The Vindicator - December 2020

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

DEC 2020

COVID-19 IN PRISONS

Art Reflects Life

Nurturing Creativity

Interview w/ CSU student artist

For Artists & Writers



DEC

what’s in this issue? 3

Check Us Out Online

4

Calendar

5

Letter from the Editor

6

Meet Our Contributors

NURTURING CREATIVITY FOR ARTISTS & WRITERS

27

BY GORDON RAMSEY

Arts 7

Culture

The Queen’s Gambit Review by LAUREN KOLESZAR

10

13

Your Favorite Holiday Episodes

Threats To Abortion Access In Ohio by LYNN NICHOLS

by JOSCELYN ERVIN 15

Holiday Aesthetics by ERIC SEITZ

11

Three Months of Free Trials by ERIC SEITZ

Beauty + Wellness

23

29

The Psychology of Sleep by VANESSA MURPHY

31

Tackling Seasonal Affective Disorder by SAMRA KARAMUSTAFIC

Social 35

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide by MEGAN MULLALY

ART REFLECTS LIFE BY AGNES BAHR

37

Nigerian Lives Matter Too by CLAUDIA UGBANA

17

Music 39

A Very Vindi Holiday by ERIC SEITZ

41

Ariana Grande Positions Album Review by REEM ABUMERI

Poetry

COVID-19 IN PRISONS BY CARA ROBBINS

42

Drenched In Violet by SYDNIE DORMA

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 2


EDITOR'S LETTER

CHECK US OUT ONLINE THE VINDI.COM

ABUSE AND INJUSTICE The U.S. government enables transphobic violence. ICE is no exception. " Trans people are more likely to need medical care as the result of hate crimes, as well as chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, but they are less likely to receive this care..." — LYNN NICHOLS

THE VINDI.COM

THE VINDI.COM

Breaking Our Own Boundaries. History and Culture Do Not Have To Be OneDimensional “You have to become your own person before you find yourself belonging to someone else.” — CLAUDIA UGBANA Small Town Ignites Big Debate. How the Chardon High School football team sparked controversy among students, alumni and community members. — MOLLY HALE

#VindiAsks: What’s your favorite winter activity?

10% SNOW SPORTS

50% READING

@vindi_csu

40% HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES

stay up-to-date with all things Vindi on Instagram

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Follow us on social media to participate in our next poll! @VINDI_CSU


DECEMBER 2020

w h a t’s h a p p e n i n g i n

W I N T E R Now - 1/3 Glow

12/3 - 12/30 Wild Winter Lights

Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden will delight the senses and transport visitors into a safe holiday wonderland outside and in, all season-long. Glow will feature plants that we use to celebrate the holiday season.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is again transforming into a winter wonderland this holiday season with Wild Winter Lights presented by NOPEC. Experience this year’s all-new lighting display, with more than one million individual lights & unique twists on holiday traditions. This year’s event features hundreds of lighting displays across holiday-themed areas including Candyland, Enchanted Forest, Conservation Trail & Santa’s Workshop.

CLE BOTANICAL GARDEN, $10-$15

530PM–930PM, CLE METROPARKS ZOO, $20-$60

Now - 1/18 WinterFest

Now - 1/2 Magic of Lights

The RiverFest will feature social-distance-friendly activities like a synthetic ice skating rink, festive light displays, a beer garden with firepits, a holiday retail shop, and an igloo village at Merwin’s Wharf.

A drive-through light display featuring the latest LED technology and digital animations. It runs daily from 5:30-10 p.m. from now through January 2, 2021.

11AM–8PM, MERWIN'S WHARF, $5-$50

530PM–10PM, CUYAHOGA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS, $23 THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 4


EDITOR'S LETTER

The Cleveland State Vindicator was founded as a Black student newspaper in January 1970.

FAREWELL TO 2020

T

his year has been one for history—we’ve muscled through a pandemic, braved the unfamiliar territory of remote learning, hunkered down to quarantine, advocated for social justice, and soldiered on with

our day-to-day lives, despite our circumstances. The Vindicator may be solely online for the time-being, and the shift has been a major adjustment for publications and organizations across campus. However, our writers, editors and designers have knocked the content creation out of the park in the midst of the many constraints that we as students have had to adjust to. Not only have editors made time for editing each piece in their section carefully, but each editor has also written multiple pieces for the publication. Writers gave the publication their all, producing amazing articles and poems. I am so impressed with our staff and contributors, as they’ve continued to provide us with strong content, and our magazine continues to not only have incredible pieces, but incredible designs as well. In this issue, writer Cara Robbins takes a look at COVID’s effect on prisons, especially in Ohio. Managing editor Megan Mullaly has curated the perfect gift guide for your holidays. 2020 may not have been the year any of us were hoping for, but it certainly was a year of growth—of pushing ourselves to grow despite challenges. As we step into a brand new year (we won’t see you again until our February 2021 issue!), my hope for our readers and students is a fresh mindset—we’ve already accomplished so much, but we have so much more to accomplish. 2020 was a year of learning and growth, and

2021 offers us new beginnings. Let’s take what we’ve learned this past year and continue to grow into the new year.

We hope you’ll enjoy our final issue for 2020, and we can’t wait to see you again in February!

Megan Baranuk EDITOR–IN–CHIEF

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DECEMBER 2020

Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart

MEET OUR

CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Megan Baranuk Editor–in–Chief

Megan Mullaly Managing Editor

Eric Seitz Copy Editor

Asha McClendon Art Director

Miranda Tulcewicz Asst. Art Director

Vincent McIntosh Online Content Editor

Joscelyn Ervin Arts Editor

Lynn Nichols Culture Editor

Samra Karamustafic Beauty Editor

Claudia Ugbana Social Editor

Lauren Koleszar Features Editor

Tabitha Timms Music Editor

Max Torres Multimedia Manager

WRITERS Eric Seitz Samra Karamustafic Joscelyn Ervin Lynn Nichols Claudia Ugbana Megan Mullaly

JUNIOR DESIGNERS Lauren Koleszar Cara Robbins Reem Abumeri Gordon Ramsey Vanessa Murphy Agnes Bahr

Devin Benko Stefany Belasic Hannah Mosley Megan Mullaly

Jillian VanDyke Emily Williams

POETS

ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS

Sydnie Dorma

Alana Cartwright

Disclaimer The content of the Vindicator does not necessarily represent the opinions of Cleveland State University, its students, faculty, or staff: nor does it represent the members of the Vindicator staff or our advisors unless otherwise stated. The editor reserves the right to comment on any issue that affects the student body in general as well as the multicultural community at large. Letters to the editors and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the authors name, address, major if applicable, and telephone number. All submissions become property of the Vindicator and the Vindicator reserves the right to edit submissions as deemed necessary. Magazine and newspaper theft is a crime; limit one per person. 2121 Euclid Ave, MC 471, Cleveland, OH 44115 216–687–2118 THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 6


THE QUEEN’S GA MBIT REVIEW WRITTEN BY

Lauren Koleszar

ARTS

Doubtful that a show about people playing chess is as captivating as your friends insist? Our review covers not only why they’re right, but the history of the story, an analysis of the plot, and what makes the new Netflix miniseries outshine others.

when angered, as well as the way she instinctively

cigarettes or alcohol. As the stakes rise, it becomes

T

he Queen’s Gambit” tells the story of chess prodigy Elizabeth Harmon, a nine-year-old orphan at the start of the Netflix miniseries, whose talent

blossoms during her secret weekly chess matches with the grandfatherly janitor in the basement. Years later, a 15-year-old Beth is adopted by an increasingly dysfunctional married couple, and she seeks opportunities to play chess and submerges herself into the game once again. When she begins competing in matches and earning local and state recognition for her victories, she tells a reporter that she is comforted by the confines of the chessboard. “I feel safe in it,” she says during the interview, “I can control it, I can dominate it. And it’s predictable. So if I get hurt, I only have myself to blame.” This glimpse into Beth’s character propels us into the conflict that drives the rest of the series forward and deems it highly watchable. As hinted by her reserved and cold nature as a child who is frequently separated from people she cares deeply about, Beth as a young adult remains averse to admitting her vulnerability. As her fame and skill increase dramatically throughout the next few episodes, we see how cold Beth can turn

pushes people away. While we hope and fear for Beth as she competes against chess champions with the objective of becoming a chess grandmaster, her inner struggle is even more harrowing. It seems that with every personal loss, Beth grows icier and increasingly turns toward stimulants—whether tranquilizing pills, frighteningly unclear whether she will become her own worst enemy when she finally has a chance at achieving world acclaim for her chess skills. Beth Harmon is unlike many protagonists we see onscreen. Styled in a striking ginger bob and impeccable wardrobe with perfect eyeliner, she has absolutely captivated viewers with her gorgeous and intimidating stage presence just as much as her character’s crystalline intellect and human flaws. It’s rare to see introverted characters on-screen and they are usually more popular in novel form. Unsurprisingly, “The Queen’s Gambit” started as a 1983 bildungsroman (check out our last issue for more on this coming-of-age genre) written by Walter Tevis, which explains why Beth has such depth of character. During the transition from book to movie, reserved characters are often brightened up for the screen in an effort to make them more watchable, but the writers for the Netflix adaptation kept Beth as she should be: withdrawn, intellectual, and fiercely vulnerable. Creator Scott Frank’s screenplay keeps Beth true to the novel and actress Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance is captivating and memorable. Set in 1960s USA and filled to the brim with detail, many viewers have wondered whether “The Queen’s Gambit” is based on a true story. Though the series is completely fictional, the history of the movie rights to the novel “The Queen’s Gambit” is fraught with suspense and tragedy, much like Beth’s own life. Journalists, actors, and directors were desperate for the film rights when the novel was published in 1983. New York Times journalist Jesse Kornbluth obtained the rights that year, but tragedy struck for everyone involved when Tevis died the following year, and the

