Pulse Magazine: Volume 16, Issue 1

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Volume 16 Issue 1

Letter from the Editor During normal times, I would start this letter by welcoming students, new and returning alike, to campus, reciting all the opportunities the new school year will bring. However, as everyone knows, these are not normal times. A pandemic, large social justice protests, deaths of cultural legends, extreme results from climate change, and even murder hornets are all phenomena that have occurred in 2020 -- and the year isn’t even over yet. On a more local level, CCA has not been immune to 2020’s horrific grip: inperson classes swapped for Google Hangouts and passing periods exchanged for FaceTime calls with friends. Nonetheless, quarantine has allowed our staff here at Pulse to undergo deep reflection about the world around us, in both a serious and lighthearted manner, and deepened our resolve to present to you the best possible content in this quarter’s issue.In light of the upcoming election, check out Ellyse Given’s article, Bring It to the Ballot, on the importance of modern voting and participating in our democracy, and Alex Reinsch-Goldstein’s more satirical view of the 2020 general election. Of course, with Halloween just around the corner, enjoy Spooky Season by Alice Lin, maybe whilst lighting the perfect pumpkin scented candle. In these crazy times, humor is more important than ever, so check out Frances Chai’s take on distance learning in her piece, New Normal. In the market for a new mask? Ivan Chen has got you covered (pun intended).Our creative team is spearheaded by Angela Zhang and Isabella Kwon this year, and their artwork is woven throughout the magazine. Joining them are exceptional pieces from guest artists Fiona Choo and Natalie Kimm. Together, they created a beautiful, minimalist design tailored exclusively for our readers. With a strong staff, Pulse is ready for anything else 2020 might try to throw at us in these last few months and we look forward to serving the student body of CCA. With election season coming to an end and what may be a difficult winter approaching on the horizon, we hope all CCA students and staff will remain happy, healthy, and compassionate towards others. With all of the above in mind and with a holistic determination to remain upbeat about the future, it is with great honor we present Volume 16, Issue 1, of Pulse Magazine.

Sincerely,Izzy Ster Editor-in-Chief

New Normal by Frances Chai


Madam President by Izzy Ster


Avatar: The Last Chance by Andrew Gu


Netiquette by Peter Hong


On the Basis of ACAB by Aerin Flaharty


Tell Us How You Really Feel by Bri Cateriano


Karen, Wear Your Mask! by Ivan Chen


Reaching Out by Maxine Mah


Isolation Injury by Isabella Kwon


Fact Check: Bias in Media by Ellie Ballard and Sophia Larson


Put the Do in Lockdown by Carson McCloskey


Bring It to the Ballot by Ellyse Givens


Performative Activism by Cami Dominguez


Flora & Fauna by Angela Zhang


Influencer Inquiries by Aimee Han


Hell’s Circus: Election 2020 by Alexander Reinsch-Goldstein


Spooky Season by Alice Lin


Under Pressure by Bella Hirst


Canceled by Liam Rosenberg


War on TikTok by Jasmine Elasaad


Ball in Their Court by Jaden Hunter


The Mass Media is Lying to You by Carolyn Cui


by Frances Chai 4

Congratulations! You have survived a quarter of school under the gloom of COVID-19. Your prizes include a screen-induced headache, a trophy for breaking the silence exactly two and a half times in breakout rooms, and an “I survived Quarter One” t-shirt. Imagine time traveling to this time last year and explaining the present reality to someone. What would you say? Would anyone even believe you? Without a doubt, you would be branded as a tin foil hatter. But you can’t blame them. A year ago, we were living normal lives. We were going outside. Hugging our friends. Arguing with that one kid in AP U.S. History. Navigating a parking lot of horrid student drivers who probably shouldn’t be licensed. After eight months of life in quarantine, “normal” has certainly taken on a new look. 8:35 AM. First period starts in exactly five minutes so it’s time to roll out of bed, put on an acceptable-looking shirt (with minimal wrinkles), and attempt to calm the bed head. Gotta dress to impress...from the waist up at least. No one can see your oversized SpongeBob pajama pants from elementary school, anyway. Maybe you can run downstairs and put

together the world’s fastest bowl of cereal to eat on camera, or maybe you’ll just have to wait until the 10:50 lunch “bell.” 8:42 AM. Class has just started and as usual, technical difficulties are taking over the show. First, your teacher couldn’t hear anyone. Then, everyone’s tiles were frozen. You hope you weren’t caught at a bad time, but your friend graciously sends a Snapchat that proves otherwise. Finally, after five minutes of silently staring at your classmates, something clicks in and class can officially resume. Everyone is told to go to separate breakout rooms, the 2020 equivalent of rearranging your desks into small groups. Unfortunately, of all the things that COVID-19 has taken from us, awkward ice breakers are not one of them. The first point of discussion, “take turns sharing what you did over the weekend,” leads to complete and total silence rather than a lively conversation. The tension is palpable. Who will unmute first and save everyone? Only time will tell because, thankfully, your teacher pops in and instructs everyone to wrap up the conversation and head back into the main room (not that there is even a conversation to wrap up). This ice, unlike the ice in the Arctic,

remains unbroken. 9:50 AM. While waiting for the rest of your classmates to come into the “classroom,” you entertain yourself by pinning your friend’s screen and watching their reaction to a meme you sent them on Instagram. Interestingly enough, their facial expression remains unchanged even though a “LOL” message notification pops up on your phone. Must have been a nose-exhale kind of joke. Your teacher says that there will only be around 30 minutes of synchronous learning and the rest of the period will be asynchronous work time. You are still not fully sure what either of those words mean, but everyone seems happy about it (those who have their cameras on at least). An attendance question is posted in the chat but, of course, your computer chooses this moment to lag, leading your answer to the “Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande” question to go through a full two minutes after everyone stopped responding. Yikes. 11:00. It’s lunchtime but instead of speeding to the Del Mar Highlands, you’re microwaving last night’s spaghetti and FaceTiming your friends to try and achieve the same social effect that lunch used to have. You check @cca.bell.schedule via Instagram frequently

because, for some reason, you still don’t have the new schedule down (but how did you ever memorize class periods ending at 11:12 and 1:22?). 11:30. It’s time for online weight-training, a selection of words that you never thought would be put in the same sentence. You roll out your mom’s hot pink mat from when she was determined to become a yoga aficionado back in 2014 (simpler times) and lay it out on your bedroom floor, ready to follow along with the workout videos posted on Google Classroom. You complete exactly half of every workout and the rest of the period is spent asynchronously laying on the mat, watching The Great British Bake-Off, and stretching the truth when filling out the workout log Google Form. For academic honesty purposes, this is just a joke, Mr. Shanahan. 12:30. Third period weight-training is over and now you have a tenminute passing period. Normally, you would budget the precious passing period minutes to run to the bathroom, ask a teacher about a test, and chat with some friends. Now, you try and figure out how to defy the laws of the universe and squeeze in a 15 minute nap into 10 minutes. (side note: speaking of napping,

why did that segment of the school day disappear as we got older?) 12:40. Finally, the school day is almost over. All you have to get through is one hour of AP Statistics and then you’re free. You decide to conduct a quick observational study of your own. Do the “ergonomic chair kids” and “gaming set-up kids” have an easier time paying attention in class? Unlikely, as their darting eyes suggest a more interesting Minecraft Twitch stream on their second monitor. Everyone’s face looks blank and void of any emotion. Well, except for that one kid who is looking down and unsuccessfully hiding their laughter. Two tiles over, another classmate is doing the same exact thing. Side conversation detected. So, there you have it. A normal school day in the fall of 2020. No matter what happens, there is no denying that this will be an experience that we will remember forever. Plus, it’s something to hold over our kids when they’re dragging their feet about going to school.


Madam President by Izzy Ster Clinton. Warren. Klobuchar. All of these women have tried to become the first female president of the United States. Yet, in one way or another, females seem to miss the mark with voters. These candidates get labeled as too emotional or too unqualified or too feminine. What exactly will it take for the United States to have its first Madam President? An electable female candidate needs to have a sensible, relatable background with hints of affluency; for example, she was raised on a humble family farm in the middle of Central Park. Of course, not just any family, but a family that has distant blood relations to both JFK and Ronald Regan. Her uncle is Keanu Reeves. She would also have to fit the physical qualifications. The candidate herself is neither extremely unattractive or a perfect Aphrodite. She has the body of a SoulCycle instructor, yet can also bench press the Washington Monument.


Despite being one, the candidate says “OK, Boomer” -- and understands exactly what it means while avoiding being labeled as “cringe.” Of course, no candidate is complete without a pristine education. The electable female should have attended a prestigious institution, like Harvard, but hate and deviate from its snobbish student body. She studied rocket science with concentrations in organic chemistry and calculus in addition to minoring in political science and international studies. To top off her versatility, she was also on the a capella and improv team. A library is named after her, but only partly because of Daddy’s money. The candidate can sneeze with her eyes open, spell February on the first try, and launch a nuclear weapon without having to look up the codes. She enjoys long walks on the beach and annihilating North Korea. Her Twitter bio would end with “#woke.” She can rock black lipstick, yet be likened to a classic fashion icon, a modernday Jackie O. Once these qualities have been zeroed in for a candidate, in addition to winning over the country with her charming smile,

her campaign can begin. Her campaign song should not be as obviously feministic as “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce; however, a more subtle option like “Just a Girl” by No Doubt could prove to be successful. Moreover, if elected, she would graciously accept 15% less than her male predecessors. Her First Gentleman, a conservative and rumored “Real President,” would work to advocate for men on equal pay. Their dog Lucky has only three legs because he lost one in Afghanistan to an IED. Lucky is fiscally conservative yet lenient on some social policies. The electable female candidate would radically reshape the political and social landscape of our country as we know it today. In a moderate way. After running on the idea

of “baked” universal healthcare, a healthcare program completely funded by bake sales (which was mistaken by voters in California and Colorado as something else entirely), she would immediately scrap it at the will of male senators. Her small, tasteful tattoo on the inside of her elbow says “Second Amendment First,” but she is pro-gun control. In order to create an electable female candidate, the woman must be everything to everyone. She must be more beloved than Michelle Obama. And Lizzo. And Baby Yoda. In other words, she must be Wonder Woman, even in a country willing to elect (and perhaps reelect) the Joker.

