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12 Upperclassmen enjoy a break to play volleyball on the sports field and welcome one another back to campus.





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VISUAL MANAGING EDITORS Madeleine Nicks Frances Carlson Amara Murphy


EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Daisy Finefrock Phoebe Stein


SPORTS EDITORS Christian Branch Macy Christal

CREATIVE DIRECTORS Mia Humberd-Hilf Emma Raith


COPY EDITOR Elizabeth Bisno

WEB & MEDIA EDITOR Nafisah Fathima


BUSINESS MANAGERS Julia Guglielmo Paige Levinson Madison Kirk

OPINION EDITOR Madeleine Nicks

PHOTO EDITOR Katherine Monroy

FEATURE EDITOR Frances Carlson A&E EDITOR Violet Zhou

STAFF Cody Busch-Weiss Dare Fitzpatrick Andreas Jackson Wesley Schulz Jacob Self Elli Westmacott Claire Tolles FACULTY ADVISER Trish McHale, MJE

Letter from the Editors O

ur first issue of the new decade — that’s crazy, right, to think that the Fourth Estate has been around for 26 years. As a publication, we have grown so much since our first publication, and continue to do so every time we step into the classroom. Journalism is an art that is hard to master; our style is always changing, our technology is ever advancing, and our community is continually growing. The staff this year is a special one, however. It isn’t a stretch to claim that the group of students who meet three times a week is changing the Fourth Estate in a way that will last, hopefully, well into the coming decade. What makes The Fourth Estate such a pillar of the community is the same thing that leads to our magazine becoming recognized with some of the most significant awards in student journalism. Each staff member creates articles that they genuinely care about. We all make sure to put real passion into our writing, and that on its own has given The Fourth Estate its ethos. Not only does this issue mark the start of the new year, but it also coincides with the beginning of the semester at Laguna Blanca. January often marks endless stress followed shortly by a collective sigh of relief as MyLaguna resets. The new semester allows us to start with a clean slate and big hopes for what the year to come. However, it’s essential to realize that as much as we wish new years’ resolutions were like a switch to make our habits disappear, it is unrealistic to set these standards for ourselves. The truth is, we don’t change when the calendar year refreshes. We stay the same while holding close to us our aspirations of the person we hope to become in the upcoming 365 days. If we are truly sincere about bettering ourselves and people around us, it shouldn’t be plastered on Instagram posts; it should be an inner personal goal. That’s why we challenge the Laguna community to pursue their goals in a modest and selfless approach. To make goals that aren’t about self-reinvention; instead, challenge yourself to say hello to the person who you see sitting alone at lunch, or remember to thank that teacher who makes an impact on your life. With that approach, we are set to have the best year yet with amazing memories both behind us and ahead of us. Good luck, Owls!

Editors-in-Chief Phoebe Stein & Daisy Finefrock

• MISSION STATEMENT The Fourth Estate is an open forum created for and by journalism students of Laguna Blanca Upper School. We hope to use this space to cover events, interviews and topics of interest in greater depth. Our staff seeks to be a platform for creative expression and to report on events and ideas of importance to our readers and to focus on topics of significance and interest to inform and entertain the school community. • LETTERS TO THE EDITORS The Fourth Estate welcomes guest columns and letters to the editor. Letters must be signed and must be no longer than 400 words. Editors reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and/or taste. Anonymous letters will not be published. The Fourth Estate reserves the right to reject advertising. Opinions expressed in this publication reflect the perspectives of the staff whose goal is to inform our readers with reliable information from which to base decisions and opinions. Editorials represent the voice of the staff and are voted on by the entire staff. Columns and commentaries are labeled as such and represent the opinion of the author. The Fourth Estate publishes four issues per year with a senior insert in the last issue. • BYLINE POLICY When two or three people work on a story, all names will be listed. If an editor rewrites a majority of a story, the editor’s name will be listed. • CORRECTION POLICY The staff strives for accuracy. When factual errors occur, mistakes are found or brought to the attention of the staff, corrections will be printed in a corrections box in the next issue. • COLOPHON This is the first issue of the new decade and 27th volume of the Laguna Blanca School, 4125 Paloma Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93110, magazine, The Fourth Estate. Contacts are available at tmchale@lagunablanca.org, (805) 687-2461 x0317 or www.thefourthestate.net. Laguna Blanca School has an EK through 12th grade student population of approximately 400, with 100 in the Lower School, 110 in the Middle School and 182 in the Upper School, and a faculty of approximately 60. The Fourth Estate is an 8.5 by 11 general magazine, created on Apple computers on Adobe InDesign CC2019, using FreightNeo Pro and Big Caslon font families and printed on glossy paper free for students and $30 for an annual subscription. The magazine is distributed to all Upper School students through the school’s advisory program and sent by mail to subscribers, as well as distributed to nearby medical offices, with 400 copies printed per issue. We are associated with NSPA, CSPA and JEA.

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Skolstrejk för Klimatet Greta Thunberg has made headlines around the world for her firebrand climate protests. Here’s how she did it.


ur house is on fire, I am here to say our house is on fire. According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes,” said Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist whose campaign has earned global support. She first stepped onto the world stage in August 2018 by skipping school days to protest outside the Swedish Parliament in central Stockholm. Her message about climate change and the urgency to make changes spread like wildfire. Thunberg emphasizes that we are destroying our planet through the emission of fossil fuels. She protested by holding up the now-famous sign that reads “skolstrejk för klimatet,” which translates to “School Strike for the Climate.” She protested initially because she felt that people too often turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of our environment. During her protest in Stockholm, she said, “Because nobody does anything, nothing happens. Everything just goes on, as usual, nobody says anything. If no one does something, I may well do it. That is my moral responsibility.” Her breakthrough took place after the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference. One million students participated in school strikes across the world after the conference, which launched the movement into the national spotlight. Her unique way of protesting was a Kickstarter. Thunberg argues that if we don’t go to school, we won’t be educated enough to drive the w o r l d

forward and that the climate is at a turning point saying if we don’t change now, our planet will die. Massive amounts of toxins spread every day and affect everyone on this planet. For this effort to succeed, we must change for our every action—and everything has an impact. Merely taking the bus instead of driving everywhere can help. Initially, these small changes may seem inconvenient. However, over time, they will significantly reduce our harmful footprint. We need to make sure that the next generation has a better quality of life than we have.

According to the Global Footprint Network, if everyone in the world lived like a Swede, we would need 3.8 planets. The problem is... we only have 1. Other countries that struggle with overusing the world’s resources are the USA (5.1 planets) and Australia (4.8 planets). Alarming statistics backing Thunberg’s claims are published widely. For example, according to the World Wildlife Fund, sea levels could rise by 2100, and this alone could potentially impact as many as 1 billion people by the year 2050. Plants and animals are at risk of losing more than half of their habitats. As the Earth continues to warm, crucial habitats may no longer be hospitable for individual animals or plants. “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope, and I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act, I want you to act as if you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire because it is.”


Impeachment Woes The recent impeachment of Donald Trump has the potential to affect the upcoming election in ways that could both help and hurt each of the major parties. Here’s how. WORDS by IAN BROWN ART by MIA HUMBERD-HILF


he impeachment of Donald Trump is, of course, gathering a tremendous amount of attention. Much like the Mueller Report before it, the proceedings have been picked up by every major news station in the country and many around the world as well. The current crop of issues the President faces was sparked by a controversial phone call made back in June, wherein Trump was accused of threatening to withhold US foreign aid from Ukraine (despite the fact that it was approved by Congress) in order to pressure the country into investigating possible corruption surrounding Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Presently, the House Judiciary Committee has raised two articles of impeachment against the President for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Justice, and the House of Representatives used this to impeach Trump in December successfully. However, the ramifications for both major parties stretch far beyond the immediate future. Such a drastic turn of events could seriously affect the results of the upcoming presidential election, with potential drawbacks and benefits for both sides of the political spectrum. There are several varying perspectives that American voters

can take up regarding the most recent scandal of Trump’s tenure in office, and not all of them are as beneficial for the Democrats as one may assume. On the one hand, recent polls have shown that support for the inquiry has grown since Nancy Pelosi launched it back in September, suggesting that an ever-widening range of voters are in favor of the investigation against the President. Logically, this would be a serious issue for Trump’s campaign in the 2020 election cycle. Growing support for the President’s impeachment likely correlates with a decrease in his widespread support, and considering how close the elections are, the issue will likely stay fresh in the minds of Americans as they head to the voting booths. There is also the more obvious point of the negative impact the successful impeachment could have on Trump and the Republican party as a whole. Impeachments are relatively rare throughout American history, and impeached Presidents tend to have a significant amount of baggage attached to their name and time in office. With no other viable candidates in the Republican party running for office at the moment (alternative Republican candidates to Trump are polling at very low numbers), the RNC has no realistic alternatives to Trump for their nominee for President. Thus, the impeachment could severely damage Trump’s image at a crucial time for his reelection campaign when there seems to be no one to take his place effectively.

“Presidents who are impeached tend to have a significant amount of baggage attached to their name and time in office.”

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Impeachment does not mean removal from office, and it is still up in the air as to whether or not Trump will lose his position as President. When asked about this, Senior Peter Smith asked, “Will he be removed from office? No, not if no new evidence comes out against him.” Nevertheless, a successful impeachment from House Democrats could put a massive dent in the Trump campaign for 2020. Alternatively, though, there are theories that this newest investigation into the Trump administration could politically backfire in the face of Democrats. One theory revolves around the idea of “impeachment fatigue” from America’s voting base. The repeated strain of hearing after hearing and investigation after investigation through the last four years may be making people numb and uninterested to such repetitive-sounding scandals, reducing the effect a Trump impeachment would actually have on the election. According to AP Comparative Government teacher Dena Montague, “Many Americans will experience impeachment fatigue and may view impeachment as the primary work of the Party, thus distracting from other policy Democrats want to promote.” Such national fatigue could be reflected in the view counts of impeachment coverage on national news stations, as fewer numbers of active viewers may suggest a decline in interest amongst the general population. Indeed, TV numbers during the impeachment testimony the week of November 17 reflect this theory, with viewer counts dropping steadily throughout the week. This may be a result of a wide variety of factors; however, a worn-out population certainly could be one of them. The other major factor that could impact the Democrats is the galvanization of Republican voters, especially those who actively support Trump. Many may perceive the constant hearings, most recently in relation to the impeachment efforts, as underhanded attempts by Democrats to delegitimize their favored candidate, incentivizing more people to support Trump by voting than normally would turn up to the polls. Such a theory could be rejected due to the aforementioned growing support for the impeachment inquiry by the American populace, suggesting that people, in general, are not unquestionably in support of Trump. Reflecting on how this issue could affect the elections, Peter said, “I think there could be grave implications. If we look beyond the guilt and innocence of the case, we can already see

the division this is causing between the political parties.” Counter to this, there is the idea that some Democrats could be angered by the state of impeachment as well, despite the surface level political their party could achieve through it. A number of Democrats and Democratic candidates have been calling for impeachment for a long time, and are severely dissatisfied with the slow pace the party as a whole has taken to impeachment. Several prominent, high-ranking Democrats, most notably Nancy Pelosi herself, have been reluctant to proceed with official hearings, leaving a portion of their supporters on the fence about whether or not to support them. This likely would not boost Trump’s support in the election. However, at its most significant, it could put a dent in several moderate candidates’ support through the Democratic primaries. It could also cause some Democrats to abstain from voting in the upcoming elections, assuming the relatively slow pace continues, and the President remains mostly unaffected. It comes as no major surprise that something as significant as an impeachment could have a major effect on the 2020 Presidential run. What is potentially shocking, however, is the large number of ways in which it can play a role, and how many of these have the potential to impact the Democratic party negatively. As for the validity of these impeachments, Peter was straightforward in saying, “If indeed he committed any offenses he should be impeached, as the law suggests.” At present, only time will tell as to what fate holds for the Trump administration.

‘The impeachment could severely damage Trump’s image at a crucial time for his reelection campaign when there seems to be no one to effectively take his place.”