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movie rights were resold. In 1992, the rights were

outshines them all. Many female characters in other

obtained once more but were left untouched until 2007.

media are written in an effort to appeal to the modern

This film adaptation would have been the late actor

audience that wishes for greater representation of

Heath Ledger’s directorial debut, starring Ellen Page as

women and minorities on-screen, but this often ends

Beth Harmon. Yet again, tragedy struck and Ledger’s

detrimentally because the strength of the character is lost

premature death brought production to a startling halt

in the shallow desire for representation. Consequently,

in 2008. The miniseries we have today was picked up

we see a plethora of cold, awkwardly masculine female

by Netflix in 2019, and “The Queen’s Gambit” starring

figures on-screen to compensate for the lack of female

Taylor-Joy was released on the streaming platform

protagonists in previous years of film and television.

October 23, 2020. We’ll never know what an art house

Beth Harmon is different. She can be cold, but that is

film adaptation of the story would have looked like with

because she is three-dimensional and complicated.

Ledger and Page, but writer, director, and executive

She’s contradictory, and that makes her realistic and

producer Scott Frank’s Netflix miniseries adaptation

relatable. She doesn’t care what people think of her

has received rave reviews, piloting the show toward

and learns to be frank with people this way, but she’s

rare critical claim, with a 100% rating on Rotten

still affected by societal desire to fit in and cares about

Tomatoes and an 8.8 on IMDb. Writers and filmmakers

what clothes she wears and what people say about

have been eager for an adaptation of the novel since

her. She eventually takes a genuine interest in how

its publication, and after a long line of unsuccessful

she presents herself that is completely independent of

attempts, we should be grateful that Beth Harmon’s

the societal pressure of gender norms—that women

story has finally been told in a film format for a wide

should look pretty; she dresses up because she loves

audience to see, cheer for, and enjoy.

to dress up. In a fantastically poignant moment in the

T h ere are seven episodes to “The Queen’s

third episode, Beth and her mother argue about the

Gambit,” making it perfectly bingeable in one weekend.

focus of an article about Beth: “It’s mostly about my

Taylor-Joy’s acting is deserving of award nominations,

being a girl,” says Beth. Her adoptive mother responds,

and the up and coming twenty-four year old actress

“Well, you are one.” Beth clarifies, “It shouldn’t be

will no-doubt encounter many more opportunities

that important.” When her mother says, “It makes

as a result of this peak performance so early in her

you a celebrity,” Beth stands her ground, “Yeah, for

career. Familiar faces also include Thomas Brodie-

being a girl.” Clearly, she’d rather the article praise

Sangster, playing the US chess champion and eventual

her chess skills and strategy, not what she represents

companion of Beth. Also appearing is Marielle Heller,

as a female chess champion.

who directed the Fred Rogers’ drama, “A Beautiful

Like every other element of “The Queen’s Gambit,”

Day in the Neighborhood.” In “The Queen’s Gambit”,

the plot is strong and compelling; however, critical

Heller plays Beth’s adoptive mother, a unique spin

viewers may notice it does warrant some criticism.

on the typical 1950s housewife figure whose alcohol

Some reviews of the show question whether the con-

addiction mirrors Beth’s own reliance on stimulants.

sistent support Beth receives despite her cold attitude

While she supports Beth’s ride to chess fame, she is

is realistic or not. Through self-destructive spells in

by no means the obedient little housewife, but rather

which she cuts off contact from people, the series

a philosophically spoken and complicated woman with

often suffers from deus ex machina—moments when

selfish human desires.

someone comes to the rescue without much reason

The characters are strong in “The Queen’s Gambit”—

besides its usefulness to the plot. People don’t stick

one of the reasons the series is so watchable—but Beth

around if they’re constantly pushed away or ignored. At

...she feels safe in the confines of the chessboard.

PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

DECEMBER 2020

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 8


ARTS

most, Beth should have two or three people who stand by her side through periods of severe self-destructive behavior. When people start coming to the rescue without any outreach or effort on Beth’s part, Beth’s agency is stripped from her. As a result, her personal growth becomes less self-driven and therefore less meaningful. Interestingly, this phenomenon does not occur in the original novel, which emphasizes Beth’s flaw and treats its consequences very realistically. The novel is much more realistic in the way Beth loses people because of her attitude toward them. Perhaps this was rearranged in the Netflix adaptation to provide a more grandiose and hopeful image, showing how much Beth is missing when she pushes people away. Regardless, this persists as a significant flaw in the series. Though she encounters tragedy, Beth does not face nearly enough consequences for her own actions. Additionally, her flaw is not explored enough in the earlier episodes; we understand that Beth is withdrawn, but she seems to be perfect otherwise for the first half of the series. The writing is excellent and captivating, but not without some noticeable flaws that undermine Beth’s growth as a character. Those who might find themselves slighted by this should continue watching, however, because the series certainly puts Beth through trials and she must face her past before she says checkmate. Watch “The Queen’s Gambit” this weekend and find yourself delighted by stellar performances, stunning design, and exquisite writing—and surprisingly entertained by watching people play chess, an activity few thought could be so

PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

dazzling on-screen.

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DECEMBER 2020

YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY EPISODES WRITTEN BY

Joscelyn Ervin Streaming has changed what we watch during the holidays over the years—here are some of the most rewatched holiday episodes of popular TV shows (and where to find them this year).

E

veryone has a favorite movie or episode they rewatch every holiday season. Similar to Halloween in October, many people make sure to rewatch a whole list of movies or episodes before the season concludes. Movies like “Elf,” “The Grinch” (the Jim Carrey version, of course), and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” may be some of the most common, but there are a TON more TV show episodes to pick from as well— so many, in fact, that you can find dedicated lists of all the holiday episodes from each popular show. For example, if you wanted to only watch thanksgiving and christmas episodes from Friends, you can easily find a list of all of them online. If you’re like me, however, it might be more fun to mix it up and watch the best ones from each of your favorite shows. Some of the most universally popular holiday episodes can be found on this list, along with where you can watch them this year. I added one of my favorite holiday episodes at the end for sci-fi fans as well. Christmas Party The Office - Netflix Season 2, Episode 10 This Christmas episode shown in season 2 of The Office is a classic from the show. Since this one was filmed only in the second season, the comedy and characters still feel golden and new. During the christmas party in the office, Michael decides to change the gift-giving plans last minute—which causes all kinds of hilarity and also momentarily impedes the love story between Jim and Pam. This episode is one of my favorites not only for how it shows Michael’s character, but also for the sweet moment at the end when Pam finally gets the teapot (Jim’s present for her). It’s hard to resist a chaotic, unplanned white elephant exchange and a nice love story between coworkers for the holidays. The Strike Seinfeld - Hulu Season 9, Episode 10 Seinfeld’s Christmas episode for this list doesn’t really follow in the same spirit as the rest, but if you’re into Seinfeld, then typical is not what you’re looking for.

Christmas Cheers Cheers - Netflix Season 6, Episode 12 Cheers is one of the most simple, warm TV shows that I’ve ever watched. This makes it perfect for the holiday season. LAXmas New Girl - Netflix Season 4, Episode 11 If you’re a fan of New Girl, you know why I had to add this one to the list. While New Girl may not be as universally popular as some others like Seinfeld or Friends, it’s hard to resist experiencing Jessica Day’s cheer during the holidays. Citizen Knope Parks and Recreation - Netflix Season 4, Episode 10 Parks and Recreation isn’t really one of the shows that I would deliberately pick out to watch a Christmas episode for, but it’s just overall too good to leave out. The One with the Holiday Armadillo Friends - HBO Season 7, Episode 10 Like many of the shows on this list, Friends has quite a few Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes to pick from—but I like to think this is one of the most memorable. A Christmas Carol Doctor Who - Amazon Prime Video Season 6, Christmas Special Unlike the rest of the shows on this list, Doctor Who goes so hard on every Christmas episode that they make it movie-length, show it in theatres throughout December, and basically make it a whole anticipated event. Although Matt Smith is not necessarily my favorite Doctor, this is my favorite Doctor Who Christmas episode.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 10


ARTS

T TH HR RE EE E M MO ON NT TH HS S O O FF

FREE FREE TRIALS TRIALS our highest recommendation for those who love

WRITTEN BY

Eric Seitz

intensity. With three eight-episode seasons,

We dive deep into the nitty-gritty of what you could do if you were to hop from one streaming service free trial to another for three months straight.

you’re dedicated.

