Page 1


The Torrey Pines High School

3710 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego, CA 92130

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vol. 39, Issue 1, 28 pages


See A3 David Jaffe See A5 Humanities cut

photo by alex mccracken/falconer


LOCKED OUT | The team rooms in the second floor gymnasium have been closed after being deemed a fire hazard. The rooms were open for 17 years and used by many TPHS athletic teams. By Sarah Chan and Alex Jen. Following an inspection of the TPHS campus last year by a San Diego Deputy Fire Marshal, the girls and boys team rooms on the second floor of the TPHS gym were ruled potential fire hazards and have been closed indefinitely since Aug. 12. According to Assistant Principal Rob Coppo, the team rooms typically were occupied by about 24 people at one time, which limited access to the stairway in the event of an emergency. In order for the team rooms to comply with fire code, they must either be “retrofitted” with a second exit, or closed down completely. “If you look at the walls, it’s not easy to cut through them and [make another door],” Coppo said. “On the other side of it, we certainly want to serve the kids, and my heart goes out to the seniors. It’s their last year and they’re expecting to enjoy it, but not having a team room will be a challenge.”

Coppo said there are also plans to build new team rooms in the proposed field house to be built using Prop AA funds. “The challenge is [deciding whether or not to] put money into [retrofitting the rooms with new doors], because the rooms might be completely replaced anyway,” Coppo said. “The short-term is to find an alternate facility for whichever teams need it.” Coppo said a less expensive alternative to retrofitting the old rooms is to remodel the old varsity team rooms in the boys and girls locker rooms, and use those until the new team rooms are opened. According to Coppo, the coaches “were not happy” when they were informed of the team room closure. “It’s hard because [the team rooms] have been in place for 17 years, and we kind of got used to them there,” Coppo said. “The fire marshals coming in and out kind of

TPHS synthetic biology team competes in iGEM at MIT


By Sarah Brown

entertainment editor

The TPHS synthetic biology team was awarded “Best Experimental Measurement” in the high school division of the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition hosted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology June 28-29. Team members included team president Brandon Read (12), lab team manager Mokshan Ramachandran (12), Brian Choi (12), Tareq Younis (12), Eric Chen (11), Hope Chen (11), Gha Young Lee (11), Michael Margolis (11), Nicki Nikkhoy (11), Minh Tran (11) and Cindy Yang (11). According to Ramachandran, the goal of the experiment was to engineer plasmids found in bacteria and observe their impact on gene expression. “When you design an experiment, you have to make sure that you are taking care of the controls,” Ramachandran said. “The way that we designed the experiment was considered the best [of the competition] in determining fair test and ensuring the best recordings or measurements.”

see Biology, A4

let it go, [but] you never know when a fire marshal is [not going to be comfortable with something]. When they aren’t, we comply.” The fire marshal was unable to comment, as the case remains “open” and officially unresolved. Varsity boys basketball coach John Olive was “disappointed [the basketball program] was going to lose [their] team rooms for a period of time” when he was informed of the closure, and was only given a few hours to clear out the room. “I didn’t agree or disagree, because fire laws [should be followed],” Olive said. “My players were just disappointed.” The boys team room held old trophies and pictures from previous seasons and, according to varsity boys basketball player Connor Milmoe (11), was a place where the

see ROOMS, A5

focus The most successful artists are the ones who pose questions and stir up debate. Then we can arrive at our own conclusions.

—Jill Dawsey See B3, The Art of Activism


VIEW opinion....................A6 feature..................A10 entertainment......A14 sports.....................A20 backpage............A24 focus........................B1

Math textbook rebinding delayed f

By Mahan Chitgari

entertainment editor

Several math classes, including Calculus, Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Honors, Geometry Honors and Math Analysis did not have adequate textbooks at the start of school because the books were scheduled to be rebound over the summer, but a miscommunication resulted in the books being picked up on Aug. 23. “The maintenance guys from TPHS took them out [of the classrooms] to the loading dock, but somehow the people picking up the books didn’t know they were there,” math department co-chair Robert Preske said. More than 140 textbooks were rebound. Preske said the math department has not adopted new textbooks since 2007. “It’s my understanding that some teachers [did] not have enough books [for all of their classes], but they’re just making it work,” math department cochair David Pillsbury said. Preske allowed his students to use an electronic

source to access an online textbook. Math teacher Abby Brown also said that “teachers [were] either making photocopies or sharing portions of the textbook through Blackboard” until they could provide each student with a personal copy. “Nobody [had] a hard copy,” AP Calculus CD student Charles Bieler (12) said. “All of [Brown’s] classes shared the books she keeps in the class.” Pillsbury said that he sent a few of his books to be rebound. According to Preske, it is more financially sound to rebind books at $15 per book than to buy new books for $150 each. According to Pillsbury, the math textbooks were delivered on Sept. 23. Also, the history department has two more U.S. History sections than last year, and they do not have enough textbooks for them. “At least with my class, it’s a back order issue,” Chess said. “We have been using alternative resources, and we have access to a digital version that we can use on a limited basis.” Chess said the history textbooks should come soon and that a few people have expressed concern, but no complaints.

A2 the falconer


september 27, 2013

infographic by natalie dunn/falconer statistics from huffington post and bbc news


the falconer


David Jaffe named TPHS principal La Costa Canyon High School. During his time at LCC, he was appointed principal of CCA, Founding Canyon Crest which had not been built yet. “I was the first employee at Academy principal David Jaffe has replaced Brett Killeen Canyon Crest, and I spent the as principal of TPHS for the next four years hiring all the staff foreseeable future, according to [and] building the school culture,” Jaffe said. Jaffe. After his CCA tenure, Jaffe The principal position opened up after the end of the 2012- spent three years in the district 2013 school year when Killeen office as Executive Director of accepted a position as Assistant Curriculum and Assessment. Killeen said Superintendent of Human he applied Relations at Vista Unified [Jaffe] is very excited for the VUSD job in May, School District. about increasing school seeing it as an Jaffe left his position as spirit and is just really opportunity for “personal and the principal enthusiastic about the p r o f e s s i o n a l of Chabad H e b r e w whole school. growth.” Killeen’s Academy, a Jourdan Johnson (12) new position private school asb president is similar in Scripps to human Ranch, last school year and was set on resources, but also involves returning to SDUHSD as a communicating information to principal. His preference was the public and marketing the TPHS, and when Killeen moved district to bring in more students. “I’m very excited,” Killeen to VUSD the spot opened up and the school board granted Jaffe’s said. “I believe I’ve made a good decision for my professional life, wish. “Ultimately, I found that my and I’m enjoying the challenge.” According to Assistant heart and soul is in [SDUHSD], and I’m thrilled to be here,” Jaffe Principal Cara Couvillion, Killeen said. “[SDUHSD students] don’t served as principal of TPHS for feel entitled to things and they seven years and worked hard to work really hard. It’s nice to be accomplish the goals he set. “He’s a mentor for me,” around that population of kids.” Jaffe, having worked in Couvillion said. “I was very sad to SDUHSD from 1993 to 2011, is see him go ... but he went for all well-known in the community. the right reasons.” According to the principal’s He started as a history teacher at Diegueño Middle School, then secretary, Julie Rock, Killeen became an assistant principal at and Jaffe are alike in their goals


By Anna Lee copy editor

for TPHS, striving to make the school the best it can be. “They’re both real quality people,” Rock said. “We have a very involved community, and they have high expectations for the school.” Although most students have had limited interaction with the new principal, as the liaison between students and administrators, ASB president Jourdan Johnson (12) has met with Jaffe numerous times. “He is very enthusiastic about [TPHS],” Johnson said. “He’s very excited about increasing school spirit and is just really enthusiastic about the whole school.” One possible change they have

discussed is making pep rallies “built into the day,” rather than just asking teachers to bring their classes. Time would be allotted specifically for pep rallies, similar to an assembly schedule. “I think [that would] be awesome,” ASB member Jamie Yu (10) said. “Before, a lot kids didn’t have the chance to go ... If it’s [like] an assembly, more kids will be there and involved.” According to Jaffe, TPHS will see other changes, like the switch to Common Core standards and the renovation of many buildings on campus as a result of the passage of the Prop AA bond, which allocated $80 million to TPHS. Despite the importance of these alterations,

he believes the “biggest and most important challenge is [creating] an environment where everyone feels [TPHS] is like a home.” “One of the challenges in a big school is to make sure every one of the 2,750 kids feels connected to the school,” Jaffe said. “Our job as educators is to give students the very best opportunity to develop themselves and be passionate about something.” Jaffe spends a considerable amount of time out of his office interacting with students, appreciating the “positivity” of TPHS. “It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been genuinely happy to go to work; it really is,” Jaffe said. “I smile every day I go to work.”

photo by alex mccracken/falconer

high spirits: Principal David Jaffe speaks to students about the variety of sports and extracurricular activities at TPHS during a pep rally. He was chosen to replace Brett Killeen as TPHS principal.

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A4 the falconer BIOLOGY continued from A1 Training for the competition began in September 2012, and the project preparation officially began in January 2013. Depending on each member’s commitment to the project, he or she was assigned to work on the experiment itself, or to gather the data and organize it onto a poster to be presented at the competition. Funding came solely from sponsors like New England Biolabs, a company that supplies a selection of enzymes for research to scientists. Read said the team was not able to access money from the TPHS Foundation because by the time the team needed funding for traveling, the school year was over. Volunteer graduate students from University of California, San Diego acted as mentors by proposing the project idea and giving the team access to labs on the UCSD campus. AP Chemistry and AP Physics teacher Brinn Belyea was the team supervisor. “I didn’t really know specifics about the project,” Belyea said. “When [the team was] working on campus, I was there to make sure that they were safe.” According to Read, because the team does not have sufficient equipment on campus and does “not want to bother the graduate students” this year, it plans on creating a joint team with Canyon Crest Academy, so it can utilize the facilities there. Both Read and Ramachandran agree that the competition is a rare opportunity for high school students to conduct research and work in the field of experimentation. “[iGEM] looks really good for college applications, and it’s well organized,” Read said. “It’s highly reputable. Every college that does bioengineering knows what iGEM is. It’s just amazing and a great learning experience.” The team also plans to participate in iGEM next year, and is planning project ideas and recruiting new members.


september 27, 2013

SDUHSD implements technology changes


By Sarah Kim & Alice Qu staff writers

The SDUHSD has selected Blackboard, an education software program used by teachers to share class assignments and materials with students, for the 2013-2014 school year. It replaces Edline, a similar program used for about 10 years. “[The selection of Blackboard] is a culmination of a number of years of teachers using different services to give out information to students, [and it is the best choice] to extend or expand the classroom,” Principal David Jaffe said. According to Jaffe, it is hard for the district to support many different programs, and Blackboard is an easier system to manage in terms of servers and licensing. Some students prefer the familiarity of Edline. “I think, as I get used to Blackboard, it’ll offer more opportunities than Edline, but the setting-up part of Blackboard was more confusing than Edline,” psychology teacher Lynn Leahy said. Spanish teacher Leonor Youngblood said Blackboard was suggested because of its versatility and convenience. “I like Blackboard better because, before, a lot of my teachers used different browsers for their classes, and now it’s more combined into one place where I can find everything,” Pina Simone (10) said. During the first week of school, students had to log in to a school computer before they could access Blackboard at home. Kristina Rhim (10) said that the limited number of computers available made it difficult to students to log into a school computer on the first day. According to Rhim, many students could not find the homework because they were confused about enrolling in the correct class, since each teacher had multiple class pages. Youngblood took measures to make the Blackboard sign-up process as simple as possible. “What I did with my students is I took them all with me to a PC lab, and we logged in, and I made sure each one of them was logged in,” Youngblood said. “Before I took them to the lab, I … reemphasized little [log in details]. Students were also losing or forgetting passwords, so I emphasized making sure it’s something they remember.” However, science teacher Brinn Belyea prefers Google Sites to Blackboard.

“Every single document I want to put up on Blackboard has to be entered onto Blackboard specially,” Belyea said. “With Google Sites, [when] there’s a mistake [on a Google Doc], if I fix it, it’s automatically fixed on the website. It’s so much easier for me to quickly add masses of documents [on Google Sites].” According to Belyea, many teachers use Blackboard to post copyrighted material because the content is password-secured, whereas Google Sites is public and requires that teachers seek permission from publishers. “[Another] reason to [use] Blackboard is to have secure quizzes,” Belyea said. “I don’t do that because the first student is going to get the answers, put it on Facebook, and everybody else [will copy it], so one [student will] take a quiz online and [the rest of the students will] copy the quiz.”

Some teachers find Blackboard harder to use than Edline, but others teachers favor it because of the support it offers students, according to Youngblood. Youngblood, who has used Blackboard for three years, said that it is “overwhelming at first,” but becomes a great program to use after a while. In order to fix the problems and concerns with Blackboard, the district offers training for teachers. “I went to two trainings,” Leahy said. “They had someone from the district come out and teach us how to use [Blackboard] and how to set up and upload things.” Youngblood said she found the training very helpful and said she is “fortunate to have the support.” Jaffe said that he hopes the change will not be too drastic and that the training will help teachers adapt to Blackboard.

photo by layla mazdyasni/falconer

tech check: Students have to log into a school computer before they can access Blackboard at home. Blackboard replaced Edline as the main program for the 2013-2014 year.

AP US History classes replaced with American Government TPHS alumna


By Alice Qu & Hanrui Zhang staff writers

History teacher Jim Harrah’s 5th period AP U.S. History class was canceled on Aug. 30 due to an influx of students taking American Government in the 2013-2014 school year. Students in that period met individually with their counselors to be separated into different sections and teachers for history. “When we start off the school year, we have a certain amount of staff that’s given to us by the school district,” Principal David Jaffe said. “Then, we have the students sign up for the classes they want. Based on that, we schedule everybody in the classes. Over the summer, we had about 160 new students enroll at [TPHS]. In doing that, we had to add a few different [periods] in a few different places.” According to Harrah, the SDUHSD office and TPHS administration decided to remove one of the AP U.S. history periods and add an American Government class to balance the number of students in other available classes.

“After the first day [of school], we added up the numbers for world history,” Harrah said. “[The numbers] were too big: 42 [students] or more in all classes. So, they needed to add one more class for [American Government]. As far as APUSH classes, some were too big, but there were a couple that were around 32 [students] or smaller. If you have a class with 27 or 28 [students], that’s way too small. They wanted to balance these numbers for an average of 40 [students].” TPHS administration filled Harrah’s empty 5th period class slot with an American Government class, which was originally assigned to history teacher Dexter Harvey. Harvey now teaches a World History class during 5th period. Students who were transferred from Harrah’s 5th period APUSH class switched into other periods, some staying with Harrah and others transferring to history teachers Chris Drake, Simeon Greenstein and Matt Chess. They were concerned mainly with the work they had to make up with new teachers. Brandon Hong Dominguez

(11) said that he was “pretty happy” with his teachers and schedule before he was called in by his counselor to make changes. After being transferred, Dominguez had to make up tests and work for his new class. Hong is no longer taking APUSH since he felt “overwhelmed” from the three chapters of work he missed, and switched into regular U.S. History. “It really is a rebalancing of the classes,” Jaffe said. “We closed down [Harrah’s] class and we [moved students to other periods] of U.S. History to make the numbers lighter. It doesn’t get taken away from the department completely; it just gets distributed into a place that has more impact on the number of students per class. [Students] are limited in where they can actually go in their schedules since there’s no room in other electives.” Although Ashley Ramirez (11) had to switch her AP Psychology class, she did not mind the switch since she did not have any teacher changes. “I didn’t have to do any makeup work,” Ramirez said. “It was just kind of hard to figure [the changes] out.”

