Thursday, October 31, 2019
Volume 110 No. 4
Unsuspecting Senior Haunted by Endless Supps By ANGÉLIQUE CHARLES-DAVIS
After exhaustive researching, soul-searching, touring, and asking provocative questions about what you want in a school, senior Susie Lee had finally completed and finalized her college list. She brought it eagerly to her college counselor, who, after a few meaningless clicks on Naviance and a few mumbled “mmhms” and “oh yeahs,” approved her list, much to Susie’s relief. Her counselor then told her to get started on her various supplements. Susie paused. Had she heard right? Supplements, plural? Her college counselor could not possibly mean to say that each college had a completely different set of essays to write, each of which was quirky and different and required hours of writing and asking family members to describe you in five and a half words? Turns out that, yes, that was what they wanted. That night, Susie clicked open her Common App account, added her 14 colleges to her dashboard, and was astounded to find that she
SPOOKYBEAT “Boo,” Says Mr. Polazzo With Pumpkin On His Head My mother insists that I grow up and “stop dressing as a ‘pokeman’” even though I told her it’s just a phase. Students must now throw out their trash 40 minutes before the lunch period ends. Jeff Bezos Is Coming for Your House. Like, Literally. He’s At Your Front Door. Run.
had exactly 345 supplemental 250-word essays to write. Her palms began to sweat. College A wanted her to write about her favorite book quote and h o w she
had used it to shape herself into a woman. College B wanted to know her favorite sport that required a mouth-
By JACQUELINE THOM Hey guys! Welcome back to my channel!! Today I’m gonna give you some school-friendly costume ideas!!! Leave a comment at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think about my ideas. Share your own!!!!
Neither does dressing up as a freshman, you pompous little brat. Courtesy of Oliver Yankel Chaney Stewart
United Nations Designates Sweaty Gym Clothes As Chemical Weapons Tik Tok crashed due to a Facebook virus, leaving E-boys and girls in a state of panic for three hours. ‘Joker’ Causes 200% Increase in Clowns
The librarians have scheduled a book-burning sesh to protest gas emissions produced by cutting down trees. Spectator To Begin Publishing Actual Articles
D wanted to know her favorite recording. What does that even mean? The next day Susie went
to school, and the supplements followed. They swirled around her head in all her classes as shape-shifting piles of paper, rejection letters, and tour guides w h o
Sophia Li / The Spectator
walked backwards even though it wasn’t necessary and looked dangerous. She struggled to focus in her
math class through the sound of the essay questions: “Explain why you believe cereal is a soup” and “What would you do if you had 27 hours in a day but also had no legs?” and “Describe a moment when you felt like you wanted to kill a man with your bare hands. How did you handle that? What did you learn?” On top of this was the endless stream of why us, why us, why us, why us, WHY US and us, why?, which, as Susie had learned, could not be answered with a simple, “The trees on campus are pretty, and you guys have an ice cream machine, and I saw the most beautiful boy in the world while visiting this summer.” The most terrifying part of Halloween for Susie was that after October 31 is November 1, and if you know, you know. Susie spent the last weeks of October with her head buried in her laptop, so she didn’t even need makeup to look like a zombie for Halloween! When she clicked submit on her apps, she felt a rush as her body purged itself of the demons. She exhaled. Now for regular decision!
Realistic, School-Friendly Halloween Costumes on a Monetary/Emotional Budget
No, dressing up as a kid from some other school as your costume doesn’t make you cool.
I accidentally said Bloody Mary three times in the bathroom and now I’m being threatened by some lady with a slipper.
guard that wasn’t boxing. College C wanted her to compare herself to a blanket in the form of an original sonnet that was also a haiku. College
1. TOURIST DAD What you need: • a loose-fitting shirt, especially ones with tropical patterns • an overly expensive camera that you certainly don’t know how to use • sunglasses • BONUS: jorts and a bucket hat
We New Yorkers always complain about the degradation of the city thanks to tourists, but it’s about time we inhabited their mindset and saw what all the fuss is about. Put on your ill-fitting sunglasses and suddenly you’ll see the pollution of Times Square in all its glory. Snap some quick photos where your finger is covering the lens, and don’t forget, walk very, VERY slowly and make sure to block the subway entrances while panickedly referencing a paper map.
3. BUSH What you need: • lots of leaves • duct tape People often underestimate the versatility of bushes and how integral they are to society. Once you don your favorite selection of leaves, make sure to decide on what kind of bush you are. Some past examples are bush baby, Jeb Bush, bush dealer, and bush(els) of wheat. That’ll teach ‘em.
2. PATRICK BATEMAN
4. GUY FAWKES
What you need: • a fashionable suit and tie • a crisp white shirt • a classy business card (Silian Rail font on bone), with a holder • slicked back hair
What you need: • pilgrim hat • baggy black pants under tight white stockings • fake mustache
The outfit says it all: You have two Harvard degrees, a great sense of music, and a debilitating lack of empathy that leads to murderous tendencies. How fun! If people ask who you’re dressed as, you can easily take control of the conversation by discussing the nature of Madonna’s latest album. And whenever you find yourself in an awkward situation where stabbing would be inappropriate, just loudly proclaim, “I’VE GOTTA RETURN SOME VIDEO TAPES.”
It’s not the fifth of November, but rebellion is always welcome. STORM THE LUNCHROOM THEY CAN’T MAKE US ALL SCAN IN AT ONCE. 5. LYDIA DEETZ What you need: • black sun hat • black shirt/dress • black stockings • black shoes • black eye shadow • black choker • hair gel • white makeup to achieve that perfectly pale skin
Sharpen those bangs to perfect triangular tips and you’re on your way to becoming the best Beetlejuice character: all-star goth girl Lydia Deetz. Make Halloween the beginning of your new lifestyle as a soulless but very stylish kid with an exterior to match your cold-blooded interior. Kick that puppy, but only in your mind. 6. PAPARAZZI What you need: • the most nondescript clothing you can find • a fancy camera Don’t get this confused with the tourist dad costume! Being a paparazzi requires more vocal work. Just aim your camera at somebody and yell, “IT’S THEM” repeatedly until a flock of people surround said person. Few costumes invite teamwork like this one. 7. DAVID S. PUMPKINS What you need: • permed hair • a black suit with pumpkin stickers all over it • hands that are permanently in the finger gun position • BONUS: drag your friends along in skeleton costumes “David Pumpkins is his own thang! And the skeletons are part of it!” Doo doo doo doo...
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
The Spooktator! New Halloween Candy of 2019 By AGATHA EDWARDS
It’s that time of year again: Halloween! The time of spooky scary skeletons, glowing jack-o-lanterns, parades of costumed children marching up and down the streets, and scary movies under a blanket. But these don’t come close to what Halloween is really about. The best part of this holiday is obviously CANDY! This is the only time of year we can splurge on these sugary treats without feeling guilty. This year, there are even more new versions of candy. I wasn’t able to taste all of them, but I’m going to be judging them based on prior knowledge and my gut feeling. Snickers Pecan Bar Snickers bars are the classic of classics. These delicious treats were created in 1930 and they consist of a chocolate bar with a wafer, caramel, and peanuts inside. The nuts provide the perfect crunchy complement to the oozing caramel. Personally, pecans are better than plain peanuts because pecans are less salty than them. However, in the chocolate bar, the salt of the peanuts goes perfectly with the sweet chocolate. Some people might prefer replacing peanuts with pecans in the chocolate—maybe the
company will experiment with more nuts in the future (just hopefully not walnuts). M&Ms Chocolate Bars If you don’t already know M&Ms exist, do you even like candy?! The only candy that M&Ms made was introduced in 1941—the little disk-shaped chocolates that everyone has tried. They’ve appeared in cookies, ice cream, and countless other products, but never in a chocolate bar. The new creation—the M&M chocolate bar—is an innovative regular chocolate bar with mini M&Ms inside, providing a nice crunch to an otherwise soft bar. Reese’s Thins Whenever a snack comes up with a “thin” version, I’m always on top of it. When Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were first invented, everyone fell in love with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. They came in many different sizes, but this is the first year we have a thin version of the original product. I think this version will be better than the original because it will be crisper to bite and there will be less peanut butter floating around in your mouth. The precedent was set by Oreos: Oreo Thins surpassed the original Orea in quality with their lighter cream stuffing, at least in my opinion.
Toffee M&Ms There are already over 25 flavors of M&Ms, and Mars Confectionary seems to keep coming up with more! Toffee is a mix of sugar, caramel, molasses, butter, and flour (basically nothing good for you), but it tastes amazing. I think putting this mixture in a chocolate M&M shell will be a great combination. It might be a little sweet and incredibly unhealthy but that’s what candy is all about. Starburst Duos Starburst is one of my favorite candies because of its chewiness. It’s almost like gum but much sweeter, and imagine this: you can swallow them. They were first made in 1959, and now 60 years later, you have two flavors at once. The Starburst Duos look just like the regular ones but they have two colors, representing two different flavors, from blue raspberry lemonade to strawberry watermelon. In this age of excess, two flavors are always better than one. Reese’s Take 5 It’s not often that two different candies combine together to create something entirely new. Take 5 is only 15 years old, released after most current Stuyvesant students were born. It has five ingredients: chocolate, pretzels, peanuts,
caramel, and peanut butter, which is more than a normal Snickers bar. Reese’s and Take 5 collaborated on this new bar which has even more peanut butter. Personally, I wouldn’t want this many flavors in one candy bar because they would be a little overwhelming, but it might work for some people. Hi-Chew Sweet and Sour Due to the number of kids in this school obsessed with Hi-Chew’s, I’ll bet at least half of you have already tried this. They were first released in 1975, and for a while, everyone was content with the sweet, chewy mixture. Then they released a sour version which is still slightly sweet but gives off a Sour Patch vibe. This new sweet and sour version will be a perfect combination: enough sweetness for those with a sugar tooth to be satisfied, but not so over-the-top either. Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat This was originally released in 2017 as a Limited Edition. Now, it’s up for grabs everywhere! Its origins go all the way back to 1911, making the iconic wafer candy over 100 years old. I love the combination of chocolate and wafer: it is crunchy while satisfying my sweet tooth. I love all the different flavors of Kit Kat and pumpkin pie will be interesting to try. Even though I’ve never
tried it before, my experience tells me that all Kit Kats are good, so I’m pumped to try this one out. Sour Chewy Nerds I’ve never really liked Nerds, because they were so tiny and barely had any flavor. The only flavor that would come out of them would be if you “drank” them, but then half the box would be gone by the time you’ve tilted your head back and let them slide into your mouth. Finally, after over 35 years, Nerds are becoming bigger. There are two kinds: crunchy and sweet or sour and chewy. I’m excited about the sour and chewy one because it reminds me of Sour Patch. Sour Punch Bites I’ve never really been a fan of Sour Punch, just because I’ve never really liked the concept of a sour Twizzler. They were created in 1985, and they look like a straw covered with sugar and a little sour powder. They are hard to eat because you’d get sugar all over your hands if you ate them. But now that they’re bite-sized, they are easier to take out of the bag and eat. Everything is better bite-sized!
Spooky Tarot Cards! By THE SPECTATOR ART DEPARTMENT
Sabrina Chen Cadence Li
The Spectator The Stuyvesant High School Newspaper
“The Pulse of the Student Body”
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
No One’s Laughing Now
In “The Race for Quantum Supremacy,” Science writer Victor Liu discusses the computer of the future.
Arts & Entertainment writer Syeda Maliha reviews “Joker,” a movie that’s a display of the worst case scenario when society neglects a mentally ill man crying for help.
see page 14
Volume 110 No. 4
see page 19
Thursday, October 31, 2019
NEWSBEAT The robotics team competed at the Duel on the Delaware offseason event, where they went undefeated for the second year in a row with a record of 11-0. Stuyvesant’s Hispanic society, ASPIRA, and the Black Students League, along with Mr. Angel Colon, hosted Stuyvesant’s Annual Hispanic Heritage Dinner on October 17. The Homeless Coalition held a Back on My Feet run on October 18. Stuyvesant Model United Nations competed at Horace Mann on October 26. Seniors Joseph Yusufov, Julian Bedolis, Julia Pepper, Alexander Gattegno, Vishwaa Sofat, Morgan Seaburger, and Ahmed Sultan, junior Asif Sattar, and sophomores Maya Dunayer, Dorin Flocos, and Oscar Fishman won individual awards, and the entire team won Outstanding Large Delegation for the first time in four years. At a national speech and debate tournament, senior Jevina Wong placed fifth in Prose and Poetry, while senior Christian Bae and junior Rae Jeong placed fifth and 10th, respectively, for Congressional Debate. Juniors Anne Rhee and Andrea Huang made it to the octofinals for Policy. For Public Forum, senior Jeremy Lee and junior Justin Sword made it to the quarterfinals, and senior Alex Annenberg and junior Eric Han made it to the octofinals.
Congratulations to the Agnihotri-Bhattacharyya ticket for winning Freshman Caucus elections. Look out for an interview in Issue 5!
The Music Department Retunes: Chorus and Orchestra Structure Reformed By KAREN ZHANG, ANDY CHEN and IAN LAU
As part of this year’s administrative changes, music teacher Liliya Shamazov has assumed the position of music coordinator, undertaking former Assistant Principal of Art, Music, and Technology Dr. Raymond Wheeler’s responsibilities. With the consolidation of the World Languages, Music, and Art departments under Assistant Principal Francesca McAuliffe, Shamazov has taken on the administrative duties of the Music department and has overseen several significant changes to its classes. Shamazov reduced the number of choruses from four to three, and moved many students who were formerly in the Madrigal Choir to the Oratorio Choir. Symphonic Orchestra, which is the most advanced orchestra out of the three (Intermediate, Advanced, and Symphonic) and has traditionally been comprised of solely string instruments, has seen the addition of a group of select woodwind and brass players. This year, Shamazov decided to remove Madrigal Choir, which consisted of a small select group of singers, and instead to devote her time to the three other larger choruses: Men’s, Women’s, and Oratorio. This decision was made due to Shamazov’s ample responsibilities, which includes managing four choruses, hosting after-school rehearsals, programming music, and handling administrative work regard-
ing the department. “Because of Dr. Wheeler’s retirement and the fact that I was asked to take on the position of music coordinator for the department, I couldn’t keep the same workload. The workload is extensive, running four choirs,” Shamazov said. For Shamazov, dropping Madrigal Choir out of all four was a natural decision. “I didn’t want to drop the Oratorio because it’s the chorus that’s alongside the orchestra. [...] I didn’t want to let that one go, and I just ran the Men’s Chorus and the Women’s Chorus [for] one year. I didn’t want to suddenly not run them, but I ran [Madrigal Choir] for two years,” Shamazov said. Additionally, Madrigal Choir was the most difficult one to program into students’ schedules. Certain classes, like foreign language ones, only have one section or are only taught during a certain period. The combination of relatively few students being selected for Madrigal Choir and general course conflicts contributed to Shamazov’s decision to stop teaching it. “[Madrigal Choir] is very selective. It’s small, and I can preselect the kids. But until programming, I don’t actually know who’s going to end up in that chorus, and because of conflicts with other classes and sections, it’s the hardest chorus to actually program,” Shamazov said. This change was received positively by students. Senior Zeynep Bromberg was previously in Madrigal Choir and is now in Women’s Chorus. “It’s actually really cool to be in female choir because now, as an upperclass-
man, I get to meet a lot of underclassmen [who] I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Bromberg said. “I’m a section leader this year, so that’ll be exciting. I’ve always wanted to be one.” Bromberg also noted the enlargement of Women’s Chorus and how it affected the atmosphere of the class. “Sometimes it’s overwhelming when there are 150 people in the room,” she said. “[But] it’s also nice because more people means more energy.” Senior Alex Nobert was also in Madrigal Choir but switched to Oratorio Choir this year to better suit her interests. “I actually picked Oratorio because I wanted to sing an oratorio, which is a long musical piece. I realized that was why I joined Madrigal, but Madrigal [wasn’t] more of that, so I switched to Oratorio,” she said. In addition to her reorganization of the chorus groups, Shamazov also decided to replace the Symphonic Orchestra with a new, more diverse orchestra that includes both strings and band instruments. By title, this new orchestra is still considered the Symphonic Orchestra. However, with the introduction of new woodwind, brass, and percussion players, the range of repertoire has expanded, allowing for symphonies and more concertos to be performed. Music teacher Joseph Tamosaitis was optimistic about the change, despite there being some challenges in conducting the brass and woodwinds alongside the strings. “What we had before was a string orchestra. It was
called Symphonic Orchestra, but that was really a misnomer. We had three different orchestras and played a lot of challenging music, but we were unable to delve into this huge area of music involving brass, woodwinds, and percussion,” Tamosaitis said. Tamosaitis noted the potential challenges some musicians will face with this new setup. “For some it is a brand new experience, and it’s very different playing in an orchestra than in a band. You are the only person playing the part, so there is a lot of pressure on the individual player,” he said. Despite this, he believes that the full Symphonic Orchestra is here to stay. “We are taking little steps toward achieving something really difficult and really ambitious, but we will get there,” Tamosaitis said. Senior and clarinet player Derek Lao, who played for the All-City Orchestra as a sophomore and was in the concert and symphonic bands before this year, finds his experience playing alongside strings to be unique. “The difference is that in Symphonic Orchestra, it’s a lot less wind-dominated,” Lao said. “With the strings, you can play a whole different variety of music.” Sophomore and member of Symphonic Orchestra Zoe Buff similarly enjoys being able to play with a wider range of musicians with the expansion of the orchestra. “We’ve been playing strings repertoire for a while, and right now we get to collaborate with new people [who] we haven’t seen so much
of. It’s great to have that experience,” she said. Shamazov noted that the changes to chorus and orchestra allow for better coordination when music groups rehearse pieces together. In previous years, when an orchestra played alongside chorus, students would be pulled out from their band and orchestra periods to rehearse separately. Since Symphonic Orchestra and chorus share the same period and the orchestra has been expanded to include band players, collaboration across the music groups has become facilitated. The changes to chorus classes and the Symphonic Orchestra, though large, have been well-received by the affected students. “I’ve wanted to be part of an orchestra just in general as a wind, and I was very surprised when I joined Stuyvesant that they didn’t have winds or brass in the orchestra,” Lao said. “But now that [they’ve] finally added winds to the orchestra, I’m happy to be part of it.”
FOR NEWS COVERAGE ON LAST WEEK’S EVACUATIONS, see page 4
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
News Stuyvesant Evacuations Raise Safety Protocol Concerns
By TALIA KAHAN, ERIN LEE and BRIAN ZHANG, with additional reporting from MADELYN MAO and ALICE ZHU
A few minutes into first period on Thursday, October 17, the fire alarm went off and students were promptly asked to evacuate the building, the cause ostensibly being a small fire and smoke issue in the elevator machine room. Only two periods later, administration asked that students evacuate once more in response to student complaints of a gas-like smell on various floors. When the first alarm rang, students and teachers alike were unsure as to whether it was real. “We all thought it was just a mistake [because] the teacher didn’t know about it,” sophomore Shriya Anand said in an e-mail interview. “One of the kids said that someone probably pulled it [because] he didn’t want to take a math test, so we just stayed in the classroom, which I know is not the safest decision but I guess it’s because there have been so many accidental fire alarms that we didn’t really think it was a big deal.” Following the first evacuation, students and staff waited outside the school building while Principal Eric Contreras
called the local fire department to perform a thorough investigation of the issue. Every floor was checked, and gas readings returned negligible results, allowing all Stuyvesant students and staff to resume their daily routines. Meanwhile, students outside were elated to see the trucks arrive. “When the first fire truck came, everyone started clapping—not [because] the school was about to be saved, but because everyone thought that the problem was serious enough for a fire truck to come—which meant there was a possibility that we could go home,” Anand said. “When the other three—I think it was three—trucks came in, everyone cheered even more.” The second evacuation was conducted as a precautionary measure after students reported gas-like odors from different areas of the building. “The smell was much stronger, and I thought [it] was crazy that they chose to keep us in the building with that gas smell until then. Like I remember saying that, ‘this has to be a joke,’” Anand said. The Fire Department of New York was brought in once more, and readings returned a negligible gas level again. The administration performed other gas readings to ensure that the
building was safe before allowing people to re-enter. “Contreras and [Assistant Principal of Security, Health, and Physical Education Brian] Moran also asked ConEd to come to the building, and they went specifically to each area of reported odor as well as every floor and also came back with no elevated readings,” Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram said in an e-mail interview. “Our custodians, who do readings of all three meters at Stuyvesant daily, repeated their scans and found no significant variation differences between the readings from that day to other days of the week.” The school experienced no damage, and the rest of the day followed a regular schedule, despite many students arriving late to second and fourth periods as a result of the two evacuations. Contreras later attributed the gas smells that prompted the second evacuation to concurrent winds that blew the scent from chemistry labs on the ninth floor. Though both evacuations were handled swiftly by the administration, they raised concerns regarding the efficiency of student and teacher response to alarms. “The number of fire drills and false alarms we’ve had since the beginning of this year [...] has desensitized students
and teachers to the fire alarm,” Student Union Vice President Julian Giordano said. “It’s become normal for teachers to wait for two to three minutes after the alarm starts ringing before evacuating their students from the classroom. Many classes wait for an announcement over the PA system before beginning to evacuate.” Giordano also brought up issues regarding evacuation time and efficiency. “The two evacuations last week showed how it takes many students on the upper floors over five minutes to exit the building because of how congested the stairwells can be,” Giordano said. “The school needs to make a concerted effort at improving the safety and efficiency of evacuations, be that through changing the evacuation protocol, emphasizing the seriousness of evacuations to students and faculty, [or], if necessary, upgrading the current fire panel and alarm system.” The administration has recognized such underlying problems and has already planned changes to the school’s fire panels. “Contreras hopes to have the fire panel replaced along with the PA system by requests for capital funding in the future, as they are original to the school building,” Ingram said. At a recent School Leader-
Fion Sin / The Spectator
Room 154: Recording Studio in the Works
By EVELYN MA and CHLOE TERESTCHENKO A recording studio is being built in room 154. In the 1990s, the room was used to film the morning news segments. However, after film teacher Elka Gould, who was in charge of the room, retired, the room was reduced to a “junk drawer” for the school. Currently, it houses guitars used for the Music Appreciation
Guitar course, chorus performance risers, and photography equipment. The goal is to transform room 154 into a recording studio with space for singers to rehearse and small studios for students to record their voices or instruments. Room 154 was originally used to produce the morning news segments in the 1990s. “It used to be a news and television broadcast production studio, and it had ev-
erything from camera equipment to editing equipment to all the accessories such as sound equipment,” said senior and Stuyvesant Theater Community (STC) Technical Coordinator Allen Wang, who participated in cleaning the room during his freshman year. Music teacher Harold Stephan has always envisioned room 154 as a recording studio, but has only recently been granted the opportunity to transform it into one. “This past year, I was approached by the music director of Arts and Special Projects of NYC and they do something called the All-City Ensembles,” Stephan said. “There was an interest in creating an all-city modern music-based project that would involve creating original songs and recording original songs. I thought that this particular set of rooms would be perfect to host something like that.” The recording studio will have eight separate booths, as well as one main room. “The largest room, which will act as the control room for the whole facility, will have more channels of recording capability. We could have our own ensembles there, choir could go in there, or the orchestra could also go in there,” Stephan said. The eight smaller rooms will serve as studios for recording
and song production. They will be linked together so the isolated booths can be audibly networked to the general room. “If we want to record a band, with drums and guitar and all that sort of stuff, the individual rooms will be linked up to the central room. Even though [the smaller rooms] are individual recording studios, they could also serve as what’s called an iso booth […] so you could make a recording live and have all the pieces separated that can be mixed later,” Stephan said. Before the recording studio will be complete, it needs fine-tuning so it can be utilized properly. “It needs a lot of acoustic treatment and more equipment in there because right now it’s very barebones.” senior Christopher Brown said. While the recording studio is expected to be completed by fall 2020 for the All-City Ensemble program, one of Stephan’s long-term goals is developing an elective as well. “Our former AP, [Dr. Raymond Wheeler], retired last year so we’re actually short on how much we can do. […] I would like to make it an elective class for the upperclassmen, but it might take a while,” Stephan said. Wang believes that the recording studio will be a great resource for students. “There are so many kids who are musically inclined in
ship Team meeting, Contreras reminded faculty of evacuation protocol to immediately evacuate classrooms instead of waiting for confirmation. He explained that the basis of this protocol was to make sure that shooters could not pull a fire alarm to bring students out into the halls and expressed the possibility of reconsidering this policy to ensure that student safety is always the first priority. “The protocol as it stands now is not to wait for confirmation or any announcement, which is normal. When a fire alarm rings, everyone should begin evacuation,” Ingram said. “If there is reason to call off the evacuation or a false alarm, someone will come on the PA and make an announcement.” While the evacuations ran smoothly and did not put the safety of any students or staff at risk, they brought up issues regarding student and teacher protocol as well as faulty alarm systems that have affected faculty responses to real evacuations. Through their reforms to the alarm system and enforcement of the current protocol, the administration is hoping to produce more efficient responses from members of the building during emergencies, making Stuyvesant a safer place in the process.
this school or even if they want to make beats and slap them on SoundCloud, [so] it would be nice if there was a centralized space for them to do that,” Wang said. Another potential use of the recording studio includes making recordings of Stuyvesant’s musical productions, which would enhance STC’s experience. Wang hopes the recording studio will allow more students to explore their passions during their time at Stuyvesant. “A lot of kids listen to music and don’t really know the ins and outs of music production so having access to that is really cool,” he said. Brown agrees that the recording studio will be beneficial to students. “They will be able to explore the aspects of music production [...] and recording techniques, and I think that sort of exposure is good for kids,” Brown said. Stephan sees Stuyvesant as the perfect place to have a recording studio because of the musical and technical aspects of the recording studio. “The students [at Stuyvesant] are so smart and interested in technology,” he said. “There’s a technological component of musical production, so it feels like a natural fit for Stuyvesant to be the host for [the room and the All-City Ensembles].”
