Pulse Magazine: Volume 16, Issue 4

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Volume 16 Issue 4

Letter from the Editor

On my first day of high school, an unimaginable gloom draped the entrance of the towering gates of Canyon Crest Academy. I knew very little about the place that would become my second home for the succeeding four years: there was a brisk 4x4 schedule, a quirky school culture, and artwork plastered on just about any free space occupying the campus. I walked in, trudged up the rainbow stairs for the very first time, and settled into a rolling desk (since apparently they have those in high school) in F202, Mr. Black’s classroom. A group of older kids walked in coolly, shrugging off the shrill of the late bell; I had beat them by ten minutes, in typical neurotic freshman practice. For the next few months, I watched the same group of students laugh together, cry together (thanks to AP classes and college applications), and celebrate together as they produced two issues of Pulse Magazine (because having a school newspaper is far too mainstream for CCA). I watched enviously from my desk tucked in the corner, where I spoke solemnly and seldomly, and decided on the first day in journalism, upon seeing the community a school publication cultivated, that I wanted to be a part of it. Little did I know it would become the highlight of my high school experience. If I were to tell my freshman self that my senior year was chock-full of sending digital issues of Pulse to my friends (multiple times, much to their dismay), hounding staff members for deadlines, and carefully constructing layouts, I wouldn’t believe myself. The class in which I was barely able to muster the courage of a multi-sentence response, and I was now leading a team of incredible students? I’m not recounting this “underdog story” as means to brag, but rather to lend some sage (if words from a newly-minted adult can be considered such an adjective) advice. To underclassmen: confront those fears and do the things that frighten you the most, as it will be well worth it. To those flying beyond the nest, quite literally in our school’s case, take along the same words if you’d like; more importantly, take immense pride in where your next flight will take you. You owe it to yourself. Perhaps it’s the setting spring or the end of the school year that’s invoking such nostalgia in me, but it’s also present in this issue’s articles. For those of you graduating, check out Frances Chai’s article, Resfeber, for a positive perspective on high school peaks. For younger students who are woeful of friends who are onto new adventures, indulge in Maxine Mah’s To All the Seniors I’ve Met Before. Of course, there are also articles surrounding more profound topics, such as Aimee Han’s The 97% and Margaret Le’s Two Years Later. As always, our staff has crafted articles to meet the interests of all of our readers. Returning as Creative Director, Angela Zhang graces Pulse with her ultimate cover and extends her skills in maintaining the minimalist aesthetic of the magazine. Joining her are guest artists Fiona Choo, Natalie Kimm, and Rina Li, whose delicate works perfectly embody the vibes of summer. I hope the dedication of our staff shines through in our final issue of the year as a testament to the resilience of students during a year of great uncertainties. To our readers, thank you for maintaining your fervor, passion, and support. To our teachers, thank you for your sacrifices and patience during the academic year. To graduating seniors, remember the numerous lessons you have learned in the halls (and Google Hangouts) of CCA and carry yourself with grace and poise in your next great adventure. And finally, to Mr. Black, thank you for taking a chance on the quiet kid in the back of the class. We here at Pulse hope you all have a relaxing and safe summer season and look forward to seeing you again next fall. It is with our greatest pleasure that we present Volume 16, Issue 4 of Pulse Magazine. Sincerely,

Izzy Ster Pulse Magazine Editor-In-Chief, 2020 - 2021


04 06 08 10

Table of Contents Resfeber Frances Chai

The 97% Aimee Han

Beyond the Box Daniel Yachi

What If...? Ellie Ballard


Nextdoor to the Bad Place


The College Map


To All the Seniors I've Met Before




Alex Reinsch-Goldstein

Maxine Mah

Angela Zhang

Catcalls for Legislation

Don't Divide Us 26 Carolyn Cui A Faceless Future

27 Ariana Thompson

Don't You Forget (About Us)

28 Izzy Ster

End Jew Hatred

30 Rebecca Danzig & Liam Rosenberg

the Needle 33 Moving Aerin Flaharty Playoffs Preview

34 Ryan Bridges

New Town Road

36 Kyle Kim

Years Later 38 Two Margaret Le

Cami Dominguez 3

By Frances Chai Resfeber: The restless race of the traveler’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together. “Don’t peak in high school.” That was on the list of rules I gave myself coming into freshman year. As someone who had two and a half friends and no strong inclination to participate in school spirit events (not to mention CCA’s nonexistent football team and, therefore, nonexistent stereotypical high school


vibes), I thought I’d have no problem ensuring that these four years wouldn’t be the best of my life. But why? Why did I make this a goal? I’m not a masochist, and I wasn’t hellbent on being miserable for four years. On the contrary, I didn’t want to hit my peak in the ripe old ages between 15 and 18. I would strive to have fun, but it wouldn’t be the most fun I would ever have. I would laugh, but it wouldn’t be the hardest I would ever

laugh. I would wholeheartedly love my friends, but it wouldn’t be the last time I would feel that way about people. Even at 15, I was so scared of the future, so irrevocably terrified of what the next four years and beyond would bring. If I hit my peak before high school graduation, would that set me up for failure and sadness for the rest of my life? Would I forever be stuck in a state of limbo, grasping onto years past and trying to recreate what once was?

Four years later and here I am. Even though I’m now facing forward, I’m still not sure if I’m staring down the barrel of a gun or looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, especially after more than a year in quarantine. The future is still incredibly unknown to me, but when I look back at my high school experience, the second semester senior clarity kicks in. I realize that I have peaked in high school. Plenty of times. American psychologist Abraham Maslow is best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory of motivation that states physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs are the five categories of motivation that drive human behavior. The peak of this pyramid, self-actualization, is not easily achievable and involves chasing fulfillment in regards to an individual’s potential. The concept of peak experiences is an important aspect of this tier. Before we even attempt to breach the mysterious landscape that is self-actualization, we have to understand just what a peak experience is. According to The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, “peak experiences involve a heightened sense of wonder, awe, or ecstasy over an experience.” It has also been described as “a highly valued experience which is characterized by such intensity of perception, depth of feeling, or sense of profound significance as to cause it to stand out, in the subject’s mind, in more or less permanent contrast

to the experiences that surround it in time and space” by Dorothy Leach in her doctoral dissertation, Meaning and Correlates of Peak Experience, at the University of Florida in 1962. However, can people who haven’t achieved self-actualization be privy to the wonders of this experience? Fortunately, for everyone, the answer is yes. Another piece of good news? Chances are, you already have plenty of peak experiences under your belt and many more that are coming your way. The wonderfully magnificent nature about peak experiences is that they are incredibly colorful and personal. Even though my fellow seniors and I have spent the past four years at the same school, we’ve all had wildly different peak experiences. What I might consider a moment of complete joy and self-awareness is just a regular Thursday afternoon to another. As a member of the Conservatory for the Humanities, I know the overwhelming feeling of happiness that accompanies a walk to the CCA parking lot with fellow members after a fulfilling discussion on ethics while the setting sun bathes the sky in pink hues. But I personally would never be able to experience the moments of complete elation after scoring the game-winning goal or moshing at a homecoming dance (thank you COVID-19 for taking away my last chance to attend one) like others may. Although none of us share identical memories, we are capable of understanding why someone would deem a particular moment a peak experience. In the

world we live in, this is a beautiful thing in and of itself. My wish for all seniors is that on graduation day we’ll all be standing together on a peak. From this height, we’ll be able to see that our past four years have had as many highs as lows and understand that we have made it. The lost, anxious freshmen who first walked in through the gates, barely understanding the 4x4 schedule and not knowing who Hector is or where the bathrooms are, have made it. Every chemical titration, trigonometry identity, DBQ, and rhetorical analysis. Every well wishes on your Wednesday from Hector, rush to the Highlands, trip to Trader Joe’s, cheer in the stands, and joke about the pool on the roof of the gym. These moments, whether or not you consider them peak experiences, maybe don’t make up our chemical DNA but do play a huge part in shaping the people we are today –– it is with these experiences that we move forward and take the world by storm. I hope we all look towards the future with anticipation and excitement, knowing that there are countless more of these peak moments waiting to happen. Four years are short, a person’s life is long. School is small, the world is much bigger. We’ve only just begun and there’s so much more of life left for us to explore. I hope that we all peaked in high school and that we will all keep discovering these experiences and reaching new heights. After all, we’re CCA ravens and if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s to fly.


The first occasion I heard of the women’s movement gaining traction in Europe, my enthusiasm paled in comparison to outsider expectations of what feminists get riled up for. As I was tapping through Instagram stories, I came across the Sarah Everard story. Although reading it was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, I thought to myself, “makes sense.” I wasn’t shocked either when I discovered soon after that 97% of women have been sexually harassed. Another day, another reminder of the misogyny that contaminates the air we breathe, intoxicating the foundational idealism of equality that soothes our philosophical worries. Another day, another time where the Earth fails to revolve around the sun without escaping sexism felt in schools, workplaces, and homes. Another day, another targeted woman. Although this pattern is prominent, we are so blinded by the arbitrary issues of our ordinary lives that we often disregard our moral duties. As human beings, we ought to cherish women. Sarah Everard did everything right. She had spoken to her