June Kim (11) had her AP Calculus AB and APUSH classes rearranged to accomodate the class change. “I’ve had to make up a lot of work because I got put into Mr. Drake and we’re already on Chapter 1,” Kim said. “In my math class, it was the same thing. It’s been a lot busier than it should have been.” Kim said that starting from middle school, she has always chosen her class schedule carefully to avoid “annoying situations like this.” Many students were overhwlemed by changes in class placement and new teachers, but Jaffe is still optimistic about the increased enrollment at TPHS from new communities opening up around Carmel Valley. “I love to see more new students come,” Jaffe said. “You have a school [of] around 3,000 [students], [so] all sorts of programs can exist. We’re still increasing our enrollment. As more and more kids move in, there are more students for us and it all works out.” TPHS administration and staff will continue to make adjustments each year according to student enrollment.

injured in Kenya attack


By Maya Rao staff writer

Elaine Dang (’05) was wounded in an attack led by Islamist militant group al-Shabab on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The attack killed 68 and injured over 175. Dang, a University of California, Berkeley graduate and a former teacher for Teach for America, moved to Nairobi last year to become the manager of Eat Out Kenya, a restaurant review website in Nairobi. according to U-T San Diego. She was at the mall to meet with coworkers. Dang suffered shots to the chest, arms and legs, and is currently in the hospital. She tweeted a picture of herself in a hospital bed, along with her friends, saying she was doing well and on her way to recovery. “I feel so lucky and am so grateful to be alive,” Dang posted on her Facebook page on Sept. 22. Dang’s parents have declined comment, requesting privacy.


ROOMS continued from A1 players would “watch films of the other team, go over game plans, and watch clips of [themselves].” “I think [not having a team room] would affect our season,” Milmoe said. “If we don’t have a room, we can’t go over what the team is going to do. Also, there’s definitely a team spirit with all the old trophies and old posters; it shows the school history and gets you pumped up.” Similarly, varsity girls volleyball player Camille Oemcke (11) said not having the team room is “aggravating and inconvenient.” “I’m really mad because we spent a lot of time up there, probably an hour every day,” Oemcke said. “We’d all get [to practice] around 4 [p.m.] and hang out, talk about strategies, but we don’t really know what to do with ourselves now. We don’t have our own place anymore; we just have the gym and it’s weird.” According to Oemcke, using another location temporarily “would not be the same.” “The team room is kind of a way to get away from everything,” Oemcke said. “When we were in the team room, we weren’t really at school anymore.” The team room is also a source of school spirit for the volleyball team, and helps the players “get rallied and ready,” according to Oemcke. “We have all the awards on the wall, and it shows all the success we’ve had,” Omecke said. “We got our jerseys [in the team room]; the team room just feels different.” Coppo is “exploring all the options” on how much the retrofitting would cost, and is currently corresponding with the fire marshal via e-mail to confirm that the rooms would no longer be a hazard.

the falconer


Humanities classes cut down f

By Sarah Brown & Tasia Mochernak

entertainment editor and copy editor

TPHS 10th and 11th grade humanities courses for the 2013-2014 school year were cut down from three periods of English and history to two periods of each, according to head counselor Mary Sanchez-Allwein. Every year, SDUHSD allots the TPHS administration a certain number of class sections, or class periods, in proportion to the projected number of students attending the school, according to Assistant Principal Rob Coppo. The total number of classes the district projected for TPHS this school year was 417 different sections. “We try to limit the number of roadblocks to the master schedule,” Coppo said. “For example, singletons are a roadblock ... There’s one section of it. Humanities is [a singleton], [so taking] humanities puts limitations on what kids can do.” Coppo initially considered stopping the

humanities program completely to make scheduling less difficult, but because he understood the importance of humanities to students and teachers, he reduced the number of sections instead. One of the junior sections for humanities last year had a total of 35 people, and a sophomore section contained 34 people, which, according to Sanchez-Allwein, the administration views as relatively small, and may have contributed to the decision to reduce the number of sections of humanities this year. “[The administration] let us know [how many sections of humanities there were], and we put students in them,” SanchezAllwein said. “A lot of times the humanities classes can get really small, [but] sometimes they can be bigger, and that can be an issue. ” Tiffany Park (10) signed up for humanities because she thought the “[humanities] teachers were the hardest in [10th grade], and they would really improve [her] writing skills.” Although Park did not get into

photo by alex mccracken/falconer

blueprints: A TPHS volunteer arranges the master class schedule. The board is used to organize class sections based on the number of students signed up for each class.

the course, she did not request a schedule change because she heard that getting into humanities was very difficult, so students would not be able to get in if they were not already in the classes. Overall, more juniors than sophomores have had an interest in switching into humanities since the beginning of the school year, according to counselor Jennifer Magruder. Magruder believes that this is a result of juniors having more knowledge about courses than sophomores. “[Juniors] already know what humanities is, and [they] have [already] talked to their friends and have more of an interest in it,” Magruder said. Kevin Jiang (11) signed up for humanities, but did not get in and felt “extremely upset” when he got his schedule. “I was in humanities last year, and I liked the idea of having the same people in both classes because it was easy to communicate about homework and classwork,” Jiang said. “Also, I was looking forward to sharing classes with my humanities friends [this year].” Most of the students who sought Magruder’s help with schedule changes after not being placed in humanities classes were “kids who really wanted the humanities experience.” “[Students ask to switch in] because they feel that they learn best [in humanities], and I think that it is important that we try to work with kids when their motivation is genuine that way,” Magruder said. Jessica Choi (11) was able to switch into humanities even though the claases were not on her original schedule. “I decided to switch in since I had humanities last year, and it was a nice experience,” Choi  said.  “I also heard that junior  humanities and AP U.S. History and English separately had different books and course material. I felt that the humanities course would be more organized, as the teachers are actually coordinating.” Coppo said that, so far, scheduling classes has been somewhat easier, and the humanities classes will be re-evaluated in the spring.

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The Trust Act helps undocumented immigrants, A8

A diplomatic approach on Syria was correct, A9

Should the US make voting mandatory?


By Hanrui Zhang staff writer

In the most recent U.S. presidential election, only 57.5 percent of eligible American citizens participated. Nearly half of U.S. voters now abstain from the voluntary voting process. This consistently low turnout demonstrates that Americans are not adequately moved to participate in elections. With mandatory voting, Americans will participate more fully in the political process and take full advantage of the Constitution’s promise of equal representation. Politicians will have more diverse support and run less targeted campaigns designed to attract voters in a specific subgroup. As more citizens vote, pressure for politicians to represent the beliefs of all voters increases, which can help determine the most dedicated candidate. The selection of a leader would truly represent the will of the people. By making sure every eligible citizen in the United States votes, the accuracy of the democratic system will only get better. Australia already utilizes mandatory voting, and its turnout averages 95 percent; the remaining 5 percent are null or “none of the above” ballots. Australia’s model proves mandatory voting increases turnout, and similar results can be achieved in the United States. A compulsory voting system would also reduce income

art by jacki li/falcon artist

Many democracies, including Australia and Argentina, have made voting in elections compulsory to increase turnout and political participation. Nonvoters are typically subject to small fines.

inequality. Alberto Chong and Mauricio Olivera of the InterAmerican Development Bank and George Mason University report that nonvoters are, on average, poorer and more likely to be racial minorities. Nonvoters are not less interested in politics, but voting transaction and information costs are higher for them. Compulsory voting would encourage fiscal redistribution since it would increase turnout among people more likely to prefer redistribution policies. Those opposed to mandatory voting believe that only the ballots of citizens who strongly believe in what they are voting for are valid. While an informed electorate is ideal, it cannot be a requirement for participation. If every eligible voter is required to go to the polls, the intentional inclusion of polarizing ballot propositions for the purpose of getting out the vote of specific voting blocks so they will also vote for specific candidates becomes moot. Mandatory voting equalizes votes and lets all social classes and political interests have a voice. Evidence from pre-election interviews in Europe and the United States demonstrates that exposure to political issues causes voters to become more interested in politics, according to Arend Lijphart of the University of California, San Diego. Mandatory voting encourages interest in relevant issues. Voters can cast invalid ballots if they do not associate with a certain candidate or party. This choice ensures the accuracy of each ballot. As evidenced by Australia, citizens do choose this alternative. Implementing and enforcing mandatory voting would make American democracy stronger with each election.

We asked you...

Should the United States require voting during elections?







Supporters of compulsory voting presuppose more voting implies healthier elections. The traditional conception of democracy is grounded in numbers. If 51 percent of voters support a candidate, that candidate should be elected. However, any ideal of democracy as the will of the people would also require people’s relative interests be represented; it would be undemocratic if that candidate’s election would have marginal benefits for the majority, but lead to severe harms for the minority. Applying this ideal is problematic since it is impossible to measure the degree to which people are affected by a given policy. However, voluntary voting provides a mechanism for measuring interests; since voting requires effort, people below a certain threshold of interest will not vote, allowing elections to better represent those with more at stake. Mandatory voting provides no way to distinguish voters with greater concern. The influx of disinterested voters could distort electoral outcomes. A 2009 study by European researchers Peter Selb and Robain Lachat found that voters forced to choose were less informed and interested than regular voters and likely to vote “randomly.” The study concluded mandatory voting makes it more likely election outcomes will not represent voter preferences. Voting entails costs to the voter. But the chances of one vote affecting the election is close to zero, indicating rational citizens should not vote; the value of voting must stem from expressive, rather than instrumental, benefits from the act itself — like the fun of cheering at a sports game even though your shouts make no difference over the roar

NO f

By Varun Bhave opinion editor

of the crowd. Valuing voting as a decision calculus overlooks the shortcomings of aggregation. Democracies pool millions of mostly nonexperts, where the uneducated person’s vote is equivalent to the professor’s. This is not the formula for the most rational conclusion. But a mandatory expressive act is an oxymoron. Actual choice is required; I have not expressed myself through a required vote; I do not endorse stealing if you take my money at gunpoint. I can choose to express myself by staying home rather than filling a null ballot, an act that could represent disinterest or disenchantment with politics or the government. Forcing participation in the process presumes citizens value the vote. This is problematic for reasoned nonvoters; democracy is about respecting subjective values, but the idea that voting is valuable is itself a value judgment citizens should be able to opt out of. Finally, there are Constitutional issues with mandatory voting. Many Christians, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe they should not participate in politics. Forcing them to vote seems contrary to freedom of religion. Losing democratic choice is a steep price. More votes do not mean more legitimate governance if they are coerced.


the falconer


STAFFEDITORIAL: nfl settles lawsuit The National Football League reached a $765 million settlement with more than 4,500 of its ex-players and their families on August 27. The settlement signifies the end of a two-year lawsuit that began when 75 former NFL players accused the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee of misinforming players about the dangerous effects of concussions on players’ cognitive health, which include increased risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative brain disease with dementia-like symptoms. Although the settlement appears to be significant, the NFL still came out on top. About $75 million of the money will be used to pay for players’ baseline medical exams, another $675 million for compensation for the former players who sustained cognitive injuries, and about $10 million for concussion-related research. Case mediator Layn Phillips called the settlement a milestone for football safety, “one that will make sure that former NFL players who need

NFL players get a ton of money ... so it seems silly that they would get money, seeing it was already a risk of the job. Avery Parker (9)

and deserve compensation will receive it.” Ex-players requiring urgent medical care will be able to receive the relief they need instead of

The early settlement allowed the NFL to dodge a serious bullet ... the penalty could have amounted to billions. waiting for a trial that could take years to unfold, but a maximum $5 million per player is insufficient compensation considering the costs of medical treatment, and the pain and suffering players have experienced and continue to experience. The severe depression, memory loss and mood changes characteristic of disorders like CTE not only hurt the players, but also their families. Allowing the case to go to trial would have left a longer window of time for additional retirees to make unsubstantiated claims

of brain trauma to stake out their own shares of the funds; since the lawsuit’s inception in 2011, the number of plaintiffs has already multiplied manifold. Consequently, while the plaintiffs must make do with the money they have been awarded, the NFL has escaped paying anything more than a trifle — the $765 million, already split up between thousands of plaintiffs and spread out over the course of 20 years, is still less than 0.5 percent of the NFL’s massive annual revenue. However, the early settlement also allowed the NFL to dodge a serious bullet: If the suit had gone to trial, investigations into accusations of deliberate misinformation on the part of the NFL would commence. And if the NFL had lost the case, the penalty could have amounted to billions — not millions — of dollars. The NFL is not completely at fault; the blame falls on the ex-players as well, many of whom had surely been exposed to the

dangers of concussions and other head injuries since the start of their careers. NFL players should be aware that their job decisions come with certain dangers and responsibilities. During games, players are notified by medics if and when they become concussed, and are given the option to sit out and recuperate. Still, a side-lining injury can mean the difference between “life and death” in the NFL; too much time spent on the bench not only hurts a player’s value, but also increases his risk of

art by megan lenehan/falcon artist

student voices

It’s ridiculous because it was their choice to play football, knowing that [it] could result in severe injury. Nick Iftimie (10)

Should the NFL compensate ex-players who sued the league for not revealing dangers of brain injuries?

I think it’s good to have protection for NFL players mainly because of all the recent deaths, like with Junior Seau.

[Players] know the risks going in, but [compensation] is still necessary because some injuries are more serious.

Louis Vincent (11)

Pailin Ruttanasupagid (12)

... blurred lines.

Nina Davuluri’s winning the Miss America crown has certainly led to ...

the strip. Falconer

being traded to another team or released outright. Consequently, it is understandable that many players still choose to plunge back into a game with a concussion, protecting their careers while unintentionally also increasing their risk for debilitating brain injury. The issues in the lawsuit are complicated, but one thing is for certain: The NFL sidestepped a huge hit to its finances and image, leaving the plaintiffs not much better off than when they started.

By Joshua Send.

the torrey pines high school

We, the Falconer staff, are dedicated to creating a monthly newspaper with the intent of encouraging independent thinking, expanding our knowledge of journalism, and providing the TPHS student body and community with a truthful, unbiased news source, in accordance with our First Amendment rights.

3710 Del Mar Heights Road San Diego, CA 92130 PHONE: (858) 755-0125 x2245 FAX: (858) 523-0794 E-MAIL: WEBSITE:

The Falconer is the student newspaper of Torrey Pines High School. Its content, which is the responsibility of the Falconer staff, is not subject to administrative approval. Unsigned editorials represent the opinions of the newspaper staff, while opinion columns represent the writer’s perspective. Advertisements do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s viewpoint. The Falconer, an open forum, welcomes signed letters on pertinent issues from the TPHS community, which may be submitted to room 102, via e-mail at or to Mia Smith’s mailbox in the administration building. Letters may be edited for length.

