks, the meeting had merit, as video games seem to be inexplicably linked to certain shootings. After being arrested, three gaming consoles were seized from the Parkland shooter’s home, and, during questioning, his mother admitted that her son tended to play up to 15 hours in a day, and, if he lost a game, would break furniture or destroy keyboards.
People have also linked video games to the Sandy Hook and El Paso shootings through social media posts and manifestos written by the perpetrator. However, the question of whether video games inspire realworld violence is one of the chicken and the egg.What came first? Did these people become encouraged through constant access to violent subject matter, or is it simply that violence attracts already violent people, in more than just cases of gaming? The gaming industry never intended to be wrapped up in political conflicts involving domestic terrorism, yet it is the target of criticism from politicians and activists trying to protect their communities. But, due to a continuous lack of scientific proof that video games enforce violent predispositions, advocates for less violent games can often be dismissed using studies that contradict their agenda. Joe Vargas, otherwise known as AngryJoe on his YouTube channel with over 3 million subscribers, took to Spectrum
News in August to defend video games against accusatory politicians. “Japan has more video game sales revenue than the U.S.” he states while pointing to a chart that shows a significant difference between the two countries’ numbers. “You don’t see those mass shooting numbers in Japan, or any other country that plays video games.” For over 50 years, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has had great influence over the Republican Party in America, whether it be funding or political lobbyism. Even now, NRA lobbyists and affiliates have deep ties to the current administration. So, when the guncontrol debate was once again sparked in America recently, many concluded that there was something wrong with how the issue was being dealt with. This has led to the widespread and common belief that the White House’s best option to protect one of it’s greatest supporters, the NRA, was to point a finger at the gaming industry. An argument based on video games could be an easy scapegoat for the
administration’s continued support for the NRA and it’s conservative gun laws. It makes sense that a relatively new entertainment avenue, not yet understood by much of society, would be a perfect scapegoat to shoulder the blame for gun violence in the U.S. Unfortunately, the solution to gunviolence has no firm answer. It will take debate, discourse, and dialogue to solve this issue. One thing that can be agreed upon is that there is not enough decisive evidence to prove whether or not gaming causes violence. As Canadians, we don’t experience the same amount of mass shootings as America, but the effects of the issue can still be felt within our society. For example, gun-violence in Toronto has risen tangibly in the last few years. At the end of the day, it is necessary to examine all parts of our society in order to protect people from malicious and harmful predispositions. Everything must be scrutinized, because in the end, everything is at stake.
20 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | OPINION HEALTH
Vaping isn’t worth it Today’s teens are on the way to becoming just as addicted to nicotine as their grandparents’ generation with added consequences
Illustration by Christina Kim
Elena Vlitas Contributor
he recent reports of vaping related illnesses, such as collapsed lungs, cardiovascular illnesses, and even death, have served as a wakeup call for teens across the globe. For most, the reports were a surprise as vaping is supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, but was this really shocking? Awareness of vaping-related illnesses and deaths, which is being referred to by many health professionals as an outbreak, spread rapidly this summer via social media. The many Instagram posts by teens across North America urged others not to vape as they themselves are suffering from various health conditions. Although we believed to have learned from generations’ past cigarette addictions, vaping is turning into the modern day equivalent. Today, everyone knows about the effects of smoking, including second hand smoke, lung cancer, and other diseases. Encouraged not to
smoke, students now study the ingredients in cigarettes, which include over 60 cancer-causing chemicals. This has opened the eyes of many children and teens to the extreme risks of nicotine consumption. When vaping products first hit the shelves, companies such as JUUL LABS INC.™ (juul) advertised vaping as a healthier alternative for adult smokers. Unfortunately, the fruity flavours enticed more teens than people looking to quit smoking. Vaping was portrayed as almost magical: people could now “smoke,” but instead with a sleek pen and without the risks of cigarettes. There has been a total of 33 reported deaths and 1 479 illnesses as a result of vaping, according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC is calling the vaping-related illnesses EVALI, short for E-cigarette or Vaping products Associated Lung Injury. Medical professionals are concerned cases of EVALI will increase due to the upcoming flu season as it will put further strain on vapers’ lungs. North Toronto C.I. students can’t quite reach a consensus regarding the reports. Several Grade 9 students believe there
is not enough evidence demonstrating that everyone will be impacted in the same way; others simply believe that people should not be vaping in the first place. One anonymous student claimed, “people posting on instagram [about their vaping related illness] have said that they have had previous lung conditions so I don’t think it’s that bad.” The American government in particular is investigating the issue as most of the reported cases of EVALI have been in the United States. Furthermore, as a result of the outbreak, many American states have banned vaping indoors and in areas where the smoking of cigarettes is also banned. The Canadian government is also very concerned about the rise of vaping and the risks associated with it. The Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health claims that “we cannot stand by and watch another generation of Canadians become dependent on nicotine.” According to the CBC, about 15% of reported cases of EVALI are in teens under the age of 18 and around one in five teens vape or have vaped. If this trend continues, the health of youths will quickly deteriorate as cases of EVALI
rise. Another anonymous NT student believes, “[Teens] shouldn’t be vaping in the first place. It’s stupid and unhealthy.” Several anonymous Grade 9 students are concerned after reading the reports. They feel that the health of their friends is in danger because they continue to vape despite the risks. Although much evidence leads to the fact that vaping is incredibly damaging to one’s health, many teens and even adults struggle to quit due to a nicotine dependency. Doctors now urge anyone who vapes or uses nicotine products to report any shortness of breath or nausea so that potential lung illnesses can be caught and treated as early as possible. Although many people thought that vaping would be “healthier”, it obviously has had a profound negative effect on people’s health. Teens who are still developing are even more susceptible. People should not feel pressured to vape in order to seem “cool” because destroying your body from the inside out is quite frankly the opposite. Vaping simply is not worth the price of your health and well-being.
OPINION | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 21 POLITICS
The necessity of caring
As teenagers enter adulthood, remaining blind to politics is no longer an option Sean Lee Editor Kelly Huangfu Contributor
lackface, abortion, immigration, pipelines, and climate change. These topics were part of the main discussion of the grueling 2019 Canadian election campaign. For forty days and forty nights, several party leaders made their rounds travelling coast to coast, attempting to convince Canadians that they were the next best leader for the True North. The result? A minority Liberal government with only 13 seats away from a majority. There was also a resurgence of the Bloc Québécois, an improved yet disappointing Conservative result, and a below average NDP and Green Party performance. As high school students, it may be easy to overlook these results, however, there is a necessity to care as we might be running this country someday. There are several reasons why there could be a general disinterest in the Canadian election amongst high schoolers. One factor could be that the average approval rating for all of the party leaders is quite low, at around 35%. To compare, Donald Trump’s approval rating is currently at around 40%. The fact that the ratings for our Canadian party leaders are lower than those of Trump’s just proves that leaders are relatively disliked among the general population. Evelyn Kim, a grade eleven student at North Toronto CI, believes that “many leaders made very unpopular choices and decisions this year”. In spite of their unlikeability, she also believes that our political leaders must be given our full attention because
they “have an impact on our future”. In the end, it became a decision between the lesser of two evils where nobody really got everything they wanted. Another factor for youth disengagement could be the boring political situation. Down south, there is an impeachment inquiry going on. At the same time, Turkey launched an offensive on Syria on the other side of the world. In Canada? Sure, we had an election, but it was arguably overshadowed by events happening in other parts of the planet. Nicolette Kemerer, an NT class of 2019 alumni, expresses that “there is no room for voter’s apathy in this world… and many politicians would rather ignore the welfare of their world to satisfy their own temporary material needs”. She also encourages us to “educate [ourselves] on who to vote for’’ and “make sure to research in depth about what political candidates have to offer and… help you”. Canada’s 2019 federal election may have been uninteresting, but as youth, we must care to protect our future and the next generation’s future. Another contributing factor to
youth disinterest could be that we are simply not old enough to vote. Anna Jin, an NT Grade 11 student, stated that from a scale of 1-10, she cared about the election at about a six because “[she] cannot vote.” She also believes that “her opinion does not matter” because she is not of legal age, but she hopes that the election will give her “a better life in Canada.” Right now, like many teenagers, she is trusting the adults to choose the outcome of the future. But, it is important to remember that young voices can also implement change. Although we could not vote during this election, soon, we will be able to. Typically, a Canadian election is called within a four year span. In four years, all of us, grade nines to twelves, will have the power to vote for our next prime minister. Although another election may arrive sooner because of the instability a minority government could bring, the point still remains that we will be a factor that affects the outcome. The main reason we should be interested in Canadian politics is not because it is appealing, but rather because we
Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Sun
want our educated voices to be heard in order to move the country forward. High school is four years of endless experiences and memories. Right after we receive our diploma in the auditorium, we are slapped with a whole new set of responsibilities as an adult. That includes the ability to vote and to educate ourselves on who we think the best leader for Canada will be. We are the next generation tasked with figuring out how to better the environment and the economy. We must step up and be the ones to lead the way towards a better future for our children. In the words of Nicolette, she thinks “compassion is such an important thing to have, especially in a political sense… [and] it’s our futures that adults are voting for.” She also states that “we do have a voice, and [Canadian political leaders] must listen, and care about our futures.” It is time to put aside the blandness of Canadian politics and recognize the importance of what it can do.
Ontario should lift ban on pitbulls
With proper training, pitbulls are just as friendly as any other dog Ashley Keller Editor
ecently, the Ford government has spoken of the possibility of lifting the provincial ban on pit bulls. The bill, passed in 2005, prohibited the ownership, breeding, and importation of these dogs across Ontario. They were banned after two pit bulls mauled a Toronto man and were deemed dangerous and violent. Many people disagreed with the ban, saying that any dog that has not been properly trained can become vicious, but more people thought that it would be better to get them off the streets as they are seen to be cruel. While pit bulls can become aggressive due to poor training, it is wrong to blame the dog for the owner’s faults in not correcting the behaviour. Ontario is the only province to have this ban; other places in Canada are city or regionspecific. But, even if the provincial ban is lifted, it is still up to the individual municipalities to keep or lift the ban for
their area. The ban was put in place because pit bulls are known to be a dangerous breed. Many attacks have been recorded, including Pam Robertson’s granddaughter, who was attacked at a sleepover and needed over 70 stitches, and Darlene Wagner, a postal worker who broke both her wrists and lost her ear because of an attack. There are many more accounts similar to these, but, ultimately, the majority of pit bulls have not harmed anyone. You just do not hear about them because there is no reason to report a well-behaved pet. These reports are essential in educating people, but can give a bad reputation to an entire dog breed just because a few were not properly trained. Another reason people tend to be fearful of pit bulls is that they are fighting dogs. Pit bulls are strong dogs and therefore are often used in dog fights. When placed in a fight, pit bulls will get savage, but this is out of self-defence rather than being a violent breed. A pet pit bull is much less likely
to hurt anyone as it is trained as a pet and not as a fighter. It will feel safe and comfortable and not have a reason to become defensive. The stigma people have against pit bulls only makes them more aggressive as they are seen as something to be afraid of and so owners often treat them harshly and can unconsciously give them signals that there is danger around. For example, they tug the leash tight when a person or dog walks past. This shows the dog that there is something unsafe about the situation and any dog can become violent with these actions. Dog owners, including many former pit bull owners are speaking about why the ban should be lifted, and they make some good points. They have said that there are several breeds of dogs that will attack people when mistreated or neglected, and that any dog can be violent if abused. Masses of people agree with this as just one petition, found on change.org, has over 9,700 signatures. Tracy Calsavara, a dog trainer, agrees that the ban should be lifted. Though
she agrees, she does think that there needs to be more precautions in place for this to be safe. She suggests that there be stronger penalties placed on owners and breeders for mistreatment and that people should be educated on how to read dogs. This will not only help people stay safe from pit bulls, but also any other dog that may become dangerous. With a good owner and proper training, pit bulls have been known to be very friendly and happy dogs. Dog attacks still happen across Canada, so why should one breed be put down for it and others not? Pit bull owners need to know that their dog needs specific training in order for it to stay well-behaved. Creating a training course for the breed could solve this issue. Teaching owners how to deal with their dog, and teaching the dogs from a young age how to act is an essential part of having a pit bull. I believe that people would be more open to the idea of lifting the ban if they knew there was a way to make them friendlier and safer for society.