Introducing New Electives Catch a glimpse of two electives being offered for the first time starting in the second semester.


Civic Preparedness

ou might say this class fulfills a life requirement rather than a school requirement. Interdisciplinary teachers Kevin Shertzer and Al Silva designed Civic Preparedness to provide the essential tools for students who are about to become fully participating members of U.S. society. Civics education classes are required in high schools across the majority of the nation. For both Silva and Shertzer, the ultimate goal of the class is not for students to earn a high grade but for each of them to leave the class “knowing how our government works, the differences between those that lean to the right and lean to the left… allowing yourself to examine perspectives that might not be your own,” said Shertzer. “We have to give grades, but that’s probably the last piece we’ll put in.” “What the students put in will dictate how much they can get out of it,” said Silva. “This is the kind of class that makes me love Laguna so much because these are almost college classes. You come in with your work ethic and skills in order to refine your knowledge on something you think is valuable.” He articulated that his main concern is to “put truth and civil discourse at the forefront of our consciousness.” “Having a class that teaches you specifically life skills, like taking out a mortgage and doing taxes, will prove to be very helpful when the time comes that I need to be well-versed,” said senior Audrey Murphy. “I hope to come away with a better understanding of how to be an involved and conscientious citizen.”

STEM Instructor Zack Moore Returns from Africa Happiness: The Science of Well-Being


P Psychology teacher Meghan Roarty got inspiration for this elective from a New York Times article about the science of happiness, a subject that has drawn the largest number of students at Yale — the class is so popular, in fact, that they ended up moving to a bigger room to accommodate them all. According to Roarty, there are two major elements to this subject. “One is knowing what will make you happy,” she said. “But knowing is half the battle. The other half is putting it into practice.” Roarty plans to expose students to the misconceptions about what influences their happiness as well as the cognitive reasons for which most people tend to believe in such ideas. In AP classes, there is an emphasis on content that’s required for the teacher to cover. For an elective like this, however, discussions are largely student-driven, and students “are able to apply content right now to their lives. That is what makes it impactful,” Roarty said. “When I heard about the happiness elective, I got really excited because I have always been curious about the science behind happiness and the different ways it can impact someone’s life or be portrayed depending on the person,” junior Bea Lujan said. WORDS by ELIZABETH BISNO ART by MIA HUMBERD-HILF

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What was the most meaningful part of your recent teaching experience in Ghana? Probably my time with the primary school students. We ran a team robotics competition that was so much fun. Many of the girls talked about wanting to continue with coding and robotics in their future studies. I hope that the foundation I laid will support these aspirations. What lessons did you learn throughout this experience that will shape the way you teach at Laguna? I was constantly reminded that everyone has a story and unless you take the time to hear it, you can’t understand where they are coming from. Trying to understand and support, instead of judge, is something that I aspire to. How did your teaching experience at Laguna influence the way you approached the classroom in Ghana? The Ghanaian education system is built around these high stakes examinations that serve at gate-keepers to access higher educations. It is very stressful. It’s kind of like APs, but with your actual future on the line. My goal while there was to think of ways to integrate meaningful project-based approaches to their STEM studies. I decided to focus on the junior high level. At that age, they are not fully entrenched in the testing cycle and have the time and freedom in their studies to take a deeper dive into authentic learning. I brought over my passion for design-thinking and tried to build meaningful projects and events that would inspire and interest students in STEM.

Laguna welcomed back Fulbright Scholar Zack Moore from his monthlong stint in Ghana, where he helped to implement STEM education at GhanaLebanon Islamic School. What surprised you most about working at Ghana-Lebanon Islamic School? Did this experience change your perspective on the educational experience at Laguna? I was surprised at how welcoming they were. Ghana is known for its hospitality, but this was other worldly. I couldn’t go anywhere in the school without someone greeting me, hugging me, and/or trying to carry my bag. No one cared about my religious beliefs or where I came from. They were just excited to get to know me and to work together. Your time in Ghana represented a full-circle moment for you. How has the educational landscape changed in Ghana since your time in the Peace Corps in 1997? Sadly, not much has changed. It is still a very traditional model of memorizing content and spitting it back out. There is not much in the way practical applications. The ministry of education has recognized this is a problem and has tried to make changes, but has rushed some of the modifications in recent years with not much to show for in the way of results. visit thefourthestate.net for the full interview

thefourthestate.net NEWS • 9

Q&A What made you decide to pursue wildlife filmmaking? How did Laguna help further your interests? A: Laguna was super supportive of me attending a semester-long program in the Bahamas called the Island School. I bought a little underwater camera and started shooting every day and became interested in capturing animals with a camera in the wild. I also did a summer program at UCSB where you get handson experience in that field.

Alumn at Sea

Rick Rosenthal observes a juvenile humpback whale in the region of the Cook Islands.

Romanov captures a terrific view of an American crocodile’s feeding behavior.

A humpback dives in the Santa Barbara waters.

Do you have a favorite environment between aerial, terrestrial, and aquatic? A: Most of my work has been marine open ocean filming, which has been Rick’s specialty for decades. But it’s the most challenging environment, we have no control — boats rocking, seas can be rough, we’re working in water thousands of feet deep miles from shore, and it’s just very hard to find anything in good lighting and safe conditions... But that also makes it rewarding because we can see things that surprise us. When did you become interested in film? A: I got into building drones when I was still in college. You couldn’t buy

Romanov posing with a baby rattlesnake

them off the shelf at that time, so I was ordering parts from all over the place. Now, we have these little drones which are much more efficient. But since I was building them, it gave me a lot of helpful experience in understanding them. I’ve never lost one on a shoot, so that’s a point of pride. It’s pretty easy to dunk one in the ocean and never see it again. All the advantages of drones were really exciting because it was a new tool that I could learn and use to create my own specialty area in the field. Can you describe some of the key points in the process of making one of your films? A: Before I became involved with making them, I assumed that the filmmakers had more tools and secrets than they

Mark Romanov ‘09 shares his journey from Laguna to becoming a wildlife photographer.

F Romanov takes a kayak on the search for wildlife in Alaska

rom growing up on a farm to helping at pet stores at age 11, to working with a reptile specialist, Romanov has had a love for animals since very early on. He fueled this passion throughout his years in school and is now a freelance filmmaker for companies such as BBC and Wild Logic. Out of the various types of wildlife documentaries, he has worked the most in marine photography. While a student at UCSB, Romanov came back to Laguna for an assembly

when he learned that Rick Rosenthal, principal cameraman for the BBC whale films was going to be a guest speaker After the presentation, science teacher Landon Neustadt told Romanov that the APES class was meeting with Rosenthal over lunch and that he was welcome to join them. “And that’s how I met Rick,” Mark recalled. Rosenthal has been his mentor ever since, and they have traveled together across countless landscapes and seascapes and brought the beauty of nature to the world audience.

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do. And what I realize now is that it’s all just an incredible amount of time and hard work and patience. So those grand sequences you see in “Blue Planet,” it’s not that the crew has all the secrets and knows the magic and can just go out there and get it done. It’s that they put in months of...trying. It can be pretty difficult to think that after a few weeks of trying and nothing happening, you have to decide, ‘Is this because we’re going about it wrong? Maybe the animal’s not here, maybe we’re using the wrong tools,’ or decide, ‘Yeah, it’s still going to happen, we need to just keep waiting.’ There’s no guarantee — you could sit there for years and never get the shot. Did you have any role models in that sense, someone who could just wait and still have a positive attitude? A: Certainly Rick, who’s been my mentor since I met him at Laguna. And the producer of these films, Rick’s wife, Katya Shirokav, who is a Laguna alum. Favorite moment filming an animal? A: Filming orcas in Arctic Norway in the winter. We were working off a sailboat, we’d be sailing through blizzards at times, it felt pretty far out there. And when we’d get in the water, the orcas were just so present, I would say, in terms of how they’re looking at you, how they’re interacting with each other, how they’re aware of their environment. You just look them in the eye and there’s such an intelligence. You’re not seeing an orca, you’re meeting an orca. What do you have in mind for the future? A: I would just like to keep filming wildlife behavior and get to share it with a large audience that wouldn’t otherwise get to see it.

The aurora borealis lights up the Norwegian nightscape.


thefourthestate.net NEWS • 11

FIRST DATE ...KINDA NERVOUS OUR STORIES “It was the very first date that I had ever been on, and I was really nervous. I didn’t know where we were going or what we were doing, so I had to be ready for anything. I was scared that we were not going to have anything to talk about, but conversation came easily for us, and we arrived at the water towers in no time. He pulled out a picnic lunch with lots of blankets. For the rest of the date, we talked about everything, and I couldn’t help but smile for the rest of the day.” Julia Guglielmo ‘20 “I was in high school, and I heard that this girl liked me, so I asked her out. We were heading to a buddy of mine’s party, so I picked her up, and we began driving. After a while, though, she would not stop talking about herself, and it became really annoying, so on our way to the party—and I would never do this now—I picked up a hitchhiker. We made some small talk, and then I ended up inviting him to the party.” Anonymous teacher WORDS by PAIGE LEVINSON, MADDIE KIRK, and JULIA GUGLIELMO

First dates are scary. Over the years, movies have glamorized the perfect date, and, due to this, we cannot help but have high expectations. From Troy and Gabriella in “High School Musical” to Allie and Noah in “The Notebook,” a teenager’s ideal date is dancing in the rain or canoeing in a heart-shaped lake. Although these date ideas are picture-perfect, Laguna students have more-realistic ideas for this Valentine’s Day.

The Illustrated Interview with Max Grotstein

The Illustrated Interview is The Fourth Estate’s way of highlighting talented students on campus. Through his art, Max Grotstein expresses his interests and emotions. Max enjoys sketching pieces not only in class, but also during his free time.

DATE IDEAS: • Dress up and go to dinner at an Italian restaurant • Grab lunch/dinner then watch a movie in theaters • Have a picnic at the beach • Go somewhere beautiful to watch the sunset • Go for a nice walk outside • Go bowling and play the arcade games

What is your spirit animal?

Who’s your favorite celebrity?

What’s your favorite food?

• Go to the mission and have a picnic • Get food and go to the pier • Bake a favorite recipe together • Go on a drive on the PCH

TIPS & TRICKS: • Don’t do all the talking — ask lots of questions. • Don’t try too hard. You’ll have fun no matter what you’re doing if you are really happy with the person you’re dating.

Where do you come from?

Draw a self portrait

What’s your dream house?

What scares you?

What’s your dream pet?

What makes you smile?

• Maintain a steady eye contact, it shows that you are interested in what they have to say. • Go somewhere where you feel comfortable. A familiar location will make the difference. • Don’t talk about the weather.

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thefourthestate.net FEATURE • 13 11

Follow Your Gut Being told to follow your gut has been advice parents and mentors have bestowed on children for generations. We recall this idiom in moments of doubt or question, and rely on it for some of the biggest decisions we make in life. However, should we really be “trusting our gut” in decisions that could be life or death?


here’s one answer left on the test. Time is running out, and you have absolutely no idea what the right choice could be. Your first instinct was to choose A, no reason why, but it felt right. You’re stumped. You scribble in A and shove the page on your teacher’s desk. A week later, the test comes back. You trusted your gut and got it wrong. Trusting your gut is an idiom that has been repeated since childhood — whether it is in reference to, say, an answer on a test, or even something more worrisome, like leaving a situation when things get tense. So, if this advice can keep someone safe, why is it such a heavily contested phrase?