Editor-in-Chief Assistant Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Public Relations Copy Editors News Editors Opinion Editor Feature Editor Focus Editor Entertainment Editors Sports Editor Backpage Editor Photo Editors


Cory Lomberg Natalie Dunn Savannah Kelly Katie Page Anna Lee Tasia Mochernak Alex Jen Anna Li Varun Bhave Emily Sun Katie Mulkowsky Sarah Brown Mahan Chitgari Fernando Stepensky Charu Sinha Layla Mazdyasni Alex McCracken Mia Boardman Smith

Staff Writers: Sarah Chan Jennifer Grundman Michelle Hao Sarah Kim Alice Qu Maya Rao Russell Reed Caroline Rutten Austin Zhang Hanrui Zhang Webmasters: Ben Lawson Joshua Send Photographers: Grace Bruton Kenneth Lin Tara Manoogian

Artists: Marisa Chang Grace Chen Kelsey Chen Anna Huang Ellese Nguyen Megan Lenehan Jacki Li Kristina Rhim Haiwa Wu

A8 the falconer


september 27, 2013

Trust Act helps law enforcement and the undocumented


By Maya Rao staff writer

There were 11.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics. Since President Barack Obama took office early in 2009, he has deported, in little over one term, more immigrants than George Bush did in eight years. The Department of Homeland Security Secure Communities program has helped Obama deport 1.5 million people, according to Corey Dade at National Public Radio. It requires local and state institutions to report the immigration status of all criminals and detain the undocumented immigrants until federal authorities can take them into custody. Now, a bill called the Trust Act is currently in the California Senate for the second time, after being vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. It states that unless undocumented immigrants have been convicted of violent or sexual crimes, they must be released from custody

as soon as possible. The Trust Act should be passed, as it would allow state and local governments to gain back the trust of the people – U.S. citizens or not. Most undocumented immigrants do not pose serious threats to the United States. The crimes they commit are usually minor offenses, so the punishments should be weighted accordingly. Secure Communities does not make that distinction and continues to deport people for the tiniest of offenses. The constant fear of deportation scares the immigrants so much that even if they are the victims of a crime, they will not contact the police. In a recent study by the University of Illinois at Chicago, 44 percent of Latinos said that they are too scared to contact the police for fear that the police will ask about their family and their immigration status. Instead of working to improve security within the United States, Secure Communities is frightening people into letting real criminals escape punishment. Sheriffs and police chiefs, typically backers of programs like Secure Communities, are now rallying to support the Trust Act. They are worried that Secure Communities is not allowing them to catch criminals, like murderers and thieves, within their jurisdictions. Worrying about the immigration status of minor offenders only wastes time


that could be used for finding dangerous criminals. The main misconception about the Trust Act is the belief that dangerous criminals can be freed just as easily as minor offenders. It allows undocumented immigrants to be released as soon as possible, but only for potentially minor offenses. Immigrants who have committed serious crimes will be held for the time determined by the crime, and all dangerous criminals will be treated appropriately, regardless of immigration status. Others are concerned with jobs undocumented workers are taking from

In astronomy, binary stars are two stars that orbit around a common mass. The brighter star of the two is called the primary star, and the other is called the secondary star. For most of my life, I have felt like the secondary star. My older brother is Tommy Rutten, described as a genius by many. He graduated from TPHS last year and is currently studying at Columbia University. He is my With a high-achieving brother, Caroline best friend, my role model and my hero. Yet even with all the Rutten has found her own identity as a encouragement and love he has given me, I sometimes felt a loss member of the Falconer staff. as to who I was, as an individual, compared to my older brother. At home, I felt intelligent and encouraged, an individual able to express my own ideas w i t h o u t judgment. However, at school, I felt little individuality. Throughout elementary and middle school, my last name was used as an identity — I was a “Rutten.” People immediately perceived me to be as smart, hardworking and perceptive as my brother. My friends accepted me, but my teachers photo by layla mazdyasni/falconer would ask me how my brother was doing, what classes he was taking and for me to tell him he was one of their favorite students. At the time, I felt content with this identity. Yet, as I started high school, the idea of being known

caroline rutten

U.S. citizens. However, neither citizens nor employers want American workers for those jobs. Employers do not want to raise wages for low-pay, high-risk jobs, and most citizens do not want to take those jobs. With Obama’s recent push for affordable college education, Americans are less likely to take jobs requiring menial labor. Few people with a college degree will want to assemble parts in a factory, but undocumented workers are happy to take such jobs. In fact, the deportation of undocumented immigrants will only have a negative effect on the U.S. economy, according to George Borjas, professor of economics and social policy at Harvard University.

The Trust Act does not undermine the federal government’s rule on illegal immigration, but aims to rebuild the faith undocumented immigrants once had in the U.S. government. It will detract from the constant fear of deportation most undocumented immigrants are living with by promoting justice within the United States. Most of all, it will make this country safer – not from invaders from another country, but by cleansing crime within its borders. As the Trust Act continues to be hotly debated in the California Senate, supporters of a free and equal America are hoping that the citizens have trust in the Trust Act.

art by grace chen/falcon artist

for my brother’s achievements discouraged me. The pressure to be equal to or surpass my brother made me question my own capabilities. I wanted to be known for my own achievements and competencies. Someone even asked me if I was “the ugly duckling of the family” and if “I am able to live up to Tommy’s standards.” I once had a teacher tell me that one of my homework assignments was not “Tommy-approved work.” Throughout my life, Tommy

I am now the only Rutten at TPHS. While I miss my brother ... having no source of comparison is gratifying. always expressed his love and support. In our many discussions, he told me I have the capability to reach my fullest potential. He pushed me to show my own abilities, not his. Yet self-doubt made me feel that I could never achieve the same excellence and leave a legacy like Tommy had. He had confidence, popularity, good grades and the know-how to achieve his goals. As a confused freshman, I set those same standards for myself, even though I knew I could not achieve them. Not being able to reach them so early on made me think I would not succeed and I would be forever known as the secondary star. As freshman year continued, I was able to find more activities I enjoyed and discover more of who I am. This maturation gave me confidence and slowly allowed me to stop comparing myself to my brother. I could now celebrate his accomplishments, as well as my own. Specifically, at the end of freshman year, our binary star

system shifted: I was selected to be a staff writer for the Falconer — something Tommy had never done. I found an activity I excelled at, something I loved to do that was totally out of Tommy’s scientific realm. I found a world that was all my own, one which I had entered through only my own hard work. I couldn’t wait to tell Tommy about my new position on the Falconer staff. He congratulated me with an immense amount of pride and joy. He even told his friends about my acceptance. It was such a rewarding experience to have my hero and role model be so proud of me. Even though Tommy has left behind a reputation of excellence, I am now the only Rutten at TPHS. While I miss my brother wholeheartedly, having no source of comparison is gratifying. Having that responsibility to establish my own individuality brings nothing but satisfaction. In the future, I know Tommy will not only be remembered as Prom King. I believe he will be known as the man who contributed to the curing of cancer, or as a man who made an indelible mark on the fields of scientific innovation. Proudly, I will be able to claim that man of inquiry is my hero and, more importantly, my brother. Stars begin as intense, dark spheres of gas, only to become bigger and brighter. It takes light-years for stars to become visible and admired. As the older brother, Tommy’s light traveled sooner than mine, and he was able to start shining before I could. As he continues to gleam, I believe it is now time to increase my own brightness and gain my own identity. Navigating away from the secondary star known as “Tommy Rutten’s little sister,” I can finally emerge into the bright primary star known as “Caroline Rutten.”


the falconer


Not intervening in Syria the right decision f

By Anna Lee copy editor

President Barack Obama said in an address to the nation on Sept. 10 that he had decided to “postpone the vote” on a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the interest of pursuing diplomatic solutions. Obama had previously sought congressional approval of the strike due to evidence of chemical weapons use in an Aug. 21 attack in Damascus by the Assad regime on Syrian civilians, including children. U.S. military intervention may have been a valid option when news of chemical warfare in Syria first reached the United States. However, at this point, considering Assad has agreed to a Russian proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control, any steps taken by the U.S. military to interfere in the Syrain civil war will be unnecessary and unpopular with the international community. Not only has Syria accepted the Russian proposal, but Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem said on Sept. 10 that Syria is willing to join the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, which prohibits the production, acquisition, stockpiling and use

of chemical weapons for all 189 countries party to the convention. Syria agreed in order to “remove the grounds for American aggression,” according to al-Mualem. Now that the Syrian government has agreed to effectively eliminate the possibility of future chemical weapons attacks, with the Russian government ensuring that Assad keeps his word, the United States is rightly turning toward more diplomatic solutions.

The United States does not have the [international] support to go through with a military strike.

100,000 deaths, 40,000 of which are civilian deaths, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the U.N. Human Rights Watch has filed reports testifying to the arbitrary arrest and torture of thousands of innocent civilians. It seems Obama is using the dangers of chemical warfare as a flimsy justification for potentially sparking a war. Russia, Iran and Syria have already stated that they are strongly opposed to Western military intervention. Assad declared that if the United States goes through with its strike against Syria, there will be retaliation. The United States does not have the support from the international community to go through with a military strike that could instigate conflict with numerous other

countries. Beginning a military campaign against Syria will needlessly antagonize other governments, and the United States will have only France to back its actions. Even the general public is against military strikes on Syria. According to a CNN poll conducted Sept. 6-8, 72 percent of Americans believe that military strikes against Syria would not achieve significant goals for the United States. After all, military intervention would be limited to 90 days and would include only narrowly focused air strikes. It is questionable how effective air strikes would be, especially in such a short space of time. A two-year war cannot be ended with a few U.S. missiles. Furthermore, there is no obligation for the United States to interfere in the war. Sixty-

However, there was no concrete evidence that the Syrian government was solely responsible for the attack on Damascus, and the Obama administration has offered no proof to back its claim, only emphasizing that the Assad regime is responsible. It is possible Obama is truly concerned about the human rights violations caused by chemical warfare and the international outrage the use of chemical weapons engenders, but proceeding with military strikes under the current circumstances may also be a convenient way to justify aggression against Syria. If Obama considered military intervention in Syria because of the humanitarian issues, there has been no explanation for why the United States did not interfere earlier. The conflict has already resulted in over

nine percent of Americans believe it is not in the national interest of the United States to be involved in the Syrian crisis. Persisting with military action will only serve to alienate U.S. citizens and devalue their opinions. Obama should stand down from military intervention and pursue more diplomatic solutions in cooperation with the Syrian government. Going through with military strikes when the concern about chemical weapons in Syria has already been addressed is redundant and speaks volumes about the Obama administration’s stance on aggravating conflict and violence. Obama was correct in postponing the vote on the bill, and should not pursue a military strike even if diplomatic solutions are unsuccessful.

art by kelsey chen/falcon artist

Obama’s college ratings plan needs revision colleges, and to make college affordable for low-income students and middle class families. Obama hopes to implement this new system by 2018, and if he cannot persuade Congress to cover the financial aid aspect, then he hopes at least to publish the new rankings. While Obama’s rating system is right in its goal to help reduce college tuition By Jennifer Grundman rates and propel low-income students staff writer toward higher education, some of his President Barack Obama recently ranking methods could be harmful to gave a speech in Buffalo, New York both colleges and their students. Obama’s plan to measure the highlighting his new plan to cut college tuition costs and create merit of colleges based on alumni a federal ranking system to help income, for example, could adversely families pick colleges with the best affect the general view of college and “value.” Obama’s plan would measure of humanities majors in particular. By such value by how much debt per measuring colleges based on alumni income, Obama is student is accrued Obama’s plan might blatantly asserting on average, the many people ease of paying cause colleges to cut what already seem debts, graduation humanities funds and to think — that rates, graduate is a place income, and how funnel their resources college where people go successfully the into [other] majors. first to learn how college graduates to make money students on and second to Pell grants, federal grants for lowincome students that do not have to become educated. As USA Today be repaid. Schools that rank highly noted, Obama’s ranking system fails on this new system would receive in the same way that U.S. News and greater subsidies from states, and World Report’s college ranking students attending these schools system does: It does not focus would receive more Pell Grant money. enough on how a college Notably, this Pell Grant money would educates its students, which be given over the course of the year could be measured by how or semester, depending on how much students’ skills improve the student performs — a change during their matriculation. the same line, from how it is currently granted, Along which is all at once — and would Obama’s desire to measure hopefully prevent Pell grant money graduate income may cause for humanities from being wasted on dropouts. trouble His plan is structured around three majors at these colleges. goals: to connect financial aid to Students majoring in science, school performance, to encourage technology, engineering innovation and competition between and math are known for


being paid, on average, higher salaries than the average student who majored in the humanities. Obama’s plan therefore might cause colleges to cut humanities funds and funnel their resources into majors in which career pay tends to be higher than salaries for humanities graduates, so that the colleges can receive a higher ranking and more federal financial aid. However, these are not the only potential problems. Investor’s Business Daily expressed discomfort over the idea of the government ranking schools, saying there is “every reason to be suspicious of a system that ranks schools based on a politician’s idea of value,” and that “tying college aid to these politically derived ratings will only make colleges more beholden to federal dictates about ‘quality.’” The Wall Street Journal also opposed Obama’s plan to cut tuition, arguing that increased tuition rates are the logical product o f

increased federal grants and demand for a college education. They also point out that further federal subsidies and grants will only exacerbate the problem, since they will increase the number of students applying to college and thus increase overall demand. Moreover, Obama’s plan has the potential to hurt students more than it helps them. Colleges may decide that in order to receive more funding, they have to skew their statistics or otherwise try to game the system. As the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times noted, it is easy for schools to reduce dropout rates by rejecting students who are members of demographic groups with relatively high dropout rates or by making classes easier and grades higher. With that said, Obama’s plan is not wholly bad or superfluous. Lowincome

families would probably benefit from additional information on colleges that provide decent financial aid and low-income student graduation rates. Additionally, Obama has formulated a good strategy for cutting down wasted Pell Grants by ensuring that they are given over an extended period of time and to those who seem likely to succeed in college and graduate. And, as The Atlantic reported, a survey done by Pew Research Center revealed that nearly half of college dropouts left because they could not afford tuition. This means that Obama’s desire to cut tuition costs could have the potential to reduce college dropout rates as well. Overall, the measures Obama wants to use to evaluate colleges’ relative value would benefit from revision. But despite the potential pitfalls of his plan, Obama can be commended for trying to find ways to make college more affordable for everyone and for trying to increase the numbers of enrolling and graduating lower-income students.