22 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | ARTS & CULTURE
arts & culture
Review: Girl From the North Country Depression era musical is “art of the highest order”
Starring: Katie Brayben, Donald Sage Mackay, Gloria Obianyo Director: Conor McPherson Music and Lyrics: Bob Dylan Book: Conor McPherson Venue: Royal Alexandra Theatre Run Information: Girl From the North Country is currently running through November 24, 2019.
Joshua Chong Editor
s it a musical? A play? A play with music? Girl From the North Country, Conor McPherson’s gorgeous new work that weaves Bob Dylan’s timeless songs with a depression-era story, defies categorization. But whatever it is, the cathartic, immutable warmth that radiates from the Royal Alexandra Theatre is something beautiful. This is not a biographical jukebox musical by any means, where dozens of greatest hits are shoe-horned into
a formulaic plot that details the rise of an artist to stardom. In fact, it has nothing to do with Dylan at all. McPherson juxtaposes twenty-one of Dylan’s songs with a story about a group of individuals living in a boarding house in Duluth, Minnesota at the height of the Great Depression. Nick Laine (Donald Sage Mackay) is struggling to keep the business afloat while dealing with Elizabeth (Katie Brayben), his wife who has earlyonset dementia, and Gene (Colin Bates), his jobless and alcoholic son. Marianne (Gloria Obianyo), their adopted black daughter, is also carrying a baby that no one can account for. Nick’s only comfort comes from Mrs. Nielson (Rachel John), a widowed guest at the house and Nick’s not-so-secret lover. Also living under the roof are the Burkes (David Ganly and Anna-Jane Casey), a once well-off couple who have since fallen from the upper class and must take care of their developmentally challenged son, Elias (Steffan Harri). Set over the course of one Thanksgiving weekend in 1934, the lives of these characters begin to unravel following the arrival of two guests: the bible-selling Reverend Marlowe (Finbar Lynch) and a black boxer named Joe Scott (Shaq Taylor). Without Dylan’s intoxicating hymns, the piece could stand alone as a compelling drama that explores the social and racial tensions of post-War America. McPherson’s layered script shares many qualities with those of
the great American playwrights of the twentieth century; the depth of characterization and the searing dialogue could very well have come from Eugene O’Neill’s pen. But when the characters sing and let Dylan’s potent lyrics float to the rafters, magic is created. Most of the songs, arranged exquisitely by Simon Hale, do not propel the plot forward, reveal character, or connect to the story in a literal way, like in a traditional musical. Rather, McPherson draws out the metaphorical connections between the dialogue and the songs. When Brayben’s Elizabeth steps up to an old-time microphone and belts out “Like a Rolling Stone,” Brayben seems to step out of character and sing to Elizabeth, asking her, “How does it feel? To be on your own.” Or when Casey sings “Sweetheart Like You,” while playing the drums, she appears to be giving a sharp rebuke to her character of Mrs. Burke, lamenting “What’s a sweetheart like you, doing in a dump like this?” This uncanny structure is not only daring but brings new meaning to Dylan’s universal lyrics and pushes the story to a darker and more haunting realm. As McPherson puts it, there is “a conversation between the songs and the story.” Brayben’s Elizabeth, the main character in this large ensemble cast, is in a somewhat hypnotized, trance-like state, stuck between her melancholic reality and another world. When she
sings, one can hear the emotional baggage that Elizabeth carries. Obianyo is also compelling as Marianne, Nick and Elizabeth’s adopted daughter who has almost lost hope after her father tries to marry her off to Mr. Perry (Sidney Kean). She gives a subtle performance, although there are some enunciation problems when she sings. McPherson, who also directs, masterfully stages the piece with precision. He artfully balances softer moments between characters with larger choreographed numbers, such as the bombastic “Duquesne Whistle,” sung by Harri. McPherson’s ensemble cast of nineteen inhabits a simple, abstract set (designed by Rae Smith) that seems to — as is described in “True Love Tends to Forget” — “drift into infinity.” Flat pieces of scenery, with black and white projections, deftly mark each location. Accompanying this is Mark Henderson’s understated lighting design, which sometimes is unfocused and makes it difficult to distinguish between which character is speaking. But you don’t come out of Girl From the North Country thinking about the lighting design. You come out of it marvelling at its utter beauty, a languid kind that can only be created by the marriage of talents by two incredible artists. It’s a piece that continues to reveal itself long after the last downbeat has disappeared. Perhaps that is the mark of art of the highest order.
Upcoming Marvel Movies and TV shows for 2020-2021 ver the past few months, there has been a great deal of suspense surrounding the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and what is next to come. After the unpredictable ending of Avengers: Endgame and the latest movie Spider-man: Far From Home, many viewers have been waiting for Marvel’s next move, and they’re in luck. During Chicago’s Comic-Con, which took place earlier this year, the President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, released phase four of the cinematic universe, which includes ten movies and TV shows that are to be released in 2020-2021 and features many of Marvel’s favourite characters.
most ten years, and after her surprising death during the film “Avengers Endgame” there were no rumours of any other Marvel movies involving the beloved character. Scarlett Johansson, who plays Black Widow, admitted during an interview with Jimmy Fallon, that she needed closure from Avengers: Endgame, because she was “wiped out physically and emotionally.’’ Luckily Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios, was aware of the detrimental effects of the death of Black Widow and has confirmed that “Black Widow” the movie will be released on May 1st, 2020. A trailer has also been made for the greatly anticipated film, but only those who attended the Chicago Comic-Con had the pleasure of viewing it. It is likely to be released to the general public in the upcoming months.
Black Widow (2020) Black Widow has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for al-
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020) The ending of Avengers: End-
Anna Goodman Editor
game left fans questioning how the cinematic universe would continue without the beloved Captain America. During Comic-Con, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was revealed to be a Disney-Marvel collaboration that is to be released in the fall of 2020. The movie is said to feature characters such as the lovely Agent Sharon Carter and Zemo, who was presented as the antagonist in Marvel’s 2016 film, Captain America: Civil War. Eternals (November 6, 2020) The announcement of the film Eternals was hinted at over a year ago, but the release date for the film was only announced at this year’s ComicCon. The cast will feature a star-studded lineup including; Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, and Kumail Nanjiani. The trailer is to be released sometime next year.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The 10 Rings (February 12, 2021) There has been very little information released regarding this film, however, the cast has been rumoured to feature Simu Liu in a leading role (actor featured in the show Kim’s Convenience), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung (The Grandmaster). The last five movies have no confirmed information regarding the context of the films. However, the release dates for all the films were confirmed during this year’s Comic-Con as well. The Upcoming films include WandaVision (Spring 2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021), Loki (Spring 2021), What If?… (Summer 2021), Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5, 2021) and Hawkeye (Fall 2021).
ARTS & CULTURE | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 23 CULTURE
The dark side of the VSCO girl stereoptype VSCO stereotypes are just one more way to ridicule teenage girls for their habits Megan Christofioridis Contributor
he other day in class, I overheard a brief interaction between two girls sitting nearby. One of them reached into her bag and pulled out her water bottle, prompting the other one to jokingly comment, “Oh my God is that a Hydroflask??” The first girl, hastened to prove that it was not a Hydroflask, laughed, and then followed it up with, “I’m not a VSCO girl!” And for some reason, I felt annoyed after having witnessed this - why is it a bad thing to use a certain brand of water bottle? If you’ve been on pretty much any social media platform in the past couple of months, you’re probably familiar with the term, “VSCO girl” and all of its connotations. When you hear or read that familiar tagline, you probably envision sticker-adorned water bottles, scrunchies, metal straws, checkered Vans, oversized t-shirts, shell necklaces, Birkenstocks, and the phrase, “save the turtles!” The list goes on. What started out as another harmless internet meme born out of the depths of TikTok, has, over the span of one summer break, completely taken over teen culture. However, its emergence out of the internet and into real-life brings with it very negative consequences. The VSCO girl archetype isn’t the first of its kind, but it is unique in the fact that it has somehow managed to dominate teen culture in such a short span of time. The trend has snowballed into an intense mockery of teenage girls who dress and look a certain way and are seen as “basic.” While this may seem harmless and in good fun, in reality, it aggressively perpetuates and normalizes a certain behaviour towards women and young girls - that they can’t dress the way they want to, buy the products they want to, or like the TV shows, brands, and hobbies they want to, without being ridiculed and patronized. Es-
sentially, it allows men and even other women to criticize young girls for absolutely anything they take an interest in and get away with it. Because being “basic” is the worst way to be, and is a character trait that no one should aspire to have, right? Well, what’s the difference between someone who listens to Shawn Mendes and someone who listens to The Strokes - and why can’t you like both? What gives people the right to ridicule others for simply liking or enjoying a type of music, TV show, movie, or hobby? Being a teenager has never been easy, and for girls, a huge part of that is the way in which the world judges you for everything you do or like; if you like pop music you’re labelled as basic, but if you listen to rock music you’re “trying too hard.” Basically, you can’t win. Ever. And so with this new stereotype taking shape, it leaves very little room for girls to genuinely be themselves and have interests and hobbies, as we are constantly categorized and put into boxes. Recently on YouTube, many channels have partaken in the “becoming a VSCO girl” challenge, filming videos of themselves transforming into a stereotypical VSCO girl by donning the clothes, shoes and accessories associated with them. The irony of all of this is that most of the creators uploading these videos could very easily be identified as a VSCO girl themselves, and often look almost identical to the girls their videos are targeting. While some of these videos are made with lighthearted intentions in an attempt to jump on the meme bandwagon, others are made in a more condescending manner. The fact that other teenage girls are contributing to this absurd pigeon-holing is perhaps the most upsetting aspect - because if anything, us girls should stick together. However, the modern era of social media has created a never-ending comparison pit, in which teenagers feel the pressure to exude an image of beauty and perfection at all times. The
inauthenticity of social media platforms like Instagram contribute to the competitiveness between users. The underlying consequence of the VSCO girl label is that it prevents young girls from being able to express themselves and indulge in things that make them happy. Personally, I don’t think anyone should be looked down upon or judged for liking certain things. While discussing this topic with a friend recently, she admitted that she personally finds scrunchies to be really useful for her hair, but feels embarrassed to use them now, in fear of being made
Illustration by Esther Wong
fun of. Of course, some people refrain from wearing these symbolic items and accessories to express their own personality and stand out from the crowd. Whether someone likes a certain clothing brand, style of shoe, water bottle brand or hair accessory is really no one else’s business but theirs. And does it really hurt anyone if I wear my super cute checkered Vans? No. So please, for the love of teenage girls everywhere, stop saying “sksksksks” or “-and I oop” every time you see a scrunchie or Hydroflask. It’s getting old.
