February Issue

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The Tam News — February 2016


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Engineering Club Creates Motorized Couch by Megan Butt Running for Change Competes in Levi’s Stadium Run by James Finn Brown Responds to Student Misconduct at Basketball Games by Hannah Chorley Biomedical Class to Potentially Begin Next Year by Cam Vernali

Lifestyles This Month in Music by Staff And the Oscar Goes to... by Staff


Features 09

Waldork by James Finn

Op/Ed 15 16 17 18

Editorial: Censoring Our Chants? by Staff Problems of the Passenger Seat by Wanya Williams This Isn’t the Homeland by Ilaria Lobo It’s Usually a Wrap by Alexandra Deane

Sports 19 20 21 2

Q&A: Megan Lee by Calvin Rosevear Sports Opinion: Thank You, Tam Basketball Fans by James Finn Athlete of the Issue: Grace Towle by Claire Donohue

February 2016 — The Tam News


February 2016



Dear Reader,

During my close to three years on the Tam News I have spent a lot of time covering the policies and practices of the Tamalpais Union High School District and U.S. education system as a whole. Alternate education, like the Waldorf system of schooling, which focuses on hand-on learning to develop creative students, is outside of my experience as both a student and a reporter, making James Finn’s feature “Waldork” that much more enlightening. James’s feature shows us a form of education that many of us are unfamiliar with or even quick to dismiss as “hippie school” or otherwise inadequate.While I may have made fun of James for his lack of intuitive computer skills during our time as co-news editors, I think that James is proof that the Waldorf system produces bright and talented students. While I’m not entirely positive what exactly the “21st century skills” that the district loves to talk about are, I’m sure that James has aquired them. I’m a staunch believer in public schools but different types of education, whether Waldorf or otherwise shouldn’t be dismissed as “elitist” or “weird” without taking a close look at their inner working.

Marina Furbush

Cover by: Tandis Shoushtary and Jackson Gathard On the Cover: James Finn describes his experience with Waldorf education in “Waldork.”

EDITORS IN CHIEF: Hannah Chorley,

BUSINESS TEAM: Sam Toland & Peter

NEWS: Danielle Egan & Marina Furbush

PHOTOS: Claire Donohue & Sam Toland

LIFESTYLES: Claire Donohue & Jackson Gath-

GRAPHICS: Leo DiPierro & Luke Rider

James Finn, & Raqshan Khan


FEATURES: Tandis Shoushtary, Megan Butt, & Kendall Lafranchi

OPINION: Cam Vernali, Maddie Wall, & Trent Waltz

SPORTS: Calvin Rosevear & Misha Krivoruchko BUSINESS TEAM: Sam Toland & Peter Wynn

ADVISOR: Jonah Steinhart PRINTER: WIGT Printing

Volume XI, No. V February 2016 A publication of Tamalpais High School Established 1916


COPY EDITORS: David Hanson, Izzy Houha & Glo Robinson

SOCIAL MEDIA: Hannah Chorley & Maddie Wall

DESIGN: Tandis Shoushstary WEB: Marina Furbush Tamalpais High School 700 Miller Avenue Mill Valley, CA 94941 www.thetamnews.org

REPORTERS: Nicole Anisgard-Parra, Elissa Asch, Maddie Asch, Griffin Barry, Vincent Boot, Aliona Brichov, Trevor Bukowski, Willzie Connelly, Kennedy Cook, Alexandra Deane, Michael Diamandakis, Keldon DuaneMcGlashan, Kate Finn, Piper Goeking, Jacob Goldman, Nick Goldman, Arya Guinney, Adam Harband, Marie Hogan, Whitney Howard, Elliott Jacobs, Gibson Katz, Franny Kiles, Blake Killingsworth, Ethan Lawrence, Virginia Lazarus, Ilaria Lobo, Samantha Locke, Jackson Loder, Joshua Love, Thibaud Mabut, Lila McKinley, Nicholas Moe, Jack Murphy, Lilly Murphy, Elisabet Nelson, Connor Norton, Benjamin Olizar, Mitchell Pardi, Luca Pelo, Morgan Pinney, Samuel Pletcher, Max Plotkin, Alexander Price, Madeline Reilly, Isabel Rodriguez, Charlotte Rosgen, Miles Rubens, Wilton Schultz, Connor Scutt, Hannah Shulman, Francis Strietmann, Adam Tolson, Blake Villanueva, Wanya Williams, Maxwell Williams, Zoe Wynn, Dash Yarnold, Dahlia Zail EDITORIAL BOARD: Hannah Chorley, Claire Donohue, James Finn, Marina Furbush, Raqshan Khan, Franny Kiles, Connor Norton, Tandis Shoustary, Blake Villanueva

The Tam News, a student-run newspaper publication, distributed monthly, is an open, public forum for student expression and encourages letters and article contributions. The Tam News reserves the right to edit submissions for length and content. All content decisions are made by student editors. The Tam News is published monthly, though dates may vary. The Tam News is nonprofit and any proceeds and contributions are used in the production of the newspaper publication and for journalism education. Additional information concerning contributions or advertising can be obtained by writing to the address provided above or through our website. Copyright © 2015 by The Tamalpais News. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.

The Tam News — February 2016



Engineering Club Creates Motorized Couch by Megan Butt


he engineering club has recently begun a new project creating a motorized couch. Having worked on more serious projects in the past, members of the club thought it was time for a fun and innovative new task. While building a 3D printer, members of the engineering club joked about working on a more creative project, and the motorized couch was suggested. “It’s something we’d been talking about for three or four years, [so] when I became President of the club this year, I thought, ‘Why not!’” senior and club president Morgaine Mandigo-Stoba said. Members of the engineering club began work on the project at the start of this school year, are now beginning to assemble the couch and machinery. The group found a free couch and plan to buy the other materials that are within their budget. Currently the club expects that they will need four wheels, two motors, two joysticks, and

some seatbelts for safety purposes. The production of the motorized couch is primarily based off of the knowledge of the club members, meaning they will not be using a guide or following instructions. “In the club, we never do anything from a kit. In the past we’ve followed some online guides to help with more complex parts of projects, but most of what we do is improvisation,” Mandigo-Stoba said. “We use the knowledge [of engineering] that everyone already has and [have] built a group of people who are strong in a lot of areas [to work on this project].” According to MandigoStoba, the club hopes to have the motorized couch completed by the end of this school year. They will continue to fundraise until they can afford the materials they need to put the moving couch together. There are no specific plans

for the couch after its completion. “[We’ll] definitely keep it off the road, but driving it around campus would be cool. Maybe we’ll recruit some new members [with the couch],” Mandigo-Stoba said. The club is always accepting new members and input from other students. “Our philosophy is that each student should participate as much as they want,” Mandigo-Stoba said. “[We’re] just a group that gets together to have fun and build


things that we think are cool or in-

Running for Change Runs at Levi’s Stadium


he Running for Change Program, led by humanities teacher Isaias Franco, began the year by completing the Road to the Super Bowl 10k race at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on January 10. All seven Running for Change students crossed the finish line in front of a loud, engaged audience, according to Franco.

by James Finn

Franco, who juggles leading Running for Change with his job as a teacher at Tam and a second job at Bridge the Gap College Prep in Marin City, said that the program got off to a slower start this past fall than in previous years. “I had to re-tool my schedule in order to be able to do both of my jobs and run,” Franco said. “We got started training in November, and I was looking for something exciting to do in terms of a race and just searching the Internet one day [when] this race popped up. It seemed really exciting, it seemed like it was going to have a lot of participants and that there was HOME STRETCH: Sophomore Caroline Morena crosses the fin- this energy of exish line at the Road to the Super Bowl 10k race at Levi’s Stadium. PHOTO COURTESY OF: ISAIAS FRANCO citement around it.”


