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Managing Board Isabella Simonetti Lucas Hornsby

Wylie Makovsky

Jackson Ehrenworth Sophia Koock Ally Witt

Andrew Blum


Managing Editor Managing Editor Junior Editor Junior Editor

Account Executive Business Manager

Zac Bilmen


Tallulah Bonay Blake Eagan Lucas Folz

Isabella Grana Eva Hwang Jane Kaiser

Clare Maleenly

Grace Franco

Alice Giuffredi Henry Gold

Alma von Graffenried Zoë Pipa

Sophie Potter Lucy Reiss

Sabrina Sternberg

Faculty Daniel Mendel

Founding Faculty

Chris Meatto

Faculty Advisor

Avery Barnes

Founding Faculty




e all struggle when it comes to deciding what pictures to post on Instagram; crafting clever Facebook statuses and updating Snapchat stories can also send us into near existential crisis. At the same time, social media serves as a space to address more serious matters. Last year, we saw how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos spread rapidly through Facebook shares. More recently, the Black Lives Matter Campaign, launched in response to recurring instances of police brutality against people of color, dominated our feeds while raising awareness about a hot button issue. As the rest of the world has discovered the power of a post, so have members of our community. Over the summer, numerous Upper School students participated in a discussion about the inherent political bias that some find present in Avenues classrooms. Avenues senior Nicholas Nowicki, wrote: “Every week I have to hear adults and students speak with conviction about the dangers of white privilege, mistreatment of gays, and other forms of unconditional support for the marginalized in society. I contend that hearing a single-sided view of the controversial issues creates the impression that these liberal interpretations of issues are ‘truths.’ ” Nowicki goes on to explain that, “School is not a place where students should be taught what to think, but rather, how to think.” Nowicki’s insights left the community to tackle with the question: does Avenues teach its students what to think, or how to think it? The Avenues curriculum is centered around problem solving. In math, we learn to pick apart complex word problems; in Humanities, we delve into analyses of complicated texts; in World Course classes, we craft solutions to real-world issues. The idea that Avenues is teaching us what to think as opposed to how to think it poses a serious threat to its mission. Ryan Misler, 11th grade history teacher, believes that Avenues “...present[s] a curriculum that allows for learning, understanding, and empathy, with a narrative that has not been given its proper recognition.” Although we examine history through this perspective, all opinions should be welcomed into the classroom. Unfortunately, some students believe that we are not living up to this ideal. Connor Wise, a junior at Avenues said, “On multiple occasions my opinion has been shut down or unfairly


criticized by other students. I think this stems from a fundamental belief in many of the students. We live in New York, a very liberal city. A lot of people happen to agree on a lot of the same issues whether that be gay marraige, police brutality, even just economic issues about how taxes should be paid. So when I or other students dissent from that majority opinion in a respectful manner, a lot of the students who do share the majority opinion believe that they are the ultimate preacher of the truth.” The classroom is a place to experiment, make mistakes, and discover new ideas. How are students supposed to learn in a place where they feel unsafe? Yasemin Smallens, co-head of the Awareness Day Committee, explained her views on the issue: “Personally I believe Avenues should welcome all voices into the conversation. I see many of my friends go to liberal arts colleges and experience an echo chamber; they keep hearing the same views over and over again. It’s important that we as an Avenues community bring all perspectives

to a conversation, for silencing another voice or political standpoint will only polarize our community further and hinder intellectual growth.” Avenues senior, Jacob Spiegel, who has spent a lot of time contemplating this issue, believes that it is not simply black and white, “I think opinions are okay to have and express, and that preventing that is a violation of the first amendment, but the line between opinions and bigotry is blurred. Carrying out those opinions into practice can often become harmful, and if it harms someone that’s going too far.” Conservative or liberal, we all have to learn the differences between expressing our opinions and lashing out at others. Mr. Misler has been the faculty advisor to Avenues’ Queer Straight Alliance since 2014. However, this year, in addition to his role in the QSA, he was chosen as an advisor to the Conservative Club. Mr. Misler described this experience: “Being the

faculty advisor to the QSA and conservative club puts me in a position that promotes an atmosphere in which all voices can be heard, and that if there are students who feel that a certain narrative or voice is not being heard I think that Avenues has an obligation to give a forum.” Avenues is a world school, its mission is to prepare students for life beyond the classroom, beyond Avenues, and beyond the United States. This year, the first graduating class will leave Avenues and seek new, exciting, opportunities outside its doors. We want these students to leave with an open mind. Regardless of one’s political stance, it is important to become exposed to a variety of voices. At Avenues, we have the opportunity to do this through constructive discussion. For example, the Awareness Day Committee hosts regular roundtables to provide practice in forming logical arguments, listening, and responding to others. Furthermore, student-led organizations like the conservative club diversify our community. Additionally, students are encouraged to share their ideas in weekly assemblies. We at The Highliner work to provide a forum of expression for all student voices in the Avenues Upper School community. Regardless of political perspectives, we welcome writers, artists, designers, and editors to contribute their ideas. However, for any of these outlets to be effective, the student body must participate. Becoming a school that is tolerant, in and of itself, is a learning experience. Duke Ellington once said, “A problem is a chance to do your best.” At Avenues, we are constantly reminded that we are the pioneers. It is we who will set the tone for future Avenues students. Since Avenues’ opening, we have made tremendous progress in cultivating a community we are proud to be a part of. But the work we have done since 2012 is not over. The next step is acknowledging that we are all at Avenues for our own reasons. We all have different passions, we all come from different backgrounds, we all possess different views. More than anything, we all deserve respect. It is time to do our best. • - Isabella Simonetti

PHOTO By isabella Grana




n Friday November 6th, the ninth and tenth ment. Mr. Cortese opened the discussion up to questions, grade were required to forgo their clubs for grade to which students inquired about why he had specifically mentioned “illegal activity.” Mr. Cortese said that although wide meetings concerning drug use. “In the past, clubs have been replaced by meetings only he had no proof of laws being broken, he was going to inwhen students have made a negative contribution to our vestigate rumors of drug use or other illegal behavior. The community. Hearing that we would have a grade meeting purpose of this, he said, was to make sure that students instead of clubs, this of course came to mind,” said Kyla were okay. The discussion Windley, a sophomore, about the “there have been rumors of people doing then moved to the replacement of drugs in and out of school for years. it topic of reputation. What reputation the club period. was about time we had a formal does Avenues have? “There have been discussion about it.” How do we form our rumors of people doing drugs in and out of school for years. It was about reputation? Mr. Cortese then explained the complexity of reputation, how it takes years to develop and minutes to time that we had a formal discussion about it.” The ninth grade meeting began with Mr. Cortese, the lose. He then went on to emphasize that in everything we head of the ninth grade, stating that there was going to be do, in every action, we are representing Avenues. Mr. Cora conversation on “tough topics.” He explained that stu- tese then closed the meeting by stressing that the Avenues dents are expected to abide by the law, despite the fact that faculty was available for help and support. He highlighted experimentation is not unusual for students in high school. that all of the ninth grade students chose to come here, so He noted that addiction was a very serious matter for those they should choose to help one other as well. “I feel that [the meeting] was carried out well bein their teenage years. He went on to emphasize although students don’t all cause it was really just a ‘Stop the Press’ meeting which I have to be best friends, there is no excuse to treat someone thought was important because rumors were being spread poorly; mutual respect is necessary in a school environ- and everyone was talking, but no one had facts.” said Oren


Schweitzer, a freshman. The tenth grade meeting commenced in the fitness center with Ms. Davies explaining that the administration was aware that drug use had been occurring in the tenth grade. Sitting with the tenth grade in a circle, she emphasized that it was a health and safety issue, first and foremost. Then she posed the question of how we could make Avenues a safer place. When this question was asked, the meeting turned into a modified Harkness discussion. The conversation first focused on the topic of the stigma associated with “snitching,” and how members of the community had been ostracized after being accused of it. Other students voiced their concern about the administration being the first to be notified in situations involving drugs. They offered another solution instead: a peer to peer conversation about the matter beforehand. Ms. Davies offered a third; going to an adult outside of the Avenues community. She conveyed that since Avenues is responsible for the wellbeing of its students, seeking help in general is a step in the right direction. Another issue that was raised was the lack of transparency regarding the disciplinary actions of people involved in illegal activity. The meeting ended with ways the community was doing a good job in being a welcoming and safe space. People volunteered that they felt that they could

become friends with peers, even after experiencing a roadblock in their relationship previously. Another student commented on how after spending time at many schools, they felt most welcome at Avenues. With that, the meeting disbanded. “My sincere hope is that students left that meeting with a stronger sense of the community they’re helping to build, that the faculty and staff value their health and safety above all else, and that knowing when and how to ask for help is never something to be ashamed of.” said Mr. Cortese. Illicit behavior is a substantial issue. While it is an open secret that students in high school do illegal things, it is not understood how schools handle those situations. There is not one protocol that all educational institutions must follow- drugs are a gray area. However, these grade-wide meetings have started a dialogue about the issue and have given students a place to voice their opinions on it. Even if the student body has only received a glimpse of what the administration is concerned about, it is at least a piece of the larger picture. • If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact Dr. Raykha Sharma on the fifth floor. All meetings will be confidential.


Hispanic Heritage Month By alice giuffredi


n Friday, October 16th, nine brave students and teachers held an assembly to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month. Yvette Lopez, Marley Perez, Danielle Paz, Dominique Da Silva, and Stephanie Cobas shared their experiences as Hispanic students living in the United States. They described what it feels like to have dual nationality, constantly switching from watching telenovelas, eating traditional Hispanic food, and listening to spanish music at home, to acting “white” in a majority white school. Profesor Lazo, Spanish teacher, shared his pride in being considered a ‘gringo’ (an American) in Chile, and Mr. Cestero, World Course teacher, shared his confusion growing up between two cultures with contrasting customs and attitudes. Profesora Nunez, Spanish teacher, admitted dual nationality feels like belonging to a “no-man’s land,” in which people are torn between two countries. She explained that, similarly to how she’s “too latina” in the US, she’s “too American” when she goes to Venezuela. In opposition, Profesora Teixeira argued that whether it be watching the world cup or enjoying the super bowl, eating tamales or devouring a cheeseburger, Hispanic-Americans have the opportunity to enjoy both cultures. After the panel members briefly spoke about how dual nationality influences their daily lives, they opened up a short Q&A for the rest of the student body. I offered my own experience as a foreign student with double citizenship. After having spent the most impactful years of my life in Milan, I moved to New York in time to start my freshman year of high school. Ever since I arrived in the United States, I found myself accepting inaccurate stereotypes commonly attributed to Italians. Even though I would never embrace these stereotypes back home, I started joking about pizza, pasta, Mario and ‘talking-a like-a this’ whenever my nostalgia kicked in. I found myself becoming the typical ‘Italian’ that people identify me as, and I constantly found myself in the “noman’s land” Profesora Nunez briefly explained. Just a couple of months ago, I traveled to Italy to visit my family and friends. When I went to pick up a friend of mine from school, he stated that I looked “so American”


due to the clothing I was wearing. I was not wearing a cowboy hat or an item of clothing with an American flag on it, but a pair of leggings that are common in both America and Italy with similarly ordinary knee high socks. These stereotypes seem to define me: once a person finds himself in this no-man’s land, he instantly belongs to both, and neither, of his cultures. He belongs to both cultures because he can identify with both, but he can belong to neither because he does not fit the description of the ‘ideal’ inhabitant of that nation. Therefore, by the end of the assembly, I was left with one question: can one really dive into both cultures fully? Unsatisfied, I reached out to the students that participated in the assembly. Yvette Lopez, a Junior at Avenues, said that she tries to embrace both cultures to the fullest, meaning that she doesn’t neglect any part of her cultures. She believes that one cannot pick and choose a culture to fit his needs, because when one embraces a culture, he takes in the good and the bad. Yvette revealed that, as someone with dual nationality, she doesn’t know where she belongs. However, she claims, “It is my choice whether I dive fully into either culture.” Although Yvette states that both cultures accept her, she

PHOTO By isabella Grana

left me to wonder whether embracing a “culture,” or finding ourselves in ‘no-man’s land’ is truly our choice. Is it our two peoples who “other” and isolate us, or is this feeling of being an outsider all inside our heads? If anyone has an interest to answer to the questions I pose in this reflection on the Hispanic Heritage Month Assembly, feel free to email me directly.