According to a study conducted at Duke University, this instinctual decision is prompted by a part of the brain called the limbic system. The Limbic System controls “emotion, behavior, and motivation,” and it isn’t fully developed until age 25. Twenty-five years old is well past adolescence, and yet teens and young children are relying on this part of the brain that has not fully matured to make monumental decisions. These decisions could be life-changing or life-saving, and they are sometimes dictated by an instinct that could quickly lead someone in the wrong direction. Instincts are sometimes based purely on previously established stereotypes that have become ingrained in the way people view things. For example, in another study at Duke, girls were shown photos of people, all of whom were men, and were asked to identify the ones they believed to be the least trustworthy. The ones voted least trustworthy were the ones who were frowning, or had a blank expression. Interestingly, the test subjects who had these reactions were often teenagers themselves, aged 12-15. These girls had in-the-moment reactions, ones that could have happened easily in everyday life. While this proves that small factors contribute to a person’s assumptions, it also leaves room for someone to argue that these assumptions do help protect young people (especially girls) by putting them on high alert. Do they, though? Well, yes, it does help girls stay alert around potential threats, but what about when every man with a naturally scowling face makes the girl wary? We live in a world where we feel the need to watch our backs — even walking down the street is an activity that can fill us with dread thinking about potential threats and possibilities for harm. How are we supposed to ween out the malevolent from the ambivalent if our instincts are telling us “danger, danger, danger?”

Intuition is like a muscle. A person must build it up and learn to trust that the messages sent by the brain to use their instincts to their fullest potential. In the past decades, it has become hard to be aware of one’s surroundings. Teens wake up in the morning and immediately plug into their devices, and often stay that way until night. Being completely plugged in like that distracts us from the world, and makes it increasingly more challenging to stay aware in situations that may warrant it. A blog, Functional Health Code, reported on this, claiming that “When we are overly consumed by our devices, it is incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to listen to our intuition.” This issue is a new one for teenagers. Never, in the decades before, could people have guessed that having a device that potentially provides so much safety could also lead to kids into dangerous situations. However, these devices that are destroying our natural intuition aren’t all bad. They do help teens in ways that never could have been imagined before. Now, instead of merely walking alone at night, phones provide apps that can keep a person safe, even if the person’s gut instincts aren’t fully there to protect them. One of which apps allows its user to hold a button until they get to their final location — if the person stops pressing the button, it calls the police. Of course, this is just one of many apps that are being created, and one of the many apps that could potentially save a life. Yes, gut instincts have been what we relied on for centuries — and no doubt that they will continue to keep people aware and mindful of their surroundings. However, now, we don’t have to be relying on the part of our brain that might not be the best guide. Instead, we can know that we are safe, and if that ever changes, we have a secure line of defense in our back pocket. WORDS and ART by PHOEBE STEIN

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thefourthestate.net FEATURE • 13

#winterinstagrams PAGE by ELLI WESTMACOTT

The New Classic What is a “classic movie?” It’s a movie that is recognized for years, a movie that shapes and plays a large role in our cultural memory. Remaking classic movies presents the opportunity to make money. But are prized classics at risk of getting a makeover?


verything old is new again: Polaroid cameras, scrunchies, and vinyl. They all define a different decade and all three of them can be found in the bedroom of any trend-following-teenage-girl. We craved the future for so long, yet now our nostalgia is forcing us to take a step back. Whether it is our nostalgia or

and youthful pixie-cut make the movie memorable, along with the grainy, unrealistic 60’s animations. The 2018 spin on the timeless tale introduced Emily Blunt as a Mary Poppin-esque figure and continued to implement our ever-growing CGI technology for colorful animations. What’s the point of a classic if it’s going to be remade? A plethora of movies have been remade and touched by Hollywood. The never-ending “Star Wars,” “A Star is Born” (for the third time), and don’t forget “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” where Johnny Depp plays a cynical and creepy candy man. The argument for these movies, being such classics, is that they need to be remade for younger generations. Senior Charlie Jacobs says this is crucial “for society to look back, re-adapt, and change.” Charlie has a pro-remake stance: “It allows the audience to view the story through a different lens,” must I say no pun intended. On the other hand, in the midst of this movie remake hysteria, more prevalent than ever because of the Disney cumulative greed for a significant cashflow, fewer and fewer people believe classic movies should be left untouched. “Many of the remakes nowadays are re-imaginings of classic movies,” senior Dante Christie said. “They take the same overall story and the big plot points from the original movies, but change some of the intermediary parts to fit the current social norm.” While future and current filmmakers may add CGI animations or outrageous story additions to movie remakes, the unforgettable actors, actresses, and authentic aesthetics of the most cherished nostalgic movies will remain classic– despite the re-make craze of Hollywood.

“Classic movies are art, would you repaint the Mona Lisa?” even capitalist ideals, movies are being remade and presenting themselves as a new classic for generations to come. Mary Poppins is an umbrella-riding nanny who insists “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down (in a rhythmic tone, of course).” Julie Andrews’ innocent smile


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thefourthestate.net FEATURE • 17 thefourthestate.net THEME • 17

Trends Making a Comeback With the start of a new decade, trends of the ‘90s, ‘80s and ‘70s are becoming progressively more relevant in today’s fashion world. In the early 2000s, monochromatic outfits became a popular trend. People would dress in one color, and this allowed them to play with have an eclectic texture, fabric, and style while still maintaining a cohesive look.

In the ‘50s, women improved their everyday look with striking accessories, and sunglasses were one of the most common statement pieces. This era was famous for the cat-eye sunglasses, which has a winged out edge to both enhance and elongate their face shape. This silhouette has filtered through decades of fashion trends, landing today in a slightly more subtle frame with a small wing in bright colors.

The 2000s also brought the beginning of big hair clips. In the years before, women attempted to hide their bobby pins and keep the illusion of their hairstyles alive. But the 2000s ushered in the beginning of colorful and playful hair accessories.


The ‘80s have made a huge comeback in 2020. The classic high waisted mom-jean look has been modernized and improved into the straight-legged high waisted jeans we see on an everyday basis. Fanny packs have also made their way back onto the scene as a fashion accessory in new structured styles. Crops tops from the ‘80s have made a resurgence, and are now a closet staple, no matter the color or material.

In the ‘70s, floral graphics and disco outfits were made of a spectrum of bold, eye-catching colors. And now, neon and vivid shades are more popular than ever. In addition, jeans have once again risen to the top of street style. Jeans are not only worn on a daily basis, but denim outfits, dresses, and tops are stylish.

stance of the staff Y

ou’ve gotta come with me… back to the future.” This famous sentence begins the science-fiction cinematic classic “Back to the Future,” one of the most influential films in the 20th century. “Back to the Future” is not just a story about young Michael J. Fox hopping in a DeLorean and traveling 30 years into the past. This movie is riddled with understated messages that build a foundation for understanding our past, and what our past should teach us about our future. Over and over again, the characters in this film make mistakes, as all people do. However, what these characters do differently is that they don’t allow themselves to get caught up in the things that have already happened. Instead, they look to what is ahead, living focused on what they can still do rather than what they did. In the dawn of the new decade, it is more important than ever to think about what happened in the past, and how we are going to learn from that to be different in the present and how we might shape our future. In an exclusive interview with Robert Zemeckis, the director of “Back to the Future,” we learned how the director believes the world has changed since the release of the blockbuster 35 years ago. When we asked him about how has our focus on what’s important changed over time? Zemeckis answered, “I think people today, especially young, people place more importance on personal freedom than they do on acquiring material things.” His response to the question about movies and television shows being remade: “I think television is getting better and movies are getting worse.” And finally, when asked where he would go if he had his very own Delorean, Zemeckis said, “If I had the ability to travel in time and return to my present time I would be interested in going anywhere in the past.” As we begin a new decade, we should think about where we’ve come from, but, unlike Marty McFly, we don’t have a time machine, and we shouldn’t live as we do. It’s all about learning from the past and living in the present.

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Faded Teen drinking remains a relevant issue in our society for decades, and it is just as present as ever. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Prohibition Era, the period in time where drinking was outlawed from 1920 to 1933, we need to take a look at how has teen drinking changed and why teens are so attracted to drinking, no matter the year. WORDS by DARE FITZPATRICK and AMARA MURPHY ART by AMARA MURPHY


een drinking is bad. A phrase teens are always told by parents, teachers and other adults. But what is our generation’s response? Get a fake ID. Teen drinking is an issue that our society prefers to sweep under the rug.

Although the dangers of drinking are taught in school, teens often outweigh the negative consequences with positive effects they feel. Adults tend to be overly controlling towards teen drinking. Teens associate feelings of happi-

ness and fun with alcohol, however, in recent years alcohol abuse by teens has increased and binge-drinking rates have risen. Why is it that teens feel that the only way to have fun is by doing drinking alcohol?

22 • THEME thefourthestate.net

It may just have to do with the way that our society perceives teen drinking. Sophomore Phoebe Ray describes the perception of teen drinking in America as a “forbidden fruit, so the kids end up actually wanting it more because it is forbidden and off-limits and they aren’t very educated about it.” Parents, teachers and other adults that teens look up to generally present drinking as such a forbidden and terrible thing, but fail to consider the teenager’s point of view. When we asked Phoebe if she thought teens drink to have fun she responded: “Yes, it’s probably just because they want to have fun with their friends.” According to a nationwide study in 2017, 14 percent of high school students had binge-drank (had 4-5 drinks in a 2 hour time period) in the past 30 days according to the CDC. The scariest part about these statistics is not that the teen drinking rate has gone up in past years, in fact, it has gone down in general, but the binge drinking rates for teens have gone up since 1991. So why are these rates so high? Again, the answer comes back to the manner in which underage drinking is addressed in our society. In other countries, like Italy, for exam-

ple, which has a drinking age of 16, binge drinking rates are lower. And even more interesting, Italian youths who drink with their parents at meals are less likely to have problems with alcohol in the future according to a study conducted by the Boston University Medical Center. Sophomore Rhys Zemeckis, who spends his summers in Italy, shares that teens drink in Italy “not to get drunk, just to drink. They don’t overdo it like Americans.” When we asked Rhys why he thought American teens “overdo it” he said that “I think that it is about having an open relationship between kids and parents with alcohol. If the kid knows [he/she] is going to get in trouble, [he/she] won’t tell [his/her] parents the truth. In Italy, teens can drink in front of their parents and don’t feel the need to get drunk every time they have the chance to.” Teen drinking has to do with perception; how society views alcohol, how the parents view alcohol, and, most importantly, how the teens view alcohol. People approach drinking differently with vastly different outcomes. In a happier sense, it can be to offer a wedding toast, to share a drink and relax after work with friends, or it can be darker

and involve violence or drunk driving. Drinking is a part of American life and despite attempts by the government to eliminate drinking during the Prohibition, drinking permeates our culture. Arguments in favor of lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 aim to remove the alcohol taboo, which drives teens to drink undercover and leads to more binge drinking. A lower drinking age could allow families to have discussions about responsible drinking and teach teens how to drink responsibly. Some states are working to change laws to allow teens to drink in their homes under adult supervision in an effort to teach them about alcohol consumption. In California, alcohol laws let those of any age below 21 have alcohol in private locations. Except in vehicles. They may drink if a parent, guardian, spouse or other responsible relative age 21 or older is present. Prohibition not only failed to stop drinking, but it also created the practice of alcoholic abuse. Teens binge drink, in part, because they are doing it secretly and unattended without the safety net of society to recognize the need to change.

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Changing the Channel In a short collection of interviews from students and teachers, see how our childhood TV shows and movies have shaped our lives, which is relevant as we reach the beginning of another decade, and many of those shows are coming back through Disney Plus.



e all remember those TV shows that shaped our childhood; the ones with characters we wanted to be when we grew up, the ones that we would watch on repeat and the ones that we remember today. Although they may have seemed irrelevant to us as kids, the moral undertones that our childhood television shows delivered to us as children, are still relevant to us now. The friendly conflicts that arose in the plot lines made us think about how we might be able to handle similar situations in our real lives. Not only did we learn and grow from these shows, but we loved them at the same time, and continue to love them into our teenage years. On Nov. 12, Disney released a new streaming platform called Disney Plus. It is a subscription-based video service that includes all of the movies and TV shows owned by Disney, including all of the nostalgic shows of the early 2000s that we spent our childhoods watching. Examples range from “Steamboat Willie,” which aired in 1928, to “Good Luck Charlie,” which aired in 2010. Disney Plus gained 10 million subscribers in just one day after its launch, while it took HBO several years to reach a little more than half of that number. It’s no wonder that so many people want to subscribe; with nearly 500 movies and 7,500 shows on the platform for only $6.99 a month, Disney lovers everywhere finally get to enjoy the magic of Disney all on one platform. Students can attest to the magic of these shows from years ago, and as we change the channel to another decade, we can look back at the beloved shows and movies that taught us valuable lessons about friendships, school and family.