art by kristina rhim/falcon artist



Feature takes a closer look at the mechanics of sleep, A18

Entertainment explores Middle Eastern restaurants, A29



by Sarah Chan and Savannah Kelly

At 7 years old, Sarah Hughes (10) took a trip to up being kind of a motherly figure to them,” Hughes said. Disneyland with her mother and brother and two girls Hughes, in turn, also enjoys a close relationship with her she knew from church and the girls’ father. She could not stepfather. know that six years later the girls and their father would “I met my stepdad before he got together with my mom,” become permanent fixtures in her life. Hughes said. “We joke around at home; he calls me ‘saetong’ “I only remember it being 5 a.m. and being confused about which in Korean means ‘bird poop.’ In a way, we’re really why they were coming,” Hughes said. “I thought they were comfortable with each other.” coming just because they were church friends.” Hughes attributes the strength of her bond with her stepfather Hughes maintained friendships with the girls from church until in part to their cultural similarities. Like her mother, Hughes’s they really bonded when she was 10, when Hughes realized her stepfather is Korean, and she is “happy [her] mom could have a bit mother and the girls’ father were going to get married. At the same more of her own culture in her life.” time, Hughes’ father remarried, and she met the new stepsiblings According to Christopher, each family creates its own individual who came along with the deal. Although Hughes has two stepfamilies, culture. In a stepfamily, “two very unique identities” are brought the family relationships in each differ greatly. together. “I think the parents need to be aware that [the] children are not “[They have] two very separate histories,” Christopher said. “It’s falling in love with each other, but the parents are falling in love with each important [that] they come to honor, respect and value those histories — other,” Encinitas psychologist David Christopher said. “It is important that they shouldn’t sacrifice them.” the adults have a tremendous sense of compassion. The kids don’t know one Although Hughes’s new family on her mother’s side is another and are being brought into the situation without close-knit, her mother sometimes feels a lot of guilt for having the emotional connection that the parents do.” her divorce. Although Hughes was anxious when she found out her “[I feel as if] I wasn’t able to provide my family with The parents need to be “church friends” would be her new stepsisters, she now a perfect home and family [relationship], and now I’m aware that [the] children trying to pick up where I left off,” Kim said. “I really thinks of them as biological siblings because they are older and more open with her, making it easier for them are not falling in love appreciate that my kids didn’t cause any trouble and to bond. They go to nail salons and have dinners together supportive … it was a family effort.” with each other, but the were to “make sure [Hughes feels] accepted and welcomed.” However, Hughes’s stepfamily relations can be Min Kim, Hughes’s mother, believes it is important to parents are. difficult, and her stepmom’s house is not always “the become a single, unified stepfamily from the beginning, happiest place on earth.” Unlike the family relationship David Christopher on her mother’s side, Sarah has had conflicts with her instead of two families that are only related because legal psychologist stepmother. documents say they are. “As a mom, I didn’t want my husband’s family moving “She’s Chinese, and she has a different culture,” into our house or my family moving into theirs,” Kim said. Hughes said. “I understand that because I’m half-Korean, but it’s still a Instead, the family moved together into a bigger house, where the different dynamic. My stepmom and I don’t have much in common so we’ve children picked out colors for their own rooms, planted fruit trees together never had a chance to bond.” and bought a dog. Oliver Jones (10) is the biological son of Hughes’s stepmother. He only “I needed to create a feeling of ‘our house,’” Kim said. “When we got a dog, has one biological sister and three stepsiblings, but said he “feels bloodit was our dog. When we planted the fruit trees, [they] would be our trees.” related to all his siblings.” Kim said she put great effort into merging the two families carefully and “In terms of family merging, [Hughes’s family] just became part of thoughtfully. She believes that it takes patience to understand the tendencies ours; there wasn’t a huge change to our family’s structure or schedule, so and personalities of her stepchildren, as opposed to her own children who everything has been working out quite well,” Jones said. His family goes she has been able to nurture and observe since they were born. She felt the camping and goes out to eat often, so they “have a lot of time to talk together,” need to reach out to her stepchildren to eliminate any negative feelings and which Jones enjoys. assure them that “[no one was] taking anyone away from anybody.” “I wasn’t sure about how [merging families would] turn out, but it ended “My husband looks out for my children and I look out for his,” Kim said. up being one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” Hughes said. According to Christopher, if a relationship is fostered, the stepparent Since her first trip, Hughes has been to Disneyland many times, but none “can become a true, loving and caring adviser.” In some cases, if the other of the trips have had a greater influence on her life than the one with her biological parent is not home often, the stepparent can become a “wonderful future family. For Hughes and her stepsisters, their trip to the happiest force” for the children. place on Earth was just the beginning of one big happy family. “My stepsisters’ mom left them when they were little, so my mom ended By Sarah Chan and Savannah Kelly

photo by kenneth lin/falconer


At 3 a.m., early morning travelers are waking, their tired eyes and heavy feet ready to embark on a long journey to the airport. At 4 a.m., student athletes are waking, stumbling through dark, disheveled bedrooms to find their equipment bags fast enough to make it to morning practice on time. At 5 a.m., working parents are waking, already pouring the day’s first cup of coffee before the rest of the family rises. For all of these people, it is the beginning of a new day. For Shayun Pedram (12), it is the end of a very long one. Pedram regularly sleeps anywhere from three to Sleep deprivation is five hours a night, staying up as late as necessary — often into the early hours of the morning — to used ... as torture. [There study for tests or finish homework for his five AP is] a huge effect on classes. someone’s psyche when “I think it shows what a good school we have, that kids actively want to stay up so late and get they don’t sleep enough. their work done,” Pedram said. “I like that if I Gisela Sommer want to, I can have a course load that’s so rigorous psychologist that I can’t sleep.” Since his sophomore year, Pedram has considered sleep one of his “lowest priorities,” consciously putting work for his academics and extracurricular activities first, even at the cost of his personal health. “If the sacrifice is not getting sleep, then I’m willing to take that,” Pedram said. “I chose that option.” But according to sleep specialist Michael Zupancic, adolescents rarely realize the consequences of consistently sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night. “[People who are] sleep deprived … feel more depressed and irritable, so that’s why it’s vitally important to get a sufficient quantity of sleep,” Zupancic said. “Chronically sleep deprived people [find it] tougher to do well in certain testing, memorizing data and so forth.” Still, Pedram is not alone in his almost blatant disregard for the importance of rest. Aidan Kahng (10) consistently gets less than five hours of sleep a night, but attributes many of his late nights to procrastination, something Pedram said is no longer an issue for him. “I used to never be able to wake up, so I kind of trained myself to, every single day, wake up at 6 a.m., no matter what [time] I went to bed,” Kahng said. “And that kind of screwed stuff up. If I stay up late I still wake up at 6 a.m., and if I go to bed before midnight I generally wake up in the middle of the night at some random time like 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.” According to Zupancic, when people no longer know what it is like to have enough sleep, they do not recognize that they are sleep deprived, a phenomenon known as insufficiency syndrome. “They’ve forgotten how it is to be normal,” Zupancic said. “Teenagers are generally sleep deprived during the week and catch up on sleep over the weekend, but it is theoretically better to get I used to never be able the same quantity of sleep on a to wake up, so I ... trained regular basis.” Still, many students, like myself to ... wake up at 6 Kahng, have systematized their sleeping patterns in a.m. no matter what time order to maximize time I went to bed. efficiency. Last year, Dan Kim Aidan Kahng (10) (12) tried Polyphasic Society’s student “Everyman Sleep” schedule, which, according to their website, promotes a 3 hour “core” supplemented by three 20 minute naps spread equally throughout the day, every day for a month. “[I tried it] because I was really busy … but the power naps didn’t work for me,” Kim said. “I feel like if I could [choose whether or not to be sleep deprived], I wouldn’t do it because it’s better to just try to use your time better. In the long run, even just for 2 or 3 years, this lack of sleep really does make an impact. At times when I shouldn’t be tired I’ve been really tired or less focused. [I] can still get work done, but it’s a lot more inefficient, so I kind of regret it.” Other students, like Ted Cheung (12), actually have a medical necessity for some sort of regulatory sleep schedule. Cheung said his doctor attributes his body’s inability to stray from a specialized schedule to a problem with his immune system. “I cannot go to bed past [midnight] without [waking up with] a high fever,” Cheung said. “It [happens in] every time zone I’m in. If it’s [midnight] in Boston, [and] I sleep past midnight, I [still] get a high fever. I don’t know why, I’ve had this thing since I was born.” Since Cheung’s body limits him from tackling school in the same way as Pedram, he said he “[makes] his schedule easy for [himself].” “I try to be efficient with my time — I do the homework right after I get back from school,” Cheung said. “I manage my schedule pretty well.” Not all adolescents’ sleeping schedules are directly correlated with

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schoolwork, however — according to psychologist Gisela Sommer, other stressors and problems such as family issues can keep people awake at night to a point where it becomes chronic. “Sleep deprivation is used in some countries as torture,” Sommer said. “This has a huge effect on someone’s psyche when they don’t sleep enough. We have to be able to sleep and even to dream — it’s important that people have time to dream. If you disrupt someone’s sleep all the time, and they don’t have time to get deep sleep or dream-type sleep, this really badly impacts their daytime life, functioning and well-being. Two or three nights without sleep is a big stressor and a horrible thing for people to experience.” Perhaps, then, instead of using spare time to catch up on TV, students should be more worried about getting in their Z’s. By Michelle Hao and Katie Mulkowsky

art by emily sun/falconer


footnotes. by jennifer grundman

the falconer


Summer Lovin’

The Falconer asked students where their summer travels took them and the reasons behind their adventures.

Type “vacation” into Google and an image of a blue beach with two chairs under a palm tree appears first. Every subsequent picture shows some variation of this scene: a family gamboling on the sand, a gorgeous woman posing in a brightly colored swimsuit, and a clueless-looking dog sitting in an inflatable boat in the water. Maybe a beach is what others envision when they think of vacations. But vacations make me think of relaxation and the platitude “live in the moment.” As for the hypothetical beach, I cannot imagine it as the perfect vacation place. If I were actually there, I would stare at the water for maybe 10 minutes, then review everything stressful in my life, which would ruin both the “relaxing” and “living in the moment” parts. However, this summer I found an activity that accomplishes both: driving. Driving is an activity that makes me feel content — which is the way you have to feel when going 65 mph in a cranky and dated Toyota Camry. Driving censors those incessant anxieties about past, present and future we experience when we are not focused. Driving is, at once, cathartic and terrifying. While driving, I cannot afford to be distracted: there is no time to think about my overloaded reading list, because the truck next to me is squishing me against an unforgiving slab of concrete. There is no time to ponder the grandness of human achievement, because, as my brother says, “I’m only a person in a metal box.” I could be hit at any moment. I suppose this is the beauty of driving: it is an activity everyone deems Another Thing To Do in a quest to get from point A to point B, but it has rich implications about our attitudes. You can be optimistic: “Wow! Just a hundred years ago, people rode horses everywhere! Humans are brilliant!” You can be neutral: “I am in a metal box driving with other metal-box-drivers.” You can be pessimistic: “Let me review the ways I could die in this situation.” But it is more than that. Driving satisfies me in a way beaches cannot: I am moving forward almost entirely on instinct. I am finally tapping that inner animal that forgoes mental tangents and instead opts for complete concentration, because though I am driving as if I am invincible — as if those freak car accidents are for anonymous people — I am terrified of that truck pushing me into the concrete. I guess the reason I like driving is that it confirms that lazing out life on any generic getaway place will not bring satisfaction. Maybe it is never enough in life to be relaxed — maybe relaxation is not the panacea everyone believes it to be. Maybe happiness comes not from picturesque beaches, but from sitting in a moving metal box rolling at 65 mph, hands tight on the wheel, eyes swiveling, with a vital need to empty your mind of unnecessary thoughts and live — as we all hope to — in the moment.



Reasons students traveled:

Visiting family and friends: 37%*

San Francisco





New York



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Tourism: 35%*



Haw Other: 16%*

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Volunteering: 4%*

*based on a poll of 148 students art by natalie dunn and emily sun/falconer


Nick Leslie (12)

The entrepeneur is expanding an unusual sport and participating in congressional debate.

rising tide: Leslie takes a break from coaching the TPHS Congress team to demonstrate his kiting skills at Mission Bay.

Nick Leslie (12) founded N2 Kitesurfing at the beginning of his junior year partly to raise money for college, but primarily to spread to high school students his passion for an activity dominated by “old guys [his] dad’s age.” Kitesurfing is similar to wakeboarding, but surfers are harnessed to a kite, which is suspended about 25 feet above the board. Leslie learned to “kite” as a child and enjoys the sport’s simplicity and variety. “You don’t need to paddle out into the ocean; you just need a kite and wind and you can start going,” Leslie said. “[But] I like the tricks you can do. You can launch up and get a lot of air.” But Leslie said few teenagers, even in San Diego, have similar opportunities. “There’s a lot of kids who like surfing, like the ocean, like water sports,” Leslie said. “But kite surfing [is not] making a jump … it’s also really expensive to learn and not many parents are willing to pitch in.” Leslie saw an opportunity when he was certified as a kiting instructor after a grueling licensing test in Aruba. “There’s a riding inspection, and you need to be able to selflaunch, self-rescue and selfland,” Leslie said. “It was a big commitment of time, and the test

photos used by permission of nick leslie

making waves: A licensed kiting instructor, Nick Leslie balances on his board as he expertly rides a wave. was hard.” Once he was licensed, Leslie sought sponsorship from kiting companies, which allowed him to lower lesson costs. He negotiated with equipment-making company Airush and eventually secured kiting gear at wholesale prices. Leslie’s company, N2 Kitesurfing offers tours of local kiting spots for tourists but is based primarily on lessons broken down by skill level. Leslie spread the word about his company by putting up flyers, making a website and talking to other surfers in Mission Bay “when [it is] windy and lots of people gather down there.” “First lessons incorporate going over safety rules and equipment — land stuff,” Leslie said. “It all depends on how good a person is … we give them a board as they get more comfortable.” Leslie also plans to start kiting tours to spots on the Mexican coast with “constant wind,” since San Diego’s sporadically favorable conditions “break up lessons” and

cause “people to forget” what they learn. Leslie only teaches the land sessions and typically hands off water lessons to another instructor he works with. However, Leslie also spends much time working with novices as co-captain of the Congressional debate team. “It’s a kind of debate that changes every time,” Leslie said. “You can go in with a bunch of facts or with the goal of counteracting people’s arguments. There’s diversity in the debate.” Leslie applied for the captaincy, despite only having done Congress for one year, because he wanted to fix “inefficiencies” at practices and help teach a growing debate event at TPHS. Leslie plans to continue his company through college and also wants to kite in intercollegiate competitions. As one of the youngest instructors and kitesurfers in San Diego, Leslie continues to resist the sport’s elderly tradition. By Varun Bhave


the falconer


There are two types of students. There are the organization experts with perfect But some upperclassmen, like Lia Signaevskaia (12), derive little comfort from binders, impeccably placed labels on their new dividers, neat handwriting, and a the extra preparation so essentially to others. steadfast determination to succeed and excel in the new school year; and then “I carry a small bag because I don’t want to carry around a lot of textbooks and there are seniors embarking on the last leg of their journey through high school, other stuff, and also it’s my senior year so I can let loose a little bit,” Signaevskaia who appreciate the challenge of relying on a single pencil. Throughout students’ said. development from freshmen to seniors, the meaning of “school supplies” changes According to Schirripa, how a student organizes his or her schoolwork is year to year. dependent on preference, and teachers who do provide supply lists to their classes Despite the shift, some students like Inesse Hanna (10) stick to the same time- “just have specific suggestions about organization and material, [because] anything tested supplies they have been employing since elementary school, making their that a student needs and cannot get will be provided by the school.” annual pilgrimage to Staples a week before the start of school to stock up on their While some students buy supplies every year to fit their ideal arsenal, others, favorite yellow highlighters and stacks of college-ruled filler paper. like Li, do not jump on the bandwagon. Li accumulates school supplies throughout “I go school supply shopping every year, mostly to buy what I need to replace, the school year, effectively saving both money and time by avoiding the yearly like folders and binders,” Hanna said. dash for supplies at Office Depot and Staples stores everywhere. Hanna values being well-prepared with school supplies, , so But even smart saving strategies cannot dampen the she will “never have to depend on anyone else to be able to shopping instincts of young students and adolescents. A driving It makes me feel more work well in the classroom.” passion for success is not necessarily the reason that a pack of prepared to have five different colored pens is essential to a student. Conversely, Lissie Campbell, a store manager of a Staples in La Jolla, believes that the basis for back-to-school shopping “Whenever I go into Staples, and I see all the mechanical tons of different colors comes from mandatory requirements made by teachers rather pencils in all the different colors, I want to buy them, so I have or more than probably like 400 of them right now,” Kristin Butler (11) said. “I than a student’s willingness to be self-sufficient. “People have to buy school supplies because schools don’t one type of pencil. have so many already, but they’re so fun to buy because they’re have enough funding,” Campbell said. all nice and new, and they already have lead in them.” Christina Li (10) However, TPHS English teacher Sarah Schirripa does not Much of the excessive impulse buying that occurs among student see changes in school funds affecting students’ purchases of students is a result of an illusion of productivity. school supplies. “I love buying the binder tabs because I think, ‘Oh, I’ll be so “Regardless of decreased [or increased] school funding, we’re still telling kids organized,’ and then I go home and realize I already have so many of them,” Butler what they should have, and if they can’t get those things, [then] they will be said. provided,” Schirripa said. Retail giants like Staples and Office Depot benefit greatly from these types of Likewise, students do not necessarily link their choice of school supplies to students, and increased ad campaigns by the companies, both on television and in school funding. Instead, some believe fall school supply shopping sprees have print, also bolster customer turnout. become a sort of tradition directly linked to the personal success of a student. “[Back-to-school] shopping increases [business] a great deal,” Campbell said. “With my own school supplies, I feel independent, smart and ready to learn,” “It’s very much like our Christmas season.” TPHS student Sheyda Khonji (10) said. As crowds of students drag their parents and their wallets to stores in Christina Li (10) agrees with that notion, and additionally believes that a preparation for a new school year, failing to see through the promises of success greater variety of supplies adds to overall efficiency. According to Li, the need to in the shapes of new pens, shiny dividers and thick stacks of paper, they fall into buy school supplies could also stem from a sense of assurance. the traps set by office supply stores. Remember the pencil tucked behind the ear “It makes me feel more prepared to have tons of different colors or more than of a senior who has been through the trials and tribulations of shopping for school one type of pencil,” Li said. “You know where everything is, so you feel more secure, supplies, and who truly understands the meaning of necessity. more in control about the stuff that’s going on.” By Michelle Hao and Tasia Mochernak

photo by kenneth lin/falconer

photo by kenneth lin/falconer


Falconer reviews Elton John and MGMT, A18


The Falconer explores the widespread indifference toward foreign films by American audiences more commonly enamored of summer blockbusters, predictable romantic comedies and formulaic buddy pics. But fans of cinematic offerings from other countries appreciate their international perspective.