If anyone has a different perspective on the issue, and wants to make a counterclaim, please submit a response to The Highliner at A special thank you to the wonderful Latinos and Hispanics that participated in the Assembly: Profesora Nunez, Profesora Textiera, Mr. Cestero, Profesor Lazo, Yvette Lopez, Marley Perez, Danielle Paz, Dominique Da Silva, and Stephanie Cobas. 11

The New Schedule tHe Destiny oF LAnGUAGe LeArninG At AvenUes BY luCY REISS

The new schedule causes a lot of controversy, especially for the Spanish and Chinese classes. Can we really have the same level of immersion and practice with class only 5 times in 10 school days? We don’t all agree on this question, but with the help of my friends and some teachers, I intend to form my own opinion. Maybe this schedule forces us to build our own education with less help from our teachers. It would be an interesting experiment in the autonomy of Avenues students. But, does it work? I spoke with three students about the shortcomings and benefits of the new schedule. Let’s look at the answers.


CLARA LEVEREnz, 11, CHInESE 5 “The new schedule has definitely hindered any kind of language/culture immersion that Avenues claims to offer. It is quite frustrating because Avenues advertises its language immersion programs so often. The new schedule has definitely hindered my practice of Mandarin. The best a language teacher can offer during the off weeks is a couple videos to watch in the language or a few worksheets. Especially because of the strict time limitation on homework load per class, a language teacher cannot require the students to do anything experiential or truly interactive.” 12


DO YOu FIND tHE OFF-wEEK POSItIvE IN ANY wAY? AMIR MOVERMAn, 12, SPAnISH 5 “I don’t like having class every day. But I think that for language immersion it’s important to practice a lot. So, generally, I think the new schedule is counterproductive for the purpose of learning a language.”

BRIAn HAVER-SCAnLOn, 12, SPAnISH 3 “The new schedule has and hasn’t affected my immersion in Spanish. It’s difficult to remember information for two weeks but the homework helps with that, and so does HIP. It hasn’t ‘hindered’ my Spanish education because it allows for a lot less overwhelming quantities of Spanish and we have review during the ‘World’ weeks.”

El Nuevo Horario eL Destino De Los LenGUAJes en AvenUes

El nuevo horario causa mucha controversia en general, pero especialmente para las clases de español y chino. ¿Podemos realmente tener el mismo nivel de inmersión y práctica con clase solamente cinco veces en diez días de escuela? No estamos todos de acuerdo sobre esta pregunta, y en este artículo, con la ayuda de mis compañeros y algunos profesores, intento crear mi propia opinión. Por una parte, este horario nos obliga a formar nuestra propia educación con menos ayuda de nuestros profesores. Será un experimenta interesante en la autonomía de los estudiantes de Avenues. Pero, ¿funciona? Hablé con cuatro estudiantes sobre las desafíos y beneficios del nuevo horario. Aquí las respuestas.



¿ENCuENtRAS quE El DESCANSO ES POSItIvO EN AlGuNA mANERA? CLARA LEVEREnz, 11, CHInESE 5 “El nuevo horario ha definitivamente dificultado todos modos de inmersión de lenguaje/cultura que Avenues reclama ofrecer. Esta muy frustrante porque Avenues anuncia su programa de inmersión tan frecuentemente. El mejor que un profesor de lenguaje puede ofrecer durante las semanas STEAM son algunos videos para ver o algunos hojas. Especialmente a causa de las limitaciones estrictos sobre el tiempo pasando en tarea para cada clase, un profesor de lenguaje no puede exigir que los estudiantes hacen cualquier cosa experimental o realmente interactiva.”

AMIR MOVERMAn, 12, SPAnISH 5 “No me gusta tener clase cada día. Pero, pienso que para inmersión en una lengua es importante practicar mucho. Entonces, por último, BRIAn HAVER-SCAnLOn, 12, SPAnISH 3 creo que el nuevo horario “El nuevo horario sí y no ha afectado mi es contraproducente para el inmersión en español. Es difícil acordarse propósito de aprender una información para dos semanas pero la tarea lengua.” ayuda, y también el HIP. No ha ‘dificultado’ mi educación en español porque permite para muchos menos difíciles cantidades de Español con el descanso y tenemos el revisado en los semanas ‘World.’” 13

PHOTO By isabella Grana

Coming to Terms with my Loose Ends On September 24th, 2015 Tobias Wolff came to speak to the Avenues Upper School. Wolff described his writing through the lens of his memoir This Boy’s Life. Avenues students congregated inside of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church and intently listened to Wolff ’s insights. Having read This Boy’s Life, students had the opportunity to ask insightful questions regarding the logistics of Wolff ’s writing and its applications to real life. by Isabella Simonetti

“You’re your own worst enemy.” Whether it was a teach- ness without the assistance of an Ivy League education and soer explaining my disappointing performance on an exam, cietal approval. We persist in thinking that there is only one route to or my father reprimanding me for over studying, that is what everyone used to tell me. My anxiety was so crip- success. In my 11th grade English class, we studied how Arpling that I could not achieve the ambitious goals I had set for myself. I would wake up curled over, hands wrapped thur Miller’s The Crucible attempts to critique the dualistic around my stomach. I would then force myself out of bed, mindset of 17th century Salem. Dualism is a concept cenhave a small breakfast, and try to keep it in my stomach as tered around defining things as either good or evil, a success or a failure. I walked to school. I, and many others, possess the same dualistic mindset I was following the “right” path: straight As, extracurriculars — the whole nine yards. I still am. Many ambitious Miller criticizes. As school continued, so did my destructive routine. students are. We hear stories of entrepreneurs, scientists, inventors, But, I found something that brought me joy; a sort of stress and innovators who were underperforming students or col- reliever from the pressure I put on myself. I fell in love with lege dropouts, but allowed themselves to be guided by their the literature we studied in English class and began writing my own work. passions. Mr. Kravitz, my English teacher at the time, noticed my Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and chief executive of blossoming passion. We would stay Fa c e b o o k , a t t e n d e d “My anxiety was so crippling that after school to discuss my writing and high school I could not achieve the ambitious interesting articles we had read. This was what I wanted to do. It was not at Philgoals I had set for myself.” for an A, or approval from others. No. lips Exeter this was bigger than everything I had Academy and went on to Harvard University, one of the world’s most been, and continued to chase after. Before our Thanksgiving break, Mr. Kravitz recomrenowned schools. But Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard. He ditched prestige for his true ambition and now he mended a list of books to me. Among these was Tobias Wolff ’s memoir, This Boy’s Life. After reading his memoir, is the face of social media. I used to take stories like Mark Zuckerberg’s with a I was envious of Wolff ’s seemingly effortless writing style. grain of salt. I am simply not talented enough to achieve great- Wolff pushed limits; he had a voice. 16

Nearly three years later, on September 24th, I sat down in the courtyard of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church and had a conversation with Tobias Wolff before he spoke to the Upper School. “You’re a writer, and, today, you’re here to do everything but write. How does that feel?” I asked. “Once in awhile it doesn’t hurt to step back from the activity itself and think about why you’re doing it,” said Wolff. I paused for a moment. I was stressed out. I had an overwhelming amount of homework due the next day, and was simply not feeling well. Usually, I am able to neglect my personal problems in order to focus on my work. But, in that moment, I got lost in my thoughts. Why do I push myself so far beyond my limits in order to achieve success? Am I really working for my definition of success?

concurrence with what others thought of me. I spent hours upon hours working to go to a school that looked nice on a nametag. What is more, I held back from voicing my opinions when I knew they were unpopular; I said certain things only to please others; I ate at restaurants and wore clothes that were deemed acceptable. Tobias Wolff helped me realize that it was time to stop. I had already seen that I did not need to follow the “right” path to be great. My writing had led me to that conversation, not the pressure I put on myself to attend a top tier school. This Boy’s Life is about savoring the beauty in life’s worst moments. At the beginning of the memoir, Wolff describes a time when he comforted his mother after a traumatizing first date. “I rocked her and murmured to her,” said Wolff. “I was

“Throughout life, we are forced to grapple with difficult ideas and confront challenging issues. The process of internalizing what seems to be an endless cycle of distress does have its rewards...” I stepped away from the activity, the obsessive completion of my schoolwork, and I did not know why I was doing it. I looked away from the questions I had written a few nights before. In This Boy’s Life, Mr. Wolff goes from an underachieving public school to a well regarded boarding school. I asked Mr. Wolff how he transitioned. I wanted to know what his values were, and how prestige played a role in them. “I think the hard thing for young people in adjusting to really different situations like that — I mean radically different — is that they want to fit in so badly and they can end up pretending to be someone else,” said Wolff. “Trying to create an image of themselves that would be more compatible with the circumstances that they’re in or that they think will be. It doesn’t really work very well, because actually most kids don’t want to judge you that way. Anyway, what they judge you by is whether you’re authentic or not. And the ones who would judge you by your financial status or social status you wouldn’t want to be friends with anyway.” Everything I had done, and continued to do, was in

practiced at this and happy doing it, not because she was unhappy but she needed me, and to be needed made me feel capable. Soothing her soothed me.” Throughout life, we are forced to grapple with difficult ideas and confront challenging issues. The process of internalizing what seems to be an endless cycle of distress does have its rewards. Whether you are like me, stressed out about getting into college, or upset about something else, we all beat ourselves up for not being what others want us to. Perhaps the cycle is unbreakable. Coming to terms with the fact that we are all our own worst enemies may be the only soluble feature of our distressed realities. Embracing this truth can allow us to better our approaches. We may never be able to completely rid ourselves of our anxieties, but maybe we do not need to. More than anything, Wolff helped me reconsider my approach to self-defeat. Why am I doing the things I do? Am I doing them for me? Am I being kind to myself ? Am I considering my true desires and passions? Sometimes the answer will have to be no. Sometimes we will have to soothe ourselves through acceptance. • 17

BY lucas Hornsby

A Dip into Cryopresevation

Freeze Yourself and Live Forever

A charcoal-gray box, complete with four metal tentacles And even if it is purely biological, is the line drawn at the and a set of robotic legs, traveled through space. Inside it cessation of any one particular major system, or all? Cryopreservation, or cryonics, is a growing field of futurist scilay Professor Jameson, for forty million years. In 1931, Neil R. Jones published The Jameson Satellite, ence that is revolutionizing our answers to these questions. Cryonics is a branch of the broader study of cryogenics, the first installment of Professor Jameson’s dormant intergalactic adventure. The visionary protagonist wished to which explores low temperatures and the behavior of mol“preserve his body indefinitely after his death,” which he ecules therein. Although the range defined by “low temtheorized could be achieved by sending himself into the peratures” is somewhat vague, cryogenics generally refers to anything between -238 °F sub-zero temperatures “As soon as a human is declared and absolute zero, or -460 of outer space. dead, a cryopreservation team °F, at which point molecuOne day, Professor Jameson’s spacecraft cools the body, replaces its blood lar motion is, theoretically, was finally discovered and other fluids with a number of at its minimum before by mechanical creatures. drugs, and, finally, preserves it in stopping. Since its creation in 1877, cryogenics These creatures, Jones liquid nitrogen.” has evolved significantly. writes, “found [ Jameson’s] dead body,” removed his brain and connected it to Today, it is employed in food preservation, medicine, asa machine, which “stimulated [it] into activity once more,” tronomy, and particle physics. In the Sixties, Professor Jameson’s reality began to and disposed of his body. Professor Jameson then visited a long-dead Earth and was subsequently integrated into his emerge in our own when cryogenics produced the specialized — and controversial — branch of cryonics. This field alien hosts’ society for eternity. Professor Jameson forged a road that explored the mean- built upon its predecessor to focus on the possibilities that ing of death from an unorthodox perspective. We live in lie in applying knowledge of low temperatures to the hua time whose unprecedented medical and social advance- man body. Out of these possibilities was formally born the ments have compelled us to embark on Jameson’s road, and subject wishfully described in The Jameson Satellite three decades earlier. to ponder fundamental questions about its end. The first cryonicists proposed something more realisThe Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines death in ontological terms, pertaining to the philosophy of ex- tic than Jones’s science fiction narrative did: that humans istence. But, in reality, the answer encompasses everything be frozen upon dying and reanimated in a future whose from hard science to abstract ethics. The divergent nature of technology allows for such a feat. As soon as a human is this answer poses a question about the potential subjectiv- declared dead, a cryopreservation team cools the body, replaces its blood and other fluids with a number of drugs, ity of our society’s definition of a human’s demise. Is death a purely biological matter, or does it also con- and, finally, preserves it in liquid nitrogen. One can only cern complex religious and philosophical implications? hope that this technology comes sooner than in Jones’s 18