WORLDBEAT A federal judge ruled that President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry is legal, delivering a victory to the House Democrats and entitling the House Judiciary Committee to view secret grand jury evidence. The Tick Fire in Santa Clarita, California, forced 50,000 people to evacuate and prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in the Los Angeles and Sonoma Counties. Maryland Representative Elijah E. Cummings passed away on Friday, October 17, at age 68. Ethiopian protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have left 67 people dead. President Donald Trump withdrew U.S. troops from Syria, which has allowed Russia, ISIS, and the president of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, to gain control both in Northern Syria and globally. Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her own home in Texas by a Fort Worth police officer named Aaron Dean on October 12. The Delaware Senate is drafting a bill that will require all public and charter schools in the state to stock their bathrooms with free menstrual pads and tampons for their students. The bill will go into effect by the 2020-2021 school year.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
News drinks in their classroom, he believes that “students should have the right to put whatever they want into their body, and that includes coffee or anything else,” he said. Smith voiced a similar opinion, and also pointed out how the enforced coffee policy was not going to discourage students from drinking it or bringing it into the building. “I don’t think it is the administration’s job to control what students eat or drink. Their job is to educate us,” he said. “By allowing [coffee], it makes our lives a little easier. People were going to bring coffee in either way.” Smith and Danilov believe that students have the right to consume whatever they wish; however, Greez is understanding of teachers who choose not to permit coffee in their classrooms. “Teachers create a learning environment that they envision and are most comfortable teaching [in]. Just as how students should be comfortable, it’s really important for teachers to be comfortable,” Greez said. “Teachers with different views are to be respected. If that is their policy, then I, 100 percent, stand behind them and understand them.” While physical education teacher Dr. Anna Markova is not against drinking coffee in and of itself, she is concerned about the environmental impact of students becoming overly reliant on caffeine and purchasing coffee in single-use cups. “We just had a march about climate change […] so we should try to be a zero-waste school,” she said. Dr. Markova recommended that students make coffee in reusable containers at home to save money and produce less waste, and believes that what is done at an individual level is important and can contribute to greater environmental change. Dr. Markova described other, smaller consequences of permit-
ting coffee into the building, such as coffee spills and other mishaps. “There were a lot of spills that students did not clean up. [Before], they just had more spills in their bags. Now the spills [are] in the hallways,” she said. However, Greez addressed this administrative concern. “I teach A P History first a n d second. First period had a spill, and second period had a leak,” he said. “ T h e students without my interve n t i o n actively cleaned it up. The room was cleaner than before. They went to the bathroom [and] brought paper towels. The students take responsibility.” While many are in favor of the change, some students pointed out that caffeine is all too common at Stuyvesant and noted the adverse effects. “Too much coffee is bad for [a person’s] mental health, but due to the lack of sleep that our students get, it creates a reliance on coffee and allows them to get on with the day,” junior Leo Yuan said.
A 2019 survey conducted by The Spectator Features department found that just under 70 percent of students said they consume caffeine regularly. Additionally, the survey found that 20 percent of students reported drinking more than one cup of coffee a day with 24.1 percent of students stating that they feel dependent on caffeine in order to get on with the rest of the school day. Other students, such as junior Sandy Zhu, described different and more positive relationships with coffee. “People often view coffee with a negative connotation, regarding it as addictive, unhealthy, and destructive to your sleeping patterns in the long run. However, it really just depends on the individual,” Zhu said. “I have been drinking coffee since middle school and, contrary to popular belief, I haven’t gotten ‘addicted.’ I simply drink it because I feel the need to stay awake in class. The alertness wears off in a few hours, and I am still able to sleep well at night even on days [when] I drink coffee.” All in all, students have supported this decision by the administration, as it has made the lives of the student body easier on a dayto-day basis. “Coffee is a defining characteristic of Stuyvesant culture, whether it is allowed or not,” Zhu said. n / The S pectator
In earlier years, the security guards and staff strictly enforced the coffee policy as people entered the building, asking students to finish their drinks outside or throw them out. However, the Stuyvesant administration has recently had a change of heart, and has decided to adjust their policy regarding coffee in the school. The main reason behind this development was that students were still bringing in coffee despite the enforced policy. “Hundreds of kids sneak them in, enforcement was ineffective and unfair,” social studies teacher and dean Eric Wisotsky said. With this greater leniency, Wisotsky and Assistant Principal of Security, Health, and Physical Education Brian Moran expect students to maintain their health and their school’s environment with the use of travel mugs. “Students are still expected to use travel mugs. We are not encouraging the drinking of caffeinated beverages, because there are more healthy alternatives, such as drinking water and more sleep,” Moran said in an e-mail interview. Students reacted positively to this change, as many often faced difficulties bringing coffee in before it was allowed in the building. “There were several times [when teachers] said I [couldn’t] bring [coffee] in, so I had to chug it down before I went into the school,” junior Kelly Guo said. Sophomore Samuel Espinal shared a similar account where a teacher confiscated his drink. “I remember going up on the twoto-three escalator and pulling my coffee out of my bookbag. As I got off the escalator, [social studies teacher Mr. Daniel] Tillman was standing right in front of me. He
grabbed my coffee and threw it out. It was such a waste,” sophomore Samuel Espinal said. Since students hid coffee in their bags to avoid detection and confiscation, many had negative experiences under the policy even before entering the building. “I tried to put [the coffee] into my bag but it spilled in my bag. I was walking to school while it was dripping,” junior Alan Xia said. Students believe that these changes are beneficial to both the student body and the learning environment. “I see the concern about spilling [coffee] and I think it’s valid, but I think the benefits of having students be energetic, happy, and excited to learn outweigh the minor risk that something is going to get a coffee stain,” junior Hugo Smith said. Espinal agreed with Smith. “Right before tests, I always drink coffee and this allows me to concentrate, participate, and do well in the class. Having coffee [be] more accessible to the student body will allow more students to feel more comfortable in class especially after staying up all night studying and doing homework,” he said. Some teachers also understand the benefits of coffee in keeping students alert in their classes. “Having a soothing cup of coffee [or] tea or [a] snack is really going to reduce the stress of someone who has no frees. It will be enormously helpful,” social studies teacher Victor Greez said. Even non-coffee drinkers, like senior Ethan Danilov, support the administration’s decision. “I see no reason for the rule in the first place, aside from enforcement in special rooms such as computer labs where no liquids or food can be for the purpose of keeping the equipment safe,” he said. While Danilov understands the concerns of teachers who ban
Emily Ch e
By STEPHY CHEN, ANNETTE KIM, NEIL SARKAR and JESS ZHANG
Stuyvesant Runs on Coffee
Presidential Candidate Jerome Segal Speaks At Stuyvesant By KAREN ZHANG and JESS ZHANG Stuyvesant fosters a rich political tradition: students are politically involved and curricula are designed to make sure every Stuyvesant student graduates as a politically informed individual. In part to maintain this tradition, Stuyvesant hosted presidential candidate Jerome Segal on October 11. Segal is the founder of the Bread and Roses/Peace and Justice party, which, according to the party’s website, is an “Electoral Party for both New Socialists and Non-Socialists, A Party with a Strong Utopian and International Orientation, One in Pursuit of a New American Dream.” Social studies teacher Eric Wisotsky knows Segal personally and decided to invite him to Stuyvesant to talk about his ideas. They met through Three Arrows, “a utopian summer community that was started in the 1930’s by a group of Socialists aligned with Norman Thomas,” Segal said in an e-mail interview. Segal’s time there contributed to the preface to his book Graceful Simplicity: The Philosophy and Politics of Simple Living. Segal’s ideas originated as a former student at Bronx High School of Science. There, Segal questioned what it meant to be a good school and the purpose of schooling. “When I graduated from [Bronx] Science, I thought the big choice I had to make was whether to go into chemistry,
biology, physics or math. It took me quite a few years to see life in a much broader perspective,” he said. However, after double majoring in philosophy and economics, and pursuing a doctorate in philosophy alongside a second master’s degree in public policy, he was able to reflect on his high-school experience. “I came to see that [Bronx] Science’s claim to be the best high school
society, which called students to view society and themselves differently. “[Segal’s] vision of America is something very different [from] what we have. It’s economic but it’s based on values,” Wisotsky said. This idea is also a central theme in his presidential campaign. “We need to think more deeply about our institutions and our lives and then translate that thought or the result of that
“It’s exciting. It’s a presidential candidate, no matter how small or non-existent his chances are,” Wisotsky said. “Even if he weren’t running for president, I would have brought him in to talk.” He brought his class to hear Segal speak because it fit with what he was teaching and allowed students to hear a different perspective. Health teacher Barbara Garber also took her ninth pe-
“We need to become a more reflective society, we need to think more deeply about our institutions and our lives and then translate that thought or the result of that thought into better policies.” —Jerome Segal, presidential candidate in America was not just an idle boast, but came out of a failure to think through the question, ‘What is a good school?’” Segal said. “This [...] is a question of values — so we might ask of any school, for instance, Stuyvesant, ‘What are the values that lie behind its actual practice?’” With his experiences in mind, Segal decided to talk at Stuyvesant after Wisotsky invitedhim. “I was intrigued by the idea of almost going back in time to speak to young people who [are] in some ways similar to who I was many years ago,” he said. A crucial point of Segal’s talk was that success is defined by the individual rather than by
thought into better policies,” Segal said. His campaign seeks to create social and economic policies that make the decision to live simply, meaningfully, and vibrantly, a viable option for most people. Segal is also a third-party candidate and compares third parties to small nonprofits. “[It] has a message it wants to bring to the larger society,” Segal said. “What makes us distinct is our realization that electoral politics can be an effective way to do this — it is in elections that people are listening.” He commends elections as a great arena for free speech.
riod class to the lecture. Garber brought her students because she wanted them to become more informed about the upcoming presidential election. “I thought it’d be a good idea to expose them to this candidate’s point of view [because] it is very important to have a political grasp of what’s going on,” she said. Garber felt that Segal’s lecture allowed students to learn about the current political climate and saw it as an opportunity for students to think critically about politics. Garber found Segal’s point of view to be profound and unique. “The idea of incorporating socialist ideas into a basic
democratic framework—I like that and I wanted the students to understand that it is not socialism. It’s just some socialist ideas that [I believe] will help everyone in the country,” she said. Junior Yume Igarashi attended the lecture as a student in social studies teacher Lisa Shuman’s class. Igarashi believed that the lecture provided a new perspective on topics she learned in her Participation in Government class. “It addressed important and arguably unconventional socioeconomic [and] financial concepts,” she said. Igarashi also found it beneficial for teachers to promote more student attendance at guest lectures. “[They] can provide fresh, enlightening perspectives that are related to, but not explicitly included in the lessons and [curricula] of their official classes,” she said. Ultimately, Segal’s lecture has sparked a conversation about enriching the traditional educational experience. “I’m very grateful that at Stuyvesant, teachers bring guest speakers to engage in conversations around multiple perspectives, [because] part of what I consider a meaningful educational experience is being engaged in divergent viewpoints and hearing from people with levels of expertise,” Principal Eric Contreras said. “I’m always grateful when teachers invite guest speakers into classroom spaces to enrich the conversation and learning experience.”
The Spectator â—? October 31, 2019
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The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Features By MATYLDA URBANIAK
Unfortunately, as studentteachers and editors are well aware of, the Writing Center can be empty on some days but crowded on others, sometimes to the point that students are turned down due to a lack of
Writing Center, explains that the availability of both graduate and Stuyvesant students is what makes the Writing Center different from any peer editing students might do with their friends or classmates. “Our student
editors and the time to look at their papers. This situation is common during college essay season and whenever a teacher requires a visit from the Writing Center for an assignment. While the addition of student-editors started out as a way to deal with this traffic, Holly Schecter, a former English teacher who now works part-time supervising the
teachers have more education and therefore stronger content knowledge. Our student editors have a strong sense of engagement with our school and a desire to see their peers succeed,” she said. Up until two years ago, the Writing Center was stationed in a corner of the library. However, Schecter and the English
Department staff decided that a new location would be ideal, and conveniently, there was a room open. The move has been well received by most students— now they can visit throughout the period and do not need to worry about the library filling up if they need essay advice. Schecter also pointed out that the library is intended to be a quiet space while editing’s nature requires conversation. Senior and student-editor Amanda Yagerman explained, “I get to hear about different books and different classes and what everyone is doing, and often, somebody has an assignment that I did, so I can reminisce a little bit about that class and that teacher.” In addition, since its inception, the Writing Center has experienced numerous days of high demand in addition to days of low demand, and it simply could not fit within that corner of the library (even today, the editors sometimes have trouble seating themselves separately at the tables in the room). “I also think having our own room legitimizes our work a bit more,” Schecter said. The Writing Center allows Schecter, who has been on leave from classroom teaching,
Athena Lam / The Spectator
As I walk into the Writing Center in the middle of my lunch period, I’m greeted by a calm, almost sleepy environment. A student-teacher grades essays while a student editor looks up from the paper she’s reading with a classmate. The Writing Center just might be one of Stuyvesant’s best-kept secrets: though students may have heard about it through morning announcements or from their English teacher urging them to visit, the small room next to the English Office is rarely filled to maximum, and some freshmen have had trouble finding it amidst the other subsections of room 615. As the Writing Center celebrates its tenth birthday, it’s astonishing to realize just how much it has changed in that short period of time. English teacher Katherine Fletcher created the Writing Center ten years ago. Initially, it was staffed only by student teachers. Stuyvesant typically welcomes four student teachers in the English Department every semester, and now, as part of their requirements while working here, they edit essays at the Writing Center.
The “Write” Place To Go
to learn more than she can as a regular teacher with about 170 students. “It’s allowed me to work with my English department colleagues in a new and interesting way. I’ve learned so much from reading their assignments and working with their students,” she reflected. Schecter will soon be passing on the torch to English teacher Lauren Stuzin as Schecter will be moving to the West Coast with her family in November. Stuzin is extremely excited to take on this new role. Stuzin has fond memories of working there from when she was a student-teacher a few years ago. “I believe deeply in collaboration, and I think it is essential to true understanding and communication, whether in English class or beyond,” Stuzin commented. She hopes to improve the Writing Center by fostering a creative environment that many students feel comfortable working in. “I also really hope to make the writing center a safe, warm, welcoming space for students to explore their ideas and their writing,” Stuzin said. “I want to better understand what my students need and how the Writing Center can best address those needs.”
Trick-or-Treat: Stuyvesant’s Best Halloween Costumes Kelly Yip, sophomore Gary Rubenstein, mathematics teacher “I’ve been here for 16 years and I’ve done 16 Halloween costumes. I once went as a college rejection letter. I went as a CitiBike two years ago, and people seemed to like that. I went as Wolf-Man Alpha, which was like Wolfram Alpha. I try to make it so there’s nobody else that has my costume, and I have a really good idea for this year. I think the craziest one was the college rejection letter because that’s scary for Stuyvesant students. My best costume though was FOIL as the mathematical concept FOIL, but I was like a tin-man. People really got a kick out of that one.”
Areum Jo, senior
“I was a mast cell from the anime ‘Cells at Work’ with my friends, and we somehow coordinated with the Anime Club.”
Crystal Lin, senior
“My best Halloween costume was a criminal costume with all my friends. In reality, we only wore an orange nurse gown.”
“I was a clown—before it was cool.”
Ziying Jian, freshman “Once in middle school, I wore a giant french fry costume to school. Everyone really liked it, and they gave me lots of candy.”
Alexander Tsar, freshman
“Last year, I dressed up as grapes for Halloween. I had purple balloons all over my body and a headband with a green stem. The year before that, my parents and I dressed up as three pink elephants in tight thermal-wear suits with ears and trunks made out of bright pink poster paper.”
Sofie Davis, sophomore “When I was in sixth grade, I dressed up as a ketchup bottle. I was ketchup and my best friend was mustard—it was like a duo thing.”
Plan(et) B—But What About My Global Test?!
By CLARA SHAPIRO
“The oceans are rising and so are we!” On the morning of the Climate Strike, Foley Square was almost empty, freckled with the lone group of youth activists and 350. org organizers. Among these earlybird environmentalists was senior Grace Goldstein, who had been involved in planning the strike for months. She wondered if people would show up. Just hours later, at least 60,000 climate crusaders exploded onto the streets, among them an estimated 500 Stuyvesant students. At Foley Square, the capital of the protest, students merged with the urban mass, joining a colorful fray of signage. “I’m sure the dinosaurs thought they had time” read a particularly caustic poster. The unexpected deluge of protestors—organizers had an-
ticipated only 5,000—pleasantly surprised senior Alexandra Nobert, who had helped plan Stuyvesant’s involvement in the protest alongside her peers Goldstein and senior Cecilia Bachana. “I was thrilled,” Nobert said. “No one expected that many people to show up.” Assistant Principal of Security/Health & P.E. Brian Moran shared this experience. “A little more than I thought it would have been,” he said about the student outpour. Though to a harried administration the strike might have felt like an en masse field trip, most students elected to stay at school, perhaps worried by the idea of potential academic repercussions. “There are some important notes,” freshman Peng Tou-Du reasoned. “I didn’t wanna miss class.” He added that on top of his academic concerns, he “didn’t feel like it.” Adopting this sense of didn’t-
feel-like-it apathy for their purposes, some students attended the Climate Strike simply because it was an alternative to school, not because of their passion for environmental reform. “I had nothing better to do!” sophomore Michelle Quach said. “I’m not a super-activist, but I didn’t go [to the strike] because I wanted to skip school. It just seemed more interesting.” Even if not everyone attended the strike out of a Thunbergesque passion for reform, Nobert believes that any motive is preferable to doing nothing. “Apathy is probably the cause of most resistance to climate policy,” Nobert theorized. “Creating an environment where people are inspired and empowered, where people feel like they can make a difference, works to change that apathy into motivation.” But for some high-achievers, apathy was the last thing likely to
be their hamartia, as the Climate Strike forced students to weigh their passion for environmental justice against their passion for perfect attendance. For junior Sabira Tasneem, the protest easily took precedence over any academic assessments scheduled for that day. “In Japanese, I had a quiz, but I still went to the strike,” she said. “I could always make up a quiz or test, but you can’t really make up a whole strike.” For others, academics won out against environmental protest, as was the case with an anonymous freshman who had a test on the day of the strike. “Both [the Climate Strike and my test] are equally important,” they said, though they had chosen to stay at school for their assessment. “Climate change is real, and there should be things done.” Nobert believes that there
are ways for everybody to take part in the climate revolution—to do things instead of waiting for things to be done. And “doing things” doesn’t even need to mean striking. Nobert said, “You don’t need to attend every action to be serious about the climate crisis. I haven’t!” Nobert reminds students that opportunities to advocate for the climate are still available. “There are still more global rallies being planned! The next big one is on December 6, and there is a global ‘Day of Action’ on November 29. There will likely be a large clothing swap in all five boroughs in response to Black Friday consumerism. There are also plenty of actions that happen regularly, organized by a bunch of different environmental groups like Sunrise, Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Zero Hour, 350…” Mark your calendars? Perhaps.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Features By RACHEL OK, AMANDA YAGERMAN, and SAMMI YANG
was a group of roughly 30 people,” said Co-Vice President Heiley Tai. “Now it has about 200 members.”
other StuyUnity events, and more,” he said. Since its start, StuyFlow has grown both in its membership and the number of performances it puts on. Co-Vice President Joanna
“They danced gracefully with their beautiful lights like happy fireflies on a starry night,” he described. Ever since he became president of the club in June 2019, Ridwan has pushed StuyFlow to be involved in more performances. “This year, alongside the three shows at Stuyvesant, we’ll also be
Zheng explained, “[StuyFlow] really went from a more niche club to one of the bigger clubs, just in terms of membership. The increase in interest from students caused an impressive increase in student involvement.” “During my sophomore year SING! [and] senior SING!, Flow
In fact, it is predicted to be the biggest crew at this year’s upcoming StuySquad show. Flow’s growth isn’t limited to Stuyvesant: StuyFlow has had an impact on the growth of the NYC Flow community as well. Though it’s big at Stuyvesant, Flow isn’t as common in other schools. However, this is beginning to change as StuyFlow’s performances are gaining more exposure. “Inspired by our community, Brooklyn Tech High School has created their own flow club, ‘BTHS Glow,’” Ridwan explained. StuyFlow’s drastic increase in membership has not only garnered attention from other schools but has also caused some shifts in the club’s fundamental structure. Hsu’s status as a leader-in-training, for example, is a new board position added to confirm future executive leaders. Leaders-in-training are involved in board decisions and are assigned tasks which help increase leadership skills, such as reflections, director critiques, leading meetings, planning events and more. Flow is also extremely expensive due to its high tech equipment and the scarcity of the necessary props, and it becomes even more expensive as new members join. As such, StuyFlow has always had a Treasurer. The current Treasurer is senior Evan Zou, who works closely with the President and board to manage the club’s budget and inventory. The treasurer must be organized to
Keeping Up with Ingram
gree in business. After finishing business school, Ingram took on a variety of jobs, including a legal assistant, administrative assistant, Human Resources assistant, and a one-toone educator. Her involvement in the Stuyvesant community would not begin until much later. Eventually, she decided to dedicate her time to raising a family, and she took on various volunteering roles. Though Ingram was not initially interested in getting involved with the Department of Education (DOE), she became involved in the school system as a parent leader in Queens when she had children. During this time, she was also part of the School Leadership Team (SLT) and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of her children’s elementary and middle schools in District 25. The superintendent also asked her to work on multiple projects in the district. She played an integral role in District 25 affairs, working with its President Council, its Council for Exceptional Children, and its District Leadership Team. Consequently, she assisted the management of the superintendent’s 311 line—an informational, non-emergency line—and visited schools in Dis-
trict 25 to manage conflict resolution between Parent Associations or between parents and administration. Ingram came to Stuyvesant three years ago (around the same time as Principal Eric Contreras),
mer principal Jie Zhang’s closing month, Ingram approached her about becoming a parent coordinator. After going through the application process and confirming the new role with Principal Contreras, Ingram took on the position as the Parent Coordinator at Stuyvesant. “[My role was] not really a career choice as much as it was that I saw the need and had the background,” she explained. Ingram’s title changed from Parent Coordinator to Director of Family Engagement in January 2019 to accurately represent her presence as a central member of the principal’s cabinet and membership of the school’s Equity Team. As the Director of Family Engagement, her tasks include organizing and conducting grade-specific workshops for parents, creating parent accounts on Talos, and administrating the official Stuyvesant Facebook and Twitter accounts. She is also responsible for ensuring that parents who speak a language other than English have the necessary translators or translations. In addition to her duties as Director of Family Engagement, she attends all SLT meetings. Since coming to Stuyvesant, Ingram has continued to work
Matt Melucci/ The Spectator
If you send Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram an e-mail at 1:00 a.m., you are most likely to hear back from her within the hour. From supporting over 3,400 students, 7,200 guardians, 200 staff members, and 15,000 alumni through phone calls, e-mails, and meetings, to maintaining Stuyvesant’s active social media accounts, Ingram oversees Stuyvesant’s day-to-day operations. Not only is the role she plays at Stuyvesant essential to the functioning of the school, but Ingram took an interesting path to landing this position. Similar to many students, Ingram is a first-generation American. Ingram’s family emigrated from Italy and settled in Queens, New York. She attended New York City public schools from kindergarten to the 12th grade. As a child, she wanted to become an attorney, but growing up in a traditional household with strict parents, a career in law was not an option for her. “Education wasn’t really their focus because I was a girl,” she said. Nonetheless, after graduating from high school, Ingram attended Katharine Gibbs College to pursue a bachelor’s de-
performing to the North American Passive House Conference, a competition, corporate performances,
Zoe Oppenheimer / The Spectator
By ARPITA SAHA and ZAWAD IMROSE
based disciplines to which Rave belongs. It incorporates skill-based techniques to carry out creative expression. In fact, it is also described as “moving meditation” because the skill-based aspects bring awareness to their bodies while the creative aspect brings awareness to the present moment. As the Flow community continued to grow in school, StuyLumière, Stuyvesant’s first official intensive Flow dance team, was created to expand StuyFlow outside of the school. “StuyLumière is a dance team of advanced Flowers, who want to take their skills to the next level, to perform in events outside of the school, such as corporate events, charities, hospitals, and the global conference,” said Khandaker Ridwan, leader of StuyLumière. He became involved in Flow after seeing a StuyFlow performance at StuySquad during his freshman year. He had been asked to be the videographer, and as he was recording the show, the Flow performance caught his attention.