For first-generation American John Mekhael (11), keeping in touch with his Egyptian culture is a difficult task when his primary source is “the American news that only talks about the bad things going on in Egypt.” But every weekend, Mekhael is able to learn about what is happening in Egypt without ever having to leave his living room. “I grew up knowing the history of Egypt and everything about it,” Mekhael said. “But then I watched American news, and it talks about bad things like how the president has become a dictator and how he’s destroying the country. I personally think that it helps me to watch Egyptian movies, so I can learn about what’s actually going on in Egypt.” Egyptian foreign films have not only expanded Mekhael’s view of his native country but have also “helped [him] believe more in [himself] and get better self-esteem.” However, according to TPHS Video Film teacher Derek Brunkhorst, students who avidly watch foreign films are in the minority. “There are certain things that an American audience wants,” Brunkhorst said. “The hero needs to do this or that, and there better be a happy ending. That isn’t necessarily the case with foreign films, and [American] audiences are uncomfortable with that.” Domestic box office sales validate Brunkhorst’s claim — It helps me to watch since 2004, when 18 foreign films each grossed $1 in ticket sales, the Egyptian movies, so I million numbers have steadily declined. According to can learn about what’s movies will never make Brunkhorst, “foreign the main stage in America.” actually going on in make “Hollywood is out to money,” Brunkhorst Egypt. changes and we realize said. “Until the culture there are other movies John Mekhael out there, the film industry will not change.” student TPHS history teacher Lars Trupe, who often encourages his world history students to watch foreign films, believes that the major barrier to foreign films’ mass integration in American culture is the cost of screening and the lack of a large enough audience, making it difficult for theater operators to “take a chance” on showing foreign films. “What you end up with are small independent theater chains that are known for foreign films, and they will establish themselves in those areas where there is a demand for those types of films, either because there’s a large immigrant population there or there’s a university and kids will go,” Trupe said. La Jolla Landmark Theatre manager Britney Templeton sees a similar demographic when she screens foreign films. According to Templeton, Landmark Theatres, the largest

art house theater chain in the United States, has developed a reputation for promoting foreign films. “I honestly think that other theaters don’t think that there’s a market for [foreign films],” Templeton said. “I think that blockbuster hits get [theaters] really good crowds, and so they just stick with that. In terms of our foreign film audience, it’s mostly senior citizens at our theater, but for certain foreign films we actually get a good amount of college students from UCSD and high school students who are there for class credit.” Until the culture language classes, foreign In many TPHS AP films are integrated changes and we realize into the course and encouraged as a basis for familiarization with there are other movies foreign countries. Chris Katzin (11) out there, the film is taking AP French Language, where he has watched “Le Papillon,” one of the many films industry will not change. incorporated into the Derek Brunkhorst “Le Papillon” is about class curriculum. video film teacher collector an elderly butterfly who, while seeking a special butterfly for his brother, is followed by a little girl without the consent of her mother. Katzin said foreign films relate his own experiences to the experiences of those in other countries. “[Foreign films have shown me] that the world functions as a whole, and that societies can have minor differences but all together evolve toward the same goal,” Katzin said. Lily Bai (11) took AP Chinese and watched several foreign films as part of the curriculum. “I like this film called ‘To Live,’” Bai said. “It takes place during the Cultural Revolution and it follows the lives of this family that goes through a lot of hardships. It inspires you to cherish your life. It lets you see things through the eyes of multiple people. You can experience things they experienced without having to live them.” While Bai and Katzin use foreign films as a supplement to their language education, Mekhael uses them to bridge the gap between his life in America and his roots in Egypt. His favorite film is about the current Christian and Muslim conflict in Egypt. “Two boys became friends even though they’re from different faiths,” Mekhael said. “There’s a scene where they’re holding hands and both of them are at war.” When Mekhael thinks of E g y p t today, he does not see images of war and violence, but of unity and hope. Foreign films have given him confidence in his country when the media could not.


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. #E449






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Falcon Eats

A16 the falconer


september 27, 2013

Alborz 2672 Del Mar Heights Rd

Del Mar, CA 92014

Price: $16-$20 photos by layla mazdyasni/falconer

The stone reliefs lining the walls of Alborz look like something out of a museum, and with the colorful paintings and dark red wallpaper, they lend the restaurant a pleasant, authentic atmosphere. Still, on my visit, neatly arranged tables in the spacious room were mostly unoccupied, and the empty stage and bar in the center of the restaurant seemed to hint that Alborz should be much more packed on a weekend. But perhaps the room’s emptiness was a portent of my party’s illfated eating experience. When I inquired about the complementary flatbread basket placed in front of us, I received a dismissive response from the irked server: “What do you mean? It’s just bread.” Slightly taken aback, we nibbled on the bland and chewy bread as a bubbly, much more friendly hostess took our orders. Each entrée came with a lemon-chicken soup or Greek salad. Although the soup was a thick concoction of rice, split peas, onions and herbs, it tasted only slightly of lemon, and contained only a couple miniscule pieces of chicken. The salad, covered with feta cheese, olives, crunchy vegetables and a zingy dressing, was nothing out of

the ordinary, but was probably the highlight of the meal. A few minutes after we had cleaned out the soup and salad, our entrees arrived on enormous plates. The moussaka, sauteed eggplant stuffed with kefalotiri cheese and ground beef, was reasonably sized, but took on an unappetizing shade of brownish black. As an avid eggplant lover who cares little for beef, I was surprised to find that I preferred the spiced filling over the disappointingly bland outside. Sitting next to the morose moussaka was an incredibly large heap of polo, or basmati rice, which proved to be deliciously fragrant with its delicate touch of butter and saffron. The other members of my party ordered gheimeh bademjan, consisting of polo and yellow split peas, eggplant, tomato paste, onion, dry lemons and veal shank, and zereshk polo, a dish of boiled chicken leg paired with a mix of barberries, saffron and basmati. The gheimeh bademjan could have made up for the unpleasantly sharp, sour taste that overpowered the sauce’s delicate flavors if the tender veal had included more than a few small pieces. The zereshk polo was a different story; not only was the boiled chicken leg cooked to tender perfection, but the sauce, though overly salty, sour and greasy by itself, was complemented and tempered by the sweet and tangy barberries. We left behind mounds of half-finished food as we exited Alborz; the servings might have been large, but the food left us woefully unsatisfied. If worse comes to worst, at least Alborz is a short walk from Vons, which probably sells a reasonable Greek salad, too. By Emily Sun

Ariana Kabob House 9910 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92131

Price: $12-$18 Upon entering the cozy, dimly-lit restaurant that is Ariana Kabob House, I already had high hopes for the food. No, the décor was not fancy — the walls were covered with various tapestries, traditional artwork and a few strands of Christmas lights — but I had a strong and positive feeling the food would more than make up for the humble atmosphere. Though seemingly understaffed, with only one waiter and a busboy making their rounds of the restaurant, the service was quick to accommodate and very friendly, which made for a comfortable transition in the time between being seated and ordering. There were only a few other occupied tables, and other than the traditional Persian music softly emanating from a corner of the restaurant, it was fairly quiet. Ariana Kabob House offered two meat-based appetizers and several vegetarian options. The bolani, turnovers stuffed with ground beef and green onions, was a simple but flavorful dish. The pastry that envelopes the inner ingredients was light and flaky, while the ground beef and green onions provided a hearty, savory punch of flavor. The sambosa, the vegetarian counterpart to the bolani, consisted of puff pastries that wrapped around potatoes, chickpeas, cilantro and herbs. Both dishes

photo by grace bruton/falconer

were served with chatni sauce, an optional addition to the appetizers that provides a spicy kick. For entrées, Ariana Kabob House offered beef, chicken, lamb and vegetarian options. The chicken kabob plate consisted of chunks of boneless white chicken meat marinated in a family recipe sauce and charbroiled. The chicken, while crispy on the outside, was moist and savory with just enough spice on the inside. The korme dal was a beef option that did not disappoint, with tender and juicy chunks of sautéed beef paired with split red lentils cooked with onions, garlic, and black pepper. Although slightly salty, both the chicken kabob plate and korme dal were perfectly portioned and balanced the palette with complementary sides of wwwwbread and rice. To finish the meal, there were two dessert options: the firnee, a milk pudding, and the baklava. The baklava was a great end to the meal, as the layers of pastry filled with walnuts and pistachios carried the same savory flavors found in the appetizers and entrées, while adding a sweet flavor element. Ariana Kabob House, located below a donut shop and beside a comic book store, is truly a hidden gem. The restaurant may be modest, but it is still treat with hearty family recipes and a comforting atmosphere. By Savannah Kelly


the falconer


“Rush” into theaters Even if you have no particular interest in racecar drivers, the 1970s or the culture of Formula One racing, Chris Hemsworth is reason enough to watch Ron Howard’s new film, “Rush.” Seriously. The movie, based on a true story, follows a heated rivalry between two competing forces of Formula One racing in the 1976 world championship: James Hunt (Hemsworth), the champagne-guzzling, archetypal racecar driver, and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), his straight-edge and pompous adversary. Hemsworth plays the part soundly, adding personality to a character that could easily become one-dimensional; he completely captures Hunt’s essence as a competitor. Or he just has a really great smile. And hair. Regardless, Hemsworth does his job very well, portraying not only the endearing public side of Hunt, but also his severe anxiety and substance dependence, adding an intentional darkness to the character that intensifies the plot, as is characteristic of a Howard film. Brühl also succeeds in adequately portraying the arrogant Lauda. Much of his conviction stems from Lauda’s backstory, which adds an emotional aspect to the rivalry that the film would suffer without. All of the classic elements of such a high-energy film can distract from a poor script, but “Rush” bypasses the rudimentary script that plagues other racing movies like “Fast and Furious” and “Death Race.” The development of the main characters of “Rush” and its multifaceted plot intrigue viewers regardless of their interest in racing. However, the film does not completely stack up in terms of profoundity to Howard’s classic films. “Rush” is directed in a much flashier style than his other trademark films. “The Da Vinci Code,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Cinderella Man” and “Apollo 13” are definitely focused on more substance than form,

but that is what is praiseworthy about Howard’s acquisition of “Rush.” It was a genre perhaps unfamiliar and definitely out of Howard’s comfort zone, but he managed the direction with originality and expertise nonetheless. The movie looks more like Baz Luhrmann than Ron Howard; the director uses characteristics unique to racing to his advantage. Howard has harnessed the racing world through extreme angles and the loud roar of engines in all its potency. Overall, the film succeeds in entertaining even a viewer with no knowledge of racing. Since the film focuses mainly on the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda, it obviously reveals who wins the championship. However, it ends without settling their complex feud, as it clearly goes past the petroleum and testosterone that fuel the race itself. It involves too many emotional implications to have an objective “winner,” so viewers must decide who is the real champion. There is something both poignant and frustrating about Howard’s choice to end the film with such ambiguity. By Natalie Dunn

“Rush” Rated R

photo courtesy of exclusive media

A18 the falconer


september 27, 2013

Elton John

The Diving Board

photo courtesy of capitol records

With the release of his 30th studio album The Diving Board, Elton John’s masterful piano playing proves that, though the keys on his piano must have weathered over the years, he has not lost his touch. The feel of the songs, however, along with the deep turn his voice has taken, strays incredibly far from the aura fans adored 30 years ago, and will likely disappoint even devout listeners.   The album opens with “Oceans Away,” a track with intricate instrumentals that highlight the lyrical perspective of a seasoned, more matured John as he sings of what he has learned from the “old folks.” His awkward vocal phrasing ends abruptly rather than lingering as it did in earlier albums, making the tracks carry a very different kind of sound than the one fans are used to. The next song, “Oscar Wilde Gets Out,” picks up in tempo, but steeply descends in style, diminishing any hope in the listener’s mind that John’s new album is similar to past ones. The odd country-meets-broadway feel of the track makes it seem like it belongs on a rom-com movie soundtrack instead of a singer and songwriter’s studio album, which is disappointing, to say the least.  By the third and fourth songs in the album, a

reprieve from the overwhelmingly corny vibe each track gives off would be welcomed. “Dream #1,” a short instrumental interlude, provides that, in some way. The track is soon followed by “My Quicksand,” which opens with a lighter feel that is reminiscent of earlier hits like “Your Song,” but is rapidly engulfed with heavy percussion and background vocals. The constant presence of distracting harmonies throughout the album makes John’s music seem more commercialized than ever before, which is ironic, considering he has stripped down the over-the-top and at times avantgarde physical aesthetic that marked his earlier years. The bridge of “My Quicksand” marks the point in the album at which it actually begins to sound like lounge music, and by the time the wind-machine effects in the background of “Looking Back” start up, listeners can barely tell that it is John singing.  As far as the piano is concerned, John’s incredible instrumental talent is still obvious throughout every piece on the album. The lyrics and overall feel of each song, however, make devoted listeners wonder that he might be right when he muses in the chorus of “Can’t Stay Alone Tonight” that “time is never really on [his] side.”  By Katie Mullkowsky