PRIME VIDEO

you can watch this entire series in one week if

MUST SEE SHOW:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine The gold-standard for comedy, this series follows the often heartwarming shenanigans of Brooklyn’s 99th police precinct. Drawing inspiration from its network predecessors The Office

S

and Parks & Recreation, this sitcom hits all the

olidifying itself as a pillar in the cul-

right notes when it comes to workplace comedy.

tural zeitgeist of the 2010’s and on-

Its episode lineup is daunting, however, with a

ward, streaming services are a beast

whopping 143 30-minute episodes.

that continues to grow and morph at an alarming rate. With newcom-

Lost

ers like Disney+ and Apple TV+ finding respec-

It’s almost criminal to leave off legends like “Twin

tive spots at the table and proving that they are

Peaks,” “Community,” and “Friday Night Lights,”

worthy contenders in this often brutal market,

but Lost is a must-watch. Exploring themes of

the future of streaming is uncertain — and com-

survival, fate, and the impact of decisions on

panies seem to be going to great lengths in vying

reality, this six-season mystery series unravels

for the attention of consumers. Nothing makes

a narrative that snowballs into one of the most

that more apparent than the concept of the free

complex stories ever told on television.

trial. With dozens of video platforms circulating, we’ve assembled a lineup of what streaming

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO — 30 days

services offer free trials, how long each trial is,

As Amazon Prime’s streaming option grows in

and what the must-see titles are on each.

reach, so does its library—from network classics to brilliant originals. Amazon is generous enough

HULU — 30 days

to give you a full month to watch through its

With a cheaper entry point and the unique propo-

library, and we’ve got just the right suggestions.

PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

sition of near-immediate arrival of episodes that originally air on cable giving it a hook compared

The Boys

to streaming giant Netflix, Hulu has chugged

A satire on the oversaturated superhero genre of

along, scoring some awesome titles along the

movie and TV show (we’re looking at you, The

way. You’ve got 30 days to tackle all that Hulu

CW—nobody needs six superhero shows) “The

has to offer, so once you click that button to

Boys” explores what superheroes would be like

begin your free trial, it’s in your best interest

if they weren’t the idealized paragons we make

to get to work.

them out to be. Creating a bleak world in which heroes are privatized and prone to misdeeds

Killing Eve

ranging from capitalist ploys to psychopathic

Starring Sandra Oh as an MI5 agent engaging

murder. Warning: though this show gets our

in a never-ending cat-and-mouse game with

highest recommendation, avoid it if you’re

an international assassin, this spy thriller is

sensitive to extreme amounts of gore.

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DISNEY+ MUST SEE SHOW:


DECEMBER 2020

HULU 30 DAYS

MUST SEE SHOW:

30 DAYS APPLE TV+

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

journalism. If you don’t watch anything else on

Chronicling the story of how a Jewish housewife

this list, watch The Morning Show.

in New York in the 1950s gets divorced and begins a career in stand-up comedy, this series is

DISNEY+ —7 days

a refreshingly modern take on the mostly stale

As the pandemic buckles down on the country,

sub-genre of 50’s-set entertainment. Follow

Disney has also been buckling down on its plans

the enchanting Midge Maisel and her total

for the year-old streaming service. With (almost)

opposite newfound friend and talent manage,

the entirety of the MCU on the platform (sorry,

the rough-and-tumble Susie Myerson. If you

Spider-Man), the Disney princess series, and a

didn’t appreciate stand-up before, you will after

slew of Disney Channel favorites, Disney+ is fast

watching this show.

becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Modern Love

The Star Wars Saga

If you don’t know about this series, get ready

To clarify, this is the nine mainline films: A

because the premise is awesome: Based on the

New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of

widely adored New York Times column of the

Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones,

same name and featuring a star-studded cast

Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens, The

(Anne Hathaway and Tina Fey, to name a few),

Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. Feel what

this is an anthology series (meaning each episode

you may about Star Wars, this series has been

follows a separate storyline) that chronicles the

defining popular culture since its debut in the

real-life tales of people finding love. From bud-

70’s. A milestone in the long line of stories about

ding friendships to gut-wrenching romances to

the battle between good and evil, this is a series

newfound familial bonds, this series pulls at all

that everyone should see.

the right strings. And with just eight episodes, it’ll be a breeze to speed through.

7 DAYS

MUST SEE SHOW:

HBO —7 days A powerhouse of original content, HBO effervesces

APPLE TV+—7 days

with the utmost of quality. Choosing only one of

Apple TV+ is just over a year old at this point, but

their offerings is probably the hardest task out

it’s swinging for the fences with a wide gamut

of curating this entire list.

of originals. From rich dramas that shoot for the stars (The Morning Show) to reimaginings

Veep

of history (Dickinson and For All Mankind) to

This show has more Emmy nominations than it

adorably heartwarming comedies (Ted Lasso),

does episodes (and it’s got 66 episodes). Albeit,

this streaming platform is proving it can do it

it only has one more nomination, but still, that’s

all — at this point, it’s just a matter of whether

nuts! The nominations (14 of which it won) are

it can keep producing to get more people to

well-deserved, as this lightning-fast comedy

subscribe.

is witty, satirical, and hilarious at the same time. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine from Seinfeld)

7 DAYS

The Morning Show

plays the titular veep (of the United States) in a

To leave the masterfully crafted “Ted Lasso”

hilarious commentary on the inconsequential

off this list is heartbreaking, but Apple doesn’t

nature of the position.

give you a chance to fool around—you only have seven days with the streaming platform, so that leaves room for only the highest caliber: The Morning Show. Starring Hollywood

HBO MUST SEE SHOW:

show expertly addresses topics relevant today, such as mass shootings, wildfires, the Me Too movement, and the importance of truth in darlings Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, this drama follows the lives of

7 DAYS

hosts of the biggest morning talk show in the country. Painting characters that you’re not even sure you like very much until

Make a bowl of popcorn and get ready for

(maybe) the very end, this

three months of free streaming!

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 12


CULTURE

THRE AT S T O ABORTION ACCESS IN OHIO

WRITTEN BY

Lynn Nichols

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A

How a changing U.S. Supreme Court could impact reproductive rights for Ohioans fter the death of long-sitting justice and

constitutional text ought to be given the original public

cultural icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President

meaning that it would have had at the time that it

Donald Trump and the Republican-led Senate

became law.” Like Scalia, Barrett will interpret the

worked together to confirm Justice Amy

Constitution as she believes the framers intended it.

Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United

Access to abortion and other reproductive freedoms

States. Barrett’s confirmation marks the sitting

are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution,

president’s third SCOTUS pick in one four-year

nor any of its amendments. Many abortion rights

term, and cements a 6-3 conservative majority in

activists fear that, if Roe v. Wade were challenged

the nation’s highest court.

in court, Barrett would join a conservative vote to

Barrett has spoken publicly on her experience

overturn it. Some have also cited concerns about

clerking for late Justice Antonin Scalia. She emphasized

Barrett’s record as a judge for the federal appeals

in her Senate confirmation hearing that she will

court in Chicago. During her three years on the court,

not be a direct continuation of her mentor’s judicial

Barrett presided over three cases involving abortion

record: “If I’m confirmed, you would not be getting

rights. The New York Times reported in November

Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett.”

that, in two of these cases, Barrett joined dissents

But Barrett does align with Scalia as a constitutional

which argued that restrictive laws should be allowed

originalist. In an essay for the National Constitution

to take effect. In the other case, according to NPR,

Center, Steven G. Calabresi defines originalism as a

Barrett did support “buffer zones designed to protect

legal philosophy, whose adherents believe that “the

patients from protesters outside clinics.”


DECEMBER 2020

In her hearings, Barrett refused

t o s a y how she wou ld r u le i n a hypothetical case, though she has said that she will respect precedent. But Donald Trump has made his plan for the Supreme Court clear: “I am putting pro-life justices on the court,” he said in a 2016 presidential debate. Even if Barrett does not commit to overturning Roe v. Wade, Americans who support abortion rights remain skeptical of her intentions.

Roe v. Wade l i m its what state

legislatures can do to restrict access to abortion, but still leaves policy details to individual states. A later decision, Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), introduced a more ambiguous metric than the original trimester framework. States can ban specific procedures, close abortion clinics and pass other restrictive laws as long as they do not impose an “undue burden” on the person seeking an abortion. In Casey, SCOTUS ruled that a Pennsylvania law requiring spousal consent for an abortion was an undue burden, but a 24-hourwait period before the procedure was not. What constitutes an “undue burden” is subjective, and this allows states to limit

PHOTO CREDIT USA TODAY (LEFT/RIGHT)

access to abortion.