THE 97% By Aimee Han boyfriend on the phone, walked on well-lit streets, and wore bright clothing and shoes meant for running. Yet it wasn’t enough to prevent her tragic death. Which brought me to the question, when will it ever be enough? When will women ever be enough to not only surpass unrealistic beauty standards, but also garner enough well-deserved respect in society to not get brutally murdered in open streets or even in broad daylight? In social justice movements, widespread recognition seems to be given to the issue only after a great injustice occurs. With tragedy, comes the rise of a movement, only for the flame to burn out due to lack of societal sympathy before sufficient change is implemented. The cycle viciously repeats, again and again (and again). All these years, women have lived in utter fear of being objectified or targeted by men capable of unjustified violence. Or women live in an alternate society that disguises the misogyny and teaches girls to validate their self worth by what men think of them; this further contributes to a cycle that creates a prevalent power

imbalance. Essentially, we live in a world where women’s lives are dictated by the male gaze and, to put it lightly, reversing the patriarchy is a couple of centuries overdue. Now to those more sensitive about the issue at hand, I will disclaim that these are just the thoughts of a 17 year old girl who most certainly does not hate all the men in her life. Instead, she believes that there have been too many women raised to fend off assault and not enough men who were taught to respect boundaries and have a decent sense of morality. Too many women share similar experiences of discrimination or fetishization and not enough men have the courage to challenge misgoynostic ideals. Personally, I fear taking an overly feminist tone in this article, but I have to remind myself that the men who are genuinely good out there will not fear women who gain power and control over their own identities. If you happen to feel the need to be defensive, then maybe these words are directed towards you. I remember the first time I had begun to lose my innocent belief that I could trust the men around me. A couple of friends and I had decided to make a code word to use to get each other out of a situation if a particular teammate made any of us uncomfortable. The word was “avocado toast.” Unfortunately, the word wasn’t bulletproof, as was made painfully clear when one of our friends encountered an incident where they were almost inappropriately touched by that same person. We brushed off the situation

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

as if it had never happened because this concept of protecting each other was so normalized. We were 12 years old. I remember the first time I was “catcalled.” I was at the beach with two of my closest friends at the time, and we were in bikinis (a detail that shouldn’t even matter because this is proper beach attire). These boys, around our age, wolf-whistled at us, hollering incomprehensible things. I recall looking at my friends, understanding each other's uncomfortable stance, and proceeding to walk away and ignore the incident. We were 14 years old. I remember the first time I fully understood how rampant misogyny still is in the 21st century. I had an older teammate express her frustration that she had been catcalled by a man on the street for wearing shorts. She told the story to her father, who had allegedly responded that she should never talk back to the incident-instigator and rather take it as a compliment. She was 16 years old. I remember establishing a policy with some friends that we wouldn’t go to the bathroom alone or without pepper spray. Within the group, there was a friend who carried around pepper spray at all times, always reminding us it was in her bag when a stranger crept past us. This policy still stands. 17 years of our lives had gone by, and we were already adept to living in fear. You can claim our fear stems from irrationality and paranoia. You can make up wild excuses that it’s not all

men, but the reality is that we don’t know which men. We cannot possibly know which men are trustworthy and which men are not, as predators, misogynists, and rapists come in all types of disguises. In terms of living in the alternative universe, I recall looking through the dress code in elementary school, noticing that most of the rules were only applicable to girl’s clothing: no spaghetti straps, no shorts above the fingertips, etc. Schools were blatantly sending the message that a boy's education was more important than a girl’s right to own their own body. Rather than teaching boys (and predators) to control themselves, girls were taught that anyone had the “right” to objectify their appearance. In addition, internalized misogyny exists and persists due to societal values of competing with other women for a male’s attention. As shocking as this may sound, not everything a woman wears or does intends to attract a male or receive validation, yet the patriarchy tends to twist that narrative. Often, I think to myself how women deserve better. We shouldn’t celebrate encountering men who don’t rate our appearance on a scale of one to ten. We shouldn’t celebrate not getting sexually assaulted. We shouldn’t celebrate the bare minimum. And I ask you to think of your moms, your sisters, your daughters, your wives, and the other prominent women in your life. I simply ask that you recognize the love and care that

you have for each other and channel that energy into dismantling the patriarchy; it’s the least we could do for ourselves and our fellow women. I hope that you read this with an open mind and, more importantly, an open heart. Being aware of your misogynistic thoughts (regardless of your gender) and rewiring them could alleviate microaggressions towards women. Intercepting “locker room talk” from transpiring could prevent the growth of sexist attitudes in impressionable young men. Reminding yourself and your peers that a woman is not an object of your viewing pleasure or violence could save the lives of so many. With this in mind, I hope you understand that, even though dismantling the patriarchy comes with the cost of eliminating privileges for those in positions of power based solely upon sexism, its elimination allows us to fulfill the duty we owe to other human beings: to secure equality for all.

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


Beyond the Box

by Daniel Yachi That was “unfortunate.” He was kind of “weird.'' The food was “disgusting.” With tens of thousands of words available in the English language, we can move crowds, lead the masses, and even persuade the stubborn, all thanks to the help of consonants and vowels. The words for every little object, instance, person, and everything in between demonstrate that the possibilities found within the English vernacular are undoubtedly boundless. Yet we don't choose to move mountains or walk across oceans. Our minds see an abundance of words to speak, but utilize those words in endless ways to label instead.


These special tags have always been a topic of discussion, especially in the present era, where self-identity has never been as tested and openly spoken about as it is now. We’ve often been told that plastering markers on people is adverse — doing so would confine their identity into a small box, leaving no room for personal expression and exploration. In terms of racism and stereotypes, a topic which has become prevalent recently, these identifiers take extremely demeaning and malicious forms, profiling someone based on another's false and dehumanizing predetermined prejudice. In other cases of misuse,

we divide people based on socioeconomic status into three classes; thus, this creates a pecking order in which monetary value’s sole purpose is to act as a catalyst of division. On the other hand, we must also consider how labels benefit us in everyday life. Much like the indicators you place on a jar, we consciously (and subconsciously) tag just about everything for convenience. Similar to being Nutrition Facts for people, they may enclose people into boxes, but why does being inside the box have to be grim? In fact, being confined to the box could be just what some people

Art by Rina Li

need, as defining oneself can bring a sense of comfort and validation. Psychologist Donna L. Roberts claims that when flexibly placed, labels can offer a safe space for people to explore their own identity within the confines of it. Think of zodiac signs, Hogwarts houses, or even MBTI tests — all of which have been incredibly popular in recent years. I myself find much pride in being a Leo, Gryffindor, and ENFP-A, as they define me as an outgoing and extroverted person. They bring me validation in knowing that I may be an outward narcissist, but, in return, I am also a loyal, well-intentioned, and ambitious person. Placing people into boxes doesn't necessarily end up confining them, but rather exert the pressures of life out. Some people enjoy exploring their identity, but for others, moving into uncharted waters can be extremely daunting, and even dangerous, likely due to social expectations. A textbook example of this is seen with gender. Men often don't like to venture outside of their boundaries of masculinity, avoiding makeup, dresses, and anything else considered “feminine” out of fear of failing to live up to the unrealistic standards of toxic masculinity. Vice versa, the same can be said for women. Furthermore, the pronouns we use to refer to each other and ourselves are also labels. Recently, people have begun exploring the areas of gender, finding the pronouns they feel most comfortable with and the names of which they

can identify with. In aspects like gender which play a paramount role in identity, it's understandable that labels have the utmost importance, and just as other instances of these titles, they create a safe space to express identity from. But are labels good or bad? If they can be constricting on one's growth, but also comforting, should we label or not?

Placing people into boxes doesn't necessarily end up confining them, but rather exert the pressures of life out. Credited linguist Benjamin Whorf hypothesized that labels don't simply create boxes around us, but instead shift people's perceived reality of a particular person; this notion agrees with a Princeton University study, which found that when people were tasked judging two girls, one with a rich background, the other with a poorer one, the people had viewed the girl from the richer neighborhood as smarter, regardless of the fact that they had both responded to a question in the same way. Of course, their labels of “rich” and “poor” hindered people’s judgement of these two girls. Therefore, if the labels people place affect their perception of reality, then the ones placed every day must be with caution and consideration.

Moreoever, we must consider whether or not it is right to place labels at all. There is no simple answer to this. Labels can be good one second and become bad in the next. The aforementioned psychologist Dr. Roberts states that our indicators of what’s wrong and right need to be seen as two sides of the same coin rather than seeing everything so black and white. Simply put, someone with different life experiences and world perspectives from our own, possessing different morals and values, can interfere with our perceptions about what we would have done in a similar situation. Nevertheless, the next time you have a short interaction with something you find unacceptable or unideal, don't automatically jump the gun to judge and put a label on it; take the time to understand it instead. Unless, of course, it's a Gemini, Slytherin, or ESTJ. In that case, it's best to run. All jokes aside, if humanity found compassion inside it, and put in the effort to understand the labels we give, accept, and place, we could get past our hatred for others and self-loathing. It’s not about ending labels altogether, rather it's a matter of accepting them as they are, and placing them without malicious intents as seen with racism, stereotyping, homophobia, and overall bigotry. If you try to put someone in a box, the least you could do is exclude hatred and insecurities and instead include comfort and love.


The graduating class of 2021 has been through ups and downs, to say the least, during the past four years. From having to adjust to a pandemic as well as a randomized homeroom class, it has been an eventful time. Yet now that future plans are set, whether you wear your college’s name with pride or have killer travel plans for that gap year you’ve been looking forward to, the rose-colored glasses have come off. Should you have taken that sculpture class instead of AP Art History? Maybe you should have followed through with track tryouts. After a year full of cancellations and disappointments, despite seniors’ stiff upper lip, it’s a challenge to not have some regrets about their time at CCA. One senior regrets not taking advantage of all of high school’s opportunities. “Honestly, at a great school like CCA, you can pretty much do whatever you want with your classes, which is something I wished I had taken advantage of,” they say. “My advice for freshmen is definitely choosing your schedule


based on what you like and what your interests are — not your parents’, friends’, or anyone else’s.” Of course, it’s no secret that a lot of students feel obligated to take classes and take part in activities that they might not like, but instead participate in things they think will please other people (perhaps due to the perceived notion that taking every possible AP class will appease colleges). However, this undoubtedly creates a negative learning environment; students who feel forced to study subjects they are not really passionate about are likely to develop a poor attitude and feel alienated from their education. For future classes, strive to reverse this “cultural norm” about CCA; in the long run, you will enjoy your educational experience more if you spend your time studying subjects you’re truly passionate about. “I know I’m not good at math,” another senior admits, “but I took AP Calculus because I thought that everyone around me was and I thought it would hurt my chances at getting into college if I didn’t. I

didn’t realize until too late how silly that sounds. I obviously struggled hard in the class and spent countless hours and sleepless nights studying for much too long. It could have been easily avoided had I followed my own interests rather than trying to put up a front for outside influences. I also realized later that the majority of the people I know actually did not take it and my ‘non-mathy’ friends were much better off without it.” One student regrets “stressing over certain classes and grades more than [they] should have.” While academics are certainly important, they also have the ability to limit students in their social endeavors. “I feel like I would have learned a lot more and developed more as a person had I balanced out my priorities a little bit more,” they recall. “I’m grateful that I have finally learned and will go into college with new and improved habits, but it’s definitely my biggest regret in high school.” While some students regret pouring too much of themselves into school, others regret the opposite. “I

*Anonymity at the request of interviewees*

By Ellie Ballard didn’t start getting serious about my GPA until somewhere near the end of my sophomore year,” another senior notes. “I slacked off a lot during middle school, developed bad academic habits, and it bled into my first few years of high school. I realized I should probably start caring and was able to turn myself around, but it definitely hurt me during the college admissions process and in other aspects of my life.”