Preview of Art Council mural Art council’s climate change mural to be installed summer 2020 Suhani Sharma Contributor
rt is one of the most effective ways of communication, unaffected by the barriers of language. In a year full of protests and awareness campaigns in support of actions being taken to stop climate change, the Art Council plans to eternalize this spirit of revolution with the installment of their 7th mural. The project is being led by Elena Prescott, with the help of the Art Council.
The mural is going to be located on the second floor, outside room 213, and will most likely be installed during summer. It will be a ten-coloured mural, eightfoot by eight-foot in area. The designer of the mural is going to be chosen through a process called ‘call for artists.’ Every student who was interested in designing the mural was given the poem ‘Rise,’ by Kathy Jetnil and Aka Niviana to spark their creativity. All the contestants will then be shortlisted to the top three, and then, the school community will vote. The design idea that gets the most votes will be chosen. “After the UN listed climate change as a
top priority, many started realizing that it is a huge issue, and a very real one. We, as the Art Council want to make the mural about the future, motivated by current political issues, as well as recent student and global rallies,” said Elena Prescott, the student leader for the making of the mural. “It is a serious issue for Canadians and Canada’s future. Elena and her team felt that it is very important to raise awareness for this topic. We should be the ones making changes. It is about whether or not we make these changes, and what the future generations inherit from us,” added Ms. Marquis, who is
Art Council’s teacher supervisor, and has been involved with the Council for many years. Elena also said, “Our job is to bring art to school, it is about communicating about a matter that has a huge impact on communities all across the world and sharing them with student bodies. We tried to address the impacts of climate change and why we need to care.” As climate change continues to be a huge issue, spreading awareness through visual-art, literature, and other forms of communication play a crucial role in informing people about it.
24 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | ARTS & CULTURE CULTURE
Mind over matter The planetary possibilities of liberal institutions Jessica Hungate Editor
n September 24th, Koerner Hall hosted Adam Gopnik as its 17th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer. The event was presented by 6 Degrees Toronto, a project of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, led by John Raulston Saul. The LaFontaine-Baldwin lectures, launched in 2000, gather Canadians to discuss and reflect upon “democracy, citizenship, and the public good;” past lecturers include Michael Sandel, Naomi Klein and Robert Lepage. The common theme, of course, is that all of these individuals are highly influential figures committed to changing the way we think about pressing global issues. The night kicked off in the same way any highly anticipated performance does- with a long line and endless introductions. Koerner hall
seemed to buzz with excitement; it was refreshing to see bohemians clad in brightly coloured scarves and long, trailing skirts rub shoulders with Toronto’s social elite- all in preparation for a speaker whose work seems to transcend cultural and social barriers. After a lengthy speech by John Raulston Saul, Gopnik took the stage amidst thundering applause. Finally, comfortably settled in the spacious acoustic wonder known as Koerner Hall, the night began. Once Gopnik pointedly referred to the towering condominiums that dominate the skylines of both Toronto and his “adopted home” of New York as the “erections of Russian oligarchs,” it became clear that unwelcome foreign influence would be under attack; and attacked it was. Using everything from fair elections to the free press to illustrate his assertions, Gopnik tactfully weaves an impressive argument for the degradation of
our liberal democracy and the urgency with which we must confront this critical threat. Nationalism he says, is the “age-old” enemy of liberal democracy, and has flourished demonstrably within the Trump administration. Led by a President whose appeal lies largely in his ability to summon up ethnic nationalism within an American population who finds their very identity threatened by a changing world, the foundational integrity of our liberal institutions threatens to collapse. Critical pessimism, while pervasive during the first hour of the night, didn’t come to dominate the lecture. Instead, Gopnik expresses a sincere hope for the renewal of democratic institutions because they “grow from the ground up, all over the world.” Democracy thrives in places where there are already strong institutions of trust, where people have the “habit of coexistence” through common interests. Gopnik says that
‘coffeehouse conversations’ catalyze these realizations, and are often places where the social capital upon which democracy relies, is built. In 18th century France, the Enlightenment started in coffeehouses, not courts; shaped by both a desire to express an opinion, and a willingness to listen. The evening concluded with a conversation between Raulston Saul and Gopnik, made better by the speaker’s obnoxious insistence that a portion of the question period be conducted completely in French, to the chagrin of many esteemed audience members (almost none of whom spoke French), and a moving performance by the Nai Children’s Choir. A fascinating exploration into the crisis of democracy, in an age of increasing autocracy, Gopnik effectively calls upon a responsible society to affect “radical change through humane measures.”
Book Review: Reina’s Diary Sophie Block Contributor
earing the stories of survival, or mortality, during World War II becomes increasingly important as we lose those who were alive during this time. There are very few legitimate accounts of World War II from a teenager’s perspective that have been found and published. This is likely because the majority of them have been destroyed, or simply lost. However, a diary written by a Jewish teenager during the Holocaust has recently been published this July. Renia’s Diary, written by Renia Speigel, is an accurate account of the Holocaust in Poland. At the age of fourteen years old, she began her journal as a way to relieve her loneliness. Spiegel continued to write until 1942 when she was shot by the Nazi’s at the young age of eighteen. The diary was first published in English in early September of 2019 and was initially published in Polish in 2016. This diary has not been a popular choice of reading, and so far it only has a 4.1 rating out of 5 according to Barnes and Nobles. However, this diary has acclaimed praise from The New York Times and several other newspapers. Throughout Renia’s diary, it is apparent that conditions for Polish Jews are quickly deteriorating. How-
ever, since this is a journal, Renia wrote about her daily life and her boyfriend Zygmund. She wrote about her longing to see her mother again, from whom she had been separated because of the war and explained what life was truly like within the Polish ghettos. Renia also frequently wrote poems about her life and what she had observed. Despite the fact that this diary was written nearly a century ago, Renia’s love life and the drama between her and her friends is remarkably similar to the experiences of teenagers nowadays, which drives young readers to stay intrigued. Additionally, this diary has a preface, afterword, and notes written by Renia’s sister, Elizabeth Bellak, formerly known as Ariana Spiegel. These additions provide valuable insights into Renia’s story and discuss what happened after Renia died. This diary gives its readers a surreal perspective on a teenager’s life in Poland during WWII and a Jewish teen at that. As acts of anti-semetisim and racism overall become increasingly frequent, it is so important for everyone, especially the soon-to-be leaders of a new generation, to understand history’s mistakes and horrors to ensure that they are not repeated. Renia’s diary provides awe-inspiring insight into the hardships and injustices faced by civilians who lived throughout the Second World War.
Photo courtesy of Sophie Block
ARTS & CULTURE | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 25 REVIEW
Joker - Nothing Short of a Masterpiece Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy Director: Todd Phillips Runtime: 122 minutes Rating: 5/5 Stars
Brendan Weeks Editor
hen “The End” flashed across the screen in a Looney Tunes “That’s All Folks” fashion, the entire audience erupted in genuine applause, all the while beginning to discuss with their friends what they had just witnessed. Joker’s premiere, at the Venice Film Festival, received an 8-minute standing ovation, which was surely appropriate. Todd Phillips “Joker” is a film for the ages, unrivalled by the big-budget MCU or DCEU movies, or whatever Hollywood considers to be a blockbuster film. Before you continue reading, there are minor spoilers regarding some prominent scenes, but nothing direct. Reader discretion is advised. And no, Batman is NOT in this film, only a young Bruce Wayne. The film focuses entirely on Arthur Fleck, a dreamer oppressed by Gotham, a city plagued by crime and poverty. Stuck as a party clown with a low income, and confined by his illegitimate version of the Pseudobulbar Affect (Pathological Laughter) makes him incapable of forming any meaningful relationships. He is a man that the audience sympathizes with the whole time, even after his transition into the Clown Prince of Crime, which in Arthur’s case, was merely serendipitous. In fact, the most refreshing part of Joker is how Arthur’s story is the result of misfortune and chance, not destiny. The first 5 minutes of the film were expertly directed to give the audience a taste of Arthur’s miserable existence and were cleverly written so they would serve as the starting point in the domino effect of Arthur’s complete downfall (or rise, depending on how you look at it). In short, the entire movie wouldn’t have made sense without this particular introduction. As the film carries on, we see life beating down on Arthur in various ways, causing his identity and humanity to slowly deteriorate. Arthur is increasingly becoming more and more defeated, while simultaneously coming closer and closer to sheer insanity. I was constantly left on the edge of my seat, allowing myself to surrender to the intensity of the film, anxiousl wondering when and how he will fully
embrace becoming the Joker. Due to one particularly bad day and his mental illness, he finds himself in a situation that’s consequences end up sparking the “We Are All Clowns” movement, pitting the citizens of Gotham against the rich and powerful. This simply wouldn’t have come to fruition had he not been wearing clown makeup at that moment. This sequence is pivotal since it is so extreme compared to others, while still lining up with the film’s theme of serendipity and chance. Arthur begins to become unhinged at an alarming rate, having to deal with a frenzy of humiliating, traumatizing and confusing events that ultimately break him. During all of this, he is invited to appear on “Live! with Murray Franklin,” a late-night talk show that he and his ailing mother would watch regularly. Yet even this was at his expense, the result of Murray making a mockery of Arthur, playing a clip of him struggling during a standup comedy performance. Now it is worth noting that due to Arthur’s mental illness and the direction of the film, not everything that the audience is presented with is the truth. Arthur is essentially the narrator of the movie, and some scenes are obviously blatant fantasies. So there is the possibility that some of, if not all, of the film’s events are merely a glimpse into Arthur’s unstable mind.