Q: Do you have Disney Plus, and what have you liked about it? Has it brought back memories?

hands down. She had the coolest house and closet — why wouldn’t anyone want that life?” Molly Morouse ‘23

A: “I do have Disney Plus and it has been super nostalgic. It’s been awesome to watch the shows that I grew up with and that shaped my childhood.” Hanna Masri ‘22

Q: What was the most valuable lesson that you learned from a child’s show?

A: “[Disney Plus] is like those memes were they access a part of your brain that you didn’t know about.” Ainsley McGovern ‘20 A: “I really like Disney Plus because I’m able to see all these movies that I used to watch as a kid. For me “Finding Nemo” and “Ratatouille” were my favorite movies and to be able to see them is awesome.” Henry Otte ‘22 A: “Disney Plus is the only thing I use. I canceled my Netflix account, my HBO account and my Hulu account, because I could only have one. No regrets. I watch a movie every night. Last night it was “Frenemies” and before that it was “Lemonade Mouth.” Macy Christal ‘20 Q: What was the most valuable lesson that you learned from a TV show when you were younger? How has it helped you make decisions as you grow up?

A: “The thing that most profoundly affected me was probably “ET.” I cried a lot during “ET.” It gave me a lot of suspicion of the world and of the government. Just the idea of understanding another human being, and obviously ET wasn’t another human being, but just understanding people that are different from you and finding the good in things that seem different and things that seem outside.” Erik Faust faculty A: “It’s gonna be super cliché now, but I really did watch “Mister Rogers” every day. I think it taught me lots of lessons; one was to always look for the good in other people; that everyone, no matter who, were good, and it was my responsibility to look for the good in other people. There were lots.” Katie Pointer faculty Q: How have those lessons helped you make decisions or be kind as you grow up?

A: “I think Mister Rogers was actually very intentional about including diversity and putting people in roles in his show A: “No one says it better than Hannah that would have been counter-cultural Montana herself, ‘Nobody’s perfect.’ Dis- at the time, but as a child, you wouldn’t ney Channel made it clear that everyone have known that. In the 1970s, he intenhad imperfections.” Molly Morouse ‘23 tionally cast a black man as a cop, which would’ve been a really big deal, and then Q: Was there a specific character that showed him and the cop putting their you wanted to be once you grew up? feet in a pool together, which, at the time, would’ve been a really big deal. A: “Backyardigans was my favorite. I {I think this was a} way of helping kids wanted to be Pablo the penguin.” Sydnormalize and get used to not setting ney Hlavaty ‘20 up stereotypes or prejudices against A: “I wanted to be Hannah Montana things.” Katie Pointer faculty

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“In order to find a greater appreciation for our own festivities, it is necessary to learn a little of the traditions in which they are grounded.”


ver the past couple of months, we have managed to give and receive all of our wishes of “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah.” Whispers of Easter are on the horizon, but many of us frequently forget where these contemporary celebrations originate. Rather than traditionally celebrating religious holidays, some celebrate Christmas in a modern, all-American version of those old observances. Many Christmases are about getting presents out from underneath the Christmas tree, with large dinners and as much of the family as can fit around the table, as everyone enjoys the new holiday Spotify playlists. Leading up to the Christmas holiday, people sing, celebrate, and enjoy a long dose of relaxation. Once the holiday is over, people pack up the ornaments, retrieve the star

The Holy Days Behind The Holidays COMMENTARY

As our culture changes, traditional religious holidays seem to morph into different versions of what they were originally.

from the top of the tree and get ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations. When Easter comes around, however, it’s an entirely different story. Children get a kick out of finding Easter eggs hidden around the yard. But, once they get to high school, it’s not much of a stretch to say that many typically forget the holiday altogether. But their celebrations probably don’t need further discussion: they’re wellknown and well-observed. What many don’t know all that much about, however, are the ancient Holy Days on which our modern holidays are founded. To find a greater appreciation for festivities, then, it is necessary to learn a little of the traditions in which they are grounded. Christmas is among the oldest Holy Days established by the single oldest existent Christian Church on earth: the Roman Catholic Church.

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References to the Holy Day go as far back as 204 AD under Pope Saint Zephyrinus, and the devotions and traditions associated with Advent only grew going forward. Advent, the Christian liturgical season leading up to and culminating in Christmas, is traditionally held as a season of hope, expectation, and preparation for the eventual celebration of the Nativity of Christ on December 25. In stark contrast with more secular Christmas traditions, it is not a period of partying and gift-giving, instead it focuses on prayer and the contemplation of holy things. The entire season is meant to bring the Christian’s soul closer to, and more ordered with, God. Christmas Day is considered the second most important holy day in the entire Christian religion. It has been celebrated on the same date according to the traditions of the Catholic Church by every major Christian denomination in the history of the world, and has historically been celebrated with a special form of the Mass in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, accompanied by feasting, singing, and celebration which continues on for another 12 days, culminating on the Feast of the Epiphany, the day on which the

Three Wise Men are said to have visited the infant Jesus in his manger. Ironically, Easter, the holiday which many forget or skip straight over, is the single most important day of each year by Christian opinion. Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, it stands to commemorate the ultimate triumph of God over all things, even death. The day is also one of feasting and celebration, traditionally accompanied by three-to-five hour church services and baptisms. The Holy Day is made all the more important by the simple fact that it follows the 40-day liturgical season of Lent, which is held by a majority of practicing Christians to be a time for fasting and abstinence. The lack of decadence during this preparatory Lenten period, when juxtaposed with the euphoria of the Easter holiday and the Easter season following it, puts the passing of time in a very different light for those who observe the liturgical traditions of Christianity. The observance of these seasons and celebrations, however, comes at considerable risk for the millions of Christians who live in nations that have a policy of persecution and extermination against Catholics and Protestants. In places like The People’s Republic of China, practicing of the traditional Christian faith is entirely illegal, and anyone observing the old rites and liturgical seasons is immediately picked out by their government for further surveillance and possible imprisonment and torture. For Chinese Christians, not even the genuine threat of death can keep them from the observance of their Holy Days. The vast difference between secular holidays and Christian Holy Days, then, is that while many see these holidays as convenient breaks from the real world,

breaks which are if need be, expendable, the Christians hold their Holy Days to be essential parts of life. Specific days and certain times mean certain things. Days and their meanings are inseparable from one another, and it is outside of the control of humans and human institutions to alter them. Christian celebrations behind the seasons on the calendar are very different from those two days, which have been set aside for some time off of school or work. In the secular tradition on which our society is constructed, Monday through Friday is set aside for school or work, and Saturday and Sunday are (in theory) time with which people can do with what they will with the weekend. For the traditional Christians, different dates, different days of the week, and different months and seasons mean different things. Almost every day is set aside for something unique and something out-of-the-ordinary. They perceive the passing of time fundamentally different than others. “Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity,” said Frank Sonnenberg in “The True Meaning of Holidays.”


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Motivated to Shoot Controversial movie “Joker” has sparked conversation across America about media’s impact on viewers. When taking a closer look, one may realize exactly why Americans have become so fraught with mental illness, and what exactly can be done to keep people safe.


he recent award-winning film, the “Joker,” a re-imagining of the classic DC comics “Batman” horror-film, has stirred up quite a controversy amongst its viewers. Vulture, a website that focuses on upcoming blockbuster films, noted that “Many critics ponder Joker’s potential to inspire acts of domestic terrorism.” Viewers walked out during the film because they thought that it was ‘too dark’ and ‘too intense.” The “Joker” re-

flects America’s problem of gun violence subtly. Joaquin Phoenix plays the Joker, who, in this psychological drama, goes by the name of Arthur Fleck. Fleck is a sickly, chain-smoking, mentally-unbalanced human. His strange behaviors and untimely make him a target for bullying by those in his community. The people surrounding him don’t recognize the patterns of a psychopath,

which Fleck exhibits while manipulating and exploiting others. “I would classify Fleck as the type of person who has mental illnesses [while being] way too lonely. Someone with those mental problems shouldn’t have time to brood as much as he does,” senior Dante Christie said. “Fleck is far from ‘fine.’” The central controversial aspect of this film originates from the fear that pieces of media can inspire viewers to

28 • OPINION thefourthestate.net

replicate the actions they see on the screen. For the past 20 years, school shootings people have ravaged America, making many people confused and disturbed as to how our society has come to this point and what will become of us in the future. Everyone is asking, “What are the causes of school shootings? Why would anyone commit acts so horrendous?” The answer is not as simple as some may hope. Portland High School football coach Keanon Lowe is credited with preventing a potential school shooting when he came upon a student who brought a loaded gun to campus. Lowe’s quick instincts and big heart made all the difference.

He sprinted over, grabbed the shotgun, handed it to someone else, and then moved back to hug the student for about 20 seconds. The potential shooter started trembling, broke down, and said: “All I ever wanted was a hug.” “Obviously, he broke down, and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him — I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living.” Lowe’s actions reveal what Americans can do and how they can be better. Another question America is asking is what we can identify as the root of growing mental illness in recent years. “The answer might be technology. Smartphones. People, especially

the younger generations, are on their phones all the time. Phones are supposed to keep us more connected,” World History teacher Kevin Shertzer said. “I think social media divides us and makes us feel lonelier than ever.” Social media is a constant distraction for the majority of people, many of whom can log up to 10 hours of screen time a day. A new study by the University of Pittsburgh found that teens who heavily use social media are 3 times more likely to feel socially isolated. This can cause a teen to feel even more alone than before, reducing confidence and motivation to engage in social interactions. Meaningful conversations with friends become mindless chats over Instagram. With all these distractions, the background noise grows. People ignore the value of personal connections in maintaining our mental stability. What happens when we cut ourselves off from social media? Who do we become? Many people don’t take time to step back, take a walk, or be alone to reassess their lives. In a time where distractions are everywhere, and the rate of mental illness is increasing in teens, self-care is essential. “I try and find a spot where nobody I know will find me,” English teacher Al Silva said. “For example, I’ll go to an authentic coffee shop, isolate myself in a corner, and sit down with a book for a couple of hours.” Take time to think of an important person in your life who could use some help. Please, sit down and talk to them. We could all use a hug. Perhaps if we make time to take care of ourselves, our problems will diminish rather than fester. If we don’t find time to do so, our issues take control and trickle into our everyday life. Arthur Fleck is an extreme example, but it is clear that if he had made meaningful positive connections, he may never have become the Joker. WORDS by PATRICK OTTE ART by CLAIRE TOLLES

thefourthestate.net OPINION • 29

YouTube used to be a place for you, the individual. Now, it’s a source of revenue for them, the brands and celebrities.


Why Esports Matter A look into one of the quickest growing industries in the world.


very time a new recreation is introduced to Americans, it’s met with backlash and misunderstanding, but does that mean it has to happen again? The past three generations of kids have grown up playing video games, and for the first time, playing them can become a full-time job. In theory, this should be met with excitement, however, to many, the world of Esports is still a bizarre community of “nerds” and people dwelling in their parents’ basements. As with many of the newest inventions and trends of the 21st century, older generations are having a hard time keeping up with the rapid progression of trends and pop culture. This is horribly detrimental to an industry like Esports, something that craves investment from wealthy individuals and companies to fund its many events.