Hiruni Kumari / The Spectator
As the music starts to play, a swarm of figures dressed in black rushes onto the dimly-lit stage. With a crack of their glow sticks, they begin an elaborate choreography that resembles fireflies dancing in the dark for the audience. These dancers are part of Stuyvesant’s Flow community, which has been an active part of dance performances, including StuySquad, SING!, Stuyvesant Outlet Showcase (SOS), and recently even more with the founding of StuyLumière. StuyFlow (formerly StuyRave) started in 2011 as a mental health and recreational club under Angel Colon’s SPARK program. Rave is a form of light dancing specifically at parties and festivals. Though it was centered around this unique form of dance, StuyFlow’s initial goal was to promote the principles of P.L.U.R.R., which stands for peace, love, unity, respect, and responsibility. They created the club to welcome those who felt like they didn’t belong in any other communities at Stuyvesant. As one of the newer forms of dance introduced at Stuyvesant, it attracted students who hadn’t been able to find an interest of their own or wanted to express themselves in a way they couldn’t through other activities such as writing or speaking. The welcoming atmosphere that the club started with became the reason why it has expanded so significantly over the years. Sophomore Aaron Hsu shared, “I joined Flow in the beginning because it just looked cool, and I ended up staying because of the family— we’re all like one big community.” Now, he is on the board as a leader-in-training to ensure that there is a trained underclassman to lead StuyFlow in the future and to maintain its legacy as a welcoming community. He and the club’s other leader-in-training, Raymond Xu, teach other underclassmen about their duties as members of StuyFlow. As time passed, the club expanded to include general Flow Arts, a category of movement-
Flow Going with the Glow
influenced by her daughter’s positive influence at the school. At the time, Stuyvesant did not have an official Parent Coordinator since the previous holder of the title, Harvey Blumm, had become a guidance counselor. During for-
ensure the club’s budget processes run smoothly. Moving forward, StuyFlow plans to expand its initiatives outside of Stuyvesant. Zou expressed his enthusiasm for this, sharing that “this year, we’re actually trying to reach out to the world, and let them know who we are and what our goals are.” This includes their involvement with Passive House, a specific form of construction and building that reduces energy waste by 90 percent. StuyFlow became involved in this event after Inez Cho and Timothy Shields, the parents of a current Stuyvesant junior, attended StuySquad and were impressed by the dance community at Stuyvesant. At the annual North American Passive House Conference, Cho and Shields, as well as other policy-makers and architects, will help to revise New York City’s energy code while sharing the new ideas of Passive House. StuyFlow is one of the dance crews that is helping to combine the technical principles of Passive House with its art to contribute to efforts to save the Earth. “[I hope this will] become a tradition and spread to other schools in New York City,” Zheng said. “[It’s something] we’re doing as a city to promote Passive House and sustainability and fight climate change.” Though it came from humble beginnings, StuyFlow continues to attract more members each year because of its captivating performances and welcoming community. It’s clear that each “flow-er,” from general members to leaders, is equally passionate about the Flow family. “Flow definitely got more serious for me in terms of commitment. [This year] I did StuySquad, SING!, SOS, and I’m in StuyLumière now, too, ״senior Samantha Tan said. Ridwan expressed his hopes and love for the crew, saying, “I wish nothing but happiness and success for my crew as I know each and every one of them have problems or baggage they [have] to deal with on the daily. I hope that StuyFlow can be the place where they can leave the baggage in front of the door and walk in with a genuine smile of joy and love and passion.”
in the larger New York City school system. She taught at the Language Access Conference as a member of their Advisory Board in 2019 and was featured in FACE’s annual parent-coordinator summit on a Q&A panel in 2018. Furthermore, she is a member of the Think Tank for creating Professional Development for the Parent Coordinators at all high-schools located in Manhattan in Districts 10-6. Ingram’s favorite aspect of her job is getting to work with students. “The kids make Stuyvesant a very special place,” she said. “[My job] just opens a different facet because Stuyvesant really is a place that’s made by the students. [They] are exceptional.” Ingram finds organizing the parent workshops to be rewarding. Furthermore, she enjoys being one of the faculty advisors for Big Sibs, as this role allows her to engage in the Open House and Camp Stuy events. Overall, Ingram appreciates the passion that each student feels for his or her own interests. When she is not busy at Stuyvesant, Ingram enjoys biking, running, and spending time with her family. She also likes photography, oftentimes decorating her office with photos she took herself.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
From Rejection to Water Bottles
By KAELIANA YU
I was mildly disappointed when I got rejected from a summer program. I received an e-mail in June saying, “Sorry, we looked over your application. But you’re not the one.” And just like that, I had nothing to do the summer after sophomore year. I wanted to do something STEM related, but also something I’ve never tried before. However, by the time I applied almost all application deadlines passed, programs were full, and people were occupied. By a stroke of luck, I received an e-mail from Stuyvesant about their Summer Innovation Lab program. I applied in a heartbeat, and in July, I received an e-mail saying, “Congratulations! You’ve been accepted.” So on August 5, I was back on the train to Stuyvesant, ready to embark on an uncertain escapade. After the program ended, however, I had no regrets. The four week program had four parts to it. We had to form groups to create and prototype a product that we would eventually pitch to a board of current business leaders and experts in the last week. While we focused on three separate smaller projects for the first three weeks, this main project was to be completed in our free time. This was possible because our schedules were fairly lenient. There was a lot of time for groups to get together to discuss, and the schedule could be changed to fit everyone’s needs. During the first week, I got to know the other students in the program, which included those from all grades. Our first task was to create a chess piece using a 3D design program called AutoCAD. For students who didn’t know how to use AutoCAD, lessons were provided by the head of the program Assistant Principal of Chemistry and Physics Scott Thomas. I decided to model my chess piece after a Greek temple, with corinthian pillars and a round dome. Because I was one of the kids who didn’t know how to use AutoCAD, I was quite proud of myself when I finally finished the piece. Everyone’s chess piece designs were uploaded and printed from a 3D printer on the Friday of the first week. We got to keep the 3D copies of our pieces. I was away for the second week, but students supposedly made wooden bridges using a laser cutter. We were taught how to use it, and some kids even cut out their favorite images or pictures from the internet such as Eevee from Pokémon, the elements from Avatar the Last Airbender, and a very intricate picture of a lambo. In the third week, we had to create miniature robots. I developed a newfound respect for those on the Robotics team because of how meticulous their work is. We soldered tiny components onto a circuit board wired up to an engine. Soldering, which is the heating of a metal
alloy to join objects, was probably my least favorite part of the process because it was difficult to fix a mistake if you had soldered the wrong component onto the board. My partner and I went through three circuit boards until we got it right. The robot was programmed to follow the color black, so a makeshift track of black tape was set up on the floor, and these robots coursed along the tape to their own volition. As for the overall project of entrepreneurship, I had joined a group with four lovely ladies to create a water bottle—but not just any water bottle. The bottle catered to those who take pills onthe-go. We set up a survey, which you may or may not have seen, and adjusted the model design to fit the needs of our audience. We used AutoCAD to create a 3D prototype that would be 3D printed. We went through at least six trials. We also designed a logo and came up with an awesome name. As a mere high school student with no experience in entrepreneurship, I was unsure if I could contribute much. But through workshops and advice from the founder of the teen entrepreneurship program Whatever It Takes, Sarah Hernholm, I grew greatly as a leader and contributor. She taught us design thinking, a process which helps people come up with innovative ideas. Students learned how to think and act like entrepreneurs and what to consider when creating a product. It really felt as if I were helping to create a startup. I found myself growing to love the entrepreneurial spirit and invested a lot more time and emotion than I had initially expected into our product. When pitch day came toward the end of the program, my group and I were nervous to present, yet still sure of ourselves and our hard work. We were able to get a taste of the real working world, where adults have to confront and present to others timelessly. It was quite a valuable experience that I wouldn’t have encountered had it not been for this program. As public speaking, pitching, and design thinking are not conventionally taught in schools, I’m glad I was able to learn them here. This program explored more specific fields in STEM and entrepreneurship which I might have spared a passing glance had I not been a part of it. I’m glad I was able to expand my career horizon. My time spent in the Stuyvesant Innovation Lab program was so rewarding to the point that I wrote an article about it. Any expectations I had about this program were met and exceeded. Whatever you may be planning for the next summer, though it is far away, I hope you do consider the Stuyvesant Innovation Lab program.
Take a Break from Your Break By LOGAN RUZZIER If I were to assume one thing about the students holding this newspaper in their hands, it’d be that they’ve batted an uninterested eye toward the opportunities and programs served up to them on a silver platter. E-mails, speeches, and even the simple suggestion slide in and out of view without so much as a shrug from them. The sure’s, I guess’s, and I don’t know’s stack up on their tongue like tickets on the windshield of an illegally parked car. How do I know? Because I was there. When my mom sat me down to tell me about a program at school that spanned all of August, the Stuyvesant Innovation Program, I was halfway out the door before she could finish her thought. She listed what I’d learn and the applications of the material, tossing in the all too familiar words, “college application” somewhere in the mix of nonsense that’d been spouted at me. I was hearing, not listening. Even after I’d taken the time to look over the program, I flat out refused. Four weeks of activity, albeit educationally enriching and potentially enjoyable, was simply not comparable to four weeks of break. The notion that I’d get a full summer to myself apparently was an illusion. I was foolish to believe a mother like mine would let me squander so much time. It’s not that she didn’t give me a choice in joining the program, but with the other op-
earliest career aspirations. I’d been sold. I banged out the class application on a slow June evening and wrote off the Summer Innovation Program as a thought for my future self to further process. Cut to August. I dropped my bags on the floor of my living room, and the responding thud ripped the last thoughts of Greece from my head, reverberating through my lightly toasted body. I still had a full week of summer before the program started, so I sat down, put my feet up, and before I knew it, it was the first day of class. I walked into the husk of our school, empty in its summertime incarnation, and dropped my inhibitions at the door. Outside the Innovation Lab, where I’d be spending the rest of my summer “vacation,” I met up with an acquaintance whom I hadn’t expected to see, and he quickly noticed my transformation from a frail, pale-skinned
I walked into the husk of our school, empty in its summertime incarnation, and dropped my inhibitions at the door.
The notion that I’d get a full summer to myself, apparently, was an illusion.
tions she gave me, she might as well have. It was at this point I opened my eyes to the Stuyvesant Innovation Program. I was flabbergasted to learn that this class that my mom had forced upon me wasn’t an entirely abysmal prospect. If I’d taken as much as a glance at it the previous few days, I might’ve made out its myriad of merits. It boasted a laundry list of various machinery that I would come to know my way around, such as a 3D printer and laser cutter, as well as an entire week dedicated to the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. Somewhere within me, there was a stirring, as if a poltergeist plucked my soul like a string on a harp. An entrepreneur was one of my
your table,” he uttered. The sophomore, junior, and senior at my table worked with me to dispel the awkward miasma that seemed to seep from the panels of the ceiling and onto the table between us. We spent that day discussing possible prototypes to develop over the coming four weeks, and surprisingly enough, I had generated one that had both promise and appeal. Thomas gave a detailed presentation on the commands of the AutoCAD mechanical program, which would be necessary for everything we’d do in the program. Surprisingly, my prototype idea was the only thing my class and I held on to from the first day. My group dissipated, and our members, except my fellow sophomore, broke off to form new squads bound by friendship instead of rule. Thomas’ formality quickly fell by the wayside, with our lesson on the laser cutter being a discussion
ghoul to an equally frail but slightly more tanned ghoul. We talked about nothing for a short time until Assistant Principal of Chemistry and Physics Scott Thomas arrived. He came off as quiet and foreboding and quickly led us inside where we cautiously took our seats according to the group outline he’d devised in the previous weeks. The vibe given off from the room that day and all its unfamiliar faces was, in many ways, similar to the one I’d experienced on my first day of high school in freshman year. It was further accentuated by Thomas’ cruel words, ones that I’d expected sourly. “The first hour of today’s meeting will be spent getting to know the people at
instead of a presentation and us learning to build robots on our own from factory instructions. As four weeks drifted by and summer drew to a close, I at last began to see my labors come to fruition. On the last day of the program, the group I constructed around my idea, which was a swiveling pencil, stood up in front of a panel of judges, successful businessmen and women who had taken the time to be there, and gave our entrepreneurial pitch. As we gave our painfully memorized lines with statistics and lines of persuasion, my heart raced. The judges had their questions answered dutifully, and at last we heard the ringing applause of the panel and greater audience as we victoriously returned to the back of the room. It was only then that the very last of my doubts dissipated. So, intrepid Spectator audience, I dare you to say yes to that invitation someone offered you over e-mail. I don’t think my words have the power to rouse you from your high seat of laziness, but go out there and prove me wrong. Don’t do it to please your tiger parents, or even for your closest friends. Do it, dear reader, for yourself.
The Spectator ●October 31, 2019
Editorials Leaving Legacies Behind Hardly a day passes without breaking news about the college admissions process. This week, prosecutors revealed new charges against Lori Loughlin and other parents involved in the college admissions scandal. Two weeks ago, we learned that Harvard prevailed in the lawsuit that accused it of discriminating against Asian-Americans in its admissions process. Affirmative action receives immense amounts of coverage — both critical and laudatory — in the media. Another topic, however, receives comparatively little scrutiny: legacy admissions. The preference given to children of alumni can have much larger implications than those of affirmative action; as Stuyvesant students, it is critical that we consider and remember the effect of legacy admissions on college admissions. Though legacy admissions are hard to justify from a meritocratic perspective, many universities have at least semi-valid reasons for employing them. Maintaining relationships with alumni is critical to generating donations and universities believe, not unreasonably, that giving preference to children of alumni will make alumni feel more connected to their alma mater. Legacy preferences may also foster school spirit and encourage children of alumni to apply. While these may be weighty factors for smaller and less prominent universities, topranked universities with large endowments could easily do without legacy preferences. Indeed, MIT abolished them several years ago. Moreover, at top-ranked universities, legacy preferences have the pernicious effect of creating a hereditary social elite — at Stuyvesant, in contrast, students are admitted on a purely meritocratic basis, creating an elite based on academic factors. The results of legacy admissions are reflected in the differences between the student demographics of Stuyvesant and top-ranked universities. Nearly 40 percent of Stuyvesant students qualify for free or reduced lunch, meaning their family income is under $27,000 a year. In contrast, the student body at Ivy League schools comes from wealthier backgrounds; a study found that the median family income for a Harvard student is triple the national average. In addition to the boost given by their legacy status, children of alumni often are also advantaged in other ways: well-educated parents, knowledge of the college admissions process, and often wealth. While it may be fair to give students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds some boost in the college admission process, there is no need to provide legacy students with additional advantages. If it is indeed true that legacy students are uniquely suited for the schools with which they are affiliated, that will make itself clear in other parts of their application. In this respect, legacy admissions are more problematic than affirmative action, athletic scholarships, or admissions based on an individual’s unique societal contribution, such as Harvard student David Hogg’s exceptional activist efforts. Though none of these admissions are based on academic skills, athletes and wellknown students do not, as a group, come from backgrounds as privileged as those of legacy students. Colleges that emphasize legacy as a significant aspect of their admissions process have a specific ideal of elite education — one that is not meritocratic. As November 1 and other college decision deadlines approach for Stuyvesant seniors, we urge applicants to consider if the values of the colleges to which they are applying, especially colleges with legacy, line up with their own. Furthermore, when decisions are released early next year, we hope that students take any rejection they recieve in stride; they should know that “their” spot likely did not go to someone exploiting affirmative action. Instead, it might have gone to a “hooked” student or one who had legacy. They should help dispel the vitriol surrounding affirmative action and direct their efforts toward reforming a system that perpetuates elitism and excludes the meritorious from our nation’s leading institutions. It is time to have an honest discussion about legacy admissions.
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The Curse of the Weekday Halloween
weeknight? reach Heaven. Halloween, a corruption Halloween has become This year, Halloween is of “Hallow’s Evening,” was so far removed from its on a Thursday. Truly awful, once called All Hallows’ Christian origin that many I know. The pure bliss that Eve, and was originally the of All Hallows’ Eve’s tradicomes from a night out with friends, gorging yourself on Having Halloween on the last Saturday candy, and getting home at an ungodly hour is tainted of October would preserve what we love by the fact that you have a history test tomorrow. To about Halloween—the changing weathmost Stuyvesant students, er, the spooky feeling, the orange domithe need to study and do homework outweighs the nated landscape—while also giving us a fun evening that they might chance to truly celebrate the holiday. otherwise have had. Halloween is a holiday that brings out the wild side of anyone, from sugar-high Christian vigil on the night tions have greatly changed— preschoolers to absolutely before All Saints’ Day and and some have completely wasted college students. All Souls’ Day, which falls disappeared. Allhallowtide While some people may take on November 1 and 2, re- was first celebrated by the umbrage at the inherently spectively. These three Catholic Church around 610 mischievous nature of the days—All Hallows’ Eve, A.D., and was not officially holiday, it is a vital part of All Saints’ Day, as well as abolished as a holiday until why people love it. To have All Souls’ Day—are collec- the 1950s. However, around the holiday on a weeknight tively called Allhallowtide the mid-19th century, All dilutes the joyful and care- and were traditionally a time Hallows’ Eve shifted to Halfree attitude of Halloween. for honoring the saints and loween in the United States, So why is Halloween on Oc- praying for the recently de- as people from all ethnic, tober 31, which is often a parted souls who had yet to social, and religious backBy ZOE OPPENHEIMER
grounds began to celebrate the holiday. While some of the holiday’s aspects have lingered, such as the central theme of death and the tradition of souling (what we now know as trick or treating), most have vanished. For example, worshippers of All Hallows’ Eve traditionally held a vigil, where they fasted and prayed in preparation for the feast on All Saints’ Day. Today, Halloween is the antithesis of a fast; instead, it is a celebration centered around the sharing of food. The other quintessential American holiday is Thanksgiving. If you were paying attention in second grade, you will probably remember that Thanksgiving always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. Because of this, conflicts surrounding Thanksgiving’s day of the week will never arise. So why do we maintain that Halloween must be on
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October 31, instead of the last Saturday of October? Halloween was originally on October 31 because All Saints’ Day is on November 1st, but the relevance of All Saints’ Day and All Hallows’ Eve has faded in the modern world. Having Halloween on the last Saturday of October would preserve what we love about Halloween— the changing weather, the spooky feeling, the orange dominated landscape— while also giving us a chance to truly celebrate the holiday. Students wouldn’t have to worry about school the next day, parents wouldn’t have to worry about leaving work early, and nobody will have to worry about going to work with a hangover. On Halloween, we recognize and celebrate the dead. Let us add the rigid October 31 date to their number.
The Spectator ●October 31, 2019
Opinions The Little-Known Narrative of America’s Bloodiest Racial Massacre By KRISTIN CHENG
A century ago today, the streets of Arkansas ran red with the blood of 237 black Americans in what is known today as the Elaine Massacre. It was one of the deadliest racial massacres in the history of our nation, yet it remains shrouded in obscurity, seldom discussed and largely forgotten. But this month marks the centennial of the tragedy, and its victims’ narrative needs to be told now more than ever. In the small town of Elaine in October 1919, there were 10 times as many black residents as white ones. Like the black Americans of the South, the sharecroppers and tenant farmers of Elaine were subjected to segregation and disenfranchisement. But they were also victims of “debt peonage”—perhaps the most insidious pillar of postbellum white supremacy. Under this system, blacks rented land or were loaned money by plantation owners. They were then forced to sell their crops to the owners at belowmarket rates and purchase their food and other supplies at exorbitant rates from plantation stores. The system was intended to keep black Americans dependent upon plantation owners and trap them in a cycle of perpetual debt. But the end of World War I heralded a new era of change for our country’s black residents. The 350,000 African Americans who enlisted in the war were emboldened by their experiences as they returned in early fall of year. They demanded their full rights of citizenship and were enraged by their lack of equality, both before the law and in their labors. Emboldened too were the thousands of sharecropper families who strengthened their calls for black
By CLAIRE SHIN The viral video “Timelapse of the Future: A Journey to the End of Time” begins on Earth in 2019. As time passes at exponentially increasing speeds (doubling every five seconds), the splendor of humanity’s potential becomes more and more apparent: future centuries and millennia—taking up no more than three seconds in the video—bring forth colonies on Mars and ever-growing metropolis-like cities on Earth. If you blink, you might miss the passage of a 100,000 years, during which the Sahara becomes a tropical paradise, new island chains rise out of the sea, and once-distant constellations streak across the sky in full view, their hazy lavender nebulae visible in the clear twilight. An animation depicting a supervolcanic eruption looks so realistic that it seems like it’s from a movie about the end of the world (it is), and the terrifying sight of pumice, ash, and lava penetrating the air and razing everything in their path sparks within you a sense of awe and respect for the destructive power of nature. That’s until you realize that, by the time life on Earth ceases to exist three minutes in, you still have 26 minutes of video left. Videos like this never fail to make me question the purpose of my actions—indeed, of my life. I think I speak for the majority of students when I say
freedom when postwar cotton prices soared, but their efforts to reap the fruits of their labor were met with violent threats. Fueled by both anger and inspiration, the sharecroppers of Elaine sought to unionize. Two hundred black men, women, and children gathered in a small wooden church in Hoop Spur near Elaine on September 30. They discussed membership in the Progressive Farmers and Household Union, an organization that would help them buy land and secure a fair price for the cotton they picked. They aimed also to hire a lawyer to represent them with landlords. Well aware of the trouble that would erupt if the white landowners discovered their efforts, union leaders stationed armed guards outside to keep watch. Their fears were confirmed when a band of white men shot into the church as the families convened. Black guards returned fire, killing a white security officer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. News of the shooting quickly spread, and soon after, the county sheriff summoned white veterans from the American Legion post to suppress what he claimed was an insurrection. With 20-gauge Winchester shotguns in hand, the mob of veterans prepared to turn on the very men who had stood by their side in the struggle for democracy. The group soon drew yet more men from eastern Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Over 1,000 white vigilantes joined the effort to put down the so-called uprising, killing indiscriminately. And when the day drew to a close, countless black women, men, and children had been brutally slaughtered. The real massacre, though, began the following morning,
as 583 federal troops, including a machine gun battalion, were escorted to Elaine. For the next five days, soldiers and vigilantes hunted black people over a 200mile radius. According to several accounts from white witnesses, both vigilantes and the troops committed acts of barbarism. They scorched homes with families inside and tortured and slaughtered others. The bodies of some were thrown into a pit and burned. Enraged whites fired at the bodies of the dead blacks as they rode toward Elaine. And others cut off the ears or toes of dead blacks for souvenirs, then dragged their bodies through the streets. When troops finally withdrew, the courts and papers worked in tandem to investigate what had transpired during the massacre, producing a narrative ridden with falsity. Those deemed insurrectionists were brought to the Phillips County jail. A jury convicted 12 black men of the murders of three white men, even though two of the three deaths had occurred from white people accidentally shooting each other. The “confessions” of the black men were secured by means of torture. Black people were thus blamed, sentenced, and jailed for an anti-black atrocity that was white supremacists’ doing. Wielding these unjustly extracted “confessions,” The Arkansas Gazette placed blame entirely on sharecroppers in a report that declared, “Negroes Plan to Kill All Whites.” Days later, The New York Times published a similar story headlined “Planned Massacre of Whites Today: Negroes Seized in Arkansas Riots Confess to Widespread Plot Among Them.” Newspapers across the country blamed the violence on black sharecroppers for the next several months, creating a narrative
that was especially palatable to white citizens at a time when racial enmity was rampant. They posited that the event had been a deliberately planned insurrection, during which black sharecroppers had intended to murder the plantation owners to seize the land. They also claimed that only two black people had died, praising white troops for their “restraint” in suppressing the rebellion and neglecting the 235 other people whose lives were lost. These deceitful words presented a picture that was at odds with reality and was decisively refuted by reports from two major civil rights figures, the NAACP’s Walter White and Ida B. Wells. White concluded that black “farmers had organized not to massacre, but to protest by peaceful and legal means against vicious exploitation by unscrupulous land owners and their agents.” And Wells, who traveled to Elaine to investigate, reached a conclusion that echoed White’s. Her 58-page pamphlet, “The Arkansas Race Riot,” reckoned that the sharecroppers who organized the union were simply “seeking through peaceful appeal to win better wages and working conditions,” but were met with brutal slaughter instead. Ultimately, their efforts to uncover the truth were to little avail, and the massacre has remained largely absent from standard narratives in American history. But the descendants of victims have now begun to share the true stories of their lost loved ones. The Elaine Legacy Center held a Truth Hearing last February, during which several descendants told powerful stories of the massacre. They spoke with anguish of the brutal murders, seeking closure in the form of recognition of the harm done, not empty apolo-
Is Life Meaningless?
that I devote much of my time to building a better future for myself as well as humanity because I dream of changing the world. But “A Journey to the End of Time” discredits all of the aspirations I’ve been working toward for my entire life by pointing out a very simple, tragic truth: pretty soon, no one’s going to care. (whether “pretty soon” means 10 years or 10,000 centuries). Given this fact, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to work for a better tomorrow when tomorrow, in the context of the universe’s ultimate lifespan, will only last a fraction of a second. This funnels into the question of whether life really is meaningless. As an atheist, I don’t believe life began with an intention. We are here right now because some innumerable amount of years ago, a chance mixture of proteins and sugars and ultraviolet light happened to produce the first life-form, one of which was able to reproduce and serve as the origin for all other lifeforms on Earth. No primordial being determined what the objective of life is, but that doesn’t mean that life is meaningless. This is because many people conflate meaning with purpose. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably in the English language (and technically have the same definition), meaning signifies the value that something has, while purpose is a much more
abstract (and often imagined) idea, best defined as the perceived value that something brings to something else. Meaning usually works on the individual level (improving one’s own character), while purpose works on the larger, collective level (making a scientific breakthrough). For instance, I want to change the world, because I believe that my purpose is to help as many people as possible. For some people, that might be achieved by attaining fame and wealth and using them to help humanity; for others, that might mean bringing new innovations to the worlds of science, mathematics, or humanities. But in many cases, this is contingent on fortuitous circumstances such as inherited privilege or chance opportunity. So even if I were to have an inventive mind and unique ideas, I won’t necessarily fulfill my purpose without a bit of luck. The reason why “A Journey to the End of Time” triggers a small existential crisis within many of its viewers is that it quite bluntly demonstrates that life has no purpose. The overwhelming sense that one has not served their purpose in life is often the catalyst for adult midlife crises. But you don’t need purpose to have meaning. Friedrich Nietzsche often discussed the “potential self ”—the person we could be but aren’t, because we succumb to our trivial short-term desires or procrastination. Ni-
etzsche firmly believed that the very meaning of life itself lies in the perpetual chase toward becoming our potential selves. That doesn’t mean that working toward a purposeful aim benefiting the collective, like making a lasting impact on the world, isn’t meaningful. Purpose pushes the boundaries of meaning and allows us to withstand the crushing knowledge of the triviality of our existence. Without a greater aim, we are left with shallow and temporary selfgratification, which leads to a life of disorderly chaos—quite the opposite of meaning. Humans pursue their goals with a unique ferocity; like the sense of aimlessness we get when the school year finishes, the pursuit ends when we finally achieve these goals, and we find ourselves scrambling for yet another one. Failure empowers your drive to attain goals (how could they be goals if we were to obtain them without some obstacles?), but it’s self-evident that you should strive not to struggle more than is absolutely necessary. To achieve true meaning in your life, you must act in a way that is beneficial for not only your current self, but also your future selves across time. I often think of the temporal iterations of myself—the versions of me in a few hours, days, or years from now—as classmates working with me on a school project. We’re all aiming for a perfect score, but for
gies. Though 100 years separate us from the events of Elaine, rewriting the long-accepted deceptive narrative is important because of the monetary aid it would provide to the communities that have yet to be recovered from the damage of the past. Progressive Democrats have thrust the issue of reparations for slavery into the 2020 primary race, and the Elaine Legacy Center group maintains that reparations should take into account the atrocities that came after the Civil War. Phillips County, to which the small city of Elaine belongs, is the 15th poorest county in the country, a fact that historians and regular Arkansans alike attribute to the massacre. Without recognition of the tragedy’s magnitude, their calls for reparations will gain little traction. It is also imperative to spread awareness of the event because the same racial enmity that bred the Elaine massacre persists today, a century after the fact. Legally-sanctioned white supremacy may have ended over a half-century ago, but through tragedies like the shootings at the Walmart in El Paso and at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, we are again reminded of the harrowing white supremacist violence that afflicts us still. According to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2018 alone, there were 50 extremist-related killings, 78 percent of which were by white supremacists. Far from being relics of the past, both the forces that led to the Elaine Massacre and the damage that resulted are pressing issues that necessitate action. The doings of the past weigh heavily on the present, and until our nation reckons with this history, both will continue to haunt us.
everyone to devote their greatest effort, we must split the work evenly. I can’t dump 90 percent of the work on tomorrow’s Claire, because tomorrow I’ll have to worry about my history homework and my math test on Thursday. Plus, it would just be mean to her, and she’d probably hate me the next day when she shows up to school running on two hours of sleep. To the sleepy reader who procrastinated last night: you did that to yourself. One of the most important steps to deriving meaning from your experiences is to always be kind to your future self. Never leave today’s responsibilities for tomorrow’s time. So yes, it’s true that life will shine in the universe for a pitifully brief percentage of time, and yes, it’s true that the entirety of human existence will most likely be a blip in the lifespan of the universe. Meaning still shines through it all, and so does the hallmark of a life well-lived. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Strive to be the best person you know how to be, and don’t waste time worrying about what purpose your work serves in the long run. The rest of the pieces will fall into place well before the last asteroid hits.