After seeing ‘Joker’ in its entirety, I believe that some particular scenes stem from Arthur’s imagination, being reinforced by his lack of confidence and paranoia. But since this is a review, let’s unanimously agree that all of the events in the film are real. Arthur is now a man without a purpose, besides his special invitation. He was made a fool on live TV, only to be invited to the very show that humiliated him. This combined with his pent up anger with society, his mental illness, his lack of social skills, his mother, his identity crisis, and his inadvertent responsibility of causing a social war between the commoners and elite of Gotham, all causes him to snap for good. With nothing left to lose, he triumphantly declares that he used to think his life was a tragedy, but now he realizes it’s a comedy. Rather than literally killing himself, he killed ‘Arthur,’ and in a state of mania, dyed his hair green and painted his tongue and face white along with his classic clown makeup, preparing himself for his big night. As the night drew near, he danced down the long staircase to his home that he walked up every night in a newfound sense of freedom. He was pursued by two detectives shortly after and witnessed the chaos he inspired, slipping away into a crowd of rioters on the subway, all of them wearing clown masks without realizing they were in the presence of the
Illustration by Ava Ireland
man who sparked their revolt. So now he sits in his room at the studio, feet propped up on his desk, smoking a cigarette and looking at his reflection on a mirror graffitied with “Put on a Happy Face,” something his mother always told him to do as a child. The man that Murray called a “joker” due to his pathetic attempt at stand up comedy, has now embraced that moniker and adopted it as his identity. He tells Murray that when he is brought out, he wants to be introduced as Joker. In essence, Joker is a tale of a man who finds true happiness in his own psychotic manner. He is constantly being chewed up and spit out by society, unable to get ahead or pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian. He inspires the people in his social class to rise up against the rich and powerful but loses his identity along the way. He deems his life to be a comedy, so he decides to have a little fun with it, freeing himself from societal norms to experience bliss for the first time in his life. Todd Phillips managed to base the whole film around the Joker’s classic saying; “All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man to lunacy. That is how far the world is from where I am. One bad day.”, yet keeps it very human with a bittersweet, tear-jerking ending. So yes, 8 minutes of applause was definitely appropriate.
26 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | ARTS & CULTURE MUSIC
What to add to your fall playlist Graffiti’s compilation of the best songs and albums this season with something for everyone
Courtesy of Dualtane Music Group
Courtesy of 300 Entertainment
|So Much Fun-Young Thug|
icking off this school year’s new selection Curated by Megan Christofioridis and of music is So Much Saul Wolkove Fun, Young Thug’s debut album that released on August 16th. The American rapper’s album was executively produced by J. Cole, another prominent rapper, and features artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, and Juice Wrld. The album made it to the top of the Billboard 200 in its first week, becoming a U.S. number-one album, for good reason.Young Thug has released an album exactly the way he wants, using all of the skills he has been developing through his singles and features. The result is a highly enjoyable record, and one that Thug fans would expect, and newcomers will enjoy. Whether it is the explosive impact of hits like “Hot” and “Bad Bad Bad,” or the grooving synth of “Just How It Is” and “Light It Up,” Young Thug proves his talent is certainly something special and unique. One issue that the album suffers from, however, is it’s occasional tendency to fall into the classic trappings of ‘mumble-rap’, focusing on repetition and auto-tune, a technique expected from artists like Migos and Lil Pump. This is particularly disappointing since Young Thug has shown his fans his true potential and how much more advanced he is. Overall, So Much Fun is a great showcase for Young Thug’s artistic abilities and vision, which occasionally suffers from mediocre mumble-rap.
ollywood’s Bleeding, rapper Post Malone’s third studio album, was released on September 6th, 2019. The highly anticipated album was a surprise release, with not much notice before it dropped, save for a few singles released earlier in the year. The question remains: is it worth a listen? This time around, Post Malone seems to be maturing by experimenting with new sounds and different styles, making for an album filled with potential, but still holds onto old tropes. Sadly, this potential is held back by his lack of risk-taking and creativity. The rockstar side of Post shines through in songs like “Take What You Want” and “Allergic” while managing to include surprisingly mellow and soft entries with “A Thousand Bad Times” and “Circles.” However, the hip-hop influence of Post’s past is still prevalent when listening to the standard sounds of “On The Road,” “Die for me,” and “Sunflower.” There were a few standout features on the record, with an out- of-nowhere collaboration with Ozzy Osbourne and a verse from Young Thug that seemed to be made for Thug himself. Creating an album that includes all of these genres is impressive for any artist, but at a certain point, the generic melodies and recognizable lyrics, telling stories of heartless women and underdog struggles, start to become familiar to the point of contempt. Although there is a sense of exploration and genre-bending (Post Malone himself even acknowledges the album as being personal and not for everyone) you can tell that there was some form of creative stifling, perhaps an executive order to meet a certain quota of hit singles to satisfy the label, which is, to be blunt, sort of disappointing. All in all, Post Malone’s new album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, is his most diverse and mature album to date but is held back by a general fear of creativity and separation from the current pop music standard.
here Post Malone struggled with developing a new sound, The Lumineers have stepped up to the plate, swinging hard with their third studio album, III, released fully on September 13th. This album comes across as some sort of experiment, with the album being a story of the Sparks family and their struggles with addiction and destructive behaviour. In this album, The Lumineers stick to their guns, proving that they are one of the best indie/folk bands of this generation. The album takes listeners on a journey from high-spirited, catchy ballads like “Gloria” and “Left for Denver,” to slow, emotionally raw hymns with “My Cell” and “Leader of the Landslide,” even managing to tell deep, poetic stories with “Donna” and “Salt and the Sea.” This album refuses to make any compromises, and is almost faultless in it’s execution of this artistic duo’s vision of a personal journey. The album is not beyond scrutiny, however, with semi-detached bonus tracks included in the album that are passable, yet unable to meet the expectations set by the rest of the album. Another nasty surprise caught in the album was the re-use of an entire song, Jimmy Sparks’s instrumental section. The instrumental was previously used by The Lumineers a few months back for the song “Nightshade,” created for the musical album released with the final season of Game of Thrones. This recycling of the song leaves a feeling of cheapness that cannot be escaped, while listening to the otherwise fine song in the final album.
Courtesy of 300 Entertainment
|Hollywood’s Bleeding-Post Malone|
ARTS & CULTURE | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 27 Courtesy of King Princess
Courtesy of 300 Entertainment
|Cheap Queen-King Princess|
ikaela Strauss, better known by her stage name, King Princess is a nineteen-year-old Brooklyn native and is releasing her much anticipated debut album this October. Cheap Queen arrives after the artist’s 2018 EP which featured her hugely popular single, “1950.” To show you just how successful the song was, Harry Styles himself tweeted a lyric from it. King Princess was introduced to the world of music at a young age by her recording engineer father. It comes as no surprise then that she produced the whole album herself, although it is certainly an impressive feat for a nineteen year-old. The singer-songwriter, who identifies as gay, revealed that the album features themes of gender expression, sexuality, empowerment, friendships, and heartbreak. Despite it being a predominantly rock-influenced album, the artist’s experiments in various other genres across the thirteen track record.
|Dream Girl-Anna of the North|
nna of the North is originally from Norway and specializes in electro-pop music. Her debut album, Lovers featured one song that appeared in the hugely successful Netflix original, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (side note: please go watch this movie immediately, your heart will literally melt, trust me). Now, Anna of the North is releasing her sophomore album, titled Dream Girl, and she describes it as the “moving on” album. One key change in her new album is that this time around she was able to work with more producers and artists, including Tyler, The Creator. The album originally had an alternate title, but before its release, the artist came up with an alter ego of sorts, of someone living in an ethereal, “dream” world. And that is where the album’s new title and aesthetic stems from. She describes it as a world “where you wish to be someone you’re not to be happier” - almost like a projection of who/where she wants to be in life.
Courtesy of Taylor Swift
Courtesy of Billboard Magazine
|Truth Is-Sabrina Claudio|
abrina Claudio represents the modern artist’s journey to fame, in that she first found a following on Twitter and YouTube by posting covers of other artists’ songs. She began to uploading her own songs to SoundCloud, and in 2017 released her first ever EP to the platform. Now, the twenty- three year old R&B artist is returning to the music world with her second album, Truth Is. The album comes after a recent collaboration with Zayn Malik, called “Rumors.” This collaboration is not the only one to make it onto the album, with Julia Michael’s helping write the title track. She says the completion of this album has allowed her to grow as a woman and a person and made her feel happier and more free. The album encapsulates all of “the feelings we try to convince ourselves we don’t actually feel.”
s with all Taylor Swift albums, the underlying theme of the artist’s seventh studio project is love. While this isn’t an uncommon topic for her to explore, it certainly seems to jump out even more on her latest record - I mean, the title is Lover after all. Arriving on the heels of 2017’s “Reputation,” the new album seems to be a complete 180-degree turn; from the title, cover art, aesthetic, lyrics, and just the overall vibes of the songs. The entire eighteen track album covers an array of different topics, including womens’ rights and feminism, smashing the patriarchy (“The Man”), LGBTQ+ rights, her mother’s battle with cancer, and all the ups and downs of love and heartbreak. And of course, how can I not mention the mesmerizing title track, which is being crowned the ultimate wedding song. Sorry, Ed Sheeran.
28 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | ARTS & CULTURE MUSIC
Review: The Band’s Visit is truly something different
Starring: Chilina Kennedy, Sasson Gabay
Director: David Cromer Music and Lyrics: David Yazbek Book: Itamar Moses Venue: Ed Mirvish Theatre Run Information: The Band’s Visit is currently running through October 20, 2019.