“Something I wish I knew going into high school is that everyone’s progress and path does not look like mine. " “Something I wish I knew going into high school is that everyone’s progress and path does not look like mine. At a school like Canyon Crest Academy, where every student is exceptional, it’s really hard not to compare yourself to your peers,” a senior reflects. “It’s important to know that growth does not happen

at the same pace and it is not linear. There is no straight shot to the finish line.” Trying to navigate high school and keeping track of yourself — balancing studies, extracurriculars, and mental health — is hard enough as it is. Although easier said than done, worrying about what other people are doing is just unnecessary additional stress and can lead to some serious self-esteem issues. While high school can be overwhelming, it's important to remember that mental and physical health should always be one's priority. Remember to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to make mistakes, after all we’re all only human. Focus on your growth and development as a person. Pursue what you are passionate about for yourself (and yourself alone), remember you are your own person with perfectly normal and unique styles of learning, and remember your self-worth — you are more important than any class or assignment will ever be. Take it from the class of 2021: they know a thing or two.


Nextdoor to the Bad Place Nextdoor.com is a lot like North Korea, in that it is a transparently awful place and yet still possesses the ability to intrigue people in a rather morbid way. Nextdoor is the id of suburbia, a psychedelic swamp of paranoia, petty squabbling, conspiracy theories, and reactionary political screeds. It is the worst aspects of the internet married to the worst aspects of the American bourgeoisie; it is, in short, absolutely hilarious. While Nextdoor is nominally a community web forum to share useful information or news with your neighbors, in practice it’s a place to share complaints, personal attacks, and eccentric delusions. It’s basically a 24-hour e-brawl between the most unhinged wine moms and Tesla dads ever to grace the internet. If anybody has ever believed something idiosyncratic, bigoted, or insane, they’ve probably expressed it on that accursed website. I’ve seen people mistake possums for bobcats and demand the summoning of some sort of animal control Terminator to deal with the issue. I’ve seen people suggest that the Marine Corps be deployed to patrol the streets of Del Mar after some guy’s sunglasses were stolen from his BMW. I’ve seen people saying that chemtrails are responsible for declining birth rates and that our local Vons has been taken over by socialists. I’ve seen people say that the diameter of the roundabout on Jimmy Durante Drive would cause bus crashes straight out

of a Fast and Furious movie. And those are just the sort of things that people say once. There’s the recurring “COYOTE SPOTTED!” post, in which some anxious parent thinks that an animal slightly larger than a dog is going to dismember their children; this is despite the fact that Jayler and Bryden and MacKenzleigh are probably much more of a danger to that coyote than the other way around. Of course, there’s the weekly “suspicious person” posts, which usually involve some terror-stricken suburbanite crouching at their front windows and watching a person of color minding their own business. (The “suspicious activity” usually consists of walking on the street like any other human being but doing it while being a member of the BIPOC community.) And then there are the arguments — those are something else! The vitriol of a bar fight paired with the triviality of a PTA meeting. People arguing about a stolen lawn sign or a new local zoning agreement will call each other malevolent communists or helicopter goons for the New World Order. The relative comfort of hurling insults over the internet as opposed to in person, as well as the certainty that whatever you say will shortly be pushed into the back of peoples’ minds by the next inevitable controversy, creates a situation in which there aren’t really any lasting consequences for saying the most

insane things imaginable. As someone who holds the peculiar distinction of having been banned from Nextdoor three times, I’ve seen more than my fair share of things. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would be defaulting on my obligation to experience life in its full absurdity if I didn’t seek out places like Nextdoor, where absurdity dopes itself up to steroidal levels. I first heard about Nextdoor from my parents, who used to lurk on it for their own amusement. Eventually I heard enough stories about people being spectacularly cruel to one another — and mistaking various small animals for child-gobbling saber tooth tigers and woolly mammoths — that I decided to get in on the fun myself. I didn’t want to join under my own name, as creating a fictional character would generate some mystery as to whether I actually meant anything I said; the trouble is that if Nextdoor can prove you aren’t a real person, they can ban you. (More on this point later.) Consequently, I designed a character by the name of Mick Shrimpton, whose name I borrowed from the mockumentary Spinal Tap; the original Mick was one of the titular band’s drummers, who died after choking on vomit (though whose vomit it was, his bandmates said, was unclear). I attempted to distract from accusations that I was a troll by launching a witch hunt against a

12 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole.

fictional different troll account I claimed was making posts on the neighborhood board, an account whose name was so spectacularly obscene that it cannot be repeated here. Things came to a sorry end for Mick Shrimpton, however, when somebody replied to one of my posts saying “Mick Shrimpton, isn’t that one of the drummers from Spinal Tap?” I tried to claim that Spinal Tap had actually stolen the name from me and not the other way around, but the forum moderators didn’t believe me and I was banned. Not to be deterred, I made another account -- this time under the name “Mark Gimmezucc” -- and returned to posting. I invented the name myself this time and invested considerable effort into making him a fully-developed specimen. Mark was a long-term visitor from Malta (a handy excuse for why he wouldn’t appear in any public records), who was staying with his brother-in-law in Del Mar. I decided to make him an Alex Jones black-helicopters-gay-frogs type, the kind of guy who could say insane stuff that might draw out other people’s inner lunatic. Things came to a rather rapid end, however, when somebody reported one of my posts and Nextdoor discovered that there was no legal record of a “Mark Gimmezucc” residing in the greater Del Mar area. I sent an email to Nextdoor headquarters from markqgimmezucc@gmail.com, protesting that I was a real person

and that I was being silenced to prevent me from speaking out about the abuses of the reptiloid cabal. They did not believe me, shockingly, and Mark was banned permanently from Nextdoor. I was off Nextdoor for a while after that, disheartened by two consecutive failures. Then came the summer of 2020: America had exploded into mass civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd and the sight of burning Arby’s and marching protesters was making the denizens of Nextdoor jittery. Many of them feared that the shadowy criminal anarchists who were causing the nationwide havoc were already among them, lurking in their backyards, preparing to leap out and relieve them of their Gucci slides and Audi convertibles. Reports circulated — fully seriously — by anxious Nextdoor users declaring that there were Antifa members stalking around Powerhouse Park. No doubt some of Nextdoor’s most dedicated citizens had lurid visions of a pillar of fire rising up from the local Whole Foods. A climate of such delectable paranoia was perfect for trolling, and I wanted to be in the thick of it. I figured that a more nondescript name would probably be better for the third attempt, so I made another account under the name of Peter Smith. The high point of Peter’s life was probably the aftermath of the Solana Highlands graffiti incident; somebody had spray painted

anti-police slogans onto the wall of an elementary school, and Nextdoor was up in arms. Comment after comment expressed outrage against the verbal attack on our boys in blue; I commented under a picture of the graffiti saying “This is a beautiful thing.” It went about as well as you would expect. Below is the verbatim transcript of our symposium: Peter Smith: This is a beautiful thing. Concerned Citizen #1: Why is it beautiful?? Concerned Citizen #2: Maybe you should reproduce it in your house! Peter Smith: Unfortunately, I don’t think doing it IN my house would be a very good idea, seeing as it would have to be on the outside for anyone to see it. Feel free to come back with another suggestion and I’ll put it through my rigorous review process. This provoked the desired response, creating such an outrage that the thread stayed at the top of everyone’s Nextdoor feeds for several days continuously. Despite it being the peak of my experience, it also, unfortunately, resulted in my third banishment. So goes the world, I guess.

by Alex Reinsch-Goldstein Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole. 13


As many of you know, the fourth issue of Pulse has long been dubbed the “College Map Issue,” featuring our widely popular college map that showcases where the graduating class will be taking their first few steps into adulthood. However, given the potential opportunity of resetting certain aspects of CCA’s culture after being absent from campus for over a year, we decided to discuss what the College Map truly means this year. It is not intended as a vessel of comparison or competition, nor is it intended as a means for reminding juniors of the looming decisions and deadlines of the next several months. It is intended as a celebration, especially this year. In addition to experiencing distance learning, the Class of 2021 faced a plethora of cancellations and seizures of the last few tastes of adolescence. Furthermore, dramatic increases in college application numbers resulted in record low acceptance rates. Adding insult to injury, gap year planning faced uncertainty due to the flighty nature of the pandemic across the globe. Perhaps not surprisingly, these unique challenges produced a constellation of emotions among seniors, ranging from apprehension, excitement, or melancholy (often in the same day), all of which are valid and are grievances that deserved to be aired. We here at Pulse believe that the College Map is an important CCA tradition to carry on, but only as a ritual of commemoration and pride in all of our peers, not as a brass ring that seems impossible to grasp. We celebrate each individual’s choice — whether it involves college, community college, a gap year, or something else entirely — especially in the wake of the upheaval of the last year. Wherever your next strides will occur, from West Coast to East Coast, whether local or abroad, just know how loved and supported you are by the CCA community. All of our teachers, fellow seniors, students, staff, and, of course, your family and friends, are thrilled about your future plans (even if they currently remain undecided) and look forward to seeing where life’s journey takes you next. Keep the resilience, determination, and wits that CCA taught you once you walk out the gates for a final time, diploma in hand. Congratulations, Class of 2021. We are forever proud.