The Spectator ●October 31, 2019
Opinions By LAMIA HAQUE The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council uncovered China’s widespread harvesting of human organs from persecuted religious and ethnic minorities within its territory, particularly the Uyghur Muslims, on Tuesday, September 24. The China Tribunal, an independent panel set up to examine the issue, presented its findings at a meeting with the Council, sharing that the Chinese government was taking hearts, kidneys, lungs, and skin from the inhabitants of Xinjiang, one of China’s inland provinces. The report also featured several secretly-taken photographs depicting government officials removing organs from Uyghurs while they were still alive. China’s cruel engagement with the Uyghur Muslims is not a new occurrence. The country’s long history with the Uyghurs began in the 18th century. Violent clashes between Muslims and the government erupted soon after the state attempted to exert greater control over territories with mostly Muslim populations, a policy meant to insulate the Chinese government against any possible ethnic violence or revolts. To avoid such restrictions, Uyghurs migrated to other parts of China, where they were faced with revolts. The population was then divided into 56 ethnic groups, further isolating Uyghurs. The groups were ranked, and the Uyghurs, to
By ANNE RHEE Judge Aaron Peresky, formerly of the California Superior Court, was recently fired from his tennis coaching position at a high school in San Jose. The high school district’s administration had previously come under fire for hiring the judge in the first place after controversy over his leniency in the infamous 2018 Brock Turner case, which had led to his eventual sacking from the bench, but it had defended Peresky’s merits, citing his past experience with coaching girls’ tennis. The day he was hired however, Change. org created a petition accusing high school officials of ignoring and allowing rape culture to ensue at high schools. Brock Turner, a then 23year old Stanford student, was found guilty on March 30, 2016 on the counts of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, dubbed Emily Doe at the time, and sexually penetrating an intoxicated and unconscious person with a foreign object. Peresky gave Turner a six-month jail sentence with three years of probation, requiring Turner to register himself as a sex offender for life. Prosecutors had recommended a six-year sentence based on evidence of intent, secrecy, and his taking advantage of Ms. Doe’s unconsciousness. After running unopposed in a reelection and winning his seat six months later, Peresky faced a recall campaign, and on June 5, Peresky became the first judge in California to be re-
Genocide By Any Other Name
no surprise, were placed in the lowest-rated group. Fast forward to the Cultural Revolution; a time of great social upheaval in China, this period also featured rising persecution of Uyghur Muslim minority populations throughout the country. Mosques were defaced, copies of the Quran were destroyed, Muslims were not allowed to go on hajj—a holy religious pilgrimage required by the Islamic faith— and their religious expression was banned by the Communist Red Guards. The persecution abated somewhat after 1976, but the events of 9/11 gave the Chinese government all the more reason to continue targeting the Uyghurs. Ethnic riots escalated the tension, making the atmosphere just right for another calculated campaign to persecute the Uyghur Muslims. Earlier this year, rumors of Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang spread through the press and social media. The Chinese government countered the statements by referring to the camps as “re-education centers,” officially known as Vocational Education and Training Centers. They were first implemented in 2014, disguised as centers meant to teach Chinese culture and tradition to Uyghur Muslims. But the camps, which now contain over one million Uyghur Muslims from Xinjiang, have become the clearest examples of Chinese government brutality. Mihrigul Tursun, a Uyghur
refugee, recounted her story of detention and torture in the so-called re-education centers. It had only been eight weeks after she had triplets when Chinese officials detained her and separated her from her children. She was desperate to see them and was soon informed that one of her triplets, Mohaned, had died from various complications. However, the triplets had unusual matching marks on their necks, suggesting that government officials took part in harm against the babies. Tursun was detained again and remained in an overcrowded cell, where she claims to have seen nine of the detainees die due to hostile conditions. Women as young as 17 and as old as 62 filled the cells, staying for months without bare necessities. Many were charged with the incomprehensible crimes of praying regularly, reading the Quran, or fasting during Ramadan. Tursun’s eyewitness accounts are far from the utopian image of Xinjiang’s camps the government is trying to create. While adolescents and adults are kept in atrocious camps, Uyghur children are placed into state-run orphanages across the western Xinjiang region, regardless of whether they are orphans or not. Orphanages teach traditional Han Chinese customs, steering children away from their rightfully inherited Muslim cultural and traditions. Xinjiang authorities also push Uyghur women to marry Han
Chinese men. The “UyghurHan Marriage and Family Incentive Strategy,” started by the local government in a Xinjiang county, promises to give 10,000 yuan to couples who intermarried. The money is a way for Uyghur women to leave their old lives of poverty, but in the process also leave behind their Muslim traditions and Uyghur culture. In this way, the Chinese government allows its officials to take part in cultural suppression—itself a watered-down form of ethnic cleansing without explicitly calling it so. Given the long history of Uyghur Muslims in China, organ harvesting does not seem far out of the Chinese government’s capacity. Though China insisted that it “stopped using organs from executed prisoners in 2015,” its branding of fully-fledged concentration camps as “re-education centers” proves that lies are inherent in the Chinese administration. While Uyghurs have been part of China for centuries, actions taken against them certainly depicts them as China’s enemies. It is impossible to precisely determine to what extent the organ harvesting operation in Xinjiang has grown, but the oddly short waiting time for organ transplants in China gives analysts a reasonable enough starting point. Anastasia Lin, ambassador for China policy at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, states that organ transplant surgeries can be scheduled
Chanel Miller: Know Her Name
called since 1977. It’s important to note the public’s role in fueling the support for this campaign, however, as multiple petitions reflecting increased public involvement were circulated, accumulating over a million signatures demanding Peresky be recalled. The legacy of the Brock Turner case, however, is not just another instance of the paternalistic nature of the criminal justice system. Though Emily Doe did not reveal her identity over the course of the case, she has recently revealed her name, Chanel Miller, in her new memoir, “Know My Name.” Throughout the memoir, Miller writes not only about her experiences as a woman in a country that continues to favor white male elitists, which peaked when Peresky compared his decision in one case to the decision in “Brown v. Board of Education,” but also about what it means to be an Asian American woman. Miller, whose victim impact statement went viral on the Internet, addresses the sexual and gendered violence that Asian American women face—something that rarely gets discussed, despite the beginnings of what many call a fourth-wave feminist movement, emblematic in the #MeTooMovement’s awakening. Her memoir shapes and makes into reality her own platform, a platform from which women of color currently don’t have access to. Even though the introduction of the 21st century has seen the rise of more feminist movements and left-wing ac-
tivism, these movements are led by privileged activists— those who have resources and access to the public sphere with minimum constraints. Contemporary feminist movements, though centered around how the history of racial and gender lines is connected to empowerment, are often not specific to women of intersectional identites or specific races. It is not possible for the general public to address or understand the dehumanization of Asian American women throughout history without also acknowledging that Asian American women face a distinct form of violence that entails hypersexualization and fetishization, psychological tropes, and stereotypes dubbing Asian women as “submissive,” “docile,” and “silent,” trying to push a racial and gendered group of people down and forcing them to remain submissive. A 2015 study by the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence found that between 21 percent and 55 percent of Asian American women experience violence, physical and sexual alike, in intimate relationships. And that’s only the Asian women who actually report their violence—in most cases, Asian American women don’t report cases of violence because of a lack of financial or legal resources. This is also because of a general mistrust of legal systems writ large, stemming from fears surrounding immigrant status or the risk of alienation from one’s community and family. A study by the DOJ in 1998
found that Asian American women were the least likely to report cases of rape and physical assault. In a country where women face ever greater obstacles to “prove” that they’ve experienced violence, only the voices of a select few who have resources, support, and an established status can attract attention, which often
Throughout the memoir, Miller writes not only about her experiences as a woman in a country that continues to favor white male elitists, which peaked when Peresky compared his decision in one case to the decision in “Brown v. Board of Education,” but also about what it means to be an Asian American woman.
causes minority voices to disappear in movements of empowerment. The criminal justice sys-
well in advance, suggesting that government-run hospitals know when donors are going to die. To continue the hidden operation, Beijing deletes all traces of evidence online, making it more difficult for researchers to expose the government for organ harvesting. What started out as a property dispute in the 1700s escalated to what may be called mass murder and cultural genocide. Today, the most important step toward changing the Uyghur situation in China is an obvious one: recognition. For far too long, the world watched while China imposed crueler and harsher restrictions on one of its largest minority populations. The China Tribunal’s report to the UN now makes it impossible for the matter to go unnoticed. Hamid Sabi, a lawyer in contact with the China Tribunal, says that the members of the UN now have a “legal obligation” to act against the Chinese government. When dealing with the issue, the UN cannot simply consider it to be just another problem, for calling it a human rights violation would be ignoring the sheer magnitude of the matter. The Uyghur Muslims in China are facing what can only be called the greatest humanitarian crisis of the century. A strong stance against it from liberal democracies around the world would serve not only as a challenge to the Chinese government but also as a chance to reaffirm the world’s common humanity.
tem is not all that failed her; as Miller recently stated, “Stanford has also failed her.” After the 2018 sentence, a Stanfordstudent circulated petition to institute a garden and a plaque in memorial of the case led to a disagreement between the Stanford administration and Miller over the wording of the plaque, Stanford deeming Miller’s initial choice of an inscription to be a trigger warning for other victims of sexual assault. Her second choice also received the same response, and Miller expressed disappointment in the university. Michele Landis Dauber, a professor and the person who led the campaign to recall Judge Peresky, remained skeptical of the university’s responses, citing the example of a book that Stanford freshmen students were required to read—a book detailing Native American genocide and a story of a woman who was raped, which was mailed to students with no trigger warrnings mentioned at all. In spite of Stanford’s efforts to silence Miller’s in the making of the plaque, however, Miller is continuing to make her voice heard, and the legacy of this case remains twofold—speaking out against institutions supporting rape culture and the empowerment of Asian American women, as her actions and the inspiration that many draw from her memoir have begun to change the discussion surrounding sexual violence, creating a platform for women of color and changing the direction of movements of empowerment.
The Spectator ●October 31, 2019
Opinions By ELIO TORRES The fast-food industry, which emerged in the American South in 1921, prides itself on a convenience unparalleled by the more typical sit-down dining industry. Over the past century, this on-the-go phenomenon has been absorbed into the subconscious of much of the American population, but behind its ease and affordability, fast food is also alarmingly unhealthy. Burger King, the crown jewel of fast food burgers, recently announced its investment in a new type of burger—a meatless one. The daring alternative is the plantbased Impossible Burger, which replicates the flavor and texture of a classic burger, but without the beef. The plant-based meat industry is currently being dominated by both the Impossible Foods company, which has based its business model on licensing its product to restaurants, and Beyond Meat, a company that embraces a more traditional retail model. While the Impossible Burger has been popularized by its acceptance into a reputable fast food chain, the Beyond Meat Burger has yet to venture into the lucrative fast food industry. A popular consensus amongst food critics is that the Impossible Burger is the beginning of the end of the beef industry, but it will certainly take time for consumers to adjust to seeing it on the menu. Regardless, the Impossible Burger is an innovation that will redefine the environmental and health standards of the entire fastfood industry. The production of the Impossible Burger repre-
“Impossible Burger”: A Meat Revelation
sents a more extensive transition into an environmentally aware market. A recent assessment by the Swiss sus-
has earned the Impossible Burger a favorable response from the public. In an insight survey conducted by an inde-
Impossible Foods has published a line of recipes that can be easily replicated at home using the ground meat
Yes, it will inevitably be challenging for omnivores to alter their diets for good, but maybe the next time you see the Impossible Burger on the menu, you can start by giving it a try. Focus sentence: A popular consensus amongst food critics is that the Impossible Burger is the beginning of the end of the beef industry, but it will certainly take time for consumers to adjust to seeing it on the menu. Regardless, the Impossible Burger is an innovation that will redefine the environmental and health standards of the entire fast food industry.
tainability group Quantis concluded that the carbon footprint of the Impossible Burger is 89 percent less than that of a beef burger. This reduction in environmental impact is part of the appeal of these new burgers: largescale production centers can reduce their footprint, and consumers can still be satisfied with their product. Considering that it takes nearly 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, the reduction of water usage in the production of the Impossible Burger, especially at the scale of the fast food industry, is monumental. “We are serious in our mission to provide sustainable alternatives,” the CEO of Impossible Foods said in an interview with NBC. “And the first step is to stop relying on the livestock industry.” It is this willingness of producers to mitigate their environmental impact that
pendent research firm, many people expressed that they would be willing to consume plant-based meat because they “perceive these options as better for the environment.” The popularization of the Impossible Burger is also indicative of an acceptance of vegan culture. Companies that have previously ignored meat substitutes are now dedicating time and money toward researching ethical alternatives. Until recently, vegan foods were a niche market, and for average consumers, it was a Herculean task to make such a stringent leap in their eating habits. Though the prospect of going vegan is still daunting, the race among companies to create products that will dominate the vegan market makes alternatives more readily available and the shift to a vegan diet more feasible overall. Since developing the Impossible Burger,
in Impossible Burgers and may branch out into producing other plantless meat products, specifically vegan pork and chicken. “The market is continuing to grow as a result of the high-surge of demand,” Danielle Bronner of CNN Business argued in an article on the growth of plant-based foods. “And it is certainly one of the hottest sectors of the food business.” The unprecedented popularity and success of the Impossible Burger suggests that even omnivores are experimenting with it, and the appeal has a lot to do with the perception of its health benefits. Derived from plants, the Impossible Burger is void of the animal hormones and antibiotics that often seep into the final product of standard fastfood burgers. In a company release, Impossible Foods claimed that the level of herbicide in their patties
is 1,000 times less than the acceptable amount, making the product unlikely to cause food-borne illnesses. Additionally, the Impossible Burger boasts a high protein, vitamin, and mineral content and receives this protein from potatoes and soy, which do not have cholesterol. However, in a comparison of the Impossible Burger to a standard beef burger, the calories and overall fat content are similar, which means that this burger will not singlehandedly terminate all of the health-concerns of the fastfood industry. Impossible Burgers’ meat-like flavor is provided by an iron-containing compound called heme, which is physically extracted from the roots and stems of plants, making it more readily accessible than animal heme, which comes solely from animal hemoglobin. In general, these burgers are simple, deliver high-quantities of fiber, and have been proven to contain no alarming or toxic additives, and thus there is no detriment to making a switch. The Impossible Burger is certainly not for everyone, and for current vegetarians, the hyper-realistic taste might take some getting used to. But it is a step in the right direction: a step toward an industry that addresses environmental concerns not only rhetorically but also by investing in them. Especially to an industry that will potentially face a meat shortage in the coming decades, meat alternatives are necessary. Yes, it will inevitably be challenging for omnivores to alter their diets for good, but maybe the next time you see the Impossible Burger on the menu, you can start by giving it a try.
Spooky Tarot Cards! By THE SPECTATOR ART DEPARTMENT
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Science By CLAIRE SHIN When my AT Global teacher introduced our class to a podcast about the science of seeing color, I, like many other students in my class, jumped on the opportunity to fall into her good graces. I ended up loving the podcast, with its narrativelike science reporting, regular use of choral music to depict color through song, interesting facts about tetrachromats (who can see 10 times more colors than the average human), and its mention of the mantis shrimp, which would soon become my favorite animal. Once I found pictures of it on Google, I was endlessly fascinated by the mantis shrimp’s unique coloration, which I thought failed miserably as a practical disguise against predators. The exoskeleton of some mantis shrimp species is a soft rainbow color, sporting carmine and crimson, transitioning to tangerine orange, mustard yellow, lime green, cyan, and aqua blue on its entire rear section, and dark violet on its tiny legs. Other species, like the cape mantis shrimp with its dull brown exterior, aren’t as vibrant and are much more suited for camouflage against the umber brown of the rocks they reside in. Perhaps the splendor of the mantis shrimp’s appearance is due to its visual capabilities, which decimate those of every other species in the animal kingdom. Dogs have only two cones in their eyes, enabling them to see every color derived
By VICTOR LIU
from green and blue. Humans have three cones in their eyes, so they can see the ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) spectrum, along with enough colors in between to total around a million. Butterflies have five cones in their eyes, rendering them able to see 100 times as many colors as humans can see. The mantis shrimp, however, has 16 cones in its eyes, and some species of mantis shrimp are able to perform spectral tuning—adjusting the sensitivity of their own vision based on their environment. Because their vision is so unfathomably precise, they can perceive ultraviolet light (very high-frequency light) and polarized light (which moves in only one direction). Its eyes, which can move in different directions, have layers, each of which is specialized either for color vision, ultraviolet light, or polarized light. Each layer has color filters, which in turn can be divided into four types. These filters, coupled with color data, stream into the brain, allowing the shrimp to internalize and efficiently process the trillions of colors it is seeing. The mantis shrimp’s admirable vision is only one of its hallmarks, however. Its hunting efficiency can be compared to the likes of the great white shark or swordfish. It has two raptorial appendages that can accelerate at 102,000 meters per second squared—roughly the same speed as a .22-caliber bullet—and crack the hard exoskeletons or shells of crabs and
clams in less than three-thousandths of a second. Depending on the species, mantis shrimp have two different classes of appendages, colloquially called “smashers,” which are used for pure bludgeoning, and “spearers,” which are much more precise. Despite their great beauty, aquariums don’t readily house mantis shrimp because bulletproof glass is required to protect them from breaking out of their enclosures, and the shrimp
get, the shock wave triggered by the collapse of these bubbles is enough to kill its prey. In a process called sonoluminescence, the impact between the shrimp’s claws and its prey also produces nearly undetectable but splendid bursts of light. To ensure that its claws don’t crack during this powerful impact, the shrimp has energy-absorbent regions in its appendages that filter out the shock waves released by the strike. These
a powerful momentum to the collision. The herringbone structure wraps around the shrimp’s club to prevent it from breaking after every impact. The shrimp’s club also has an additional region called the propodus, which significantly reduces drag resistance, a term used in physics to describe the resistance an object feels as it moves through a fluid. In this definition, “fluid” is used to describe the environment that the object moves through, including air. Both the incredibly sturdy herringbone structure (previously unseen in nature) and the fascinating teardrop shape of the propodus have sparked interest from the U.S. Air Force, which believes that the chemistry of these biological structures may provide the basis for stronger and more resilient aircraft in the future. Almost every aspect of the mantis shrimp demands intense interest. It’s hard to believe how exceptional it is compared to the rest of the natural world, from its extraordinary vision and bullet-like attack appendages to its phenomenally durable armor. Creator of the website “The Oatmeal” and online artist Matthew Inman aptly remarked in a comic on the mantis shrimp: “Where we see a rainbow, the mantis shrimp sees a thermonuclear bomb of light and beauty. […] It extols death with the luminescent brilliance of a dying star. It is the harbinger of bloodsoaked rainbows. It is light. It is dark. And it is beautiful.”
“It extols death with the luminescent brilliance of a dying star. It is the harbinger of blood-soaked rainbows. It is light. It is dark. And it is beautiful.” —Matthew Inman, creator of “The Oatmeal” and online artist
are unusually aggressive, usually devouring whatever other unfortunate creatures they share their tank with. The speed at which the mantis shrimp unfurls and strikes its claws is so high that the movement produces vaporous bubbles called cavitation bubbles from the water’s depths. Should the mantis shrimp miss its tar-
regions have several protective layers, made of everything from chitin (found in the exoskeletons of crabs and insects) to crystalline calcium phosphate (found in human bone). The calcium phosphate contributes to the formation of what researchers have dubbed the “herringbone structure,” which both protects the club from breaking and adds
The Struggle For Quantum Supremacy
tiple qubits at a time, and thus can process a tremendously large number of possibilities. The potential number of calculations that qubit-enabled machines can perform is consequently many, many times higher than that of classical
with it both positives and negatives. The power of quantum computers lies in their ability to perform calculations previously thought to be impossible at extremely fast speeds, a power analogous to a double-edged sword. One famous example is
the product by brute force, a calculation that could take millions of years. However, if quantum computers were to become widely available to the public, factoring out the product would become trivial; the vastly superior calculation speed
computers. Google’s paper therefore marks the first operation that can only be performed on a quantum computer. Quantum supremacy has previously only been theorized about by computer scientists and analysts. But despite the promise of this breakthrough, Google’s quantum computer can only perform a single, highly technical operation, meaning that the age of qubits performing superfast operations may still be far into the future. Even though it may be a long time until we can use quantum computing in our day-today life, achieving quantum supremacy is still a huge landmark for society, one that will bring
the ability to factor the product of two large prime numbers, a mathematical feat that is impossible for classical computers to perform in a reasonable amount of time. Since this operation is inoperable on normal computers, it is a valuable tool in safeguarding information in cryptography and makes people’s passwords and accounts more secure. If a person already has one prime in password form, called a key, then factoring out the large product will be easy: simply divide the product by the key, and then the user will be able to access their account. If someone were to hack that user’s account without the key, they would have to factor out
would allow hackers to access any account in no time. This is a major problem for cryptography, and the field as a whole will have to adjust its methodology if it is to continue to be an effective method for safeguarding users’ accounts. But quantum computing still provides more overall benefits than detriments. It will allow for major advances in biological genomics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, logistics, manufacturing, finance, energy, and chemistry. All these fields deal with high volumes of data, which can slow down normal calculations and stall progress within projects. With quantum
Aishwarjya Barua / The Spectator
A highly secretive document was mistakenly briefly published on NASA’s website around September 20 of this year. It was a paper by Google declaring that they had achieved quantum supremacy: the ability of a quantum computer to quickly perform calculations deemed unsolvable by normal computers. Google quickly took down the article, but not before the Financial Times and many others were able to download the report and analyze its contents. In the paper, Google described a calculation that their quantum computer could perform in 200 seconds, a feat that would have taken today’s most advanced supercomputer, Summit, approximately 10,000 years. How Google did this lies in the nature of how quantum bits or “qubits” work. Classical computers use normal bits, representing either a 0 or 1, and thus when strung together, can only represent 2 to the n possible configurations of data (where n is the number of bits). Quantum computers use qubits, which represent both 0 and 1 simultaneously, and therefore lie in an indeterminate state. Just like Schrödinger’s Cat, the qubit will only lock into a specific state, either 0 or 1 in this case, after it has been “observed” by the computer. Quantum computers can string together mul-
A Homage to the Mantis Shrimp
computing, scientists would be able to run programs more rapidly and receive real-time feedback on whatever they are studying, an asset that would greatly propel research across many fields and make disciplines such as finance and logistics far more efficient. Outside the sciences, quantum technology can also be used to create ultrasensitive sensors, which would be cheaper, easier to use, and more energy-efficient than normal sensors. These sensors could vastly improve the safety and monitoring of oil and gas deposits and construction. Right now, China and the United States are both competing to be the undisputed leader of quantum technology. China’s quantum technology patents outnumber those in the U.S. by roughly two-to-one, but the U.S. wins out by beating China in the number of quantum computing patents by a factor of three. Both countries are investing heavily in quantum technology, and their battle reflects a larger fight for technological and political dominance in the world. Even though this future is still far away and quantum computing still needs a lot more work to be a commercially widespread and technologically viable field, the fact that quantum computers are now proven to outperform classical computers on such a scale is a major achievement in and of itself.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Arts and Entertainment Literature Emma Donnelly / The Spectator
By SUAH CHUNG
Cheap A$$ Lunch #3: Big Shack: Burgers’ Definitely Hot
By MATTHEW WAGMAN
Their signature item, the ShackBurger, is delicious, with juicy chewy beef ($5.77). Crisp and fresh-ish tomato, lettuce, and onion top it off, not to mention the complement of the creamy Shack sauce and cheese.
ting them with cheese sauce for an extra dollar gives you some pretty basic movie theater nacho goop—barely cheese but not too sugary, salty, or rubbery. Their signature item, the ShackBurger, is delicious, with juicy chewy beef ($5.77). Crisp and fresh-ish tomato, lettuce, and
tion, but its quality is marked— there are so many people are there that you’ll probably have to sneak over to the seating at the Italian restaurant next door to get a table. Now, the only trouble you’ll have is whether you can afford a second burger.
It was a bright, crisp summer day, and I was bored, so I went to one of the many bookshelves in my house to search for a book. I rummaged through a short, wooden bookcase in the corner, not expecting to find much. However, I came across a small book with an off-white cover and red border. It was titled “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom and seemed pretty boring beyond that. I was about to put the book down, but the peculiar subtitle on the cover, “an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson” caught my eye. Thinking that there was no harm in reading just a few pages, I turned to the first page. In this novel, I found a heart-warming true story about a sociology professor named Morrie Schwartz, who was diagnosed with ALS, a fa-
rie says, “When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” With limited time left in his life, Morrie disregards any urge to suppress his emotions, which is the social norm. He argues that most people are uncomfortable when people yell or weep in public because they shy away from vulnerable and personal displays of emotion. Morrie knows from personal experience of loving his family and fearing his disease that fully embracing his emotions is the only way to let go if need be. The clarity of these exchanges are apparent through Albom’s direct writing style. Though there is a smaller emphasis on the descriptions of the setting and characters, the personality traits of the people he describes glow brightly in contrast. Every Tuesday he visits Morrie, Albom reflects, “I came to love the way Morrie lit up when I entered the room.” Throughout scenes like this,
tal disease that weakens one’s muscles. The story is told by Albom, Morrie’s student in college. Albom narrates the conversations he has with Morrie every Tuesday after Albom reconnects with him sixteen years later. The book is told mostly in chronological order, with a couple of past memories sprinkled in between. Though this may seem like a lack-luster summary, the uniqueness of “Tuesdays with Morrie” stems from the topics of the two’s conversations— the essential life lessons. These lessons cover a range of personal topics such as a fear of aging, emotions, regrets, death, and marriage. The conversations approach these topics in an empathetic and transparent manner. For example, when talking about emotions, Mor-
Albom noticeably excludes the setting or descriptions of texture or color, which could divert focus on Morrie’s personality and the weight of his words. On one Tuesday, Albom and Morrie discuss keeping up with recent news. Albom reflects on how across the numerous articles he has written and interviewed for in the news business, none of the stories affected him. Yet right after Morrie discusses how he saw a shooting of innocent people on television, he cries. Albom recalls, “Morrie, for the suffering of people half a world away, was weeping.” He describes Morrie’s sympathy with an honest familiarity absent in biographies or new articles. Since Albom knows Morrie and his past experiences so
Dorothy Wang / The Spectator
The first time my 80-yearold grandpa went to Shake Shack, he came back and said, “My only complaint with their burgers was that I didn’t eat two of them.” This was at one of the original Shake Shack locations before it launched into a worldwide chain with six locations in Qatar, let alone the countless ones in NYC. It has become a well-respected chain. Yet, many of its prices are inaccessible for many Stuyvesant students. However, the one closest to the school is kind enough to offer a 10 percent discount, bringing ShackBurgers closer in reach for much of the Stuyvesant populace, even if it means resorting to Cup Noodles by the end of the week. I brought over a whole caravan of buddies to Shake Shack, only to find it quite crowded. Luckily, the line moved fast, and the staff was forgiving if you made dumb mistakes like splitting the bill incorrectly. I initially didn’t want to get fries, but I realized they were an essential part of any burger joint, so I relented. The fries were salty and a crinkle-cut style, light but having something in them that suggests they came from a potato at some point ($3.03). Get-
onion top it off, not to mention the complement of the creamy Shack sauce and cheese. Sadly, those that care a bit more for animals may be disappointed by the limited scope of the offerings. The Shroom Burger, the sole vegetarian option besides fries, is a surprisingly good patty of crispy bread, tangy cheese, and flavorful succulent mushroom, topped with lettuce ($7.34). Returning to formerly walking edibles, the Chicken Shack is made of soft breaded white meat and is pretty darn good, but a bit bland ($6.95). Perhaps the most interesting is the SmokeShack, a brilliant creation loaded with smoky crisp bacon and pleasantly savory and spicy cubed cherry peppers ($7.24). The patty is a bit redundant and may as well be the fake meat found at other chains, with the showy toppings obscuring its taste and reducing it to an extension of the bun. Speaking of the buns, they’re mostly nondescript, soft, and not of much account, but manage to hold in the patties decently well. While the majority of the menu is still pretty expensive, the prices are definitely worth it for anyone who wants something more than McDonald’s “burgers” or the inartful deli attempts. It’s not in a central loca-
“A Teacher to the Last” personally, he doesn’t speculate on Morrie’s actions or motivations. Furthermore, Albom doesn’t omit any mistakes of his or Morrie’s, letting the narration flow naturally. After Albom hears about Morrie’s diagnosis, he calls him asking to visit. Albom states that when he saw Morrie outside of his car window, his old professor beamed at him, but Albom finished taking his business call first. Reflecting on his memory, Albom states that he was not proud of his actions. But this inclusion of his slight character flaw illuminates his later changed values. He later mentions turning off his phone completely for his plane ride to Morrie’s, letting his business calls wait until after his visit. The inclusion of human mistakes in the novel makes the author’s growth genuine. At the beginning, Albom was uncomfortable with Morrie’s crying, but on the last Tuesday, Morrie had “a fleeting moment of satisfaction” because he made Albom cry during their goodbye. As the Tuesdays pass by, the novel outlines the transition from Albom being emotionally closed to showing his raw feelings. Morrie’s openness helped Albom confront his own emotions and repair the relationship with his brother, ensuring that Albom also lives his life to the fullest. To provide this emotional depth, Albom uses analogies to tie up the story. In a conversation with Morrie, Albom listens to Morrie’s story about a little wave who was sad after it discovered that it will crash into the shore and become nothing. It was finally told by another wave that it was not a wave, but “part of the ocean.” This cute but deeply philosophical anecdote illustrates how a person eventually dies and returns back into nature and that we are merely little waves “bobbing” in the ocean. In addition, mirroring his senior thesis in college, Albom describes his visits to Morrie as his last class and the resulting novel his senior thesis. He formats the book in a similar way, including chapter titles like “Taking Attendance,” “The Syllabus,” and “Graduation.” These chapters may seem arbitrary and out of place but they gradually start to gain meaning through Albom’s incorporation of his college memories with Morrie. This analogy beautifully highlights Albom and Morrie’s relationship as student and teacher, while also expressing how Albom still treasures his old teacher’s words. “Tuesdays with Morrie” is a memoir that offers a unique perspective of aspects of life that people take for granted. Through Morrie’s life, the lucid prose emphasizes the significance of family and loved ones, providing a fresh appreciation of life. All in all, the memoir contains “life’s greatest lesson,” which isn’t as simple or clear-cut as one would expect. As W. H. Auden, one of Morrie’s favorite poets said, “Love each other or perish.”