February 2016 — The Tam News

Some of the students had originally planned to compete in a 5k race that began before the 10k, but because of a miscommunication all of the Running for Change students ended up running in and finishing the 10k race, according to Franco. Sophomore Caroline Moreno, a Running for Change participant, was glad to have the chance to run at Levi’s stadium. “It was amazing,” she said. “After I passed the finished line I felt so accomplished and it was just breathtaking.” Moreno is looking forward to the coming year with Running for Change. “I like that everybody is so supportive of one another and we don’t judge anyone,” she said. “Also Mr. Franco is awesome with keeping us motivated and making sure we try our best with not just running but with our school work too.” Running for Change will participate in the San Francisco Neon Run in March, the Marin County 10k in April, and will finish the year at the San Diego Half-Marathon in June.♦ GRAPHIC BY: KEVIN LEE


Brown Responds to Chants at MC Game I

n response to several inappropriate cheers by Tam students at the boys’ varsity basketball game against Marin Catholic on January 15, Principal David Brown released a statement urging students to take ownership for their behavior and improve sportsmanship at future sporting events. The statement was emailed to teachers on the morning of Tuesday, January 19, and teachers were instructed to read and discuss the message with students. “I think that the letter had a deeper impact because the teachers took the time to talk it over with students,” Brown said. “Student voice became part of the solution and students approached me afterwards and said it resulted in positive discussion.” Although rumors have circulated that the damaged bleachers, which were broken during the game, caused the letter, Brown cited the student cheers that referenced the Catholic religion, insulted individual players, and included foul and bigoted language as reasons for writing the letter. “I’ve never seen or heard anything as bad [as the behavior] at the Tam vs. MC game,” Brown said. Additionally, Brown received complaints from multiple parents who expressed disappointment about student behavior at the game. Senior Sam Whittemore, who has played on the varsity team for the past two years, agreed with Brown, stating that some of the cheers were offensive and wrong. “I see a lot of younger kids that I help coach at the Tam summer camps at the game who view basketball as an inspiration,” Whittemore said. “I don’t want that inspiration to


by Hannah Chorley

turn into disappointment when they listen to immature and inappropriate cheers.” Senior Jessie Scarcella, who attended the game, characterized the atmosphere of the game as positive, but did say that some of the cheers were offensive. “People just wanted to have fun, but I do think some of the cheers went too far, especially with kids and parents there,” he said. Brown believes that cheers such as “air ball” and “overrated” aren’t inappropriate, but don’t display great sportsmanship. “Some of the cheers weren’t horrible, but right up to the line,” Brown said. “The spirited atmosphere is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it is personally derisive and attacks MC and their religion, that crosses the line.” Brown described the atmosphere of the gym as charged and exciting. “The whole place was packed that night with parents and some MC students,” Brown said. “I applauded the spirit and enthusiasm of the students.” Whittemore described how the crowd’s energy positively affects his game. “It motivates me to play hard and gives me another reason to fight for a win,” Whittemore said. “The team definitely loves all the attention and love we [have gotten] at the games this year.” Brown described a turning point in the atmosphere of the game that occurred when a MC player knocked a Tam player to the

ground. “I heard a very foul expression after [this happened],” Brown said. “The atmosphere became more negative.” Senior Walker Sapp, a player on the team who has sat out the season with an injury, was punched in the face by a student at Marin Catholic after the game concluded. “I was walking to my car [and]... when I went to unlock my car, I got shoved in the back by this MC kid,” Sapp said. “He said, ‘I heard you were talking trash about me.’ I shoved him back and told him that I had no idea what he was talking about. Next thing I know, he rears back and punches me square in the face.” Sapp believes that the rowdy atmosphere in the gym, as well as the rivalry between Tam and Marin Catholic were part of the cause for this event. “I think the rivalry we have developed with MC, along with the student sections yelling back and forth… heightened everybody’s emotions and it was bound to come to a head at some point,” Sapp said. “I would like [Tam students] to keep in mind that how they act reflects on our school and the type of athletic community that Tam fosters,” Whittemore said. In the letter, Brown explained that he would discontinue spectator participation if the negative behavior continued. “I meant what I said,” Brown said. “But I was really glad that students took ownership.” “I know a lot of the students... and they are all decent kids,” Brown said. “We all make mistakes. It’s how you respond when you make a mistake that’s more important than the fact that you made it.”♦

The Tam News — February 2016



Biomedical Class Possible Next Year T

by Cam Vernali

am might offer a biomedical science course next year, pending student interest, according to the Science Course Offerings slideshow for 2016 - 2017. Science teacher Jennifer Brown, who teaches regular and honors Physiology, Integrated Science, and is the Pre-Healthcare club advisor, may teach the class. “I would be surprised if [the Biomedical class] didn’t happen. We have support from our site administration, we have support from the district administration, [and] from the director of curriculum and administration. Now it’s just dependent on if kids are going to sign up for it,” Brown said. “I think they will. I’ve had so many kids talk to me about it.” According to the slideshow, the class is “geared towards those interested in pursuing post-secondary education in the areas of pre-med, pre-vet, virology, microbiology, and biotechnology.” It also involves an introduction to lab techniques used in research.“The course itself is super labintensive,” Brown said. In order to take the class, students must have taken Integrated Science 1-4 or an equivalent with passing grades and have completed regular/honors Chemistry 1-2, or be concurrently enrolled in Chemistry. According to Brown, the idea of a Biomedical class came from requests for a class that explored material beyond Physiology. “Kids ask me all the time, ‘What about AP Physiology? We want more.’ There is no AP Physiology… So I’ve been drawn to [Biomedical class] as a response for more,” Brown said. “I took Physiology last year, and it was really fun, and Mrs. Brown is really awesome so I’m looking forward to taking [Biomedical] next year,” junior Audrey Johnson said. Biomedical science has not been offered at Tam before, but it has been approved by the Tamalpais Union High School District. According to the TUHSD courses of study website, the original course overview for Biomedical science was adopted in the district in 1995 and was revised in 2014. The class is currently of-


fered at Redwood. “Our new teacher Elissa Sander is a graduate of Redwood and took that class there and said that she loved that course. That’s where our brainstorm went and [we thought], maybe we should offer it at Tam,” Brown said. “I’ve been thinking about this course for the last few years but it’s a big

February 2016 — The Tam News

endeavor to take on, so Ms. Sander [said] ‘I’ll help you!’ and that’s what...gave me the OK.” Who will teach the course depends on of student enrollment but according to Brown, Sander will most likely teach the class and Brown might teach depending on how many sections are needed.♦


This Month in Music


anuary is always a busy month for new releases. As artists strive to make their mark on the new year, 2016 is already shaping up to be a revolutionary one for the industry: from Conrad Sewell’s chart topping ballads to Ty Segall’s garage rock madness. So let’s dive into this month in music. “Wonderful” by Travis Scott ft. The Weeknd by Nick Goldman Coming off both of their biggest years yet, Travis Scott and The Weeknd dropped the song “Wonderful” to Soundcloud on January 1. “Wonderful,” a club track marked by Scott’s biting style and pitch shifted raps accompanied by a heavy drum beat produced by Canadian producer T-Minus, is a celebration of Travis’s and the Weeknd’s 2015. This year the pair both dropped albums (Rodeo, Beauty Behind The Madness), topped Billboard charts and even toured together. “Wonderful” truly fits raps new aesthetic and its 23 million Soundcloud plays since the beginning of the year is an impressive stat for the new rapper.