To All the Seniors Dear Canyon Crest Academy’s Class of 2021,

by Maxine Mah

How are you? What are your college decisions? Staying here? Moving away? Community college? Gap year? What major are you choosing? What do you want to do with your life? I’m sure you’ve already grown sick of hearing these questions for the past year or so, but to only add to that bucket list of things you need to do before leaving the safe haven of high school, I hope you haven’t forgotten yet that the juniors will miss you too. It’s almost unbelievable that in less than six months the class of 2022 will be seniors at CCA -- taking government and economics, squeezing in a last minute PE requirement, or maybe even taking Intro to Journalism as a last-ditch attempt for a practical art credit (I promise this class is fun). It’s more difficult to believe that you guys, our class of 2021, are going to graduate and move on to your first years of college, emerging into early adulthood. I remember walking into Advanced Journalism on my first day of sophomore year, not knowing anyone and sitting down at a random table, rethinking my elective choices and even considering switching from being humanities-oriented to just falling into the pitfalls of computer science and (God forbid) chemistry. While wallowing in my own embarrassment from being alone, it was almost as if my guardian angels came to save me from my troubles: the seasoned upperclassmen staff. As the weeks went by, I warmed up to my fellow classmates, even if they were a couple years older than me, and, eventually, I came to have a special place in my heart for the sacred room of F202 in all of its rolling chair glory, even though I was only there in-person for a few short months. Soon, small talk about how to pass IM2H turned into carpool karaoke on the way to ice skating, Saturday boba dates, and movie nights on Discord; first day loneliness and shame transformed into having a group of upperclassmen best friends. Fast forward to my second semester of junior year, and now these guardian angels and fairy godmothers are off to discovering the next chapter in their own fairy tales. As I -- and, undoubtedly, the rest of my grade -- surf through thousands of stories with marked college locations, navigate our way through a wave of changed Instagram bios, and traverse the sea of commitment posts on our feeds, it’s no doubt that we feel a sense of excitement for our seniors. But who could forget the apprehension in approaching college applications, as well as the overwhelming amount of sadness we feel in your leaving. Of course, nothing will hit as hard as when you and your best friend of sixteen years end up going to schools 3000 miles apart, but it’s unreal that in a matter of weeks, you all will no longer walk the hallowed halls of CCA. And for juniors reading this letter that can’t relate to this feeling, just remember that this reality will fall upon us


soon. Commitment posts, changed bios (remember the apostrophe before the year), and college tours are all going to be happening before we know it. Whether you’re not willing to let the Class of 2021 leave just yet, or you barely even care who’s graduating this year, us juniors are next in line. I remember looking at one of my best friend's commitment posts, glowing with pride, and thinking, “I want to work as hard as I can so that when I commit, I can make them proud too.” Not only does immense pressure and intense desire for validation still lean on us as the next graduating class, but the seniors this year were, essentially, the blueprint. You were the first class ever to have to go through a school year almost entirely online. The first class ever to have a test-optional application season. And the first class ever to have their senior year “canceled.” No matter how many times I congratulate my friends on committing for the next four years, I will always remain as ecstatic as I was when I first heard the news. After the worst year in our lifetimes (hopefully), you managed to make it. Maybe I’m giving more credit than I need to, but I can only manifest that when my commitment post goes up, you’ll have the same feeling that I once had for you. Some of my best friends, people that I feel have “raised” me from when I was a tiny sophomore, scared about my first AP tests and CIF championships, are going to be leaving the still-scared-about-AP-tests-and-CIFs junior I am today. As much as I’d hate to admit it, I don’t know how CCA will be the same without you; next year, my grade will have to take the reins, and I wish, more than anything, that I can exhibit the same “fairy godmother” effect to the grades below me like you once did a couple years ago. To all the seniors reading this, whether I know you or not, please remember that you endured a year through a pandemic and carried the classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024 on your backs at the same time. Please don’t forget about your children (it is legal to adopt a 17 year old when you’re 18, by the way) and come back to visit us too -- my attachment issues will be unbearable if you don’t -- and if you see me shed a few tears (not actually, just sweating through my eyes) at graduation, you didn't. It was my twin, Michelle Mah. Thank you for helping me become the person I am today and helping me with all the math questions I had from time to time. Wherever you are for the next four years, I hope you have an even better time than the four years you spent at CCA (but not too much because then you won’t want to come back). As cliché as it sounds, it is finally time for our guardian angels and fairy godmothers to find a new helpless creature to save and maybe even become the “saved” in the process. Congratulations to the Class of 2021 and I wish you nothing but the best as you start your college experience! Love, Your underlings: the junior, sophomores, and freshmen

I've Met Before... 21

by Angela Zhang Imagine this: you’re at the grocery store, standing in front of towering refrigerators. Sweat beads your forehead. You raise a shaky hand to open the door to the icy world before you, but panic settles in. Whole or 2%? Almond or Oat? How does one go about navigating the world of milk in all of its forms? Milk, the universal liquid second to water, is found almost everywhere from cereal to baked goods. However, since we live in the 21st century, different variants of milk have been trending recently, and most of us have our taste preferences. Here is what your favorite type of milk says about you: Whole Milk: Whole milk is a staple. You can’t go wrong with it, but you also couldn’t possibly be more basic. Your go-to summer outfit is probably a white tank top, some Levi’s jean shorts, and a pair of checkered Vans sneakers. On the


bright side, you can enjoy a large vanilla milkshake from In-N-Out with absolute pleasure and no bowel movement; the lactose intolerant community hates you for it. Almond Milk: You can’t possibly understand how your favorite milk is made from only water and almonds, but you also don’t allow anything else to infiltrate the comfort and peace in your mind. Avoid looking at your phone in bed and, while you’re at it, skip any articles with headlines including the words “trade war,” “pandemic,” or “impending disaster.” You are the type of person to browse Amazon in your free time and save every useless product to your Wish List (even though you’ll never end up buying anything anyway). Your favorite color is blue -how original. 2%: There’s no doubt that you prefer to avoid extremes, but consider reducing your use of

phrases like, “I’m just not that political” or “why can’t we all be friends like in kindergarten?” Ask yourself instead, “who am I?” An additional dose of Vitamin D may help you reevaluate your stance that structural obstacles to the American Dream are overstated. Instead of gazing up at that modernist art piece in the museum and grumbling, “I could have easily painted that,” exit the halls of the gallery and enter the museum of the world. Skim Milk: As a wanna-be-vegan, your consistency is an admirable quality. However, if the familiar trappings of your life have begun to crumble, be open to change. Consider taking a break from your keto diet, at least until the end of the month. You should probably also realize that reruns of Friends are outdated and, forgive me, expired in 2021. When that happens,

remember — you have never been in control of time. Chocolate Milk: You are either 5 years old or 90 years old, there is no in between. It is also likely that you are or want to be a real-estate agent. As you master terms like “adjustable-rate mortgage” and “escrow,” you’ll be faced with new questions about your identity. Are you a co-op or a condo at heart? Are you more of a garden unit, cozy and tucked out of sight, or do you, like the floor-through penthouse, long to be truly seen? Coconut Milk: Your impassioned political posts on social media have not gone unnoticed, but you know well that it is possible to indulge in too much of a good thing. Consider journaling before writing five paragraphs under a slowed and reverb song in the YouTube comment section about the “vibe” of the song. And while you’ve got your Moleskine open and Muji pens in tow, make a list of everyone who has ever hurt you. Call each of them and air your frustrations about global warming and the endangered species on Earth in eloquent vernacular and tone. Rice Milk: Your friends often envy your predisposition for

harmony, and you certainly had a knack for mindfulness long before they installed 20 meditation apps on their phones. You have a gua sha routine, a passion for taking candlelit baths, and a love for reading dystopian fiction. You should continue to take pleasure in the unity you feel sipping milk derived from a grain that feeds so much of the world. This month, you will find that simple pleasures that once sustained you have lately have had diminishing returns. Oat Milk: While there’s nothing more satisfying to you than a well-monitored to-do list, do not mistake the victory of each crossed-off chore for true productivity. Remember, not all tasks are created equal and cleaning crumbs from the keys of your keyboard is not the same thing as finishing your first novel. Give yourself a break by getting rid of the little tasks, logging off of your phone, and taking a road trip through Northern Italy. Soy Milk: If anyone knows true heartbreak, it’s you. Your challenge this month is to realize that you deserve more from love than the human equivalent of an airy, acoustic song. You listen to Bon

Iver, Jack Johnson, and the songs played before the commercial break of a network soap opera. You probably also own acoustic guitars or a ukulele (and were in a band at one point). Cashew Milk: After years of hard work and the occasional consultation of a best-selling self-help book, you now enjoy the trappings of a shiny, non-specific office job. Nonetheless, be aware of ruts that disguise themselves as routines. Reconsider whether you’re getting the most out of your gym membership or if you’re only there for the gym shorts mirror selfies. If you have the urge to Google “life’s meaning,” go adopt a puppy from your local shelter to soothe those crisis impulses. And there you have it, a psychoanalysis of your milk horoscope. Hopefully the next time you are at the grocery store picking out a milk carton, you will be cognizant of your choice. After all, there are only two types of people in the world: those who think the type of milk they drink is a personality trait and those who lack sufficient calcium and personality by drinking none at all.