writings, and that cryonics patients do not have to stand by As a young boy growing up in the Detroit area, Ettinger was an avid science fiction reader, and Neil R. Jones’ The for millions of years like Professor Jameson did. Candidates for this uncertain procedure can opt for a Jameson Satellite was of particular significance to him. This whole body- or, in true Professor Jameson fashion, neuro- story planted a seed in Ettinger, a seed that continued to cryopreservation (preservation of the brain alone and dis- grow inside him in the coming decades. Ettinger grazed posal of the body), and most cryopreservation services offer the grip of death during his service as a Second Lieutenant several funding methods. These are: life insurance, prepaid in World War II, when he sustained a grave shrapnel injury to his heart. In the months of recuperation that followed, cash, trust, or annuities. Prices vary between companies, but they generally range Ettinger furthered his understanding of the futuristic topfrom $80,000 to $200,000 depending on the type of pres- ics that had fascinated him in his childhood by studying ervation and form of payment. Several hundred people in the works of Jean Rostand, a French biologist who wrote extensively about the US have already “From Homer’s Illiad to contemporary cryogenics. been preserved and In 1962, Ettinger many others are can- tales of vampires, few quests feature more prominently in literature and consolidated years didates. The hopes of these history than the quest for immortality.” of research and fantasy into The Prospect candidates are not new; in fact, they are even much older than those of Profes- of Immortality. With that, the cryonics movement was born sor Jameson. The prospect of perpetuity has fascinated hu- in a more popular environment than the esoteric, fictional mans for centuries. From Homer’s Iliad to contemporary one it previously inhabited. A manifesto of sorts, this book tales of vampires, few quests feature more prominently in outlined the cryopreservation process and discussed its literature and history than the quest for immortality. How- medical, legal, economic, and religious implications. That same year, fellow cryonics enthusiast Evan Cooper ever, even its most feasible scientific pursual is still hazy, engulfed in a cloud of liquid nitrogen that fills glistening published a similar book, Immortality: Physically, Scientifically, Now. Though alike in structure and purpose, Coopcanisters. The genesis of this technology and movement can be er’s work differed from Ettinger’s in its tone and message. most accurately traced to one man. Robert Ettinger, born Cooper did not share Ettinger’s optimistic conviction of in New Jersey in 1918, has come to be heralded as the fa- cryonics’ automatic, easy success; instead, he foresaw resistther of the cryonics movement. Ettinger’s eventual interest ance that could only be surmounted with time and activism and pioneering work in immortality can be linked to his led by devoted cryonicists. In 1964, Cooper founded the peculiar literary interests and near-death experiences in his Life Extensions Society, known as LES, along with members of his growing network. youth.


heart transplants. In order to jumpstart its services and gain popularity, “When physicians first wanted to transplant a heart LES offered to preserve its first patient free of charge. from one person to another, they were laughed at and told James Bedford, a University of California professor with it was impossible,” he says in an article by Stefan Lovgren terminal cancer, was soon selected as their inaugural candidate. Bedford was preserved upon his death in 1967, in the National Geographic News. “I have no doubt the becoming the first human to undergo the process. Regret- technology [to revive humans] will become available.” Still, the movement faces stiff opposition. These are tably, the methods for Bedford’s preservation, compared heard primarily in the scientific community, as ethical to those of today, were primitive and are unlikely to objections have slowly lost ground. Cryonics has come to ensure his full reanimation if the necessary technology be viewed as a form of life-extension that, though parabecomes available. Although public interest in this field digm shifting, is similar has increased since “The slow embrace of cryonics by to accepted forms of then, Professor Jamethe public and medical community regenerative medicine, son’s proposition is still mirrors the skepticism once elicited organ transplantation, and met with incredulous others. Therefore, ethispurning and uncomby the proposition of heart cal criticism is frequently fortable suspicion by transplants” debunked as myopic and many. hypocritical, which is not By the end of the to say that valid objections do not exist. decade, Cooper had lost hope in his project In science, nonetheless, compeland “walked away from the cryonics ling objections abound. In a recent and life extension movement,” his “MIT Technology Review” obituary explains. An unsung hero article, Michael Hendricks, of cryonics, Cooper is believed a neuroscientist and asto have died at sea, off the sistant professor of biolcoast of Nantucket, in 1983. ogy at McGill University, Despite his pragmatic vision decries cryopreservation as of cryonics and trailblazing a “cottage industry” built efforts, Cooper’s position as on false hopes and poor the founder of the cryonscience. Hendricks quesics movement was largely tions the cryonicist argument assumed by the more popular that brain activity may be and devoted Ettinger. reactivated through advances in Years after Cooper abandoned neuroscience, specifically through his pursuit of immortality, Ettinger the stimulation of delicate neural conunveiled the Cryonics Institute in nections. 1976. Located in the suburbs of Clinton, Studies of “synaptic neuroanatomy” in small Michigan, Ettinger’s company is now home to roundworms, Hendricks claims, have indicated that such 133 humans — whose pictures line the walls — and 112 attempts are unsuccessful. Furthermore, even if basic brain pets. Their website lists their current live member count function could be restored in humans, it is unlikely that as 1203. Since the Cryonics Institute’s founding, several any identity would be preserved. other cryopreservation companies have emerged to meet For the most part, Hendricks strikes a tone that mutuan increase in public interest that coincides with rapid ally conveys critical skepticism and a reluctant admittance advances in technology and medicine. of the possibilities of the unknown, only to revert to a Joseph Waynick, the president of one such company, scathing criticism of the industry’s future at the end of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, explains that the slow embrace of cryonics by the public and medical community article. Naturally, cryopreservation teems with doubt. Nonemirrors the skepticism once elicited by the proposition of 20

Avenues chimes in on cryonics Q: If you received an offer to have your body preserved upon your death, would you accept it?

“I don’t think I would. Because it’s a restriction of my liberty. Like, I don’t get to make the decision about when and how to get resurrected. It takes away my fundamental rights. Freezing and reliving is different from finding a cure for death.” - Connor Wise, Grade 11 “Yes. Because I feel like it’s sad and unfortunate that people die, and I would like to not die.” - Jacob Spiegel, Grade 12 ____________________________ Thoughts on Alcor Life Extension Foundation’s Website: “What kind of research are they basing their work on? Their research magazine on the website did not give many specifics. To be fair, they are a business and they could be just trying to protect their own trade secrets. In the back their cryonics research journal were several links

theless, support is growing. Many find comfort in the prospect of opening their eyes in several decades or centuries and continuing a life cut short by the current shortcomings of medical life-extension. Professor Jameson floated in space for millions of long, frigid years, in pursuit of immortality. Cryopreservation candidates are not much different. They set aside their savings and oppose a deep-rooted culture of mortality to float in liquid nitrogen for an indeterminate amount of

to articles on stem cell research; however, none of these are directly related to their work. Under the “Road Map to Resuscitation” Section I found some articles that were directly related to the effects of freezing human tissue. The first one,”The Anabolocyte: A Biological Approach to Repairing Cryoinjury,” was authored by Micheal G. Darwin, Alcor’s founder. His paper has all of two sources, neither of which are cited very clearly in the body of the text. He proposes many interesting ideas in the text, such as reprogramming white blood cells to repair damage, but provides no means for implementing them. Granted, the paper was written in 1977, but good research should provide some kind of experiment which is rooted in current knowledge, which he does not. I think a more fruitful line of work for Alcor to pursue at the moment is study the biochemistry of single cellular organisms that live in the arctic. However, when it comes to preserving human bodies through cryopreservation I think they may want to put that on freeze for the moment.” - Chris Cleaver, Science Teacher

time, clinging to an unlikely resurrection. But when the alternative is death, who can blame them? No matter how lofty the hopes, however, the science necessary to realizing such aspirations remains largely undiscovered. Yet, we cannot help but ask ourselves, with a tinge of eerie discomfort and quiet hopefulness: will humans ever confidently say, as Ettinger writes on the last page of The Prospect of Immortality, “au revoir but not Good-by?” • 21

Teacher Feature: Ms. Ramos by sophia koock

Ms. Ramos, an Upper School teacher, is known by her students for her unusual approach to teaching English. From giving quizzes that ask her students to differentiate quotes from Batman and Shakespeare, to having students sing nursery rhymes as retribution for being late, Ms. Ramos’s classes blend entertainment with serious analytics to create a supportive and challenging environment for her students. Ms. Ramos grew up in a Spanish speaking household in the Central Valley of California and moved to New York thirteen years ago to attend graduate school.This is her fourth year teaching at Avenues. I met with her twice, once in the afternoon, a second time in the early morning, and this was the product of our conversations. Interviewer Did you have a specific experience in high school that caused you to be interested in English or was it something you always liked? Ramos I always gravitated towards English; it was a subject that came very naturally for me … but I will say I had some really great English teachers who I found inspiring. There was a particular English teacher, my 11 & 12 grade AP English teacher, Mr. Heilmann, who I absolutely adored. I loved how he would bring his own life experiences into our classroom and impart his wisdom of who he was and how he approached literature. [He believed] teenagers [were] not being these vessels that need to be filled with information. He really valued the perspectives that [we] would bring to him. He was this older former priest, he was in his seventies, and it was so great for [me] to feel like he didn’t look down upon us. He was like, ‘You know, I have so much to learn from you. I can impart some wisdom and life experience, but the way that you approach life is very different, and for me it’s really satisfying to come to a place where I continue to learn.’ In part, that’s why I chose to become an English teacher.I always loved reading. I always loved new ideas and figuring out how complex human beings can be. All those things just resonated with me from early on. 22

Interviewer What form of writing do you enjoy reading the most? Ramos It varies … my favorite genre is dystopian novels. Brave New World is my favorite book. I love how visionary it was when it was written. I just remember … reading it back in high school and just reading it every year since then, because that was a challenge actually. The challenge is to pick that one book that you really love and always go back to it and [try to] see it in a new light, which is really great. And that’s one book that I always do, and it’s always resonated with me. I [also] love the “Hunger Games” series. I love reading people who can write in a way that’s very inventive. That’s why I loved reading a lot of twentiethcentury literature [like] Faulkner, because of how he broke the mold [by] using flashbacks and providing different perspectives from different people, and how he played with narrative time… to me that’s really fascinating. Saramago is someone else I really loved. [His] use of run-on sentences is reminiscent of the stream of consciousness that you see with Virginia Woolf. So [I like] anyone who just can write in an inventive and new sort of way. Interviewer Who is your favorite author and why?” Ramos It sometimes changes, but Aldous Huxley … [or] Jose Saramago. William Faulkner, anything of his, I’ve read all his novels. Interviewer What form of writing do you enjoy writing the most? Ramos Poetry, actually. I love poetry. I love the idea of being able to capture an idea in as few words as possible because I think that’s actually more challenging, and, when done well, it can be a really beautiful thing.