Joshua Chong Editor
Nothing is as beautiful as something that you don’t expect,” sings Dina (Chilina Kennedy), the downon-her-luck cafe owner in Itamar Moses and David Yazbek’s The Band’s Visit, a sublimely beautiful new musical that we didn’t know we needed, now more than ever. Unlike any other musical to come out of Broadway in recent memory, this delicate, soft, and profound piece is an intoxicating hymn to the power of human connection. Based on the 2007 film of the
same name, The Band’s Visit follows the members of the Alexandrian Ceremonial Police Orchestra after a communication error lands them in the remote desert town of Bet Hatikva instead of their intended destination of Petah Tikvah. In “the middle of nowhere,” the orchestra meets Dina and her two cheeky workers, who agree to host the unexpected visitors for the night. Adapted by Itamar Moses, the story lacks a substantial plot; the Egyptians arrive, stay for one night, and then depart for Petah Tikvah the next morning. And yet, it completely works. Rather than relying on intense action, The Band’s Visit is a collection of vignettes. Over the course of 100 minutes, the audience gets a glimpse, almost in real time, of the bonds that form between the two unlikely groups of fragile, broken souls. Tewfiq, the orchestra’s conductor, connects with Dina over her admiration of Omar Sharif and Umm Kulthum. Throughout the course of the night, Dina questions whether she has finally found her Omar Sharif in Tewfiq. As the cafe owner, Kennedy gives a deep and layered performance. From her first entrance, Kennedy commands the stage and the audience can immediately see the emotional baggage that Dina carries. When Kennedy sings, her lush and rich vocals breathe life into David Yazbek’s ethereal melodies and potent lyrics that reveal so much of the character’s hidden emotions. Gabay, reprising his acclaimed role from the
film, is captivating as Tewfiq and carefully navigates the complexities of his character, who slowly reveals his heartbreaking past. At the beginning, some of the characters come off as hollow and caricaturish. Haled (Joe Joseph, who delivers a strong performance), the orchestra’s trumpeter, seems nothing more than an outspoken fan of Chet Baker. But as the night progresses, the characters reveal more about themselves and their arcs become more profound. Perhaps the only character that remains stilted throughout the whole evening is Papi (Adam Gabay, son of Sasson Gabay), an overstuffed character who is too shy to talk to girls until Haled, a true lady’s man, gives him a little push. It also doesn’t help that Gabay pushes the comedy too far and pops the bubble at points during this delicate show. Despite the small missteps, David Cromer’s restrained direction carefully threads the darker moments with the sharp humour in Moses’s book, particularly between the show’s two opening numbers. “Waiting,” a melancholic lament of life in the desert by the citizens of Bet Hatikva, is framed with tableaus on Scott Pask’s gorgeous set, which features a well-used turntable to represent the repetitive cycle of life in the desert. This is immediately followed by “Welcome to Nowhere,” a song filled with self-deprecating humour that Dina and her workers sing to greet their disorientated guests. But what is most special about Cromer’s direction is his ability to allow the show
to breathe. Due to the language barrier between the Israelis and the Egyptians, not much is spoken between the two groups. The silence in the show reveals just as much, if not more, than the dialogue. Cromer’s sleight control of these periods of silence, some taking up the majority of a scene, help reveal the unspoken humanity between all the characters. Silence, especially to the extent that it is used in this production, is exceedingly rare in this era of large, bombastic entertainment. It is just one of the aspects that make this quiet, introspective show unique. The Band’s Visit is certainly not for everyone, as was the case on opening night as over a dozen audience members strutted out of the theatre with bags in hand before the show even reached the halfway mark. It is a work of art that demands an audience’s full attention and patience. And in the end, that patience and focus pay off. While loose ends are left to dangle and not much more is known at the end than what was introduced at the beginning, the incomplete ending still feels right. In a way, it mirrors our messy, complex, and unfinished lives. The show’s final song, “Answer Me,” is perhaps its most potent. The only song in the show to feature the entire cast singing as one, reveals the characters’s longing for connection in their lonely, barren world, much like our own. It is spine-tingling.
Art events coming up in Toronto capture the moment.
Shreya Pawar Mamidi Contributor October 25, 2019 Art Toronto: Art Toronto is exhibited in Toronto every year in October at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It is one of the most important fairs of Toronto. Art Toronto is an event where the leading Canadian galleries display their artwork to their society. October 24, 2019 Toronto Art Crawl Christmas Market: This is a day where everyone has the opportunity to listen to live DJs, eat food and surround yourself with art and creativity. This event takes place at the great hall, 1087 Queen Street W, Toronto, Ontario. The prices of the market are very low for such an amazing experience! November 14 -December 22, 2019 The Toronto Christmas Market This festival gives us a chance to enjoy the magic of a traditional Christmas in the Distillery Historic District. This month-long festival celebrates the sound, sights and scents of Christmas. Take pictures with your friends and family by the giant Christmas tree to
October 24 -November 3, 2019 Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) Celebrating its 40th, this festival brings together the world’s most famous writers, poets, playwrights, short story writers, biographers, and more at the Harbourfront Centre, Queens Quay. More than 200 participants attend this festival from 30+ countries. It presents panel-discussions, readings, anniversary parties, book signings among other activities.
world. Such as John Musker (Moana), Aaron Long (Bojack Horseman), Elizabeth Ito (Adventure Time), Cort Lane (Ultimate Spider-Man) and many more! November 2019-March 2020 Come From Away, The Musical. Come From Away is written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. This year it is taking place at the Elgin Theatre, then
re-opening at at the Royal Alexander Theater. This musical tells us the true story of what really happened in Operation Yellow Ribbon when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander. Come From Away has won four 2019 Olivier Awards.
October 26, 2019 Toronto International Dance Festival (TIDF) The Toronto International Dance festival contains all dance forms from all over the world. The festival is aimed to provide a single stage for professional and emerging dancers from various different cultural backgrounds. It is a great opportunity to learn about the cultures around the globe. November 2/3 2019 Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) This festival returns for its 2nd year of celebration, at 25 Dockside Drive. It features top animation artists and creators from Toronto and all around the
Photo by Emily Sakaguchi
SPORTS | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 29
NT fall sports Compiled by Rosie Nichols Contributor Sam Barton Contributor
The girl’s basketball team has had a great season so far. | Photo by Michael Powers
It was better than a “fore”th place finish indeed as the NT boys golf team took home a bronze medal in the South Regional Championship. Cole Bereskin was the low NT golfer and he, along with Aidan Shanderuk, Tom O’Hara, Josh Wright, Luke Taylor, and Rohan Sankaran, edged out Malvern C.I. for third place, finishing just behind Central Toronto Academy in second and this year’s champions, Leaside C.I. Moriah Lewin and Kate Gilliland represented NT proudly on the girls side, with both advancing to the City Championships. With three grade nines on this year’s team, NT will look to build on this year’s success next season. - Mr. Taylor
Boys Tier 1 Tennis
This years tier 1 boys tennis team had a great successful season. Although we came second in regionals championship we moved on into cities. From morning practices to advancing to the cities championship it was all worth it! - Alonso Flores
Senior Boys Soccer
The past 3-1 win against Northern really gave our team confidence and brought our team closer together. I believe this will help us play better as a team and has proven we all understand our goal of playing as a team and winning together. - Declan Roche
Girls Tier 1 Tennis
This year’s Tier 1 Girls Tennis Team has had a very fun and successful season. With early morning practices and a group of hardworking and dedicated players and coaches, we were able to come out on top in our first tournament, claiming the title of Regional Champions. After advancing to the City Championships, we were able to take home a silver medal! - Cassandra Chichora
The junior boys volleyball team had a good start to the season so far with four wins and zero losses. They recorded 3 two set victories and one tight three set win against Northern. The team is hoping to continue the momentum into the second half of the season. -Noah Black
Girls Ultimate Frisbee
The frisbee team has been making major improvements not only from last year, but throughout the season! All the girls on the team are so fun and lighthearted, which makes early morning practices so much more enjoyable. We’ve all been working really hard, and we’re really showing it off out there on the field. Our big win against Danforth Tech (15-2) was our best so far and we plan to keep it up for finals! - Elena Nurzynski
Senior Boys Volleyball
We started our season off strong with consecutive wins against Harbord C.I. and Bloor C.I. The Red and Grey Day victory against Northern S.S. in straight sets was a great accomplishment for the team. The game was led by Outside Hitter Michael Che alongside Setter John Budeng who controlled the offense. The remainder of our season looks promising. - Matthew Bennett
Junior Boys Volleyball
Junior Boys Soccer
Girls Tier 1 Field Hockey
It was a short season but I do feel that we played well and we were strong even against some of the toughest competition. The team meshed fantabulously and it was one of the most diverse teams in terms of grade range. It was really fun to see the new grade nines playing with our grade 12 returning players. - Roma Macdonald Photo by Michael Powers
Tier 2 Field Hockey
Our season got off to a great start and the team is looking good as they prepare to head into playoffs. The team is working really well together and is really starting to improve. - Claire Birch
The team has some great talent and the right guys to get the job done. In my opinion, if we put in the effort, I think we can finish the season strong and have a shot at winning it all. - Sam Harwell
North Toronto has had an amazing cross country season! A record number of athletes participated this year, and all made running in the morning more enjoyable. After lots of practice, commitment, and determination, North Toronto managed to win the city finals overall boys and overall combined awards, ending Birchmount’s almost two-decadelong streak. Several NT athletes made the November 3rd OFSAA Championships. We look forward to seeing many returning and new faces next year! - Adam Pralat
The junior boys soccer team has had an incredible start for the season. Going into the playoffs, they are ranked second in the south. After five games, they are undefeated with three wins (including a 5-1 win against Northern) and two draws. They hope to keep the streak going and make it to the finals! - Adam Pralat
The girls basketball team has had a great season so far! Although we have had a few ups and downs, we have come back stronger every time. We’ve had a few tough losses but also some great wins. We’ve been working really hard to improve, as well as working extremely well together as a team. We have really improved as a team overall and we’re hoping it will get us into the playoffs! - Kiara Distin
30 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | SPORTS HEALTH
More than an Ego: Why Antonio Brown is the NFL’s Drama Queen What caused this talented receiver to go so far off the rails? Elena Vlitas Contributor
ntonio Brown, otherwise known as “AB,” is a National Football League (NFL) wide receiver who, in recent months and throughout the past, has been involved in various dramas and scandals. While many focus on his actions, they tend to overlook what is causing Antonio Brown’s poor behaviour. Is it simply his fame and ego? On March 10, 2019, following a season of countless locker room disputes and repeated negative behaviour, including poor sportsmanship and fights with teammates, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders on a $30 million dollar contract. Following his trade, conflict arose in August when Brown filed a grievance against the NFL due to their new policy of forcing players to wear a newly designed helmet. This motion came from Brown’s claim that it “interfered” with his vision. For two weeks, Brown held out from training camp in protest of the NFL’s new helmet policy. While protesting, Brown threatened to retire from football if his helmet demands were not met. After these two weeks, Brown returned to his regularly scheduled practices, forcing the Oakland Raiders to fine him a total of $54 000. Brown was enraged by these fines, sparking a heated verbal dispute with Raiders GM Mike Mayock. Despite the drama, Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden still planned for Brown to play in the Oakland home opener. However, on September 7, a day after his return, Brown asked via instagram to be released from the team, resulting in additional fine of over $215 000 for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Fresh on the market, and with his $30 million dollar contract voided, the New England Patriots signed Brown to a oneyear, $15 million contract, much to the surprise of fans and other NFL teams. Further worsening Brown’s case, on September 10, allegations were made against Brown by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, of sexual assault and rape. Not even in the span of a week after the incident, a sec-
ond woman stepped forward alleging that Brown engaged in sexual misconduct. Following the allegations, Brown played one game with the Patriots before being released after 11 days of his signing, voiding yet another contract. Brown’s recent behaviour is undoubtedly reckless and unacceptable. After becoming the center of controversy in the NFL, fans are left wondering what caused this talented receiver to go so far off the rails. On January 10, 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. In the last 20 seconds of the game, Brown received a knockout head injury in a helmet-to-helmet hit with Bengals defender Vontez Burfict. Burfict was fined $112 000 by the league for the illegal helmet-to-helmet hit. However, the consequences are more than monetary, as this collision left irreversible neurological impacts. Many NFL fans and medical professionals believe that, after this hit, Antonio Brown acquired a serious brain disease, frequently found in NFL players called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a disease that impacts the brain and is caused by repeated head injuries. Signs of CTE include aggressive and impulsive behaviour, poor judgement, cognitive changes, depression, and many other impairments. The signs and symptoms are often not noticeable until a few years after they develop. Since Dr. Omalu discovered how CTE affects football players, the disease has been a serious concern among the entire NFL, with many players showing signs of severe CTE. With no treatment available for this disease, and no way to confirm if one has it before death, NFL players experiencing repeated concussions are retiring from the league earlier than usual in attempts to avoid possible advancements of the disease. In fact, over 4 500 former NFL players have filed lawsuits against the NFL for concussion related injuries, including CTE. A notable NFL player who had one of the most severe cases of CTE was former Patriots wide receiver Aaron Hernandez. He was an in-
Photo courtesy by Steven Senne / Associated Press credibly talented receiver, much like Antonio Brown, but after repeated blows to the head, he developed CTE. It increased his hostility and aggressiveness, and impaired his decision making. This caused him to murder civilian Odin Lloyd after a fight at a bar in 2013. While in jail, Hernandez commited suicide. During his autopsy, doctors found he had a severe case of CTE. Although CTE does not condone the poor decisions that Brown or anyone else makes, the NFL must take serious precautions in order to ensure the safety of its players. While his ego and fame may be part of the reason for many of
Brown’s recent actions, the case of CTE seems to be playing a big role as well. For now, Antonio Brown remains unsigned but hopes to get back on an NFL team. He has filed yet another grievance against the league for $40 million in lost contracts. Looking back on the timeline of events, it is ironic to notice the initial cause of the scandals was the helmet designed to protect Brown from the injuries that are now feeding into these controversies. Time will determine if Brown will ever get to play in the NFL again, but, for now, proper health and well-being for Brown and all other NFL players must come first.