Art by Fiona Choo


by Cami Dominguez Decade after decade, it seems that prejudices established by the patriarchy extend deeply into the perceived role of women. Women are oppressed and robbed of opportunities due to mostly one reason: oversexualization. The modern man has evolved to think that if a woman wears a skirt or dares to be scandalous and show a bit of shoulder, she must be “slutty.” To put it briefly, there are only so many things that women can do nowadays without being placed within a negative stereotype or facing ridicule. Nonetheless, with platforms such as OnlyFans and exclusive Patreons, the narrative of female empowerment is shifting for the better. Historically speaking, prostitution goes back to Sumerian times (AKA, BCE). The Catholic king of the Spanish Visigoths first criminalized prostitution in the late 500s,


claiming that it conflicted with Catholic values. If a woman were to disobey, she would receive an immediate death sentence, while her male clientele would be scot-free of any consequences. In the U.S., prostitution was federally permissible through state regulation until 1910. However, with sex trafficking becoming a widespread issue, the early 20th century marked the beginning of the criminalization of prostitution in the U.S. This resulted in a series of laws implemented to prevent cross-border trafficking and coercion of women, such as the Mann Act, known as “The White-Slave Traffic Act.” Due to the rise of a social stigma surrounding sex work, both prostitution and sex trafficking are seen as equally egregious in the eyes of law. Although controversial, prostitution is considered to be a career and provides financial opportunity for

some to this day. Yet when terms such as “white slave trafficking” come into play, which directly refers to sex trafficking, it leads people to inaccurately believe that all prostitutes are being trafficked. To this day, we still struggle with obtaining legislation that decriminalizes sex work -- social aspects and stigma have taken its toll on federal perspectives between those who are trafficked and protect those who do it by personal choice. Sex work today is viewed as more than just prostitution, as it has it has evolved and adapted to meet the digital demands of the modern world. As the internet started to grow back in the 2000s, cam girls began surfacing online. Afterwards, adult entertainment industries like Pornhub became more prominent, where more and more people developed individual brands. One of the latest additions in the 21st

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

century is OnlyFans, an online platform where individuals can upload content that can be accessed by customers for a certain price. Now more than ever, having platforms like an OnlyFans is slowly becoming more socially acceptable. However, pursuing it as a career is still rejected by many due to the stigma around the industry. This very stigma remains ever-lingering with any sort of sex work -- the stigma of the individual “giving up their body.” The question is, giving up their bodies…to what exactly? People who are willing to pay? If it’s your own body, why not do what you want with it? From prostitutes to OnlyFans creators, sex workers are all labeled as having illegitimate jobs despite making a sustainable living. Many workers on the platform not only work to live a luxurious life, but they also strive to simply survive. Yet the world wrongfully considers prostitution as a “shameful” job despite continuously creating a demand for it. A common argument when discussing the legality of sex work is the spike in crime rates or other economic considerations. Some say that if prostitution is legalized, the so-called “scale effect” will occur. According to this economic theory, legalization will lead to rapid growth in the market which, in turn, will create a spike in consumer demand. Initially, the demand will be met by legal prostitutes; however, as time progresses, legal means will no longer be satisfactory and would-be clients will resort to sexual abuse and

trafficking. It is ironic that the same people who use terms such as “whore” and “slut” to denigrate women are now worried about their rights — it’s almost as if they only care about the rights of sex workers when it benefits them. Regardless, those who cite the “scale effect” as a way to disprove the legalization of sex work are inherently ignoring the arguably worse state of current sex work. The U.S. having illegal prostitution drives the sex trade and black market industry. Refusing to properly regulate sex work can lead

If it’s your own body, why not do what you want with it? to illegal situations and increases violence -- it’s what leads people like Jeffrey Epstein to have the power that he once did. At the end of the day, the theory doesn't come out of a place of concern, it comes from a place of wanting to control what women do with their bodies. Furthermore, there is evidence at hand that proves that legalizing sex work does not create harmful societal outcomes. When reflecting upon places such as the Neatherlands or New Zealand, who have legalized or decriminalized prostitution, we see a decrease in violence and disease, according to research published in the PLOS Medicine Journal. The legalization of prostitution has resulted in postive benefits for sex

workers all across Europe. In the Netherlands, a country where prostitution has been legalized for over 20 years, steps taken for proper regulation (as seen in areas like the Red Light District) have led to a decrease in black market sex work, an increase in the safety of sex workers, and prevention of sexual disease transmission; this also works in normalizing and destigmatizing the profession on a macro scale. Still, a burning question remains: can the legalization of prostitution increase sex trafficking? The simple answer? Yes, it can; however, it can be avoided with proper legislation. If countries who criminalize sex work, and even those who have it legalized, took the time to actually listen to those in the sex work industry, they could bring saftey and security into a field where such luxuries are neglected. We live in an era in which it's becoming increasingly normalized for women to take empowerment of their own body and their sexuality. More conservative-leaning folks see it as “letting go of any self respect,” but those with an actual comprehension of morals see that this is a way of taking back what women already own. It’s time to start taking steps towards women empowerment and women being in control of their own body, to use the very thing that has been used against women for all of history as something that’s finally taken back, once and for all.

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


Don't Divide Us

Two ideologies clashed this past November in the form of lawn signs and car rallies, bringing to light a controversial topic -- one that’s loomed over students, parents, and politicians alike since at least 2014. Seven years ago, a group of Asian-American students claimed Harvard discriminated against Asian-American applicants. College admissions use “holistic review” that accounts for all qualities of each applicant — at Harvard, this manifested in the form of lower personal ratings for Asian applicants compared to white counterparts. In 2019, the case concluded that Harvard did not intentionally discriminate against Asian-Americans. Though challenging affirmative action was not the goal in mind, it drew attention to the racial prejudice prevalent in determining access to higher education. Affirmative action is the process of favoring individuals from historically-discriminated against ethnic groups. In theory, providing people with an advantage based on their minority status is the first step to breaking down racial/socioeconomic barriers. CA Proposition 16 popped up on the ballot this past election, and it was written to repeal the 1996 CA Proposition 209. Proposition 209, which was a ban on affirmative action, declared that race, sex, and ethnicity could no longer be factored into public school admissions, nor could it be factored into employment. As a “blue” state, California was


expected to pass CA Proposition 16 in November 2020. California itself is a majority-minority state, and Proposition 16 was backed by the governor, two Senators, House Representatives, the attorney general, the ACLU, labor unions, and media outlets. Proponents and activists were said to have outspent the opposition by around 14 to 1. However, Proposition 16 lost 43% to 57%. Part of the reason it failed was most likely due to the fact that the proposition’s purpose was not conveyed well. According to the Latino Community Foundation, only 39% of Latinos that were surveyed understood the meaning of the bill. The rest of the individuals surveyed either thought Proposition 16 would end to affirmative action or that it was just another law that wouldn’t affect their daily lives. Still, a lot of the public controversy came from Asian-American communities. In the months leading up to November 3, car rallies were held around San Diego county and signs declaring “DON’T DIVIDE US” appeared in neighborhoods. That may sound counterintuitive — Asians have faced discrimination too, yet they’re rallying against a bill that hypothetically would benefit them. Proposition 16, if passed, seemed to point to an alarming outcome: imagine if Harvard’s case played out in California, where a large percentage of students at public institutions are Asian. Except this time, decisions would be protected by

the law. Moreover, the fact that Asian-American students are regarded as model minorities accentuates the problem. It trivializes Asian-American issues and discounts -- or borderline erases -- those who don’t fit this stereotype. Since Asians are more of an “overrepresented minority,” affirmative action might as well be working against them -- the playing field will no longer be equal, and they could lose their spots to less qualified applicants simply because of their ethnicity. Or, at least, that was the message implied by Californians for Equal Rights, the group that spearheaded the No on Prop 16 organization. A massive push against the bill caused it to fold on November 3, causing surprise and dismay among some voters and a handful of top institutions. Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences at UCLA, claimed that the proposition’s failure indicated California’s public colleges and universities will struggle to address disadvantages of certain ethnicities. Holistic review was implemented to help promote equal opportunity, but Hunt compared it to “using a spoon to shovel snow.” Proposition 16 is likely not the first bill of its kind, perpetuated by good intentions but lacking sufficient resolution.

by Carolyn Cui

by Ariana Thompson

Although I never thought I would utter these words aloud, going back to school has been validating, in one way or another. In the wake of the pandemic, a place I thought I’d never miss has become the object of my affection. Trading the solid white walls of my bedroom for the near empty classrooms of CCA isn’t a choice I would have made if I was asked nine months ago. However, I can’t say that my opinion hasn't changed drastically over lockdown. After experiencing numerous days pass by in quarantine, we now have the chance to come back to once again retrace familiar hallways. It provides students and teachers with a sense of normalcy, even if it is only for four days, six feet apart, and with masks. A topic that is (somewhat) controversial in the United States is actually considered normal for a lot of other countries. In Asian countries, like Korea or China, wearing masks when you’re sick is a societal norm -- having respect for others around you and preventing them from catching your illness is nothing new. Yet in a country that prides itself on “freedom,” which includes the right to protest and the

choice to wear a mask or not, the mask mandate was a profound culture shock to a lot of Americans. Alongside the new normal of mask wearing came the difficulty in communicating our feelings with others, as little can be said with “smiling” or “frowning” with your eyes. According to an article by Frontiers Psychology, research patients found it more difficult to accurately identify the emotions of subjects wearing masks compared to their maskless counterparts. Evidently, this indicates that people may be having a harder time emotionally connecting with others. Obviously, connectivity has been more difficult to achieve during the pandemic. As a result of emotional and physical isolation, especially among students and young adults, there are reports of increased rates of loneliness. According to a study from American New Today, roughly 65% of study participants recorded increased feelings of isolation and loneliness since the declaration of the pandemic. In some instances, mask mandates have challenged people’s sense of safety. Data from NPR demonstrates that despite the overall crime level going down, homicides and shootings have risen throughout the pandemic. This is where emotional isolation also plays a role: those who are less adept at reading faces will be more unsure of the intentions of the people around them. Not everyone, however, is

negatively affected by having to wear a mask. Among the majority of people who reluctantly wear masks, there are a few who happily comply. One of these groups of people are customer service workers, people who are often required to perform emotional labor for their customers (smiling, adapting an overtly positive persona, etc.). For workers, it can be a relief to not be obliged to constantly perform an act of happiness, an arduous feature of their job. For others, masks can serve as protection. Socially anxious people, who suffer from persistent anguish or feel like they are under constant examination, might actually feel relief when wearing masks because they can be beneficial in terms of impeding social interaction. Since masks hide facial expressions, individuals may feel more safe from scrutiny and less self conscious about their appearance. The masks serve as a kind of force field during interactions. In my personal experience, masks have had positive and negative effects on day-to-day life. Nevertheless, the slight necessity for communication adjustments does not override the importance of wearing a mask to drive this pandemic into the ground, once and for all. If we all look past the two-ply personas we cover ourselves with, connectivity while remaining safe is possible. Hopefully, one day in the near future, there will be an opportunity to see one another smile again.