Interviewer What one common misconception about English would you like to change? Ramos That teachers ... well, this isn’t a misconception; I think all English teachers like to read. But that all English teachers must be writers … and that we’re boring. We’re not all boring. Or [that writing is] hard, it’s not accessible, not everyone can become a good writer. Everyone has potential to do well. You shouldn’t just rely on talent alone, right? Interviewer What is one tip for writing that you give to your students? Ramos That it’s a process. You’re not going to get it right the first time and it’s okay. [And] not to feel alone in the writing process. Know that you have peers and … teachers, who are there to help you in any way. Interviewer What part of teaching do you enjoy the most? Ramos I love that I can still be a learner, [that] I’m not just a teacher. I don’t see myself when I’m in a classroom with my kids as someone who knows all, and I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I feel that way. I don’t think any teacher should. I think part of going into the classroom is always maintaining a certain level of awe and curiosity and learning, and I love when kids challenge something that I say because I can tell that they’re really engaged in what’s going on, and they can offer me a different perspective. Interviewer What part of teaching do you dislike the most? Ramos I dislike, oh gosh, is that bad that I don’t think that there are many things? Probably more of the behind the scenes kind of stuff. When I’m in the classroom, that’s the best. • 23

Avenues Blue by Wylie Makovsky


ou may have noticed it around the school. It draws Obviously your attention when you look at anything Avenues- a lot of thought made. You can find it on shirts, pants, pens, mugs, went into the selection of this color, so I wanted to see if and even water bottles. It is at the heart of Avenues’ spirit Avenues students picked up on these subliminal meanings. and culture. I am, of course, talking about the Avenues blue. Sophie Potter, a senior and president of the Student CounThis blue is a special color. It brings life to our mono- cil, commented that, “At some point in the last three years, chromatic dress code; it pops out on colorless t-shirts and I recall being told that Avenues had created the shade of sweatshirts. One thing that remains a mystery, however, is blue specifically for the school’s use. Other than that, I where this defining color came from and who chose it. I don’t know much about it.” wanted to investigate, so I started by emailing Andy ClaySimilarly responses, like, “besides that it’s blue, not man. Clayman is a man seldom seen around the Upper much,” and “I don’t know anything,” came from most stuSchool, but he plays a dents in the four grades large role on the creathat I interviewed. I was “in the spirit of a ‘new school of tive team, a group not discouraged by this thought,’ and aiming to distinguish formed to direct the lack of knowledge, and ourselves from traditional schools, “creative” design and instead decided to see we purposely stayed away from layout of our school what people thought traditional school colors...” and its branding. about the color and how According to Clayit made them feel. man, the selection of the Avenues blue was motivated by, Connor Wise, a junior, said that, “I generally do like it, “many different design issues facing the creative team when I think it contrasts well with the white in our dress code.” we created Avenues’ original identity.” While I assumed most people would feel pretty neutral While this does not exactly tell us much, Clayman was about the color and its usage, sophomore Justin Levine had kind enough to connect me with the person who had the a deeper insight into what the color meant. biggest influence in the creation of Avenues blue, Susan “The blue we use is minimalist and really fits in with Hochbaum. Hochbaum is the proprietor of, “Susan Hoch- the aesthetic of our school. The whole idea of progression baum Design,” and was hired by Avenues and the creative mixed with whites and blues just seems right to me,” said team to help conjure the colors that would eventually iden- Levine. “The most important part is that it is used in modtify our school. I contacted Hochbaum to find out more eration, because too much will make it become normal to about her role in the design of Avenues’ quintessential color. us, in turn making it boring.” “In designing the logo, we considered color and how it The idea that using a color in moderation will, in turn, would support Avenues’ personality,” said Hochbaum. “In make a color more interesting and/or special is an interestthe spirit of ‘a new school of thought,’ and aiming to dis- ing one. It is almost as if Avenues wanted their blue to be tinguish ourselves from traditional schools, we purposely used only at certain times, in certain ways, and in certain stayed away from traditional school colors like maroon, places. Maybe the administration or the design team wantdark green, crimson and navy.” ed to limit the appearance of the color as a way to stand out Avenues needed to be different. Hochbaum said our blue from other schools’ overuse of school colors. speaks to this initiative. While there may be different thoughts and opinions “Colors have emotional associations: red suggests ex- about the color within our school, it is important to recitement, green suggests nature, etc. Blue is associated with member that the Avenues blue will be a part of our culture trust, dependability, safety, competence,” said Hochbaum. forever. It will be a tradition that outlives its creators and “You’ll notice that banks and healthcare institutions often inaugural users. A blue that only people with the secret use blue in their logos. Blue seemed right for Avenues.” hexadecimal color model value (#6187a1) can use. • 25


Bruce Cohen, the art of film no. 1 On October 11th, 2015, Avenues hosted Bruce Cohen, a producer, LGBT activist, and Avenues parent, in recognition of National Coming Out Day. Many know Mr. Cohen for producing American Beauty, winner of the 2000 Academy Award for Best Picture. However, Mr. Cohen’s visit to Avenues was about another of his award winning films — Milk — a work Mr. Cohen produced as a culmination of his two passions, LGBT activism and filmmaking. Milk tells the story of Harvey Milk, city supervisor for San Francisco in 1978, and the first openly gay elected government official in the United States. Following Mr. Cohen’s address to the Upper School — in which he spoke about his experience making Milk ­— I had the unique privilege of sitting down one-on-one with Mr. Cohen for a personal interview. In addition to discussing the influence Milk has had on his life, Mr. Cohen shared his thoughts on coming out, the evolution of the LGBT movement, his activism and advocacy, the legacies of Harvey Milk and Milk, and his hope for the future of the LGBT movement. GIA DONOVAN Milk said, and you kind of touched on this before, that we must come out, but what do you believe on the notion of coming out today as individuals and as advocates? BRUCE COHEN Well, first and foremost, I do believe that it’s a personal choice. It does change your life in a really profound way. It’s when you first start existing on this planet as who you truly are, for everything that’s good about that and everything that can be hard about it, so it’s a huge deal. So, I think the most important thing is that you have to do it on your own time, each individual. That having been said, Harvey’s message, and I one-hundred percent agree, as do many others, is that it is so vitally important. Our entire movement — all of the equality we have as an LGBT movement and all of the fights we still have ahead of us -- all rely on people coming out. ‘Cause until you’re out, you can’t be a part of an activist movement. And so, I think it’s really, really important; as important now as it’s ever been, and will continue to be. It’ll never not be important. It’s the rite of passage of LGBT humans, is that you’ve gotta get from the natural place of in, which most people are at some point in their life, and you gotta come out. And that’s when your life can begin. GIA You mentioned a bit about how [Bill] Clinton running was really the moment where a lot of gay activists and gay people started to come out, because that was really the first person running for office that actually mentioned the queer community. How do you think your experiences around that and identity connect with your advocacy work, especially in that moment? Because there are ways to be out but not an advocate, or do you think coming out is inherently being an advocate? 26

COHEN Sadly, I don’t think coming out necessarily is inherently being an advocate. I mean, it is an act, a personal act of activism to come out, but then to actually become an activist, you have to decide to take things to the next step. I had been a Democratic Party activist my whole life. I had a woman who was in the neighborhood who I loved who was very active in the Democratic Party when I was a little kid, so I had been campaigning for Democratic candidates since I was four. And so I was a Democrat first, that was really my first activism. Then, when I started realizing that I was gay, it was a time where the Democratic Party wasn’t a safe space for people to be out and many of the Democratic activists that were LGBT were closeted. But that really started to change, as I said, on the Clinton campaign because once the candidate you’re supporting says, “I support you and believe you have a place at the table,” then if you’re a gay activist, it makes no sense for you to be a closeted Democratic activist. It was exciting to start to be able to, for the first time during that campaign, to blend those two things together. But still until, really, President Obama, came out for marriage there were still all these issues with LGBT activists where you’re on one side, and the Democratic Party – my party that I love and work for – is on the other side and you have to keep fighting your own party over and over and over again. It was one of the things that was really moving about when Obama came around on marriage, for me, was this awareness of, “I’ve merged. My LGBT side isn’t gonna have to be fighting my Democrat side anymore. Hopefully...” GIA What do you make of the different types of activism? From now, I feel like a lot of social media petitions and posts, to things like [the] Stonewall [riots] or marches. Do you think they all have a place in their own way, based on certain issues? Or do you think there’s just one type of activism (like marches or rallies)? Do you think some are better than others? COHEN The beauty of the LGBT movement, from the beginning, has been how many different voices there are, how many different flavors there are, how many different ideas there are. And it’s true, really, of liberal movements in general. The whole thing we’re fighting for is individual expression, so the idea of “do it this way” and “everyone get in line and do what you’re told and march in that direction” is against our very nature. So, I think in some ways, it’s part of why the right wing has so much more success politically than the left wing. Because right wing people love “tell me what to do and tell me where to go, and I’ll follow instructions and march in line.” Whereas, y’know, on the left sides, you have six people and there’s going to be twenty-five different opinions about how to do it. And you can’t even agree on “should there be a leader” and “who’s in charge?” or “should we listen to the gays? Lesbians? Transgenders?” or “how do we figure it out?” There’s a lot of chaos, always, in a left leaning movement, and certainly in the LGBT movement and I think that’s part of our beauty. There was a march on Washington in the nineties and Act Up laid down in the middle of the street across from the White House and disrupted the march for two hours. I laugh because I was like “only the gays would disrupt their own march.” My answer to your question is: it’s all good. There’s never going to be just one way that the LGBT movement furthers its cause. And I think that’s a good thing, that people are always going to be individuals wanting to have their own idea of how they move the movement forward. GIA How do you think the LGBTQ+ group has gotten lumped together and why that might be a good or bad thing? I know recently people are proposing to change the name to things like MOGAI (Marginalized Orientations, Gender identities, And Intersex) or GSM (gender and/or sexuality minorities). People are trying to branch away from the traditional “LGBT” because it doesn’t seem totally gender and sexuality inclusive–and they’re not the same thing. COHEN Something I talked about in my talk is the more it can all become one movement, the better, for oppressed peoples who don’t have their rights. And if you’re not part of the white, straight, male, Christian majority–even though, the funny thing is, when you add that all up they’re not the majority — if you don’t have full legal equality, then you’re an oppressed person. And the more all of those people can find common ground and work together, the better. From that perspective, it makes 27

perfect sense to me for why the LGBTQI (and whatever other initials you want to add) movement does have common ground. But I do like the move for redefinition now because I think there is this sudden awareness around the explosion of transgender issues, finally. Now they’re having their seat at the table and people are concerned for their rights and realizing that if they’re not equal, we’re not equal. The interesting fact, that you stated, is a different issue because it’s not a sexuality issue, it’s a gender issue. But I feel like they’re linked enough to all be part of the same movement. I think at this point that ship has sailed, which is good. I think the more inclusive we can be the better, and the more as each facet of our movement feels like they’re starting to get their rights and equality, the sooner we can move on to protecting the next facet of our movement that doesn’t have rights and equality. GIA Aside from being a producer and advocate, how do you think Harvey Mik’s message -- and Milk as a movie -- has affected you as a person and a person within the LGBTQ+ community? COHEN It’s been deeply personally inspiring to me. I’ve learned so much and was so moved by my experience making the film and the people that I met, the people in Harvey’s life that I met. I feel like I’m one of the many, many, many carriers of the Milk torch and the reason why I did that was because I felt like part of my mission on this Earth – this time around – is to get Harvey’s message out to as many people and to last for as many decades as it possibly can. So I grab every opportunity I get to do that. GIA Do you think the way history, geography, race, etc. come together has become beneficial for movements? Like Stonewall/Chelsea were known as the gay areas, Harlem as the black, Washington Heights as the Dominican, etc. just because of the history surrounding them, like the Renaissance or Riots. San Francisco is known as the west coast gay area. How do you think that has benefited community and maybe harmed them, if at all? COHEN Well, I think, it’s interesting because the West Village isn’t the really gay area demographically now. LGBT people are just as likely to live in Chelsea, Brooklyn, or somewhere else and the same with Harlem now; those demographics are shifting. But I think that those neighborhoods, though, it is where it all started. And you don’t wanna lose your history. With each recent significant moment in the LGBT rights movement, DOMA, Prop8, etc. people gathered at the Stonewall Inn and it’s become tradition now. It’s very beautiful, very powerful and symbols like the flag, that history will never be lost. The West Village will always be associated with the LGBT community, even if years from now, LGBT people don’t live there anymore. GIA Do you think 50 years from now, maybe Milk’s message will lose weight and there won’t be as much pressure to come out? Will, in an ideal world, we all be equal and no longer have oppressed groups? Do you think then, the danger of equality becomes losing history and things like Stonewall become erased? Will we even need to learn about things like that in school? Is there danger in that forgetting of history and gaining privileges? COHEN I hope not. I hope that each new generation to the extent that they need to fight fights. They go back to their history. And to the extent that they’re lucky and have benefits afforded to them that they understand why. But I do think that it’s up your generation. That the torch has been passed to you. We’re certainly at a point now where LGBT history has not been forgotten and our struggle has a continuity to it. So with each new generation it’s like “now it’s your turn to take the torch and make sure the stories get told and the history gets passed down and movies get watched and plays get read and the history gets taught.” •




Getting Guns Under Control by Jackson ehrenworth

T PHOTO by isabella grana

he first mass school shooting I remember happened when I was in seventh grade. It was 2012. Sudden whispers in the hallway, adults checking their phones. “First graders… teachers… the principal… dead.” Our teacher was on the edge of tears, the class came to a halt, the school day fell apart. It felt as if everything changed. Grief and fear were in the air for weeks. There was another mass school shooting only a short while ago; kids at a quiet Oregon college campus had died from gunfire. It came on NPR at breakfast. I kept eating.