Art by Fiona Choo

by Andrew Gu In a sharp contrast to the joy and excitement surrounding the summer revival of Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA), one of the most well-regarded TV series of our generation, fans of ATLA now watch in a mix of mute horror and derisive scorn as The Last Airbender’s Netflix live-action adaptation suffers what seems to some to be a fatal blow: the creators of the original series, who were hired as showrunners for the liveaction adaptation, have left the project. With an alarming (and unconfirmed) report from FandomWire claiming that Netflix wanted a show with older characters and “more romance, sex, and blood,” as well as some white actors for nonwhite characters and a restricted budget, the ATLA community has reason to be concerned. The extremely beloved original series is, at heart, a kids’ show, one known for taking special care and attention in its depiction of Asian and Inuit cultures (though the voice actors of the original series

were mostly white); for those who grew up with The Last Airbender, Netflix appears to be tearing out that heart and then pouring bleach over the open wound. Moreover, Netflix has a poor record with adapting animation; though Netflix has announced a slew of liveaction adaptations of popular anime including Cowboy Bebop and One Piece, the only Netflix liveaction adaptation of an animated series released to date is 2017’s Death Note, a film remembered mostly for its whitewashing and distinct mediocrity. However, do note that Death Note was produced by Warner Bros, and Netflix did not have nearly the same level of influence that it does over The Last Airbender. Given the intense criticism directed at the last liveaction adaptation of The Last Airbender, a 2010 film with both a cast and a plot resembling a stale piece of white bread, it’s difficult to believe that Netflix would knowingly walk into the same trap, especially considering their

target audience. Most importantly, FandomWire, the source of the most concerning claims, is more of a blog for Top 10 lists than a real news source; its report has no specific author and only cites “multiple sources within Netflix,” which should set off plenty of alarm bells, and no established news organization has repeated any of FandomWire’s claims. Instead, the article has been mostly spread via Twitter, a platform that lends itself far more to misinformation and sensationalism than genuine news. For those hoping for good news about the adaptation, there you have it. For those looking for more concrete information, the only official info comes from a pair of carefully-worded statements from the showrunners, who cited “a negative and unsupportive environment” and “the belief that [the showrunners] would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series,” as well as a short statement released by

Netflix. Neither group has been forthcoming on much other information on the showrunners’ reasons since August, which may help explain the community’s response to the FandomWire article. At this point, there’s simply too little reliable information to justify writing off the live-action adaptation. Showrunner Bryan Konietzko notes that “there are wonderfully talented people who are still working on the series.” Even without the showrunners, there is still a chance of Netflix producing an interesting, well-made show, even if it might not faithfully represent the original series. In the end, there’s even a slim chance that the showrunners’ departure could be a good thing, resulting in something new rather than an inferior copy of an insurmountably good original. As Uncle Iroh would say, “Destiny is a funny thing. You never know how things are going to work out.”


Netiquette With the increase of online meetings and virtual communication due to COVID-19, technology is playing a more critical role in our workforce and educational institutions than ever before. Video conferencing service platforms have seen a dramatic spike in their user base as many companies, universities, and schools are learning to host online video conferences on the fly. Without further ado, here are eight essential tips to ensure a smooth, collaborative, and productive workflow experience between peers during online video conferences. 1. Make sure that everyone introduces themselves to the other attendees. Analogous to a real and in-person meeting, you likely would not initiate a lengthy conversation with an individual that you have not met yet. The same idea holds true in a virtual setting as well. Please make it your first priority to introduce yourself to all of the attendees at the meeting before you engage with your peers. This practice


will not only ensure that there is a collaborative work environment, but will also encourage participation among attendees. 2. Ensure that you have a clean and appropriate background. This practice should seem straightforward and blatantly obvious to almost everyone, yet many individual’s often fail to follow this basic practice. Far too frequently, attendees find themselves with messy rooms before meetings, and do not bother to make an effort to clean up. This, as a result, shifts the other attendees’ focus from the work at hand to your messy bed or closet. For the lazier attendees, however, Zoom has a background feature that allows you to alter the background image to an already loaded image of your choosing, and Google Hangouts now has a blurred background feature. 3. Look into the camera when you are talking instead of looking at yourself. This practice may

seem meaningless to participants at first, but far too many times attendees are caught staring at themselves instead of looking into their laptop or desktop’s camera. If you are staring at yourself on the screen while you are talking, it seems as though you are diverting your attention to another matter. Instead, it is far more appropriate to maintain direct eye contact with the other attendees by looking into the camera while speaking. This gives the impression to the other attendees that you are looking at them, which in turn, leads to a more engaging environment. 4. Be aware of your audio and video settings. Before you join a meeting, the general rule of thumb is to turn your audio off and your video on. You can do this by checking whether the microphone button is unmuted and the video camera button is on. This practice ensures that there is no background noise or echo from participants who are not speaking, and it is done out of respect for the individuals already

present at the meeting. The idea is simple: when it is your turn to speak, you should unmute yourself, and when your time is up, you should mute yourself once more. The last thing you want to do is accidentally make an embarrassing sound during a presentation given by your boss or teacher. It should also be noted that you should test out any hardware that will be utilized during the meeting (and your internet connection) prior to starting the call. 5. Eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda If you know your younger brother will become a nuisance during the call, then the clear-cut choice is to kindly ask that he leaves the setting for the time being (or physically drag him/chase him out). Turning on Do Not Disturb Mode on your cell phone can eliminate urges to check your phone, and closing unnecessary tabs on your computer can assist your productivity level as well. Focusing on the task at hand should be the

by Peter Hong number one priority during an online meeting, and the best way to accomplish this goal is to eliminate outside distractions. By being more productive during a meeting, you can finish the work at hand in an efficient manner, and then return to finishing up the last scene of the Netflix episode you were watching or your last round of Call of Duty you were grinding, while on Discord, of course. 6. Don’t Eat During the Meeting. As obvious as it sounds, please try to refrain from eating the last bag of Cheetos you just bought the other day or the In-N-Out burger you were craving. Not only can it serve as a major distraction to others working on a particular task, but it can also be a bit gross, to say the least. To watch classmates or coworkers stuff two burgers and a large Diet Coke down their throats or listen to them chew loudly for that matter, is something that not everyone appreciates watching (I grossed myself

out just thinking about it). So please, hold off from snacking until the meeting comes to a halt, or at the very least turn off the video. 7. Don’t do other private hobbies while calling (or just don’t get caught). It’s well-known that

Save yourself from becoming internet famous over a simple mistake made on a Zoom call. human nature is to make mistakes, all the time. Whether they are miniscule or very serious ones, it is an act that is inevitable. However, mistakes made on a video call can truly leave a lasting impression on someone. By now, you probably have heard of unbelievable stories regarding CEOs picking their noses constantly on camera or using the

bathroom while still on a call (on accident of course). It is easy for them to think they were on mute and had their video webcam off, but it can be easily forgotten. So, please, try your best not to become part of the statistic, and save yourself from becoming internet famous over a simple mistake made on a Zoom call. 8. Effectively wrap up We all know how it feels to awkwardly stare at the computer screen for minutes at a time until the meeting comes to an abrupt ending. In an inperson conversation, conventional wisdom states that you wouldn’t simply stare at someone for two minutes and then vanish in an instant. Instead, you would likely end either with a quick recap of your conversation with co-workers and/or bosses, or you will wish the other individual the best of luck in the future (or tell them to eat rocks, if you dislike them). The same notion applies in a virtual setting, and you should also let everyone

know what to expect next meeting. This includes the time for the next online meeting or follow up and/or solutions to questions you weren’t able to answer in the call. Of course, you should also thank everyone for their time, and especially to individuals who have prepared content to present with their fellow peers. A quick “thank you” at the end doesn’t hurt. At the end of the day, I hope that these tips for online video calls will help you put forth the best possible impression, whether it is to classmates, teachers, or interviewers for that dream job you have always wanted. Think about that Zoom call you have next week as if you were face-to-face with the other individuals present in the room, because it will only be a matter of time until society returns to its previous state of professional, in-person conversations.


On the Basis of ACAB by Aerin Flaharty

Defund the police? Or defend the police? Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, America has shown its true colors when addressing the racial injustice that has blighted our country for centuries. Black Lives Matter has educated millions since then, sparked protests, and spread useful information through petitions and guidance on how to take action. According to US News & World Report, in 2019, more than 1000 people were killed from police violence. Since the beginning of 2020, 874 people in America have been killed by the police, and every day the number increases.

MappingPoliceViolence offers statistics that show that in 2020, 28% of those killed by police were Black, despite the fact that they only make up 13% of our entire country’s population. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, and Tamir Rice are just a tiny fraction of the innocent lives claimed by the ongoing problem plaguing our country: police brutality. Majority of these victims were unarmed when being confronted, making their deaths nothing but unjustifiable. The phrase “blue lives” refers to law enforcement officers. An

Insider article tells readers in order to become a police officer, you only need six months of experience, and on average a total of 674 hours of training and instruction, as well as a high school education. In comparison, a hairdresser requires 1500-2000 hours of training, almost three times the amount of time needed to enforce the law. In regards to how much training one needs, it is objectively easier to become a cop than a hairdresser. The lack of training and experience of police officers is a major factor in police brutality. Despite some groups of officers undergoing “sensitivity training” (a

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece do not represent those of Pulse Magazine as a whole.


type of training that focuses on the treatment of minorities), police brutality against minorities persists. Annually, the estimated amount of police funding throughout America is 100 billion dollars with an additional 80 billion for incarceration (The Center for Popular Democracy). According to Statista, police funding takes up 20-45% of a city’s budget, depending on where in the country you are. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has the third largest operating budget with 10.9 billion provided in 2020, says the Citizens Budget Commission. Even with a

150 million dollar cut after the 2020 protests, the Los Angeles Police Department’s spending will remain at about three billion, according to the LA Times. This year alone, Houston, Phoenix, and San Diego have increased their budgets by as much as 5% (The Wall Street Journal). Seattle, San Francisco, Baltimore, Denver, and Portland are all examples of cities that have agreed to cut and/or redistribute their police funds (AXIOS). San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed has ideas to project a police budget cut, and intends on investing more into San Francisco’s Black residents. Police budgets should be significantly cut or redistributed to boost Black communities, social services, education, homelessness, mental health, healthcare, etc., all of which are underfunded. Millions of Americans aren’t able to afford healthcare, and therapy is unattainable for many due to its costly nature. While “defunding” the police isn’t necessarily ideal, the point of this message is to bring attention to the overabundance of police

funding, and the benefits of redistributing those funds to areas that need it most. Every city needs some protection services to ensure safety: to project law and order and keep cities balanced. However, when the people who are supposed to protect lives turn into the people that take them, it becomes quite clear that change is necessary. Instead of adding more violence to metropolitan areas, police can be replaced with unarmed intervention teams, community patrols, and outreach and social workers, all who are trained to handle situations nonviolently. A four letter acronym born in England in the 1940’s has been a huge part of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. ACAB (and its numerical equivalent 1312) are slangs that mean “All Cops Are Bastards.” Many misinterpret the real meaning behind these statements. ACAB does not mean there is no such thing as a good cop. Instead, this term reinforces the fact that all officers are part of a corrupt system that

continuously criminalizes and mistreats the Black community. Yes, good cops do exist. But there are also officers who will pull people over on the road or ask to search bags in stores due to a factor outside of their control: the color of their skin. Many law enforcers seem to believe that the Black community’s intentions always involve breaking the law or wanting to cause violence, a mindset that is a testament to the racial injustice in our country.