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Arts and Entertainment Television By CAROLINE PICKERING
Music By THEO KUBOVY-WEISS This past year has been a tumultuous one for Kanye West: In addition to the multiple postponements and ultimate cancellation of his album “Yandhi,” West has been caught up in many public relations scandals including proclaiming that slavery was a choice on live TV and publicly supporting Donald Trump, serving as a liaison between the African-American community and the GOP. This turmoil ultimately led West to become a born-again Christian and fully embrace religion, despite fluctuant levels of devotion throughout his career. His journey as a born-again Christian led him to perform at several Sunday services across the country, adapting his existing catalog to be more reminiscent of gospel and performing it weekly. His Sunday services culminated in the production of “Jesus Is King,” a gospel album that, following a hectic and seemingly disorganized weekend of shifting release dates, has yet to be released to the public. West has had an interesting and often-changing relationship with religion throughout his ca-
ity of the overbearing presence of the super-rich in the government with the rise of youth activism in America. We see issues such as conspiracies, cover-ups, gun violence, mental health, and discrimination frequently and eloquently talked about by the high-schoolcharacters. “The Politician” really stands out as one of the few shows that actually takes note of the rise of teenagers who are becoming increasingly vocal for change in their communities. Though the show features more drama than satire, the super-rich characters who regularly flaunt their wealth as they run neck to neck with each other for the top political power in the school
in like his stereotypical fraternity “bro” brothers, Martin and Luther (Trevor and Trey Easton). Paying extra to get into better colleges is a tactic that, up until the recent scandal regarding college admissions, was used by wealthy families to get their children in based on their socioeconomic status rather than on their actual merits, stealing the space of a student who is likely more talented than they are. However, as it is a show that portrays the youth of America, it is important to commend “The Politician” on its LGBTQ+ representation, seeing as nearly every main character is either LGBTQ+ or portrayed by LGBTQ+ actors, such as Theo Germaine, a trans-
Suhana Wasika / The Spectator
From “Stranger Things” (2016) to “Insatiable” (2018), Netflix’s portrayal of teenagers has been known to be fairly hit or miss, and when they miss, they miss badly. It is because of this that some might take caution at their latest teencentered drama, but have no fear: “The Politician” is a deeply engaging and intense story that will leave you begging for more. Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) is a senior at Saint Sebastian High School with a dream to become president of the United States. He and his close circle of allies and advisors have their entire lives planned out before them in their pursuit of the White House, to the point where they seem like dangerously unstable individuals. They appear to have the school presidential election secured until Payton’s tutor-turned-lover River (David Corenswet) announces his candidacy with a heart-wrenching speech about his mental health struggles that have led to attempted suicide. Payton and his team then suddenly scramble to get back in the voters’ good graces, especially when River announces his running mate, Skye Leighton, who is a gender non-conforming gay student of color. Knowing they need a running mate the student body will feel sympathy for, the Hobart candidacy decides on Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch), a girl with cancer whose grandmother seems a tad over-enthusiastic about all of the free trips and meals she’s been offered due to her granddaughter’s illness. Hiding behind the sunny pastel colors of Santa Barbara, California, every character has their share of twisted secrets that will leave even the most psychic of viewers dumbfounded. The series easily gets across its theme of political satire by combining the sick real-
“The Politician” Breaks Barriers as a Political Drama About American Teenagers
is not unlike the political landscape we see in Washington today, where you can only be in the best seats if you are a white, male, Ivy League graduate. In fact, Payton’s adopted mother, Georgina (Gwenyth Paltrow), even says that the only reason Payton doesn’t make it into Harvard is that Harvard had expected Payton to pay his way
non-binary actor who plays James, Payton’s campaign manager and closest friend. It can also be noted that every main female character has an equally important and complex storyline as the male ones do, with powerful leaders such as Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton) taking center stage as Payton’s main foe in the presidential race.
Of course, Broadway geeks do not go disappointed, as Ben Platt’s performance features his stellar vocals. He sings a few song covers over the course of the series that are sure to bring even the most stone-hearted viewers to tears. Platt’s performance is absolutely stunning, portraying an extremely morally and emotionally unhinged character as Payton. Platt gives emotion and depth to a boy who knows no boundaries when it comes to getting what he wants and you will find yourself rooting for him to succeed. Additionally, Gwenyth Paltrow shines in her role as Payton’s seemingly emotionally distant, but ultimately caring mother. She stands out especially alongside Platt’s Payton, who is characterized by raw emotions and ferocious ambition. She characterizes the trapped trophy wife perfectly, staying in a loveless marriage to a wealthy man to protect Payton. In one of her final scenes, she is shown caring for a sick Payton, trying to express her lack of love for life to him. It is a moment that is truly touching as she opens up to her youngest son, wrestling with the fact that if she wants to be truly happy it will come at his expense. Paltrow does a fantastic job of portraying a character in such a state, giving an entertaining and sympathetic performance while still portraying a character who rarely truly emotes. Payton’s journey has only just begun with the results of the school elections at the end of season one setting up the next installment to hit the ground running with a whole new set of challenges for Payton and his team, members and old. With an impactful storyline, superb acting, and gorgeous set and costume designs, “The Politician” is a political satire that, in today’s current political setting, offers a much needed and widely relatable twist on modern politics.
“Jesus Is King” and Kanye’s Rocky Relationship with Religion
reer. Songs on early albums like “Jesus Walks” on “The College Dropout” (2004) embraced formal religion with common references to God throughout his education-themed album trilogy. Later on, however, West shifted toward a less-traditional view of religion. Following his mother’s death and his newfound stardom, West dissociated from traditional religion and instead started proclaiming himself a god. West’s self-deification reached its height on his sixth studio album, “Yeezus” (2013) with songs like “I Am a God” with the name of the album itself being a portmanteau of his name and Jesus. However, with the help of fellow Chicago artist Chance the Rapper, West returned to formal religion around the time of “The Life of Pablo” (2016) which included songs like “Ultralight Beam” and “Saint Pablo.” Unlike what we have seen before, “Jesus Is King” is completely centered around religion, rather than faith being a feature or a sometimes touched-upon topic in West’s music. With a tracklist including “Follow God,” “On God,” and “Sunday,” the album is West’s first full musical
embrace of religion, coinciding with his announcement that he will only make gospel music in the future. While this decision came as a surprise to many, the shift is not as drastic as it seems: West has always been a gospel artist of sorts. He called “The Life of Pablo” a gospel album, despite its relatively close adherence to traditional hip-hop style. Like its unreleased but popularly-leaked predecessor “Yandhi,” “Jesus Is King” had a shaky and ultimately nonexistent release. First teased a month before its announced release date on Kim Kardashian-West’s Instagram, the announcement of the album was met with skepticism because of West’s history of missed release deadlines. A week before the announced Friday, September 27 release date, rumors spread about the album not being released. As midnight came and went, fans were once again disappointed by yet another missed release. The following afternoon, reports of a performance titled “The Jesus Is King Experience” in Michigan surfaced. Following the event, Kardashian-West announced that the album would be released two days later following similar listen-
ing parties in Chicago and New York. During the events, West played a trailer for an IMAX movie detailing his journey as a born-again Christian as well as his album. Cell phones were prohibited during the event, shrouding the performances in mystery. The album played was unfinished with intermittent verses missing from various tracks. That Sunday night, fans awaited the highly-anticipated album only to be let down once again. In the days that followed, reports surfaced that there was no updated release date for the album. While fans were certainly disappointed in the album’s absence, it didn’t come as a surprise. Similarly, in 2016, “The Life of Pablo” was released after a yearlong delay. West has always been a perfectionist, and just as was the case with “The Life of Pablo,” his perfectionism often comes at the expense of timeliness and punctuality. So, as frustrating as it may be to have such a highlyanticipated album be postponed indefinitely once again, West has proven that his complete disregard for deadlines is what makes his music so great.
Classy Death Music By THE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT DEPARTMENT It’s like death, but classier! 1980s Horror Film II Wallows Electronic Pop This Is Halloween Marilyn Manson Gothic Metal I BEEN BORN AGAIN BROCKHAMPTON Hip-hop haunt me (x3) Teen Suicide Indie Pop Afraid The Neighbourhood Alt Rock Coldest Winter Kanye West Rap Via Chicago Wilco Folk Rock Back to Black Amy Winehouse Soul Pop 42 Coldplay Pop Out of the Black Royal Blood Rock Monday Afternoon Marika Hackman Folk Trapdoor Twenty One Pilots Rock Everybody Dies In Their Nightmares XXXTENACION Rap Psycho Killer The Talking Heads Pop (Don’t Fear) The Reaper Blue Oyster Cult Occult Rock
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Arts and Entertainment Film
By FARIHA MABUD
Music By JACQUELINE THOM When I learned that the Humor Department had released a SoundCloud album, I didn’t know what to expect beyond a series of yelling, improvised jokes, and the obligatory ASMR. Not surprisingly, this is exactly what the album consists of, but within its virtual covers, there’s also more beyond the unwanted shenanigans I assumed would be present throughout. “The Five Dollar Album” starts off surprisingly well, with Humor Department Editors Olly Stewart (vocals) and Victor Kuang (guitar) in a hallway. Stewart takes on a faux airy screech as he complains about said hallway’s green aesthetic, crumbs on the floor, and the lack of guitar picks present. Kuang’s improvised guitar is nothing impressive, but his simple strumming is charismatic and lends most of the energy to the piece as Stewart falls in and out of the
becomes a stereotypical eastern European Jew, with parallels to anti-Semitic caricatures in the film’s extended shots of Orlok’s long and pointed nose, the use of dramatic lighting to highlight his dark, bushy eyebrows against a large, pale forehead, and costume design that makes Orlok’s more feminine stature apparent. The medium of film permits further articulations of stereotypes more effectively than the book Orlok is based on. However, the vampire isn’t always used to instigate xenophobia or other forms of hatred. Since vampires aren’t technically human, directors have historically used them to show behavior that would otherwise be too weird or controversial if vampires were otherwise human. This psychological distance is key. In the 1930s, homosexuality in film was essentially banned by the Hays Code, which enforced censorship on American cinema in
scriptwriters managed to subvert censorship, starting with 1931’s “Dracula.” Shawna Kennedy, a horror actress at the Verdun Manor Haunted House in Texas, explains this phenomenon in the 1996 Halloween episode of “This American Life.” “The sexual response and the fear response in human beings is similar—increased heart rate and respiratory rate. Some of the images that we have in Western culture of things that are horrific are also basically sexual,” Kennedy said. “The werewolf is the beast within. Basically, vampirism is just sex from the neck up. You’re penetrating a passive person. It really is a very sexual sort of monster.” The use of vampires as sexual metaphors can stem back to Stoker’s novel. Bram Stoker was a closeted gay man “and a friend of Oscar Wilde, a not-so-closeted gay man,” as Richard Primuth, writer for The Gay & Lesbian Review,
response to an increase in public complaints about the lewd content of movies and the scandalous behavior of Hollywood movie stars. While this can apply to both heterosexual and homosexual media, LGBTQ+ representation was particularly targeted by this code, as it was intended to prevent the normalization and “sexual pervasiveness” of queer characters and their everyday lives, considered by many Christian groups to be unclean and morally corrupt. But even during the Hays Code era, several film directors and
puts it. “[Stoker] began writing Dracula one month after Wilde was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to hard labor. In a nod to Wilde, he used the idiom of Oscar Wilde’s letters to Lord Alfred Douglas in his “Dracula.” Predating Stoker’s novel is the 1872 gothic novel “Carmilla” by Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, which depicts Carmilla, a lesbian vampire, expressing romantic interest toward the protagonist. A key point, though: Carmilla is the antagonist. In other words, homosexuality in vampires were deemed
Shirley Tan / The Spectator
Vampires have been a part of Western pop culture for several centuries. They are perhaps the most universally recognizable character in all of cinema, falling behind only Sherlock Holmes. The archetypal vampire we’re most familiar with has been portrayed over an astonishing 274 times in Western film, which does not include global vampire-themed films and shows. Out of these, the most famous interpretation comes largely from Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” (1931), from which the classic Transylvanian accent and widow’s peak originated. The high collar and cape was introduced by playwright Hamilton Deane to help Dracula vanish on stage and vampires’ sharp canines were popularized by Christopher Lee’s “Horror of Dracula” (1958). This reimagining of the vampire legend is nothing new, with iconic traits such as vampires’ fear of crucifixion, intolerance for sunlight, and lack of reflection in mirrors being added onto 18th century English folk tales in Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel “Dracula.” Vampires, in short, are beings from folklore that subsist by feeding on the vital life force (generally human blood) of the living. In truth, the design of vampires varies drastically depending on its purpose in media. As Stanley Stepanic, a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia, says, “The vampire, it’s called Count Orlok—not Count Dracula in the original—comes from the Dutch, which means war. So there’s some connection there with war and the loss of human life; in particular, young men for Germany during WWI and in the rest of the world too. “It’s also a clear symbol of foreign intervention or a fear of immigrants. Jewish immigration maybe, or Jewish influence,” Stepanic said. “We know the unfortunate tradition of that.” The vampire Stepanic is referring to is the antagonist and title character of the classic 1922 silent horror film “Nosferatu” who is based on Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. To the average individual, the image of Orlok is downright terrifying, but its design may be worth re-investigating as a cultural artifact regarding anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Count Orlok is human-like but foul looking, spreads disease, and reinforces negative Jewish connotations. Within a larger historical and geographical context, Orlok
Vampires: The Adapting Face of Social Commentary OK as both were viewed as otherworldly and morally corrupt. Their depictions offered enough removal from humans to allow for discussion of homosexuality. Similarly, in the filming of “Dracula’s Daughter” (1936), Universal Pictures was well aware of the lesbian implications of a female vampire gazing at a partly nude woman. Though it was later changed to have the woman clothed and the camera cuts away before she’s bitten, the homoerotic undertones are still present. The same point is largely emphasized by YouTube’s Now You See It, which published a video on “The Power of the Vampire Myth.” It discussed the general origins of vampires in film history and thus inspired this article. In it, the portrayals of homosexuality are contrasted using two vastly different films: “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Interview with the Vampire” (1994). In “Philadelphia,” lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. However, when his secret is exposed and he’s fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination. “Philadelphia” is ultimately advertising the good homosexual to cater to heteronormative society. Beckett is kind, hard-working, and for the most part, closeted. He never kisses his partner, and the one scene where they share a bed was cut from the theatrical release. These precautions were completely necessary— the film may have been written off as gay media being shoved down straight throats, instead of opening up the conversation it wanted to. In contrast, “Interview with the Vampire,” which came out a year later, goes much further, showing near kisses, sexual frustration, and the main gay couple adopting a daughter. As Now You See It puts it, “When it’s vampires, you can hide your meaning in a symbol. Then the movie can have more nuanced characters and discussions. The movie doesn’t need to give us any lectures about homosexuality like ‘Philadelphia’ does.” Now, instead of heavily influencing the ostracization of marginalized groups, vampires in film were calls for acceptance and normalization. Take, for instance, Joss Whedon’s hit television show, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which ran from 1997 to 2003. The show uses its high school setting and inclusion of vampires and other monsters (representing controversial themes related to adolescence, drugs, and sex) to piece together a
more complete depiction of teen life. The show encapsulates a lot of what we think of vampires today and applies their ambiguity as metaphors on a broader scale, including magic, demons, and human souls as other metaphors. A particular instance of this is seen with the vampire Angel, who—unlike other vampires in the show—has kept his human soul despite being turned. In the Season 2 episode “Innocence,” Buffy has fallen for Angel, a completely ironic situation considering she is a vampire slayer. They sleep together, and it comes with consequences. Due to a gypsy curse that forbids him from experiencing true happiness, Angel loses his soul and the compassion that it gave him. Buffy cries and mourns the loss of the man she once knew and ultimately puts a stake through his heart. It’s a sad counterpoint to the Angel that was already established. Despite vampires being antagonists in the show, Angel was always seen as the exception. There’s a fantastical element to his reversion, a feeling of betrayal in his casual cruelty that leaves Buffy feeling hollow and alone. It’s a radical spin off of the vampires of the Hays era, featuring a more direct and realistic parallel to human sexuality and relationships. There are also the not-so-subtle nods toward bigotry in “Buffy” with Xander, a member of Buffy’s Scooby Gang. Disgusted by demons, Xander often refers to Spike, a vampire who joins their gang, as “it,” despite Spike’s ability to exhibit love, loyalty, and appreciation without a human soul. Xander ends up being involved with Anya, a former demon turned human, and they get engaged. At their wedding, however, Xander’s family doesn’t mingle well with Anya’s many demon friends, with his father calling them “circus folk,” something akin to the derogatory slang used for gypsies. Ultimately, because vampires are larger-than-life creatures, their use them in film has allowed human problems to be depicted in an indirect way that makes them easier to understand. As sociocultural ideas and anxieties have evolved over generations, so too has the legacy of the vampire. The comfortable distance they provide allows for directors to make powerful social commentary without the full responsibility. Vampires throughout film history are vessels for the taboo. After all, when you’re a bloodthirsty monster, who cares about your sexual preference?
The “Five Dollar Album”: The Humor Department’s Musical Debut
supposed “metal” voice that he’s using and later, drops off singing altogether. Excepting Stewart’s vocals, this seems to be the case with several of the songs on the album; “Olly Solo!” and “Folk Lentil Soup Didn’t Work -” are just a few examples of when Kuang’s guitar (and occasionally bass) take center stage, often among echoing and distracting ambience with no particular rhythm present. Later, the album stops catering to what you’d expect from a music album and becomes more of a observer-who-can-onlyhear-what’s-going-on-but-it’s-soloud-that-you-don’t-really-knowwhat’s-going-on-so-it’s-just-a-perpetual-state-of-confusion type of situation. For some listeners, this might be okay, but for others, it can be a distracting and unpleasant experience. Even tracks where there’s an attempt at spoken word (e.g. “Russian My Chemical Romance” and “Russian Thing I Don’t Re-
member Lmao”) aren’t easy on the ears and instead add another layer of sound to an already noisy recording environment. That’s not to say that the lyrics, which are just covers of “I Want It That Way” and an unknown lullaby, aren’t somewhat funny when you manage to hear them. However, when actual music does punctuate the periods where only air conditioning and indistinct talking can be heard, it’s a relief and makes the beats that much sweeter. “I Just Love Her (Do You Know What I Mean)” is one of the highlights of the album. It’s sung by guest artist MC Bizkits, who isn’t listed on the track (I found out later in an interview with Stewart). Bizkits sounds eerily like a mildly convincing London version of Stewart, but who’s to say? It’s how often Bizkits vocalizes his love for Her Royal Highness against a backdrop of jazzy piano that is striking. While the lyr-
ics aren’t particularly deep and are in fact slightly worrying because of Bizkits’ tendency to say “I would die for the Queen” and “She’s the love of my life,” the song’s rhyme scheme is comedic, impressive, and consistent throughout. Bizkits ends the song with a chuckle, and listeners immediately dive into “Failed Diss Track,” which, despite the name, doesn’t feature disses, only a unique mix of electric guitar riffs, piano, and a lot of GarageBandtype percussion. After listening to the “Five Dollar Album,” one must wonder whether it was originally intended to be a musical endeavor before it veered wildly off track. Of the 27 pieces listed, only a handful were legitimate songs, or at least amateur guitar solos. I genuinely wanted more of them. All the others were just random streams of consciousness, like when Stewart and Arts & Entertainment Editor Emma Linderman discuss variations of
ASMR in “Wowie Idk What The [expletive] This [expletive] Is Istg.” “Victor’s [expletive] Guitar Demo” was an actual guitar solo and ended off the album quite nicely, legitimately adding character to the project. That’s not to say that there isn’t much character already present in the album. From the start, we know who we’re dealing with: a pair of people who venture off to create something that represents the soul of the Humor Department while consciously or unconsciously refusing to adhere to the standards of normal music. There remains one question: Why is it called “The Five Dollar Album”? Find out in an exclusive Issue 5 interview with Stewart. This is lentil soup It is not gross goop I don’t have to pay for it, that’s good.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Arts and Entertainment Thinkpiece
By EMMA LINDERMAN and YASMINE CHOKRANE
on Entertainment Weekly’s “50 Best High School Films of All Time.” Its iconicism, however, hasn’t distracted a more socially conscious era of adolescents from raising concerns about the film like the abusive nature of J.D. and Veronica’s relationship and the romanticization of mental illness. In 1988, these dramatizations may have contributed to the humor of the film, but now, they just feel uncomfortable. However, the ultimate morals that the audience gains aren’t lost and prove to be just as relevant, if not more so, to today’s adolescents. A major part of the film is the comparison of high school to society: how today’s youth are victims of condescension and adults’ refusal to take teens seriously can have dramatic implications. During an argument with her mom, Veronica shouts, “Everybody cares about youth, not the individual. All we want is to be treated like human beings, not like guinea pigs to be experimented on and not like bunny rabbits to be patronized.” This resonates with many teens who find themselves trapped in the expectations of today’s adolescents, which, due to a supposed obsession with superficiality as a result of social media, are taken even less seriously. J.D. also sings the song that many teens find themselves part of the choir for when he desperately tries to explain to Veronica: “You don’t get it, do you? Society nods its head at any horror the American teenager can think to bring upon itself.” This line is a motif throughout the film, with notable moments including Veronica’s parents asking her, “So, what was the first day after Heather’s suicide like?” with the same tone used when asking about returning from spring break and Westerberg High’s principal, Pau-
On a typical Thursday night, you can find Stuyvesant students in their usual anxious and tense state. But this upcoming October 31 is anything from a typical Thursday night. The Arts and Entertainment Department surveyed students in the grade-wide student Facebook groups, asking about their plans for this Halloween. The results dictate the unique views of high school students who have the additional stress load of work every day, including Halloween. A total of 109 students responded to the survey and shared their opinions on this unique holiday. When students were asked to reveal their favorite Halloween movie, the first-place title was awarded to Coraline, with Charlie Brown’s Halloween Special and Halloweentown second and third, respectively. Notably, all of the movies are kids movies. In fact, all of the top seven results are rated PG or less, demonstrating the power and influence that nostalgia has on the holiday.
gard any valuable points teenagers make simply because, well, they’re teenagers. As time passes and society modernizes, this fact becomes truer. It has become a pattern that every generation’s reputation is worse than its predecessor’s. Gen X is apathetic, Millennials are lazy, Gen Z is narcissistic, and adults expect each new generation to spontaneously combust because of how incapable they are. Teenagers are already branded as trouble— synonymous with rebellious, angry, and aloof—contributing to the attitude that any tribulations adolescents might face are just what they had coming. The negative or malignant reactions that follow are, simply put, to be expected—because teens will be teens, right? Of course, this proves detrimental when teenagers are
the ones on the streets fighting for pro-active gun regulations, awareness of climate change, and institutionalized discrimination; the legitimacy of these issues are often disregarded by adults when it comes from the mouths of high schoolers. A large majority of teens’ relationships are accused of being superficial. There’s a case to be made that, yes, teenagers can be moody, unreasonable, and filled with angst, but that neither automatically constitutes anything they may say as invalid, nor is it a reason to ignore any intelligent points they may try to bring up. To adults, whether it be 1988 or 2019, adolescents will continue to misbehave and not care. Perhaps, the universality of these truths is why “Heathers” has not disappeared in the thralls of history. It has instead been reinterpreted for today’s culture to varying levels of success. Paramount announced a television reboot of “Heathers” in 2017, much to the outrage of the original film’s diehard fans. With a treatment similar to The CW’s “Riverdale,” the show’s creators seemed to be aiming for a modernized version of the movie, with a script and cast of characters that better reflect today’s youth. The title characters were reimagined with marginalized identities—Heather Chandler being plus-size, Heather Duke being gender fluid, and Heather MacNamara being black and lesbian—while Veronica and J.D. seemed to be modeled after the original film’s beauty ideals, both Caucasian and conventionally attractive. On the surface level, all of this seems like decent representation until upon further examination; it is made glaringly clear that the Heathers are the show’s intended villains and that their main purposes are to be killed off by the two white leads. In
a desperate attempt to translate “Heathers” into the present, the series misses the mark by glossing over the original film’s satirical intentions and casting adult actors for a show about high schoolers. To put things into perspective, Winona Ryder was 15 when “Heathers” began filming, while the show’s youngest lead (Grace Victoria Cox in the role of Veronica) is 24. To greater success, “Heathers” was also reimagined as a Broadway musical. It opened in September 2010 to a decent critical reception before going Off-Broadway in 2014 and eventually making its way to the West End in 2018. Winona Ryder even gave the musical her stamp of approval after seeing it in Los Angeles. Among musical theater-goers, the show is quite well-known and loved, even having amassed its own fandom status for its positive characterizations of teen culture and for giving depth to some of the neglected characters of the original movie. It also expanded on the truly twisted nature of Veronica and J.D.’s relationship. It’s no longer 1988, but “Heathers” has survived the test of time. The film’s subject matter is extreme and its plot is a rollercoaster, but one thing that its modern critics fail to understand is the key element of satire. “Heathers” is not “The Breakfast Club” (1985), “Sixteen Candles” (1984), or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ” (1986), and it is well aware of that. The film should be watched with the general understanding that it is more than a simple chick-flick, and instead, a commentary on the persistent lack of adult understanding that is expressed toward the teenagers of both the past and present. The elements of adolescence that John-Hughes-esque movies seem to miss are what “Heathers” gets exactly right.