Ohio still has some of the most

restrictive abortion laws in the country.

clinic is hours away, that may involve taking time off work or traveling overnight. These barriers can be insurmountable for teenagers, working adults and others who can’t afford such expenses. For people who rely on Medicaid and public insurance, the cost of the procedure is another barrier to abortion care. Under the Hyde Amendment, public funds cannot be used for abortion except in cases of life-threatening risk, rape or incest. With so many logistical and financial concerns, a procedure may be delayed for weeks. But Ohio also restricts the time frame in which a person can legally have an abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the state outright bans abortion after 20 weeks, except in cases where continuing the pregnancy would be life-threatening. CNN reported in Dec. 2018 that then-Gov. John Kasich signed a bill to ban a specific procedure called dilation and evacuation. This is the method used for most abortions in the second trimester, so Ohio effectively bans second-trimester abortions. This law includes an exception for cases where a pregnant person’s life is in danger, but not for rape or incest. The history shows that Gov. Mike DeWine and Republican legislators will instate as many limits on abortion access as they legally can. Roe v. Wade and related decisions like Casey v. Planned Parenthood are the strongest defense Ohioans have. Organizations like the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Planned Parenthood

In 2019, Ohio became one of only eight states to pass

have been fighting for decades to secure abortion

a so-called “heartbeat” bill. Gov. Mike DeWine signed

rights under the precedent of Roe v. Wade, but if the

the bill into law in April of that year, as reported in

decision is overturned, activists will have fewer legal

The Columbus Dispatch. It would have made abortion

recourses. Some politicians have proposed action plans

illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, six weeks

to protect abortion rights under the law. During her

into a pregnancy. By July, a federal judge blocked the

presidential campaign in 2019, Sen. Elizabeth Warren

law, citing it as an “undue burden” by the precedent

shared her plans for federal legislation which would

set in Casey. It takes longer than six weeks for many

incorporate Roe v. Wade into the U.S. legal code. Warren

people to even realize they are pregnant, and 90%

has continued to advocate for this policy with greater

of abortions in Ohio take place later in the term,

urgency since Justice Ginsburg’s death. In October,

according to Jul. 2019 news coverage from Cleveland.

CBS News reported, then-candidate Joe Biden said

com. So, the law went beyond being restrictive: it

in a town hall that, faced with the possibility of a

would have banned nearly all Ohio abortions.

reversal in the Supreme Court, he would work to

Even without a “heartbeat” law, Ohio still has some

“make Roe the law of the land.”

of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

President-elect Biden will not have the power

As Alana Whelan wrote for The Vindicator in our

to unilaterally pass legislation. Federally codified

Mar. 2019 issue, former Gov. John Kasich signed 21

protections for abortion rights hinge on the U.S.

bills into law which limit access to abortion, whether

Senate. The balance of power for the upcoming

by reducing funds to reproductive care facilities or

Senate term will be decided by two runoff elections

banning specific procedures. Ohio requires a 24-hour

in Georgia this January. Supreme Court seats are a

waiting period, including mandatory counseling

lifetime appointment, so activists turn to legislative

before the waiting period begins. That isn’t an undue

action and grassroots movements to make their voices

burden by the standards of the Casey decision, but

heard. What happens on the national stage will help

there are only nine clinics in the state which provide

determine whether abortion stays safe, legal and

abortion care services according to NARAL Pro-Choice

accessible for people in Ohio.

Ohio. People seeking an abortion need to arrange transportation for two visits, and if the nearest

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 14


HOLI DAY AESTHETICS WRITTEN BY

Eric Seitz

Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are traditional winter celebrations. We take a deeper look at the origins of each holiday’s popular symbols and aesthetics.

T

he holiday season is here, and the typical symbols of the impending holiday

season

surround

us—red,

green, blue and white herald December’s arrival. Many metropolitan areas—

Cleveland included—are decked with grandiose Christmas trees, ornaments, colorful lights and hopefully a bit of snow. Our city and campus represent a diverse melting pot of people, and students are lucky enough to be exposed to many different cultural celebrations. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are among the holiday celebrations observed by students at Cleveland State. The aesthetics vary from celebration to celebration; read along to discover the origins of each. We’l l st a r t w it h t he mo st p opu l a r hol iday celebration, Christmas. Christmas is celebrated by 90% of Americans, according to the Pew Research Center. Christmas trees can be seen dotting residential front yards, storefronts and inside many businesses during


DECEMBER 2020

the year’s final months. The classic symbol of holiday

Hanukkah is another holiday that has specific sym-

cheer originates from Germany, dating back to the

bols and aesthetics attached to it. This year, Hanukkah

16th century. German settlers in Pennsylvania brought

will begin the evening of December 10, and end the

Christmas trees—or Tenenbaums—to America in the

evening of December 18. The menorah is most strongly

19th century. At first, Christmas trees were considered

associated with Hanukkah, and it is used during the

an oddity and took quite a while to catch on, due to

eight day celebration, and each day a new candle

the Puritan value of eliminating frivolous elements

is lit. This originated in the Israelites’ escape from

in celebrating the birth of Christ. Christmas trees did

slavery. Today, menorahs are available in different

not become very popular until Queen Victoria and her

styles and makes. The dreidel is another interest-

family were depicted in the news, standing next

ing symbol associated with Hanukkah, a spinning

to a Christmas tree. Because of Queen Victoria’s

top-like instrument. The dreidel song is familiar to almost all children, regardless of religious affilia-

immense popularity, the Christmas tree soon be-

tion, but the origin story is not one typically shared

came a staple in an increasing number of homes during the holiday season. Interestingly, Americans typically have bigger trees than Europeans and have since the Christmas tree’s rise in popularity. Decorating the trees with ornaments began in Germany with dried fruits and items found in nature. In America, commercial organizations quickly caught onto the potential for increasing their capital in a new Christmas tradition. Ornaments of every color, shape and size began cropping up in businesses across the nation. Now, ornaments can commemorate a special trip, memories and milestones. Decorative ornaments are available as well! Christmas lights adorn fences, trees, bushes, and almost every other surface one can wrap a string of lights around. Although these lights do not relate directly to Christmas, they often go hand-in-hand with Christmas aesthetics. The origin of Christmas lights begins not with electricity, but fire. Candles once sat upon the branches of Christmas trees but would soon be replaced by Edward Johnson with the Christmas lights we’re familiar with today. Candles were a little problematic as they were prone to starting fires, especially when wired onto a tree. Johnson made bulbs to replace the dangers of the candles on a tree, but they took a while to gain traction. The bulbs were bulky and expensive. Grover Cleveland popularized Christmas lights after he lit the White House Christmas tree with lights, which had recently been made more accessible and affordable by General Electric. Mistletoe is another facet of Christmastime aesthetics, and a hallmark of nearly every Hallmark Christmas

PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

movie. Mistletoe’s romantic lore began with the Celtic Druids, as its ability to bloom in the winter symbolized vivacity. Kissing under the mistletoe most likely hails from an old Norse legend that depicted the gods reviving Odin’s son, Baldur, from the dead. Frigg, the goddess of love implored plants and animals to revive Baldur, and when he was risen, Frigg declared the mistletoe a symbol of love and promised to kiss

Keep yourself educated on celebrations that differ from your own, and you may just learn something you didn’t know before.

in the same way. The dreidel began as a “toy” rabbis and faithful Jews employed to study the Torah, a practice that had been outlawed by the Greeks and was punishable if caught. The Hebrew letters embossed on each side of the dreidel read nun, gimmel, hey and shin. Contrary to popular lore surrounding the explanation behind the letters, such as their connection to kingdoms that tried to destroy the Jewish religion, the letters and dreidel itself existed and been played with around the world in several different languages. Switching gears, Kwanzaa is next on the list. Kwanzaa as a celebration, along with all of its symbols, originated in Los Angeles in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman for Black Studies at California State University. He wanted to instill a way for the African-American community to come together after the Watts riots. The Watts riots were a series of riots that took place in Watts, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Los Angeles. The riots lasted six days, and resulted in 34 deaths, and numerous injuries and arrests. Kwanzaa includes several symbols, including mazao, mkeka, vibunzi and muhindi, mishumaa saba, kinara, kikombe cha umoja, and zawadi. The first of these, mazao, is a mat that the rest of the following symbols will rest on. Vibunzi and muhindi is a singular stalk of corn. This stalk of corn represents fertility and family. Mishumaa saba are the candles that rest upon the kinara. There are three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle. These stand to pay homage to and represent the Pan-African flag. The kenara is the candleholder, similar to the menorah, that houses the mishumaa saba. Kikombe cha umoja is a cup of unity that promotes giving thanks to African ancestors. Lastly, zawadi are gifts. These gifts are given to those close to one, especially in the family. No matter what you’re celebrating this season, enjoy the coziness and aesthetics across the board! Keep yourself educated on celebrations that differ from your own, and you may just learn something you didn’t know before. Take time to appreciate the beauty surrounding us in this season.

anyone who passed beneath it.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 16


FEATURE

C VID-19

PHOTO CREDIT: WASHINGTONPOST.COM

IN PRISONS

17 | VINDICATOR


DECEMBER 2020

Management of crime and punishment within prisons in Ohio is not up to the basic standards of WRITTEN BY