However, when the people who are supposed to protect lives turn into the people that take them, it becomes quite clear that change is necessary. George Floyd begged “I can’t breathe” as Derick Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd’s neck. He was

accused of writing a false check. Elijah McClain lost blood flow to his brain after being held in a choke hold and sedated by paramedics. He was walking home from his local convenience store. Breonna Taylor was shot eight times after law enforcement raided her home at night while she was sleeping. Her killers walk freely. Botham Jean was relaxing on his couch, eating ice cream when he was shot to death. Officers believed he was an intruder in his own home. If America really claims to be the “land of the free,” then we need to prove it. The United States is in need of urgent police reform. We cannot allow violence like this to continue. The time is now to put an end to systemic racism, whether it be through intensive reform or re-education of police officers. How many more lives will it take for our country to see that? But until then, continue to sign petitions. Keep showing up to protests, keep educating yourself, and keep spreading awareness.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece do not represent those of Pulse Magazine as a whole.


Tell Tell Us Us How How You You Really Really Feel Feel by Bri Cateriano From lectures to Google Hangouts, passing periods to quick naps, and table groups to breakout rooms, modern-day education was forced to drastically shift on a whim. Students, staff, and administrators all over the world were forced to adapt to a distance learning model in a matter of months, including the CCA community. Like anything else, students have strong opinions on the matter. Whether it be complaints of a lost high school experience or praise of more freedom, all students have intense feelings towards online school. For starters, what is it about this new online learning platform that makes students love it so much? For underclassmen, their love for online learning stems from the fact that their “courses are more manageable, and in general, less stressful” (Anonymous, sophomore). For others, they’re embracing the freedom online school offers and picking up new hobbies rather than just studying all the time. Many are unfazed about the absence of a “high school


experience” because “no one likes to be an underclassmen, so it’s nice that we can go back to school higher up on the social pyramid” (Sofia, freshman). Many students also emphasize that they d0 not feel like they were having less social interaction. By using video chat services such as FaceTime, HouseParty, and Discord, many have been able to keep in touch with their peers. Quarantine also showed many who their true friends were, resulting in closer bonds. Upperclassmen who say they love online learning agree that even though they are having less social interaction, they choose to spend their time with close friends and family, allowing many to use social distancing as a way to avoid “fake and toxic people” (Olivia, senior). Upperclassmen who admit to loving the possibility of never going back to high school explained that they felt as if they were learning the same amount of information as before, but are less stressed out because it’s online. However, not all students love online

classes, as many made it evident that online learning was just not for them. When talking to underclassmen about their thoughts on the virtual learning platform, freshmen students in particular express frustration at the fact that they’re unable to make friends at a new school, robbing them of their ability to form those four year connections that students had the ability to do pre-COVID. One anonymous freshman explains that she just transferred to SDUHSD from the Carlsbad school district and feels “extremely lonely” because she has not had the chance to make new friends at CCA. She further explains that not having a relationship with any students at CCA is making it harder for her to focus on her classes, as well as making it “impossible” to participate during these classes. A similar distaste for online learning is common among upperclassmen, who share that they feel robbed of their high school experiences. Many seniors explain that their hatred of online school

stems from the lack of core high school experiences such as a junior prom and the first day of senior year. Juniors who also express a hatred of online learning similarly feel that their high school experience is being taken from them. Although they are not yet the “big dogs” on campus, many were looking forward to being upperclassmen. One junior in particular expands that they’re “not learning anything online.” Nonetheless, everyone still has hope for going back to school, a hope to be challenged academically and to be able to hug classmates again. Given the variety in viewpoints among the students, it is clear that whatever the outcome of this school year is, people will be pleased and displeased in one way or another. However, it is crucial to remember that we are all in this together, as students and as global citizens. Although we miss pep rallies or going off campus for lunch, it is our role to keep ourselves, and others, healthy by practicing public guidelines.

Yes Karen, Karen, Wear Wear Your Your Mask! Mask! Yes by Ivan Chen

As states are reopening and lifting restrictions, masks are now becoming a part of everyday life to protect people from COVID-19. Some people wonder, “why wear the mask if 6feet works?” and others, “why 6 feet apart if the masks work?” These days, it is highly uncommon to see someone not wearing a mask, so it’s important for people to understand why masks are effective and which types can protect you the most. People who refuse to wear masks can spread small droplets from either talking, coughing, or sneezing, which can then be inhaled by others around them. If the person is asymptomatic (someone who carries the virus but shows no symptoms) and the droplets are inhaled by someone else that person can contract the virus. According to a student at the University of California San Francisco, “an experiment using high

speed video found that hundreds of droplets ranging from 20-500 micrometers were generated when saying a simple phrase, but that nearly all the droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered by a damp washcloth” (Nina Bai ucsf.edu). Masks work by creating a barrier around your nose and mouth, making it more difficult for droplets that spread COVID-19 to enter your body when you breathe. As a result, it lowers your chances of getting or spreading the virus. It is important to know which masks are effective and how people should be wearing them. When deciding which mask will protect you, an easy way to know is by blowing on it while wearing it. If your breath can be felt on the other side of the mask, it is not safe to wear. The droplets will be able to pass through the mask and you will have a higher risk of contraction. The most

common types of masks are surgical masks, N95 masks, and fabric masks. Fabric masks can be made from any type of clothing such as a bandana or a shirt. These masks can protect the user and can also be washed and worn multiple times. Another type of fabric masks is the neck gaiter, which is worn around the neck and covers the mouth as well. According to Healthline.com, gaiter masks “made of cotton and triple layered are the most effective according to experts.” Surgical masks are also very effective in protecting the mouth and the nose from droplets that could carry COVID19. The only problem is that they are single-use only. Finally, N95 masks provide a higher degree of protection than both surgical and cloth masks. Janelle Ringer, an expert at Loma Linda University, states that N95 masks “block 95% of particles or liquids that may come in contact with your face.

However, these masks are not for general public use and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.” All in all, having some type of protection is better than none, so fabric, surgical, and N95 masks are all effective choices to protect yourself and others from the virus. Businesses and indoor facilities are now reopening and are requiring customers and employees to wear face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Whether you are out in public or hanging out with friends, it is important to make wise decisions by social distancing from one another and wearing face masks. Occasionally, there will be a few individuals who are not following any of these guidelines stating they “know their rights,” and if you see them, please walk in the other direction.


Remember that guy you always used to see walking down the hallways? He always wore college sweatshirts and some type of hat or beanie. You would see him stride across the vinyl flooring as you made your way to math, not thinking anything of it. Funnily enough, he was also in your history class, and out of the corner of your eye -- while you were busy scrambling to write down your teacher’s lecture verbatim - you’d see him messing with his hoodie strings absentmindedly. In your head you thought, “He’s definitely going to fail the quiz tomorrow.” But as you adjust your line of


vision back to your notebook, you realize it’s not your business to care. He did this everyday anyway, you didn’t really think anything of it. At lunch, you’d see that same guy laughing uncontrollably with his friends. Throwing his head back with a huge, unorthodox smile, giggling so loudly, half the quad could hear him cackle. As he and his buddies tossed around jokes, you were eating lunch with your own friends, indifferent to the boy you’ve always seen around school. Flash forward to March 13th, 2020, the infamous date when most schools across America shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You joined the club of those who thought that this would only last until spring break, that staying inside and not going to school was the best thing that could ever happen. You couldn’t have been more wrong. What began as a few days without seeing family, friends, and teachers, slowly turned into weeks, which then turned into months of isolation. Patiently waiting

for things to return to normalcy, you start FaceTiming with your friends and call them all through the summer, staying up at ungodly hours just to talk. The boy you’ve seen wandering the halls and playing with his hoodie strings barely ever crossed your mind, and unfortunately, his image never crossed the minds of his friends either. About one in every five teens has a mental health disorder, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 12-18. Now, more than ever, mental health has become increasingly more important, especially for those in high school. While academics, extracurriculars, social life, and family time are already hard to manage during a normal school year, during quarantine, a certain level of connection is lost. When at school, we have the chance to study our friends’ patterns. We see them looking tired or physically drained; we can see their behavior when interacting with their peers or when they’re just simply acting off.

However, when we are all forced to stay trapped inside the qualms of our mind, everything changes. Everybody’s mental health situation is different. Some people may have thrived by not going to school and having time to themselves while others have friend groups that can stay extremely connected without seeing each other for months. However, for many, as soon as the lockdown started, they were alone. Although schools may try to push their students to talk to people, telling them to always reach out when they need help or encouraging them to talk to a trusted adult about their problems, it’s always way easier said than done. Whether it’s feeling like a burden, or believing that there are bigger problems in the world other than their mental health, students aren’t always comfortable with sharing their problems. Of course, it’s impossible to speak for everyone and the way they cope with the balance of self love and life’s unpredictable struggles, but these are just some of the problems that arise when talking about

by Maxine Mah sensitive subjects like our socioemotional status. In the end, most of us teenagers don’t feel the need to reach out and that there are more important things to worry about and focus on other than what goes on in our heads. This train of thought, especially regarding mental health, is what makes human interaction so impactful. It may seem silly to say, “human interaction is the basis of why we don’t feel sad sometimes,” but it’s true. It’s an outlet in which teens can speak freely to people their age without being judged for how they feel. At the very least, it can be a distraction from the pressures of school. Our friends are the shoulder we can lean on. After an impossible calculus test, or a nerve-wracking English speech, they are the people we go to first. In a time where we grow increasingly less dependent on our parents and other adults, our peers and fellow classmates are the leading guides to our futures. How many times have you made decisions just based on what your friends say? How many times have you asked your friends for help rather than your teacher?