MGMT MGMT A spectacular album should not take getting used to. A revolutionary record cannot require multiple listens in order to grasp a mild appreciation of its contents. The best kind of album proves itself to be thoughtprovoking and strikingly unique from the very first track. This is exactly where MGMT fails. The third, self-titled record from psychedelic indiepop duo MGMT opens with the child vocals of “Alien Days.” Despite the song’s brief resemblance to the opening number of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” it is not terrible. Just as in past tunes, the track is rife with vague lyricism; “In the summer, virgin visions/Mindless humming/Numbers can’t decide if the day’s supposed to smile,” lead vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden mutter-sings among heavy synthetic beats. Distorted drums and high electronic notes piece together the high point of the album. From here, it is a steep decline. “Cool Song No. 2” turns the album down a path of dark, eerie tracks. This song, along with the next few, seems like it belongs on the playlist of a homemade haunted house next to “Monster Mash.” A cover of Faine Jade’s “Introspection” slows down the album in the best way possible. After three rhythmically heavy songs, a change of pace is

welcomed. Gentle percussion patterns remind listeners of the MGMT they know and admire: a garage-band experiment of electronica and noise rock that defined recent indie pandemonium. After two albums that essentially redrew the boundaries of pop music, MGMT seems to have lost its footing. The infectious tunes of Oracular Spectacular are nowhere to be found. The lyrical and rhythmic cohesion of Congratulations is lost. Their third attempt reveals a band trying too hard to stay relevant. Maybe this album simply deserves another try. Maybe it takes some getting used to. Fine, then. Listen to it again, and then listen to it a third time, and a fourth. However, MGMT’s past attempts contained hits like “Electric Feel” and “Congratulations” that met rapid success at the time of their releases. In a commercial sense, MGMT has failed miserably. Their third record, unlike the others, definitely does not contain any radio-worthy hits. The self-titled record is actually quite ironic. MGMT finally put its name on a collection of music, but the sound seems jumbled and the direction is vague. The group may need a couple more albums to truly discover their sound. By Cory Lomberg

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A20 the falconer


september 27, 2013

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Brennan Dean starts a beach volleyball team, A22

Field hockey wins all three of its Serra Tournament games, A27


By Fernando Stepensky


By Sarah Chan & Fernando Stepensky

staff writer and sports editor

The Falcons (2-2) decisively outmatched the Vista High School Panthers (1-3) with strong performances from both offense and defense in a 44-9 home win on Sept. 20. After exchanging a pair of three and outs to start off the game, kicker Brandon Hong (11) scored the game’s first points to put the Falcons up by 3-0 with 5 minutes left in the first quarter. The field goal was followed by unsuccessful drives until defensive back Peter Hollen (12) intercepted a pass at Vista’s 39yard line and returned it for 20 yards. “When [Hollen] got the interception and almost took it back, it really got us fired up as a team,” running back Dwayne Hines (12) said. After the interception, the Falcons had two runs for losses of 2 and 8 yards, but on third-and-20 ran a screen play resulting in a touchdown, putting the Falcons up 9-3, on a missed extra point with 4 minutes and 35 seconds left in the half. “[The screen pass touchdown] raised our intensity, and it reflected in the following plays,” running back Jack Hoeprich (11) said. Defensive back Justin Sheppard (12) recovered a fumble on Vista’s first play after the touchdown, leading to a touchdown by Hines; the extra point gave the Falcons a 13-point lead. “The lineman blocked just enough to sell the pass,” Hines said. “Then [quarterback] Pete [Mitchell] (12) threw me the ball and I followed [offensive lineman] Michael Cao (12) into the end zone.” After a Vista three-and-out,

with 10 seconds left in the half on third down, Mitchell completed a 38-yard pass to Christian Gange (11), who walked into the end sending the Falcons to the locker room up 23-3. “We didn’t have that much time left in the half and we knew we had to take a shot at the end zone,” Gange said. “I was able to get open thanks to our offensive line giving [Mitchell] a lot of time in the pocket, and he threw a perfect pass to me.” After a Vista three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, TPHS was able to put together two touchdown drives. The first was a long drive resulting in a 12-yard touchdown reception by tight end Rob Simsiman (12), and the second an 88-yard touchdown run by running back Devin Slubowski (12) to extend the lead to 37-3. “It’s safe to say [that touchdown] was the greatest moment in my eight years of football,” Slubowski said. “Before the play I felt like I was going to get a good run, but when I hit that hole I saw an opening [I was not expecting], and I knew I was taking it all the way.” By the fourth quarter the Falcons’ subs were in, and both teams exchanged a rushing touchdown to end the game at 449, contradicting TPHS head coach Scott Ashby’s pregame prediction of a “close game.” “Our offense played well tonight,” Ashby said. “[This game] will help us continue to build [for our game next week].” One of the game’s key offensive players was Mitchell, who was happy with his “8-13 for 130 yards and three touchdowns.” Vista head coach Dan Williams had no post-game comment. The Falcons will take on Mt. Carmel High School (4-0) today at Mt. Carmel.

It’s safe to say [that touchdown] was the greatest moment in my eight years of football ... I saw an opening [I was not expecting], and I knew I was taking it all the way. Devin Slubowski (28) running back

photos by grace bruton/falconer

red zone: Running back Christian Gange (6) pushes ahead (TOP). Running back Dwayne Hines (9) runs it back inside (MIDDLE). Running back Peter Hollen (11) strips off a blocker (BOTTOM).

“BREAKING NEWS: Trent Richardson traded to Indianapolis Colts.” I could not believe the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, who has only played 18 games for his team, was traded. But after seeing Richardson in Colts colors, I had to believe it. The reason for the trade is largely the shift in management for the Cleveland Browns, who hired Joe Banner as CEO, Mike Lombardi as general manager, and Rob Chudzinski as head coach this year; firing former president Mike Holmgren, general manager Tom Heckert, and head coach Pat Shurmur. Different management values players differently, obviously, just like one person may view a player as a future Hall of Famer while another views the same player as just an average starter. The previous regimen viewed Richardson worthy of the fourth selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, a draft position reserved for players that are meant to be centerpieces on their teams. The Browns found him so valuable that they even traded a fourth-round pick to trade up and snag him. The part that piques my curiosity the most is that the Colts are a likely playoff team, meaning the Browns are looking at the first-round pick they acquired being in the 25 range, which is a different talent range than the top five where Richardson was selected. The Browns essentially traded the Colts a player they selected fourth overall, and used a fourthround pick to get, for the Colts’ 25th or so pick in 2014. From an outsider’s perspective, or at least my perspective, Richardson should not have been traded, or at least not for so little. He was a rookie in the top five in rushing touchdowns, and rushed for almost 1,000 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns regret this trade a couple years from now. The message in this column, however, is not that Richardson is a bad running back, or that the trade was dumb, or that the new front office regime is bad, but rather that Jimmy Haslam needs to give the people he hires to run his team more time. The Browns have had four different front office regimes since 2008, making it nearly impossible for the team to make any sort of longterm progress. For the Browns to succeed anytime soon, Haslam must finally stick with his people and let them enact their plan. While the trade definitely benefits the playoff-contending Colts, all it does for the Browns is offer another clean slate, but one they must finally capitalize on.

A22 the falconer


september 27, 2013


COACH TPHS athletes and administators welcome several new coaches to campus.

photo by tara manoogian/falconer

jack is back: Varsity girls tennis coach James Jack talks with his new team about the changes that will be made for the upcoming season. Boys and girls water polo, girls tennis and girls basketball have made coaching changes for their 2013-2014 seasons. At the end of each sports season, coaches undergo a review with the athletic administration, during which they indicate whether or not they plan to return. According to athletic director Chas Doerrer, coaches choose not to return mainly because of the considerable time commitment and the difficulty of balancing coaching with other jobs. After a coach announces he or she will not return, the selection process for a new coach begins. According to Doerrer, there is an interview panel with questions specifically tailored to assess applicants’ experience and coaching style. Applications for a vacant coaching position are simultaneously made open to the public and district staff through Edline, though present TPHS coaches are occasionally approached for open positions. Coach James Jack coaches JV boys tennis at TPHS, but has now replaced girls tennis coach Chris Numbers, since Numbers left TPHS for a job in New York, according to Doerrer. The JV boys tennis season does not begin until February, so Jack has time to coach girls tennis and do private lessons. “Girls varsity is my focus,” Jack said. “I know they are steeped in tradition as far as winning 23 years in a row, so the pressure is on to be 24.” Jack has been involved in tennis for 36 years. He has experience in junior and professional tennis, having played for Trinidad and Tobago in 1993 in the Davis Cup — the largest international team event in mens tennis. “We do a lot more running and conditioning, which is helpful,” varsity co-captain Kelsey Chen (11) said. “[Jack] is also a lot more laid-back and even plays music during practice.” According to Doerrer, Numbers will likely be back to coach boys tennis when the season begins. Former TPHS girls basketball coach Doug Gilbert was set to return


to coach varsity girls basketball, replacing coach Dave McClurg, but due to health-related issues, Gilbert will no longer take the position, according to Doerrer. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Gilbert will be unable to coach this season,” Doerrer said. “We are in the process of selecting a new head coach for girls basketball and hope to have an announcement in the next few weeks.” Although the basketball team is still waiting for a coach, the water polo teams are already adjusting to their new coach, Tim Reed. “I like his coaching style,” player Haley King (12) said. “Tim is having us work together as a team the whole year. Our last coach was just like, ‘Okay, do your own thing’ [during the summer]. Tim [says we] have to be working together as a team, so [we] can do well the whole season.” However, varsity boys player Bryce Kormylo (12) said that it is difficult to determine whether a coach is effective or not until the middle or end of the season. “Different coaches have different coaching styles,” Kormylo said. “We just have to wait and see how the team ends up doing.” The water polo teams have a whole new staff, since both the boys and girls coaches, Rob Tilburg and Heather Langridge, respectively, left for personal reasons. Reed is “sticking with what [the water polo teams] have been doing for the last number of years,” but incorporating more fundamental exercises like passing techniques and conditioning. While the athletic administration searches for a varsity girls basketball coach, the rest of the coaches hope to build on the success their teams have had in the previous years. Numbers, McClurg, Tilburg and Langridge could not be reached for comment. By Anna Lee and Anna Li

TPHS beach volleyball aspires to become a CIF sport

Two years ago, TPHS girls volleyball head coach Brennan Dean started a girls beach volleyball team called the Falcons. The team, composed of TPHS students, plays against other high school club teams that compete for their schools but are not official CIF school teams, as beach volleyball is not yet a CIF sport. “A few other high school coaches and I had been talking about [starting beach volleyball teams] for a few years, so I just took charge and set it up,” Cathedral Catholic High School girls volleyball head coach Kelly Drobeck said. Dean knew people who were interested and assembled the Falcons team by word of mouth, rather than by holding tryouts. The team consists of three teams of different skill levels of two people each. The Falcons beach volleyball team does not receive any money from the school and operates like a school club under the umbrella of the TPHS Foundation. Since they cannot compete under CIF, the Falcons acquired Amateur Athletic Union memberships instead. The AAU provides members with insurance and develops and promotes amateur sports ranging from table tennis to aerobics. CIF is still investigating which schools can afford a beach volleyball program, but it recognized beach volleyball as a potential sanctioned sport last year, according to TPHS athletic director Chas Doerrer. “We haven’t directly contacted [CIF] yet,” Dean said. “We need a couple years [of experience] under our belt.” CIF bylaws state that beach volleyball cannot be recognized as a CIF sport until 35-40 schools establish teams and organize leagues. “It’s a challenge for a school to bring in a new sport,” Doerrer said. Other schools with unofficial beach volleyball teams include La Costa Canyon High School, Point Loma High School, Cathedral, La Jolla High School, Santa Fe Christian High School and Canyon Crest Academy, but the players hope the list will grow in the coming years. “I think it would be a cool idea [for beach volleyball to become

an official school sport],” TPHS player Lexi Briggs (12) said. “It’s spreading to colleges now [that] offer scholarships, and I think high school is a good backing for playing college-level beach volleyball.” Chris Law, director of the San Diego Beach Volleyball Club, which has many of Dean’s players on its teams, said that for beach volleyball to become a high school sport would be huge. “It’s going to be the biggest sport to hit the scene of female sports,” Law said. “It’s going to take off, I guarantee that.” According to Dean, an official beach volleyball team would have the same requirements as all other TPHS sports teams, though Dean has not decided on the size of the teams yet. TPHS also has an unofficial boys beach volleyball team that competes against Mission Hills High School, LCC, Carlsbad High School and CCA. However, the boys team is not actively trying to become a CIF-sanctioned program, as they are waiting for the girls program to become successful first. “The boys beach program is definitely growing more than we thought it was going to,” TPHS player Judson Ham (11) said. “[If beach volleyball became a school sport], it would be a lot more competitive … there would be cuts and the sport would be recognized a lot more than it is right now.” If CIF were to sanction beach volleyball, the girls indoor season and the boys beach season would be in the fall, and the girls beach season and the boys indoor season would be in the spring. The girls beach team would have games every Thursday, and Ellen Gunnarsson (12) and her teammates are looking forward to the start of a new, “more established” beach volleyball season. “[This year], I think we’re going to be one of the top teams,” Gunnarsson said. For now, TPHS beach volleyball players must await the approval of CIF and hope their efforts make waves throughout California. By Sarah Chan

SPORTS SHORTS VOLLEYBALL Girls volleyball (3-0) dominated the Durango Classic in Las Vegas on Sept. 20-21 for the second consecutive year. The Lady Falcons swept games against Reno’s McQueen High School (9-2), Laguna Beach High School (5-4), Rim of the World High School (0-1) from Lake Arrowhead and Palm Desert’s Xavier College Preparatory High School (1-0). Head coach Brennan Dean said that, despite “dozens of fixable errors,” the team’s camaraderie allowed them to succeed. Reily Buechler (12), the tournament MVP, said the Falcons’ intensity picked up during the quarterfinals, in a close match against Valley Christian High School (4-0) from Cerritos, Calif.. “Before the tournament, we were kind of scrambling, but we really became a solid team this weekend,” Buechler said. In the final match against Hawaii’s Kamehameha High School (2-0), a team known for their excellent defensive tactics, the Falcons planned to create rallies in hopes that KHS would make an error. The plan was succesful and Buechler was able to cut the ball high and deep into the line, to seal the victory and the tournament. The Lady Falcons play at home against Poway High School on Sept. 25.

WATER POLO TPHS boys water polo (3-2) was outmatched 19-7 by Carlsbad High School (4-0) on Sept. 18. The game was highly anticipated by the Falcons, and players knew they had to step up their game to win. Head coach Tim Reed said Carlsbad is one of the “powerhouses.” According to Reed, “Carlsbad is physically bigger than [the TPHS team].” The Falcons started off strong with the first goal of the game by Sam Gorcey-Biblowitz (10), but Carlsbad kept close behind with a score of 5-3 at the end of the first quarter. “It’s hard to ... have four relatively inexperienced starting sophomores,” Zach Applegate (12), point and center for TPHS, said. “Now we have a coach who is trying to start completely anew, and it is hard to adjust to a completely new system.” By the end of the second quarter, the Lancers had ran the score up to 11-5. After garnering a 2-point lead early on, the Falcons fell behind and were unable to regain the lead for the rest of the match. However, Reed was not discouraged by the loss. “It gave us something to work toward,” Reed said. “This is the level we want to play at, and do the work to get to that level.” Additionally, the Falcons’ drive to win has not been dampened, despite their defeat. “It’s still early in the season, and there is still a lot of time to learn, but as of now there is a lot of work to do,” Applegate said. The Falcons will play at the AFC Invitational today.


the falconer A23



photo by tara manoogian/falconer

push pASS: Shannon Yogerst (1) tries to move around a Mira Mesa High School defender with her speed and ball movement.