Despite this seemingly low interest, Esports continues to bring in huge amounts of money from sponsorships from companies like the Golden State Warriors. All of this is important to explain the relevance of Esports to wealthy executives and big shot inventors, but why do Esports matter to the average person?

on the most minute details of the game,” said senior John Henry Schulz. “A professional CSGO player has put thousands of hours on just lowering his reaction time by a tenth of a second. You’re watching just as much talent in an Esports match as you are in any conventional sport.” The attraction of Esports is its accessibility. It doesn’t require you to be 6 feet 8 inches to play basketball or be 200 pounds to be a linebacker— it just requires you to know the game and be willing to work at it. The power of Esports isn’t just in the fact that anyone can participate, it’s a fact that you can meet people from all over the world just from playing. It connects people in a way that only something born in the 21st century can. It’s time we start encouraging the flourishing of Esports, not because it’s the “next step in the evolution of sports,” but because it’s something new entirely.

“You’re watching just as much talent in an Esports match as you are in any conventional sport.” Someone who just plays games casually? Why would I want to watch people play video games? “When you’re watching Esports, you’re not just watching random people that just happen to be good at a game. You’re watching people who’ve spent years practicing for thousands of hours


30 • OPINION thefourthestate.net

ouTube is one of the most used media sharing sites on the internet, and the most used video site, with over 2 billion active users. Any platform will change as it develops, and YouTube is certainly no exception. To understand how YouTube has changed, we have to look at how it began. On Feb. 14, 2005, former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim activated the domain YouTube.com. After a few months, they posted the now-famous video “Me at the Zoo” to test if the site worked. The slogan “Broadcast Yourself” was featured prominently at the top of the site. YouTube quickly gained traction, bringing in 100 million daily video views and 20 million monthly users by July of 2006. Google then acquired YouTube. In 2007, Google initiated its AdSense program, putting ads in videos and allowing creators to make money from the platform, known as monetization. Even though the program existed, it was a distant thought from creators, who just viewed it as a hobby. Back then, a content creator was someone who uploaded short videos of themselves doing something funny, or ranting about a game. There was no sense of organization. It was magical. “Keyboard Cat,” “Charlie Bit My Finger,” “Leroy Jenkins,” and many other videos uploaded by creators, maybe even just videos meant for friends, went viral. YouTube was an exciting place. Today, YouTube is fundamentally different than it was at its beginning, and it’s not necessarily bad. Every major creator you watch would almost certainly not be on the platform without monetization, but monetization has

turned YouTube into a business venture for creators. While monetization has promoted some channels to make better, higher effort content, YouTube was originally just for sharing home videos and funny seven-second clips. However, it has encouraged other channels to churn out formulaic videos that take advantage of YouTube’s algorithms in order to get clicks and ad revenue. “Monetization has motivated many creators to do anything to get views, including blatantly lying in their titles, performing reckless acts, and endangering others,” said Santa Barbara Middle School 9th grader Mack Kelly.

YouTube said that they would be getting stricter about harassment on the site. With this change, one of the most famous commentary videos on the site, Content Cop — Leafy, was removed, as they believed it to be bullying because the creator made fun of another creator Leafy’s appearance to prove a point. According to these new policies, videos from Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert should be removed, or the channels given community guidelines strikes, as they repeatedly joke about other people, which violates YouTube’s rules. However, these videos are all still up, because YouTube seems to enforce their rules only on channels that don’t make money. There are still a few channels leftover from the “olden days” of YouTube, and some haven’t changed much. Others have been recently created but still manage to capture the charm of what YouTube was. Despite this, most small creators that were iconic as the site was developing have moved on and been replaced by corporations, and the few that tried to keep their old content were removed. The few leftovers have changed their content to fit with YouTube’s new guidelines and rules, leaving their channels a shell of what they once were. One of the most important changes that could be made would be to modify the algorithm for promoting videos. Tweaking the algorithm to give smaller channels a higher chance of being promoted would certainly go a long way towards changing the site for the better. YouTube has never been perfect, and it never will be. Reaching for perfection, we will always come up short. But we can get close.

“Instead of creating for just fun and to go viral...the creators are now making videos to make money.” Although morally shady, this content engineered to get views has been the centerpiece of the platform for years. YouTube has recently updated its policies, and hidden amongst the terms was a clause stating that YouTube can delete your Google account — not just your channel — if it is deemed to be not “commercially viable.” Google has been running Youtube at a loss for years, constantly running out of server space from the millions of videos that never gain any traction. Google is now taking action, essentially closing off the platform to new creators, keeping the big ones bringing in the money, and ignoring the small ones that were the catalyst for YouTube’s growth. YouTube favors celebrities and corporations, with double standards against the true creators of the site. In their new harassment policies,

WORDS and ART by Cody Busch-Weiss

thefourthestate.net OPINION • 31

The Fight Against Free Speech?


t’s been happening more and more on college campuses recently. Independent groups request colleges to bring a speaker on campus to talk to the student body, and often-times those speakers’ views do not correlate with the views of the majority of the students. Diverse speakers on campus are not necessarily the issue — most colleges and students will agree that diverse perspectives are a crucial aspect of any intellectually stimulating and fair collegiate experience. However, introducing diverse perspectives sparks debates on liberal-leaning college campuses, — specifically when speakers target certain races, religions or people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.


Controversial speakers such as like Gavvin McInnes, a transphobic author who spoke at NYU, often voice views that are extremely right-leaning, racist or homophobic, and college students can’t help but fight back. The question that arises when students protest speakers — is it constitutional to ban people from speaking because their views are contentious or discriminatory? The University of California, Berkeley is at the center of this controversial debate — their students forcing speakers like Milo

Students are at the center of the debate over protecting free speech and the First Amendment versus promoting liberal beliefs. Is it constitutional to ban people from speaking because their views are contentious or discriminatory? Yiannopoulos, a British far-right activist and writer, and Ben Shapiro, a political commentator with conservative leanings away. When the administration acted against bringing similarly provocative speakers to campus, Berkely was thrust into the center of this rapidly-spreading debate. One could argue that Berkley’s efforts to avoid hosting speakers is extreme. It stems from student-led protests. As a result, independent student groups continue to face political strife with both university administrators and other students when they elect to bring these specific speakers to speak to the student body.


19% OF STUDENTS believe it is okay to use violence to keep controversial speakers from talking at their colleges 46% OF STUDENTS understand how hate speech can be protected by the First Amendment 1% OF STUDENTS would use violence to disrupt a speaker

ing people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, many students at Brown felt targeted by Kirk’s visit to campus and some viewed the Brown administration’s bringing of this speaker as a reflection of the a lack of sensitivity. “Basically, I think it’s a very complex and nuanced issue that can really depend on what the specific speaker has said in the past or plans to say on their visit,” said Rose Houglet ‘18, a sophomore at Brown. As a current Political Science major, Houglet recognizes that while Brown may be a dominantly liberal and progressive campus, open discussion is still relevant and important. She hopes people understand that students’ views are widely spread-out across the political spectrum.

What exactly does “free speech” mean on college campuses? Where is the line between free speech and intentional marginalization of student groups on campus? And perhaps most controversially, what is the role of the university’s administration in this process?


Infographic taken from an official poll of college students

When a speaker has views that are potentially harmful to groups within the student body, large groups of students from various backgrounds often feel that their college or university’s administration is allowing them to feel targeted. Incidents like these have also been seen at elite institutions as well. At Brown University, an Ivy League university in Providence, Rhode Island, controversial speakers have been elected to visit the university by conservative political student groups. Unlike the University of California, Berkeley, however, Brown’s administration strongly refrained from censoring free speech on campus. An example of free speech is when Charlie Kirk, leader of conservative student organization Turning Point USA (TPUSA), was elected by a conservative political group to come speak to students at Brown. TPSUSA views universities and colleges in the United States as institutions of liberal infiltration. Kirk, along with TPUSA, are responsible for marginaliz-

“At Brown, we have a whole student group titled “No Labels,” which is dedicated to political discussion outside of partisan lines. It hosted a very interesting and well-attended debate between the Brown Republicans and the Brown Democrats.” On the opposing side of the argument, many student groups argue that the university’s restrictions on the invitation of speakers is not a protection of students’ safety, but rather a restriction on free speech — a central element of American democracy. Many advocate for the classification of events like these as free speech on college campuses often call attention to the fact that all students are fair and equally able to protest. At Berkeley and Brown, student-led protest against hosting certain speakers has been the dominant force behind political conversations. This debate brings up an important question about the fine line between free speech and hate speech.

thefourthestate.net OPINION • 33

Psychology of Fangirls

Fangirls are easily dismissed — being seen as crazy young girls screaming in crowds and begging for their idol’s attention. What’s often not thought about is why fans are drawn to fandoms and how their devotion can make or break careers.

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ave you ever met someone who is, for example, a diehard One Direction fan? Some will claim they would do anything for the group or would marry one of the members in a heartbeat. This phenomenon is usually a Gen Z teen girl thing (or at least it seems that way), but it’s not exclusive to young girls. Since the beginning of Hollywood’s Golden era, stars have been idolized and treated like royalty by their fans. Celebrities like Elvis Presley, Tom Cruise, and Beyoncé become household names with their brand, charisma, and public image. This love of a particular pop culture entity isn’t like a hobby; for some, it is their life. Everyone is a fan of something, whether it’s hiking or romance novels, but genuinely dedicated individuals feel a one-sided emotional connection. The Institute of Psychology of the United Kingdom deduced that a lack of sense of belonging correlates to depression. With teens already struggling with their identities, it can be hard to find a place where people are like them. Having something that connects different people, no matter their background, is what is so special about fandoms. “It’s just fun to be able to walk up to somebody I sort of know, and if they know about Harry Potter. It’s like an instant connection over our mutual geekiness,” said Harry Potter fanatic Katherine Ball '23. For people in fandoms, the obsession can be much more than just that. It can be a lifestyle and a part of who they are. Not to mention, fandoms fuel the pop culture world. Without fans lining up at midnight for Star Wars movies and people waiting online for hours to buy tickets to see Harry Styles, there is no fandom and, therefore, no celebrity. But there can be a point where an idolizing something can become a dangerous obsession.

In January 2013, photos surfaced of global pop star Justin Bieber allegedly smoking weed. Within days, the world of Stan Twitter (fans on twitter), took action with gory images of fans cutting their arms and using the hashtag #cutforbieber. The trend started as a joke but soon became horrifying and sick as users glorified self-harm. Their incentive was that they’d stop hurting themselves once he did. While fandoms may find a way to connect people, it can also be a place of toxicity. As previously mentioned, Stan Twitter has become the online world of all things fandoms. Strolling through your Twitter feed, you might be bombarded by the BTS

When the world becomes a hateful place, sometimes the only solution is logging into the online world.


Army spreading videos of a recent concert or girls crying over Tom Holland’s new buzzed haircut. However, the lines blur when fans feel they have control over the lives of a celebrity and believe their influence matters. This cancel culture of the Internet is the most dangerous for any influencer. Canceling a celebrity refers to when fans use the Internet to turn against someone, and their follower count drops rapidly. They get flooded with hate comments shaming them for whatever alleged action they did. The amount of power that fans have over their idols is so extreme that celebrities' livelihoods and fame depend on it. Stars can feel that they have to tiptoe around scandals and keep their lips locked.