Whether it may seem difficult, due to the vulnerability it requires, to admit that most of us teenagers rely on this form of peer interaction, it's absolutely necessary for the development of becoming a functioning adult. Now imagine that boy we mentioned earlier, the one who wears college sweatshirts and doesn’t pay attention in history. On the outside, we see him as just another high school student: he has a good friend group, loves to play sports, a good home life, and a decent GPA (maybe if he studied for APUSH it would be higher). But the situation has changed. What we can’t see now that school is online and we aren’t allowed outside without masks, is that none of his friends have even thought about communicating with him. Not because they’re spiteful or selfish or they don’t like him, but rather because they assume he’s okay, or if he needs help he’d ask. But as mentioned before, it’s not that easy. The boy messing around with his hoodie strings that you didn’t really care for now feels alone and

abandoned. So how can we prevent this? Lucky for us the answer is incredibly simple: reach out. Reach out to your friends and peers and even people you barely know. Just the smallest conversation, the smallest text, could flip someone’s mental situation around for the better. I know it may seem like reaching out has to be in some sort of scary, formal manner, with perfect punctuation, spelling, and in long paragraphs with varied diction, but in reality reaching out is just as simple as sending a TikTok or a meme -something to tell that person you were thinking about them. Swiping up on their stories, asking them how their quarantine is, or just a simple “Hey, how are you?” could make someone feel so much more included and cared for. In a time where personal connection is so slim, just reaching out a hand to someone you care about can mean a lot. The next time the image of that girl in your biology class who likes soccer, or the guy who you’ve grown up with since preschool, or maybe

the dancer who you always thought didn’t like you, or the shy, quiet guy in the back of the class, crosses your mind, just lend a hand. Send them a DM or a text; show them they’re not alone even if they feel like they are. And even if they leave you on read, or if the response isn’t as kind as it could be, we all need to get into the habit of reaching out. “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” is something we always hear, and it’s entirely true. Because if you were stuck in a well, afraid to call out for help, wouldn’t you want someone -- anyone -just to peek their head over that wall and to throw down that rope?


sensation would not go away. I’m sorry to say this, but we can’t blame the circumstances for this one. Posture, posture, posture. Yes, your mother is right on this one. How can you In the wake of this not expect to experience pandemic, students and pain when you look like teachers alike have the Hunchback of Notre undergone a transition Dame? Back hunched from the classroom to over, neck jutting out, just distance learning on a staring? massive scale. In With the influx of unfamiliar waters, many hours sitting with poor have toiled over the organization of classes and posture in front of a screen, greater stress is maintenance of placed on areas on our friendships through this body that aren’t meant to long period of isolation. support our weight for Perhaps the least of our extended periods of time, worries was the physical toll that this change would so it’s important that you maintain better posture take on our bodies. during these times, And yet, this especially. constant access to Perhaps investing in chiropractor-approved chairs or a back-support cushion that promotes good posture would be of interest. Sleep Loss: I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I feel that I am getting less sleep on average during distance-learning compared to when I physically attended school, which is strange due to the


However, as iconic as this scene was, perhaps not taking the Doctor’s advice would be the best course of action in this occasion. One of the main causes of eye strain is the drying out of the eyes. This is due to the simple fact that many individuals tend to blink less when staring at a screen. As silly as this seems, merely blinking more often may alleviate the irritation that has been nagging you since the start of quarantine. Another tactic would be to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, break your gaze from your screen and stare at anything 20 feet from yourself for 20 seconds. That could be out a window or the reflection of a mirror, just make sure that the distance is relatively far so your eyes can relax. Migraines: Viewing screens in far from ideal conditions (dimly-lit rooms, screens with excessive glare, high contrast between screen and surroundings, poor angle and distance from screen) tends to place greater strain on your eyes: there is a greater demand on the eyes’ tracking and focusing abilities. And when your eyes are forced


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to work extra hard over extensive periods of time without appropriate breaks from the screen, as they have been during distancelearning, symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (headaches, blurred/ distorted vision, irritated eyes, etc.) may begin to present themselves. Adjusting the brightness of your screen may help alleviate the side effects of prolonged computer usage. Having the screen too bright or having too much glare could exacerbate migraines. Another method is placing yourself at least an arm’s length away from your monitor. Positioning the screen at a comfortable angle (the center being 15-20 degrees) is also an effective method of protecting yourself from screen time pain. Chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain: This one’s a doozy. I personally have had my taste of neck pain throughout this virtual school year and it isn’t pretty. It was a sharp, exact pain at the base of my neck which continued to throb throughout the day. No matter how many times I rolled and stretched my neck, the

technology revealed itself as a curse in disguise. Today, the same teenagers who were once eager to sneak a peek at their messages during lectures and lessons are now desperate for a moment away from their screens. The world has a funny way of turning us on our heads in ways we least expect it. While I cannot make the migraines and eye strains dissipate with a flick of my wand, as a fellow student, I can sympathize with the mildly irritating symptoms that being glued to a screen has brought forth. I can offer insight into the cause of the phenomena you may be experiencing and some of the at-home remedies that could be used to combat these occurrences. Eye Strain: “Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead.” Ah...beautiful delivery by Tennant, the tenth (this is a Doctor Who reference for my friends scratching their heads out there -- yes, I have watched it, and yes, this episode was the best).

decrease in academic/ extracurricular activities. I thought it would be the opposite. This is a well-known and blatantly-ignored fact: decreasing screen time one to two hours before sleeping could help with this issue. The blue light from screens suppresses sleep promoting hormone melatonin production, preventing many from a much needed deep sleep, especially with the difficulty of assessments only rising as school picks up pace.

17 17

In present-day America, it is widely acknowledged that the media we consume on a daily basis is biased. With different networks having divergent opinions on almost every topic, whether it be the best cookie recipe or politics and current issues, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find information that just lays out the facts with little to no bias. Biased information in the media has caused individuals who consume news from different sources to develop a polarized nature and disagree on basic topics that should be noted as facts. Perhaps this bias in the media has contributed to a political divide in America, leaving people arguing about what is true and what isn’t. In our country, there are a plethora of popular news outlets such as such as NBC, ESPN, CNN, and Fox News. Each news source broadcasts to the entirety of the country,

careful when citing sources from media outlets due to bias. Usually, Democrats will get their news from CNN, and Republicans will get their news from Fox News, leading to polarization between the parties. A simple solution to this would be to get information from more than one source, but people more often than not give in to ignorance, taken Donald Trump’s and only consume news word and believe that that agrees with their CNN releases only fake beliefs. Thus, outlets will stories, when it truly just more often than not focus has a different political on pleasing their opinion than Trump and viewership versus the Republican party. reporting concrete facts. Modern media With bias being so makes it extremely prevalent in everyday difficult for people who news, fact checking has solely want unbiased become increasingly opinions on current and necessary. Without past issues. Now, it has credible news sources, it is become a problem in becoming easier and more which people must be frequent for people to argue on topics that should be recognized as Statement “Studies suggest that fact rather than otherwise healthy patients who opinion. Due recover from COVID-19 are likely to the biased to be immune from catching the media, virus again.” - Fox News watching or reading the The World Health Organization news has states “people who assume that become much they are immune to a second more of a infection because they have ludicrous task received a positive test result may than a ignore public health advice.” reasonable one, Since President Trump often and true dismisses COVID-19 (even after his information is own diagnosis) as something that becoming will go away on its own (AP News), harder and Fox News caters to their harder to find. conservative audience with this statement, rather than present facts.

Fact Check: Bias in Media

by Ellie Ballard and Sophia Larson but each one reaches different audiences. CNN and Fox News are usually said to be the most drastically different, with CNN appealing to liberals, and Fox New to conservatives. Republican President Donald Trump often vocalizes his hatred for CNN, claiming CNN is “fake news,” often with no evidence to support his claims. Trump supporters alike have

Statement: “As long as he didn’t embarrass himself, we were going to come out here and praise it.” - CNN, regarding Joe Biden’s performance at the Democratic National Convention This statement is problematic for a number of reasons. First: why is the bar set so low for Joe Biden? For a presidential candidate, the expectations should be a little higher. He should actually have to perform well to receive praise, as most people normally would. This statement exemplifies CNN’s liberal bias.

18 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece do not represent those of Pulse Magazine as a whole.

In the blink of an eye, life as everyone knew it changed dramatically. Everything and everyone was all over the place, and it got easier to pretend that the emergency distance learning plan was more of an “extended summer” rather than a virtual classroom. Now, coming back to school in the fall requires our undivided attention and an indefinite amount of motivation. Staying motivated can be quite the challenge when your classroom suddenly turns into your bedroom, and you can hide the fact that you are running on two hours of sleep behind a turned off camera and a muted mic. However, it’s still as important as ever to maintain healthy habits and to be present, mentally and physically, during online classes. To make life a little easier, here are five tips and tricks for students to stay motivated during online school. Establish a morning routine: For most, mornings are the worst part of the day. Online school makes it easy to roll out of bed five minutes before classes start and curl up back under the covers after attendance is taken Establishing a morning routine can make being present in class much

easier, eliminating that disoriented feeling. Whether it be an extensive 12 step skin care routine or going on a morning run, a simple regimen can get you energized before classes, giving you a sustainable amount of motivation for the rest of the day. For example, you could wake up an hour before your first class, eat a filling breakfast, and make your bed (for a nice Google Hangouts background). Of course, you can also budget in some screen time to savor those last few tweets and TikToks. Get dressed: Going to school in pajamas may seem like the best part of online classes, but it’s actually hurting your capability to concentrate. Wearing clothes that you wear to relax can trick your mind into thinking it’s okay to turn off your camera and go on your phone, or to lay in bed while you’re in class. Instead, try wearing an outfit that you would be excited to wear to school. So, put on your favorite jeans or that new shirt you’ve been dying to show off. Turn on your camera: Turning off your camera may seem like a good idea since it can help eliminate the anxiety of peers seeing your every move; however, this can result in an inability to focus. Without your

by Carson McCloskey

camera on, it’s easier to step away from your computer to go make breakfast or play with your dog. Yes, those things are fun to do when your classroom is your house, but you can lose your concentration during class and potentially risk a mark in your attendance. Turning on your camera makes you want to stay focused during class, and avoids having your teacher single you out for being on your phone, which no one wants. Go to sleep at a reasonable time: Going to bed at a reasonable time every night can make you feel refreshed and well-rested in the morning, especially after staring at screens for hours on end. Teenagers need eight to ten hours of sleep every night, and students who get enough sleep have fewer attention problems during class. A good sleep schedule will not only aid you in your scholastic success, but also improve your overall well-being in the long run. Reach out to friends: Reaching out to friends in your classes can help you academically excel, especially if you missed an important announcement from your teacher or can't remember the homework. Reaching

out to someone you know (or want to know) can help you have a positive incentive for going to class, especially when you know a friendly face is waiting for you in a breakout room. Making friends may seem hard during online school, since you can't see people in person, but luckily for us, we have social media. Find someone in your class who you are familiar with (hopefully they’ll remember you from Spanish 2 freshman year) or someone that you want to be friends with, and send them a DM. Having friends in your classes alleviates stress and anxiety, as you have someone to vent to about the homework and upcoming tests with.