Cara Robbins

living—even for basic needs of survival such as food. The state of Ohio currently has privatized the distribution of food in prisons by commissioning

ILLUSTRATIONS BY

the responsibility to the food distributing giant

Devin Benko

Aramark Corporation. The effect of this decision has since led to plenty of issues surrounding food

COVID-19 isn’t the only serious issue in

N

othing has exposed the most fractured structures within American society than the current coronavirus pandemic. There are, of course, the deteriorating social structures that have dominated the news cycle police brutality and systemic racism, insufficient access to healthcare, distrust in politicians and the government, boiling party tensions, poverty and income inequality, mental health, and plenty more. With America setting record-high numbers of covid cases each day, in the midst of a in the midst of a “third wave,” it becomes vital to discuss some of the issues that are swept to the side when discussing the disastrous humanitarian consequences of this virus—namely, how the COVID-19 pandemic has made life within prisons and jails around the country (specifically in Ohio) practically unbearable. Despite the fact that incarcerated populations represent the intersection of poverty, systemic racism, mental health and drug addiction— popular buzzwords in the news cycle—prisons have mostly been left out of the discourse of the coronavirus. This is namely because convicted criminals are not an inherently pitiable group. While reading this, however, I urge you to remember that human beings are complicated individuals and can still deserve sympathy and kindness despite their past. COVID did not simply take hold of prisons out of the blue—in fact, the reason why the coronavirus has become such an issue in jails and prisons is thanks to plenty of preexisting—often inhumane— issues that allowed for the system to be extremely vulnerable to the virus. Therefore, before jumping in-depth into the present conditions, we must first explore the decades-long problems that have existed within prisons and jails. First and foremost, we must distinguish between prisons and jails. Jails are typically transitional, and hold people awaiting trial, or those convicted of a crime with a sentence of less than a year. Prisons, on the other hand, are more long-term, and hold inmates who are sentenced to anywhere between one year to life. Most of the following institutional problems discussed will pertain specifically to prisons, but by no means do jails

sub-quality food. Since Aramark began distributing food to Ohio prisons in 2013, numerous whistleblower Aramark employees reported being unable to supply an adequate amount of food to inmates, which has correlated with an increase of violence, riots and contraband. In the summer of 2014, numerous prisons around Ohio reported the presence of maggots and their larvae in prison meals, eventually leading to a protest of roughly 1,000 inmates at the Ohio Women’s Reformatory in Marysville. The way the state of Ohio rates the value of an inmate’s life can be clearly seen in the amount of money spent in a day to feed prisoners: just $3.71, versus the $8.12 it costs to feed the average American citizen. Another barrier to basic means of survival is the critical state of overcrowding in Ohio prisons. In fact, according to a report done by the ACLU of Ohio, prisons within the state are currently functioning with 11,854 more inmates than they are designed to hold, with no real efforts made to combat the rising danger and cruelty that come with every extra inmate. The state of overcrowding in most prisons comes as a result of policies made in recent years regarding criminal sentencing—namely, criminal legislation within Ohio that adds new crimes, extends the incarcera-

Management of crime and punishment within prisons in Ohio is not up to the basic

in prisons—namely, complaints about shortages and

standards.

tion periods of existing crimes, and enhancing the extent of which crimes apply to certain people and certain situations. Furthermore, in the past 20 years,

exist without systematic issues.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 18


FEATURE

consequences on both the psyche of a prison population, and how they regard their relationships with correctional officers and other prison staff. In fact, according to The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, “Solitary confinement

is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, a significant increase in the prison population has

psychological stressors such as isolation can be as

been the result of incarcerating people who are await-

clinically distressing as physical torture”. Solitary

ing trial and cannot afford their bail. These people

confinement can increase suicidal tendencies, and

have notably not been found guilty and, according to

increase anxiety, irritability, and decreased impulse

constitutional law, are assumed innocent until oth-

control. Since correctional facilities are already the

Ohio has

erwise proven. In essence, Ohio has created a system

nation’s largest provider of mental health care, that

in which people are placed in already overcrowded

the first response to misbehavior is inflicting such

created a

jails not because they are criminals, but because they

intense mental stress on a population already ex-

are poor. The consequences of overcrowding can be

tremely susceptible to mental health complications

system in

life-threatening; it creates an environment in which

is simply irresponsible. In addition to the damage

there are not enough resources such as mattresses

to mental health, physical consequences of solitary

which

and food, building on the already dire shortage of

confinement can include weight loss and a lack of

nutritious meals. Furthermore, access to hygiene such

people

as soap and sufficient time showering is scant in an

are placed in

into a small space with other people causes a sharp

already

tensions can lead to added danger for both staff

overcrowded

outbursts—from both disgruntled inmates with

jails.

and also from prison officers with low morale and

suicide. In light of this information, it isn’t surpris-

appetite—particularly dangerous for prisons in places such as Ohio, where the privatization of prison food means that inmates are already malnourished. As of yet, Ohio has taken no measures to regulate the use of solitary confinement, nor address the serious consequences of this method of punishment. Finally, possibly the most egregious disregard for human life comes in the form of violence towards prisoners at the hands of correctional officers — the people meant to protect both the public from the inmates, and not insignificantly, protect the inmates themselves. Examples of this kind of abuse can be found uncomfortably close to home. Take, for example, the recent strings of lawsuits filed against the Cuyahoga County Jail on behalf of inmates’ claims of abuse. In September of 2019, a correctional officer was found innocent due to a partial mistrial on charges of interference of civil rights, abuse, falsification, and unlawful restraint. The court case details an encounter between the correctional officer and inmate Joshua Castleberry, in which Castleberry accused the officer of attacking him after he complained about a stale sandwich. The CO sustained light bruises and scratches on his head—the inmate, on the other hand, was left with a bruised face, a cut above his right eye, and three missing teeth (one of which was

ing that the use of solitary confinement has severe

pushed up through his jaw into his nasal cavity).

overcrowded prison. The stress of being crammed decrease in the mental health of inmates, and high and prisoners with an increased chance for violent physical force as their last and only bargaining chip limited control over the prison population outside of harmful techniques. One of the harmful techniques commonly used as a method of punishment or control within prisons around the country (especially in Ohio) is solitary confinement. This method is defined as the extreme isolation of an inmate within a cell for 21 or more

hours a day. Solitary confinement is often one of the first responses to all types of misbehavior, ranging from minor disturbances such as making too much noise, spanning all the way to major violations such as inciting violence. Perhaps most disturblingly, isolation in solitary confinement also tends to be the first response for inmates discovered attempting

19 | VINDICATOR


DECEMBER 2020

Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the correctional officer, this case clearly demonstrates several details about the issues with the responsibilities and capabilities of prison staff. First and foremost is the sheer amount of influence correctional officers can have over determining the amount of value placed on the life of an inmate. In the case of Joshua Castleberry, the officer involved in the conflict immediately received medical attention, while Castleberry was restrained, put in a spit mask, and placed in solitary confinement for hours. Other correctional officers who were not involved in the conflict declined to let a nurse that arrived on scene examine Castleberry for three hours. After the incident, Castleberry claimed that the spit mask put him at risk of choking on his own blood. Clearly, correctional officers have a

Before diving into the conditions the pandemic has inflicted on prisons, we must discuss one final topic: the disproportionate number of Black people incarcerated in Ohio prisons. Despite only representing about 12% of the population in Ohio, Black people constitute about 45% of the population in prisons. This is due to a plethora of reasons linked to the systematic incorporation of racism into American society. Black people are more likely to be stopped by police, more likely to be searched and arrested, more likely to be given a lengthy sentence, and more likely to be sentenced to death. Furthermore, prisons are more likely to be built in majority-white areas, meaning that most prison staff and correctional officers tend to be white. Because of these foundational aspects of how prisons function, the justice system

not have his back in a dangerous situation later down

puts Black Americans at an extreme disadvantage. The problems discussed above are already bad enough to demand immediate changes to the way prisons and jails function. But with COVID cases hitting record-breaking numbers with each passing day, the situation has become dire. For some of the issues mentioned earlier, it is clear to see how it has played into the coronavirus’s rise in prisons—lack of proper nutrition means that prisoners have a weaker immune system (in addition to the fact that most inmates already have a sub-par immune systems due to either past drug use, physical

the line. This type of relationship between officers

impacts of mental illness, or other factors.

strongly decreases the security and stability of a

O vercrowdi ng means t hat it is

prison environment and makes it more difficult to

impossible for inmates to

significant say in the health care provided, and this responsibility is often not met with the necessary tact. Furthermore, the incident demonstrates the unhealthy culture among prison staff that can arise in correctional facilities. For example, at one point in the trial, an officer who testified reported that his cooperation with the investigation had made other officers volatile towards him due to a “no snitch” culture. The officer in question claimed that because of this, he was afraid that the other officers would

accurately investigate and unearth honest claims of

PHOTO CREDIT: WASHINGTONPOST.COM

mistreatment from inmates.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 20