A Stuyvesant Halloween
Culture By MORRIS RASKIN AND SHIVALI KORGOANKAR
line Fleming, addressing each student’s death with increasing desperation and sensationalism. J.D.’s line circles back to the idea that adults often disre-
Sophie Poget / The Spectator
“Heathers” is, to this day, a cultural phenomenon that we remember for its iconic lines (“Our love is God. Let’s get a slushie.”) and making murder cool again. A dark take on the high school stereotypes that film executives were pumping out in the 80s, “Heathers” stands out amongst the crowd as a hilariously depressing take on the nature of cliques with a surprisingly heart-warming message that proves itself to be just as relevant to this day. “Heathers” tells the story of Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) whose best friends are the most popular girls in Westerberg High: Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty), Heather MacNamara (Lisanne Falk), and the all-powerful Heather Chandler (Kim Walker). This power dynamic all changes when Veronica becomes enamored with Jason “J.D.” Dean (Christian Slater), a broken, cynical, grew-up-on-the-wrong-side-ofthe-tracks outsider. Together, Veronica and J.D. try to restructure the high school hierarchy by murdering the students who help enforce it. The movie ends up being way more hilarious than you’d think. Part of it stems from the film’s self-awareness—the characters acknowledge the ridiculous nature of the plot while trying to maintain a seriousness about it—but most of “Heathers” humor comes from its shock value, namely how violent it is for a film that starts like any other happy-go-lucky teen drama. At the time it was released, “Heathers” garnered a highly critical reception, but not nearly enough box office revenue. In the past 30 years, the film has aged wonderfully and earned itself the status of a cult classic, placing itself at number five
What “Heathers” Gets Right About Teen Angst
As individuals who often find themselves making lastminute plans on Halloween, we were incredibly interested in what the poll-takers planned to do on the holiday. By far, most responders plan to hang out with friends on Halloween (46.3 percent), but a significant portion also plan to do nothing/schoolwork (34.3 percent), and 22.2 percent plan to go trick or treating. Perhaps the most interesting data point is that a mere five percent of poll-takers said that they plan to go to a Halloween party. In much of modern media (“Mean Girls,” “Hocus Pocus”), high schoolers are portrayed as being big on Halloween parties, but perhaps this is not the case with Stuyvesant. It also could be true that Halloween parties are going out of fashion or that we only obtained results from non-party-going kids. Either way, this number seems astonishingly low. After this question, students weighed in on the pressing issue of costumes. While we are very pro-costume, we were worried that other students might not reciprocate our affinity for
the unique attire. Nearly onethird of poll-takers responded that they, unfortunately, would not dress up in traditional garb this Halloween. However, 33.7 percent of the respondents said that they do plan to wear a costume, both during and after school. A combined 14.5 percent of students said that they would wear a costume either after or during school, but not both. We truly hope that part of the 26.2 percent of undecided voters decide to don a costume, because otherwise our numbers might run a bit scarce, and there’s nothing worse than showing up to school in a costume, only to find that you are a sorrowful outlier. Halloween is generally known as a day where we celebrate the innocence of children, who dress up as their favorite characters or celebrity and go door to door looking for candy. But one haunting question forever looms: How old is “too old” to trick or treat? When we asked high schoolers for their opinion, the results differed from our expectations. A mere 9.8 percent thought we were too old, while 41.5 percent of
voters agreed that high schoolers don’t exceed the age of adolescence. Stuyvesant students clearly disagree with the stigma surrounding teenagers trick or treating, which is peculiar. But what would Halloween be without the sweet treats? We remember creating a list of the best houses every year to record which people gave out the King Size chocolate bars, as opposed to the Fun Size. To many, the greatest part of Halloween night remains competing with your friends to see who got the best and the most candy. While there are usually dozens of candies to choose from, most people have a definitive favorite that they attempt to trade for every year. We put this to the test and asked the respondents about their favorite Halloween candy. The leading answer, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, was expected. In fact, the answers were all fairly predictable. Kit-Kats, Sour Patch Kids, and Twix came in second, third, and fourth respectively, which makes complete sense. Some candies are just undeniably and universally amazing.
When you think about Halloween, nostalgic memories of crazy costumes or late nights with old friends probably flow into your head. As we grow older, we experience the societal obligation to mature and move away from childish activities. Instead of receiving candy, we may now be tasked with handing out candy to the eager children at our front door. Yes, this survey told us about Stuyvesant students’ favorite candy and movie, but it also demonstrated that no matter how old and mature we may want to be or are told to be, a large part of who we are comes from our childhoods. We must not think of Halloween as an excuse to hang out with friends, but instead as a day to remember and cherish the time of our life where costumes and candy were everything. So regardless of your views, we hope that on October 31 you take the time to commemorate your beginnings and help make Halloween memorable for the kids that knock on your door, exclaiming, “Trick or treat!”
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Arts and Entertainment No One’s Laughing Now
Film By SYEDA MALIHA
Many viewers were curious as to how Phoenix would inter-
character is honed to perfection. The audience can easily distinguish Arthur Fleck from the Joker because of Phoenix’s acting. Arthur Fleck’s tense posture, eye movement, and hand gestures are completely different from Joker’s more relaxed nonchalance. Phoenix has no over the top fight scenes or high budget costumes, but he captivates his audience through his movements and cha-
takes away Fleck’s medical treatment, shows no remorse for his illness, and rejects his dreams of being a comedian, leaving him feeling invisible and alone. In the end, it is Gotham who kills Arthur Fleck and has to pay for its callous nature. At one point in the movie, Joker is portrayed as a vigilante who stands up for the working man. The clash between the two
It’s at once both unnerving and cringy, which makes him so enthralling to watch. It is Phoenix’s performance that truly makes “Joker” exceptional. In his mockumentary, “I’m Still Here” (2010), he plays a fictionalized version of himself retiring from acting to pursue a hip-hop career. While filming, Phoenix decided to stay in character off camera and appeared on media outlets as a distraught actor. It is Phoenix’s dedication to his roles that makes his acting authentic. Every aspect of Joker’s
risma. Opposite Phoenix is the city of Gotham itself. It is not merely just the setting—it is the primary character and the main antagonist of the film. Right off the bat, the film shows a newsreel of the current rat infestations on the streets of Gotham. The people living in Gotham are no better than the streets. Fleck gets beaten by a group of kids and then again by rich Wayne Enterprise employees. Civilians are ill-mannered and they scoff at Fleck’s mental illness. It’s Gotham who
classes is a prominent feature in Phillips’s storyline. Members of the higher class in Gotham are hostile and apathetic toward the lower class. In one particular scene, Thomas Wayne and his associates are seen laughing and enjoying a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” (1933), which tells the story of a struggling working man portrayed as a bimbo. Like Chaplin’s film, Phillips’s shares the theme of finding humor through pain. He also makes numerous other homages to films like the Robert
Aries_Ho / The Spectator
At first glance, making a movie about the origin story of the Joker seems counterintuitive. One of the main features of the crazed clown that makes him so successfully frightening is his unknown origin. The Joker is not a man of many layers, just one: evil. But, pure evil does not show up out of thin air. It takes years of cruelty and negligence to create a madman. Director Todd Phillips took a risk in trying to tell the story of the most infamous villain of all time without humanizing him but it paid off. “Joker” introduces us to Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), an aspiring stand-up comedian who works as a party clown. At home, he lives with his delusional mother, Penny—their relationship is unorthodox, to say the least. Fleck bathes with and sleeps in the same bed as his mother, and she overlooks her son’s misery. When Fleck goes to work, he is constantly harassed by his insensitive coworkers, who view him as a freak. To cope with his bleak thoughts, Fleck visits a psychiatrist who fails to listen to his concerns. He also tries to find comfort in his next-door neighbor (Zazie Beetz). The only time when Arthur seems to be genuinely happy is when he comes home and watches his favorite late-night talk show host, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). Known for his comedy, “The Hangover” (2009), Phillips brilliantly incorporates dark humor throughout the film, almost forcing viewers to laugh at Fleck’s fall into total insanity. The director also brings a level of vulgarity and violence unseen in any other movie in the DC or Marvel Cinematic Universe. Every one of the Joker’s kills is both intimate and disturbing and grows more so as the film continues. The evolution of Joker into an even more unhinged character than we thought is completed by the replacement of the classic dark purple and green suit into a vibrant red and orange one that stands out in the gloom of Gotham.
pret the Joker’s signature laugh. In previous films, the Joker’s laughter symbolized insanity; in Phillips’s, it represents immense pain and isolation. In fact, Fleck suffers from an illness that causes him to laugh uncontrollably. His unnatural laughter is apparent every time he is in an uncomfortable or traumatic situation—he laughs for minutes at a time, nearly choking in the process.
De Niro-starring “Taxi Driver” (1976) and “King of Comedy” (1982). Like “Joker,” both these films tell the story of a loner trying to find his purpose but eventually falling down the wrong path. The evolution (or devolution) of Arthur Fleck is fast-paced. Fleck is on a mission to search for his identity and he ultimately accomplishes his goal. He justifies his actions and his new persona by warning people that they get what they deserve. By the end of the movie, audiences neither sympathize nor condone Joker’s actions, but rather, they understand them. When Fleck transitions to Joker, he is happier and healthier. He begins to embrace his laughter and find humor in his tragic life. Throughout the film, Arthur struggles to find purpose in his life, but when he becomes Joker, he is motivated and fulfilled. The tone of the film shifts from depressing to celebratory. At the beginning of the film, the environment is gray and grim, but toward the end, it is warm and vibrant. Though his actions are atrocious, audiences come to accept that Joker is the villain that Gotham deserves. As compelling as the film is, “Joker” has garnered mixed reviews and criticism. The main concern that critics had with the movie is that it would promote gun violence. After watching the entire film, however, it does not send the message that violence is the answer. Rather, it forces us to take a minute to evaluate the society we live in today. Is it okay to laugh at the expense of others? What actions are we taking to help people with mental illness? “Joker” urges audiences to be more forgiving and sympathetic to those around us who are struggling. Phillips explores the idea that the Joker wasn’t born in a night. He wasn’t born after falling into a container of toxic chemicals or after a failed robbery. It takes years of physical and mental abuse, an unforgiving society, and a crushed dream to turn a man into an emblem of wickedness.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Arts and Entertainment film
A&E Talks About Which of Tim Burton’s Films is the Most Halloween Themed By THE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT DEPARTMENT
Beetlejuice - Emma Linderman Only the second of Burton’s feature-length films, “Beetlejuice” grossed 80 million dollars and was a favorite among critics when it was released in 1988. The plot follows a recently deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who, with the help of “bio-exorcist” Betelgeuse (you know how it’s pronounced) (Michael Keaton), set out to haunt their house after an eccentric new family moves in. Perfect for Halloween, “Beetlejuice” has just the right amount of snakes, bugs, and death-related humor—not to mention a soundtrack featuring the Calypso hits of Harry Belafonte, notably “Banana Boat (Day-O)” and “Jump in the Line.” The film has no shortage of eye-popping effects and visuals and went on to claim the Academy Award for Best Makeup in its year of release. Likely contributors to the film’s success are its cast, which includes Catherine O’Hara as high-strung sculptor Delia Deetz, the late Sylvia Sidney as a caseworker for the dead, and Winona Ryder as the goth and self-described “strange and unusual” Lydia Deetz. “Beetlejuice” established Burton as a notable director, Ryder as a young actress to watch, and itself as a cult classic; the film was later adapted into a children’s cartoon and most recently, a stage musical. In the 30 years since its release, “Beetlejuice” has aged well and remains a crowd-pleaser both on Halloween and year-round.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - Christine Lin
One of Tim Burton’s more recent movie adaptations, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” is a must-watch for anyone trying to get into the Halloween spirit or even just looking for a costume idea. It features Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield), a young boy, who discovers clues left behind from his grandfather to a mystery spanning generations. It leads him to Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children, where he learns about the residents, their special powers (peculiarities), and eventually his own. This film features characters with abilities like the power to manipulate fire or levitate. They never age and are trapped within a time loop that causes them to live the same day over and over again. Burton does a great job with conveying these peculiarities to the viewer—his film being a visual experience like no other while still containing some familiar tricks that long-time fans can trace back to his classics (i.e Edward Scissorhands). With Burton’s air of beloved whimsicality layered atop a dark and grim fairytale, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is the perfect movie to watch during Halloween. Even if you aren’t a fan of fantasy-themed films, give it a shot. After all, nothing says Halloween more than a movie about people with preternatural powers.
Frankenweenie - Ismath Maksura
Though it’s a bit of an obscure and strange entry in Burton’s long filmography, “Frankenweenie” was one of the first Tim Burton films I’ve watched and the one that sticks with me even today. “Frankenweenie” is a black and white stop-motion animation released in 2012 as an homage to “Frankenstein” (1931) and the first of its kind to appear in IMAX 3D. It follows a young boy named Victor Frankenstein (yes, like the original) who loses his dog Sparky after Sparky was struck by a car. Soon after, a depressed Victor becomes inspired after his science teacher shows him how electricity affects dead frogs, prompting him to bring Sparky’s corpse to his makeshift attic lab. He then successfully reanimates his dead dog using lightning. This action sets off a chain reaction within his town, resulting in many more dead animals coming back to life. This odd twist on a classic tale is definitely unique in its aesthetic choices, with the black and white imagery creating an unsettling atmosphere. However, the movie still manages to tell a heartwarming story about the bond between children and their pets. This movie is definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re like me and prefer Halloween aesthetics over spooks and gore.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Morris Raskin
In Burton’s 2005 adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the audience is taken on a visually stunning joyride around Willy Wonka’s coveted candy plant. And truly, what is more quintessentially Halloween than a movie revolving around the very idea of candy? While the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) movie will forever be a classic, Burton puts his own unique spin on the tale, adding new subplots, visual elements, and character arcs. While Johnny Depp’s performance as Willy Wonka might be a bit too bizarre for many viewers, he definitely makes the part his own. The rest of the characters do a great job whisking you into their world and making their strange characters into relatable personalities. Burton’s influence is obvious in every scene. He takes a concept, like a broken down cabin or a room made of candy, and makes it completely surreal. It takes multiple viewings to fully understand all of the intricacies that the director places in the movie and even then, there’s so much to uncover. If you are looking for a fun, wacky Halloween experience, then “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is the movie to watch.
Alice In Wonderland - Irene Hao
Yes, it’s not an official Halloween film, but Burton’s 2010 film “Alice in Wonderland” is a Disney fantastical adventure as visually impressive, if not more so than its successor, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (2016). The storyline is based off of Lewis Carroll’s famous novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” It is one of the creepier children’s books with illustrations that enhance how strangely grotesque and sadistic the characters are. Burton interpreted the books and shaped the movie’s plot for adult audiences. Instead of Alice visiting Wonderland for the first time, she revisits the land in her late teens to discover her first one had been remembered and her destiny was to defeat the Red Queen. Each character is so brilliantly unique and colorful that it’s as if Alice herself entered a Halloween party instead of a mad tea party. Though the last few scenes of the film are reduced to lackluster, action-packed sequences with no plot-driven substance, Burton did a brilliant job in his reinterpretation of a long-time classic tale into modern media.
The Nightmare Before Christmas - Jesse Hammer Quite apart from being a great Halloween movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a great film in general. It demonstrates the all-too-human conditions of solitude and love, as Sally the ragdoll’s (mostly) unrequited love for Jack Skellington engenders fierce sympathy from the viewer. Danny Elfman’s often haunting, often amusingly zany score has the power to take the viewer through the whole range of human emotions, and the character design is brilliantly spooky. Deane Taylor’s all-too-often overlooked art direction leads to some iconic shots, such as Jack singing “Jack’s Lament” atop Spiral Hill and the entirety of my personal favorite song from the film, “This Is Halloween.” Though Burton did not direct this film, he arguably had the greatest hand in its development, producing and co-writing it with director Henry Selick. Additionally, Burton’s imagination was said to have been piqued to write a poem that would become the seed for the concept of the film by seeing Halloween decorations being replaced by Christmas ones in a storefront window. Every aspect of Halloween is studied in detail; whatever the viewer’s favorite facet is—dressing up and trick-or-treating, the scary elements of the holiday, or the funnier and lighter side—“The Nightmare Before Christmas” covers it, and covers it admirably.
Dark Shadows - Julie Grandchamp-Desraux
As the first Burton movie I watched, “Dark Shadows” is, to me, Burton’s best movie for Halloween. The 2012 movie follows Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), who was turned into a vampire and buried alive after breaking a witch’s heart. After 200 years of being buried, he escapes and finds his manor and town to be a completely different place. In order to fit in, Barnabas stays with the extremely dysfunctional remainders of his family still living in his manor. This adaptation is a lot more humorous than the original show, though it maintains the same grimm and gothic undertones. If it’s not making people laugh, then it’s definitely scaring them, as Burton definitely didn’t hold back on jump scares and gruesome moments. As it’s both funny and scary and includes almost every traditional Halloween monster kids have been taught to fear, “Dark Shadows” is genuinely Burton’s best movie for this Halloween.
Corpse Bride - Jacqueline Thom
When one thinks of Halloween, they think of death, skeletons, great jazz, and the crushing harshness of reality. These are exactly the themes that that “Corpse Bride” centers itself around. The 2005 animated film features the ever dynamic duo, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, as Victor Van Dort and the Corpse Bride. When Victor accidentally makes his wedding vows to the Bride, he is suddenly launched into the world of the dead, forcing him to reevaluate his engagement, albeit a forced one, to Victoria Everglot. The film makes clear from the start that the world of the living is more dead than that of the dead. Victor’s home is dreary and muted, almost black and white, as opposed to the fiery purples, oranges, and greens of the land below. His parents and future in-laws are outrageous caricatures of people posing as the wealthy, compared to the fun-loving skeletons whom the Bride lives alongside. As if Burton didn’t already want to let you know that this is a Halloween movie, he brings out his best card: the antagonist of the film is a haughty, big-chinned, boisterous, narcissistic, gold-digging fellow, who (SPOILER ALERT) left his fiancee, the Bride, for dead and thus, is the premise for our movie. For almost a good hour, “Corpse Bride” is a fun time. The obligatory Halloween-themed singing, dancing, and screaming is only interrupted by the actions of a very certain haughty, big-chinned, boisterous, narcissistic, gold-digging fellow who happens to be a living person. Burton is clearly sending messages here. This is a Halloween movie. The best Halloween movie isn’t scary, but is instead very fun.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Humor These articles are works of fiction. All quotes are libel and slander.
Halloween Candy Rankings
By AARON WANG and KELLY YIP The spookiest day of the year is here: Halloween. It’s otherwise known as the day when unsupervised minors are allowed to roam out during the pitch-black night, trespassing property in suspicious disguises, and disturbing strangers for candy. It’s sorta like the candy that dubious old men offer you if you get in their white vans (only get in if they have dark chocolate), except you’re the one demanding candy from unsuspecting households. This means that every house is a gamble of whether you receive treats or cleverly-disguised tricks. The Spectator presents ratings that you should keep in mind this Halloween so that you can keep track of which households are worth the effort of harassing for next year.