by Ellyse Givens

Right now, it feels like our world is crumbling. We learn from a distance, waving hello to our teachers through computer screens, attempting to manufacture new friendships within virtual breakout rooms and text message chains. We venture outside our homes armed with a mask, quotidian grocery store trips and sports practices suddenly dangerous. We protest in the streets because innocent humans are dying, because hatred still harbors in hearts, because some still don’t seem to understand that Black lives, simply, matter. It’s overwhelming. And each politician on our screens seems to believe that they can render a more congenial reality. They tell us to “go vote!” -- that it is is our


civic duty. Yet, this slogan sometimes feels disjointed from our contemporary world: it’s difficult to believe in the efficacy of a ballot in the midst of death and confusion and distrust. How can one vote possibly make a difference? Because of the Electoral College, it’s true -- your vote does not directly elect a government official, but rather chooses a group of pre-selected electors. In states that abide by a “winner-takesall” system (all except Maine and Nebraska), all electors are granted to the candidate who wins that state’s popular vote. So, in this way, when your vote coalesces with others in your county and state, it does hold power: it can express solidarity with a community or issue, and, as demonstrated historically, sway the results of an election vastly more than one would expect. In 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by only 84 electoral

votes and a 0.2% lead in the popular vote. George W. Bush won the 2004 election by just 35 electoral votes and a 2.4% lead in the popular vote. Despite this, voter turnout in the United States seems to be dwindling. In 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 61.4% of the eligible voting population in America turned out to the polls, a slight decrease from 2012’s 61.8%, and 2008’s 63.6%. Yeonwoo Chu, a CCA senior, attributes this diminution to the options on our ballots. “I think a huge factor that contributes to the decline is not having a candidate people want to vote for. If all options are bad, people will not vote.” CCA Government, Economics, and U.S. History teacher Mr. Pollock agrees, stating that in 2016, “both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were historically unpopular candidates; some voters may have

chosen to stay home because they did not want to support either of the candidates from the two major parties...both [nominees] also dealt with the element of ’Never Hillary’ and ‘Never Trump’ groups within each party.” However, some aspects of the voting process make it virtually impossible for some to vote, even if they desire to. The poll taxes and literacy tests of our nation's

history have been replaced with laws and regulations that, although ostensibly harmless, quietly uphold voter suppression. According to the Center of American Progress, on average, BIPOC voters are required to wait in line for twice as long as white voters -- with much of these groups less likely to possess flexible employment schedules and thus the time to wait hours outside their polling locations. Voter ID requirements, instituted in a total of 36 states, can also be detrimental: with one in four Black voters and 15% of low income voters not possessing a valid, government-issued photo ID, according to the ACLU, regulations that request identification at the polls have the potential of excluding entire populations. How can we mend America’s voting system, so that it caters to all, rather than a select few? CCA sophomore Kyle Smith believes that voting booths “should be placed in convenient and highly accessible locations, and advertised.” Further, he states that businesses should “require certain time periods on election day in which the employees go to cast their ballots, which would eliminate any work-related voting inconveniences.” Mr. Pollock adds that

declaring Election Day as a national holiday could contribute to increased turnout, or perhaps instituting a “national primary day, wherein all primaries would be held on the same day, and just like that, you’d have a nominee - like ‘Super Tuesday’ but in all 50 states and territories rather than a dozen states.” Voting is, even if we do not always recognize it, a privilege. And this November especially, civilians’ decision whether or not to take advantage of this luxury has the ability to completely transfigure the reality in which we live. Yet, it’s difficult to predict if the chaos, unrest, and polarity of the past six months will galvanize voters, or contribute to an exacerbated sense of apathy. Mr. Pollock explains that “the country is very divided right now, and it can feel like there isn’t much of a middle ground. With the 2008 financial crisis and now a pandemic, people entering adulthood during [these] years have had a rocky start to their careers that will have driven more interest in the political world among the 25-35 age group, in particular.” Meanwhile, CCA students, although most not eligible to vote, seem to be experiencing their own renowned sense of civic enthusiasm.

Yeonwoo feels that the current state of our country has motivated her to become more civically engaged in her community since she is “now more informed about what is going on around the world.” Kyle likewise mentions that as he witnesses COVID-19 transpire before him, he experiences the impact of government decisions at a personal level: “I feel the need to fight for change and create the world that I want to live in.” Albeit under the voting age, there is still so much we as young people can do to catalyze change in our communities. Local campaigns and political parties are always seeking volunteers and interns to speak with voters via phone banking and doorto-door canvassing. Poll locations need staff this year more than ever, as many regular employees may abstain from working due to the virus. Parents, siblings, friends, and relatives need your encouragement to vote. Or if you’re simply looking to learn, familiarize yourself with the local happenings of San Diego politics, research the issues facing fellow community members right outside your window, or, even better, listen to Mr. Pollock and Mr. Unwin’s “What’s Up Podcast” every Tuesday at 4:00 PM on YouTube.

Ballots amplify voices, yet we as teenagers can nevertheless speak loudly without one in hand. Your classroom discussions need your perspective. Your peers and your families need your opinions. And, when you turn 18, the world needs your voice. So don’t ever be afraid to shout.


Performative Activism

by Cami Dominguez

The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have triggered a strong resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, with protests breaking out throughout the United States demanding basic human rights for people of color. Influx of support came from social media, with some posting infographics and resources to educate others on the challenges that Black people face in this country. Much of the information being spread comes from social media, which has a reputation for only highlighting “the good” of someone’s life, leaving behind the true question: what activism is true activism? Whether it’s #BlackoutTuesday or a TikTok chain of popular creators putting up a fist to show solidarity, performative activism seems to be reaching a concerning peak. It is important to reiterate that Black people facing discrimination and being killed by law enforcement is, unfortunately, not something that happens once in a blue moon; it happens frequently as a result of systemic racism in the United States. So, when we look at the BLM


movement and its prevalence on social media, it’s odd to see these “activists” posting about the importance of amplifying minority voices despite unconsciously drowning them out through their own sharing of messages and images. Wanting to increase awareness within the music community, music producers Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agymang shared a post online advocating that “The Show Must Be Paused,” with their goal being to “pause” the day-to-day activity, specifically within the music industry, to force the audiences to pay attention and have conversations about the injustices plaguing the United States. However, the action eventually was twisted into one of the most notorious social media trends that amplified performative activism: the infamous “#BlackOutTuesday.” Thomas and Agymang at no point advocated for a symbolic gesture on social media; they wanted to open a dialogue, not encourage privileged people to post a black square that essentially contributed nothing before going back to their lives with a warm feeling

of contributing something “meaningful” to the conversation. Social media has made it easy for users to put on a facade, making it difficult to see if they are actually changing their way of thought or simply participating in reposting on their social media to keep up with a trend. This contentious perspective is why so many individuals have found it worth doubting the sudden surge of support. There are forms of performative activism other than just posting online. For instance, in 2016, there was a popular trend of wearing a safety pin as a sign of solidarity against racism, the results of the election, and xenophobia. But when it's all said and done, you could wear a safety pin or post a black square and continue to commit microaggressions against te BIPOC community. Symbolic gestures can actually work if done properly; for example, something that is being done often now is putting your pronouns in the bio of your social media account(s) to normalize not assuming others’ gender. Performative activism is a double-edged sword.

Art by Natalie Kimm

On one hand, it is bringing awareness to an important issue that has gone unaddressed for far too long. However, if the only intention behind posting the infographic with pretty typography and pastel colors is because all of your followers are, there are more proactive ways to speak out. Signing petitions, reaching out to representatives, and

Social media has made it easy for users to put on a facade attending (sociallydistanced) protests if you’re not high risk are some ways to combat the oppressions faced by others, or yourself, today. After all, our generation has banded together to work together to solve the most arduous of problems, and even though posting infographics onto your Instagram story doesn’t inherently make you “performative,” make sure that your activism doesn’t stop at just one post.


Flora & Fauna by Angela Zhang Quarantine put the world on pause for seven months. Amidst a pandemic, companies, schools, and other institutions all moved online in an attempt to decrease human contact as much as possible. It is clear that in the most affected countries, such as the United States, China, and India, the priority revolves around people’s health. For this reason, as changes in our environment become more and more noticeable, scientists are quick to analyze its correlation to the pandemic. Studies have examined indirect positive impacts, mainly in the improvement of air quality and a significant drop of Greenhouse gas emissions. This outcome is most likely due to the social distancing policies adopted by various governments following the appearance of the pandemic. For example, in China’s Hubei Province, where the virus supposedly first surfaced, strong social distancing orders were implemented in late 2019. These measures affected the country’s main economic activities such as power plants and industrial facilities, which all halted their 24 24

productions. According to the European Space Agency, the level of Nitrogen Oxide in the atmosphere surrounding the main Chinese cities reduced dramatically, which is extremely beneficial for China’s long history of air pollution. In China alone, the air quality improvements generated human health benefits that have outnumbered the confirmed COVID deaths so far, according to a MedRxiv report. A similar improvement is also seen in European countries such as Italy, France, Germany, and Spain. Beaches, one of the most popular tourist destinations and natural capital assets found in shoreline cities, are critical to the survival of coastal communities and must be protected from overexploitation. However, due to irresponsible use by humans, many beaches face heavy pollution problems. With a lack of tourists due to social distancing measures, there have been notable changes in the appearance of many beaches across the world. For example, beaches in Barcelona, Salinas, and Acapulco now look cleaner with crystal clear waters.

Despite the positive indirect effects on the environment, coronavirus has also generated some negative ones. In countries such as the United States, cities suspended recycling programs due to the fear of spreading the virus in recycling centers. In European countries, particularly those heavily affected, sustainable waste management has also been restricted. Italy, for example, restricted its infected residents from sorting their waste. On the other hand, there was an increase in demand for online shopping and food purchased online. These home deliveries are generating organic and inorganic waste as they are shipped and packed. The industry has also repealed the ban on plastic bags, even though they can be harmful and carry viruses. As seen in our community, plastic bags no longer need to be purchased at grocery stores such as Ralph’s. Additionally, medical waste is also on the rise. In Wuhan alone, there was an average of 240 metric tons of medical waste produced per day during the outbreak, compared to their pre-pandemic average of fewer than 50 tons. In the United States, there

has been an increase of garbage from personal protection equipment as well, including face masks and gloves. The elastic ear material in masks are also known to tangle animals, mainly birds, when not discarded correctly. Environmentalists encourage people to cut the ear strap on their masks before disposing of it to decrease the chance of harming more wildlife. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced both positive and negative indirect effects on the environment. However, it is argued that the latter might be greater because the improved air quality and decrease of Greenhouse gases can only sustain a short period of time before normalcy resumes. Furthermore, the virus has brought us environmental crises that are more challenging to manage and have a longterm effect if its impact is neglected. It is important for individuals and communities to unite together and fight these environmental crises to help preserve our future.

by Aimee Han

Behind the millions of likes and comments remains the mystery of how social media influencers, such as YouTubers, TikTokers, and Instagram models, actually make a living. Social media influencers have a specific aesthetic, look, or brand, that appeals to their audience, allowing many of them to make more money than teachers, healthcare workers, and firefighters. The entirety of the social media world is essentially governed by the superficial nature of likes, comments, views, and appearances. Simply by creating “content,” influencers are able to spend lavish sums of money buying luxurious cars, Gucci clothes, and homes in Beverly Hills and Calabasas. The real question is, how are they making the money appear from thin air? Although these influencers are often secretive about where the money is coming from -possibly due to ethical

issues that their fans will notice -some information has managed to seep through the cracks.