“Leave Me Alone” by Hinds by Cam Vernali The Spain-based band Hinds has been around for a couple years, but they just released their first LP “Leave Me Alone.” The album feels like a carnival ride; fun and energetic in the moment, but listening once can be enough. Some songs are stronger than others, such as the moody instrumental “Solar” and the spirited “Chili Town,” which show the range of music found on the album. Overall, it’s an enjoyable debut album, a great introduction into the fuzzy rock genre and a good album for those already familiar.

“All I Know” by Conrad Sewell by Jackson Gathard The voice behind Kygo’s top hit “Firestone,” Conrad Sewell released his first solo EP “All I Know” on January 8. It features pop-rock tracks and a acoustic version of chart topper “Firestone.” The best song on the album is “Hold Me Up,” which highlights Sewell’s pure vocals and catchy instrumental riffs. Sewell’s debut solo album will be a hit, and it will not be a surprise to see his music at the top of the Billboards Charts in 2016. “iNdy rock royalty comb” by Tomorrows Tulips by Kevin Lee The new dirty, noisy loser rock EP from Tomorrow Tulips is an album with cover songs ranging from “Quiet Riot Grrl” to “Why I Didn’t Like August 93” This EP creates a grimy rock sound with echoing vocals and slow background guitars, a sound reminiscent of a 90s artists who record solely on 4-track tape recorders and crank their amp to ten. One of the more interesting tracks, “Ballad of Abandoned Style,” uses the sounds of glass banging and a change clinking to create their drum track. The best tracks were, “At the Movies” and “Check Me Out,” neither ambitious, but both had that signature Tomorrow Tulips sound. “Same Old Story” by From Ashes to New by Gibson Katz From Ashes to New highlight the surprising talent found in Pennsylvania. They also highlight how much one can really squander talent. “Same Old Story” continues with this tradition, producing the most recent sound of rap-metal that most rock fans have been subjected to. The music is standard fare, drawing on more EDM than usual hard rock, as its only piece of innovation. The lyrics show the emotional maturity of a rotting Nappa cabbage. Yet, all of it works to produce a strangely charming and thoroughly horrifying three-minute romp into the brain lead singer Matt Brandyberry, leaving the listener feeling as though they peeked into his diary. “Emotional Mugger” by Ty Segall by Claire Donohue What happens when a garage rock king teams up with King Tuff, Mikal Cronin, and Dale Crover of the Melvins? Over 38 minutes of unsettling and addictive noise. “Emotional Mugger” is far from a comfortable album. The rhythm kilters and the synth blares out of line, but it’s intricate and when played loud like it’s meant to be it’s intense and involving. Fuzzy and upbeat “Mandy Cream,” and inexpiably catchy “Diversion,” stand out among an album of close thirds. ♦

The Tam News — February 2016


Lifestyles Lifestyles Lifestyles

And The Oscar Goes to... The Revenant

Star Wars S

by Leo DiPierro

tar Wars arguably has been one of the most influential and well-known pop culture sensations ever since the first film’s release in 1977. The most recent addition to the franchise, “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens,” is no exception. The film opened to the highest-grossing domestic box office weekend in history, surpassing even that of the previous highest-grossing film, James Cameron’s “Avatar,” and earning over $879,289,346 as of mid-January. The success is well deserved, as the film is an incredibly satisfying experience, both visually and with its introduction of new settings, characters, and dilemmas. The film’s plot picks up 30 years after “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” After the fall of the galactic empire, the sinister First Order has arisen and is encircling the galaxy with its evil intent. The opening of the film lands the viewers in a new and yet familiar world, the wreckage-filled scavenger desert planet of Jakku, where the main characters Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron and antagonists, Kylo Ren and the First Order are introduced. The cast is composed of John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. The film also reintroduces the cast of the original trilogy as their old characters, all of whom played key roles in the film’s plot. “The Force Awakens” is also immensely satisfying in terms of cinematography and visual effects. Along with the wide array of modern special effects offered, JJ Abrams, the film’s director, also integrated model-based effects from the original films into the modern slew of graphics. John Williams also makes a fantastic contribution with the film’s soundtrack, offering newly mixed versions of the main theme as well as intriguing other themes throughout the film. ♦



by Vincent Boot

ather than refer to it by it’s title, many moviegoers have referred to “The Revenant” simply as “DiCaprio’s new movie.” Coming straight off of winning three Oscars in the Academy Awards of 2015 for “Birdman,” director Alejandro Iñáritu surprised us with more ground-breaking cinematography, accompanied by an all star cast in this film. “The Revenant,” which was nominated for 12 Academy Awards for the upcoming Oscars ceremony, wasn’t an easy film to construct. The crew often battled with harsh weather conditions, like extreme cold, due to the fact that the majority of filming was done in Alberta, Canada. The movie, which covers the compelling story of Hugh Glass will be branded an instant classic in cinema. In terms of c i n e m a t o g r a p h y, acting, and overall quality, this film was outstanding. Its Oscar nomination for best cinematography was achieved through the fabulous nature shots, and blending of long-range and close-ranged, action-packed filming. The film’s acting speaks for itself, as DiCaprio and Tom Hardy are both nominated for the upcoming Academy Awards. What I found interesting was how solid DiCaprio’s performance was despite his lack of dialogue. Overall the film was visually stunning and had excess quality in every aspect of creation. ♦



by Calvin Rosevear

n 2002, the Boston Globe's investigative journalism team, "Spotlight," published a pulitzer-winning investigation of the priest molestation epidemic and cover-up by the Catholic church. It’s a very powerful film, with the explicit subject matter presented in a respectful and discrete manner, helping “Spotlight” get nominated for best picture. The film conveys the anxiety and frustration that accompanies the coverage of a dangerous topic. The musical score was composed by former Academy-award winner, Howard Shore (“Lord of the Rings” and “Silence of the Lambs”). “Spotlight” opened with a very quiet, slightly sad music and continued to develop the music throughout the movie, building it along with the plot and tension. The acting also helped to build the plot and tension. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams were both nominated for supporting actor Oscars. Both had the task of playing a role in which they had to cover a story that went against how they were raised. Ruffalo played his character very well, when he finally snapped at the frustration of the situation. The movie had no major weak points, so it’s vast recognition comes as no surprise. ♦


February 2016 — The Tam News


by James Finn

Until I was 16 years old, I didn’t watch TV — my family didn’t own one. I’ve never played a video game. I didn’t know what “WiFi” was until I began high school, and I just created an Instagram account last fall as a senior. Until the end of eighth grade I attended a Waldorf school in San Francisco, where students were discouraged from spending time in front of computers, televisions and video games at a young age in favor of engaging in hands-on pastimes.