Candy Corn A controversial, low-calorie snack that has a taste between cardboard and dried frosting. If you’re a corn fanatic, prepare to be disappointed by these little triangles of not-corn. There are heated debates on whether they should be eaten from the white tip to the base or from the base up (what savages!). However, we all know that the right way to eat them is down the middle. 3/10 Kit Kats A classy and crunchy commodity. Kit Kats are lovely delicacies that offer a perfect chocolate-wafer ratio. They come in a variety of flavors (especially those strange Japanese kinds). However, eating them requires a kind of etiquette that some people lack. We hope everyone knows that the right way to eat
them is by breaking them into two halves along their crease. 8/10
Skittles Classic and colorful. If you’ve ever wanted to taste the rainbow, this would be your closest bet. They’re chewy, artificially fruit-flavored pieces of diabetes encased in a crispy shell of sugar. However, the company has replaced the lime flavor with green apple, which is an unforgivable sin, as lime is clearly the most superior flavor. 6/10 M&M’s A classic, yet they’re classic examples of Communist Skittles wannabes. They look promising in their vast array of colors, but they’re advocates of equality and thus all taste like the same boring milk chocolate flavor. But hey, at least they have a blue color. We also have to bump them up for their “mini” option (they’re so cute!). 5/10 Gobstoppers Basically just pebbles of sugar that you suck on. They’re supposed to change color as your saliva dissolves each layer, but no one with any sense of hygiene would spit them out to confirm this. Biting down on them prematurely can break your teeth… but that won’t even be a problem because with all that sugar dissolving in your mouth plus all the candy you’ve already eaten, you’ll get cavities in no time. 4/10 Tootsie Rolls Hella suspicious brown substance contained in a loose wrapper (what even are Tootsie Rolls? Chocolate? Taffy? Caramel?). They won’t go down
without a fight, as they’ll cling onto and make their way into every crevice that exists between your teeth. However, they have been recognized for saving Marines during the first Korean War if you’re into that historical legacy. 2/10
Smarties Pellets that don’t make you smarter. Contrary to what their name suggests, these boring pellets of sugar won’t help you ace a test or boost your GPA. Also, despite the variety of pastel colors, they all taste the same, and they leave a weird melty, powdery feeling in your mouth. What’s even in them? 4/10 Snickers The composition of a Snickers is nougat, caramel, and peanuts all wrapped in a hug by chocolate. It sounds like a very complex combination if we do say so ourselves. But we must admit that the peanuts and caramel leave a weird texture in your mouth, and you will probably end up getting them stuck in your teeth. It’s like someone on MasterChef trying to impress Gordon Ramsey with a medium-rare, but it turns out to be well-done. Disappointing. 4/10 Milky Way A Snickers without nuts. Honestly, the absence of nuts makes it way better than its preevolution. The presence of the Midnight Milky Way ups the rating! We can’t figure out why it is called a Milky Way, though. Rumors say that they summoned themselves into existence after the Big Bang and were left floating around space for eons, only to be transported to Earth after NASA found them… kind
of cool, I guess? 6/10
Three Musketeers Basically a Milky Way without caramel. We can’t figure out why it’s called “Three Musketeers,” as we only see two components, and we definitely don’t see any elite French swordsmen. Maybe the company is tryna bamboozle us. With only nougat and chocolate, this candy bar is more on the boring side of the spectrum. Perhaps filling it with a chicken nugget instead would give it more flair, but that would be scarier than our hearts can handle. Good thing Three Musketeers is so underwhelming that there’s no chance of getting a heart attack! 3/10 Twix The better cousin of the Milky Way bar. The nougat is replaced with a cracker-like thing! It very easily gives a satisfying “cronch,” yet elegantly maintains the signature longlasting chew… it’s a duo that few culinary geniuses are able to pull off. Our only issue is that the new Twix initiative requires that you have a friend to share it with (the one with the right Twix and left Twix). However, the company now realizes that not everyone has the social capacity to make friends and provide them with pre-separated left or right Twix. The result, though, is a bitter segregation between right and left advocates. 9/10 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Peanut butter chocolatey goodness. The peanut butter taste is quite authentic. Overall, very “well-rounded” (hehe). The only issue is that they’re almost impossible to eat without getting some under your finger-
nails as you attempt to pry the wrapping from the chocolate. 8/10
Milk Duds I mean… at least its name is honest. Dud is pretty much self-explanatory: a thing that fails to work properly or is otherwise unsatisfactory or worthless. Candy with a pretty poor reputation and a lack of selfworth if you can relate. 1/10 Any type of King-Size or Mega-Size Candy A rare delicacy from the wealthiest households. If you’re getting these, you’ve accidentally trespassed into a rich neighborhood in your tattered peasant robes. They’re the jackpot of all candy, likely because of their sizes and the fact that you’re getting these humongous bars free of cost. Getting these should be a quick mission executed when there is no one else in the vicinity, as you’ll easily be recognized by the lack of a Louis Vuitton purse to store your candy and Gucci designer costumes. 10/10
Apples Wait… this isn’t candy. Do people still give out apples for Halloween? Just chuck these in a bush after they go back in the house or something… unless the apples are caramel-covered. In that case, feel free to lick off the caramel before you discard the apple. These are usually given out by witches or people who are scared of doctors. Occasionally, apples will also be given with a bottle of essential oils and a lecture about the dangers of vaccination. Make sure to tell your friends to avoid this house… unless they’re planning on dressing as anti-vaxxers. 0/10
How To Become TikTok Famous for Losers By EMILY CHEN and ERICA SUGIMURA Only true fans remember musical.ly, the good old days when it was a singular Jacob Sartorius and not an army of Emma Chamberlain wannabes, when Baby Ariel and Mona Lisa lip-synced the hottest songs of 2015 and the worst thing you would see was some 14-yearold’s thirst trap. If you are so lucky as to have no idea what we are talking about, well, we’re here to ruin your innocence. TikTok: the breeding place for uncontrollable hair flipping, lip biting, iced coffee drinking, and not so quirky, quirky middle schoolers. First of all, no, it is not the new Vine. It is not Triller, either. But it does happen to get you a large online following without having to film yourself jump into the Hudson or run around with a raw chicken. It’s all about picking your aesthetic, and oh boy, is there a great selection! Eboys: The most famous of them all. These are the bad boys straight out of Wattpad fanfictions. The dudes with black and
white striped shirts, hair parted down the middle, and a whole chain used for BDSM clasped like a metal fence around their necks. Just take a 20-second video of yourself looking into the camera and biting your lips. End the video with a smirk and a wink. Anthony Reeves, Luvanthony, Noen Eubanks—have you heard of them? We would show you a picture of them, but they all look the same. VSCO Girls: NOW I KNOW some of y’all reading this fit into this category. SO DEAR WHOEVER IT WAS THAT DROPPED THEIR HYDROFLASK IN THE HUDSON STAIRCASE AND SAID “sksksksk,” this one’s for you :) Personality wise, it isn’t hard to nail this look. Your wallet on the other hand, well... it’s dedication, yes, that’s the spirit! Interacting with your fellow VSCO girls is easy: remember to Google translate everything into “skskskksk anioop” or else they won’t know what you’re saying. Save the turtles, sksksk, ‘cause “Ohhh shoot, they DO eat plastic.” And as Bretman
Rock says, “Because without turtles… we wouldn’t have any turtles.” Ignore people who question your ultimate comfy lifestyle of oversized T-shirts, Nike shorts, and Birkenstocks, and those who ask, “Emma, why do you have scrunchies… when you have no hair???” You’re doing great, sweetie; your expired Mario Badescu facial spray is quaking. “I-make-tiktoks-atschool”: This is obviously the best one. Easily become, like, the most popular person everrr, like, haha. All you have to do is find a place that is completely inconvenient for literally everyone around you, illegally pull out your phone like the edgy teen you want to be, and start filming yourself hitting the woah to any song that has a beat. The more you look like you’re having an aneurysm, the better. And if you do happen to get caught and your phone is confiscated, don’t worry! That just confirms your edginess and makes your first TikTok even funnier! You’ll practically be guaranteed at least 100k views,
and that’s all that matters. Wise veteran Hannah Lee said, “I was making a TikTok with another student in my gym [physical education, get it right] class, and Mr. Choubaralian came behind us and said, ‘This is a great way to use our phones to socialize! Class, let’s watch this presentation.’” That’s mad funny; don’t let their video flop. Piped Up Songs and Offbeat Dances: TikTok houses dancers and non-dancers. You can definitely tell the difference between who is an actual dancer and who isn’t when you see a dance video for Sage the Gemini’s “Red Nose.” You’re supposed to pop your shoulder out of its socket every time the beat hits and shaaake it like a red nose. It’s even better if you add a woah at the end. But which woah, you may ask. There’s plenty—Jah, Hannah Baker, clock woah, and definitely more. Complete the video by adding an earthquake effect that shakes the whole screen a second before the woah even hits. You should have a Spotify playlist just dedicated to TikTok. Here, add “thatsong-
nooneknowsthenameof ” and “thesongyouknowonelineof.” You Don’t Even Have To Be In The Video: For those of you who are camera-shy, you can still be popular too. Just use your parents and siblings as clout machines, or if your dad left you when you were eight years old, you can use the overused “My dad went to the deli and never came back” joke and get a few thousand pity hearts. But if you have a MILF, simply use the “Hot Mom Check” sound while recording her doing her daily tasks, such as washing the dishes, doing the laundry, just typical women things, and bam, you’ve got yourself at least 500k hearts. The next time you’re in the car with your little brother and he gets dumped by a girl over Snapchat, record him singing “Marvin’s Room” by Drake while crying, and people will love that. And that’s it! Follow our valid tips and advice to instantly become TikTok famous. Just do us a favor: click the three dots on the bottom to share this article but press cancel.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Humor How Dealing With The Devil Shaped Me As A Person
By CHRISABELLA JAVIER
Prompt 1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Everyone wants to be the best. Some want to be the best writer, or the best musician, or the best scientist. During my junior year of high school, I wanted nothing more than to be the best student. To fully understand me as a person, and more importantly, as a potential student for [INSERT COLLEGE I AM SENDING THIS TO HERE], you need to know about Halloween night, 2018. That was the night I made a deal with a demon to bring my dreams to fruition. You must know that my sophomore year was hell. Not the kind of hell that the demon came from, but the hell where your mom denied you food for getting 4s on your AP tests. I had an 89.9 average and scored a 1400 on the PSAT. I was part of only 10 clubs, including
sports teams. I was nowhere near college material. When junior year began, it just got even worse. I began to have a habit of sleep-cryingwhile-studying and started to carve SAT tips into my skin with a mechanical pencil. As my life began falling apart, I found an old book in a closed-down church downtown while trying to find somewhere to sleep after school. I dusted it off and found that it was riddled with incantations and ancient runes. After opening the book, I found various pictures of demon anatomy and steps on how to summon one. Immediately, I began forming a plan. On Halloween night, I drew the pentagram, lit the candles, and cut open a subway rat in order to harness the demon’s power. Once I placed the rat guts in the middle of the symbol, I heard a rush of wind, saw the candles’ fire grow larger than my tiny apartment could handle, and felt a powerful energy surround the room. When I regained my bearings, I looked up to find a demon looking down at me. “Alright,” it said. “What do you want? Money? Fame? Revenge? If
Leggo with Legos By JONATHAN XU It’s that time of year again, you know. Christmas? Nope, Halloween! Going door to door to beg for candy is the only redeeming quality of going back to school, just like how going from pleb to pleb to berate them is the only redeeming quality of dropping a few hundred grand on a pair of gold-plated AirPods. Unfortunately, just like with AirPods, everyone, including your own family, who can’t obtain candy wants to steal it. Why do you think your parents keep telling you that your candy corn contains razor blades (how would they even fit)? Anyhow, here’s how to protect your stash this Halloween! Ingredients: • A big, black witch’s cauldron • 1 cup of glucose syrup • 10 ml of freshman tears • 1 tablespoon of red food coloring • 3 cups of water from the school’s fountains • 2 cups of sugar (bonus points if it’s made by Adam Levine) • My marbles. I lost my marbles when I got my first marking period grades back. • Some LEGO brick molds Steps: Mix two cups of sugar, three cups of water, and one tablespoon of red food coloring in a BBC (short for big black cauldron, but a TV would work
By AMY ZHANG School has barely started, which means that everyone is already thinking of winter break. However, as much as I would like to daydream about Christmas and a whole week of not doing anything (which seems impossible right now), the big corporate retailers have decided otherwise. They seem to live in the future, because they have
you just wanted to see if it was going to work—” “I want to be the perfect student,” I straightened my back. “What do I have to give you to make this happen?” The demon crouched down. “Mere academics, huh, mortal? I can do that.” It pulled out a contract. “Here’s the deal. I will possess you. That’s what I’ll get out of this. I will take over your life, and when you regain control, you will have amazing grades, be in so many extracurriculars, and ace every test. Just sign here, and I will make your pathetic existence everything you’ve ever wanted.” Without thinking, I grabbed my multicolored Muji pen and scribbled my name over the contract. No one ever read the Terms of Service anyway. The demon rushed into my body, and I felt its flames surround my skin as I screeched in agony before I blacked out. When I woke up, I was on my bed, and it was the beginning of senior year. Disoriented, I picked up my phone, only to realize my password wasn’t working. The demon was sitting at the foot of the
bed. “I changed it. Your previous password was 1234. I changed it to 666imdumb666. Much safer,” it said. Once I opened my phone, I went on Messenger and tried to talk to my friends, only for them to blow me off. I looked at my Facebook notifications and found that I was getting enormous amounts of angery reaccs on every one of my posts. “What happened?” I turned toward the demon. “What happened? I just used your body to habituate in this plane of existence. Had some fun.” Memories of the past year began rushing into my head. I remembered how the demon made me act horribly toward everyone I knew. How it made me run for a spot in the Student Union and totally embarrass myself. How it made me act out toward the teachers and got me suspended for two weeks. How it got me caught for academic dishonesty. How it made me scream cringy old memes in the hallways. Then I remembered the last one was just a memory from freshman year. I had perfect grades and was part of 100 extracurriculars, but at
what cost? The demon had made me so obnoxious that no one would even go near me when I entered school. And the worst part was how the teachers reacted toward me. I was always singled out as a troublemaker, as someone to be mistrusted under any circumstances. That’s when I realized that the demon still found a way to destroy my future. Specifically, it totally decimated any chances of me getting a good college recommendation. Now, I am writing this college essay. I am writing this essay to show you how this experience created the person I am today. Every word is essential to both this purpose and the purpose of fulfilling the word count for the application to [INSERT COLLEGE I AM SENDING THIS TO HERE]. I fully believe that this was the most influential part of my life. This experience shaped me as a person. It taught me that everything has a cost. It taught me to anticipate the consequences of things. Most importantly, it taught me to read the Terms of Service at all times.
What’s It Like Being Dead?
just as well). Boil the mixture until it gets as red and angry as your parents when you leave the toilet seat up. Don’t jump [in]. Pour the glucose syrup and freshman tears in. You can use whatever you want to stir your concoction, but I suggest your physics lab book. What? It’s not like your AP Physics I teacher will even check it. Accidentally lose my marbles in the pot just like how you… er… your friend accidentally lost your S’well bottle in the cafeteria. Take the cauldron off the heat and allow it to cool until it’s no longer boiling. Pour the liquid into the LEGO brick molds, and put them in the fridge. You can take them out when Bill de Blasio grants us a snow day (meaning never, haha). In the days following Halloween, make a trail of candy LEGO bricks from the pantry to your parents’ room. Make sure no one knows it’s you, or else you’ll learn that you’re adopted. Keep your eyes and ears open for when your parents try to sneak their way to your secret candy stash, barefoot. We here at The Spectator wish you luck with protecting your Halloween haul. The Spectator cannot be held liable for injured feet, groundings, failed physics labs, lost marbles, or emotional trauma incurred as a result of your parents screaming, “You’re adopted!”
By VICTOR KUANG and HELENA WILLIAMS You know, I’m absolutely flippin’ sick. Literally every damn year in this school, I hear people who get a remarkably high exam score proceed to react in various ways, including, but not limited to, celebrating, crying, clinging on to moments before the ass-whooping they’ll receive from their parents, etc. That’s all cringy, but you know what’s the worst of those reactions? Hearing people say, “Omigod, you guys! I have so much work, and my grades are so low! I wanna die!!” You, a typical kid, are probably wondering, “Well, what is wrong with that statement? It’s just a really cringy, generic quote that’s libel and slander.” See, the problem with this common phrase is that not only do you sound like 3,000 other people, making you lose your individuality, which can be extremely important in the college process, but you’re also wishing for literal death. I mean, why the heck would you do that? It’s not like your high school makes the school from “Assassination Classroom” look like a pre-K. It’s not like you’ve taken your third caffeine pill today, but still can’t keep your eyes open. It’s not like… alright, you get the point. It’s exactly like all the things listed. At this point, you might be thinking, “Wtf is wrong with this dude? This man’s killing our entire culture!” I’ll admit, I didn’t properly introduce my-
self, so allow me to do so now. I am the ghost of Peter Stuyvesant. “There is no way some 400-year-old dead dude knows such vernacular language!” typical you asks, which is actually correct. See, I have decided to hold two of your peers captive just so I can get this message across in the best way that the “kool” kids now speak: using poorly-written English with little to no standard writing conventions! You know, before they named a teenage sweathouse after me, I was having a pretty damn good time in New Amsterdam being governor and all. Then, they had to come in and demolish my hard work, forcing me to live in the Bowery! And even worse, I didn’t go to heaven and see God like I wanted to. I got trapped in purgatory; there is no life or death, only panic and confusion. What you once knew becomes a surprise, for being a ghost makes you act so differently. You young ’uns think you have it tough? I’m trapped between two planes of existence! And now my pegleg is useless whenever people mop the floors because I’m transparent! Despite having amortality, I still have to suffer all the ailments I had when I was alive, including pulling myself along the banisters, groaning and cursing as I do so. And, on the subject of peglegs, can I talk about the football team? Do you think that naming yourselves the Peglegs would honor me? You liter-
ally could’ve named yourselves after ANYTHING else. Y’all could’ve strung two RANDOM words from the English language together, but you chose Peglegs. Do you know how PAINFUL it was with such an excuse of a prosthetic??? Every day I would have to check whether or not some pest was eating it, and that was the LEAST of my issues. The maintenance of it is so PAINFUL that you are lucky your futuristic medicine can give a more realistic representation of a leg. Being a ghost doesn’t help things, no, no, no, it actually WORSENS it. I have NO need for such a DISGRACEFUL artifact anymore, and yet it is STILL bound to me. To find that hundreds of years later, my greatest folly would become the name of a mere sports team is one thing: SHAMEFUL. And yet, despite living in limbo, I feel like I got the lucky end of the deal with death. There are many other afterlives, including, but not limited to, hell, eternal nothingness, or even being reincarnated as a “Pride and Prejudice” character. I just want to publish a general plea in this newspaper. Has anyone, anyone at all, seen my pear tree? I brought it over from the Netherlands, and I named it Toekomstige Houten Been Materiaal, which you kids can run through Google Translate. I haven’t seen it since I died. Please let me know if you find it; I’d kill for a pear. Also, dying sucks, try not to do it.
The “Holiday Season”
no sense of time whatsoever. I can’t go to any store without seeing Halloween things and occasionally, pumpkin spice dog toys. The image is infuriating; I just want to enjoy my bland September and October in peace. Next thing you know, they’re all going to start selling Christmas stuff in July. Some might say, “But Amy, by incorporating this genius business technique, everyone
has more time to buy stuff!” Look, no one needs three months to buy at most 10 things, especially when those 10 things will find themselves in my garbage can at the end of January. And if you’re saying you’re doing this for the procrastinators, they are the last people who will ever buy things three months in advance. You can bet that they will hit the stores on October 30 for Halloween this year, find
nothing, and go as a bedsheet ghost for the fifth year in a row. Or, if you’re special, you’ll buy a jumbo bag of candy and silently eat it in your bedroom, simultaneously avoiding people and saving money on that much candy (you do you). But to those corporate megachains we all know and love (?), please, sell holiday things when it is actually time for that holiday; right now, y’all look dumb. Thanks.
I can’t go to any store without seeing Halloween things and occasionally, pumpkin spice dog toys.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Humor By JASMINE WANG “It was trauma like no other,” freshman Fray DeCat said. “I’ve never feared more for my life, except for when I got my SAT scores back.” DeCat was referring to the latest scandal rocking the halls of Stuy: the Sophomore Caucus-sanctioned escape room that led to the imprisonment of 10 innocent, starry-eyed freshmen. The escape room in question, made to resemble a haunted house, featured events like math teacher Aziz Jumash handing back a failed test, Assistant Principal of Security Brian Moran randomly appearing in corners, taking your phone even if you didn’t have it out, and your old Wattpad fanfictions being displayed to really scare the living daylights out of you. If you managed to connect the clues, you were allowed to escape. If you were
Sophomores Deny Accusations of Trapping Freshmen in Escape Room
unable to solve the puzzle, a big red button that read “I AM A COWARD” could be pressed, opening the back door and allowing you to leave in shame. Group after group went into the room, eventually emerging in, more or less, one piece. One particular group of freshmen went in, expecting the room to be easy. DeCat recalled her first reaction upon entering: “At first, I mean, it didn’t look like much. I couldn’t see much, anyway. Just like, a kind of room, I guess. Less of an escape room and more of a high school classroom with papier-mâché everywhere,” she said. Suddenly, the dim lights went out, leaving them in complete darkness. This
was the only room in which the lights had gone out,
Anita Wu / The Spectator
and the sophomore supervisors were nowhere to be seen. One witness came forward saying that they saw the sophomore on duty at Ferry’s when the power went out. Another anonymous witness claimed to be the one who turned off the lights. No matter the cause, the power was out and the freshmen were left alone and scared. Witnesses passing by heard cries of “Help us!” and “We are terrified!” but assumed it was just another meeting of the speech and debate team and did not seek help. Teachers passing by assumed it was other faculty members. After about two hours of being locked in and alone, with their phones confiscated
by the all-seeing Moran and minds properly terrified by the lack of power, they were rescued by none other than P.E. teacher Marvin Autry himself, who, busting down the doors with his iconic #BestClassEver backwards dab, freed them from their underclassmen terror and caused them to faint out of pure joy. They soon recovered and collectively agreed that this was most likely just a dumb prank. The Sophomore Caucus denied any responsibility in this debacle whatsoever, with a representative claiming, “We have no idea what you’re talking about. This sounds like a gasinduced fever dream written down by a delirious Stuyvesant student. I mean, the plot holes here. Really!” Nonetheless, the truth will emerge. There most definitely was an escape room event in which freshmen were held captive. For sure.
Types of Hackers and How to Protect Yourself
By MOINAK DAS
My Chromebook may have a battery life that’s shorter than my attention span, a screen that’s dimmer than my chances of being asked to JProm, and a trackpad that’s as good as my parents’ mental health advice (“tough it out”), but despite these flaws, this is clearly my computer. I have complete ownership of it, and all the information on it is solely because of me. At least… that’s what I thought. Cyber attacks are spreading faster than rats on the subway. And so, without further ado, here are the types of hackers you’ll encounter: 1. The credit card hacker Let’s start with the hackers who are like, “Your computer has a virus. You must call Microsoft at this number in order for us to remedy the situation,” and proceed to ask about your credit card and social security numbers. Pretty
bold of you to assume I have money, I’m quite flattered. The hackers then proceed to hold your files hostage unless you give them a credit card number. When this happens to me, I usually just give it to them. It’s not like they can mess up my credit any more than I already have. But if that doesn’t work for you, you can always try option number two: just get any friend named Karen on the phone. Trust me, Karen’ll know what to do.
2. The bitcoin miner To the guy who put a bitcoin miner in my FitGirl Repack, my $200 Chromebook will carry you far. A bitcoin miner should mine bitcoin and, thus, make money. Of course, this assumes you don’t own a computer with the processing power of a ripe potato. As for the hacker, have fun mining for a few seconds, then watch the screen go dark as my laptop sputters and dies—kinda like a freshman taking their first hit on a JUUL (aww, they grow up so fast). I honestly don’t blame
the guy, though; maybe this is a sign that I shouldn’t be pirating Forza Horizon 4 on a glorified tablet (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was broke). 3. The counter-espionage chief We have the classic “The government… IS SPYING ON YOU.” Aside from the humanized cheeto-in-chief, I think the FBI’s got more things to worry about than my 90 GB homework folder—okay, fine, it’s actually the Bible, but that’s because He is so wonderful! Even if they did check on me once, I doubt they would do it again. Those poor FBI agents would’ve been blinded by such holy power. The stuff on my laptop would turn anyone into a believer. And even though the government has thousands of ways to hack your webcam, you can always stay one step ahead with a slightly more innovative technological advancement—masking tape. Have a questionable browsing history? Incognito mode. Need to go a step fur-
ther? VPN. Downloading Minecraft for free? Nothing can help you here, welcome to the FBI watchlist.
4. Indian call centers These are the people whose names make Chuck Norris sound un-American. The minute you pick up the phone and hear “Saar, yor compootar haas viroos,” you know it’s going to be a long three-and-a-half minutes. But hey, with your boys Rakesh and Bablu, y’all can tackle anything—for the low, low price of a $500 iTunes gift card, of course. Guess Raskesh and Bablu haven’t figured out what Spotify is yet; thanks, T-series. 5. Identity theft boi And finally, for the premise of every NordVPN ad ever made, the two-bit hacker who’s stealing your identity. According to them, Takashi 69 took everything from your e-mail password to your social security number and auctioned it off to Plankton and Karen down in Bikini Bottom.
I kinda feel sorry for Plankton, though. Imagine spending hours stealing someone’s identity just to have some decrepit old man pull up and ask you to pay back student loan debt. What a time to be alive. How to Protect Yourself And so, as Stuyvesant students with nothing to lose, I suggest we band together to stop these atrocities. That’s right, make prank calls. Tell Rakesh you love him and his slender brown accent. Hit up Bablu and tell him that no, you will not recommend his service to others. Not because it was bad, but because he has to understand that people don’t recommend “technical advisors” to each other in regular conversation. Ask that Russian guy who stole your Facebook password if he thinks there was collusion. Why stop there? Hide some malware in a folder and let it get taken hostage. Just remember, you can’t get scammed if you are the scammer.
Purge.stuy.edu By BERRY LIU The schoolwide Purges started without warning. The school’s traditionally high SAT scores had dropped an unacceptable 50 points below last year’s 1600 average. Officials from the Department of Education had decided that allowing the school one day a year to unleash its pent up tension/ stress/anger would allow students to focus better on their studies for the rest of the year. Besides, it would help weed out the students who had been blessed by RNG on the day of the SHSAT or had bribed their proctor with a handful of
Ben Franklins. Fewer students would mean more money that could be spent on that 11thfloor jacuzzi—AHEM, I meant quality facilities for students. A group of boys tumbled out of the second-floor bathroom followed by a cloud of JUUL smoke, laughing as they headed to class. “Hey guys, here are today’s morning announcements! My name is Marky Mark,” Marky Mark said cheerfully. “And my name is CharChar,” Char-Char said. Everyone groaned and threatened to riot against the administration as they made their daily bad joke.
“Please rise for the Pledge of Allegiance,’’ they continued. Halfway through the pledge, the recitation was cut off by heavy feedback, paralzying the students for a hot second. After the loudspeakers finally settled down, Marky Mark was no longer speaking. The principal cleared his throat: “This is not a test. This is your emergency broadcast system announcing the commencement of the Annual Purge sanctioned by Stuyvesant High School. Weapons of class four and lower have been authorized for use during the Purge. All
other weapons are restricted. Commencing at the bell, any and all crime will be legal until the end of 10th period. Police, fire, and emergency medical services will be unavailable until the end of school at 3:35 p.m. when the Purge concludes. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and Stuyvesant High School, an institute reborn. May God be with you all.” If there was a God, they were nowhere to be seen. There was a brief period of peace when class continued as usual. The warning bell rang and the end bell followed a couple of minutes later. Students packed
up and got up to leave. What kind of joke was this? As the first student opened the door, a crowd of adults was already there. “Where are you guys going?” the math teachers asked. “I dismiss you, not the bell.” A shiver rippled throughout the student body. As everyone realized that the prior announcement hadn’t been a joke, the chaos really kicked in. “You have no power here,” the math teachers said. The class pushed past the teachers, who were helpless against the students’ masterful usage of PEMDAS and derivatives. continued on page 24
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Humor Purge.stuy.edu continued from page 23
As half of the class joined a riot against the oppression of the Student Union dictatorship, I slipped away to witness the chaos firsthand. I stepped into room 615E, where freshmen were being held captive by ARISTA tutors. As the students were forced to edit endless supplementary essays, the triumphant juniors and seniors howled at them for mixing up ethos, pathos, and logos. I shuddered and backed away. Two floors up, I could hear shouting from the physics AP’s office. I peeked in. Senior Victor Kuang had Assistant Prin-
cipal of Chemistry and Physics Scott Thomas pinned against the wall. I watched in awe as Kuang utilized the boxing prowess he had picked up during P.E. to keep Thomas cowering in his office. Between jabs and straights, Kuang growled, “Run them A’s.” Faced with superior firepower, the assistant principal was forced to give in to his assailant’s demands and punched in the numbers on his computer. Satisfied, Kuang turned around to leave. Seeing me outside the clear windows, a twisted smirk crossed his face. “Aw sh—,” I trailed off. It was time for me to leave. It wasn’t until I got to the
fifth floor that I lost him. Out of breath, I headed into the lunchroom. It was already 1:00 p.m. An orange whizzed past my head. I looked up to see a lunch lady across the room. An angry “TAKE A FRUIT” echoed across the lunchroom. As I dodged another unripe citrus, I noticed about 50 bodies strewn across the room, having already been shot in the head by the fearsome fruit lobber. As I ran out of the lunchroom, I was immediately confronted by another situation. I heard a “Set, HUT!” around the corner, followed by a “GO LONG.” The deep,
resonant manly tone could have only come from our school’s own Division C football team. To my surprise, a student soared by. As he landed in an open hallway locker, the boy glanced at me with panicked eyes. His mouth was covered by a “Evan and Nicole for Sophomore Caucus” sticker. “Mmph, mhgh!!!!!!!” he whimpered. The school football team was using sophomores as throwing practice. And what’s more, they had access to the most feared stickers known to mankind. The 10th period warning bell rang. Mentally exhausted by the day’s Purge activities, I headed to the school’s entrance.
The printers lay on the floor, crushed by the weight of the thousand-page textbooks they were printing. One Year Later The current sophomores haven’t yet recovered from that initial Purge. Nothing like that has happened since. Perhaps the authorities have decided that it was too harsh. The new morning announcers have gone about the announcements as usual. Doesn’t seem like today is any diff— Loud Feedback Wait… Not that noise again… Aw, man. Here we go again.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Sports Catching An Interview with Lucas Dingman and Clement Chan By AKI YAMAGUCHI Clement Chan Grade: Senior Height: 6’1’’ Eye color: Brown Hair color: Black DOB: 1/6/2002
1. When did you start playing football? CC: The sixth grade. LD: Yeah, same. I started playing tackle football freshman year. CC: I also played flag football outside of school in middle school. 2. What do you want to improve for yourself this year? LD: I want to be able to throw the ball deeper and outside the numbers. Most high school quarterbacks can’t do that and I want to be better than them. I also want to be able to run the ball more during plays. CC: I want to try to be the best player on the field at all times. Run faster, catch better, and improve my game all around.
4. What are your goals for the rest of the season working off the games you have played? LD: Win the championship. Be more dominant in games and finish them out to the end. CC: We need to close out the games and give ourselves a bigger lead on the other team. Come out strong and finish strong, keeping that intensity throughout games. 5. How has the captaincy changed your playstyle and outlook on the game? LD: One thing I’ve learned is that I always need to keep a cool head and be a leader on and off the field. I have to set a good example and always be the hardest worker on the team. Be the first person here to practice and make sure the team is running smoothly. Do the things coaches can’t do. CC: I’ve learned that I can’t just focus on myself as a player, but also on the team. It’s not just me I need to worry about. I need to set an example and be an example at all times.
Joseph Yu / The Spectator
Lucas Dingman Grade: Senior Height: 6’0’’ Eye color: Blue Hair color: Blonde DOB: 8/8/2002
3. What are your respective positions and what do you do there? LD: I play quarterback; I basically run the offense and call the plays. I then either pass and throw the ball or I hand it off to one of the running backs. CC: I play wide receiver; I go run and catch the ball from this kid out wide.