In an interview with Vogue, artist Taylor Swift, who has been “canceled” many times, said that the cancel culture “is a very isolating experience, [and] when you say someone is canceled, it’s not a TV show, it’s a human being. You’re sending mass amounts of messaging to this person to either shut up, disappear, or it could also be perceived as, kill yourself.” With the love that can come out of fandoms, it also comes this sense of a team. Like us against you mentality. There are feuds, even among varying fandoms. It’s not just a celebrity getting in a petty drama, it’s millions of fans backing that person up. From fandoms like Twilight vs. Harry Potter to Taylor Swift or Kanye West, living vicariously through their idols and reposting every little rebuttal they make is the norm for major fandoms. But it may not be such a bad thing because no matter what is going on in their personal lives, fandoms can be an escape. This feeling of being so devoted to someone or something can be like filling a void that’s in their lives. When the world becomes a hateful place, sometimes the only solution is logging into the online world, which is dependable and there 24/7. So, contrary to popular parental belief, the Internet isn’t always a dark and scary space, but it can be a safe space for people to be unapologetically themselves. Some people are not supported in the real world find their peaceful sanctuary through online messages and interactions, and who are we to invalidate that? But ultimately, no matter how much fandoms are looked down upon, ticket sales, merchandise, and follower counts don’t lie and fandoms truly rule the pop culture world.


thefourthestate.net OPINION • 35

The bias that exists in modern media raises widespread concern, and in need of effective solutions.


edia is partial towards political parties, usually depending on the ownership and sources of funding. The viewpoints and political stances of the employees will primarily correspond with that of the media stations. Take Fox News as an example; the owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, is conservative. Therefore, the stance, political atmosphere and targeted audience of Fox are right-wing and conservative. Consequently, Fox News most likely will hire journalists that share the same conservative stances. Most journalism departments are, to varying degrees, in favor of one particular political party or group; it is not hard for news stations to influence a group of people who share the same belief. Seeing this trend as a flaw and one of the fundamental reasons for media bias, Mike Flaugher commented: “Too many [journalists] come from mass comm and journalism departments ready to go out and change the world for what their professors taught was the right and the good.” The need for the audience in this digital age, where the competition between an ever-increasing number of media stations steadily intensifies, is another reason for bias to emerge. People choose stations that reflect their beliefs as they have because they tend to confirm their opinions on media. People tend to favor information that reinforces their pre-existing views while avoiding contradictory information.” The confirmation of one’s bias on media makes them feel even more justi-

fied to possess biased ideas. To expand in business and grow a loyal audience, the press has to present very distinct political stances and opinions. Objectivity and accuracy are, unfortunately, often in the way of making stories “fun to read,” especially when the window to report information is within a few seconds. Media that report the news with the most timeliness and accuracy have lost their attraction and their audience. Fox News, for instance, a media station known for its praise on conservative ideas, “has grown into the largest cable news network, drawing 1.1 million viewers in primetime and 1.76 million viewers in total per day, an audience that’s four times larger than its next closest competitor, CNN, and greater than both MSNBC and CNN’s audiences combined.” Media is experiencing a transformation from conveying information to entertainment. Given the fact that most people learn about news entirely from media, frequently, they are the victims of the media’s effort to make their articles interesting. As Rolf Dobelli points out, the excessive sensationalism of news “leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads.” The lack of essential context and detailed information can also cause the audience to form biased ideas, even when the media stations do not intend to. Responding to the decrease in people’s attention span from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, Timothy Egan argues that the emerging lifestyle of multi-screening media has greatly diversified people’s attention.

However, Jaja Liao suggests otherwise, “For the past decade, we have been adapting our attention spans to changes in news media. But the future might hold the reverse — the news media adapts to us.” Due to the reduced attention span, articles have been significantly cut in length and void of details. The abbreviations in article-length have made it increasingly difficult for writers to thoroughly and objectively convey the news. Details are deleted that can help the audience to understand better the context of news. It is resulting in an increasing amount of misinterpreting of news and an expanding amount of misunderstanding in society. Consumers of media frequently lose interest in stories after eight seconds. Therefore, with the information obtained in merely eight seconds, the conclusions formed by the audience will be incomplete. For those articles that have discarded necessary details, it is undoubtedly harder for an audience to not to form any bias. Consequences The over-sensationalism of biased ideas on media stations has reinforced the pre-existing biases in the minds of the audience and thus forms a deadly loop, where audience and media stations gradually become more and more narrow-minded and hostile toward the opposing views. With the increasing tendency of media sensationalism, as well as the bipartisan-political system, political divisions in western countries, have been negatively influenced and significantly

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widened. The very nature and purpose of a partisanship system is to preserve democracy by having multiple parties, with each one being a check of power on the other ones. As illustrated by Lee Drutman, “Competition gives parties incentives to respond to voters. And losing parties keep winning parties accountable by threatening to take away their supporters.” By uniting people together under a common belief, however, common enemies have

to be created, which, in this case, are the people holding the opposite points of views. The partisanship divisions have become so widened and severe that the political stances people chose to take have begun to define them. “More significantly, over the past half-century or so, partisan identities have become much more closely aligned with other social identities. Partisan divides now overlay religious divides, cultural divides, geographical divides, and racial divides.” Competitions between parties is essential to democracy. But what has evolved is hostility between groups, total separations between “them” and “us,” and in-group loyalty, all of which pose significant threats to democracy. Amid this trend, media stations have played a tremendously important role in reinforcing the ideolog-

ical oppositions, which, according to Lee Drutman, will motivate “each side to strives to protect the movement against impurities and the seeds of compromise.” Besides the turmoil the division itself creates, the linking of political stances to people’s daily lives and social identities can also trigger people to be more irrationally angry when reacting to politics, thus heightening the hatred of people toward the opposing side and diminishing the possibility of compr1omise between different groups. “The angrier the electorate, the less capable we are of finding common ground on policies, or even of treating our opponents like human beings.” This hatred, if not contained, can eventually lead to the dehumanization of the opposing groups. Lee Drutman further emphasizes the threats brought by intense ideological oppositions, saying that: “This is doom-loop partisanship because it contains many reinforcing dynamics that can quickly spiral out of control.” Loss of democracy is one of the worst outcomes of an unhealthy partisanship system that can be progressively achieved through people’s seeking of security over freedom during an unstable period. The instability brought by political division would “gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual.” The intentional selection of skewed information and over-sensationalism executed by media have contributed to turmoils and tensions between groups. Irrational anger tends to be stirred when people are misled to think that their group is being persecuted. For instance, the distrust and hostility between the African American community and the police have increased in response to the media’s sensational approach that exaggerates police brutality targeted toward black people. According to the Washington Post, the possibility of an unarmed black man being killed by police is equivalent to the chance of him being hit by lightning.

Instead of working to improve the strained relationship between police and the black community, those protests have often resulted in more violence. On December 20, 2014, New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were unexpectedly attacked by a gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who was determined to avenge the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two black men who were brutally killed by police officers. The killing and violence committed by police officers is not justifiable. Still, the scale is aggrandized by media, thus creating a deadly circle of hatred, with black people’s increasing abhorrence and loathing toward police officers and police officers being increasingly and overly paranoid when approaching them, and the manipulativeness of media stations contribute to the violence. As the circle goes on, this bias will become so strong that the very mentioning of those two groups will instantly trigger people to assume another police brutality toward black people. Solutions Division in political stances among western citizens has resulted in the increased hostility, regarding the other as evil and unreasonable. For opposing groups to form empathy toward each other and genuinely examine others’ opinions, the media has to approach the opposing side of their

targeted audience, recognizing the critical values of their belief system. According to Robb Willer, a Stanford sociology professor, “If you want to move conservatives on liberal issues like same-sex marriage and national health insurance, it helps to tie

those arguments to conservative values like patriotism and moral purity.” The combining of the central themes of two seemingly opposing groups can effectively erase the hostility and break down the separation of “them” and “us” because it shows people the connections and the similarity between their own beliefs and the ones that they hold contempt towards. Just as media is powerful in agitat-

ing turmoil and hatred, it possesses the power to ease tensions and create harmony. By developing empathy and speaking, the other side’s language media can influence people to appreciate the essence of ideas of those that are previously thought to be unreasonable, thus reducing the division to the degree that is healthy. The nature of politics and the way political opinions are expressed should go through changes as well. Thus, altering the nature of politics from that of intense debate to relatively more peaceful discussions that can render people less adverse against each other. Media has the power to set an example for millions of people; thus it depends on them how to use this power. If the way politics is presented by media is peaceful and more similar to a debate in which none of the social identity of the participant is involved, the public will eventually begin to treat politics with less anxiety.


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thefourthestate.net OPINION • 39

The Loss of Classic Music Music has always been a key part of any generation, whether it be Bach or Beyonce. Classic rock in particular created a unique sound and defined an era. This music, however, has disappeared in today’s world, but why?



veryone knows Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit,” and the Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Hundreds of iconic songs like these represent a moment in history and define the period of classic rock music. But today, there’s a serious lack of this genre in pop culture. Whether it be on the radio, Billboard’s “Hot 100” list, or Apple Music, classic records get lost amidst all of the popular music today. The broader term “classic rock” was added to the music lexicon in the 1980s when radios began playing the most listened to songs of the past 20 years. Classic rock was the hit music played everywhere, the equivalent of today’s Taylor Swift, Post Malone, or Ariana Grande. Today, classic rock is a historical sub-genre. Classic rock music was popularized as a way to preserve the ‘60s culture during the pre-disco and prepunk eras. I’ve grown up listening to a lot of the classics because my dad played them so

much: the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and David Bowie. My friends and I share an interest in listening to the classics because they are just so good! I admit that my Spotify is filled mostly with songs released in the past 20 years, which sound drastically different than the classic rock of the ‘70s. I can’t help but wonder why our generation doesn’t listen to classic rock more often and why artists releasing music today aren’t replicating it. Does our generation have a different taste in music? Is classic rock considered “too old?” Is it because music is being produced electronically? Classic rock music is currently most popular in adults over 30, probably because the genre was on the rise with their generation. In the past few years, popular trends from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s have been recycled and made popular again. Along with the music, other trends resurfaced: scrunchies, round sunglasses, and the return of vinyl records, but still, new classic rock music is not being produced. For a music genre that is so appreciated, it’s strange that few produce it. I think that, because music is continually evolving, today’s sound needs to be different than that of the era of the classics. “I like [classic rock], I wouldn’t listen to it on my own time. It’s associated with adults, and I don’t think a lot of kids want to listen to that,” senior Nina Wolff said. “It’s a generation thing,” added senior Pisci Abrego. Because electronic music is so easily accessible with significant media influences, mainly through Instagram or SoundCloud, almost anyone can make and sell a song. “I think the use of electronic music cut it out,” said senior Peter Smith, “because classic rock was a staple of what was happening in its era, though still relevant today, it’s not as current as the electronic music now. It just went out of style as time went on.” “It’s easier to use a machine to make music than to learn how to play an instrument. Classic rock uses actual instruments, and it takes talent to do that,” senior Audrey Murphy argued. There are a lot of electronically produced songs that are just as good as any classic rock song. But for a life lesson, a good feeling or just fun, give the oldies a listen.

The demand for cow’s milk has decreased dramatically in recent years while the demand for alternative milk has risen. Find out why people are ditching cow’s milk for non-dairy options and their favorite alternative!


hen it comes to drinking milk, people tend to have very strong preferences. We either love it or hate it. In recent years, since we’ve been drifting away from cow’s milk and favoring alternative milk, there are so many more options to choose from, and many more questions to be asked. Do you prefer almond milk or oat milk in your iced latte? Coconut milk or hemp milk for your smoothie? Do you drink these faux-milk options alone, or is that out of the question? The truth is that Americans are moving on from cow milk — alternative milk sales have increased 61 percent from 2012 to 2017 according to a study done by Mintel.

“It’s associated with adults, and I don’t think a lot of kids want to listen to that.”

Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond milk Taste: The vanilla flavor was lacking but the flavor was overall good. Although a bit bitter, there was still an almond flavor. Environmental impact: 74 liters of water per glass (highest water use), relatively low land use, medium carbon emissions

Pacific Foods Oat Plant-Based Beverage Original Unsweetened Taste: This oat milk was probably the overall least favorite because its flavor tasted like stale water. There was maybe a little bit of oat flavor, but more or less, it tasted like nothing. Environmental impact: less water than almond milk and grown in non-drought suffering areas, low carbon emissions Rice Dream Unsweetened Rice Drink Taste: After giving this one a few different tries, we concluded that this one doesn’t have much flavor. A slight taste of overcooked rice was present, but this rice milk tasted very much like water. Environmental impact: 54 liters of water per glass, lowest for land use, relatively high carbon emissions Tempt Unsweetened Original Hemp milk Taste: This one had the strongest flavor of all the milks we tried. It especially tasted like vanilla and it was very creamy. Overall tasty. Environmental impact: very little water, no pesticides, very good environmentally, low carbon emissions

365 Organic Unsweetened Coconutmilk Beverage Taste: This one tasted very much like water with a bit of coconut flavor. Environmental impact: low impact except for carbon emissions since it grows in tropical places and has to be transported, medium carbon emissions WORDS by ELLI WESTMACOTT and DARE FITZPATRICK ART by CLAIRE TOLLES


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Making a Meringue Cake

Below is a recipe that promises a stunning, delicious and heavenly cake to brighten up your dinner parties and everyday lives. WORDS and ART by MADELEINE NICKS and FRANCES CARLSON

The Logistics SERVINGS: 6-10 people PREP TIME: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 55 minutes EQUIPMENT: general kitchen equipment and a stand mixer

The Ingredients - 6 large egg whites - 1 ¾ cup sugar - About 1 cup of heavy cream


Don’t succumb to the convenience of store-bought whipped cream. Freshly whipped cream has a much better taste to compliment the cake than a name-brand pre-whipped cream that is much too sweet.