TheTam TamNews News——February February2016 2016 The



I would do it exactly the same way if I could go back, because I really appreciate the creative and nature-oriented aspects of Waldorf because it is so important that kids grow up with good imaginations. - Senior Anika Chambers

Yes — in elementary and middle school I took classes devoted to knitting, painting, drawing, woodcarving, and storytelling, among other activities. I’ve knitted socks, stuffed animals, sweaters, and hats (which are a favorite at our annual Tam News Christmas white elephant parties).... If you want something knitted and see me around school, just say the word, because I’m your guy. Waldorf education, first created in the early 20th century in Germany by a teacher named Rudolf Steiner, was built around a central philosophy of developing imaginative and creative thinking skills in students — particularly at a young age — that will give them the analytical and creative skills to help them excel later on in school, work, and life in general. In elementary school, I was provided with a steady stream of art classes in the aforementioned disciplines

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February TheThe Tam News February2016 2016—— Tam News


on top of the typical math and English classes that students at all schools take. I also participated in eurythmy classes. Eurythmy is a ballet-like “expressive movement art” that looks just about as absurd as it sounds, and is commonly known among Waldorf students as one of the less-likable facets of the curriculum; my peers and I all groaned at the prospect of having to slog our way through the hour-long sessions of what amounted to a lot of arm-waving. Nonetheless, eurythmy serves a purpose in the context of Waldorf’s mission to create artistic, creative students. Nature also played a significant role in my Waldorf education. My class took weekly hikes in the Presidio, and the stories we heard and books we read all placed an emphasis on the importance of keeping “in


touch” with nature (“Island of the Blue Dolphins” and “My Side of the Mountain” both made up a large part of my 7thgrade curriculum). Senior Anika Chambers, who attended the Greenwood school for several years prior to transferring to Old Mill, thanks the emphasis her Waldorf education placed on nature for its creative benefits. “In retrospect, I feel lucky to have attended Waldorf for a short amount of time,” Chambers said. “I would do it exactly the same way if I could go back, because I really appreciate the creative and natureoriented aspects of Waldorf because it is so important that kids grow up with good imaginations.” Outside of school, my parents and the parents of my classmates were encouraged to make their children forego TV and other technology-based entertainment in favor of activities such as story-telling, reading, hiking, and playing music. I didn’t watch any of the cartoons or animated movies that constitute so many of my Tam peers’ prized childhood memories. I remember being allowed to watch movies on Netflix

once every three months or so up until sixth grade, when my parents gradually began to expose me to technology. I first used a computer around that time, and movies became more of a regularity. For most Tam students who attended Mill Valley Middle School (MVMS), the idea of attending a small private school where students paint and knit and aren’t allowed to watch TV seems completely foreign, and understandably so. I can’t name a single friend of mine who went to MVMS who didn’t grow up watching TV regularly, and many of my friends are avid video-gamers. When I arrived at Tam and told my new classmates that I had attended a Waldorf school prior to high school, I was bombarded with questions right off the bat. I recall being asked if I believed in gnomes and fairies (commonly associated with Waldorf because of the prominence of fairytales in the kindergarten and early-elementary school curriculum) and whether I “had any idea how to read.”

TheTam TamNews News——February February2016 2016 The



Overall it seemed that my peers felt that the level of academics at Waldorf schools was inferior to that of their respective middle schools, and that it would be difficult for me to succeed at a big public school like Tam. Chambers said that her transition to a public school after spending time at Waldorf was difficult. When she arrived at Old Mill, Chambers remembers being behind academically, and felt that Waldorf could have prepared her better. “I was behind at math when I started at Old Mill,” Chambers said. “I remember we had a diagnostic test at the beginning of the year, and I was sent to extra tutoring because I did so poorly. I ended up okay in the end though, with help and hard work.” Chambers also found the social transition from a Waldorf school to a public school environment to be difficult. “I felt weird socially in third grade, because I still didn’t watch TV and my peers thought I was strange,” she said. “Also I remember a lot of things were normal to them that were new to me, like...junk food, and ‘fashionable clothing’ that peers had seen in

12 February February 2016 The Tam News 12 2016 —— The Tam News

TV or magazines and therefore I didn’t understand.” I anticipated my transition to Tam being just as difficult, and in some ways it was. But overall, despite the fact that I was somewhat shy after spending eight years with the same 25 classmates at a 300-student K-8 school, I made friends quickly as I became involved in Tam’s basketball and journalism programs. My technological ineptitude surely made for some awkward moments when I first arrived at Tam, such as the times my new classmates had to explain to me what Google Drive was or how to create an Excel spreadsheet. I did occasionally feel alienated by my classmates’ close-knit friendships with each other (most of them had known each other for the preceding 10 years, after all), but overall, my first year at Tam made me appreciate the time I had spent at a Waldorf school more than I ever had up to that point. As I’ve progressed through my four years at Tam, it has become apparent to me that my time at a Waldorf school gave me skills that I may not have obtained from a public school education; skills that have been an essential part of my success as a student, athlete, and


“I didn’t know what ‘WiFi’ was until I began high school.”

member of the larger community at Tam. The desire to explore and learn about varying perspectives, places and cultures, bred through my various “Waldorfian” pastimes, has served me well. Over the past four years I have grown to appreciate my Waldorf background for instilling in me an ability to think artistically and creatively, when so much of high school education is straightforward and literal. I’ve found that my greatest motivational strength as a high school student, rather than a focus on receiving a high GPA or getting into a namebrand college, has been a desire to possess a well-developed understanding of all of the ideas, concepts and perspectives that lie at the root of what I’m learning about — whether that means engrossing myself in what drove Walt Whitman to write “Song of Myself,” tackling a difficult calculus problem, or getting to the bottom of why plants photosynthesize. For this aspect of my educational identity, I’m certain I can thank my time at Waldorf. The 12 years I spent at a Waldorf School (I attended preschool and kindergarten there prior to elementary and middle school) immersed me in a curriculum that valued this type of thinking above all else, that taught me to think deeply

News — February 2016 TheThe TamTam News — February 2016


and creatively beyond the surfacelevel of what we were being asked to comprehend. Junior Naomi Ferrell, who attended the Greenwood School in downtown Mill Valley, also thanks her Waldorf education for preparing her for life at Tam. “I wouldn’t [have] attend[ed] a different school because I feel that the alternative education that I received prepared me more for life and not just for high school,” Ferrell said. “Coming into the public school system was definitely a jump but I didn’t feel behind other people. Despite the fact that I learned differently than the mainstream kids, it wasn’t a hard transition to come to Tam. Since I came from a graduating class of seven people, who all decided to go to private school, I barely knew anyone when I came to Tam, but being a part of a small Waldorf environment helped me become good at communicating with people and creating good relationships with my teachers.” All of this isn’t to say that I don’t know kids at Tam who went to public middle school who aren’t

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February 2016 — The Tam News

I would not be the student I am today were it not for the perspective on learning that my time at Waldorf instilled in me. engaged, interested, creative students — I have dozens of classmates who went to MVMS who exhibit all of these qualities. But I know that in my case I would not be the student I am today were it not for the perspective on learning that my time at Waldorf instilled in me. Like homeschooling and other systems of “alternative” education, Waldorf education is not “inferior” to education received through the public school system, nor is it superior. It works for some students and fails others, just as the public school system does. Personally, I would not exchange my time spent at a Waldorf school for a different educational experience, and I know that many other students would say the same. ♦