FEATURE

socially distance properly. Facilities don’t have

nowhere near sufficient enough to curtail the most

enough space, time, or resources to ensure that every

serious consequences. In fact, some of the responses

prisoner has access to basic tools of hygiene such

have been actively harmful. Take, for example, the

as showering, hand sanitizer, masks, and testing.

experience Jermane Scott reported having at the

Heightened tensions between correctional officers

Mansfield Correctional Institution in July: after he

and inmates demonstrate how COs are not always

began to feel sick, he reported being unable to breathe

willing to put the health and safety of inmates as

properly due to complications from his medical

a priority, and inmates may not trust or obey the

condition. Correctional officers reportedly mocked

restrictions put in place by prison staff to protect

him with allusions to George Floyd’s last words

the health of everyone.

as he was killed by police officers. When Scott’s

Addit iona l ly, Black A merica ns were a lready

COVID-19 test came back positive, he was placed

especially at risk of suffering from the coronavi-

in the decommissioned death row instead of being

rus. Because Black people are more likely to have

transported to a proper medical facility. The unit

pr-existing conditions and live in multigenerational

had little working electricity and ventilation. He was

homes, while simultaneously being less likely to have

forced to stay there for 17 days. This is not unlike the

COs are

health insurance, the African American community

practice that most prisons have incorporated today,

is consequentially three times more likely to get

in which some inmates are forced to quarantine in

not always

the coronavirus than their white counterparts, and

solitary confinement—which, regardless of its cruelty

twice as likely to die. Because of the fact that the

and negative health consequences, is meant to be

willing to

prison population reflects a disproportionate amount

reserved for punishment, not healthcare.

of people of color, the coronavirus has yet another

Some i nmates w it hi n prisons have felt t hat

put the

opportunity to prey on the unjustly exposed Black

conditions have become so bad that they are willing

community. Furthermore, inherent bias in medicine

to speak about their experiences despite the possible

health

means that if a Black individual—incarcerated or

consequences. Aaron Campbell, who is incarcer-

otherwise—reports feeling unwell or having medi-

ated in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI)

and safety

cal complications, their condition is less likely to be

in Elkton, Ohio, released a video on a contraband

believed or taken seriously than if a white person

phone in which he claims that the facility is leaving

of inmates

were to report the same symptoms.

inmates to die—he flips his camera, shows the tight,

If the state of prisons weren’t already bad enough

cramped cell he is in and says that his cellmate,

with the conditions ripe for the coronavirus to run

who is laying down, is dying of COVID-19. Campbell

rampant, prison administrators’ responses have been

says that he is filming the video to fight for reform.

as a priority

“ 21 | VINDICATOR

Since the video was released, FCI Elkton has denied that the two inmates in the video had the virus, and Campbell was placed in solitary confinement.


DECEMBER 2020

He was supposedly offered release from solitary

the fact that jails have a significantly higher flow of

confinement if he said the video was fake, which he

individuals in and out of the walls every day, despite

refused to do. No reports concerning his status have

having the same health and hazard conditions as

come out since September, and he is assumed to still

prisons. This is a matter that affects everyone.

be in solitary confinement. Inmates are inherently a hard group to be sympathetic for. Dismissing their plight is easy because they had done something unlaw ful in the past, and therefore, don’t deserve the time, money, and compassion that it would take to make the proper reforms. Regardless of this, conditions must change immediately because the system of justice for crime and punishment has been shattered. Regardless of their crimes, criminals are still guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Is that not the current condition in prisons and jails? Certainly the presence of COVID-19 is unusual in every sense of the word. If you were subjected to the same circumstances as prisoners today, regardless of your guilt or innocence, wouldn’t you consider the treatment to be cruel? But the need to fix the system goes far beyond the human rights of individuals inside the prisons. The consequences of prison mismanagement can trickle down to nearly every aspect of American life. For example, even though the situation in prisons seems particularly bad, it may be comforting to know that prisons are closed systems, and therefore the virus cannot reach the outside world. But this is not the case—inmates are being released from prisons, and correctional officers and other prison staff have little to no restrictions on where they are able to go outside of work hours, rendering them serious potential

So what can you do to help? The first step is simple: talk to your friends and family about this issue. You can also consider researching your state and local representatives and writing them emails about what you would like to see done about the state of prisons and jails in regard to inmate treatment and the coronavirus. Research your local prisons and jails and send them emails too—you can start by demanding that they ensure inmates are entitled to free access to phone calls while they are unable to receive visits ent petitions online, such as this one, that can help alleviate some of the struggles prisoners are facing today. Finally, if you are able, plenty of organizations are looking for donations to help people who have not yet gone to trial, but are in prison because they cannot afford bail. The change starts with you. Any small step is a step forward.

PHOTO CREDIT: WASHINGTONPOST.COM PHOTO CREDIT: WASHINGTONPOST.COM

from their loved ones. You can also research differ-

spreaders. This does not even take into consideration

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 22


An interview with CSU artist Alana Cartwright who specializes in photography. WRITTEN BY

PHOTOS BY

Agnes Bahr

Alana Cartwright


A

DECEMBER 2020

s social injustice, COVID-19, the

and

presidential

election grip the attention of the

United States, artists have begun to reflect these complexities in their work. I had the privilege to interview fellow CSU student, former teammate, and talented artist, Alana Cartwright. During the interview, we dove into her artistic process, what inspires her, and the message she conveys through her art. We discussed how the medium of art has a significant impact on the message

expressed.

Cart-

Alana was 14 years old when she made the connection between photography and the conservation of memories was incredible to me. VI S UAL STO RY TE LLI N G E a c h a r t i st ha s t hei r ow n u n ique met ho d of creating art. I was able to talk to Alana about how she approaches the construction of her art, including how she decides on the message she wants to construe. BAHR: I know we talked about the moment that inspired you to take up photography, but what inspires your art now? CARTWRIGHT: After tak ing photos of basically everything, I started to see the beauty in existence, of the world and the people inhabiting it, but what gets me inspired is manifesting the complexities of the human existence.

photography

Understanding Alana’s fascination, let alone her ability

over other mediums because she

to then create from that enchantment of “the human

is able to objectively document

existence,” was incredibly alluring. Cartwright showed

life around her. This sense of docu-

me specific pieces that she felt best represented her

wright

prefers

mentation can be seen throughout her artwork, especially in the ways it relates to the recent protests concerning the racial infringements occurring nationwide. TH E STAR T O F IT ALL Just as each artist has a different style, artists have different points in their lives that turn them into artists. When I asked Cartwright about what experience inspired her to become an artist, her response was touching. CARTWRIGHT: I started taking photos when I was about 14. My uncle died and we had no pictures, and

style and process. BAHR: What is your favorite medium? CARTWRIGHT: Drawing is more of something I enjoy when I have the time for it, but photography­­— being able to capture physical human existence and visual storytelling—is my bread and butter. C HALLE N G I N G TH E C U LT U R E O F N U D IT Y

you know when someone passes away you are trying

W hen look ing at Cart-

to cling to all these memories, but memories become

wright’s art, the emphasis

fuzzy over time. That’s when I realized I need to

is on the nude human body.

start documenting.

In a world that manipu-

BAHR: How did that particular experience turn into what your art looks like now? CARTWRIGHT: Since my goal was to document using photography, I took pictures of everything and that’s when I started seeing the beauty in the world around me. I try to incorporate that beauty and emotion in my photos now. Even though the pieces I work on are not always captured in real time, I believe it is still a form of documentation. As Cartwright was describing this moment in her life, I felt that her experience with the death of her uncle and wanting to preserve his memory was familiar to most people. So often people find themselves having regrets after their loved ones are gone. Hearing that

lates nudity to often fit a sexual context, her work does not have that sexual aspect. Cartwright’s art is alluring without objectifying the bodies in the photographs. BAHR: Looking at your work, I can see you use the nude human body as the main element in each piece. Tell me more about why people and why nude? CARTWRIGHT: For one thing, I love the human form. I got into documenting the human body, and doing so I was able to fall in love with my own form and

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 24


FEATURE

I could see the beauty that is

and that was a really cool experience for me because

the human body. I think that

my actual career aspirations in photography are to

in the culture that is frankly porn-infested, the human body is so much more. It is your home, your temple. Your body is your vessel that holds all of your experiences. You want to be comfortable in it. So, by depicting the human body as a masterpiece, as a work of art, I want more people to think of themselves in that exact way. BAHR: Is that the goal? To just the human body that isn’t sex-related?