There was little talk of it at school. It was barely news. It is hard to resist being numb. It is hard to care for more than a minute about kids we do not know and families we will never meet. It’s also hard to keep in mind the cause of these deaths – someone finding it easy to get a weapon. Gun regulations have to change in this country, which means taking on the gun lobbies, who wield enormous financial and political leverage and control the narrative around gun ownership. This year alone, the U.S. gun industry expects $11.7 billion in sales. There is clear

incentive within the industry to maintain the status quo of open access to any weapons, no matter if they are used for mass killing. In order to achieve any change, we have to change the discourse around gun control. It’s hard to talk about guns without the argument being distorted into ‘people should be allowed to have guns,’ and ‘people should not.’ That’s the narrative the gun lobbies promulgate – an imagined story of the government taking all privately owned guns away from citizens who want them for sport, to hunt, or to protect their homes. That narrative is not one that advocates of gun regulations are making– that binary positioning is a deliberate oversimplification on the part of vested interests (the NRA) that is oddly seductive for those who should be more rational. The question that should be posed (that is rhetorical, as it’s not a real question at all) is: should any person should be allowed open access to any and all assault weapons, or should there should be some sensible regulations to limit access to weapons of mass killing? I hesitate to use a President’s name because too many otherwise rational citizens flinch from bipartisan thinking, but let’s name these regulations as what a President grieving for shot-to-death first graders and college students called: ‘sensible’ gun laws and ‘responsible’ gun ownership. The first challenge with getting people to support sensible gun laws is getting people to care at all. When you look at moments when support for responsible gun ownership has spiked, it has been after every mass shooting. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Worth, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook. According the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, after each of these shootings, support for gun control gained traction – for a limited time. These kinds of shootings, the mass kind, capture the public’s attention. It might be because so many die all at once. It might be

because the shootings happen in ordinary places. It might be because it’s often a stranger who commits these acts, and so they feel threatening to all of us. At least for the few days after, they stay in the front of our mind. And we should feel threatened, for ourselves and for our loved ones. Let’s look at the sheer number of deaths in 2015. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. is now averaging one mass shooting – which is a shooting in which at least four people are shot – per day. That means the odds have never been stronger that someone you love will face a shooter, perhaps tomorrow, in your mall, or in your movie theater, at your kids’ school, or in your classroom. Yet somehow, we spend little of our collective will to end this trouble. U.S. lawmakers are capable of coming together in bipartisan ways. It just takes a tremendous event to make that happen. We responded to September 11th with a huge increase in funding and task forces. Most Americans are afraid of terrorism and most are willing to work together to fund anti-terrorism, to research it, to pass laws that protect citizens, even to invade other nations. We take our shoes off in airports, we limit our possessions when we travel, and we listen to security agencies that want to limit death by terrorism. We are willing to constrain our liberties, inconvenience ourselves and protect our loved ones from potential violence at the hands of the fanatic and unstable. Somehow, domestic gun violence simply doesn’t capture the collective will in the same way Al-Qaeda does. Yet the number of deaths from terrorism is in the low thousands, even including September 11th. Deaths from gun violence in this country are in the hundreds of thousands. Both CNN and Fox News (which rarely report the same statistics), presented this comparison of deaths by terrorism vs. gun violence in the last decade: Since 2004, there have been 313 deaths by terrorism on U.S. soil. In the same period there have been 316,545 deaths from gun violence. Even if you turn to the most inflated estimates of terrorist deaths in the U.S., put out by the Global Terrorism Database (which includes acts of violence that are more 31

hold member than to be used in self-defense. The myths ambiguous as well as domestic massacres that are termed around gun violence are akin in strength to those that terrorism), the number of deaths are estimated as approxused to be propagated by the tobacco industries around imately 3,000 in the last five years, whereas homicides committed with guns are estimated at over 150,000. There cigarettes – that they are not dangerous to the average consumer. That turned out, of course, to be false. And are two things that should shock you in these statistics. it’s equally false that gun ownership isn’t a threat to your The first is how many kids and adults are dying from gun family. violence the last five It turns out that mass years alone. The second “we know that we have shootings are not actuis how large that a narrative problem ally the biggest problem. number is compared to because logic and evidence The problem is the sheer how few deaths there overwhelmingly support the numbers of deaths from are from terrorism. We spend billions on rational response of stricer guns. New York Times reporter, Nicholas Kristof, anti-terrorism, and gun regulations. clear writes that: “It’s not just we change what we examples exist of how to occasional mass shootcan carry and how regulate gun ownerships in ings … but a continuous we can travel. Yet we can’t agree together to order to limit mass shootings deluge of gun deaths, an average of 92 every day control gun violence. It and gun violence.” in America. Since 1970, would be ridiculous if more Americans have it weren’t tragic. died from guns than died in all U.S. wars going back to Even if we go back in time and added in the deaths the American Revolution.” Through the Civil War, WWI, from September 11th, the comparative statistics for gun WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, there have been about 1.4 violence versus terrorism is staggering. According to the million gun deaths caused by war. Since 1970 there have Global Terrorism Database, 3,512 people have died from been about 1.45 million deaths domestically from guns, terrorism since 1970. 8,512 people have died from gun ranging from homicide to suicide to accidental shootings. violence this year so far. Yet there is a deeply ingrained These are civilian adults and children dying in streets, narrative that most opposers of sensible gun legislation schools, homes, and malls. cling to – that gun violence is mostly young black males These numbers were so shocking that when Kristof against other young black males, that it mostly exists first published them, an outcry went up that they were within urban ghettos, and above all, that private gun not believable. Multiple fact checking news agencies ownership will protect the individual citizens. It is true investigated: the statistics were true. Here’s another way that young black males are at risk from gun violence. It is also true, as CNN reporter David Frum puts it, that: “guns to think about gun deaths, as Kristof writes: “In America, offer equal opportunity tragedies...Eighty percent of those more preschoolers are shot dead each year (82 in 2013) than police officers are in the line of duty (27 in 2013), who commit suicide with a gun are white males. The gun that the suburban family buys to protect itself from “thugs according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI.” It is more dangerous to be killing thugs” ends up killing its own. A team headed by Arthur Kellermann of Emory University, found that a gun a preschooler in this country, in terms of possible death by shooting, than it is to be a cop. kept in the house is 43 times more likely to kill a house-


We know that we have a narrative problem because logic and evidence overwhelming support the rational response of stricter gun regulations. Clear examples exist of how to regulate gun ownerships in order to limit mass shootings and gun violence. Other democratic nations have essentially solved the problem of mass shootings and have limited gun deaths by instituting more gun regulations. Australia is probably the best example. In 1996 a gunman shot 35 people to death. It was called the Port Arthur massacre and it was Australia’s first mass shooting. The gunman used an AR-15 rifle. As any gun expert will note, this is a weapon of war. Indeed it was designed in 1959 for the U.S. armed forces. Chekhov’s truism isn’t just a literary trope. If there is a gun in the first act, it’s going to be fired in a later act, and that means the rifle hanging on the wall will be shot. Following the Port Arthur massacre, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, introduced legislation to restrict private ownership of weapons capable of mass killing – semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Australians could still buy hunting rifles and handguns. If you wanted a semi-automatic weapon that is used for mass killing, you had to provide a reason. This legislation passed easily, with bipartisan support. It passed because Australians don’t want another Port Author. The United Kingdom followed suit, as did the European nations. There had been eleven mass shootings in Australia before the Port Arthur massacre. Since Australia passed their gun regulations (only twelve days after Port Arthur), the Washington Post reports that they have not had a single mass shooting, homicides by guns have dropped 59%, suicides by guns decreased by 65%. Important to note for those gun owners who fear the stranger at their door, there was no increase in home invasions. When you look at who supports restrictions on gun ownership, it turns out that almost all Americans support stricter gun regulation. According to a CBS/New York Times poll, 92% of Americans are in favor of background checks when buying arms. 85% of NRA households favor background checks for all gun purchases. Just as all

Republicans are not Sarah Palin, not all gun owners are Charles Heston, who only ten days after 12 teens were shot to death at Columbine, came to Denver and proclaimed that people who favored gun regulations would have to pull his guns from his “cold, dead hands.” We cannot let Heston, a spokesman for the NRA, or those who are either fanatics like him or profiteers, get away with polarizing the argument as non-gun-owners versus gun-owners. Actually, almost all gun owners favor registration procedures, background checks, and some restrictions. So when we talk about gun restrictions, we need to keep saying that people can still have guns. The gun lobbies, such as the NRA, support open access to all weapons, including assault weapons, because people make a lot of money from selling these guns. It is not because they want people to be safer – it is about profit. In 2000, Smith & Wesson, one of the largest manufacturers of rifles supported stricter regulations, partly in response to civil lawsuits they were facing involving accidental gun deaths. The NRA organized a boycott of Smith & Wesson and the company retreated from sensible regulations. They couldn’t afford to support the kind of legislation that has saved so many lives in Australia. So, once we cast aside the idea of eliminating gun ownership, and show that gun violence is not just a raced narrative, we find that stricter gun legislation can be the only rational response of an advanced democratic nation. What is needed are the kinds of laws that other democratic nations have already passed – laws that allow people to hunt, shoot for sport, and own guns to protect themselves. Laws that, at the same time, sensibly restrict assault weapons and access to weapons of war. It is clear that gun violence is a major issue in this country. We don’t have to invade another nation to end it. It is an internal issue, and it is one that other democratic nations have solved. We can look to the U.K., to France, to Norway, to Australia. They have passed restrictive gun laws, and they have lowered gun violence. It is like the polio vaccine. It works. It is time for us to follow if we cannot lead. •


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How to Treat a Freshman


arious upperclassmen and several freshmen negative feelings based on how they believe they are generstand in a crowded elevator. As it surges up- ally perceived by upperclassmen. One freshman noted, “I think that they don’t really ward, a freshman laughs, backing up into the red “Emergency Call” button on the wall of the care about us, to be honest.” Avenues structures its schedule so that lowerclassmen have very little interaction with upelevator. A groan emerges from the group. perclassmen. The freshman went on, “Since we don’t have “Ugh, freshmen…” In many high schools, there tends to be a stigma sur- anything with them, it seems as though they don’t have any rounding the unpreparedness and immaturity of freshmen need to know us.” While seniors might be seen as unapproachable or intimamong the upperclassmen. Avenues is no exception. When freshmen were asked if they considered sen- idating to freshmen, they might simply be busy or haven’t had time to make the effort to introiors’ behavior respectful, duce themselves. Another assumed, “I the majority responded “Maybe freshman by blatantly stating “no.” embody these negative would think that the seniors are busy, and don’t have much time to meet all Some included more defeelings based on how of us freshman. However, I have met tail by following up with “They are very mean” or they believe they are a few seniors that always say hi when “They think they have generally perceived I see them.” Interestingly, the place where senhigher authority and they by upperclassmen.” iors and freshman seem to experience act [as such].” the most conflict is in the elevator. The However, seniors seemed to be oddly enthusiastic about the class of 2019, close proximity encompassed in the elevators have caused describing their behavior as “overwhelmingly positive” and many freshmen to feel the greatest amount of discomfort “peaceful... for most part.” Maybe freshmen embody these with upperclassmen. 36

by grace franco & eva hwang

One freshman recognized, “The seniors may be con- school seniors are both respected and feared by virtue of trolling in the elevators, but other than that they’ve been being the oldest. I think what seniors want to do is make freshman aware of our community norms and when they welcoming.” Another senior elaborated on a certain incident, “I was see freshman behave in a manner that falls outside of such in the elevator (it was clearly over capacity) and two fresh- norms, they call them out.” How does a senior make himself a role model withman boys tried to dive in and make room for themselves. out being inI promptly told timidating? them to exit and “Does this stigma exist? It is hard What can a they barked back to say, but this recuring bias stems freshman do in a rather ignofrom a lack of communication.” to learn the rant way. With school’s culage comes patience and I think they need to learn about the value of ture and contribute? These are important questions because they stem from the heart of what kind of community Avpatience and how far courtesy will get you.” All students may be a bit ornery waiting for the elevators enues is and wants to become. We propose that more steps should be taken in order to to transport them to lunch but maybe the seniors’ elevator unify the high school and the divisions that are relatively operating is important. One senior pointed out, “Seniors enforce the rules and prominent between the grades. model appropriate elevator behavior, therefore making them essential to the functionality of the elevator system.” Does the stigma exist? It is hard to say, but this recurring Have an opinion on the matter? Weigh in on the discussion for a chance to be featured in our next issue. All submissions are bias stems from a lack of communication. Another upperclassman observed, “I think in any high welcome. 37

ARTS & LETTERS Who tells your story BY sabrina sternberg

PHOTO submitted by Joan MaRCUS


he theater community in the United States has long been a home to the oppressed. The modernday musical was brought to America by Jewish immigrants, such as George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, who began to build upon the history of Yiddish theater. Eventually, Broadway became a powerful place for the marginalized to express their voices, with innovative pieces such as Show Boat, Porgy and Bess, and Le Cage Aux Folles. Even more recently, theater seems to be going through a revolution of sorts, with new writers redefining the format of a musical. The two most recent shows to open on Broadway, Hamilton and Spring Awakening, feature the marginalized through new lenses.