TPHS girls field hockey won with relative ease all three games in their pool at the Serra Tournament on Sept. 22. In the first match, the team defeated Mira Mesa High School (0-5) 10-0. Coach Laura Stinson, who replaced the absent head coach Katy Moyneur, believes that the key to the Falcons’ success came from frequent passing and “everyone really [getting] into the game.” Goals were made from all sides of the field, as Madison Cohen (12), Danielle Jackel (10), Gabi Jimenez (10), Clare Young (11) and Alie Zimmer (12), each scored a goal, and Sammy Cirino (10) scored two goals and Madi Coughlin (12) scored three goals. According to Stinson, positive energy fueled by the team’s first was an important factor as the Falcons went into their next match against Cathedral Catholic High School (9-3). “There were a couple of very, very fast players [on Cathedral’s team], so it was difficult for our defense,” Stinson said. Cathedral’s skillful defense kept TPHS from scoring early on. With five minutes left in the half, TPHS finally managed to capture the lead as Cirino capitalized on an assist by Zimmer. Quick passing and reversals between offense and defense were present on both sides in the second half, but the game ended with a 1-0 win for the Falcons. “We got a lot of corners but need to execute on them better,” Stinson said.

By Michelle Hao staff writer

The Falcons expected their last match of the tournament against La Costa Canyon High School (0-6) to be the height of the competition. In a previous league match, the two teams had tied, and the Falcons eventually won in overtime. “We’re very similarly matched,” Stensin said. “They’re very fast and aggressive, and they will pressure the ball.” Although LCC quickly started on offense, forcing Gitre to make a save off of a corner within the first 10 minutes of the game, the team finally pulled together toward the end of the first half, allowing Jimenez to score the first goal of the game. “During halftime, we had a talk saying that we wouldn’t tie to LCC because we had tied to them during the league game and then won in overtime, so it was really stressful and we knew that we weren’t going to let that happen again,” Gitre said. With the positive momentum, TPHS was able to get another goal, this time from Cohen, via an assist by Jimenez to win the game 2-0. “I figured that it would be a tough game that would come down to who would make the least mistakes,” LCC coach Gail Petty said. “Torrey Pines defense was pretty amazing, [while] we struggled defensively.” The Falcons played Serra High School (4-0) on Sept. 25 after the Falconer went to press, and the team will continue competing in the Serra Tournament on Sept. 28 against Vista high school (2-2).

Girls tennis defeats rival Westview f

By Maya Rao staff writer

TPHS girls tennis (5-0) beat “exhausting,” but that she “gave Westview High School (3-2) on it her all.” Sept. 24, winning 13 sets and Rich also beat Heidi Wang, losing five sets. Westview’s number three singles The doubles teams won all player, 7-6. However, she lost to nine of their sets, making up for number one singles player Mary the five sets lost in singles. Anne Zhao, who won all three “Our doubles really carried us of her matches, including one through the entire match today,” against captain Kelsey Chen (11). coach James Jack said. Although Chen beat Zhao last In the third round of matches, year, she lost to her 3-6, noting Jack switched the entire doubles that Zhao has always been “good line. Some members of the team competition.” were worried Following about the this defeat, Chen Our doubles really pulled through impact of this transition, went on to carried us through the and seeing that win her other entire match today ... If we two sets. the Falcons competed In her second win as a team, great; if we a g a i n s t game, Chen was W e s t v i e w lose we also lose as a team. initially losing three times 2-5. However, she James Jack was determined in the 2012coach 2013 season, not to lose and lost once. another game Jack said that he wanted to be and managed to overcome her fair to all players on the team and opponent and win 7-6. be sure that each player earned “I [didn’t want] to lose this ... the chance to participate. I just [needed] to play my best,” “If we win as a team, great,” Chen said. Jack said. “If we lose, we also lose The Falcons were satisfied with as a team.” their impressive performance, Among the highlights of the and relieved that they were day was number two singles able to defeat a top opponent player Jasmine Rich (9) winning with relative ease compared to two of her three sets. Rich played previous years. number two singles player Fei The Falcons will play in the La Kwan of Westview for one and Jolla Country Day Invitational a half hours, finally winning today at La Jolla Country Day the set 7-5. She said that it was School.

photo by layla mazdyasni/falconer

Ace: Alexa Meyer (9) fires off a fast and angled serve. Girls tennis defeated Westview High School with a score of 13-5.

Girls golf (7-0) won 210-320 against Mt. Carmel High School on Sept. 24 at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club. According to player JJ Shauh (11), the players went into the match feeling “confident” because they played well previously and have had 87 consecutive wins in the past three years. However, Shauh believes that they could have played better. “I know my short game, [chipping and pitching], wasn’t on spot today,” Shauh said. “I’m definitely going to practice on things I didn’t do so well today.” According to player Lily He (9), the team needs to improve its game strategy, like matching players with opponents based on their skill levels. He said that despite Mt. Carmel having inexperienced players, while TPHS has very competitve players, they played well. “We have a lot of strong players, which is a plus,” Shauh said. “It’s an independent sport, so you have to work on your own game and combine it with everyone.” Overall, he said that the team had a “pretty normal game” and there were no game-changing mistakes or moments. Girls golf played Carlsbad High School on Sept. 26 at Rancho Santa Fe Country Club, after the Falconer went to press.

CROSS COUNTRY Cross country won seven top 10 awards in the Mt. Carmel High School Invitational at Balboa Park on Sept. 21, a race of 2.75 miles. Freshman girls placed 8th, behind Martin Luther King High School, while sophomore and junior girls did not place, and senior girls placed 7th, beating Tesoro High School by just eight points. “[The junior girls] only had three runners, while some schools had over seven,” runner Jacqueline Garner (11) said. “All of us did really well individually, the team scores just didn’t reflect that.” Garner had the top girls time of the team at 16:40, placing 4th out of 161 participants. The freshman boys nearly beat Westview High School, falling behind by just one point. Sophomore boys came in second, and junior boys placed 21st while senior boys placed 7th. “We did a lot of summer workouts and those definitely paid off,” head coach Brent Thorne said. “I think we can do really well if they keep up the consistent practice.” Nationally ranked athlete Tal Braude (12) had the best boys time at 15:37, losing to La Costa Canyon High School runner Steven Fahy and placing second out of 194 competitors. “I’m really happy with our team’s performance,” Braude said. “We have a lot of practicing ahead of us, but this is a great start to the season.” The team’s next competition is the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 28 in Palo Alto, Calif.


The Falconer provides a deeper insight into our shadowy new principal David Jaffe. This affable stranger has roamed the campus of TPHS for the past four weeks, and yet, who is he, really? Where has this enigmatic cherub sprung from? What lurks beneath that gleaming head? Most pressing of all, what has become of our dear former principal Boris Killeen? Er, we mean, Brad. Brad Killeen. Was it Brad? [Editor’s Note: Probably wasn’t Brad. Benjamin, maybe? Anyone with information regarding the first name of former Principal Killeen, please email us at]

of principal Canyon Crest Academy, our spiteful and better-funded neighbor? Falconer: Hello, Commander Jaffe. me Mr. David Jaffe: Hi! You can just call Jaffe.

Jaffe: I don’t think those adjectives are quite accurate, but yes, I was founding principal.

ents Falc: Sorry, I assumed you would want stud e whil used you e titl the to address you by es. forc ial employed in the spec

or did Falc: Aha! Out with it, Jaffe, did you mpt atte an in een Kill you not abduct Principal y arts ous, hide one to merge TPHS and CCA into ? hool a-Sc Acad on conglomerate: Torrey Cany

army. Jaffe: Special forces? I was never in the for Navy the I do have an Uncle Gene who was in gh, thou now, a couple years. He has a bad back and lives in Boca Raton. Note: Falc: We’ll have to confirm that [Ed nt, easa unpl and ly port e, Confirmed. Gene Jaff ties g inin rema no has and n lives in Boca Rato this to the military]. How exactly did you get job, Mr. Jaffe? d his Jaffe: After Principal Killeen announce the by tion departure, I was offered this posi all with ing district. It’s been a pleasure work the wonderful staff and stu— Falc: So, Killeen “offered” the job?





Where Jaffe: Yes. Why are you using air quotes? are you taking my briefcase? asking Falc: Mr. Jaffe, I’d prefer to be the one for ked chec g bein is e fcas brie the questions. Your g rdin rega s ment docu tial iden possession of conf een, Kill l cipa Prin er form of the disappearance and military plans to overthrow the district ers rais fund on ion rmat info lead a coup, and any our in e spac fill to use can or pep rallies we e. edur proc dard stan y, worr t news section. Don’ ral seve for SD SDUH left you Now, is it true that years? hooked Jaffe: Yes. Is this— what is this wire up to? What Falc: Definitely not a polygraph machine. were You ? time of od peri that were you doing for long y ainl Cert e. Jaff Mr. gone for 18 months, our of w thro over e orat elab enough to plan an us. camp d late delightful, overpopu a small Jaffe: I was serving as principal of Jewish day school. Note: Falc: We’ll have to confirm that [Ed ding foun the were you that true Confirmed.] Is it also

Jaffe: I— what? What is happening? Where Falc: Where have you taken Boris Killeen? ?” Gene le “Unc with n” is he now, in “Boca Rato l smal “the at cell Locked in a maximum security [Ed t? exis n’t does Jewish day school” that indeed Note: The small Jewish day school does d.] vali l stil is ver, exist; the question, howe . Jaffe: Who is Boris? Please stop shouting culous Falc: Come on, Jaffe, we all know your ridi een Kill l cipa Prin up. cover story doesn’t hold ve ecti prot the ide cannot survive long outs confines of this school. stant Jaffe: Brett? He’s doing fine! He is Assi Vista Superintendent of Human Relations at Unified. He plays an important role in— Boris Falc: Even if that were a real job, is He e. plac tful righ needs to return to his just m, yste ecos ol scho an integral part of our g as the as essential to our collective wellbein s and gras fake and ies poorly-attended pep rall him! need outdated technology. We k is Jaffe: Look, I’m not sure what you thin e serv to going on here, but I’m simply looking re ensu a school that I have deep respect for and that each student’s experience is— us with Falc: Then why haven’t you bribed test STAR our for rt trampolines and frozen yogu are? you k scores yet? Who do you thin Jaffe: I— Suspects Falc: You’re Kevin Spacey in The Usual we, the use beca away except you can’t limp handed! redyou ht Falconer staff, have caug Blonde lly Lega from You’re the crazy daughter didn’t you use beca hes who Reese Witherspoon catc ! You perm the ot forg clean up the evidence! You forgot the perm. Jaffe: I am profoundly uncomfortable.

possibly illicit activities, The Falconer will continue its investigation into our new principal’s the word by tweeting spread please , as is our journalistic duty. In the meantime, readers strong. stay period, ion #jaffegate and #findkilleen. In this difficult transit

By Charu Sinha Disclaimer: This page is entirely fictional and written for humorous purposes.

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B1 activism september 2013

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The 19th Amendment, approving women’s suffrage, is added to the Constitution.

1931 1869 1798

President John Adams signs the Alien and 1790 Sedition Acts According to the Constitution, “Congress to silence journalists shall make no law … abridging the freedom of critical of his administration. speech, or of the press.”


First women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

National Women Suffrage Association forms.


Wyoming passes suffrage for women.

The Supreme Court holds that restraint on newspaper publication is in nearly all instances a violation of the First Amendment in the case Near vs. Minnesota.


The Supreme Court rules that journalists cannot be prosecuted for publishing material about public officials unless malice can be proven.


First known gay student organization at Columbia University.


Start of worldwide gay rights movement.



Denmark becomes the first country to enact registered partnership laws for gay couples, giving them the same rights as a married couple.

First gay couple 1993 marries in Don’t Ask, Minneapolis. Don’t Tell.

January 25

Massive protests against President Mohamed Morsi across Egypt on the second anniversary of the 2011 revolution.


California and Connecticut legalize same-sex marriage.


The Supreme Court forces the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal.

February 1

corruption or controversy. Local contemporary abstract artist Walter Redondo views his work as a form of activism because it speaks to one’s personal choices. “I think of allowing the paint to be what it is, whether I am moving it around with a palette knife or letting the colors mesh together freely and sometimes drip,” Redondo said. “Just as I let the paint act naturally, I think we should accept what our lives are and simply allow life to be, not actively manipulate or try to control it for what we want [it to be]. In the end, my paintings turn out fine, which is a reminder that our lives will too.” Both Dawsey and Lambert do not believe activism is strictly limited to adults or “professionals” by any means. For the past three years, Megan Lenehan (12) has produced art to accompany Falconer opinion pieces and likens her work to satirical political cartoons. Lenehan works in all mediums, but uses pen and ink to create drawings with exaggerated, irregular proportions. “I never went into [drawing for the Falconer] thinking, ‘I’m going to flip this school on its head,’” Lenehan said. “I just thought it was a cool idea that I could draw and have it be published. I really like the social issue stories; I instantly have an idea of what I want to do.” On the other hand, Emma Hager (12) proves through her blog, Madame Couture, that canvases and paint are not always necessary to create “art with a purpose.” Hager occasionally discusses social issues on her blog, sometimes melding social opinion into her posts about fashion. In a post from June 2013, Hager wrote about Brown University student Clara Beyer’s “FeministTaylorSwift” Twitter account, which parodies the needy lyrics of Swift’s songs and the way men and women are portrayed in pop culture. Hager also views art as a more efficient and successful platform for social expression, as opposed to conventional modes of protest. “If we feel a cause for something we can always join a protest, but when we create something artistic that delves much deeper into one’s personal psyche, it becomes more taxing and introspective, for both the creator and the viewer,” Hager said. Art hanging in museums may seem ineffective in instigating any change, but a piece’s underlying tones and ideas can connect viewers on a deeper, more personal level. The news reports the incident, but art asks us what we think about the issue, and whether or not we should let it continue.

February 11

People gather outside the presidential palace on the second anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, protesting Morsi.

Protesters gather in front of the presidential residence in Cairo and clash with riot police officers.

March 6

February 2

May 28

Syrian rebels begin campaign against President Bashar alAssad.

Stephen Duncombe

center for artistic activism



First public protests for gay rights at the White House.

Art ... allows the viewer to answer for himself, which is always more powerful than telling him what to do.

Syrian rebels capture ArRaqqah, the first major city to be under rebel control. Environmentalists camp out in Istanbul at Gezi Park in order to prevent its demolition.

July 4

“Hacktivist” organization Anonymous hacked the national website of Nigeria after the country passed laws that would make homosexuality punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

May 1: May Day, International Worker’s Day Protesters gather in front of the presidential residence in Cairo and clash with riot police officers. In Phnon Penh, Cambodia, 5,000 garment workers march, demanding better working conditions and wage increases. Demonstrators protest for immigrant rights in Seattle.