6. How do you deal with playing football and your schoolwork? Do you have any tips? LD: I would go to the library during my free periods and lunch. On weekends, I do as much work as you can. CC: I would recommend taking advantage of the use of your time. Do work on the train or on your commute; I find myself the most productive there. 7. Favorite memory or moment? LD: After practice during hell week when everyone on the team is just chilling and hanging out. It’s also the first time we
see each other in a while so it’s great team bonding. CC: Yeah, I agree. On the same day, we all go to Chipotle after and head out to senior Evan Wong’s pool over the summer. 8. Something you are going to miss? LD: I mean, playing football. Most of these guys, I mean, including myself, will never play tackle football again. Seeing everyone on the team…every day during the week, I will definitely miss that. CC: What I’ll miss the most are this team, gamedays with the boys, and Friday night lights at Pier 40.
Drink of Choice: >CC - Caramel Macchiato light ice, add whip >LD - Tea Favorite food: >CC - Buffalo Wings >LD - Poke Motto to live by: >CC - Strive for greatness. >LD - Look good, play good. Fun fact: >CC - My knee is missing a few parts. >LD - Despite playing tackle football for four years, I still cannot tackle.
Spooky Tarot Cards! By THE SPECTATOR ART DEPARTMENT
Ka Seng Soo
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Sports Super Bowl
By KRISH GUPTA Gardner Flint Minshew II’s rise to stardom was swift. Just five years ago, in his first season as an NFL quarterback, he led his Jacksonville Jaguars to the playoffs and fell in the wild card round. The following year, he carried them to a first round bye but lost in the AFC conference semifinals. Then, during the 2021-22 season, the Jaguars advanced to the AFC conference finals, only to succumb to the Tom Brady-led Patriots. Just last season, Jacksonville advanced all the way to Super Bowl LXII and lost to the insurgent New York Giants led by All-Pro Daniel Jones. Thus was Gardner Minshew’s master plan to build his dynasty: to scout out his competition by advancing one spot farther every year. Minshew, being the model human being, clearly lost intentionally each year, not wanting to overly crush the hopes and
2024 Super Bowl Preview: Brady’s Patriots vs. Jacksonville Minshews dreams of the other teams. But now his time has come to rule the league. Prior to this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were renamed to the Jacksonville Minshews, homage to their star quarterback (who also doubles as their head coach). Commissioner Kaepernick also gave his approval to move the team to the NFC conference in order to set up a Super Bowl matchup for the ages. The Minshews, outfitted in their savior’s signature jorts, will take the field in Super Bowl LXIII in what will forever be known as the GOAT Bowl against the ageless Tom Brady. Meanwhile, back in Foxborough, it’s business as usual… Every year, self-proclaimed football “gurus” predict Brady’s retirement after his next Super Bowl victory, but the wins keep coming and Brady is playing better than ever. He dominated in the AFC conference finals, outdueling Tua Tagovaiola of the
Miami Dolphins for a ridiculous stat line of 40 for 46 passing for 643 yards and five touchdowns. Brady will look to keep the momentum going against an exploitable Jacksonville defense. Ever since Jalen Ramsey ditched the Jaguars for the Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville’s once feared defense is the team’s only weak link. Minshew’s supercharged offense Minshew’s high-octane offense this season is the subject of his opponents’ nightmares. Minshew averages 400 yards passing and four passing touchdowns on the season, and has shown no signs of slowing down. He will face his toughest challenge yet in the Patriots’ defense, hailed as the Greatest Secondary of All Time. Minshew has many reliable targets in star receivers DJ Chark Jr., Antonio Brown (yes, you read that right) and the disgruntled yet skilled Odell Beck-
ham Jr. Running back Leonard Fournette is another valuable asset to the offense, boasting the secondhighest rushing yards on the Minshews (the top rusher being, you guessed it, Minshew). The Jacksonville O-Line has helped the team’s running game flourish, with an average of 269 rushing yards per game on the season. Prediction: Minshews 28, Patriots 24 In what’s projected to be the most viewed Super Bowl in the history of the NFL, the Patriots’ record-setting defense will limit Minshew to a mediocre game by his godly standards (only 315 yards passing with three touchdowns). On the other side of the ball, the one thing that will stop Brady from completely dismantling the Jacksonville Defense is Minshew’s revolutionary play calling (Did I mention that he’s the defensive coordinator as well?). Brady will retire after this
loss and admit after the game that he has lost to the GOAT. Life after the GOAT Bowl Of course, life will go on after the GOAT Bowl, so here are some bold predictions for what will ensue after the iconic game: After the humbling loss, Brady will form a new religion known as Minshewism in his retired life, in which worshippers must grow out masterful mustaches and must follow the Garden Code, a new set of human ideals. Minshew will also retire from the league, not wanting to ruin the chances of other young quarterbacks for years to come. He will take home his fifth consecutive Gardner Minshew Man of the Year Award, renamed from the Walter Payton award after he won it for the third year in a row. In his retired life, he will go on to claim the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in curing cancer and world poverty.
2019 MLS Playoffs Preview By MATT MELUCCI and KRISH GUPTA The Major League Soccer teams have battled all summer to get themselves into the postseason, and they have finally made it (along with the brisk fall weather). Now that the dust has settled after a long regular season, there are 14 MLS teams that will be vying to lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy on November 10. Here are the 2019 MLS Cup Playoff participants and what we expect to see when it matters the most. The MLS Cup Playoffs will be in a new format starting this year: instead of reseeding teams like in years past, the 2019 playoffs will feature each of the top-seven teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The top seed from each will receive a bye, while the two and seven, three and six, and four and five seeds will face each other in the knockout first round. Another major change in the format is the elimination of the two leg rounds. Instead, the games will be single elimination, opening the way for upsets. First off, we should take a look at the top teams from each conference, whose successes granted them a first round bye. In the East, New York City FC grabbed the top spot in the conference by racking up 18 wins and 10 draws, only losing six games all year. They achieved this feat by being one of the highest scoring teams in the MLS. It was a team effort when it came to their scoring output, led by three players with doubledigit goal tallies. Héber Araújo dos Santos scored a team-high 15 goals, good enough for fifth best in the league. Behind him were Alexandru Mitrita and Valentin Castellanos, who scored 12 and 11 goals, respectively. If NYCFC want to continue their success into a postseason run, they will need to continue their efficient goal scoring. In terms of offense, the other one-seed set the bar for scoring output this season in the
MLS. Los Angeles FC topped the Western Conference with a league-best 21-9-4 record. They implemented an attacking system that saw them net 85 goals, tying the record for most goals in an MLS season scored by any team. LAFC set a couple other records as well, including most points in a season (72) and best goal difference (+48). This was spearheaded by an incredible season long performance from Golden Boot winner Carlos Vela. Vela scored an MLS record 34 goals this season. He and teammate Diego Rossi’s fourth best 16 goals led the charge to the top seed in the West. If they continue to perform, as well as continue to make plays on defense, LAFC will be front-runners to win the 2019 MLS Cup. Staying out West, we can speculate who will be looking to take on LAFC after winning in the round when fourth-seeded Minnesota United takes on fifth-seeded LA Galaxy. Despite ending the year only 15-8-11, Minnesota finished with a +9 goal differential, second best in the West. Their scoring attack was a balanced one, with Darwin Quintero leading them in both goals (10) and assists (five). Despite average scoring output, their solid goalkeeping was able to keep them up in the table, even with weak defense. Goalkeeper Vito Mannone ended the season second in saves with 129 stops and third in the MLS with 11 shutouts, demonstrating both Mannone’s reliability and the weakness of United’s defensive lines. As long as Mannone is in goal, Minnesota will have a chance in the playoffs. The 38-year old star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who crossed the Atlantic to partake in his first MLS season for the LA Galaxy, hit 29 goals on the season, beating the previous league record before Vela put it to shame. Though Zlatan is enjoyable to watch, the rest of the squad does not meet the same intensity. Galaxy, the only team in the West to make the postseason with a neg-
ative goal differential (-1), ended the year 16-3-15. Beside their star, the next highest goal-scorer only netted six. Going up against a sound-defensive team in Minnesota, they will need Zlatan more than ever. The next Western matchup involves third-seeded Real Salt Lake and sixth-seeded Portland Timbers. RSL rely heavily on their defense, which gave up the third least goals among playoff teams (41 goals). Albert Rusnak (10 goals), Sam Johnson (nine goals), and Jefferson Savarino (eight goals) are more than able to put the ball in the back of the net, but goalie Nick Rimamondo and his defense will need to be solid to give them a chance. RSL will use a 4-3-3 formation with plenty of help on defense to enhance their gameplay and increase their chances of victory. The Portland Timbers also lacked massive goal scorers this season, with Jeremey Ebobisse tying with Brian Fernandez for a team-high 11 goals. However, the Timbers will be missing Fernandez, who has just voluntarily entered the league’s substanceabuse program. Fernandez once served a two-year ban due to testing positive twice for cocaine, and had been missing various games with a mysterious “stomach virus” since early September this year. While Portland does have a chance, Fernandez’s absence will make it difficult to surpass RSL. Rounding out the first-round games in the West is the matchup of second-seeded Seattle Sounders and seventh-seeded FC Dallas. The Sounders only ended the year with a goal differential of +3, resulting in a record of 168-10. Raul Ruidiaz led the team with 11 goals from 72 shots, while Nicolas Lodeiro supported with 12 assists, tied for seventhbest in the MLS. Jordan Morris also did his work offensively, netting 10 goals and contributing 10 assists. Seattle’s issues this year came defensively, where they allowed 49 goals, tying for secondworst for Western Conference
playoff teams. In order for the Sounders to proceed in the postseason, they must patch up their defensive game and improve their efficiency, racking up more goals with fewer shots. FC Dallas will have a tough time when playing the Sounders. Dallas’s goal differential of +8 is tied for fifth best in the playoffs and they have the third most goals in the Western playoffs at 54. On the other hand, with an average defense and not a particularly strong offense, them winning a game at Seattle will be tough. Moving to the Eastern Conference, fourth-seeded Toronto FC will take on D.C. United for the honor of battling NYCFC. Offensively, Toronto FC were led by star Alejandro Pozuelo, who scored 12 goals and also had 12 assists. Several of these assists went to teammate and U.S. National Team member Jozy Altidore, who was just behind him with 11 goals. Toronto finished the year with 57 goals scored and 52 goals let up, so they will need to rely on Altidore and Pozuelo to get to the next round. Toronto FC may be favored in the matchup, but the D.C. squad is formidable, led by the legendary English star Wayne Rooney. This first round draw will be a rematch of the 1-1 draw between the two teams in June. D.C. United have been winning against strong teams as of late, beating the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy in the past two months. D.C. United finished the season level on points with Toronto, but have been much less explosive in terms of scoring, with 15 goals less than Toronto in the regular season. On the flip side, D.C. have been much more stingy on defense, allowing a conference low 38 goals. This will be one of the closer first round matchups, and it will all come down to clutch game ability. Another first round matchup is between the third-place Philadelphia Union team and the formidable New York Red Bulls.
The Philadelphia Union were in the mix for the top seed in the East until a late season collapse that saw them lose their last two games to the Columbus Crew and NYCFC. The Union and the Red Bulls are both hotbeds of homegrown players, and trusting the process has paid off for the Union this season. Rookie of the Year finalist Brenden Aaronson has been a breakout star this year and could be the spark that vaults the Union into round two of the playoffs. The Red Bulls are also arriving to the playoffs on a skid. They were thrashed 3-0 by the lowly Montreal Impact in the final game of the regular season. The Red Bulls are a perennial playoff contender, but they have never lifted the MLS Cup and are known for early playoff exits. Bradley Wright-Phillips is the Red Bulls’ leading scorer, but the Red Bulls lost Chelseabound Matt Miazga this season, who was a vital cog to their defense. The playoff game will be all about who can bounce back into peak form. Rounding off the Eastern Conference is the matchup between defending champions Atlanta United and the New England Revolution. Since Atlanta joined the MLS, they have taken the league by storm. Ezequiel Barco is a rising star for Atlanta, and Josef Martinez is leading the charge as ever. Atlanta and New England squared off in the last game of the regular season, and Atlanta prevailed 3-1. Atlanta should win this game, and they have a viable case to repeat as MLS Champions. Entering the postseason, every team has a clean slate and a chance to end up champions. There are some solid frontrunners in LAFC, NYCFC, and Atlanta, but hungry underdogs in Minnesota, Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia, and Toronto all could win on any given night. One thing is for sure: the 2019 MLS Playoffs will not lack excitement.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
Sports Boys’ Soccer
Passion and Dedication Carry the Peglegs into the Playoffs By AKI YAMAGUCHI and SHIVALI KORGAONKAR Tensions rise as the Columbia Secondary kicker cautiously places the ball in front of the goal, preparing to take his penalty kick. With only a 3-2 lead, the Stuyvesant Peglegs know this play is vital to the outcome of the game. Having put their hearts and souls into the arduous match, the boys deserve this win, and this moment could be the determining factor for the game. Both teams gather around the 18-yard box, ready to clear or score off the rebound. The pressure lies on senior goalie Stefan Sorobay to save the day for the Peglegs. He can either dive right
and make the save or let the ball slip by him. The referee blows his whistle, initiating the play, and the striker runs up to strike the soccer ball. All eyes follow the ball as it spins through the air and rebounds off a diving Sorobay. Once again the ball is shot to the goal but he makes another save, bouncing the ball out. The ball is up for a 50/50 shot when Sorobay dives for it, securing the ball while the Peglegs go crazy. The Peglegs have won this 90-minute thriller that would prove dividends in clinching a playoff spot and favorable seed. With a 7-3 record, the Peglegs have had a tremendous regular season. Senior captains Jeremy Moller and Henry Kot-
kin came into the year with the desire to improve and learn from last year’s mistakes in order to lead the team into the playoffs. With three games left to spare, the Peglegs clinched a playoff berth. Now, instead of settling with this outcome, the captains continue to set goals for themselves and their teammates. Kotkin says, “We want to win one of our last two games to clinch a top 16 seed in the city, and our number one priority this season is making it out of the first round of playoffs.” For the past three years, the Peglegs have been unable to make it past the first round of playoffs, a feat these captains hope to overcome. Standing out in a tough divi-
sion with competitors like Beacon HS and MLK, the Peglegs are an outstanding team and believe they have an edge over many teams. Kotkin said, “We have a lot of exceptional players. Unlike many PSAL teams, we play like a team instead of relying on an individual. We sometimes struggle against bigger teams because we’re not that tall or physical, but I think we overcome it pretty well with our heart and desire.” In a game against rival Washington Irving, the Peglegs faced a heartbreaking 3-2 loss on their home field, as parents and students watched to support their school. With over nine yellow cards given out, mainly to Stuyvesant, both teams fought
their hardest to secure a win, but Washington came out on top. Despite the undesirable outcome, Moller said, “The dedication and passion displayed by the team was amazing, and it’s that same heart that we had then that we need going into playoffs.” The path to achieving their goals will not be an easy one, but the Peglegs are willing to put in the time and effort. The bond between the boys continues to grow and shape them into a better team on and off the field. They continue to practice and push their limits further and further with only one driving force: passion. How far the Peglegs’ immense desire will take them into playoffs remains to be seen.
Those who can’t Kick...Teach! By RUDOLPH MERLIN When the final score of the Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills game was displayed, the spectators, announcers, and the Titans’ coaches all knew that the result had rested on one player. Cairo Santos, the Titans’ kicker, had missed all four of his fieldgoal attempts. Santos was soon fired for his horrendous performance. While exiting the stadium, though, he bumped into Corey “Double Doink” Parkey,
entrance, ready to display their skills. When I asked one student why he is trying out knowing the past of Santos and Parkey, he said, “The flyer promised lessons with Justin Tucker.” In a company statement, Santos and Parkey admitted that there was some false advertising. “We couldn’t get Justin to become a teacher, no matter how much we begged him to. He thinks that getting paid millions of dollars to be the most accurate kicker in NFL history
“To Santos and Parkey, being a field goal kicker is like trying to live on a private island.” —Corey Parkey
a kicker infamous for hitting the crossbar four times in one game and for missing a field goal that would have sent his Chicago Bears to the National Football Conference playoffs. The two promptly left together, and the next day, Parkey, to the happiness of Bears fans, terminated his contract. But the happiness that he would no longer screw up an entire city soon changed into anger, as he would be screwing up an entire generation of football players. That is because approximately two weeks later, Santos and Parkey announced the opening of a brand new field goal kicking school for high school and college students. What sets this school apart from others is that it is designed to mentor the most talented kickers in the country and put them in the spotlight. A school run by such controversial figures, however, is sure to have problems with enrollment. But on the first day, there were 50 kickers eagerly waiting at the
is better than teaching the most promising kickers in the country,” the two said. Despite this robbery—reminiscent of when Parkey robbed his team of a playoff berth—they chose to defend their actions. “Every business exaggerates to get customers, and what we did was nothing special. Also, we’re not the worst kickers out there. I mean, we’re not Scott Norwood for [God’s] sake.” Despite the setback, the kickers were eager to practice and put their abilities on display. “These kids are extremely talented. We just had to take all 50 of them. Even on the first day, their kicks were perfect. I mean, they can hit the post 10 times in a row if they want to. Not to say that I can’t hit the post if I put my mind to it,” Parkey said. But while the students are excelling in the kicking aspect, they are also receiving some insights into what it is like being a professional field goal kicker. To Santos and Parkey, being a field goal kicker is
like trying to live on a private island. You have to win the hearts and minds of the natives in order to survive. “That’s why we are teaching them how to draw sympathy from your coaches and your players,’’ Parkey said. “As soon as you see the football miss between the posts, immediately hang your head down in shame,’’ one student said after being asked what he had learned. It is also important to show your emotions on game day, even if you are just a kicker. “We encourage them to slam their helmet in frustration or curse at their offensive line when they miss. These actions will let the coaches know that their kicker is an active part of the game and his position should not be taken lightly or thrown away when he messes up,” Santos said. Teaching is not a one-way street, though, for Parkey and Santos have received countless pieces of advice from their students. “Most of the time, I feel like we are the ones doing the learning,” Santos said. “I’ve nearly perfected my motion of the kick and have changed the angle on which I place my plant foot.’’ The results on both ends have been extraordinary. Since the school’s opening, the students have appeared several times on “C’Mon Man!”, a segment on Monday Night Countdown that covers mistakes, funny moments, and dives in the football world. Furthermore, they have learned to flop to get a “roughing the kicker” call and have been working on slamming their helmets for maximum trajectory. Meanwhile, Parkey and Santos are making two kicks out of every four they take—a drastic improvement from their NFL days. At the end of the day, it’s about giving back to the game of football, and Parkey and Santos do so through their motto: If you don’t make it, keep trying. “We are trying to help the next generation of field goal kickers to develop a work ethic,” the two said together. Two bad kickers, two millionaires, two dreams, one school.
Lady Lobsters: Clawing their Way into the Playoffs By CAROLINE JI and SACHIN FONSEKA After a slow start to their season, the Lady Lobsters were able to muster enough strength and concentration to emerge victorious in their final regularseason game on Friday, October 11 against Lehman High School. All three singles players played well and won their match-ups in dominant fashion. Junior and first singles Talia Kahan had a spectacular match, winning with a score of 8-3. Senior, co-captain, and second singles Alyssa Pustilnik also performed well. She won with a commanding 8-1 lead. Freshman and third singles Alika Peker, who has become a huge asset to the team during the course of the season, defeated her opponent with a score of 8-4, rounding off the singles trifecta. The first doubles team of seniors and co-captains Lauren Pehlivanian and Mia Gindis finished 6-8. The second doubles team comprising of juniors Palak Srivastava and Lolita Rozenbaum also came up just short and finished 5-8. The girl’s tennis team has
styles. Additionally, many of the girls had to deal with changing positions at one point or another. For Kahan, making the transition from third singles, the position she played last season, to first singles has not been an easy one. “I tend to tense up and mishit when I get nervous during a game,” Kahan said. However, some Lady Lobsters have thrived in their new positions. “Alika Peker and Alyssa Pustilnik, third and second singles respectively, have both been very consistent in their victories,” Gindis said. As they approach the playoffs, the Lady Lobsters look forward to further improving their skills, specifically “communication skills with their coach,” according to Pustilnik, as well as capitalizing on their strengths. “Team spirit is higher than ever, and I’ve seen a copious amount of improvement among all of our players. We finally beat Bronx Science, our long-standing rival, and we’ve just beat Midwood in the first round of playoffs (three of the matches even went 8-0),” Gindis said. The Lady Lobsters will
“Team spirit is higher than ever, and I’ve seen a copious amount of improvement among all of our players.” —Mia Gindis, senior and co-captain
come a long way since the start of its season. The strength of each Lady Lobster has been tested over and over again. They all overcame the challenge of adjusting to play against opponents and play alongside teammates with varying playing
face off against McKee/Staten Island Technical High School on Monday, October 21, in their second match of the playoffs. They hope to play aggressively and prove that they are a much better team than their regularseason record might suggest.
The Spectator ● October 31, 2019
THE SPECTATOR SPORTS Girls’ Soccer
The Stuyvesant Mimbas: A Roller Coaster Season
By ETHAN KIRSCHNER
Francesa Nemati/ The Spectator
Yamaguchi said. In recent weeks, however, Stuyvesant has regained the success they found during the beginning of the season. The team has won two games in a row, beating East Side Community 7-1 and squeezing out a tough 4-3 victory against a solid Eleanor Roosevelt team. In addition, they have three very winnable games left, all against teams with worse records than the Mimbas: Columbia Secondary School, NEST+M and High School for Math. The team is hoping to close out the season on a five-game winning streak. This would not only cap off the season in an amazing way and help the Mimbas earn a better playoff seed, but also build momentum toward the next season. The success of the Mimbas can largely be attributed to Yamaguchi, who is a striker. Yamaguchi leads the Mimbas in assists and also provides a vocal veteran presence on the field. She has been instrumental in helping the incoming players contribute right away. The Mimbas needed underclassmen, even freshmen, to step up. “Both our offense and defense are strong, especially with the freshman class—a couple of them being starters,” Yamaguchi said. Still, the defense, which the freshmen are a part of, is inexperienced
Peglegs Strive to Turn Season Around By PAUL LIOU and ROHAN SAHA The 2019 season has not gone the way the Peglegs have hoped for. Looking to bounce back from a loss at Petrides a week earlier, the Peglegs suffered a 28-6 drubbing at the hands of the Beach Channel Educational
nant 38-0 performance against the Information Technology High School Blackhawks. The Peglegs then traveled to Staten Island to face a real test in the Petrides High School Panthers, who went undefeated last season and eliminated the Peglegs in the playoffs. Once again, Petrides got the best of the Peglegs in a
A team that went into this season with championship aspirations is now desperately trying to string together victories to keep their playoff dreams alive. Campus Dolphins at home on Friday, October 11. This loss leaves the Peglegs with a disa pointing 3-3 record and a new sense of urgency. A team that went into this season with championship aspirations is now desperately trying to string together victories to keep their playoff dreams alive. The skid began after a domi-
25-16 win aided by a dominant 19-0 start. It was more of the same when the Peglegs looked to defend their home turf against the Dolphins of Beach Channel Educational Campus, with both teams entering the game with a record of 3 wins and 2 losses. The Dolphins exploited the Peglegs’ lack of rush defense, accumulating a total of 248 yards on the ground. Weak rush defense has been a consis-
tent theme throughout the season as they allowed 238 yards against Petrides and 284 yards to Benjamin N. Cardozo High School. However, the flat defensive showing against the Dolphins did not take away from the solid play at the skill positions, specifically running back Franklin Liou and wide receiver Clement Chan. Liou had eight carries for 108 yards and the Peglegs’ lone touchdown. This adds to an all-around amazing season for Liou: 417 rushing yards, 203 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and one interception on defense. Chan has been just as productive, hauling in four passes for 76 yards. Chan will look to break 500 receiving yards on the season with a strong final three games, as he currently sits at 341 yards. Success as a team must start at the quarterback position with senior and captain Lucas Dingman. After putting up unprecedented numbers in his junior season, the expectations for Dingman were through the roof. However, Dingman has only thrown for 102, 37, 162, and 137 yards in his past four games, respectively. Dingman’s track record should be enough to trust that he will be able to muster some stellar performances to close out the season. If Dingman is able to do so, he will be able to lead the Peglegs into the playoffs with momentum to make a championship run.
Francesa Nemati/ The Spectator
Going into the regular season, the Stuyvesant girls’ varsity soccer team looked as though they might have a long season ahead of them. The team needed to replace their entire starting defense, which they lost to graduation last spring, while also moving up a division. Thus far, the team has responded to the challenge well, accumulating a 4-4 record three-quarters of the way through the regular season. The Stuyvesant Mimbas, however, have had a season full of ups and downs. Junior and co-captain Aki Yamaguchi said it best: “The season has been going great with some tough losses.” The team stormed out
of the gate with a dominant 10-0 win vs. MLK Jr. High School and were 2-0-1 through the first three games. Then, reality started to set in within the Manhattan A division. The team went on a four-game losing streak. This streak was fueled by the fact that they had to play the top four teams in their division. However, the results were not all bad. The Mimbas only lost by one goal to Beacon, Bard, and Bronx Science, the current top three teams in the division. The results against Beacon and Bronx Science were especially encouraging on the defensive side of the ball. “We have kept top teams like Beacon and Bronx Science to 2-1 and 1-0 games by playing really strong defensively,”
and communication difficulties have cost them in important situations. “Our goal is to work on communication on the field,” Yamaguchi said. This will surely be facilitated by her leadership on and off the field. On the offensive side of the ball, the team has been able to dominate lesser opposition but has really struggled against higher-rated teams. The team has scored four or more goals in four separate games this season. This would have been impossible without the big contribution from Lucinda Bryce who leads the team in goals. However, during the losing streak, the offense only averaged 1.2 goals a game. This has been due to a combination of the game plan against top teams and the offense’s inabil-
ity to make chances in these games. “We tend to not take advantage of the space on the field,” Yamaguchi said, further adding that “we have switched up our line up defensively” against top teams. Overall, the team has exceeded expectations this season. Head coach Hugh Francis deserves credit for managing the girls’ confidence as they play tougher teams as well as through the ups and downs of the season. Coach Francis has been able to manage extremely well while also morphing the freshmen into contributors who can play right away and play well. The girls are working extremely hard to finish the season strong and improve their playoff seed.
SPORTSBEAT USWNT and Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan announced that she and her husband Servando Carrasco are expecting their first child.
Kyrie Irving scored 50 points in his Nets debut in a loss to the Timberwolves.
The new Kawhi-led Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers and Warriors to start the NBA season. The Houston Astros are off to the World Series against the Washington Nationals after beating the Yankees four games to two in the ALCS.
Zion Williamson picked up an injury that will see him miss six to eight weeks.
Veteran MLB umpire Eric Cooper died at the age of 52.
Simone Biles qualified for every apparatus final at Gymnastics Worlds while U.S. Women lead all-around qualifying. Leicester City beat Southampton 9-0, tying the record for the largest win in Premier League history.
Lionel Messi picked up the sixth European Golden Boot award of his career after scoring 36 goals for Barcelona last season.
Stuyvesant’s Caroline Ji won the JV Cross Country Manhattan