- Vanilla to taste - About 3 containers of fruit - Powdered sugar


Go crazy with your fruit options… don’t hold back! The more you put on, the more flavorful your cake will be. We like to add raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

The Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 275ºF 2. Line two 9-inch round pans or two baking sheets with parchment paper. 3. In a stand mixer with a very clean bowl, whip your egg whites until soft peaks form. You know you have soft peaks when the eggs whites appear fluffy and will stand up a little bit when you lift the whisk out. 4. Continue whipping the egg whites and add the sugar a little by little, giving the sugar plenty of time to dissolve.

5. When all the sugar has been added, the meringue should be glossy and stiff, but not brittle. 6. Divide the meringue evenly between the two pans, and spread it out to the edges of the pan with a spatula 7. If you are using baking sheets, simply make two 9-inch round circles. With this method, it helps to lightly trace it out before so your meringue will be consistent sizes. 8. Bake for 55 minutes. 9. Let the meringue cool (sometimes, during this time, without heat, the crispy outer shell of the meringue may collapse. Do not worry! This will all be fixed later in the process!) 10. Make your whipped cream by combining the cream and vanilla and beat until the cream is fully whipped. 11. To make your cake, gently remove one meringue from your tray. Do not worry if cracks form at this time! 12. Spread half of your whipped cream on top, filling in any cracks as you go. 13. Pile on the berries and fruit, and take your time ensuring the berries are securely nestled in the layer of whipped cream. 14. Add your second meringue on top, and repeat the whipped cream and berries. 15. If you choose, dust with powdered sugar or add edible flowers as a finishing touch. 16. Serve quickly! The sooner you can dig in, the better it will be!

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TIP: Be careful when separating the egg yolks from the whites! If you accidentally get some of the yolks into the egg whites, your cake will not rise correctly. We recommend separating the eggs in a separate bowl before putting the whites into the big mixer.

thefourthestate.net A&E • 43

Curtain Call

With the theater department bidding farewell to eight seniors, we take a glimpse into their last four years on stage from post-show rituals to meaningful experiences.

Caetano Perez-Merchant


Simon Lea

Julianna Slater

Five Shows

Eight Shows

Q: What has being in the theater meant to you? A: It has allowed me to dig deep into characters. Because outside of school, I work mostly on voice acting, so being in Laguna theater has allowed me to do both. So that I can utilize the techniques learned in play production and school theatre in general.

Q What is your pre-show ritual? A: I really don’t have one. I tend to be pretty comfortable on stage. It’s more the minute I get on stage that my brain flips the switch.

Q: How do you prepare for an audition? A: If it’s a non-musical audition, I read over the play to get a sense of the characters and get an idea of what their motives are. If it’s a musical audition, I will choose an excerpt from the production that I can explore and work with enough so that I understand the character and the music

Q: What has being in the theater meant to you? A: When I prepare for an audition, I focus on preparing my song. I pick the song based upon the character I want to play, and usually, it comes from a show. I listen to the song on repeat and then work through it verse by verse. I learn the melody, the tune, the words. And then I continue to listen to the song. One way I like to memorize my music, I write down the entire song from memory as a way to feel more comfortable in my lyrical memorization.

Beau Glazier

Mia Humberd-Hilf

Seven Shows

Seven Shows

Q: What is your favorite role you have played at Laguna? A: Martha in “The Games Afoot” because I’ve never been able, in any of my other roles, to be eccentric like that and play someone that was so far out of my comfort zone.

Q: Do you have a post-show ritual? A: We always go to McConnell’s as a group, both cast, crew and theater supporters. Charlie always plays music from the show before and after every show to hype us all up. Half of the time its music from “Grease.”

Q: What is your ultimate dream role? A: If someone made “Harold and Maude” into a show, I would want to play Maude even though I would have to age about 60 years.

Q: What is your favorite on-stage fail story? A: When Aidan, during “Grease,” came on stage and dropped the very, very expensive mic from his sweat pants and said the F word on stage, opening night.

Q: What favorite part about being in the theater? A: Because I take a lot of math and science course, the theater is something entirely different than what I usually do. It makes it fun and even a little relaxing. That’s why I’ve stuck with theater.

Six Shows And in “The Games Afoot,” opening night, Jack threw the gun under the table and Caetano couldn’t find it anywhere, so Caetano used his hand as a gun instead.

Sydney Hlavaty Three Shows Q: How had being in a crew been a positive experience for you, and what made you switch to being on stage? A: Being in the crew made me appreciate all of the aspects of theater that go on behind the scenes and how much work it really takes to put on a production. It also gave me a chance to try out managing, carpentry, and even a little of directing. My friends encouraged to audition, and I remember loving being on stage from middle school productions so I wanted to bring that back into my life.

Q: What is your favorite behind the scene theater story? A: My favorite story was when Jack Stein, Julianna Slater and I were working on the bar scene for “The Game’s Afoot,” we kept messing up the drinks and getting Julianna’s ‘dead body’ in order. We had so much trouble trying to get Julianna’s corpse perfectly stuck inside the retractable bar.

Q: What is the most challenging part of being an actor? A: For me, the hardest thing is not acting like a goof on stage every five minutes. We are a funny bunch and it makes it difficult to concentrate on more serious, heavy serious scenes. We are so tight-knit that somehow everything we do is funny.

Charlie Jacobs Ten Shows

Q: Any fun booth stories/traditions? A: We used to always have Oreos in the booth at every show. We would buy them on opening night and them eat them throughout the three shows. We also always have all cast and crew dance parties, both before and after the shows. It’s a fun way for us to get the jitters out, myself included. And on opening night, if there are any first-time crew members, we have them sign the wall that we call ‘The Tech Wall of Fame.’

Q: What is your favorite part of being a stage manager? A: It’s cool getting to see all the different aspects of how a show comes together. I get to see the actors rehearsing, the sets being designed, and how all the pieces finally fit together. So I am able to see all the different aspects of a show work together.

Q: What is your dream show to be a part of A: My dream to be a part of is “West Side Story” because the music is amazing and the story is intricate and emotional.

Dante Christe Six Shows Q: What pushed you to start being a part of the play in your senior year A: Because it was my senior year, I wanted to do something big. And I was already a part of theater classes, and so I was ready to move into being in the play.

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thefourthestate.net A&E • 45

I’D LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY... The Academy Awards are notoriously closed-minded with the aspect of diversity. With the turn of the century, change is demanded and expected — as it should be. However, with Hollywood politics attempting to comply, people are faced with more backlash as the nominees show very little diversity. WORDS by MADDIE KIRK and ART by EMMA RAITH


eb. 9, 2020. A date undoubtedly marked in the agenda of every A-List celebrity. The Academy Awards is the most significant event in Hollywood — everyone dreams of bringing home a new friend named Oscar. The award symbolizes success and shows the world that you made it. However, the Academy Awards have been criticized for their cookie-cutter standards of ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Director,’ along with their host. The limited diversity of Hollywood results in white, white, and white. The white standard isn’t strictly in the movie industry. Throughout history, white (blue eyes, blond hair) was the image of quintessential beauty— Hollywood merely mimics socio-economic standards. Hollywood, as of the past five years, has adjusted these standards and

adopted images of inclusion, but do they mean it? The Academy Awards feels the pressure of obtaining cultural clout of inclusion in a modern #MeToo society where this movement has fostered several forms of change. The change started with Harvey Weinstein, a once Hollywood mega-producer, accused of sexual abuse by several women, diminished his white male superiority. With one leading to another, the idea of male dominance and abuse of power is ravishing Hollywood, as activists rally for change. Representing a broader community, the Academy Awards used this opportunity to repair their damaged image. The 2018 awards, hostless, had a heavy

emphasis on African-Americans and other Hollywood minorities when presenting the awards, arguably to overcompensate for the lack of in years past. Despite this, we still see very little diversity in the actual nominations. Best Actor, Best Director, Best Actress, and such, are heavy on the white-male image. People of color are presenting awards to the same bunch of white individuals. “It wasn’t about overcompensating, but it was blowing it out of proportion,” says senior Paige Levinson. “Hollywood and the Academy forgot what this day was really about–we’re here to celebrate movies.”

The purpose of the Academy Awards isn’t to cleanse Hollywood of discriminatory sins, but rather encourage changes. At the 1972 Academy Awards, actor Marlon Brando used his nomination to argue against Hollywood politics. “The Godfather” actor, refusing the honor of an Oscar, sent Native American Activist Littlefeather to decline his award via a political testimony speaking to the mistreatment of indigenous people in the movie industry. “The motion picture community has been as responsible as any,” Brando wrote and read by Littlefeather, “for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing his as savage, hostile and evil.” This speaks to the larger picture of mistreatment of diverse people in a competitive workplace, but here it’s the competitive workplace of Hollywood Today, almost 50 years after this shocking testimony from one of the most controversial actors in Hollywood, we begin to see changes. Well, in the past few years, yes, but it’s better late than never, and change is coming. The aftershocks of the #MeToo Movement are changing Hollywood for the better and expanding diverse horizons through an odd obligation producers and directors feel to repair their broken images. Cultivating a diverse environment that fosters talent should be Hollywood’s priority.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE... ACADEMY AWARD FOR THE BEST PICTURE The Irishman Little Women Jojo Rabbit Marriage Story 1917 Ford v Ferrari Joker Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Parasite

This way, while the incorporation of unique aesthetic elements from Chinese classical music — specifically the lack of fixed rhythm pattern and phrases of melody — spark a spontaneous and natural flow, employing classical guitar makes Raflum and Jì lú more appealing to a world audience raised primarily with western, especially American, music. This includes those who grew up in China, as western music’s influence is worldwide. In other words, one may see Raflum and Jì lú as a compromise that allows a broader range of listeners to appreciate the music while giving them tastes of the cultural and spiritual expression.

Alternative Music: Raflum & Jì lú


Two recent music projects signify a new dimension of music composition and interpretation.

s pop and rap have become the most prevalent genres of music today, some search for complementary music to breathe and meditate amid the consistent anxiety and stimulations of their fast-paced life. If that describes you, the two music projects below may be exactly what you’re looking for. Raflum, also known as “melancholic autumn enchained by rain,” is a solo project from Sichuan, a province in southwestern China, produced in late autumn in 2009 by Han. The project released three albums in total, including “Forgotten Woods in Autumn’s Silence,” “Melodies of Forest and Springs,” and “Guī Zhào” (returning boat).

In 2016, Raflum’s musicians started a new project Jì lú, the continuation of Raflum. The music is highly influenced by other Neo-folk bands like Vàli, the Norwegian nature-related music created with acoustic guitar and cello. An apparent focus in Raflum, Jì lú or Vàli, ancient cultural references

flute and shakuhachi, a longitudinal, end-blown bamboo flute with ancient Chinese origins that is now more prevalent in Japan. The plucking sound of guitar strings is also intentionally accentuated in each album. This string sound--scraping across the strings when the hand changes from one position to another--is a technique widely used in playing Guqin, a plucked sevenstring Chinese instrument that has been played since ancient times and is particularly favored by the literati. Besides, Jì lú highlights regional features by interweaving Sichuan as well as Jiangzhe dialects into the inarticulate chanting.