Last year’s Tony winners for Best Musical and Best Play, Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, respectively, have both brought new forms of storytelling to the stage. However, there is an important flaw both shows face: lack of originality in the approach to performance and casting. Each play was simply adapted from its source material, and does not expand upon it or innovate. Fun Home is directly based upon a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, and the show stays completely committed to the book. Similarly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is modeled off a novel by the same name about an autistic boy and his search to find the killer of his neighbor’s dog; the play aims to only tell the story exactly as it was told in the book. While Fun Home and Curious

Incident are excellent shows, both match their source material, so that where the books gave power to new voices, the Broadway productions don’t extend that power. Hamilton and Spring Awakening’s innovative casting and concepts, on the other hand, redefine the way theater can tell a story. These plays not only bring their stories to the stage but embody their stories through their casting decisions, and thus do more justice to the people they represent. Lin Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, rose to musical theater fame after his first musical, In the Heights, won the 2008 Tony for Best Musical, as well as the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Miranda was invited to perform some songs from In the Heights at the White House shortly after winning the Tony award. However, Miranda had just received a life changing source of inspiration: while on vacation, he brought the critically-acclaimed biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow for some lightreading on the beach. Throughout the story of our founding fathers, Miranda heard the echoes of the current struggles of people of color and the journeys of famous rappers, such as Jay-Z and Eminem. Miranda decided to write a rap entitled “The Hamilton Mixtape” to perform instead, recounting the story of Hamilton from the perspective of his enemy, Aaron Burr: “How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the caribbean, by providence impoverished, to a squalor grow up to be a hero and a scholar?” These lyrics now begin the cultural phenomenon that is Hamilton, as the audience is haunted by the eerie chords in the background. While the show is about our founding fathers, it has a provocative twist. Every character except for King George is played by a person of color. Miranda, himself of Puerto Rican decent, plays Hamilton. The show opened to unanimously excellent critiques, and has already been called the defining new musical of this century. Many have asked, “Of all the founding fathers, why write about Alexander Hamilton?” As character Angelica Schuyler, sister-in-law to Hamilton, states in the finale, “Every other founding father’s story gets told. Every other founding father gets to grow old.” Miranda set out to tell the incredibly intriguing story of a man often forgotten in our textbooks. As he dies in the show, Hamilton cries out “I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me/ America, you great unfinished symphony.” The show opening after Hamilton has quite the act to follow. Luckily, this was the innovative revival of Spring

Awakening. The musical is based upon the play Spring’s Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy, written in the early 1900s about the repression of sexual education in small German town. Due to its adult themes, the play was frequently banned over the following century. The musical, by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, used rock music to express the angst and frustrations of the teenage characters. It won the 2006 Tonys for Best Musical, along with seven other Tony awards. Many shows don’t return to Broadway for well over a decade. Producers, however, considered this production to be an exception. Directed by Michael Arden, the show takes the theme of lack of communication and riffs on it by adding in one crucial element: eight characters, and the actors who play them, are deaf. Not only is the show about teenagers who cannot be heard, Spring Awakening also takes place during a time of prejudice and discrimination towards the deaf community. Arden writes in his director’s note: “Eleven years prior [to the play’s release] the Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf passed a resolution banning sign language in schools across Europe and the United States, declaring Oralism (lip reading, speech and mimicking mouth shapes) superior…. This exploration of adolescence within the context of this dark time in Deaf history serves as a haunting reminder of the perils of miseducation and miscommunication.” Although not one word of text was changed, the new storytelling elements fit in effortlessly, as if the story was always meant to be told with deaf actors. For many characters, in fact, their deafness enhances the power of their story. The female protagonist, Wendla, is played by Sandra Mae Frank. The show begins with stirring “Mama Who Bore Me” in which Wendla questions the meaning of her adult body and world. Because Wendla doesn’t understand her body, when she subsequently does have sex with her childhood friend Melchior and becomes pregnant, she doesn’t understand how it happened. Another space in which the deaf storyline thrives is in the school setting. Signing was completely against the rules, and all deaf people were expected to speak. In the scene, the teacher is asking different students to recite pieces of Latin. When Moritz Stiefel, best friend to Melchoir, is called upon, he struggles to get through the line, as he doesn’t speak due to his deafness. Melchior immediately stands up for him, and all the deaf kids in his class, and starts to sign the latin to help them. Melchior is the deaf characters’ link between the deaf and hearing worlds, similar to Austin Mckenzie, the actor who plays him. McKenzie went to Columbia College Chicago for special needs teaching and ASL interpretation. Coming into the process, he was the only hearing actor 39

PHOTO submitted by Joan MaRCUS

who signed: “I can best sum it up by saying that it feels as if I am doing two completely separate shows in my mind, in different worlds, at the same time.” explained Mckenzie in an interview on the difficulty of speaking in both English and ASL in the show. “I believe Melchior must know both languages because he desperately needs to spread goodness and awareness to the sub-par world around him. What better awareness to be spread than someone who intentionally chooses to look past communication barriers that others will not?” The show also makes history by having the first cast member in a wheelchair on Broadway, Ali Stroker, who was on Season 2 of “The Glee Project.” Additionally, Broadway veteran Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Ilse, is currently recovering from breast cancer, and was still fighting it during the show’s run in L.A. Similarly to Hamilton, Spring


Awakening is breaking barriers by integrating a marginalized and forgotten community into musical theater. By taking well known stories and capturing them in a new and unique light, Hamilton and Spring Awakening are helping audiences from all backgrounds understand the struggles of the underprivileged to be fully represented. The innovative casting teaches the audience about the experiences of people of color and deaf culture better than words ever could. When asked why this revival of Spring Awakening is so important, deaf cast member Joshua Castille stated “As a deaf person, I feel that when I try to express my feelings about the deaf community, about the struggles my people have had, people look at me and think I’m complaining. But I’m not; and what happens in this show... audiences really get it in ways I can’t express with words — the show does it.” •


There exist many small, metal containers, slightly smaller than the palm, which contain circuits and processors. They have one partially shiny surface, variably a mirror-like black and a menagerie of between one and 727,040 colors out of a possible 16.7 million. From the center of your own mass, where you feel a rhythmic beating, then find the part of the body to the right, as far out as it can go. There you should find, in most cases, five smaller trunks of flesh, which you should have the ability to move, either individually or in tandem. This step, if so desired, can also be done on the left side of the body, which some find less demanding. Upon the location of these, henceforth referred to collectively for simplicity’s sake as “fingers,� the metal container should be wrapped in these such that it does not fall to the ground when held out at any orientation, at the risk of injury to the body or to the container. With the mirrored side toward the location upwards of the aforementioned beating, apply pressure with the finger located the furthest to the right to the metal circle directly below the middle circle, and gently place the finger on the now-alighted surface, starting at the lower-left and moving towards the right. If successful, the screen will now be lit with a different permutation of colors, one combination of which resemble that device known as a camera, a collection of mainly-black polygons against a gray square with corners that gradually transition from horizontal to vertical. Press the finger gently against this, at which point the colors should reflect those visible to yourself. Press the upper-right corner of the colored surface with the finger, and the colors will change a final time to an unfamiliar view, one that can be changed by contracting and relaxing the muscles located a few feet above the rhythmic beating. If you indeed see variations in the colors when these muscles are utilized, stress them so that a desired feeling or attraction is attained upon looking at the arrangement of colors. It is often helpful to pivot the area between the container and the beating, approximately thirty degrees in both the y-z and x-z planes, while keeping the reflective surface pointed at the muscles. When this has all been completed, simply press the finger against the white circle on the bottommiddle of the colorful surface. - Jacob Spiegel


BOOK REVIEW knut hamsun / “hunger” (1890)


n mid-October, students in Daniel Mendel’s Advanced Writing course reviewed Knut Hamsun’s Hunger. The class attempted a variety of review styles, including “effective” and “ineffective” Amazon book reviews. So what makes an Amazon review effective? Below are examples of each. You decide...

(Untitled) By Yase Smallens on November 1, 2015 Title: (Untitled) ugh. bought this because i was hungry. still hungry. it tasted like cardboard. no nutritional value. i havent gone to bathroom in three days. thx nut hamster. Stream of Consciousness Narration, Critique on Society, Study of Ethics and Philsophy; This Novel Has It All By Cicely Bernhard on November 2, 2015 When Hunger, written by famed Norwegian author, Knut Hamsun, first arrived on my doorstep, it took me one or two sittings with it to learn to enjoy the alternative prose writing-style as well as the dark and brooding narration. Through the eyes of Hamsun’s unnamed narrator, we become fly-on-thewall observers of the cold and off-putting Kristiania, with a creative and challenging twist. The narrator, a meager journalist, perpetually on the brink of starvation, takes us on a tour the city and its inhabitants by providing selective, yet incredibly impactful images depicted between prolonged glimpses into the convoluted and tormented workings of his mind. The anti-hero repeatedly internalizes the feelings brought about through his simultaneous unawareness and hyperawareness of the impression he makes of himself based on his often-times inexplicably destructive actions. All the while, the theme of hunger, for which the novel is named, not only helps to justify the narrator’s objectively irrational acts, but also serves as a tangible representation of his deeper emotional trauma and self-abuse. This book takes a deep and an unorthodox look into the human psyche, and is definitely worth a read.