About 55,000 Indonesians rally outside the presidential palace in Jakarta to protest low pay and the labor outsourcing policy. 6,000 people rally at Hong Lim Park in Singapore to protest high living costs and the immigration policy.

by alex jen

ike trends in music, the types of causes teens fight for are simply forms of Vuagniaux has observed that while she and many GSA members are as passionate self-expression, whether it be going green or pushing for LGBTQ rights. as ever about making a statement, not every participant is an adamant supporter “As teenagers, a big part of what you are doing is developing and of GSA’s goals. establishing your identity to yourself, as well as how you present yourself to “Some people [are] truly passionate about [Day of Silence] and [are not] just other people,” psychologist Daniel Singley, Ph.D said. “The activist causes you get doing it as a trend,” Vuagniaux said. “But many people [are] doing it as a trend … involved with [are], in a sense, not all that different from other ways that you put We have people that [participate in DOS] for an hour, and then then they’re like, yourself out there and how you spend your time.” ‘Eh, nevermind, I’m not doing this.’ They won’t stay committed to that.” Just as teens’ interests and mediums of self-expression may be changeable, so Even in a microcosm like a high school, teenagers feel the pressure to conform to are their inclinations toward supporting a certain cause. For example, in March social norms, so it is no surprise that their choices to join large groups like activist 2012, San Diego-based activist group Invisible Children, Inc. released a video titled movements are driven by their desires to fit in. For example, according to Pew “Kony 2012” to spread awareness of the violence perpetrated by Joseph Kony in Research Center, after the Kony 2012 campaign was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey Central Africa. Canyon Crest Academy student Casandra Ramsey (11), already an following the video’s release, the number of views increased the following day by avid supporter of the cause, was excited that the video garnered 100 million views 13,536 percent — from 66,000 views to nine million views. in less than a week. “When you have a group of people ... that has views that reflect your own, then “[The success was due to] luck, but also because ... they had people working in that gives you an opportunity to stand up and do what you want to do and say their offices [who] knew how to grab [teenagers’] attention through social media,” what you want to say,” Vuagniaux said. “Once the majority of the group thinks [an Ramsey said. “[New supporters] got merchandise and went action] is acceptable, then the group that [does not think to Cover the Night. I knew some friends who were doing it is acceptable] is automatically a minority and therefore their best, calling up senators [and] trying to get the word singled out, [so they] will start joining up just because a out. Having all those supporters helped spread the word, ... lot of people are doing it.” which helped with projects.” Conformity and recognition are not the only forces Once the majority However, support for Invisible Children fizzled after codriving bandwagoners, though. According to Singley, founder Jason Russell was detained by the police because curiosity can also draw fad-tivists into the fold. of the group thinks an of a psychotic incident unrelated to the work of Invisible “Someone might initially get involved because they action is acceptable, then Children, and the legitimacy of the organization was called don’t understand it, [but they want to find out more.]” into question, leaving longtime supporters like Ramsey Singley said. the group that does not is reeling. When a cause garners widespread attention or support, automatically a minority. “At first, a lot of my friends were with [the cause], and it tends to create a ripple effect that leads people to join it then all of a sudden, they were like, ‘It’s all fake,’” Ramsey to examine it more closely. This, in turn, generates more Vonnie Vuagniaux (11) said. “[The change] was like night and day. I felt really support, and so the cycle of attracting people to join who student abandoned by a lot of people ... they were realizing what was have hopes of finding out exactly what is going on repeats. happening, and then all of a sudden they were gone.” Then, once people get a taste of it, some choose to drop the This pattern is not unique to Kony 2012; the ups and cause entirely. downs of public involvement in ‘going green’ and the widespread but seemingly “After everybody did everything they thought they could possibly do [for Kony fleeting support of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network that occurs 2012] and weren’t willing to wait around, they [began] listening to people [saying], on its annual Day of Silence all provide evidence of the somewhat fickle nature of ‘This is not true,’ and all this stuff,” Ramsey said. “When Jason [Russell] had his fad-tivists. According to Singley, the motivation of those who join a cause like an meltdown, that was an excuse to quit on the whole thing. They were listening to activist movement fall on a spectrum somewhere between two prime impetuses: other people, and nobody was really looking into it [or] willing to commit.” extrinsic motivation, when one hopes to gain something through involvement, and Despite the fact that many fad-tivists ultimately the jump off the bandwagon, intrinsic motivation, when the goals of a cause are “congruent with your values.” leaving more dedicated individuals like Ramsey and Vuagniaux to fend for “In many cases, one of the big reasons why someone gets involved in a cause themselves, this involvement, however brief, is not without effect. is [that] they themselves may have, in their background, some sort of experience “[Large groups of people] do help with publicity and help spread the word, and which draws [them in],” Singley said. “If you’re Native American, you’re likely to be sometimes new, passionate followers are gained through the process,” Vuagniaux invested in the legal aspects that impact Native Americans.” said. “Sometimes, [bandwagoners] can help accomplish goals that couldn’t be John Boardman, organizer and executive officer of the union UniteHere! Local reached otherwise, [but] they often give a group a bad name [because] the trend25, which represents workers in the hotel industry, encounters varying degrees of followers are most often the ones making themselves heard and then falling off [the participation in demonstrations within even his own professional organization. bandwagon]. They can really make the rest of the group seem as though they’re all “Most people who tend to be ... into the more aggressive and confrontational stuff bandwagoners and not really dedicated to the actual [cause].” are the ones that are that way all the time, and then there are the others that tend By the same token, Vuagniaux said that GSA members would not be able to to be more passive, but nevertheless stay engaged either by staying informed about achieve their goals with such great efficacy without the support of non-members. what’s going on or participating in things that are less confrontational,” Boardman “[DOS] is about making a statement,” Vuagniaux said. “I don’t feel like going to said. a [GSA] meeting every week will make me heard. We’re not being seen, we’re not When similar situations occur in less professional environments, like a high being heard. But when people have a common idea, and when an event like Day of school, people on the borderline of participation in certain activist causes can be less Silence happens, [non-members think] they might as well stand up for it, too.” committed to their cause. TPHS Gay-Straight Alliance member Vonnie Vuagniaux Sometimes, the fluctuations of interest are simply caused by a struggle to (11) has seen this phenomenon play out on the Day of Silence, an annual event establish one’s own identity and understand what causes really incite passion in founded by GLSEN in 1996 to create “safer schools for all, regardless of sexual oneself. And so, in their quest for identity and self revelation, fad-tivists march on, orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” according to their website. searching for the defining cause that will shape their convictions.

corruption, oppression and desire for economic expansion. Ai paints, drops, grinds or slaps logos onto authentic Neolithic or Tang Dynasty urns; his use of vases is a commentary on the destruction of cultural values under Chairman Mao from 19661976, and the erosion and eradication of Chinese culture that continues today under the cover of economic progress. Although Basquiat worked primarily in paint, and Ai uses ready-made and other eccentric materials, Dawsey said “the best artists are the ones that find the medium that best speaks to them and best expresses their ideas.” “Some artists have chosen not to use paintings, for example, but instead to work with prints or video so their work can be endlessly reproduced,” Dawsey said. “[Art then becomes] more democratic. It’s not so precious, and it’s not a singular object anymore, but rather, an idea that can be spread.” Dawsey cites feminist artist Barbara Kruger’s photographic silkscreen “Untitled (your body is a battleground)” as an example of this idea. The piece was specifically used for the progression of women’s reproductive rights in the 1989 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C. “Kruger used an image of a woman that looked like it might have come from a fashion magazine, and turned it against itself,” Dawsey said. “Kruger split the image so that half of it appears as a photographic negative and inserted ‘your body is a battleground’ [across the image], suggesting the body is a site of conflict.” Performance art came about for precisely the opposite reason. In the 1970s, artists began to produce art in the form of original, not reproducible performance to make a statement about the democracy of art. Rather than their art being available only to the wealthy elite who could afford to buy it and keep it, as Basquiat’s art was after he became famous, performance art could not be bought or owned. Performance artists aimed to make art in a public forum, eliminating the need for galleries, brokers and agents — all the trappings of capitalism. After they both studied efficacy at the intersection of art and activism, Lambert and New York University Associate Professor of Media and Politics Stephen Duncombe founded the Center for Artistic Activism in 2007. Duncombe believes art is “uniquely situated to change people’s perspective of the world.” “We don’t usually change our minds because we’ve read a policy paper or signed a petition; we change our minds because we have had some sort of emotional experience, something that triggers us to look at the world and see what needs to be changed,” Duncombe said. “[When you read a sign at a protest], you either agree or disagree with it, but you don’t change your mind. Art is an image about perception and it allows the viewer to answer for himself, which is always more powerful than telling him what to do.” Activism in art, however, does not always resonate with political

July 4

Anti-NSA protesters took to the streets in a movement called “Restore the Fourth,” asking for the NSA surveillance programs to be shut down.

July 14

Black religious leaders in Chicago urged their members to protest George Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict.

August 9

Anonymous New Zealand staged an attack on the website of the Government Communications Security Bureau, following the passage of law changes that allowed the government to surveil New Zealand citizens.

art by katie mulkowsky/falconer

by emily sun and austin zhang


ll across New York City, on the walls of buildings and the sides of subway trains, there is graffiti — garish, sometimes illegible block letters, spray-painted art and hurriedly, stenciled figures. The “art” has long been controversial among city officials because marking property without the owner’s consent is a punishable crime. But graffiti artists say that’s the point — form and function are deliberately connected. Activist artist and Center for Artistic Activism cofounder Steve Lambert, said graffiti can be a useful tool for personal expression and the promulgation of stimulation of anticonsumerism, which opposes mass consumption and materialism. “Just having advertising all over public space shows that if you want to put things out in the world, you need to be a wealthy company,” Lambert said. “Graffiti is really amazing [since] it goes against that, but if you do [it] you’re seen as a criminal.” Examples of graffiti date back to Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. It was evident again at the beginning of the 20th century in the U.S. and on New York subway trains in the 1960s and ‘70s. In 1977, the pithy sayings and short, poetic phrases of the elusive SAMO© — which stands for “Same Old S---” — sprouted up all over Manhattan, instantly sparking interest in his identity and message. SAMO© “tags” identified the message, as in “SAMO© AS AN END TO MINDWASH RELIGION, NOWHERE POLITICS AND BOGUS PHILOSOPHY” and “SAMO© AS AN ALTERNATIVE 2 ‘PLAYING ART’ WITH THE ‘RADICAL? CHIC’ SECT ON DADDY’$ FUNDS.” By creating public art that fueled discussion, SAMO© enabled artists to make social commentary. In early 1980, the identity of SAMO© was revealed as the team of young black artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Al Diaz. Basquiat’s later works were some of the clearest forms of protest against racism during the 1980s. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Associate Curator Jill Dawsey said activist art like this “inserts itself into public discourse, beyond the official conduits and institutions of the art world.” “The most successful artists are the ones who pose questions and stir up debate,” Dawsey said. “Then we can arrive at our own conclusions.” In response to the subsequent death of black graffiti artist Michael Stewart after a brutal police arrest in 1983, Basquiat painted “Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart),” which shows two white police officers beating down on a black mass that resembles Stewart. Another work, titled “Hollywood Africans,” uses words and images to refer to the limited roles available to African-American actors in the 1940s, such as those of gangsters or laborers. While Basquiat was fortunate enough to paint and display his works freely, modern-day Chinese conceptual artist and social criticist Ai Weiwei cannot, having been beaten by police in 2009 for trying to testify about shoddy construction in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, Ai was arrested without any official charges and detained, his whereabouts unknown, for 81 days. According to The Economist, Ai regularly creates works that expose the Chinese government’s

the art of activism

waves of



“We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.” This is the mantra uttered at every meeting of San Diego’s chapter of Veterans for Peace, an organization of local World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Gulf War veterans dedicated to “engaging conflict without violence,” according to their website. “One thing we say is that new wounds scratch open old wounds,” president James Summers said. The peace group has organized events such as beach memorials to increase public awareness of both the physical and emotional “costs of war,” according to Summers. Still, he said that protests or public statements made with even the most pacifistic of intentions have the potential to become heated. “When the Iraq War first broke out, and there was all of the hysteria and grief going on, peace people, many of whom hadn’t been on the streets since the end of the Vietnam War, started turning out,” Summers said. “When they did, there were a number of ‘superpatriots’ [who] became rabid and angry at those peace people. The peace people, then, would start screaming and were full of hate and yelling at people in active duty and in uniform … You call that peace? That’s not peace.” Summers said that because of this inherent tendency to provoke verbal or physical violence, protest sites are essentially glorified war zones. “In a way, we glorify war, we glorify veterans, we glorify violence, we adopt the way of thinking, and we adapt the language,” Summers said. “You know, when you say you’re going to aim at something, [or] when you say, ‘Lock, stock and barrel’ [and] ‘Take the point on that,’ all those are military metaphors. That’s the cost of war.” Third year University of California, Berkeley student Kate Kaplan has experienced this firsthand. Kaplan said that student protests at Sproul Hall routinely escalate quickly, especially when they concern controversial matters like politics and religion. “There have been times when there are two groups on campus protesting different sides, and that can cause a lot of tension,” Kaplan said. “If it’s something I really believe in, I’ll absolutely be part of it.” Kaplan, who has participated in The peace people ... many protests regarding food rights were full of hate and and environmental issues, said while each protest is different, yelling at people in active that confrontational demonstrations “can duty and uniform ... You be scary” for everyone involved. “Occupy [Wall Street movement] call that peace? in Oakland was so different [from] James Summers Occupy at Cal, and the march in veterans for peace Oakland against Trader Joe’s was a lot more unified because there was one single message,” Kaplan said. “It depends on how many different messages are going on and what kind of area you’re in. The Occupy movement in Oakland had a lot more police present, and was more of an issue that could get out of hand easier. In Oakland for Trader Joe’s, there weren’t any police. I guess it was a little more peaceful.” The dangers of activism thus became apparent in these protests. The beating of Berkeley students by police while the students set up tents for the Occupy Wall Street movement was widely reported in the national press. Furthermore, according to ABC News, sexual assaults were a primary issue at Occupy Dallas and New York City, and according to NBC News, about 400 arrests were made at Occupy Oakland. “More bad came from [Occupy Los Angeles] than good,” California Maritime Academy student Nick Geller said.

“[People would] camp out, and there was no security, no guards. They wouldn’t let the cops come in … they basically pillaged the entire city [of Los Angeles].” Through her experience on campus, Kaplan said that protests consistently become dangerously hectic when members of the community blindly join in without a uniform goal. “Nobody who cares about what’s going on wants it to go violent because that’s just bad press, and you don’t More bad came from really get much done with bad press,” Kaplan said. [Occupy LA] than good ... “Most of the time it is [the] people who aren’t really There was no security, no focused in on the subject that guards ... They basically actually start the violence pillaged the entire city. and the rioting.” Will Johnson (12) believes Nick Geller that this aggression happens california maritime academy for a variety of reasons. During a recent trip to China, he encountered an anti-foreigner protest in the location where many foreigners were gathered — an event he attributed to nationalism. “It was weird being on the opposite end of a protest when I really felt like I did nothing wrong but be there,” Johnson said. Johnson, a member of the TPHS congressional debate team, said that, be it during an organized protest or an extemporaneous commentary round in debate competition, logic becomes convoluted when anger distracts from the main purpose of an argument. Team captain Nick Leslie (12) said that people stop paying attention to the main point of the speaker in these situations. “If it gets too calm, it’s just not that fun, but if it gets too heated, it’s just too hectic, too much chaos,” Leslie said. “If you get in the nice, moderate level in-between, it works the best. People are going to be passionate about what they’re saying, and they can more easily get across what their point is, and it makes people more intrigued with what they’re saying.” By the same token, Johnson said that protesting — be it heated or not — is only effective when there is a centralized goal in the minds of all parties involved. “If you look at Egypt, the reason those protests fall apart is because there’s secularism, and you have people on both sides of the protest,” Johnson said. “Even if they don’t agree on one singular purpose, if they have a unified dream and a unified vision past their singular objective, then the thing’s going to get accomplished.” According to Johnson, the problem with the Occupy movements was the perceived lack of this cohesiveness. “There were people in the Occupy movement who were Tea Party, and there were people in the Occupy movement who were far left, radical liberals, so there was no central purpose,” Johnson said. “People were just out there like, ‘We hate banks, we hate greed, we hate socio-economic inequality,’ so there was this dislike of things, but no real action plan people could take forward.” After experiencing the Occupy Wall Street movements firsthand, Kaplan believes that aggressive activism should be a last resort, but that it is sometimes necessary. “I think it’s a lot more important to express in [a pacifistic] way because physical protests can get a little out of hand, and there are so many variables that you can’t control,” Kaplan said. In both war and the pursuit of peace, a unified purpose and avoidance of the influence of emotion results in the greatest impact.

by katie mulkowsky and russell reed

2013 September Issue