EDITORIAL: Censoring our Chants? A

fter last week’s boys’ varsity basketball home game against rival school Marin Catholic, Principal David Brown sent out a letter to Tam staff with the instructions that it be read aloud to classes. The letter remarked on the behavior displayed in the Tam student section during the game against Marin Catholic, calling one of the chants heard from the Tam crowd “appalling.” The cheers used biggoted and faul languge. Brown said that if there was no improvement in crowd behavior, home basketball games could potentially become closed to students. School spirit is an important factor in building a culture that makes school an enjoyable place for students. The loud and excited crowd that we have become accustomed to seeing at basketball games is a

Next thing I know, he rears back and punches me square in the face.

display of many of the characteristics that make Tam such a special and unique place. However, we must understand our limits. Principal Brown was absolutely correct in saying that the behavior was unacceptable. One of the chants heard coming from the Tam section was clearly profane and another could easily be construed as insensitive and offensive to Catholics. Many members of the community are in attendance at home basketball games along with parents and students of visiting

Crackin’ and Slackin’

Senior Walker Sapp on his postgame encounter with a Marin Catholic student

schools. Tam as a whole should foster an atmosphere of friendly competition and not demeaning enthousiasm. The issue was actually brought to Principal Brown’s attention after he was contacted by parents in the stands who took issue with the chants. There are plenty of ways to display school spirit without causing problems or being seen as disrespectful. Chanting positive things towards Tam players will serve the school far better. While we love our players and may not feel the same way about other schools’, we must recognize that they, like many of us, are student athletes, and we need to respect that. Both the Marin County Athletic league and North Coast Section, Tam’s two governing leagues have conduct codes for fan behavior at games that encourage positive behavior and legally restrict certain speech. After the game, a Tam student was assaulted by a Marin Catholic student while walking to a car. (To learn more about this, refer to Hannah Chorley’s article on page 5). This is even more appalling example of people taking high school sports far too seriously. The assaulted student believed that the atmosphere in the gym contributed to the cause of the showdown. At the end of the day, schools have sports for the enjoyment of the athletes. While they do get competitive, we need to be sure we show the players, coaches and officials the respect they deserve. Lastly, just because we as a school overstepped the bounds of sportsmanship this one time, we should not give up on coming to games and cheering our team. School spirit is vital to Tam, and next game students should come into Gus gym with the same excitement and enthusiasm, but leave the insults at home. ♦

The Tam News — February 2016



Problems of the Passenger Seat


e all encounter weird moments like seeing a homeless man running around naked, Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video, and even being in the passenger seat. Yes, I said being in a passenger seat can be the weirdest thing ever. You might not think so. Sometimes it can be cool to ride shotgun in your friend’s car. I would want people to notice me riding in a car just strolling looking cool. Sometimes you will be better off sitting in the back. Riding in the passenger seat means you have to deal with the driver. It can be annoying to have to hear the type of music the driver listens to. It’s a good thing sitting in the back seat because you can sneak your headphones on without the driver seeing you. When you get to the point where you turn the radio station, the driver gives you that look like some people do when Donald Trump is talking about illegal immigrants. That’s when you feel awkward and just stare out the window and daydream like a sad puppy. One of the worst things about riding in the passenger seat is when you are tired and you can not go to sleep. It would be better to be in the back and lay across the back seat. Having a good time sleeping in the passenger seat is like Kaepernick not throwing an interception it rarely happens.

by Wanya Williams

Being in the passenger seat while the driver is not driving well can be difficult. You are trying to be comfortable, but at the same time they are driving like an intoxicated elderly person. Swerving into lanes while going 15 miles per hour. It’s like, whoever let my second cousin have a driver license should be fired. My two-year old cousin has a better chance of driving me safely to my house. You can come across the weirdest conversations while being in the passenger seat. It’s funny how a conversation about sports can lead to talk about losing your virginity or that time everyone laughed at you. It’s weird because you want to keep up the conversation with the person on whatever topic but can be embarrassing and it can lead to an awkward silence. And one thing that can make the ride weird is if there is an awkward silence. Silence is not good at all, especially if accompanied by a silent fart. It’s hard to hold it in when you’re about to fart. For

some people who get a little gassy it is painful to hold it in. While you are in the car holding it in the driver is driving super slow, meanwhile that person in your head is saying, “ I have a surprise for you if you don’t hurry the hell up, and it’s not a good

“She told me you Heard could smell the in Tam sex of the baby.” - Wood Hall Hallways February Staff 2016 — The Tam News by16the Opinion

surprise.” Sometimes letting out a silent one is tempting because you are trying hard to make it come out silent as possible. But you know what they say; the silent ones are the deadliest.

You want to know what else is hard to hold in? Laughing when you see or hear the driver trying to sing and do the dance moves of the song that’s playing. You should to be nice because the person allowed you in their car, but that doesn’t give that person the right to embarrass themselves. It’s like watching Drake attempting to use those moves in the “Hotline Bling” video in front of a crowd and expecting nobody to laugh. Like, come on now! Being in the passenger seat can be weird. There are a lot of problems to deal with. But sometimes the problems are funny, once you look back on that weird time you got a ride home from your cousin or somebody else. It’s not bad at all to experience weird things. I can only speak for myself when I say, I’d rather encounter something that is totally unexpected then nothing at all and be bored. ♦ GRAPHICS BY LUKE RIDER

“Will you please, please for the love of god stop talking about a dog you don’t own!” - Keyser Stairs



This Isn’t The Homeland G

rowing up, my idea of authentic Chinese cuisine was categorized based on spice factor, texture, smells, and presentation. These were the elements of my culture that brought me back to my native Hong Kong and replayed cherished moments of large family dinners in my head. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that Chinese food in America says more about American culture and history than it does about Chinese culture. This is because when the first Chinese immigrants came to America in hopes for a better life, more opportunity, the promise of gold; and the chance to work on the Transcontinental railroad in the 1800s, they brought their woks and culture and managed to break through the forefront of American cuisine by starting small business and adapting the unique taste of their heritage to cater to the American palate. In parts of the U.S., instead of experiencing authentic Chinese food, it’s delicious overpowering chiles and black sesame sauce, I’m forced to live with a tangy sweet and sour glaze found on chicken, beef, pork and shrimp, all next to a fortune cookie on the side. By the way - fortune cookies do not exist in China. They were inspired by the Japanese cookie tsujiura senbei, which can still be found in some regions of Japan and was initially popularized and manufactured in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“I follow so many cat accounts.” - Arches

by Ilaria Lobo

Honestly, because my friends can’t tell the difference between authentic and inauthentic Chinese food, my automatic reply to the question “Where should we eat?” is always “Anything but Asian.” If we ever went out for real Chinese food, I’d order luóbo gāo (fried radish cake) and be forced to sit through their disgusted stares and concerned faces as I indulged. The American palate is simply not as diverse as an Asian one. However, this is more of a multicultural disadvantage for many Americans because China is comprised of 34 provinces that are

unique and distinct in their cuisine and in their culture. When most people refer to Chinese food, they are really referring to Cantonese-style cuisine: dim sum. The reason being is that the majority of the first Chinese immigrants derived from the province of Guangdong. China’s diverse array of cultures alone is not the only reason why Asian food is so dynamic. All of Asia can be viewed as a