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is when influencers continuously ask their followers to use their code at checkout for a certain brand, such as YouTuber James Charles’ famous “Use code JAMES for 10% off” with Morphe Makeup. Another example of this is when fashion YouTuber BestDressed includes an easily accessible link on her Instagram story for fall sweaters from her favorite clothing brands. We know that these options are easy and useful. However, one of the hidden benefits of affiliate marketing includes giving 5-30% of their sales to influencers that generate revenue. In simpler terms, every click on a link in an influencer’s Instagram bio or every use of their code can total up to around $1500 to $8000 for them a month. Display Advertising: The most common form of display advertising is Adsense on YouTube. Adsense is when videos are approved and monetized

by YouTube to include advertisements, which generates money for both YouTube and their creators. Although the algorithm is constantly changing, a monetized YouTube video makes about $3-5 per thousand views. So, a fan favorite like David Dobrik, who receives an average of seven million views, can make around $35,000 per video. Disclaimer: it is not well-known how much YouTube or taxes take from that amount, but making $35,000 for a four minute and twenty second video seems profitable nevertheless. Sponsorships: Whether influencers have ten thousand or ten million followers, sponsorships are critical for influencer marketing. A brand partnership TikTok video can rack up anywhere from $50 to $150,000, while a sponsored Instagram post can make up to $250,000. This, of course, depends on the brand’s budget and the influencer’s popularity. Yet why are these brands not endorsing celebrities? Influencers charge lower rates, so distributing a brand’s budget amongst multiple influencers amplifies the effectiveness of their advertising. For instance, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are the faces of the new brand, Morphe 2 Makeup, and were offered the opportunity due to

their relatability and family-friendly reputation. Merchandise: Perhaps the most obvious way influencers make money is by creating merchandise or products that are consistent with the aesthetic appeal of their brand. For example, former Dance Moms star Jojo Siwa is currently 17 years old and owns a multi-million dollar empire. Her merchandise includes, but is not limited to, Jojo Siwa bows, earrings, dresses, pillowcase sets, and toys. Any product promoted ignites our desire to purchase these items because we, for some strange reason, admire these influencers. This list is just the beginning. In many ways, these influencers, whether big or small, are indirectly and directly making money off of their audience, us. We have the power to give or to not give them attention, which ultimately affects their livelihood. So if you don’t want a 16 year old making a 60 second video on Instagram promoting a Bang Energy drink for large sums of money, while others work multiple minimum wage jobs to barely scrape by, then don’t give them the time of day. Or, you could simply embrace the lifestyle and strategically make money too.


Hell’s Circus: Election 2020 By Alex Reinsch-Goldstein American history is back at the Al Smith means that this election is not lacking in tragedy, and Dinner the next. The the purest distillation of it’s certainly not lacking in natural impulse might be the year in which it’s farce either. Yet, sometimes to want this type of bytaking place. there are events that so gone congeniality back, There are a number perfectly synthesize the but seeing as that of reasons for this, not the two that one is left with congeniality never least of which is the two the distinct impression extended to the Middle men who are vying for the that whatever force Eastern civilians or poor highest and most ovaloid determines the course of people or racial minorities office in the land. The events in this country has that our polite statesmen incumbent is, of course, an extremely sick sense of murdered and oppressed, the one and only Mr. humor. This year of it probably isn’t something Donald John Trump, a plagues and wildfires and worth pining over. man whose love for murder hornets, for The 2020 presidential chicken nuggets is example, will probably election, however, is exceeded only by his love strike future generations as throwing out whatever for God, the Bible, the being almost contrived pretense of normalcy flag, blasphemy, illiteracy, and ridiculous in the might’ve been left, and is and adultery. His scrappy excess of its horribleness. rapidly turning into challenger is former vice As if this goulash of something so utterly president Joe Biden, who terrible events wasn’t bizarre that a Dadaist has been in Washington enough, there’s also an would probably trash it for since the end of the election going on, which not making enough sense. Neolithic. Coincidentally, never bodes well for We’ve had rallies where Kdata indicates that a anything. pop stans buy up all the majority of Americans Elections in this tickets to artificially raise think neither of them are country are usually like projected attendance mentally fit to be president football games; appearing numbers, and politically(52% for Biden and 55% plenty violent on motivated boat parades for Trump, according to a television, but overall where small leisure craft CNBC poll), but it’s not sportsmanlike and are sunk by the wakes of like we’re electing them to collegial. The candidates slightly larger leisure craft. something important or could trade snippy oneEverything is a bizarre mix anything. liners at the debates one of the terrifying, the Trump won in 2016 minute and then be incompetent, and the (well, not really -- the slapping each other on the surreal, which merely wonders of the electoral Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece do not represent those of Pulse Magazine as a whole.


college) on a drain-theswamp, pseudo-populist platform, the sort of freak show that can’t really come to town twice. Trump’s playbook for 2020 is of a very different mold, essentially amounting to telling suburbanites that Joe Biden and Antifa are coming for their Keurig machines and Ikea furniture, and that Black Lives Matter wants to replace suburbia with lowincome housing and crime increases (this is almost verbatim). Trump hopes that people will see chaos and disorder on the horizon, and that somehow they’ll see the visage of Joe Biden in the lurid flames of a burning Arby’s. All of this is extremely ironic, considering that few people are more fanatical about law and order than Joseph Robinette Biden. We are, after all, talking about the man who authored the infamous 1994 crime bill and bragged that it would “do everything but hang people for jaywalking,” and whose actual word-for-word

solution to the police killing Black people was “shoot them in the leg, not in the heart.” He also enthusiastically worked with segregationists like James Eastland to block school integration via busing in the 1970s, and was friends with Senator Strom Thurmond, a man who urinated in a bucket on the floor of the Senate so that he could speak against the Civil Rights Act continuously for 24 hours without having to leave to go to the bathroom. Things don’t get much better on the lower end of the ticket. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, has a long and abominable record as a prosecutor prior to her entry into national politics -- as San Francisco DA, she jailed parents for parole violations if their kids were truant from school, and prosecuted thousands of nonviolent drug offenders. Despite having attacked the previous DA for being soft on crime, she could be quite soft on it herself, provided it was committed by rich people or corporations: she declined to prosecute OneWest bank for an obvious and horrendous pattern of foreclosure fraud, and coincidentally was the only Democrat to receive campaign contributions from OneWest’s right-wing CEO, future Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

is so clearly out of touch. Squeaky clean, isn’t it! candidates, as a matter of There are some who say Mike Pence, fact, support some increase that we ought to vote for meanwhile, has sat to the already-massive the lesser evil opposition dutifully by Trump’s side military budget. Nor do candidate even if we do like a homophobic pet they want to substantially find him repulsive. Others transform our atrocious dog all through his first advocate voting for an term, and he’s now criminal justice system. Joe existing third party or seeking a second stint as Biden says he won’t ban organizing a new one in the Man Who Attempts to fracking and Trump keeps order to break the soulConvince Evangelicals yammering about “clean rotting duopoly. Others that Trump is Not an beautiful coal” as the say that we should give up world burns and the seas Adulterous Glutton (an on electoralism altogether office known to some as rise. Trump put kids in and do protracted people’s cages and Harris jailed the vice presidency). war or something; these Previously, he was working parents but not people are generally Governor of Indiana and fraud committing bankers; cranks or Maoists. So, a talk radio host; as Biden wrote the crime bill what do we do? governor, he made it legal that triggered the mass That answer depends for business owners to incarceration crisis and on who you ask. What “exercise their religious Mike Pence thinks that if should not depend on freedom” by denying you hit a pillow with a who you ask is the service to gay people, and tennis racket for long acknowledgement that at times expressed support enough you’ll stop being there’s a problem -- that for gay conversion gay. One doesn’t have to there are supposedly two therapy. No one’s asked believe that both choices parties in this country, him about it, but his are equally bad, but it’s but that mostly they favorite utopian novel is hard to deny that both function as two are, in some measure, bad. probably The Handmaid’s instruments of the same Our political order spews Tale. goal, namely the forth nothing but varying Behold, America, the preservation of ruling degrees of rot, because best we can do! class power. Neither only one set of interests is It’s easy to feel very supports ensuring that no represented -- and it’s the disheartened by all this, person is too poor to interests of who has the and the natural question afford healthcare or an dollars, not who has the becomes what to do about education. Nor do they people on their side. Once a system that produces support raising taxes on we acknowledge that, then such lamentable results. the wealthy or we can decide what to do Enthusiasm for both corporations -- nor any of about it -- and the 2020 major party candidates the other policies that election, in all its have sunk to pathetic enjoy majority popular grotesque terribleness, is a levels; more than half of support and are good time to get that fact Americans don’t even commonplace throughout straight. Like any think that either of them the rest of the world. Nor Alcoholics Anonymous have enough functioning can either party endorse counselor would tell you, brain cells to be president. ending the wars that have the first step is accepting Both seem horribly cost the lives of more that you have a problem. inadequate compared to than half a million the problems facing us Middle Eastern civilians and people want to know and thousands of how we can get problems American soldiers; both addressed in a system that Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece do not represent those of Pulse Magazine as a whole.


Nowadays, Halloween takes place on October 31st and involves dressing up in elaborate costumes for trick-ortreating or parties, but it wasn’t always this way. Halloween is believed to have started off as a Celtic festival called Samhain that took place on the last day of October, when it was believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead was blurred and the ghosts of the dead could visit. During the event, the Celts lit special sacred bonfires for communal sacrifices and wore costumes to disguise themselves from visiting spirits. Later, when the Romans moved in, Samhain merged with two Roman festivals: Feralia, an event commemorating the dead, and a festival honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit, trees, and the harvest. Then in the 600s CE, the pope established “All Martyrs’ Day” on May 13th, which was eventually changed to “All Saints’ Day” and moved to November 1st. Translated into Middle English, “All Saints’ Day” is referred to as “Alholowmesse,” which later evolved into “AllHallows.” Thus, the day before the celebration on November 1st was deemed “All-Hallows’ Eve” or, eventually,


“Halloween.” While the early American colonists did not celebrate Halloween, Irish and English immigrants arriving in the mid-1800’s brought their Halloween customs to America, the most famous perhaps being the practice of trick-ortreating. Trick-or-treating has a couple likely origins. One is the tradition of “souling” from medieval Europe, where the poor would go from door-to-door asking for “soul cakes’' in exchange for the promise of praying for the giver’s dead relatives. “Mumming” and “guising” are very similar traditions from Ireland and Scotland -- people would go from house to house singing songs or reciting verses to get treats such as fruits, nuts, and coins. Another Halloween custom, apple bobbing, likely started when Samhain combined with Pomona’s celebration, as she is often symbolized as an apple. Although this year does not permit us to trick-or-treat or apple bob like we would prefer, there are a plethora of ways you can still celebrate Halloween while adhering to health guidelines. Here are a few suggestions: “Boo” Your Friends: While “Boo-ing” is pretty popular in some

neighborhoods, there are still many who either don’t know or don’t participate in this giftgiving tradition. It essentially entails delivering Halloweenthemed goodies, such as candy and Halloween decorations, to their doorstep anonymously. The presents are delivered in themed containers like hollow plastic pumpkins or decorated tote bags. If you’re doing this for one of your friends, you could even include more personalized items, just make sure the package has Halloween spirit. Once you’ve finished filling your “Boo Baskets,” you could write a short spooky poem or print out a “boo-gram” (you can find many free printables online) to let them know they’ve been “Boo-ed.” Then, drop it off at the receiver’s doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away before they can see who left the present. It’s generally recommended that those who have been “Boo-ed” should “Boo” another person to keep the chain going. You could even start up a Secret Santa-esque activity among your friends! Make Halloween Cookies: As Halloween is on a Saturday this year, you could spend Halloween baking themed cookies with family. Recipes for rolled sugar cookies and icing are

abundant online, and festive cookie cutters are easy to find. You could even include these homemade Halloween cookies in Boo Baskets for your friends. Cookie decorating is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, and no matter how the cookies end up looking, you’ll end up with delightful sweet treats. Bon appétit! Decorate Face Masks: Halloween already encourages people to wear face masks as part of their costumes, so why not switch out the purely decorative masks for masks that not only look cool, but also protect you and your loved ones? Fabric masks can easily be decorated with fabric paint or fabric markers -just make sure the masks are 100% cotton so that they actually help slow the spread of COVID-19. These masks can be incorporated into costumes, or they can be a low effort costume by themselves. Or, you could even try organizing a face mask-decorating party over Zoom. No matter how you decide to celebrate Halloween, make sure you are staying safe and protecting your community’s most vulnerable. Happy Halloween!