by Izzy Ster

After enduring over-caffeinated all-nighters studying for AP classes, awkward school dance pictures, and, you know, an unprecedented pandemic, it’s safe to say that the Class of 2021 has had their fair share of high school mishaps. After half-heartedly listening to parents lecture us with longing statements about enjoying high school, not limited to “don’t go wishing your time away,” it seems that our time is just that: over. No more traffic jams on the rainbow stairs during passing periods or endeavors to the D building bathrooms (for those brave souls). Yet, according to classic coming-of-age movies, the conclusion to our high school experience is eccentric, to say the least. Let’s take a look at some conclusions for high school movies and how they measure


up to the ending of high school for seniors this year. 1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Ferris Bueller pulls off his final faux sick day by successfully fooling his parents, thanks to the help of a baseball. He breaks the fourth wall with the audience to deliver his final token of wisdom: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” CCA: First off, CCA kids would never dare to take a sick day. Missing a Calculus quiz proves to be more difficult than showing up to take the quiz with a 101 degree fever. Moreover, following the age of COVID-19, why would anyone willingly miss a day of learning (a

sentence I would have never dreamed of writing pre-2020)? Sure, life moves fast, but that’s what Snapchat memories are for — saving videos of everything that has ever happened in your life and looking back on them when you’re bored. There’s also no way seniors’ final statement was as philosophical as Ferris’: you most likely chose a “quirky” quote from The Office, a saying from a dead president, or a seemingly sarcastic joke about your fellow classmates. 2. Lady Bird: Christine McPherson, abandoning her self-given “Lady Bird” nickname at the end of the film, achieves her goal of leaving Sacramento after being accepted into NYU. After hospitalization following excessive drinking at a party, she visits a church service and calls her parents.

She expresses gratitude towards her mother and waxes poetic on Sacramento. CCA: Lady Bird’s fight with her mom is triggered by her move to New York in college; however, any CCA mom is more than willing to ship their kid off from sunny San Diego to a random town in the middle of nowhere in the name of prestige. After all, they didn’t ferociously write their kid’s college essays for nothing; admissions officers work hard, but reformed PTA moms work harder. Also, acceptance into NYU? Not in this admission season. 3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year: The seniors’ graduation unfolds, in which each cast member individually announces their university plans. Plans of the future include talks of Julliard, Yale University (with honors), UC Berkeley, and Stanford University. Following one last dance number, the cast promises to never forget high school and carry the memories of it into the future. CCA: There are a few issues here. Yale, Stanford, Juilliard, and UC Berkeley? I hate to break it to Troy Bolton, but he’s going to need to add a little more to his college resume than just theater and basketball if he hopes to get into Berkeley. With those extracurricular activities, he’s a dime a dozen. Maybe try a leadership position or French honors club, too. Also, imagine having an individualized

graduation or a traditional graduation in general. Even in normal years, students would have to endure sweltering summer heat while the names of their fellow 650 peers were called out. This year, graduation will be split into two ceremonies and kids with full rides to Julliard won’t be able to flex to their classmates. Instead, show off your future plans with a hastily-decorated graduation cap and a commitment post on Instagram (or at least send the pictures to your mom so she can show all of her Facebook friends). 4. Grease: The gang attends Rydell High’s graduation carnival for one final rendezvous. Danny Zuko reveals he lettered in track, while Sandy Olsson has her leather-endrenched main character moment. Following their reconciliation, a final musical number ensues, while Danny and Sandy fly away in Greased Lightnin’, their treasured car. CCA: Unless flying in a car counts as going 80 mph in the student parking lot, desperately trying to get back to campus after a risky lunch trip to Chick-Fil-A, this one is not included in the package of being a second semester senior at CCA. A school carnival isn’t feasible this year and isn’t a part of our “keep it weird”culture (excluding Senior Fest). Furthermore, members of the track team would respectfully laugh at Danny Zuko’s dedication to the sport. However, I’m all for some final main character moments. If

you want to show up to school on the last day in a skin-tight leather bodysuit, I owe you five bucks. 5. Ten Things I Hate About You: After Kat Stratford finally receives permission from her father to attend her dream school, Sarah Lawrence College, she delivers a rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 141 (in rather simple vernacular compared to Shakespeare’s genius), in which she reveals her intense love for Patrick Verona, her crush. In return, he surprises her with a Fender Squier Stratocaster guitar. CCA: AP Lit teachers would approve of the sonnet exercise (shoutout to Ms. Tan), but would most likely prescribe a trip to the counselor’s office if a student publicly expresses their significant other troubles to the entire class. Although the idea of your high school sweetheart gifting you an opportunity to pursue your dream is cute, disregarding its materialistic nature, there’s no chance that your significant other would be able to buy a $200 guitar on their CAVA or Kumon salary. After a whirlwind senior year, most of which was determined by COVID-19, it was divergent from coming-of-age stereotypes, to put it mildly. Nonetheless, the Class of 2021 should take pride in their willingness to perform their civic duty and make the most out of a poor situation. In these last few tastes of adolescence, gather your closest friends, and squeeze out a few more main character moments, but maybe sans the leather bodysuit and sappy sonnet.


or as long as I can remember, I F was taught to be proud of my dual

Personal E ssay by Liam Ro senberg Article by Rebecca D anzig 30

American-Jewish heritage and my unique culture. Part of this was honoring the legacy of my ancestors who were oppressed relentlessly in their native countries. In fact, most of my family has nearly nothing preserved from their life in a European shtetl. Through my maternal grandmother’s father, I come from a massive family of Romanian Jews who lived outside the city of Iasi and uprooted themselves to move to London’s East End. There, my great-grandfather, Benjamin, met my great-grandmother, Stella, whose parents had emigrated from the Russian Empire after facing pogroms, poverty, and murder in the late 19th century. During the Second World War, British mistrust led to questions being raised about my family’s loyalty in England. Combined with anti-German (and by extension, antisemitic) sentiment, their surname was eventually changed from “Cohen” to “Clive,” in addition to other family members taking on more English-sounding variations of their name. After losing their entire livelihoods during the War because of the Nazis’ relentless bombing of London during the Blitz, my nana (grandma) and great uncle were sent to live in Hertfordshire away from their parents. When the War finally ended, their childhoods were spent in a devastated English economy, where opportunity was acutely scarce. When my nana immigrated to the United States in the 1960s in search

of a better life, she came with a few friends and a strong grasp on her Jewish identity; she came prepared to sacrifice everything to live in America. At the time, Jews made up a large part of the population in Brooklyn, and it’s there that she met my grandpa. The rest is history. Before my nana passed away eight years ago, she always championed for those less fortunate than her. I remember visiting my grandparents’ house and seeing magnets of the children at St. Jude’s Hospital up on their refrigerator door, where she always made sure to donate to children's cancer research. It was never a question of how “American” one could be to Nana; instead, it was about the individual. I am not sure how she would look at the unfortunate circumstances of today. I would like to believe that, in my nana’s natural self, she would look out for those who were faring worse than her. When one looks at the violence towards various communities in the United States today — especially that against communities who have been traditionally successful, such as Jews and East Asians — it’s hard to believe that we are still dealing with the same tribalism that pushed my ancestors away from their homes.

I ntersectional activism has

recently surged through social media with an emphasis on social justice: the fight for equal treatment of all minorities. Users highlight the necessity for change by promoting the voices of minorities and current

events through trending hashtags and viral videos. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has had over 30 million tweets since 2013; on average, it is tweeted about 17,002 times per day. With the death of George Floyd in 2020, activism against anti-Black sentiment rightfully spread like wildfire. Likewise, the hashtag #StopAsianHate rightfully began trending when a video was released of a 65 year old woman, Vilma Kari, being brutally assaulted in New York. Its usage was also sparked following shootings in multiple massage parlors in Atlanta where six women of East Asian descent were killed. The hashtag has been used over 407,000 times and counting over the span of these past few months. While this activism is essential as part of the fight for communities clearly in need of justice, the Jewish community often feels that it's time for their voice to be heard too. A study released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as of March 30, 2021 states, “59% of Jewish Americans polled said they feel Jews are less safe in the U.S. today than they were a decade ago.” 63% of Jews said that they witnessed or were victims of anti-Semitic rhetoric or attack. The ADL also reports that, from 2019 to 2021, there was more than a 12% increase of anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. O,f all the faith-based hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2020, Jewish people were the targets of over 60% of such tragedies.