“I think we’ve angered the ghost of Ronald Reagan.” - Orange Court

pool of overlapping cultures that are unique in many ways and similar in others. In China, the Sichuan province is known for its use of the Sichuan pepper, garlic, and other chiles whereas in the Fujian province the majority of dishes include different types of seafood and woodland delicacies (mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shellfish). The difference in cuisine and culture that spreads over the North, South, East and West within Chinese borders cannot be compared. Here in the U.S., beef and broccoli, orange chicken and Top Ramen dominate the Asian food scene and can always be found in a restaurant with excessive decoration, too many paintings of Chinese concubines on the walls, and either the words panda or Hong Kong within the name. In fact, the majority of authentic Chinese restaurants have modest interior decoration, fast service, and a low sanitation rating. Even with this said, I have been to authentic Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area such as R&G Lounge, House of Banquet and Hong Kong Lounge. However, when most Tam students crave the taste of Chinese food during lunch and always the weekly special takeout order from Harmony, or other similar options found at Bamboo Hut, May Lee’s and Panda Express, I’m tempted to bargain with the clerks about the outrageously high prices of their meals along with critiquing other elements of their menu that blatantly expose its superficiality. But I always refrain from acting out, and I’ve learned to accept that it’s just not the homeland.♦ GRAPHIC BY LEO DIPIERRO

“Please stop talking about Hamilton!” - Drama

The Tam News — February 2016


Opinion/Editorial Opinion/Editorial


It’s Usually A Wrap

t’s my typical Friday night. My hands are digging into a bag of pretzel thins someone acquired by digging through the family pantry. I’m in a dark house that’s blaring music, full of partial strangers, and smelling strongly of beer and cheese and I‘m not too sure where the cheese is coming from. The speakers click off from down the hall, followed by nervous murmurs and then the ominous, “It’s a wrap!” Swarms of teenagers come pouring out of every aperature of a house I found by utilizing the helpful tracking abilities of Find My Friends. Hopping into the car we hear it. First it comes quietly, more of a question, really, awaiting the approval of peers. The murmurs become louder and turn into shouts. “Summit!” “yoooo Summit!” “Get there!” Angsty teens yell out of car windows as the fleet assembles. Followed by a round of both cheers and groans, I grab the wheel begrudgingly and begin the long journey up to that tiny, windy, cold, platform on a hill. The 10-15 minute drive (depending on how hard the driver is trying to impress his or her passengers) is full of sharp, blind corners, narrow road, the occasional near collision, and the accidental shining of one’s brights on an unsuspecting middle aged man in a robe taking his dog out to relieve himself. Once at the top, the drive in, or parade, really, is carefully orchestrated.

by Alexandra Deane

Find the most profane rap song, make sure the bass is high enough to dual function as a back massager, and roll in either way too slow, so everyone can get a good look, or way too fast, to again, impress your passenger (if you have to try that hard...) After parking and angling the car for the quick getaway when the 5-O inevitably arrive, my “squad” is ready. Casually approaching the throng of teenagers surrounding the few cars whose speaker systems aren’t already blown out, we try to make out faces in the pitch black. I warily navigate myself through the gatherings which are carefully partitioned by grade. After a few awkward encounters with those kids I had class with last year and haven’t seen since, I give up on socializing. Hovering near a car’s open door, the cluster of kids jammed inside give off some much appreciated heat and I manage to stay somewhat warm. At this point I’m pretty ready to leave but my friends haven’t gotten a good enough snap story yet, so here I am. To my right, an uncomfortable looking couple tries to maintain conversation over the howling wind while the girl attempts to hide her regret in wearing a skirt. To my left, a group of girls have engulfed themselves in a blanket and have an uncanny resemblance to a giant burrito. I immedi-

ately take back the thought, for now I am not only cold and bored, but hungry. Somehow I’ve managed to make small talk with peer acquaintances for over an hour and maintain composure. Just when I fear I can’t handle the boredom any longer, the divine red and blue lights flicker against the mountain, casting shadows of salvation. They scatter everywhere. It’s a mad frenzy back to friend’s cars, I hear someone begging for a ride down because they were left and someone else is frantically calling an Uber. My friends and I jump into the car. I happily pull into the train of red tail lights slowly making their way back down the mountain, with an annoyed but secretly thrilled Mill Valley police officer in tow (This is the most exciting thing he’s done all week!) Everyone who doesn’t have an 11 PM curfew (and those few daredevils who do) flock to In-N-Out for a recap of the night’s events. Swappinåg gossip for greasy french fries and sharing laughs in a warm, lit restaurant, I can’t help but wonder why we didn’t just come here in the first place. ♦ GRAPHICS BY LUKE RIDER


18 18

February 2016 — The Tam News


Q&A Megan Lee: Slaying Sports of Many Sorts by Calvin Rosevear

MULTI SPORT MANIAC: Junior Megan Lee shooting a free throw at a home girls’ varsity basketball game against Drake on January 7. PHOTO BY BLAKE VILLANUEVA


unior Megan Lee loves to play sports. She has played soccer, plays basketball and golf, and rides for the mountain bike team. She also plans to play softball this spring. Her focus is on basketball. For this issue’s Q&A, she discussed her experience participating in the variety of sports she plays. Q: When did you start playing basketball? In fourth grade I was on the team, but before that I would just shoot around at Old Mill [Elementary School]. Q: What do you like about basketball? I really like the team aspect. I like that it’s really fast-paced and that you can’t really slow down. You’ve got to be on all the time. I also just like the physicality of it and the intensity of it.

Q: What year did you make the varsity basketball team? Freshman. Q: Did being on the varsity team as a freshman make you nervous at all? Yeah, it was definitely intense, because the speed [with] eighth grade MVMS and CYO was a lot slower. And then once I played my first preseason game with varsity, I was really blown away, but I was really excited because I wanted another push. Q: Do you have plans to continue with basketball in the future? I’m not looking [to play] for a college or anything, but I feel like if I did go to a college for basketball, it would have to be a good one. I’m more weighing on my grades than basketball right now, but I would consider playing intramural or club [basketball]. Q: How’s your basketball season going so far (as of January 22)? So far, we’re doing really well.... We just need to take [it] one game at a time, and just not get too confident, because I know there’s a lot of hype around Tam right now. Q: After playing soccer last year, how did you feel when they switched the soccer season to winter? I was bummed. I really wanted to play soccer. Last year was my first year playing for Tam, and I really enjoyed it. I loved the coach, I loved the whole team...Also, when you write on your college resumé, it kind of seems like you dropped a sport. It looks like you only played it for one year...but I’m more into basketball, so it was okay. Q: What made you choose basketball over soccer? Every time I wasn’t playing basketball, I’d miss it. And soccer, it was the same

thing, but not as much. Like, if I was playing soccer, I’d be like ‘Oh, I want to play basketball right now,’ and it didn’t really go for soccer. Like, I kind of just played soccer and be there at practice and games, but think about basketball. Q: So, you’re on the mountain bike team too. How long have you ridden for the mountain bike team? Since freshman year. Q: How do you like the mountain bike team? I really like it. I just don’t really have a lot of time for it, or like a burning passion. But, it’s definitely a good way to get out in the outdoors, have fun. Again, I love the team, the coaches are awesome. I love that you can like get down and be dirty and it’s totally acceptable. Q: Do you have any proud moments with any of the sports you’ve played? I mean I’m always proud of how we [the basketball team] do. Not like individually. Every time that we do something good, I’m always proud of the team. Q: Do you have a favorite memory that really made you like basketball? My next door neighbor, [Jennifer Azzi] was a former WNBA player and got an Olympic gold medal and coached for SF State, and I went to her camp one time. And I was really inspired by her, and I was like ‘I really want to keep playing basketball.’ Q: What are your hopes for the basketball season moving forward? My hope is that we keep playing hard and tough and playing to our full potential, and eventually make it to MCAL playoffs, and I think that we could win it this year. And looking further, we should go far in NCS, and maybe even NorCal.♦