SPORTS | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 31 SCHOOL LIFE
It’s time to pay up Cassandra Chichora Lauren Keith Editors
lthough society has already seen monumentous improvements in the participation, performance, and popularity of female athletes in sport, women continue to fight for equal recognition to men. As societal change in both the media and the general idea and industry of athleticism begins to reflect that shift, some key points of tension have yet to be dealt with. Most notably, pay for female athletes has seen minimal changes over the last decade. As women continue to undergo a long fight for equality pay in sports, it is important that we start to notice more significant changes. The gender pay gap depicts the quantifiable difference of pay that female athletes do not receive in comparison to their male counterparts. Today, college-level female sports teams and their coaching staff are having to settle for substantially smaller budgets compared to men’s college teams. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division 1 athletic departments spend twice as much money on their men’s programs. As for women’s professional sports, prize money, endorsements, sponsorships, and other financials are horrifically lower for female athletics than male. This is not only limited to the players, but their female coaches, managers, doctors, advertisers, and a plethora of other people working in more “behindthe-scenes” positions. However, as our understanding of the gender socioeconomic inequality crisis begins to take hold, we have begun to see change as, according to research conducted by the BBC, “a total of 83% of sports now rewards men and women equally.” Recently, on September 7, 2019, 19-year-old Canadian tennis player, Bianca Andreescu overcame all odds to
defeat tennis star Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 in the U.S. Open women’s singles finals. Along with her first win in a Grand Slam came a victorious pay off of $3.85 million USD. The following day, Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev in the men’s finals, where he took home equivalent prize money for his respective win. Generally, equal pay for equal work is a concept that has become a fundamental right, one which the majority of people are beginning to accept in today’s society. As for the professional tennis leagues, including the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), they have been able to recognize the significance of this movement and put equal pay into action for their male and female players. With this, the Grand Slam tournaments, consisting of the Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon, all award equal prize money. However, it was not until the legendary tennis player, Billie Jean King threatened to boycott the tournament back in 1973, that equal pay became a reality. Ultimately, the introduction of equal pay for tennis professionals put the sport ahead of its time. Other organizations and leagues still require an alteration in their perspective of gender inequity, as most have yet to institute policies on widespread, and general equality among all their athletes. The broad discrepancies of pay in professional basketball have come under intense scrutiny for the lack of contribution to the advancement of gender equality in sports. Currently, the average salary for players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is around $800 000, whereas players in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) only make around $70 000. The large pay gap has to do with general media exposure, the quantity of money the league generates, and how much the federation allocates towards its athletes. In fact, men get an overall 95% of total media athletics coverage. However, women’s sports
make up 40% of all general participation, thus proving that their contributions have been undervalued. On top of pay, biases in the media have direct correlation with the language used when commentators are describing a certain event in either female or male sports. According to the University of Southern California, commentators will often act more interested or vigorous when covering male athletes, compared to the more minimal commentating seen in female sports. Once these disparities no longer hinder the parity in global sports, female athletes will be able to get the full recognition they deserve. As of now, many organizations are failing to secure equality in sports. In 2018, WNBA rookie, A’ja Wilson took to twitter to comment on LeBron James’s contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. She stated that “54M… must be nice. We over here looking for an M but let me get back in my lane.” Wilson is not the first to notice the visible wage gap between the WNBA
and NBA as she and countless others greatly contribute to the never-ending battle against pay inequality in athletics. As a result, Wilson has become an activist figure amongst women in the game and continues to spark the conversations needed to generate change. All talk and not enough action. This seems to be a common theme amongst the world of athletics as we continue to see the issue of gender inequality prevail. However, the efforts seen throughout the past decade have brought awareness to the importance of equal pay movements, proving that both genders are deserving and have a right to receive fair wages. The #WomenWorthWatching movement is working towards ensuring that women are able to pursue occupations as athletes, and be properly financially supported and compensated through creating a strong network of supporters who pledge to broadcast and attend female sporting events.
Illustration by Ava Ireland
Inside the NTAA Kiara Distin Editor
s most students at North Toronto C.I. are aware, the North Toronto Athletic Association (NTAA) is an integral part of the school community. The committee plays a crucial role in ensuring that all teams and athletics run smoothly, as well as organizing school-wide events, especially our beloved Red and Grey Day. There are multiple roles in the NTAA, all needed to provide direction, leadership, and support for students throughout the school. While the entire committee works together to organize and promote athletics throughout NT, each position provides its unique contributions. To summarize what each role entails, Sports Teams are responsible for specific teams scores and im-
ages. Photography captures pictures at sports games and at NTAA events. On the other hand, score keeping arranges and monitors those who score keep for each home game. Events are accountable for coordinating occasions such as the Terry Fox Run, intramurals, creating schedules, ref various recreational sports, clothing orders, as well as promoting and selling NT merchandise. Furthermore, Graffiti is in charge of connecting its committee with the NTAA’s to guarantee the awareness of students regarding the current events occurring in the school. Lastly, Social Media is in charge of managing the NTAA’s accounts on online platforms. Red and Grey Day is one of the most important days at NT for athletics and school spirit, leading in a lot of required work to successfully complete this event. NTAA’s Female President, Tish Cockett, lays it all out for us. “There were so many things that had to be planned and organized
before Red and Grey Day to ensure that it went as smoothly as possible. Owen and I had to put in orders to ensure we had foam hands and thunder sticks to cheer on the teams at games, order pins for hype squad members and most spirited participants, and had to do a huge Costco run to get all the food for the BBQ and candy we were handing out in the assembly. For the hype squad, we had to make sure we had a list of names assigned to each homeform as well and inform them on how exactly they were to film the school song in each class. For the assembly we owe it all the Kamil for making it run so smoothly and helping Owen and I come up with creative ways to keep everyone engaged. We also had the responsibility to delegate duties on NTAA, which included people working at the BBQ, handing out swag, scorekeepers, creating a countdown poster, and so much more. Although Owen and I had the greatest responsibility in making sure the day went as planned
and that people were doing what they were supposed to do, none of it would have been possible without the help of everyone on hype squad, student council, NTAA, pals, and most importantly Ms. Hayden, Ms. Rough and the rest of the athletics department. Although the weeks and days leading up to the day were insanely stressful, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything because seeing the day run so smoothly and the amount of people all decked out in red and grey cheering on their teams with school spirit was definitely one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever experienced.” This just goes to show how significant every role is on NTAA, as not only did they contribute to all of the planning going into Red and Grey Day, but they also continue to work each and every day to assure that our school runs without a hitch.
32 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | SPORTS SCHOOL LIFE
INEOS 1:59 challenge Cameron Gilliland Editor
uman endeavor has taken many forms of success over the last century. Whether it was Roger Banister’s first ever sub four-minute mile, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, or Paula Radcliffe’s recently broken marathon record of sixteen years, we have continuously set and broken new barriers in athletics However, one barrier which has never been broken was a sub two-hour marathon. In my first hearing of the barrier, it sounded impractical, almost foolish. Why would we set such an illustrious barrier, only to fail time and time again? In entertaining this grandiose fantasy, The official Scientific Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, published a study predicting the earliest possible date the barrier could be broken for May 2032. Eliud Kipchoge himself, the fastest and most decorat-
ed marathon runner of all time, stated that scientists predicted the first sub two-hour marathon to be as late as 2075. With that knowledge, this article itself should be over by now, as what we have accepted as impossible, is. However, on October 12, 2019 from 2:15 to 4:14 am, Kipchoge ran the impossible. But before I get into the outstanding race that was INEOS 1:59, I must mention the first attempt by Nike in 2017. Breaking two hours was considered an insane and unreasonable venture back in 2017 as the sub twohour marathon still was perceived as impossible. Nonetheless, Nike was willing to pour money into accomplishing the impossible. In pursuit of this goal, they hired three runners: Zersenay Tadese, Lelisa Desisa, and Eliud Kipchoge. Along with an exceptional roster of athletes , Nike built an even better team of scientists including, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, physicists, aerodynamics specialists, scouters and much more. With this masterclass in team building, Nike had ticked off two
of four key facets of success; all that was left was a course and a new set of incredible shoes. The Nike Vaporfly 4%, the answer to their big problem, was the newest and furthest advancement of running shoe technology ever. This was due to the average energy return of 4% the shoe provided per step, providing a more efficient stride, allowing a faster time. Therefore, with three professional runners who all run with mesmerizing perfection, strapping on a shoe that could save as much as five minutes at the end of the race should have brought about this article in 2017, instead of now. But one of the worst jeopardising factors in running, an obstacle they couldn’t have trained for was the weather. On race day in Monza, it got more humid and warmer than wanted or expected. This, along with boredom due to the course, and multiple other minor factors, led to the first place finisher Eliud Kipchoge, to miss the mark by 25 seconds. However, in hollywood fashion, “the show must go on,” and it did when
INEOS started where Nike left off, recruiting Eliud Kipchoge to close his 25 second time gap. With a revolutionised pacing strategy, the innovative and new Vaporfly, and a course in Vienna, Austria, serving as both a course beneficial in climate and crowd support, all equated to what can only be described as completing the impossible. On that fateful October morning, Eliud ran one kilometre in 2:50, the equivalent to the average commercial break, 42.2 times in a row, and in astounding style, ran a sub two-hour Marathon. As the world moves forward in human endeavor, and as we set new barriers and subsequently break them, no one will ever forget the 1:59:40 marathon ran by Eliud Kipchoge, as it may not be repeated for a long time. But in the words of Eliud Kipchoge, “No human is limited.”