(Untitled) By Tyler Pasko on November 3, 2015 The only thing I could think of while reading this book by Knut Hamster was how hungry I was. Honestly, how could you blame me considering this title (lolol)? Regardless, the main character is a lunatic. Kind of reminded me of my deadbeat uncle Boris. Crazy man. Also, the author is a pretty garbage one if you ask me. How could you write 200 pages of a “book” and have nothing happen? I could’ve watched grass grow and would’ve been able to produce a more fruitful plot. By the way, what is going on with those people on the cover of the book? Look like martians if you ask me. I ain’t never seen something like those ugly things in my life before. Like my aunt Peggy used to say, “most people are ugly, but when you see real ugggly ones you’ll know.” Maybe I didn’t really hate the book after all, rather, I just hated my stupid kids that were annoying me while I was trying to read. All they do is run around nd its so annoying. can’t they get a job and make some money? Oh and since we are on Amazon, do you guys think that Amazon prime is worth it? Send me a message and let me know! -Hungergirlxoxo The Pages Will Turn By Daniela Nasser on November 4, 2015 Although Hunger was a slow paced, repetitive novel, the writing was really pleasing. With such a dry plot, it is hard to turn the pages, however your trust in Hamsun toproduce good writing will help you to the next page. Knut Hamsun, a nobel prize winner and writer of more than 70 years, is the proclaimed writer of his time, and is an icon in his home country of Norway. I would most definitely recommend to read this book in a room that has minimal distractions; it will be easier to read that way. Despite the fact that the plot is tedious, Hamsun’s writing is inspiring. The way he sets up the readers relationship with the protagonist is unreal. Hamsun makes the reader observe the protagonist torture himself and fall into a downwards spiral. As a reader, you just watch him hurt himself, unable to do anything. You watch opportunities pass him, you see him make bad choices. It is really frustrating. But with that frustration comes the ability to turn to the next page. Hamsun Puts the Reader Into a Starving Mind By Lucas Ward on November 5, 2015 Hunger, by Knut Hamsun is a Norwegian Classic about a struggling writer on the brink of starvation. In Hunger, an unnamed protagonist wanders the city of Kristiania, trying to get paid for various pieces of writing and trying to stay fed. As the book goes on and the protagonist gets hungrier and hungrier, Hamsun creates an atmosphere of starvation and decay through his writing style. For instance, in moments when the protagonist has not eaten Hamsun writes in mixed verb tense, leaving the reader as dazed and confused as the protagonist likely is. In moments of adequate nutrition, the protagonist ponders his situation with clarity and a sharp wit, which Hamsun gets across using more consistent language. This tactic appropriately complements the stream of consciousness writing style that Knut Hamsun innovated, and made me feel like I was truly in the mind of a starving man. Hunger is a smooth read and an interesting view into modern styles of writing, at the reasonable price of 9.99. Overall, good buy. 43


vwls by adrian shin There was something amiss in the world. Glynn was not what one would call an... exciting person. His world was small and contained. Five days per week he commuted to his desk job in the city by car, and two days he spent relaxing himself. Preferably with some professional sports on the TV. While certainly rather dull, he enjoyed the simplicity, and had little patience for nonsense. The sharp ring of the doorbell shook him from his thoughts. Standing at his door was the local mailman, bringing him a package. Stark and plain, branded with the GrammarCorp logos, the package was certainly inconspicuous to be sure. The mailman asked for Glynn’s signature on the standard contract-like release document. Glynn did not bother to read the thing, who reads them anyway? There was little time for unpacking his new product, the task would wait until Glynn’s inevitable return. Grabbing his jacket from a hook, Glynn rushed from his dwelling towards the car. Turning on the news then quickly driving towards the highway, Glynn began his journey to his workplace. Glynn often chose to not bother with the daily news. Stories of the world seemed too distant for him to care about. Barely listening, there was one story that caught his attention. “Top scientists are still in panic over the sudden disappearance of vowels from the world. People are advised against usage of the new GrammarCorp products until further notice,” spoke the voice from his dashboard. Disappearance of vowels? What nonsense, thought Glynn while reaching for the off-switch. This was precisely why he preferred not to listen to such prattle. Focusing now on the road, Glynn scanned the highway for the his exit. After some time, the large, green, “Downtown” sign showed itself, beckoning him to follow. Glynn almost did not give the sign a second thought, but something inexplicably forced his gaze back to the sign. That was plenty for him to almost crash himself into the side railings by the road. Panicked, needing one moment to collect himself, Glynn parked himself in front of the nearby park. Surely, his vision had not failed. He’d always had perfect 20-20 vision. His thoughts went to the broadcast from before. “Sudden disappearance of vowels from the world,” was what it had claimed. The doubts in his mind were gone now.


Entering his workplace now, sweat beading on his brow, Glynn searched his desk for stationary. Pen in hand, he hastily scribbled some sentences, trying hard to include lots of vowels. “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” was the first thing that came to mind. This was puzzling though. Now before him were the reportedly missing vowels. Before his thoughts could continue, however, one of his co-workers approached his desk. “The Boss said that all of the employees can go home. The Crisis has rendered all of the software in the computers useless. Seems that no vowels broke that all code is unusable.”

e a i

Thr ws smthng mss n th wrld. Glynn ws nt wht n wld cll n... xctng prsn. Hs wrld ws smll nd cntnd. Fv dys pr wk h cmmtd t hs dsk jb n th cty by cr, nd tw dys h spnt rlxng by hmslf. Prfrbly wth sm prfssnl sprts n th TV. Whl crtnly rthr dll, h njyd th smplcty, nd hd lttl ptnc fr nnsns. Th shrp rng f th drbll shk hm frm hs thghts. Stndng t hs dr ws th lcl mlmn, brngng hm pckg. Strk nd pln, brndd wth th GrmmrCrp lgs, th pckg ws crtnly ncnspcs t b sr. Th mlmn skd fr Glynn’s sgntr n th stndrd cntrct-lk rls dcmnt. Glynn dd nt bthr t rd th thng, wh rds thm nywy? Thr ws lttl tm fr npckng hs nw prdct, th tsk wld wt ntl Glynn’s nvtbl rtrn. Grbbng hs jckt frm hk, Glynn rshd frm hs dwllng twrds th cr. Trnng n th nws thn qckly drvng twrds th hghwy, Glynn bgn hs jrny t hs wrkplc. Glynn ftn chs t nt bthr wth th dly nws. Strs f th wrld smd t dstnt fr hm t cr bt. Brly lstnng, thr ws n stry tht cght hs ttntn. “Tp scntsts r stll n pnc vr th sddn dspprnc f vwls frm th wrld. Ppl r dvsd gnst sg f th nw GrmmrCrp prdcts ntl frthr ntc,” spk th vc frm hs dshbrd. Dspprnc f vwls? Wht nnsns, thght Glynn whl rchng fr th ff-swtch. Ths ws prcsly why h prfrrd nt t lstn t sch prttl. Fcsng nw n th rd, Glynn scnnd th hghwy fr th hs xt. ftr sm tm, th lrg, grn, “Dwntwn” sgn shwd tslf, bcknng hm t fllw. Glynn lmst dd nt gv th sgn scnd thght, bt smthng nxplcbly frcd hs gz bck t th sgn. Tht ws plnty fr hm t lmst crsh hmslf nt th sd rlngs by th rd. Pnckd, ndng n mmnt t cllct hmslf, Glynn prkd hmslf n frnt f th nrby prk. Srly, hs vsn hd nt fld. H’d lwys hd prfct 20-20 vsn. Hs thghts wnt t th brdcst frm bfr. “Sddn dspprnc f vwls frm th wrld,” ws wht t hd clmd. Th dbts n hs mnd wr gn nw. ntrng hs wrkplc nw, swt bdng n hs brw, Glynn srchd hs dsk fr sttnry. Pn n hnd, h hstly scrbbld sm sntncs, tryng hrd t ncld lts f vwls. “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” ws th frst thng tht cm t mnd. Ths ws pzzlng thgh. Nw bfr hm wr th rprtdly mssng vwls. Bfr hs thghts cld cntn, hwvr, n f hs c-wrkrs pprchd hs dsk. “Th Bss sd tht ll f th mplys cn g hm. Th Crss hs rndrd ll f th sftwr n th cmptrs slss. Sms tht n vwls brk tht ll cd s nsbl.”

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Fiction Kicking a Cat A Fictional Story of Fanatical, Irrational Polictics by ryan ng

In early November, students in HIP writing sessions were invited to explore a “zany” moral question from a range of perspectives. Through narratives, speeches, dialogues, and essays, students used different modes of thinking to respond to the question, should you go to jail for kicking a cat? Ryan Ng, junior, chose Option Two: Write a narrative describing the events that led up to the incident in question. The following story ensued:


n this small, mountainous town in West Virginia, there were mostly two-story businesses around a small main street. On the side streets were small wood-frame houses with large lawns . It was a breezy October day, with red and yellow leaves on the ground, when state legislator Bob Walker decided to walk his cat around the town where he lived. His cat, a small feline with golden fur, pawed its way on the sidewalk in front of Bob, attached to his hand by a small, black leash. Bob was a tall, gaunt 45-year-old man. He always wore a suit and he always brushed his balding head of gray hair back neatly. He was respected in most of this small state. People also admired his cat, Hot Dog, for a different reason: Hot Dog had appeared on some awesome YouTube videos of it skateboarding. Bob had helped pass several laws. Perhaps because Bob lived in and represented West Virginia, many of his laws involved guns and animals. Understandably, few locals hated Bob’s guts, except for an odd, fanatical group of pro-gun-control, humane-society members who perhaps hated him for his hunting laws, or perhaps solely for the fact that he put his cat in an enclosure and, they claimed, exploited him on YouTube. Unfortunately for Bob, this breezy autumn day happened to be Halloween. Children and adults alike were trick-ortreating; they filled the tree-lined sidewalks in all sorts of animal, zombie, princess, and superhero costumes, and they ran door-to-door, across manicured lawns, to ring doorbells and collect candy from generous homeowners. And in that


crowd were these gun-control humane-society-association members, who called themselves the Association of Arms and Animals. They, too, were wearing animal costumes, of the sinister type with torn, tomato-stained clothes and splattered black makeup on their faces and limbs. Bob had walked several blocks with Hot Dog when he heard a commotion in front of him. It was a gang of a half-dozen AAA members, who had easily spotted him because he wasn’t in costume…and he had Hot Dog. The AAA recognized him almost instantly. They pointed, yelled “Get him!”, and began to charge at Bob. In the ensuing brouhaha, two of the members—young men dressed as deer with tire marks and bullet holes on their costume heads, and ridiculously tiny mutilated hooves for arms—snatched Hot Dog while it was still on its leash, then tried to run in the opposite direction. The four other members, young men and women also in similarly injured animal costumes, tried to pry the leash off Bob’s hand. But Bob held on steadfastly, refusing to let go even as five AAA members knocked him to the ground and stomped all over him. After five minutes, tensions eased. The AAA members started to walk away, and Bob tried to rise from his trampling, Hot Dog still on the end of his leash. That’s when one of the young hooded men suddenly turned around, yelled a profanity at Bob’s direction, and with a swift kick, sent the cat flying in a pendulum arc at the end of his leash into Bob’s face. Bob and Hot Dog, fell back to the ground – nasty hits to the heads of each. The AAA people then trotted away, leaving Bob and Hot Dog unconscious on the sidewalk. day later. The incident had become a viral video. Two million people watched the YouTube footage, taken by a horrified homeowner who lived across the street from where the fight occurred. All throughout the day, major news outlets played clips in “Breaking News” footage, asking for help in identifying “the suspects to this heinous crime.”


The American public did not hesitate to show outrage and contempt for the “AAA hypocrites” and sympathy for “the animal-lover-gun-loving legislator Bob Walker, of West Virginia.” One large group of protesters marched around the White House, holding signs while comparing the AAA to various hate groups. In his hospital bed in Charleston, Bob received thousands of sympathy letters from all types of Americans, even from gun-control sympathizers who hated the AAA’s actions. The outrage grew. People posted expletive-filled rants on Facebook and Twitter against the AAA. Laws that criminalized cat kicking were proposed in nineteen states. Much to the public’s outrage, the wayward AAA members were not charged with any crimes. Many people wondered how the AAA were able to get away with at least two counts of assault, yet still remain legally blameless by claiming selfdefense. A week after the attack, Bob, with his arms and legs in various casts and splints, was wheeled out of the hospital to loud applause. Hot Dog was in his lap. As Bob rolled down the pathway in a wheelchair, several reporters with microphones and cameramen with large cameras started to surround him, asking questions about the attack and his opinions of the AAA members. Bob started to tell everyone that he had no hard feelings for the AAA, but his lawyer, who was pushing his wheelchair, shushed him and told the crowd of reporters, “He has no comment.” The outrage over the cat-kicking continued. Just before Thanksgiving, it was announced that legislation for criminalizing cat-kicking laws had been sped up and that jurisdictions in fifteen states had now made cat-kicking either a misdemeanor or a felony. The police in Bob’s small town had gotten around to filing charges against the AAA. Meanwhile, there was no response from the AAA for three months, until one event changed everything. t was an unusually snowy January day in Washington, DC. A layer of snow and sleet three feet deep covered all the roads, sidewalks, and parks. Schools and busi-


nesses were closed, and few souls were to be seen in the long, normally-busy blocks lined with stone federal buildings and security checkpoints. All was quiet on 14th Street Northwest, near the Washington Monument. Then there was a loud-high-pitched squealing sound, followed quickly by three more. Witnesses reported seeing “flashes of black and white fur soaring across the road” and hearing “loud thumps” as cats flew into the faces of their owners and smacked them violently onto the ground. Someone called the cops, and within ten minutes, police cars and pet-ambulances arrived, blasting their loud, bright sirens and skidding to a stop all over the road. The policemen put two young hooded men in handcuffs around their costume hooves, then marched them to the backseats of the waiting cop cars. Pet paramedics and EMTs tended to four injured cats and their owners, who affirmed that the men were making mischief and kicking all sorts of stuff, including snow and cats, into the air. It didn’t take long for an angry cat owner to identify the men. By the end of the day, the men were sent to West Virginia for a court hearing, while animal lovers nationwide rejoiced as the news was broadcast on TV and radio stations across the country. To the relief of prosecutors, the men were both on parole while serving prison terms for negligent homicide and assault. That still didn’t explain what happened to the other four rogue AAA members, who were still at large. They had fled to Canada after the attacks, never to be seen again. The two young men were thrown in the slammer and sentenced to ten years for violating parole. And as for Bob? He and his wife, Ann, helped pass legislation against animal abuse the following spring. Cheered on by five thousand animal lovers across the country, he and two animal-rights advocates held up a large, flat placard that commemorated the passage of the animal-rights bill. At the end of the day, he returned home, took a shotgun, and slunk into the deeply wooded forest behind his home, looking for an injured deer to shoot. • 47

Student Life

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Cafes & Coffee: Find Your New Study Grind by Zoe pipa

Joe Cafe

405 West 23 Street: Chelsea Joe Cafe is conveniently located right near Avenues (as well as on the way to the subways) in the heart of Chelsea. This medium-sized cafe has multiple seating arrangements within the front of the cafe and even outdoors for when the weather is perfect. It is an easy place to access some quality coffee quickly after school is over.