The Tam News — February 2016



SPORTS OPINION Thank You, Tam Basketball Fans

From the Perspective of the Boys’ Varsity Basketball Captain by James Finn

HOME CROWD: Tam fans crowd into a boys’ varsity basketball game against Drake on January 7 to cheer on their team. PHOTO BY BLAKE VILLANUEVA


t’s been said in recent years that Tam’s student body lacks spirit. I routinely hear my peers complain about having to attend rallies and other school events, and many of my friends who play sports remark frequently that their fellow students rarely show up to watch them play. Last June, The Tam News even published a feature entitled “Not So Spirited” that highlighted students’ lack of interest in our school’s rallies, dances, and, most noticeably, athletic events. Maybe this is the case – maybe it’s true that, on the whole, Tam students like to pass their time elsewhere. But as a Tam basketball player who has recently had the privilege of playing in Gus gym in front of a



home crowd that friends on opposing teams have described to me as “insane,” “unbelievable,” and “ridiculous,” I’ve noticed the opposite. Hundreds of students, more than I’ve seen at games since I arrived at Tam, have turned out to watch this year’s varsity basketball team play home games. The result has been a raucous, deafening, and, as a player, altogether inspiring spectacle of sign-waving, chanting and communal support for a team that has had its share of ups and downs thus far this season. At basketball games this year, I’ve observed a group of student-fans that shatters the “unspirited” image that has plagued Tam’s student body for years. I see a body of students who care about their friends and

Check the Tam News online (www.thetamnews.org) for faster, fresher sports coverage.

by the sports staff


peers enough to spend their Friday nights cheering for them in an overcrowded gym, who take pleasure in communally backing a group of student-athletes working hard for each other. Kids I wouldn’t normally expect to see conversing with each other sit together, cheer together, and high-five each other throughout the course of the two-plus hours it takes to play a high school basketball game. Knowing that students appreciate watching my team play in a positive, non-exclusive environment makes me proud. (That environment took a less-thanpositive turn during the January 15 game against Marin Catholic, when fans took to chanting inappropriately at MC players and fans. Turn to page 15 for an editorial re-

Wrestling team record as of January 25, halfway through the season.

February 2016 — The Tam News


Numbers of girls’ varsity soccer wins as of January 25. They have no losses and one tie (2-2 vs. Branson).

Sports sponse to the cheering.) I find playing in front of our dynamic crowd gratifying for an additional reason: as a player who discovered basketball later than most and just recently developed into a contributor on a varsity team, it’s validating to play in front of students who celebrate my every rebound, blocked shot, and made basket. Tam basketball fans: although we are not yet halfway through our league schedule, you have already made this basketball season more memorable than any I have played. As a senior, I don’t want my final season to end any time soon — and for us to have any hope of making a playoff run, we will need you there in the stands singing along with the national anthem, waving signs bearing blown-up images of our faces, and screaming your lungs out after every made three by Jack Duboff and every blocked shot by Noah Haynesworth.♦

Athlete of the Issue: Grace Towle A Tam Equestrian Rider


by Claire Donohue

n elementary school junior Grace Towle was a self-described “crazy, horse-obsessed girl” collecting tiny horse figurines and dressing in horse-patterned dresses. Today, Towle is an equestrian who rides four times a week at Sonoma Stables in Petaluma. “Going there usually entails me getting the horse ready, cleaning all the tack, the saddle and the bridal, cleaning the horse, making sure [it’s] healthy, exercising it... then dealing with all the stuff to clean it up,” she said. Towle rides English style, as opposed to Western. “[An English saddle] doesn’t have the big horn in front like western.” she said. Her event of choice is equitation. “You go in, go over the jumps as fast as pos-


sible, and you get marked down based on how well you do it. At the end you see how many people are in the class and you see all the scores and then whoever gets the highest score wins,” she said. Competing with the horse requires learning about it too. “You definitely have a bond with your horse,” Towle said. “You get used to riding your horse and you get used to all the different things that your horse does, all their little naughty tricks.” On top of practices, Towle competes four or five times each year in Northern California. Unlike a typical sporting event, shows consist of various events in different arenas. “At a show you have a bunch of different arenas or rings that you ride in,” Towle said. Although competing is fun, it takes a

Number of points scored by the girls’ varsity basketball team during their win at San Rafael on January 22.

huge financial toll. “Especially when you get to the higher levels, a lot has to do with how much you can afford,” Towle said. “You get a lot of rich snobby people in this sport, who just buy the most expensive horse that they can and win in everything because they have this really nice horse that can do everything for them. It gets a little frustrating, but you get used to it.” Horse riding has played a huge part in her middle and high school life, dictating not only her afternoons, but also her friendships. “All of my good friends today are people I rode with when I was little,” she said. Towle also has no plans to stop riding. “They have riding programs in college...I’ll probably go where there’s a riding community so I can work at a stable and hopefully continue to get better.”♦


Record of boys’ varsity basketball team at home in MCAL.

The Tam News — February 2016



from the archives:

February issue of 2014

Writing Wrongs: And the Oscar Goes to… Systemic Discrimination! I

by Bella Levaggi

t’s pretty easy to not think about any of the politics behind something like the Academy Awards. The elegant outfits, cutthroat competition, and opening monologue are great distractions for someone like me, who naively believes in the spirit of honest competition and the notion that the most deserving nominee will walk away with a nice golden statue of a man named Oscar. I can’t quite pinpoint when my naivety shattered, though all signs point to when Kathryn Bigelow failed to score a Best Director nod for “Zero Dark Thirty” or when the post-awards press pictures of the 2013 Best and Supporting acting awards displayed a smiling quartet of two pretty white men (Daniel DayLewis and Christopher Waltz) and two pretty white women (Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway). Either way, further research has only confirmed my creeping suspicions regarding the extent to which the film awards system runs on an agenda of white male privilege. Last year, the Los Angeles Times heavily researched the demographics of the Academy of Motion Pictures in an attempt to put hard numbers to the widely held belief that it was full of rich, old white men. What did they find? For starters, Academy voters are, in fact, overwhelmingly white—about 94 percent so. That leaves two percent for African American voters, a little less than two percent for Hispanic voters, and roughly the same figure for members who dare to come from Asian or “Other” backgrounds. Other fun facts from the study offer a 77/23 disparity in gender (any guesses as to which gets the short end of the stick?) and a youthful age range where a whole 14 percent were born after 1963. What do these numbers mean? For starters, we should be thankful that someone broke acting awards into gender subdivisions (although this still ignores those outside the gender binary). Without them,