Photo Courtesy of Cameron Gilliland
HUMOUR & GAMES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 33
humour & games
Canada’s first multiracial Prime Minister
Hannah Argiloff Editor
feel lucky to live in Canada for a variety of reasons; I am within a 5-kilometre radius of a Tim Horton’s at all times. Our country uses the metric system, far more logical than the imperial one. I can sew my country’s flag onto a backpack and tour Western Europe without fear of getting spat on, unlike some uncultured American tourists. Also, my family escaped from Bulgaria’s communist regime to come here, but I figured this was the least important of my list. The most prominent reason I am so blessed to live in this country is Justin Trudeau. Champion of diversity. Activist. Icon. Shatterer of ethno-racial barriers. Canada’s first-ever multiracial Prime Minister. By painting his skin black, then brown, then black again, he has shown on multiple occasions from the young age of twenty and into his tender 30s that the plight of minorities in western society is dear to his heart, and definite-
ly something he regards with the utmost respect. Identifying as a caucasian male every single day, you see, is oppressive, monotonous, and rooted in white supremacy. Justin was brave enough to free himself from the constraints of his
tin Pierre James Trudeau is the very first politician to transcend the mere mortal and social constructs of “race.” I’m so proud of this country, for, because of him, we are entering a new age of social and ethnocultural
Our Prime Minister, creator of the phrase “diversity our strength,” is so committed to his cause that he took activism into his own hands… and neck … and face
sheltered and privileged upbringing. Our Prime Minister, creator of the phrase “diversity our strength,” is so committed to his cause that he took activism into his own hands… and neck … and face for that matter, for Jus-
awakening. Soon, we too will achieve enlightenment, and live in an era where skin colour, along with institutional racism, police brutality, discrimination, and all forms of inequity will be revealed as fake social constructs, a
ploy fabricated by previous and less conscientious politicians to divide and oppress our beautiful nation. I could not be prouder to see him reelected. He is a man who has been conscientious, tactful, and thoughtful from a young age, and he is a man who demonstrates with both poise and grace that he truly understands the scope of racial inequality. The other world leaders may question our nation’s credibility and scoff at the new state of Canada during the next World Summit, but it is okay, because they simply don’t understand, and Justin Trudeau is there to impress with his fancy socks. I am also heartened to say that many of the grade 9s and 10s right here at North Toronto Collegiate have already started dying their skin orange in solidarity with this movement. Unfortunately, for the most part, my generation of fellow 02s is simply too old and too burnt out by post-secondary applications to catch on, but it is always a joy to see youngsters getting involved. In the words of Trudeau himself, Sunny ways, my young friends. Sunny ways.
34 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | HUMOUR & GAMES SCHOOL LIFE
How to waste a spare Jacob Markovitch Contributor
he art of wasting a spare can be difficult to master at first. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading this article, you will have the skills to waste more spares than you have. Wasting a spare is no simple task; there are so many factors that change the most effective time-wasting strategy. The first being, when is your spare? If you have a first-period spare, there isn’t much to tell you. The best way to waste your spare is simply sleeping through it. I have been blessed two years in a row with a first period spare. It was Ms. Markovski who first gave my terrified grade 10 science class warnings of the first period spare: “There is no way you will ever use your spare effectively if it’s first period. You will sleep in every time,” she said. With a year and a few months of first period spares under my belt, I can very happily say she was 100% right. Although, I can’t even count the number of times the extra sleep-in made the rest of my day more productive and allowed me to be more awake for whatever I had to do. So, I say to everyone with a first period spare, don’t waste your time; sleep in. Other than the first period spare, the rest are all pretty much the same, but you have a plethora of ex-
citing time-wasting opportunities. You can stare at a wall. This is a fantastic way to waste time. Simply let your thoughts consume you, although if you’re worried that your thoughts are creeping up on the topic of school, you can stare blankly with no thoughts for even more effectiveness! This is one of my personal favourites, especially if you boost it by listening to music. If you want to help the members of your community be just as unproductive as you are, play your music on a speaker and watch as your popularity skyrockets from all the grateful people around you
who you’ve just saved from productivity. You can idle in the washrooms, an absolute classic time-wasting strategy. You can stare at people walking into the washroom. People love an audience, so why not waste more time by abruptly stopping other people’s conversations when someone goes in the washroom and staring at them while they use the stall? You can use technology, the most common way to waste a spare. Go to the cafeteria and watch Netflix on your phone or laptop. Spend endless amounts of time going down
Illustration by Victoria Jennings-Fitzgerald
meaningless rabbit holes, and end up watching YouTube tutorials on how to buy Domino’s pizza with bitcoin. If you use your phone in the library, you get the added benefit of getting to complain to the person beside you every 30 seconds about how bad the Wi-Fi is. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also always go to the foyer and stand at the window overlooking the gym, and creepily stare at people playing sports. For added excitement, try silently judging them for their athletic skills too! For everyone lucky enough to have a last period spare, a great option is to go home. There are so many ways to customize this approach. Tell yourself you will do homework on your way home, then waste an hour and a half watching “Gordon Ramsey’s Greatest Insults Compilation (EPIC).” You can also sit down at home to work, then take a moment to check your social media and spend hours looking at pictures of things you don’t care about! Now, if you’re really serious about wasting your time, you can work hard to try to get good enough grades to get into any McGill math or science program because, let’s be honest, that’s never going to happen. Hopefully, the idea of wasting a spare no longer seems so daunting, and with a bit more practice and creativity, you’ll be on your way to a great career in wasting your own time, and the time of others.
What to learn from the Area 51 raid Sarisha Panday Editor
he morning of September 20th was like any other. I got up at the same time as I always did, went to school, and sat down in my first class as usual. I went through the motions of pretending I was paying attention to my teacher and I didn’t register the date until I wrote it down during Latin. When I did, I abruptly turned to my friend and mentioned it, you know: “Hey the Area 51 raid is today! I wonder how that’s going…” We shared a quiet moment honouring those who were risking it all in Nevada and moved on, unaware of what was transpiring at that moment. Conceived by video game streamer SmyleeKun, Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop all Of Us was the plan was to amass a horde of people outside the gates of the government base known as “Area 51,” a place where it is rumoured that evidence of alien life is being held. Using the power of the mob, participants were to storm the facility all at once, as one does, and hope to not be shot down in the process. Foolproof, really. People all over the internet were hyped, imagining a life with their newfound alien boyfriends and secrets to life’s unexplained mysteries. Most, in a completely logical line of thinking, surmised it would be a success. As it turns out, it was not a success. Two million people signed a petition saying they would be going, and one and a half million said they were interested. Out of those hordes of people, only 150 made it to the gates of Area 51. Only one person crossed
Illustration by Esther Won the border and was met with a warning, while three were arrested for public urination. What ensued couldn’t be described as much more than a party outside of the government base. To be fair, this was expected considering most regarded it as a joke. Many signed the petition without any intention to go, and likely lived across the globe. The idea of Naruto Running towards armed soldiers never seemed like it was conceivable to those non-believers. How would sprinting with your arms stretched behind your back and your body tilted forward beat a loaded Beretta M9 pistol? Naruto Uzumaki might have managed it, but not all were trained ninjas. This event highlighted an important topic, despite criticism, that
has already been broached by several organizations. The Area 51 raid seemed impossible, but enough people still showed up to prove that this method (mobbing armed soldiers) could work on a grander scale. The philosophy of ‘they can’t stop all of us’ puts forth an interesting utilization of teamwork. Imagine if we had actually been able to breach the gates? What would we have found? According to Matty Roberts, the creator of the petition, “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets…”. By this impeccable reasoning, there would have been no casualties, and a wealth of knowledge would have been uncovered instead. It may not have been aliens, but if it was important enough to be locked up, that says something.
A left-wing meme page in the Netherlands (“Memes for the Masses”) also attempted to harness this type of mob power when they created the “Storm the Education Implementation Office Headquarters” event in protest of student loans. They illustrated that this power the public holds can be used for things like a protest. Sure, it’s one thing to yell at political figures and hold thought-provoking signs, but what if we all dress as trees and Naruto run at them? The climate strike would have definitely turned out a lot different. We can do anything with this power, but we must use it wisely. And there is a way to do so. Now let’s think for a moment, what’s something that had evaded us from its conception? A secret that is laboriously kept hidden, all for monetary gain. We will be toyed with no longer. It is our right to know this information, yet it is tugged out of our grasp. Floating away like a message in a bottle on the ocean. That’s right. On December 21, 2019, we will storm the Krusty Krab, and finally, figure out the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. We have watched Spongebob for years, so we know what won’t work thanks to studying Plankton. With his resources and our numbers, that formula will be ours in no time. Naruto Running will not work this time around, but by building a massive submarine, we will be able to make it. I am setting up the petition as we speak, but it’s up to you, students of North Toronto, and the citizens of the world, to make this dream a reality. Good luck out there, brave snorkelers. And don’t forget who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
HUMOUR & GAMES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 35 MUSIC
How to roast a classical musician A guide to helping your uptight musician friends loosen up.
thinks your piano is “out of tune, ” you are really just playing it wrong. Sucks to suck. And as we all know, playing a B-flat instead of a B can have detrimental effects. *winks at TwoSet fans*
Sophie Cohen Editor Iva Miskulin Contributor
7. “Just because you play the lick doesn’t make you relevant.” Jazz. The lick is one of the most wellknown jazz phrases in history. Many... scratch that, ALL jazz musicians like to reference it in their improvisational solos to meme with their band. Overuse this, however, and you will receive nasty glares from the percussion section. But, if you do want to quote the lick, make sure you play it in A-minor. No other key is sufficient.
lassical musicians are some of the most self-critical and selfdeprecating people in existence, and, most of the time, they really just need to loosen up. The best way to do this? A roast of course. If you pay attention to the tips in this guide, you’ll be able to poke your uptight friends in all the right places. 1. “You’ll probably end up as a YouTuber.” There are so many things wrong with this statement. It is truly painful. An unequivocal classical nightmare is to start playing anime music in a forest for millions of Youtube viewers. Every musician’s dream is to play REAL music in a REAL concert hall in front of REAL people, not to lampoon regular youtube addicts. The only exception to this rule is TwoSet Violin, but we don’t have time to discuss their magnificence. 2. “You sound like a violist.” This one is fairly self-explanatory but we’ll do you a favour and clarify. Viola is simply a no. They are goo-no. Just no. The viola is simply a brutal instrument. They are the butt of everyone’s jokes and they get the filler parts of pieces that are usually trash. Solos are virtually non-existent for these instruments. Anyone who plays the viola, well, good luck to them. Being compared to this instrument is a strings player’s greatest nightmare.