Despite the statistics that have been released into the world about ongoing attacks targeting Jews, there is little awareness brought to our cause. The most common response is silence. Where is the energy that we see put towards stopping hate crimes targeting other minority groups? Although it’s believed that many Jews may be better off socioeconomically than other ethnic minorities, money and status should have nothing to do with protection against bigotry. All victims of racist hate deserve inclusivity within intersectional activism. For many millennia, the Jewish people have had to stand up for themselves. During the Holocaust and in countless other periods of mass murders and forced expulsions throughout history, with rare exceptions, many did not fight for the validity of their existence except for their own people. They formed their own militias to fight back in ghettos, and they fought to regain sovereignty in their own land in order to create a safe haven. After all this time, Jews continue to fight for their voices to be heard by the world. Take me as an example: I am an American and Indian Jew, and I have faced anti-Semitism my whole life. I’ve felt like an afterthought by the activism community, and I am tired of acting as if I also don’t face persecution due to my ethnicity. In the past month of April, there have been at least three hate crimes against Jews, including a Jewish man being murdered in Baltimore while facing antisemitic phrases and an

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


Orthodox group of Jews being run over by a car in New York. The Jewish people are still getting ignored, even today by the media. Why must we still fight the fight alone? When I heard silence from Canyon Crest Academy and saw a lack of general concern after the 2018 Tree of Life and 2019 Poway Chabad shootings happened, I immediately went to the administration. I asked why the school didn’t bring any awareness to the anti-Semitic attacks or demonstrate support for the Jewish community. While I was frustrated after receiving an underwhelming answer, and a recommendation that I join the No Place for Hate club, I decided to focus on my own activism. However, with the recent Asian hate crimes, I was surprised to see an email from Principal Killeen about #StopAsianHate. Given the previous logic about the Poway and Tree of Life shootings, although virtuous that the school acknowledged the great deal of hurt in the AAPI community, where was the similar action for CCA’s Jewish community? Why does #StopAsianHate, as well as #BlackLivesMatter trend, when a moment of silence for the Jewish lives lost could not be spared? When will it be time for all targeted communities to have a spotlight? These comparisons are not intended to diminish anyone’s suffering; however, the numbers of anti-Semitic hate crimes along with the lack of response to these crimes are alarming and certainly require evaluation. I sought to seek out whether my disappointments in administration


still rang true in present times and met with Principal Killeen. I expressed my feelings regarding disappointments in the administration's response to the lack of attention on Jewish strife and the shootings that happened in 2018 and 2019. He explained that at the time of the synagogue shootings, it was at a time where schools were vastly concerned with school shootings in general, and he was worried if addressing the shootings would affect learning and the school climate. Principal Killeen then explained that he regretted his former response and that he is now actively seeking to recognize Jewish struggle within the school by collaborating with students on campus, as well as encourage the Asian Student Union and Black Student African American Union to unite with Jewish students in order to help vocalize our struggles. In a more positive light, this shows that communities are capable of growth and that the Jewish community can also be recognized and acknowledged for their current persecutions. I interviewed my father, Micha Danzig, the local advisory board president of StandWithUs, a non-profit that combats anti-Semitism and who is also a partner in the End Jew Hatred movement, to hear about his view on the lack of support for the Jewish community. “On April 19, 2021 in New York, a minivan driver was arrested for a horrific hit and run on five Hasidic (orthodox) Jewish men. Three weeks before that, a Jewish family, including their baby, was

slashed in a knife attack in NYC. Where was the uproar? Why do hate crimes against Jews in the U.S matter less?” Moreover, Mr. Danzig noted the lack of media coverage on anti-Jewish hate crimes: “The Jewish community gets almost none of that, and crimes targeting us are not taken seriously because we are seen as a ‘privileged’ minority -- or not even a minority.” So, what can you do to spread the message? “I joined the End Jew Hatred Movement and we are working to get #EndJewHatred trending, to get the message across. We plan to continue to protest against these attacks, as well as the disparate care or concern for Jew hatred and to stay active on our social media'' (www.endjewhatred.com). “I think it is wonderful that in America, Jews have been at the forefront of the fight for civil rights, to stand against hate targeting others. But we also have to fight against Jew hatred and for the world to care as much about Jew hatred as it does for any other form of bigoted hate. Our history not only implores us to do so, it requires it.” At a time when Jews in the U.S. are consistently being attacked and rank alarmingly high in hate crime statistics, the same activism fervor to end Jew hatred remains absent The non-Jewish population is still largely silent or uneducated. Nonetheless, the Jewish community cannot disregard this increasing hatred. The model minority card has been dealt too many times. Our time has come for action. Let’s #EndJewHatred.

Moving the Needle

by Aerin Flaharty Gender inequality exists all around us: stark differences in paychecks, uncomfortable workplace environments, and gross rates of sexual assault. We continue to live in a patriarchal society where women still fight tirelessly for the same power as their male counterparts, a phenomenon that is also present in the music industry. The entertainment industry has not only revealed its gender biased nature, but how it needs profound change. Forbes Magazine outlined how the music industry is made up of only 21.7% female artists and 12.3% female singer songwriters, which is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to how men and women are treated in the music industry. A diagram from Statista shows how women barely made up 5% of music producers in 2019, a small increase from the previous 2.3% in 2018. Although gender inequality is seemingly improving, it isn’t to the extent it needs to. In an industry that should be inclusive to all, nothing but the opposite has been proven. Taylor Swift is a prime example of injustice in the music world and how it can prey on women. At the age of 14, Swift signed a record

deal with Big Machine Records, working with music producers Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun. Under their watch, they stole the rights to her first six albums, which sparked a huge controversy: Swift could no longer own her six albums (one of which she had written solo), as well as her many singles and deluxe edition songs. In November 2018, Swift left Big Machine Records and migrated to Universal Music Group, where she could obtain all rights to her work and could create art, fearlessly. In the outcome of these events, Swift announced to fans in summer 2019 that, while she could no longer perform her old songs because of Scooter Braun, she could instead re-record her albums; this would allow her to perform her old songs live to her fans and the public. With Universal Music Group, she spontaneously released sister albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” In her track “My Tears Ricochet” from the album “Folklore,” she emphasizes her frustration and grief from losing her music in a direct reference to the Scooter Braun controversy: “And when you can’t sleep at night (you hear my stolen lullabies).” In another song from “Folklore,” “Mad Woman,” the lyric “it’s obvious that wanting me dead has really brought you two together”

is a nod towards her life’s work being abducted by two seemingly trustworthy men. Moreover, she spontaneously announced that “Fearless” in its entirety, as well as six previously unreleased songs “from the vault” would drop on April 9, 2021. Yet this isn’t the only narrative of women being taken advantage of in the music industry. In 2014, singer and songwriter Kesha revealed that she was abused by her past music producer, Dr. Luke. She sued him for sexual assault, battery, and harassment; however, Dr. Luke was never fully charged, as judges ruled in his favor. In her song “Praying” from her album “Rainbow,” she reveals her story: “You brought the flames and you put me through hell, I had to learn how to fight for myself, and we both know all the truth I could tell,” in which she describes her journey to opening up about her harassment and abuse while under Dr. Luke’s influence. Kesha’s story is nothing short of infuriating and deserving of justice. While women make up an essential part of the music industry, their presence is still severely underwhelmed. Top-notch female artists are stripped of their talent and exploited at the hands of deep-rooted misogyny and discrimination; they are far too often robbed of their deserved praise. The time is now to address the gender bias in the industry and foster a more inclusive and equal environment.


by Ryan Bridges The postseason is coming. Following a year of impossible circumstances and the success of the “NBA Bubble,” the 2021 NBA season has continued serving up some great basketball games. In the blink of an eye, fans have cheered, yelled, and maybe even cried over 72 games, left to cross their fingers that their favorite team made the mark to qualify for the postseason. Every year, each team has a unique storyline going into the playoffs, helping fans get a solid grasp on what challenges they have faced throughout the year and what a NBA championship could truly mean for those players. The Brooklyn Nets: The Brooklyn Nets have been the talk of


the town even before the start of the season. However, most of the buzz has been surrounding Kevin Durant, who was injured for 18 months after rupturing his Achilles tendon in June 2019. Luckily for fans, Durant made his long-awaited return to the court this season and picked up right where he left off. Unfortunately, Durant faced another injury in early April, grappling with a thigh contusion; however, fans were delighted by his return to the sport in the same month. The Nets also ushered in one of the biggest blockbuster trades of the year by handing over some young talent with the whole package, including center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince,

for one of the best players in the league: James Harden. Adapting to his new team, Harden made many sacrifices to fit in with his new teammates to ensure maximum success. These choices seem to have been worthwhile given the smooth sailing of the team thus far, thanks to the sheer talent of the players and coaching staff. Yet every team has their shortcomings. In light of a plethora of injuries, the Nets are concerned heading into the postseason because they have played very few games with their full roster present. When the Nets face a team in the playoffs that has been playing together all year, and therefore has stronger chemistry than them, will they be able to figure out how to

play on the fly? The Los Angeles Lakers: The defending champions had a tough regular season to say the least. After winning the 2020 NBA Championship in the Bubble, they had the shortest off-season of any defending champion in NBA history. It hasn’t gotten much easier for the Lakers, especially given the fact that they lost their two superstars to injuries: Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Both players are expected to be ready before the start of the playoffs and, with the momentum the Lakers have from last year’s championship run, it should take minimal effort for the team to become acclimated with one another once again. Utah Jazz: The Jazz season has been a pleasant surprise for the NBA. They have never had a high seed going into the postseason, nor have they made a deep run in the playoffs. Nonetheless, they were a team with great potential, a strong coach, and a solid bench. People always doubted that they could get over the hump and leave it all on the court, but this is the first year that they are showing signs of having champion capabilities. They have the best record in the NBA this year, which would grant them home court advantage for the entirety of

the playoffs. This is a positive sign for the Jazz considering they have an awesome 26-3 record at home so far this season. Phoenix Suns: The team with perhaps the most shocking story this season, the Phoenix Suns, have been incredibly entertaining to watch. After a decade-long playoff drought, the team signed Chris Paul in free agency during 2020. Last year, Paul played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that wasn’t supposed to be close to playoff contention, and led them to the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Simultaneously, the Suns went 8-0 in the Bubble. As a result of this, expectations were high for Phoenix; they have shattered those expectations so far this year by earning the second seed in the Western Conference. Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers, similar to the Jazz, struggled more notably on the road to reaching the Conference Finals due to injuries, along with their stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons struggling during playoffs. Likewise to Utah, they are dominating their respective Conference for the first time in many years. Unfortunately, the biggest thing that could hold the Sixers back is health. If they want to make a deep run, they need to make sure that Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris are in good shape before going into the playoffs. For example, Embiid was the frontrunner for MVP before facing a knee injury that left him out for several weeks. This is the most

promising year the Sixers have experienced in a while and we shall assert themselves as a top contender in the Eastern Conference alongside the Brooklyn Nets. Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers, in comparison to the aforementioned teams, have the most to prove in terms of their ability to succeed in the postseason. They were defeated in a shocking upset by the Denver Nuggets after being up 3-1 in a best of seven series. Now, they are undergoing redemption with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, their dynamic duo. They also traded for Rajon Rondo, who is quickly becoming the leader of the team as an experienced point guard and one that knows how to win a championship. If the Clippers want to be considered as serious contenders, George has to pull his weight in the playoffs. Right now, you will not hear one commentator or analyst pick anyone except the Nets or Lakers as the golden picks for postseason triumph. However, the playoffs are not just about who faces off at the Finals or who wins it all. Most of the excitement derives from seeing who is fit enough to thrive, who performs well under pressure, and who decides to show up and play the game. Whatever it may bring, fans are nonetheless over the moon just to have basketball back in the swing of normalcy, as well as excited to see what trials and tribulations the NBA postseason will bring.