women not named Meryl Streep might never get acting nods. While these numbers help explain the extreme lack of support for female directors in Hollywood (just four have ever earned Best Director nominations and it took until 2009 for the first and only one, Kathryn Bigelow, to win for “The Hurt Locker”), there are even more pressing, less talked about repercussions when it comes to race. When I sifted through old Academy archives, I wasn’t surprised that only 66 African Americans have ever been nominated for the total 1,630 acting nominations, and didn’t bat an eye to see the figure plummet to three for directing. I’m not in the minds of the Academy, so as far as I know, the winners each year do accurately represent the best contributions of the year. But I also know that (1) this is often an excuse to justify stagnant diversity rates; and (2) the only reason this excuse can exist is because women and people of color are routinely shut out of the acting and directing jobs they deserve. If these people, with their invaluable and irreplaceable insight, can’t get their movies made, then there’s no way they’ll get an award. A 2012 LA Times article quotes former Academy president Frank Pierson as firmly believing that “[The Academy] represents the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn’t reflect the general population, so be it.” Pierson wonderfully validates the idea that Hollywood is not truly welcoming of diversity. In an industry that can do almost anything it puts its mind to, the lack of varied demographics really does show that producers and executives and filmmakers just aren’t trying very hard to actively pursue change. When Lionsgate greenlit production for the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s Young Adult novel “The Hunger Games,” the casting call for Katniss Everdeen expressly sought a white actress. This surprised me,

February 2016 — The Tam News

as Collins described Katniss as having dark hair and olive skin— descriptors that usually point towards a nonwhite or, at the very least, mixed-race person. You can fight me on the point of Katniss’s ethnicity, but the fact that producers were unwilling to even consider actresses of color for the part of a character from a futuristic, likely racially heterogeneous society is an incredible indicator of a white preference that prevents women of color from even auditioning for roles that aren’t explicitly nonwhite. Too often, characters of color are allowed to exist only because the story demands it; either it’s about slavery or southern discrimination or some other race-specific story. Of the 20 African American men ever nominated for Lead Actor, 16 of them were for roles that had to be played by an African American man. And still these actors don’t always receive due critical acclaim during awards season, even if print and online publications clearly lauded their performances. Additionally, no Hispanic or Asian woman has ever won a lead acting award. It would seem that if you’re interested in seeing better representation in your media, and seeing that representation better rewarded, then Hollywood and the Academy Awards will only infuriate you. Until we close gender and race gaps behind and in front of the camera and get an Academy that reflects both professional filmmakers and the general population, my only advice to keep from angrily flipping tables during awards season is to start watching more television. That seems to be where more of the hip creative folk behind shows like “Elementary” and “Sleepy Hollow” who are fed up with Hollywood’s reverence for vanilla ice cream have found a place to peddle their more flavorful alternatives. ♦

The Tam News Thanks Its Patrons Adrienne & Garrett Lawrence Alan Frankel & Lily Chen Allen & Lisa Preger Ana Levaggi Andrea & Jerry Lane Anne Courtney Annie Lazarus Arthur Antonio Barbara Bowman Barbara Laraia & Chris Pilcher Barbara Wingate Bill & Heidi Whalen Blake Sgamba Bryce Goeking & Tina Miyamoto Cabana Family Caroline Donahue Caroline Frost Catherine & Jim Long Chris & Kelly Haegglund Chris Hill Christine Hildebrand Chuck Gathard & Kay Arentsen Claudine Murray Cynthia Koehler + Gordon Renneisen Cole Jordan Connor Scutt Cynthia Stone Dale Rice & Jeff Johnson Daphne de Marneffe & Terrence Becker David & Leanne Hansen David & Stefany Harband David Furbush Dawn Dobras & Eric Swergold Dee Dee Taft Diana Coupard Diane Chang Diane Worley Donna Wenig D.M. Hanson Eric Lagier

Erin Butt Ethan Moeller Fox Family Fran Chouchena & Stephan Thomas Francia & Ian Grant Gary Ferroni Gillian & Richard Reilly Gretchen & John Boyle Hanna Ostroff Harold Ball & Amy Zimpher Heather Young Howard &Valerie Wynn Ingrid & Andrew Tolson Isabel Smoyer Jan Hiti Janie & Joe Karp Jeff & Tracy Brown Jennifer & Kyle Klopfer Jennifer Duffy-Bello Jennifer Oreste Jerri Sellick Jim Finn & Janice Vorfeld Jim & Sally Simpson John & Karen Sellick Jon & Gale Love Jonathan & Deborah Goldman Judtih Weaver & Steven Blackburn Julie and Tripp Taylor Karen and Steve Jaber Karen Benke Karen Fritz Kathleen Clifford & Bill Lampl Kathy and David McMahon Kathy Sonderby and Rich Ross Kelly and Dennis Leary Kerstin Bastian Kevin Head Kim and Vic Rago Labeeuw-Anderson Family LaDuke Family Laurel Johnson Lauren and Jerry Hancock

Laurie and Ralph Eddy Liam Shore Lide Jordan Lisa Hukari Lisa Terry Lori & Mark Coopersmith Lowry Parko Family Lynn & Mark Garay Mara Brazer Marcie Meyers Margaret Kirvoruchko Margie Herman Mari & Richard Allen Marianne Shine Marie Furtado Mark & Shonalie Guinney Marnie Furbush Mary Anne Vorfeld Maureen Keefe Max Perkoff & Melanie Wice Perkoff Maxine Bonnette MC Handsome Mcquaid Family Mia Krueger Micaela Breber Michael & Amy Thomas Michael & Ruth Chavez Family Michael D Tadlock Michelle and Jeff Tripp Mike Webb & Patty Mullen Molly Baumhoff Molly Brown Nancy Conger Nessa Brady Nicola & Paul Stiff Pam Sowerby Patricia Prince & Leonel Figueredo Peter & Julie Butt Phyllis Manning Lee Pierre Levin Richard Rider Robert Schultz Rubens Family Ruth Spike & Elliot Neaman

Sam & Aaron Wall Sandy & Peter Goetz Sarah McNeil Sasha Faulkner Sharon Brusman Shawn Yarnell Sol Broner Steve & Jan McDougal Steve Jan McDougal Steven Podesta Sue & Steve Weinswig Sue Oliver & Tim Pozar Susie Pung Suzanne DiBianca Tamara Goldman Teresa McGlashan The Alamin Family The Allen family The Begler Family The Berlinger Family The Bishop Family The Boot Family The Ferro Family The Gant Van Vliet Family The Griffin Parker Family The Kiles Family The Korngut Family The Kuhn Family The Levine Family The Oliver Family The Parker Family The Parkin Family The Pulgram Family The Rose Family The Rosevear Family The Weisert Family Tina & Jeff Taylor Toussaint Family Trish Bernal Tristan Naramore Waluk Family Wei Yin Wong Wendy Tobiasson & Raoul Wertz Whitney & Peter Bardwick Wil & Barbara Owens

The Tam News — February 2016


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Volume XI, Issue No. V - February 2016

February 2016 — The Tam News

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