Illustration by Yoohyun Park 3. “You can tune almost as well as a piccolo.” The beloved piccolo... not. The piccolo’s sound is honestly most comparable, for those who have never heard it, to a screeching, dying cat. As the sopranino voice of the flute family, you never want to have to sit beside one at rehearsal, as the high frequency of their notes will make your ears bleed. They’re also perpetually out of tune, which is why there is only one in an orchestra. Having your tuning compared to that of a piccolo’s is just simply a RIP. If you do have an unfortunate encounter with a piccolo player, run or wear
earplugs just like the professionals. 4. “Your music is about as interesting as John Cage’s 4.33.” John Cage’s 4.33 is a piece of silence. Literally. There are no notes. I’m pretty sure you can figure out why this is a roast. 5. “So who was Beethoven?” Honestly this just hurts. The disrespect. He was a god. 6. “Is your piano out of tune?” It is literally impossible to play a piano out of tune unless the instrument itself is physically broken. If someone
8. “Can you only play Canon in D?” The Canon in D is a baroque piece written by Johann Pachelbel hundreds of years ago. Even if you never listen to classical music, I am 100% sure that you have heard this piece. Weddings. Funerals. Funny music videos. The list goes on. Everyone learns this piece. Pachelbel’s Canon is simply inescapable. Because of its overuse in the modern world, many classical musicians believe this piece to be beneath them. Asking a musician if they can only play Canon in D is like asking a pianist if they can only play Heart and Soul. It’s like asking a saxophonist if they can only play Careless Whisper. Absolutely despicable. All in all, even though it’s fun, don’t roast your fellow classical friends too hard. If you use all of these insults at once, they might actually cry. In fact, try thinking up your own. The ideas are endless. As Giuseppe Verdi once said, “To copy the truth can be a good thing, but to invent the truth is better, much better.”
To the bathroom poet Your eloquence has enraptured me.
Photo by Masha Ostrenko
Sarisha Panday Editor
o the bathroom poet,
Many a day has passed since I last glimpsed your beautiful words scrawled upon the bathroom stall, but not a moment has escaped me when I do not think of you. It was a pleasant surprise, as I endeavoured to relieve myself, to find elegant prose pencilled on the tan stall door of the second-floor girl’s lavatory. My disgust at the unidentifiable green
substance splattered on the door soon turned to elation; I was in the midst of the work of a genius! To think, at our school too! I shiver at the thought. It was only yesterday that I returned to that fetid Juul room to calm myself after receiving an 89% on a test. I can still see the words… Body so fit, so full of spark, with affirmation, as your wall art, you were driven, eyes on the prize, a yoga routine, home exercise. I presume that is your own work, and not at all the lyrics from “You’re So Cool” by Johnathan Bree or some made-up song like that. In fact, I definitely procured that title from the depths of my own mind. Might I take a moment to analyze your work? Because I must say, ‘art’ with ‘spark,’ the rhyme is just, well, perfection. Had I written that for my English test, I might be sitting on at least a 92%. Another spark of prodigy are the lines: Lately, I have had the strangest feeling, With no vivid reason here to find, yet the thought of losing you’s been hanging, ‘Round my mind, Far more frequently you’re wearing perfume, With you say no special place to go, But when I ask, “Will you be coming back soon?”, You don’t know, never know. This sent chills
down my spine, evoking such a feeling of longing and helplessness for a lover. It almost sounds like something Stevie Wonder would write, especially here: Well, I’m a man of many wishes, Hope my premonition misses, But what I really feel my eyes won’t let me hide, ‘Cause they always start to cry. Were you perhaps a ghostwriter for him? There is something so absolutely Stevie Wonder about this “poem,” and it really makes you think. Finally, to fully illustrate your prowess in writing, you gifted me and every other being who has bodily functions with this chilling piece: What do you want from me? Why don’t you run from me? What are you wondering? What do you know? Why aren’t you scared of me? Why do you care for me? When we all fall asleep, where do we go? How thought-provoking, especially with the last question; when we all fall asleep, where do we go? I myself have pondered this many times. What is the space that I enter when my eyes are closed? The place where Obama has apprehended me in the act of shoplifting and subsequently given me two (2) thumbs down. This one really hits home, enough so that one could almost mistake it for
a Billie Eilish tune. She would likely name it something abstract and lowercase such as, “bury a friend.” With every poem, I am more convinced you should become something of a ghostwriter. You would do incredibly well. Finally, your last legible piece simply states “BLUEFACE BABY.” Simple, yet elegant. I applaud you. Now, I suppose, comes the time to address why exactly I have written in length about my admiration for you. Well… your eloquence enraptured me. I simply have never been, well… more… in love with another human being. From just these works, I can already garner that you are a thoughtful, creative, sentimental genius. I simply ask that you give me a chance. I know you must have many suitors lined up at your door, but if you could give little old me a shot at your heart, it would make me the happiest person alive. Sincerely, Your Secret Admirer
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It’s Rewind Time Deena Shirkool | Business Manager
Across 3. 2015: the action of placing your head on the bend of an arm and stretching out the other arm 4. 2010s: cryptocurrency that gained value and fame 6. 2016: becomes president of the USA 10. 2013: Disney film based on the Snow Queen 12. 2010: first big Youtube convention 14. 2017: popular toys that spin, ‘_____’ spinner 18. 2016: Britain decided to leave the EU, name 20. 2016; beloved actress who played Princess Leia, died on December 27th 23. 2017: new console for Nintendo 25. 2012: new horror game released with this ex-
tremely tall character 27. 2011: this violent fantasy show was released, Game of ‘______’ 28. 2010s: this streaming service became so popular, it began to make its own products 29. 2012: first film of the dystopian series Hunger ‘_____’ Down 1. 2010s: ride-share app 2. 2010: the band’__’Direction began 4. 2013: DVD and CD renting company that closed down
Solutions to last issue’s crossword
5. 2017: multiplayer online game that was discontinued on March 30th, ‘____’ Penguin 7. 2010s: superhero company that made the topselling movies of the decade 8. 2013: app based on 7 second videos 9. 2010: social media based off of posting pictures 11. 2017: multiplayer combat game, grew infamous for the dances its characters perform 13. 2013: DVD and CD renting company that closed down 15. 2010: this new Apple product was released 16. 2019: this computer game that involves building things with blocks has made a come back after a decade 17. 2011: social media based on expiring photos sent to each other is released 19. 2011: civil war broke out in this country creating a refugee crisis 21. 2018: ‘____’ Pod Challenge 22. 2016: earbuds created by Apple with no wire 24. 2010s: music streaming was made popular by this app 26. 2019: ‘_____’ Brothers of their return to the music world
HUMOUR & GAMES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 37
38 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | HUMOUR & GAMES
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ACTIVISM DINOSAURS ELEARNING JOKER MARVEL
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HUMOUR & GAMES | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | GRAFFITI 39
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40 GRAFFITI | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 | HUMOUR & GAMES
Horoscope Ava Shah-Beigi Contributor Illustrations by Christina Kim
Scorpio (October 23 to November 21) We hope you’ve been enjoying Scorpio season so far, but it’s not over yet! Revel in all the attention you’ve been getting because you may have to start sharing the spotlight soon. No need to feel neglected once you do though; jealousy never looks good on anyone. Celebrate your peers and you’ll be out of the shadows in no time!
Taurus (April 20 to May 21) It’s okay to take time for yourself and implement some self-care (and no, not just doing a facemask and taking a bath). You have a tendency to always care for others and often forget about yourself. Try and say no a little more. Don’t forget: you won’t be able to help others if you’re burnt out yourself.
Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21) You may feel like you’re plateauing after so long of prospering and having it all. But remember that these things fluctuate. Try reaching out to an old friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while to remind you of your roots. Don’t forget that a break is okay and is not the same thing as regressing.
Gemini (May 21 to June 21) Make sure you’re not getting too caught up in the small details. I know, I know; you want everything to be perfect. But trying to please everyone can only lead to nobody being happy. Sometimes it seems the best side to pick is no side, but then everyone will think you’re not siding with them. Take a step back and look at the big picture for some clarification.
Capricorn (December 22 to January 19) Your hard work will pay off soon, so don’t give up because you’ve come so far. Remember to check up on those around you and make sure you haven’t been too focused. While they don’t offer the same direct validation as a productive day of work, they’re still just as important with success and getting where you want to be.
Cancer (June 21 to July 22) Admit it: you’re nostalgic and the upcoming holiday season doesn’t help. When you’re reminiscing on the past this time, try to have a more critical lens. You may miss certain memories with a person, but don’t let it make you forget why they’re not in your life anymore (Snap memories sure don’t help).
Aquarius (January 20 to February 18) You’ve been reflecting a lot lately and looking inwards to try and better understand yourself. This has been great with your intrapersonal skills, but make sure you don’t overthink. Sometimes, simply being in the moment is what matters most. Not how or why you got there. Looking in is important, but don’t forget about your surroundings.
Leo (July 22 to August 22) If guilt has been eating away at your insides, It might be time to come clean. It won’t be the pleasant straightaway forgiveness you’re looking for, but at least you’ll know that you were honest. It’s way better to come clean than to be caught. This way, with time, things will go back to how they were. Be patient though; it won’t be easy.
Pisces (February 19 to March 21) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. You’ve been going through an emotional rollercoaster. While the lows may lead to you feeling glum, remember that they’re needed for the highs to occur. Reach out and talk to friends during these times but make sure you let them in on the good stuff too. Try setting aside some time to just relax. Sometimes mediocre is just what you need.
Virgo (August 23 to September 22) Enjoy the little things, Virgo. Don’t let a bad hour turn your whole day sour. Instead, acknowledge it and realize the rest of your day doesn’t have to follow suit. Not every day will be good, and it may seem like your days have been predominantly the opposite, but it’s the simple pleasures that will keep you sane on those days.
Aries (March 21 to April 20) Don’t hang on too tightly to people you know you’re better off without. Sometimes your history with someone may cloud your judgement on how they’ve been recently making you feel. If you’ve been trying to communicate without any luck, it may be time to say goodbye. Things don’t have to be bitter or grandiose even though you may be prone to causing a scene. Try a new method out.
Libra (September 23 to October 22) These first months of school have been transformative for you and you feel like a whole new person. Make sure you keep practicing the new things you’ve learned and try to make them even stronger. Don’t let laziness sink its teeth into you; no matter how tempting it may be.