@a

lan

am

c ar

t wr

igh

t

show something beautiful in

CARTWRIGHT: Of course. Your body shouldn’t be taboo. I really want my art to challenge people

about how comfortable they are to

document real events. BAHR: How does the current situation impact you in your art? CARTWRIGHT: When it comes to art, I’m drawn to many different things outside of documenting the human body, which is what most people see in my art. I want to see all these different cultures and experiences and document real events going on right now and educate people. It’s this idea of visual storytelling. BAHR: So being able to be there during the Black Lives Matter protests in Cleveland was probably a great opportunity then. Was your motivation to photograph the protests completely for your own portfolio? CARTWRIGHT: No one asked me to photograph the protests. It was something I wanted to do on my own. For me, the protest and everything going on was a cool way to get in that element. I could document people in pain and document the beauty in pain.

embrace the actual human form and

I loved that Alana used the reference of being “in

seeing a body that way. I want to show people

the trenches,” because as we talked, it was clear that

something deep because all of my work has

the environment of the Cleveland protest was not

something conceptually deeper. I’m using

exactly safe. Cartwright took several pictures being

the body to express raw human emotion.

surrounded by people being held at gunpoint, people

A nude body can be perceived in different ways, and, unfortunately, the culture that surrounds us equates nudity with sex. The cliché “sex sells” may be true, but Cartwright’s hope for her art is that people can get so

being pepper-sprayed, along with cars being set on fire. In our conversation, the civil rights movement was brought up. The way the pictures objectively capture the events that were happening still were able to exhibit the emotions felt by the people in the photos. Cartwright is on a mission to educate people.

much more out of viewing a nude

Objective documentation and human emotion are two

body than just for the sake of sexual

things one would believe should be kept separate,

appeal. Each piece Cartwright creates

although, given context this is not the case. When

using her nude models is meant to

documenting something objectively the author should

convey a kind of human emotion.

strive to not insert their own feelings and opinions.

The way the artist poses her models,

Where objectiveness and emotions can be combined

decides on an environment, chooses

is when what is being documented is emotional. The

colors, and creates contrasts all impacts

situations Cartwright strives to document are those

the kind of emotion that she wants the

with raw human emotion.

viewer to feel. FO R TH E F U T U R E D O C U M E NTATI O N

hearing from someone who was pursuing her

es of social injustice have come to light. Social

passions as a career was inspiring. She is aiming

injustice has always been prevalent, but now more

to make a difference with her talent and knowl-

people are realizing and supporting those affected

edge gained by not only attending Cleveland State

by the violations against African Americans.

University, but also experiencing the world. I was

CARTWRIGHT: I was able to go out and take pictures of the protests that were happening in Cleveland,

25 | VINDICATOR

Alana talked about her work with such passion—

In the recent months of the year, more instanc-

curious to learn Cartwright’s plans for the future because she seemed to have a well established sense of purpose.


DECEMBER 2020

BAHR: What’s next for you after your last semester

everything presents well. If I’m going to put my name

of school?

on something I want to be proud of it.

CARTWRIGHT: I have another year of studying

Cartwright’s upcoming events include a solo ex-

through Cleveland Institute of Art in the Baccalaureate

hibition at the Massillon Museum which will be

program. I want to gain more knowledge and insight

showing March 6–28. Further in the future, her work

to help me use my art to better the lives of others.

will be presented at the Galleries at CSU during the

BAHR: Do you have a plan on how you’ll use your art to help others? CARTWRIGHT: For a long time, I thought my vocation would be to travel the world and expose myself to different cultures in different countries, different socioeconomic backgrounds, and document what was happening. I want to do some mission work at the same time by photographing for an organization like World Vision. BAHR: Do you see yourself documenting the different people and places you come across, or will you use your experiences to influence your more abstract work revolving around the human body?

Merit Scholar Exhibition, which will be taking place during the spring of 2021. These exhibitions will be showcasing an abundance of Cartwright’s talent. The Parma Artspace and Gallery also may display the photographs taken by Cartwright during the Cleveland racial justice protests in the future. Cartwright’s approach of photographing the human body to express emotion is an intense approach not only because of the stigma society places on nude bodies, and places emphasis on the fact that while we can change

CARTWRIGHT: The goal is to change people’s lives

our clothes, we can’t

for the better by documenting everything around us

c h a nge ou r b o d ie s .

so we can learn. People who are struggling are not in

Cartwright talked pas-

hiding. They just have not been brought to the eyes of

sionately about how our

people who have the power to affect them. I want to

bodies are such genuine

raise the standard of living by documenting people

representations of who

who have far less than the luxury of a proper house.

we are, not who we want others to think we are.

According to Alana, her calling has always been rooted in using her art to strengthen others, whether by showing the inherent, raw beauty of the human body or by shining a much needed light on people in need of help. In the beginning of my interview with Alana she said, “The hope for humanity is to see people’s differences, ack nowledge them, and talk about them. That’s what I want my art to inspire.” I love the way this statement captures her mission. BAHR: What are you going to be spending most of your energy on these next few months as far as your art goes? CARTWRIGHT: I’m going to be spending a lot of energy preparing for my upcoming shows. I take a good amount of time putting my pieces together so that

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 26


FEATURE

NURTURING

FOR

ARTIST & WRITERS

WRITTEN BY

Gordon Ramsey ILLUSTRATIONS BY

Jillian VanDyke

27 | VINDICATOR


DECEMBER 2020

Falling into a creative rut isn’t as hopeless as it feels, and there are reasons it happens and methods you can use to climb out of it. you will start to get really into the writing, but then

struggle with is their creativity. Writ-

if your friend or roommate comes and talks to you,

ers may encounter writer’s block or

that interruption will set you back. When the other

get distracted by their surroundings,

person leaves and you go back to writing, you may

preventing them from writing. Artists

have completely lost track.

may fall into a rut, dislike their ideas, or struggle to

Sanderson also suggests carrying a small notebook

formulate any ideas in the first place. Our creativi-

for moments when you’re grocery shopping or going

ty makes us human. Our struggles to express or dive

to the library—essentially any time you are not close

deeper into our own creative mindset is an issue

to your usual writing journal. With this notebook on

many have a hard time with, even if only once in a

you at all times, whenever an amazing idea strikes,

while. Some people will tell themselves that they just

you will always be able to write it down and look back

aren’t creative, but they are typically wrong. We do

over it later. In my own experience as a writer, I have

not often encounter many instances early in life that

found that if I am struggling to articulate a thought

necesitate creativity, so using it may not come nat-

and save writing it for later, I forget it. If I conjure

urally. For example, in school, art and creative writ-

an idea for something and I don’t have a notebook

ing classes are the ones that require students to dive

on me, I type a brief, succinct note with the basics

into their own minds and produce something unique.

of the idea onto my phone. Even if I am home I will

School boards don’t seem to find value in this—un-

put it in the notebook for later when I am writing.

like traditional math or English classes, in which

Drawing and painting is an art form that has been

students write essays that typically are uninspired.

around for just as long writing. Sometimes we struggle

Our creativity is not just what makes us human, but

to find a muse—something for us to capture with our

also unique to each other. Our imagination can create

imagination and put to paper. In Courtney Jordan’s

worlds where empires reign with magic, paintings

article “8 Ways to Boost Your Creativity”, she discusses

that make one look at the world a different way, and

exercises and practices for artists who need a good

games where one can explore facets of oneself. Peo-

boost. One of her suggestions is to ignore the clock.

ple can nurture their creativity and even increase it

She says that watching the clock can add pressure.

in many ways—from moments quietness to playing

Pressure can be a good thing, but looking at the clock

tabletop games with friends.

often can do more harm than good; this pressure

Writers often struggle with the phenomenon of

can make you feel exhausted and drain you of your

writer’s block—they obstruct themselves from con-

creativity. For a bit of adventure, she also suggests

tinuing their pieces because they’re not perfect, or

what she calls a “scavenger hunt.” If you’re a writer,

they simply struggle to find the right words. In his

write a single word at the top of a page and write

first lecture of 2020, bestselling author and speaker

for a short bit of time about what that word makes

at Brigham Young University Brandon Sanderson

you feel or just a few sentences with that word. For

talks about the unique ability writers unknowingly

artists, this can be a bit more adventurous: Simply

have to “get in the zone.” For someone who writes

write a short and simple list of ideas then go outside

everyday for 4–5 hours, in the first two hours they’ll

and find things on that list and draw them. This can

write about 200 words an hour; but in the third hour,

cause you to draw more stuff that you wouldn’t draw

they’ll write about 1,000 words before going back

normally as well as getting you outside.

down to writing the average 200 words an hour. In

These tips can be used in shape or form with almost

his lecture, Sanderson suggests having a quiet place

anything if you put your mind to it. And if you are

to work on your writing. Whether it’s an office space

looking for other ways to boost your creativity, you

or bedroom, what is important is that you can be

can find a plethora of resources, articles, websites,

separated from other people. In this same manner, it

and even games that can give you some helpful ideas.

“ Our

creativity is not just what makes us human but it also makes us more unique to

A

problem many in the world of art

eachother.

may help to let anyone you often talk to during certain times of the day know that they should do their best to refrain from talking to you when you want to be writing. He says this because interruptions are what set us back. For example, let’s say that you have spent an hour writing an essay. During the second hour,

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 28


BEAUTY + WELLNESS

the psychology of sleep WRITTEN BY

Vanessa Murphy PHOTO BY

Jillian VanDyke

Sleep is more important to the body than one would think. It has a direct correlation to the health of our mind and to our physical appearance.