Spooky Season By Alice Lin Sugar Rush Check out which Halloween treats are popular at CCA!





Under Pressure As students, we tend to overlook the fact that our teachers are individuals, with their own lives outside of the classroom. Just as staying home since March has taken a toll on our mental health, it has taken a toll on theirs. They’ve had to adapt to a completely new way of teaching and connecting with students, all while dealing with obstacles going on in their own life. “I think it’s very difficult for students to understand how much is on our plate,” chemistry teacher Ms. Dickinson notes. Some teachers, like math teacher Mr. Knutsson, have been staying optimistic about the current state of events. “I have a job, my wife has a job, my immediate family has been staying healthy, so in that regard it hasn’t been bad.” Other introverted staff members have been mostly enjoying the abundance of alone time. “I definitely have for the most part been okay,” art teacher Ms. Mortensen divulged. “I’m more of an introvert, so at first I was like ‘Oh, all this time


alone!” Others relayed that these uncertain times have been difficult for them, including Spanish teacher Señora Sanchez, whose mother and brother-in-law had passed away in December, and was in Spain when the lockdown hit. “I was in an apartment for 57 days, and that was when everything started for me. The difficulty of being in a tiny space, and, even though you have so many people that you love and they love you back, you can really reach physically.” Math teacher Ms. Luna struggled with having a newborn baby in a pandemic: “My husband actually got sick, and so I ended up quarantining away from my husband with my week old baby, with my parents, and it was a very challenging and difficult thing. Lots of tears. Having a baby to love on is pretty much what got me through it.” Many also emphasized that “I did not get into this profession to stare at a screen,” as special education teacher Ms. Ramirez put it.

However, like students, teachers have tried to find normalcy amidst chaos. “I’ve created some new routines to feel like I have control, or that my schedule, my life, is predictable,” said special education teacher Mr. Minnick. History and sociology teacher Mr. Lockhart echoed a similar sentiment: “I think one of the things that’s always important is trying to keep as much of a routine as possible.” Staff members like math teacher Ms. Celniker recommend staying active. “I work out every morning, cardio, yoga, I mix it up a bit, so that’s a big thing.” Several teachers said they’ve tried some new things: “I would plan these elaborate meals that I could never have time to cook before, so that was fun,” biology teacher Ms. Adams mused. “I attempted to make sourdough starter” said math teacher Mr. Happ, laughing as he told me about it. “The bread turned out good, but did not taste like sourdough bread.” Of course, teachers are still continuing to

by Bella Hirst support students in any way they can. “I want students to know that they can always come and talk to me,” said Japanese teacher Mr. Quinn. “It’s a hard time right now, but no one deserves to feel alone.” Mental health is a big concern for CCA’s special education teachers. “So many of the kids that I work with need in-person help because of the nature of their disability.” said Ms. Reeve. “We have kids that have anxiety and depression, and this whole situation just exacerbates that intensely. We’re used to giving a certain type of support and now we have to give a totally different type of support.” Though teaching online isn’t ideal for any of them, many teachers feel that the district has really helped support them in the transition. “I think the district has done as good as they could do,” said computer science teacher Mr. Remington. “I feel like the district and the teachers and the students and the community and parents care what’s going on. Everyone’s trying to make

the best of it.” Others, however, weren’t so happy. “I teach a digital art and design class and we use Adobe software,” said Mr. Sevilla. “The district has purchased Chromebooks for the school to use, problem is, Chromebooks don’t work for that software, so, for a class like mine, I don’t feel necessarily like they’re supporting it as much as they could.” Our teachers are human, just like us. It may be easy to laugh when a teacher’s mic isn’t working, or when they forget to post the quiz on time, but be patient and try to help them through the problem if you can. In today’s society, we need all the love and compassion we can get. So when you log onto Google Meets, try to be mindful of how your teachers are feeling. They want to feel like they’re making a difference and connecting with students, so turn on your camera, participate in class, let them know that you’re there and ready to learn. I promise you, they’ll appreciate it more than you think.

Ms. Luna

Ms. Adams

Mr. Minnick 31

by Liam Rosenberg

It’s an average day in quarantine. The streets are barren, with the occasional masked jogger making their rounds -- the usual. Whether it’s because of the prevailing layer of wildfire smoke, fear of running into someone with COVID, or a combination of the two, you’re stuck inside. Like the countless other Americans locked up due to the pandemic, your phone has become your best friend. Never before has boredom been so ubiquitous, and, as a result, over half of Americans are using social media more since the start of the nationwide lockdown, according to Business Insider. Moreover, over a fifth of people are relying on social media for their main source of news, which is currently fixated on the coronavirus


outbreak and the 2020 presidential election. On the surface, this might seem like a good thing. Social media is supposed to bring us together, especially in a time where face-to-face interaction is scarce. But this is not quite the truth. Two words have represented the current state of social media for the past several months. Truthfully, you’ve probably heard them before: cancel culture. In short, it’s when individuals use expository information to defame or “cancel” a public figure. Like a TV show forced to cease production due to a scandal, these people’s careers are therefore “canceled.” But before we can address its spread to nearly all forms of social media, we must look at how it surfaced.

The first documented use of the word “cancel” in reference to tearing into an individual online was on Urban Dictionary in 2003. The first entry broadly applies to its use today -- “to reject, get rid of.” We see in the example provided under the definition that the alleged “nasty” person is “canceled.” Jumping a decade later to 2016 when the term became more prominent, especially among an internet niche known as “Stan Twitter.” This subculture, which emerged around the same time, consists of superfans (“stans”) of popular celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and BTS. Over the summer of that year, Kanye West’s latest album developed international attention. One of its singles,

“Famous,” gained a particular amount of notoriety because it seemed to reignite the tension between Kanye

In a society that claims to prioritize mental health, shouldn’t we also consider the wellness of those in the public eye? and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Swift felt slighted by a verse in the song implying Kanye would still engage in

sexual relations with her despite their showdown at the 2009 VMAs. Swift alleged that Kanye had no permission to namedrop her in this manner. However, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, accused Swift of lying and posted an out-of-context video of Swift appearing to approve the verse in question. Then came a flood of snake emojis in Swift’s Instagram comments and the Twitter hashtag #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty. Insults were hurled and incredible damage was dealt to Swift’s character. While one can debate the semantics of the argument against Taylor Swift for hours, it’s important to note that even in 2016, her response embodies the same feeling of fear and helplessness experienced by “canceled” individuals today. “When someone is canceled, it’s not a TV show. It’s a human being,” Swift said to Vogue at the time. “You’re sending mass amounts of messaging to this person to be perceived as, [harm] yourself,” This statement still holds true in 2020. And in a society that claims to prioritize mental health, shouldn’t we also consider the wellness of those in the public eye? Despite Swift becoming an early victim to cancel culture and her efforts to condemn the shaming and subsequent death threats, it seems like

nothing has fundamentally changed. Here we are four years later, and once again celebrities come and go for the most obscure of reasons. Is it the inherently sadistic mindset of society that contributes to this issue? It recalls the mob mentality of the Salem witch trials inserted into the politically-correct movement of today. One could argue that the delight in seeing others -particularly celebrities -fall from grace is the driving force behind cancel culture. Let’s put this into the perspective of 2020: a year that has not been so rewarding. In May, unemployment rates were comparable to that of the Great Depression, Pew Research determined, surpassing the years-long implications of the 2008 stock market crash. In the wake of widespread police brutality, Black Lives Matter became the largest movement in the United States, with an estimated 15 to 26 million people participating in protests. Five of the largest wildfires ever recorded occurred simultaneously in our home state, and Hurricane Laura alone caused over 50 deaths in the Caribbean and Gulf Coast. Along with the lack of human contact that we have all been craving during this pandemic, it isn’t too far-fetched as to

why 2020 has been cancel

This is an era where people are seeing quick gratification to escape from a dark reality. culture’s breakout year. Despite the aforementioned societal emphasis on mental health, this is the most depressed we’ve been in recent years -- begetting the cancel culture phenomenon. Karen North, a Clinical Professor of Communication at USC, explained to Insider News that the “appeal of angry activities online is probably amplified by people’s frustration and misery in today's environment.” While being cognizant of a possible link between our overall low mental health and cancel culture for some, it’s also important to note its gamified, addictive quality. North adds that because of social media, “now there is a platform for exposing [gossip] and trying to see how much traction or how many views or likes our own research can receive.”

This is an era where people are seeking quick gratification to escape from a dark reality. However, there is no excuse for flat-out abuse. Instead of mobilizing on the frontlines of Twitter, actively pursuing a narrative to ruin a celebrity’s reputation, we should be mindful that we are all human beings. We shouldn’t be searching for ways to cancel individuals, we need leadership and empathy in our generation and society as a whole. More importantly, in solving the current crises in our country, purging unpopular celebrities won’t change anything -we would just be tearing ourselves down. The only way anything will improve is by using the same platforms that cancel for change.