New Town Road Love him or hate him, we’ve all become familiar with the name Lil Nas X. From his chart-topping singles to his striking social media presence, he has undoubtedly become a formidable young artist within the music industry. However, this monumental fame can also be attributed to the numerous controversies that Lil Nas X, born as Montero Lamar Hill, has found himself in. From throwing parties during a pandemic to borderline offensive satanic imagery in his music videos, Lil Nas X has certainly become accustomed to the internet’s anger and criticism. It is exactly this


fearlessness towards social media, among other notable talents and quirks, that makes Lil Nas X such a ubiquitous artist, and one who serves as a perfect example of the future of musical artistry and the entertainment industry. Before discussing the impact of his career on the music scene, it is essential to cover Hill’s astronomic growth into the fame he holds today. After all, one would assume that such a prolific rise into mainstream popularity doesn’t just happen in a day. Except for Lil Nas X and an increasing number of artists like him, it does. His chart-topping single “Old

Town Road'' was almost an overnight sensation, gaining millions of views on social media platforms like TikTok and climbing to the top of the Billboard charts for 19 consecutive weeks in 2019. The song, which was built around virality, can largely attribute its popularity to social media users poking fun at the lyrics and creating an entire dance surrounding the use of the song. In other words, “Old Town Road” blew up not only because people loved the song, but because it became a meme. This phenomena isn’t solely limited to Lil Nas X, as more and more artists are exploding into the

By Kyle Kim

mainstream through viral marketing and social media platforms. Consider musicians like Olivia Rodrigo, Doja Cat, and 24kGoldn, whose names are perhaps most recognizable from their viral TikTok songs. Long gone are the days of releasing free mixtapes on the street and cultivating an underground following in one’s city. The name of the game is now “replayability” and recognition, and Lil Nas X arguably does it the best. Consider also Lil Nas X’s controversial and heavy use of social media as a means of gaining traction. Even as far back as “Old Town

Road,” he hasn’t been afraid of criticism over his music, persona, sexuality, or otherwise, and often unexpectedly replies to critics with brutally honest and sarcastic comebacks that have since become a part of his brand. From Twitter to TikTok, his social media accounts wholeheartedly and unabashedly embody his true self. Again, Lil Nas X’s use of social media serves as a prime example of the direction social media usage among celebrities seems to be trending. Users are tired of seeing their favorite celebrities devolve their social media accounts into glorified detox tea ads and professionally

photographed modeling. They want to see a genuine personality, some charm, and creativity from their favorite stars, which Lil Nas X provides. Lil Nas X’s foray into the shoe market through the release of his so-called “Satan Shoes” was also indicative of some major shifts within the music industry. First, it serves as an interesting example of how artists are branching out into other modes of expression and profit, such as creating merchandise for their fans. It seems that, with every new release, artists have a new piece of merchandise to purchase off of their website. This process has become so widespread that people who may not have even heard of a specific artist or band will wear their clothing. Furthermore, the shoes were representative of the new heights to which controversy can lead to attention, as the inclusion of satanic

The name of the game is "replayability" and recognition, and Lil Nas X arguably does it best. imagery and human blood within the shoes was able to draw massive headlines towards Lil Nas X and his new single. Again, Lil Nas X is not alone in his use of attention-grabbing and controversial material in promoting his work, but serves as a

significant example of such a phenomenon. Finally, it is vital to understand the effects of LGBTQ+ artists, like Lil Nas X, within the music industry. Lil Nas X was relatively open and proud of his sexuality since his meteoric rise to fame and officially came out as gay on Twitter just months after the release of “Old Town Road.” In fact, his most controversial music video for the song “Montero,” or “Call Me By Your Name,” is understood to be a satirical and artistic response to criticisms over his sexual preferences. As many have stated, this openness and pride in his sexuality has been inspiring for many on their own journeys with their sexualities. Essentially, Lil Nas X’s decision to be upfront about his sexuality is something quite rare within the rap community, where adopting an aloof persona has been a norm for years. This decision seems to be becoming less and less rare as more and more young artists are emerging into the mainstream with sexuality as a main topic of their music. From the Twitter fights to the Grammy wins, Lil Nas X’s career has certainly been unconventional. While he certainly isn’t the first artist to use controversy, social media, and virality towards his advantage, and most definitely will not be the last, his methods of gaining an audience seem to be telling of a fascinating new trend within the music industry.

Art by Natalie Kimm


Two years ago, the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history unfolded. Nearly two million people gathered on the streets to protest the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation, the extradition bill that would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. Many citizens argued this bill would give China greater influence in Hong Kong and its citizens to unjust trials. As many feared the bill would be revisited, the protests escalated. As the whole world watched, violence prevailed as protestors and the police clashed. Police used tear gas and live bullets, while protesters responded with riots at government offices and businesses close to mainland China. Due to this being the most violent and largest protest in Hong Kong in recent memory, Hong Kong’s Chief of Executive, Carrie Lam, stated the bill was a total failure. Let’s take a walk down history lane and


see why these protests came to fruition in the first place. Britain, a major imperialistic nation, occupied Hong Kong for over 150 years. It became a trading port, manufacturing hub, and a popular

refuge for those fleeing persecution in mainland China. In the 1980s, the British and Chinese discussed the future of Hong Kong, with China wanting all of it to return to Beijing rule. However, what resulted was Hong Kong's subjection to “one country, two systems.” Essentially, Hong Kong remained a part of China but was granted a high degree of autonomy, except in regards to foreign and defense affairs for fifty years. While this promises privileges until 2047, Hong Kong citizens have often accused China of overstepping their authority. In 2012, students, parents, and teachers protested authorities’ attempt to change the school curriculum, which would have included topics that glorified mainland China. More notably, the 2014 Umbrella Movement was in reaction to China allowing elections in Hong Kong but only from a pre-approved list from the Chinese government. The

protests could be deemed successful in that none of the controversial bills were implemented; however, the 2019-2020 protests differed greatly. As signs of China strengthening its grip on Hong Kong citizens and increasingly violent protests persisted, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the police have arrested over 50 pro-democracy activists and figures in politics, such as Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai, raising concern that the pandemic helped suppress the demonstrations — and China continues to take advantage of the situation. Despite Lam's lament over the failure of the extradition bill, Hong Kong passed a separate National Security Law, known by its longer name the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in June 2020. It outlaws any act of subversion (undermining the power of the central government), secession (breaking away from the country), terrorism (using intimidation or violence against people), and collusion with external forces, changing the lifestyle in Hong Kong dramatically. To be more specific, this includes damage to public transport being considered as terrorism and a new security office in Hong Kong that would not be under local authority’s jurisdiction and extending China’s power over how the law should be interpreted. China also reduced the number of directly elected seats in

attempt pushing democratic ideals the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, from 35 of 70 to 20 out of 90. China’s second attempt to control political candidates was successful, and they created a committee to screen those who could run for office. Now, China has refocused on targeting the most impressionable: students. Textbooks have been rewritten to avoid criticizing the government. Sections about the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, an event that initially began as a student-led demonstration to

With Hong Kong’s new era of brainwashing its young citizens, we can only lament over people’s loss of freedom of speech and expression. into China’s political agenda but resulted in an unknown large amount of death, have been amended or completely removed. It is largely speculated that deaths could have ranged from several hundred to several thousand. Similar student involvement in activism is seen with the Hong Protests, as 40% of the ten thousand protesters arrested during Hong Kong protests were students, and one in six were under 18 years

old. In April 2021, during the first National Security Education Day, schools organized singing of the Chinese national anthem, police goose stepping (the marching style of North Korea, the People’s Liberation Army, and the Nazis), and an exhibit of a wall filled with cards from students supporting the National Security Law. Children played with mock grenade-launchers and took pictures with toy guns inside a mock subway car, a scene associated with police brutality during the protests. A Washington Post report stated, “as officers handed out ponchos and bags of national security memorabilia, and even guided [people] to the bathroom, it was hard to connect them to the force that subjected reporters to tear gas...intimidation, and threats…[from]...the 2019 protests.” In previous social movements, such as the Civil Rights movements, youth often became involved by way of their parents’ activism or through their observations of injustice. As more information becomes accessible, especially during the digital age, young generations have become more aware of social issues and are able to connect and discuss with each other worldwide. With Hong Kong’s new era of brainwashing its young citizens, we can only lament over people’s loss of freedom of speech and expression. However, we should celebrate with hope as young people continue to remember their history and defend their natural rights.

by Margaret Le 39

Editor-in-Chief Izzy Ster

Copy Editors Aimee Han Kyle Kim Liam Rosenberg

Creative Director Angela Zhang

Managing Editor Maxine Mah

Editorial Director

Alex Reinsch-Goldstein

Social Media Director Frances Chai

Staff Writers Ellie Ballard Ryan Bridges Carolyn Cui Rebecca Danzig Cami Dominguez Aerin Flaharty Margaret Le Ariana Thompson Daniel Yachi


Christopher Black

Guest Artists Fiona Choo Natalie Kimm Rina Li

Special Thanks Liz Doebler CCA Foundation Matthew Dang

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