“This is ego-free music.” abound in Neofolk music. Based on this notion, Raflum and Jì lú, especially the latter, incorporate traditional elements including instruments from a variety of cultures, such as western classical guitar from Spain, eastern bamboo

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However, Jì lú denies the notion that its productions are attempts to create a retro Chinese sentiment. The rationale is that while many artists have not fully comprehended ancient customs yet, they eagerly attempt to convey such retro sentiments by forcibly transplanting symbols of antiquity and culture — also known as cultural tourism. In Jì lú’s vision, tradition is not about rigid retro, but about organically advancing on top of tradition. Everything progresses along with history, and a fixed culture fails to catch up with the pace of history. Apart from incorporating cultural values and schools of thought, the themes the musicians intend to express also largely shape the music. Vàli, Raflum, and Jì lú all create ambient, fragile compositions with mobile, flowing phrases throughout, and each sequence is free of a hurried rush to the end, focusing on the moment. Music instructor Robert Moreno said, “the format is simple, there is typically a repeating rhythmic figure that outlines the key center and general tonality of the piece. This is a cyclical and repeating melody.

Then the other two voices are added, which creates more melodic variation and is heard as an interplay between the flute and voice.” However, the music is not all about the sounds themselves but the listeners’ experience it evokes. The occasional dissonance in the compositions along with breaks, inarticulate chantings, and white noises transforms the music into a natural journey or a meditative conversation that actually exist around us instead of overly perfect, artificial, and unrealistic scenarios — in fact, the two albums of Jì lú were completely improvised. The pure, unaltered, and “soothing sound serves as a catalyst for introspective thought or pondering the state of our current existence,” commented Moreno. Indeed, the humble music seeks to draw the minds of listeners rather than simply to please their ears. “This is ego-free music. It seems as though the artist is presenting music that already exists around us, rather than the common “look at what I created” or “listen to MY story,” said Moreno.

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Skogslandskap, an album of Vàli, “is conceived as a journey through a Norwegian wood in the autumn, beginning at dusk and ending at dawn, a journey revealing the peace and beauty of virgin nature.” While continuing this theme of rambling through forests and springs in the three albums of project Raflum, the musicians add more traditional Chinese and Zen elements to Jì lú, regarding its two albums, “Mountain, Traveler, Listener” (2019) and “Songs of Agama” (2019). “Mountain, Traveler, Listener” is considered a contemplative dialogue on the subject of landscape. It reveals the irony that in contrast to the popular belief that considers natural landscape a place of leisure, “the real landscapes are actually ‘horrible nature.’” Therefore, traditional Chinese landscape paintings, often portraying ideal landscapes for reclusion, are in fact “tame nature,” where hermits “‘observe with meditation[, ]lie down to experience’ and ‘[sit] in the forest and spring instead of going to the banquet’.” On top of this, Jì lú further presents the landscape’s relationship to our

modern society as well as its aspirations of the music’s legacy on listeners: As humans we’ve always desired more and more industrialization, but now that we’re in the thick of it, many people are pulling away from urban settings, aspiring to live a simpler lifestyle in a more natural environment. The artists also name their songs according to their duration in minutes

sophisticated thoughts of tradition and landscape with music, what ultimately distinguishes Raflum and Jì lú from other musical productions is the musicians’ intention to compose. Moreno stressed that this “ego-free music” is “especially uncommon in modern music as much of it is clearly a means to a financial end. Much of modern music is completely lacking in emotion and strives to find some way to turn ‘Capitalism’ into an emotion or sound.” On the other hand, without any advertisement or publication, rather than make a fortune or hope for a popular acceptance or appreciation, the musicians intend to simply enjoy, integrate art into lives and add some temporary perfectness to the imperfect life. Finally, they wish that one day this music project has the capital to become a new spring that would merge into the river of history and serve as a proof of our delusion to resist the passing of time. (All of Raflum and Jì lú’s thoughts regarding their music productions that are either translated, paraphrased or directly quoted in this article can be found on Jì lú’s blog.)

“It is a soothing sound that serves as a catalyst for introspective thought or pondering the state of our current existence.” and seconds. The goal of this unique naming system is to give the listener freedom to interpret the song their own way instead of setting the piece in a certain frame of words within which the listener will experience it. This “allows you to feel your own emotions and think your own thoughts,” said Moreno. Under these circumstances, “the distant, outmoded, cumbersome and vague image of landscape might leave a huge space for ‘starting again.’” In addition to interweaving




Coach Kevin Shertzer is no stranger to producing winning girls soccer teams, no matter the circumstances. This season has proven to be another Owls team faced with the challenge of a young roster. With the leadership of captains Bea Lujan, Julia Guglielmo and Pisci Abrego, The 1-3 record thus far has not shown the true potential of this squad, but with league play approaching, the girls will no doubt rise to the occasion.

The Owls’ basketball team knows that each day is an opportunity to get better. After a disappointing three games at the Thacher tournament, the team regrouped and picked up two strong league wins against Grace Brethren and Providence to start 2020 off strong. With what seems to be a brand new team each season, finding a rhythm is no easy task but Coach Rodriguez’s message “Play hard, stay aggressive and the rest will follow,” pushes them to victory.

The boys soccer team came into this year with a blank-slate mentality: after graduating a few key seniors, the team knew that new players would be playing new positions, making it a learning experience for everybody. The team is led by senior captains Luca Wahlberg and Suliman Bah. After producing a solid performance against Santa Ynez, Santa Clara, and Foothill Tech, the team is optimistic about continuing the year strong through league play and securing a playoff spot come February.

Girls Junior Soccer captain Bea Lujan


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“This season has been going great! We have a large team this year with many new players. Although our team is very young, we have excelled against hard teams and obtained good results. I look forward to the rest of the season and hopefully going to playoffs!” - Julia Guglielmo

Boys Soccer captains Luca Wahlberg (l) and Suliman Bah (r) “The more we gel as a team, the better we become each day. We’re becoming a closer group after each practice and I feel it’s been showing more and more on the field. We can’t wait to compete in league play, get to CIF, and show opponents what we can do.” - Luca Wahlberg

Basketball captain Christian Branch “There have been plenty of ups and downs throughout my four years with the basketball program. Coaches and I care deeply about the program and I have taken responsibility in making sure my teammates share that competitive spirit. We are ready to fight in playoffs and finish this year on a high-note.” - Christian Branch

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aw so

Sports have rules and players have to follow them, these rules are different for each level of competition. However, a majority of athletes don’t know the rules. Here are some interesting rules and how they affect some players.

f th


he California Interscholastic Federation [CIF] is the governing body for high school sports in the state of California, governing both public and private high schools. As such, that the CIF makes all the rules regarding high school sports competitions. These rules can disqualify players or teams from competing in league games or tournaments. If a student is disqualified, then, they would be required to miss games or matches thereby potentially harming their school’s record in the league or prevent players from impressing colleges. Rules that inhibit player participation because of extra practice are odd. Why should a player be punished for going to college evaluation camps to try to get a scholarship? At Laguna Blanca, two soccer players have had to sit out this 2019-2020 soccer season because they transferred to Laguna from different schools. In such a small school, two players missing can be the difference between a win and a loss. The problem is amplified because Laguna is a private school and lacks enough players to have a JV team. Normally, players that are awaiting approval for CIF competition simply play with the JV team. Yet, without one, our players are forced to sit out and watch from the sidelines. While there are many factors to consider, the CIF rules are in place to prevent students from transferring to a certain school thus creating an unfair advantage for athletics. Especially in private schools, CIF seeks to prevent schools from “buying” players via scholarships. CIF provides important regulations that allow for an organized sports leagues, most importantly, rules for athletes safety, equipment, and suspensions regarding the number of fouls or cards a player is allowed to get.

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Junior Lancelot Mabon (pictured above), a player on the soccer team (in the U.S. for a year), is from Sweden. He came to the U.S. to experience American culture, however, because he played in three club-soccer games in Sweden, he is not allowed to participate in our high school team. Lancelot and his family are applying for eligibility because he did not come to America or Laguna Blanca for athletic reasons. Odds are slim to none, that he will ever be able to play any high school soccer this school year because of the rule. Lancelot is not the only one. There are other students who share his “excluding experience.” Some of the lesser known CIF rules include: 1.) No teams will be allowed to go to the mountains; beaches; etc., during the “conditioning two week period” prior to the start of the season. 2.) Students are allowed to participate in one college evaluation camp each season, and may participate in eleven v. eleven events at that camp. Attending more than one evaluation camp per year will disqualify the student from further participation with the high school team. 3.) All CIF eligibility rules apply in all games including practice games. 4.) Financial aid, grants or scholarships given to students based on athletic prowess is prohibited. 5.) A student on a high school team becomes ineligible if the student competes in a contest on an “outside” team, in the same sport, during the student’s high school season of sport. The only exception is if the outside team has less than half the amount of players of a regulation game. For example, if you had a two on two volleyball game that is permitted because six players is the standard. WORDS by ANDREAS JACKSON ART by KATHERINE MONROY

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Lefty Advantages in Sports? While left-handed individuals may have some difficulties in everyday life, they have significant advantages on the field and court. Whether they play on a team or as an individual, lefties are distinctly different in the world of sports.


rom a Darwinian perspective, if there is something wrong with left-handed people, why has natural selection not ruled them out? Binders, computer mouses, cameras, guitars — just a few things left-handed people struggle with daily. The exception to this, though, is sports. Especially in high school, coaches are wide-eyed for left-handed athletes as they can play a different game than right-handed athletes. In 1996, a team of French researchers suggested that lefties have a significant advantage in duel-like situations during war time. This idea is connected with sports — opponents have less time to calculate the decisions of left-handed athletes. Dr. Loffing, a sports scientist at the University of Oldenburg in Germany, analyzed sports in the New York Times. In his study “Do Lefties Have an Advantage in Sports?,” he stated that he found a lot more left-handed athletes in interactive sports such as soccer, volleyball and tennis, and much less in the non-interactive sports like bowling or golf. The reason for this was the more substantial time constraint in interactive sports. Left-handers’ rarity gives them an advantage because opponents are unable to anticipate their movement and, therefore, can not strategies against them.

Lefty Lily Connor ‘22

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“Being left-handed does have some disadvantages, but it does give us a leg up in sports. As a volleyball player, I can hit shots that are typically uncommon for right-handed people and, therefore, harder for the other team to defend,” sophomore Lily Connor said. Because lefties only make up 10 percent of the population, they are very prominent in the world of athletics. For example, 90 percent of kids who start playing baseball are right-handed, so when a player faces off against that rare lefty pitcher or lefty batter, it throws them off of their game. In volleyball, attacking from the right side is often easier for lefties than righties. In simple terms, it involves a shorter set where the ball doesn’t have to cross any part of the player’s body. Lefties can attack it quickly, and their vision is some-

times better from the right side of the court. Lefties are also sometimes harder to dig because the spin on the ball changes depending on how it’s contracted,” Athletic Director Jason Donnelly said. A lefty himself, Donnelly points out that in basketball, the majority of players are right hand dominant. When you see a left-hand dominant dribbler, passer or shooter, it can take time to adjust how you are going to defend, especially for younger players. He emphasizes that in racket sports (tennis, ping pong), it can be fascinating to look at from a left-hander’s standpoint. The ball spins differently, even if taken at the same angle. “It can be beneficial in that it can add balance to a team’s scheme. In many sports, being able to put a left and right dominant player on the field or court puts more pressure on a defense,” football coach Shane Lopes said. In the sea of right-handers, the left-hander is often overlooked. Whether it be Lebron James, Lionel Messi or Babe Ruth, left-handed athletes have achieved a lot throughout the history. They can bring on the heat in competitive situations while adding their finesse to the game. WORDS by MACY CHRISTAL ART by MIA HUMBERD-HILF and KATHERINE MONROY thefourthestate.net

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Profile for The Fourth Estate

The Fourth Estate February Issue 2020  

The Fourth Estate February Issue 2020  


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