It’s no secret that the widely popular videosharing app TikTok has been the subject of intense scrutiny from governments and worried users worldwide for the past few months. Its allegedly invasive data collection is what has led to the app being deemed by multiple countries a threat to national security. TikTok has already been removed in India and Pakistan for this reason, and several other countries are considering taking similar actions (although Pakistan has since rescinded its ban). In the U.S. though, President Trump issued an executive order essentially saying that he would ban the platform if the Chinese-owned app didn’t transfer its ownership rights to an American company. Yet, after Trump approved a partial buy-in by U.S. companies Oracle and Walmart, a federal judge blocked the ban, at least for now. The controversy over the potential dangers of TikTok first appeared when the app was reverseengineered by a Reddit user. It turns out that TikTok was harvesting massive amounts of data


about its users, unbeknownst to many of them. Apparently, the app can obtain data such as user location, IP address, cookies, browsing histories, photos and videos, other downloaded and deleted applications, as well as access to wifi routers and phone hardware. It also appears that anyone who uses the same network (even if they haven’t downloaded TikTok themselves) faces the same risk. The information shared by the Reddit user stoked fear in many in the online community, and some began to believe that because TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company, and because they were trying so hard to keep what they were doing under wraps, the app’s true purpose might be to serve as a spying operation for the Chinese government. Due to the potential danger to national security and the resulting widespread panic, Trump declared war on TikTok. However, it’s important to note that there is no definitive proof that TikTok is doing what it’s being accused of. TikTok has outright

denied the data-selling accusations made towards them, and has explained to the public that they have an American CEO despite being owned by ByteDance. One TikTok spokesperson spoke out against this issue: “We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.” The company has gone on to say that none of its data centers are even located in China nor do they operate there, so they wouldn’t have to adhere to Chinese laws anyway. Apparently, all U.S. user data stays stored in the U.S. TikTok went even further by claiming that the amount of data they collect may be even less compared to other popular social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. These statements clearly had no effect on the Trump administration however, which continued to enforce its executive order -- ByteDance would have to transfer their ownership rights to an American company within a 90 day period (which started on August 6th) and

delete all data obtained from users located in the U.S.. The Senate also voted to ban TikTok on government-issued phones, and U.S. Army and Navy members were prohibited from installing the app as well (Reuters). According to The Washington Post, since Trump ignored TikTok’s efforts to deny the allegations against them, Tiktok filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government. Angry with the president for constantly advocating for the removal of the app, TikTok argued that this ban would be a direct violation of their Fifth Amendment right of due process. Trump never gave a public response to the lawsuit. Despite all of this however, TikTok was still considering the potential sale of the company to interested buyers to avoid having to face the ban. TikTok’s U.S., Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand businesses had an estimated value of $20-30 billion. The main contenders who bid on the app included the Microsoft and Walmart duo, as well as Oracle. As of now, TikTok has

by Jasmine Elasaad

cemented a deal with Oracle and Walmart for a partial stake in the company. TikTok has racked up immense support from its Gen Z users, most of whom are in opposition to the ban. It is the second most downloaded app worldwide, and is a huge part of adolescent culture. The app has served as a unifying force for them during quarantine, and it is what has allowed many to foster the connections that are so important especially during a pandemic. Other platforms don’t have the same level of discoverability, which is a major selling point for teens with the desire to “go viral,” and on TikTok, everyone has an equal shot at this. Many of those who depend on TikTok -such as the influencers who have managed to launch careers on the platform, or those that frequent the app to cope with the world’s current situation - are naturally fearful about its deletion and what the future holds for it. With the threat of the app’s disappearance constantly looming, many TikTok stars have been trying to convince their

followers to support them on different social media platforms. In fact, other apps have begun to take advantage of this unique opportunity in hopes of attracting their rival’s users. Instagram, for example, created a new feature known as Reels, which are formatted similarly to the videos on TikTok. Although TikTok’s information-gathering has become a cause of concern for many, one must keep in mind that there is no solid proof that the accusations the app is facing are true. TikTok has denied these claims on multiple occasions, but these rumors have not yet been put to rest, much to the dismay of TikTok users. Although postponed, Trump’s order has the potential to uproot the lives of those who have worked their way to gain internet stardom on the platform, and could also result in a huge disruption of technological flow and relations between the two countries.


The sports scene grinded to a halt all over the world during the week of August 26th, 2020. Teams and organizations boycotted games in recognition of Jacob Blake’s murder. Blake, a 29-year-old AfricanAmerican man, was shot seven times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Witnesses state that he was trying to stop an argument between two women when the police showed up. The police had been dispatched due to complaints that he was attempting to steal the caller’s keys and


vehicle. Blake refused to be arrested and walked to his car when the injustice began. He reached into his car and was shot seven times in the back, leaving him in critical condition. The world went into an uproar due to yet another police brutality attack directed at an AfricanAmerican. Sports organizations over the world did not stay silent and, instead, took immediate action. The first team to protest were the Milwaukee Bucks, an NBA basketball team led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their playoff game

opponents, Orlando Magic, were on the floor shooting warm ups when the Bucks didn’t come out of the tunnel. Upon hearing that the Bucks refused to play, the Magic players decided to boycott the game as well. Other teams started to support the movement as well. The first MLB teams to do so were the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. Many more followed these teams, totaling ten postponed games. Organizations such as the NHL and MLS didn’t deem it fair to play their sports. Like other sports, the NHL had a two day break, missing four games, but the MLS didn’t take action as quickly as other organizations. The organization still had one game play after all other leagues had put a stop to their games. The players didn’t agree with this and demanded to halt play.

Not only were teams as a whole making a change, but players were also protesting individually. Players are using social media and interviews to use their voices and demand justice. The National Basketball Players Association had a meeting with the NBA to discuss further actions. Canceling the season as a whole was discussed, but a vote was held which led to resuming the season. The NBA agreed that some arenas would be made into polling centers for the November election. They discussed establishing a social justice committee to ensure players and the league’s actions led to a meaningful engagement on social justice and police reform. Superstar LeBron James has been using his voice for years in an effort to stop police brutality. James has always been in support of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and has used his social media platform to highlight Kaepernick’s

by Jaden Hunter previous work as well. Colin Kaepernick was the first athlete to protest during a game in an effort to make a change. On September 1st, 2016, Kaepernick took a knee for his first time during the National Anthem. The kneeling was in protest to police brutality and racism. A

These are the beginning steps to continuing this global revolution. few months later, President Trump made a controversial statement that players all over the league took offensively. Trump said to fire all players that took a kneel during games, but this

only led to more players kneeling in response. In late 2017, over 200 players were kneeling in protest of police brutality and Trump’s statement. At the genesis of this sports movement, Kaepernick got a lot of negative responses for what he did, including losing his spot on the 49ers roster. Many people now, are more sympathetic to Colin’s beliefs and value what he did. Athletes feel the need to use their voices during this unprecedented time, and to spread awareness of what needs to change. In 2018, a journalist named Laura Ingraham told LeBron James that he should, “shut up and dribble.” Many athletes took offense to this quote and came forward. In an interview, James was

asked for his response to this statement; he laughed and said he would not just, “shut up and dribble.” Other athletes such as women's tennis sensation Naomi Osaka, have worn masks that have the names of police brutality attack victims written on them during the 2020 US Open. Osaka has gained plenty of respect from people all over the world for valuing victims such as George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.

Although athletes have been using their voices for years now and it feels as though little change has been achieved, these are the beginning steps to continuing this global revolution. When our idols begin to shift their ideologies in radical ways concerning basic human rights, and use their powerful voices to do so, this marks the beginning of a shift in perspectives amongst the general public. After all, athletes are more than just some strong muscles. They have their own views, experiences, and an unique ability to speak out on a global platform, many of whom are taking advantage of such a privilege. So how can we just expect them to just, “shut up and dribble” with an ability like that?

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by Carolyn Cui The scanner monotonously beeps as it reads and deciphers lines of black and white, over and over. The constant rustling of bags, items haphazardly piled on top of each other. A mandatory greeting, a halfhearted reply. Rinse and repeat. Week after week. Something brings color to the dreary normality of shopping runs. The piercing hues of


an otherwise routine stop for household goods and food. Promising tales in everything from scandal to slander, tabloids line the checkout aisles, each boasting an ostentatious headline and inconceivably bright hues in an attempt to astound the average passerby. The shopper reaches for the magazine -- hook, line, and sinker. That is exactly what the tabloids want. These shocking titles didn’t appear overnight. Tabloids are simply the most common form of sensationalism, the phenomenon that’s gripping our country’s news outlets. Sensationalism isn’t anything new. Nor did it start off as inherently money-grubbing and divisive. This style, which intends to elicit a strong emotional response and bewilderment, has been used in the oral passing of news since preliterate civilizations. Over time, it evolved from an oral to a written form, but the shock value has remained a key attribute of the genre. Now, fast forward to the 18th and 19th centuries, when sensationalism began to creep into the news in an effort to cater to the less literate citizens of society who didn’t have a good grasp on current affairs. Even without an

understanding of politics or economics, the news could still be engaging. A more familiar form of sensationalism came to light in the late 19th century when two major publishers began competing fiercely in the newspaper industry. Their names might ring a bell: Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Their extensive competition laid the groundwork for yellow journalism -- journalism based upon exaggerated truth -- and, of course, the star of the show: sensationalism. One might say that it’s never really left the media since. With the onset of the digital revolution, sensationalism has only evolved. Torrential amounts of information are rushed to the public daily, creating a flood that easily overwhelms the common reader. Readers are then less inclined to spend time actually reading an article and learning about current events. So what’s the best way to catch their attention? Headlines. Publishers, reputable or not, can play a pick-and-choose game with headlines to create truly sensational eye-catchers. What words to leave out, what words to keep, what words to twist, all in an attempt

to get our clicks and increase readership. When their clicks shoot up, they can charge more money for advertising. Voilà, profit! But this profit comes at a cost: sacrificing true reporting. It’s up to the publisher to determine if it’s too high a price. Headlines, however, aren’t a one and done deal. While some titles might be just shocking enough to generate clicks, they’re still part of the flood. A large percentage of Americans will read these headlines and instantly make assumptions without bothering to fact-check. In a survey conducted by the Media Insight Project, backed by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute, it was found that roughly 60% of surveyed individuals said they only scanned headlines in the past week. It’s analogous to browsing social media at this point -- we might see some remark and instantly believe it without bothering to fact-check whatsoever. When this statistic is combined with publishers who simply vie for clicks, all that emerges from this maelstrom of information is misinformation. But not all the

blame can be placed on the publishers. Not every outlet wants and actively tries to be sensationalist; rather, how people interact with the news and behave has forced them to adapt to a new business model. In the eyes of some mainstream outlets, sensationalist tactics had to be adopted in order to compete with information overload, independent journalism, and blogs. Don’t watch the news? You’re not free. Sensationalism has expanded far beyond news now. Our favorite social media apps are even less free of sensationalism and bias; algorithms create echo chambers as they understand what we like, corroborating our worldviews and fueling the flames for controversy in the real world. No matter how one views it, escaping sensational news in this day and age is nigh impossible. Although some sources are viewed as more reputable, no publisher is truly free from the clutches of sensationalism. Words are always doctored, thoughts always manipulated. At the end of the day, the only solution is factchecking. Don’t be a headline scanner. Don’t be another one of the polarized masses. Don’t let the yellow journalists get you.


Editor-In-Chief Izzy Ster Creative Directors Isabella Kwon Angela Zhang Managing Editor Maxine Mah Editorial Director Alexander Reinsch-Goldstein Online Editor Peter Hong Copy Editor Bella Hirst

Staff Writers Ellie Ballard Bri Cateriano Frances Chai Ivan Chen Carolyn Cui Cami Dominguez Jasmine Elasaad Aerin Flaharty Ellyse Givens Andrew Gu Aimee Han Jaden Hunter Sophia Larson Alice Lin Carson McCloskey Liam Rosenberg

Advisor Christopher Black Guest Artists Fiona Choo Natalie Kimm Special Thanks Liz Doebler

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