Happy Bones

394 Broome Street: Lower East Side

Happy Bones NYC invites you into their small but sweet coffeeshop with it’s endearing designs of cartoon-like bones. The creators of the shop, proud coffee growers from New Zealand, presented the cafe itself beautifully. The cafe offers small tables in the front that supply plenty of space for study purposes that overlook the glass door entrance (which lights up the place perfectly).

Woops! BAKESHOP 93 Worth Street: TriBeCa

Located right near the busy streets of Broadway Woops! Cafe is a new investment that is worth spending some time in. Not only does the medium-sized bakery cafe have a simple clean-cut style, the sound of their coffee machines won’t disrupt your afternoon study flow. The location is quite convenient for downtown commuters since it’s located near the ACE canal street subway stop (the same one that’s nearby Avenues). 50

STUDIO CAFE AT WHITNEY 99 Gansevoort Street

The Studio Cafe at Whitney is more of a busy scene during the weekends due to its high demand of visitors searching for the nearest place to relax after a long day of observing. Although the scene is more of a weekend trip (way too nosey to be a place where one could focus) it is quite beautifully built and fits perfectly with the contemporary art scene the Whitney has.

Kava cafe

803 Washington St: West Village

Kava Cafe encaptures a perfect resemblance of a European styled cafe. The dim-lighting within the cafe serves it more as a night-run for that last small burst of caffeine needed to power through the late night study sessions. The cafe offers a simple coffee bar seating as well as smaller tables towards the front.

TWO HANDS 164 Mott Street

Two hands is a small cafe located in the Lower East Side that is famous for serving the colorful acai bowls as well as a nice cup of joe. The cafe is perfect for those Sunday mornings where you need a boost before a long day of powering through some homework. Two Hands has recently become quite popular and does not offer any reservations, so quickly head over and claim your seat!


A Circle of Hope BY ClARE mAlEENY


hat’s that on your wrist?” The question does not surprise me. It is asked quite frequently. “It’s a Lokai bracelet,”

I respond, fiddling with the band. A Lokai bracelet consists of 24 clear, rubber beads plus two more beads, one white and one black. The white bead contains water from Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. The black bead contains mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the planet’s surface. Steven Izen, the founder of Lokai, created the bracelet to represent the positive and negative sides of life — “Sometimes you’re on top. Stay humble. Sometimes you’ve hit a low. Stay hopeful.” Izen’s inspiration for the bracelet came to him when his grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At the time, Izen found that he needed hope more than anything. Izen created Lokai as a way to help people who are going through difficult times. They donate 10 percent of their profits to the ten charities they are partnered with. Recently they released a pink breast cancer bracelet and part of the profits from the bracelet go to the Susan G. Komen foundation. People from all over the world have begun to wear these bracelets. Social media plays a big role in helping to spread these hopeful values. Many social media platforms are filled with pictures of bracelets by landmarks such as the Eiffel tower and Big Ben. Awareness for Izen’s cause gets more attention by the minute. At a time when the world is undergoing so much turmoil, it is fascinating how many people have invested money in sharing these positive values of Izen’s bracelets. 52

Especially today, the spirit of Lokai to stay hopeful needs to be incorporated into our daily lives. Of course, we can not be certain every Lokai bracelet is infused with mud and water. Part of wearing the bracelet is believing in what it represents. The Avenues mission statement touches on many of the same values that the Lokai bracelets do. Avenues hopes to produce students that will be “practical in the ways of the world; emotionally unafraid and physically fit; humble about their gifts and generous of spirit.” Lokai hopes to spark similar values in people around the world. Many Avenues students have embraced the bracelets compelling message. Mickey Carton, a freshman at Avenues said, “I think the values in the Lokai are a symbol of staying true to yourself, and realizing all moments in life are important.” Spencer Chandlee, a sophomore at Avenues said, “I personally have OCD pertaining to a lot of things, and having a bracelet describing perfect balance in one’s life really helps with my daily mentality. The values of the bracelets are mainly represented by opposites, which is an important aspect of the mission statement as well. Avenues is kind of a representative of the bracelets in the sense that they realize the necessity for highs and lows in life, and are using that system within academic improvements at the school.” Lokai is giving some people a sense of hope and balance. If we can share hope and humility with others and incorporate them into our own lives, the world just might be a better place — or at least, we can work to ensure the Avenues campus will be. •

modern and contemporary imagery

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Spirit Week Monday, October 26- Friday, October 30


PHOTOS by Nikaila Saunders



HEADLINERS by henry golD

The Highliner, in all its strength and wisdom, could not cover everything this fall. With that in mind, we have compiled the following headlines of stories you might have missed! Mrs. Meatto takes over Ms. Petri’s classes Rumors of elevator improvements found to be greatly exaggerated Please leave flowers on the ninth floor south for the Living Wall Memorial Service New SAT stands for Still Atrociously Tedious Everyone is totally fake, reports everyone New schedule shows improvement, students & faculty now officially don’t know what classes they have Something that was supposed to happen didn’t College Office apologizes upfront for stress-related migraines at meeting Command H disappears AVEWIFI 7 also doesn’t want to be connected to your laptop Teacher FAQ: we’ve been doing this for four years? Senior FAQ: WE’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR FOUR YEARS! Junior FAQ: So, like, what’s this college thing you guys have been going on about? Sophomore FAQ: What do you mean we have to care about our grades? Freshmen FAQ: What is this independence you speak of? Avenues student claim to fame: I’m the first person to do a thing here Want people to remember your name? Say something obnoxious and/or politically incorrect Couches missing, students grumpy from lack of afternoon nap Living Color Blind (aka Why I Love the Dress Code): The Tyler Pasko Story


A New Take on an Old Classic BY HENRY GOLD


’d never seen a student work so hard not to do their swiftly hid the holy guide in my backpack. When the coast homework until I met Sornione Denker 17’. He’s a was clear, I opened to a random page and continued to read nice guy. I know because I take the same language class Sornione’s scriptures. “Oh, that’s my most effective way to get out of a harkas him, and we were in the same 5th term last year. As a new Junior, Sornione finds himself quite busy now that he’s ness. Most teachers won’t let you have a laptop open, so starting to think about college, ACTs, and other stressful odds are you have an iPad and/or book. Books can be left at home, but you’d still just need to have read it, so just agree stuff. Sornione waits for me on the patio outside the cafe, with what everyone is saying, not too much though if you’re grimly staring at the huge ACT book in front of him. going to agree, say it for two different points, otherwise be quite. iPad, easy, dead battery, the fastest solution is to open Without looking up, he starts to speak. a bunch of apps…and then throw it at a wall, dead from “This is going to be brutal…tell me I’m wrong.” “If you keep at it, it will only be awful, and the stress blunt trauma, try to have tech fix that,” he boasted. It was clear that the person sitting across from me was should only skim about a year off your life. How was your a genius who walked amongst mortals. With excitement, I summer?” I ask, trying to get back to semantics. “Good enough, I knew this was coming, I’m going to flipped to another page. “Ah, English class. Ok, so you’ve got a paper due, and have to be rather resourceful this year,” Sornione remarked. “I’ve made an executive decision not to do my homework naturally you’ve done, maybe, two paragraphs of a five-page for most of this year. The whole college process is going to paper. Don’t worry, you’ve got a lot more options than you’d take a lot of time out of my schedule, so I’ve done my re- think, two of them are cheap too. Well proven with almost search, and I’m ready for what the year brings me,” he says instant results, “spill” water on your laptop, you’ve bought 3-4 days. Next things you could use are magnets. Even confidently. I sat there, waiting for him to show me he was joking... though you’ve never mentioned them before you now have Instead, he took out a few documents that he clearly had a younger sibling, can’t be older than 7 or younger than 3, bound and laminated at Kinko’s, almost like at a quarterly and grandma bought them some magnets to play with. You review meeting. The cover read: Ditching Your Homework: can use that to catch your breath over the weekend, don’t over do it either, you How to Survive wouldn’t want an Junior Year. “I really wouldn’t advise doing this, this investigative phone “This is all of is under the don’t try at home list,” he call home,” he took my compiled rewarned me. a pause. search, I tried to This is good, even be as extensive as possible, of course, I couldn’t account for new teachers,” he though you want to hear more, believe me I know. This next part was a bit surreal. Heed Sornione’s warning, this is a said. Opening the cover was like opening the briefcase from double black diamond on steroids, the last ditch pro-move Pulp Fiction, I could have sworn a golden light shot out Hail Mary. I knew something dark was around the bend, from it. Sornione wrote a lengthy foreword that I skimmed Sornione slumped his shoulders leaned in and got quiet. “Ok, this can only work if… you have a dog,” he told over to see the table of contents. The table of contents was broken up into subjects, class variations, and teachers…It me. “What?” I interjected. was beautiful! I sat in awe. “I really wouldn’t advise doing this, this is under the “Now do you understand why I asked you to come?” he don’t try this at home list,” he warned me. “You’ve got to be asked. I saw a teacher coming to get their morning coffee; I sure. This is something you do when you’ve exhausted every


PHOTO By lucas hornsby

option, Jesus, man, this was something I wrote down after waking up from a nightmare. I’m not even sure if I’m proud of this…this is a double black diamond on steroids, the last ditch pro-move hail Mary…” he was going to continue, but I cut him off. “The Dog! What’s the dog for!” I shouted. “Keep it down or the interview is over,” He threatened. I calmly sat back down. “I fed my dog my laptop,” he admitted, shamefully. “Seriously?” I sneered. “Yeah,” we just sit there as it hangs over us in the air. “We had that analytical paper for History and the close reading for English. I was desperate, so I found a jar peanut butter, and called my dog, Faim, a french bulldog, to have at it. I really didn’t think he’d do too much damage, but that

dog must be part goat. I just wanted him to rip the damn thing up…he took a bite out of the laptop...he...he died, and I got a B- on both those papers...”Sornione got quiet. Sornione Denker, who in the last 5 minutes had gained my total respect, started to cry. I was getting up to comfort him when suddenly he grabs the book of the table and swiftly rips the page out. We nod at each other. Classes were about to start. Sornione didn’t really talk to me for a bit after that, I only talked to him recently again when I was fact-checking the interview, obviously he Ok’d it, but wouldn’t say any more. I still had so many questions. The one that kept coming to mind: Where the hell was this book when I was a junior!? • 59

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global journeys photo contest

2nd place Tunji W., “Ice Cream”


Viewer’s Choice: Kyla W., “A Girl’s Wonder”


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SUSAN M. SINGER Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker C: 917.207.6368 TOWN FLATIRON LLC 110 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor New York, NY 10011

TOWNRESIDENTIAL.COM TOWN Residential LLC (“TOWN”) is a licensed real estate broker and a partnership of Buttonwood Residential Brokerage LLC and Thor Equities, LLC. Real estate agents associated with TOWN are independent contractors and are not employees of TOWN. TOWN Flatiron LLC is a licensed real estate broker and a subsidiary of TOWN.

The Highliner Issue 4  
The Highliner Issue 4  

Fall 2015