Anxiety affects 20% of adults and 25% of teenagers

o you have trouble sleeping at night? Do

to insomnia. Falling asleep can become even harder

you find yourself wondering if there is

when the individual has anticipatory anxiety, which

a certain position or some homemade

is a source of panic and worry.

remedies that will make the night less

Bipolar disorder affects sleep exceedingly due to the emotional state that the individual may be in. An individual can experience moods that are either high or low, which can then highly impact their need for sleep. During the high periods, the person will feel less of a need for sleep, but during the low periods, they will feel the need to sleep unreasonably. This can go on even in the middle of stages of low and high periods. As noted by The Sleep Foundation, “Many people with bipolar disorder experience changes in their sleep patterns before the onset of an episode. There is also evidence that sleeping problems induce or worsen manic and depressive periods and that, because of the bidirectional relationship between bipolar disorder and sleep, treatment for insomnia can reduce the impact of bipolar disorder”. Sleep not only affects our mental wellbeing, but also our physical health. Sleep plays a big role in how the immune system continues to fight infections; when someone is lacking sleep, their immune system starts to fail and even fending off common infections like colds and the flu can become difficult. According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke”. Not getting enough sleep can also increase someone’s likelihood of becoming obese. Hormones have a direct correlation with your sleep too. As stated by the NIH, “Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.” Who knew

d

restless for you? Well, you’re not alone!

Sleeping is vital for our physical and mental health, but getting the right and consistent hours of sleep ev-

Did you know the position you sleep in can have a direct correlation to your

personality?

ery night can be a struggle. So how important is sleep to the body, really?

Sleep is a crucial factor for humans because it not only refreshes the mind and body, but it helps fight diseases and illnesses that may be coming onto the body, too. When the body lacks sleep, the brain cannot function properly, causing impaired actions, thoughts and memories. How many hours an individual needs to sleep every night varies based on their age; newborns to infants need a range of 12–17 hours of sleep per night; toddlers to preschoolers require a range of 10–14 hours of sleep per night; children to teenagers need a range of 8–11 hours; which leaves young adults and higher needing 7–9 hours per night. Does not getting enough sleep affect our mental state? To answer shortly: yes. Sleeping is connected to our emotional and mental health, and the lack of sleep has clear ties to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other conditions. The Sleep Foundation states, “Mental health disorders tend to make it harder to sleep well. At the same time, poor sleep, including insomnia, can be a contributing factor to the initiation and worsening of mental health problems”. Depression is a mental health condition that affects approximately 300 million worldwide, which is a mood disorder characterized by the feeling of hopelessness and sadness. According to the Sleep Foundation, “Around 75% of depressed people show symptoms of insomnia, and many people with depression also suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and hypersomnia, which is sleeping too much”.

29 | VINDICATOR

yearly. As stated by The Sleep Foundation, “Anxiety disorders have a strong association with sleep problems”. That is why high levels of fear can contribute to a state of hyperarousal—and hyperarousal has connections

sleep could affect you this much?


DECEMBER 2020

Separate from these factors but also massively

Sleep Paralysis (ISP)”. Some common ways to help

relevant to the topic of sleep are sleep disorders. A

get a handle on sleep paralysis would be going to bed

disorder is an illness that disrupts normal physical

at the same time every night, avoiding any caffeine

or mental functions. Different sleep disorders include

before sleeping and making sure that one’s sleeping

insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome (RLS)

arrangements are free of any distractions.

and narcolepsy.

Did you know the position you sleep in can have a

Insomnia is classified as having difficulty falling asleep

direct correlation to your personality? Sleeping on your

or staying asleep throughout the night. Studies show

back is one of the least common ways of sleeping but

that about 25% of Americans struggle with insomnia

is connected to being more self-confident and having

every year. This is the most common sleep disorder.

high expectations for yourself and others around you.

Sleep apnea is when an individual experiences abnormal

Sleeping on your stomach can be associated with per-

patterns of breathing while being asleep. There are

fectionism, sensitivity to criticism and defensiveness.

various types of sleep apnea disorders, such as obstruc-

Research has also shown that people that do sleep

tive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep

on their stomachs feel little control in their lives.

apnea syndrome. Mayo Clinic states, “Sleep apnea is a

Side-sleeping is the most common position, whether

potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing

it is on the right or left side. An individual who sleeps

repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel

on their side is more open-minded, able to be more

tired even after a full night’s sleep,” you might have

understanding and typically more relaxed. Sleeping on

sleep apnea.” The most at-risk group for sleep apnea

the right side shows ties to relying more on caffeine,

is overweight males above 40 years old; however, sleep

while the left side is more likely to be educated and

apnea can affect anyone at any age.

creative. The last sleeping position is the fetal posi-

Another common sleep disorder is restless legs

tion, more common in women than men. This position

syndrome (RLS), which is a type of sleep move-

suggests you are more anxious, so the position offers a

ment disorder that causes a discomforting sensation

level of comfort. Fetal position sleepers are associated

and an urge to move your legs while trying to fall

with being more organized, so these individuals have

asleep. RLS can also be hereditary if the individual

a tendency to overthink. Despite what research shows,

develops this before the age of 40. It can also become

listening to your body is the most important factor,

dangerous because other risks can arise like spinal cord

Sleeping in a position that is best for you is always key!

conditions, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy

How to get a better night’s rest can vary on what

and iron deficiency.

works best for the individual. Some research shows

Narcolepsy is a condition characterized by extreme

reducing blue-light intake at night is effective for

sleepiness during the day, which can cause you to fall

some, whereas taking melatonin supplements works

asleep suddenly at any point during the day. Unfor-

better for others. Enhancing your sleep environment

tunately, narcolepsy does not have a cure, making it a

can help make your sleep patterns better, such as

more difficult condition to tackle than most. According

making the room’s temperature comfortable. Research

to Mayo Clinic, “Some people with narcolepsy experience

has shown that 70°F is typically the most comfortable

automatic behavior during brief episodes of narcolepsy.

room temperature, but again, that would depend on

For example, you may fall asleep while performing a

the individual. According to Healthline, “to optimize

task you normally perform, such as writing, typing,

your bedroom environment, try to minimize external

driving and you continue to perform that task while

noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm

asleep. When you awaken, you can’t remember what

clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing,

you did, and you probably didn’t do it well”. Narco-

clean and enjoyable place”. Taking a bath or shower

lepsy is one of the most difficult sleep conditions to

before bed has shown a direct correlation with getting

cope with because it can cause serious issues at work

a better night’s rest due to it helping the individual

or within one’s personal life. However, all of these

fall asleep faster. A lot of people also opt for a cup of

sleeping conditions have an impact on one’s life.

hot tea or a book to relax their mind.

Sleep paralysis is another sleeping condition but less

Whether it is for one’s mental or physical health, sleep

common than the others; less than 8% of people have

is extremely important to the individual to function

dealt with it. The two most common groups of people

to the fullest extent. Young adults and students have

that have experienced this are psychiatric patients and

grown accustomed to the ideas that sleep is not as

students. As stated by Stanford Health Care, “Sleep

important for them at this point of their lives. Pulling

paralysis is a normal part of the REM sleep. However,

all-nighters and getting minimum hours of sleep to

it is considered to be a disorder when it occurs outside

study for an exam or play the newest Xbox game is the

of REM sleep. It can occur in otherwise healthy people,

norm. But the long-term effects can be detrimental.

as well as in those presenting symptoms of narcolep-

Creating healthy needed sleep patterns can only better

sy, cataplexy and hypnagogic hallucinations. When it

one’s mind and body.

occurs without narcolepsy, it is classified as Isolated THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 30


BEAUTY + WELLNESS

TACKLING

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC WRITTEN BY

Samra Karamustafic Find out how you can alleviate the effects of seasonal affective disorder this winter season— even during a pandemic.

W

hat comes to mind when you

The disorder has garnered more attention in the

think of the winter season? Is

past few years, especially among teens and young

it cups of hot cocoa, Christmas

adults on various social media platforms such as

music on the radio, or streets lined with twinkling white lights and colorful decorations? Or is it a time of fatigue,

Twitter and YouTube. It’s not uncommon to see your

sluggishness, and minimal to no exposure to sunlight?

users suffering from SAD the moment that Daylight

While many of us anticipate the joy of the holiday

Savings ends. In fact, according to the Cleveland

season the moment that November 1st rolls around,

Clinic, approximately half a million people in the

others prepare themselves for the inevitable end of

U.S. suffer from winter seasonal affective disorder.

Daylight Savings Time, which means shorter days and

With that being said, roughly 10 to 20% suffer from

the possible onslaught of seasonal affective disorder.

the “winter blues”, which is a milder form of winter

But what exactly is seasonal affective disorder?

SAD. Doctors and researchers have yet to find the

According to the National Institute of Mental

exact cause of this disorder, but there are three main

Health, seasonal affective disorder, also known as

theories that the Cleveland Clinic outlines on their

“seasonal depression” or “SAD”, is a type of de-

website:

pression where the individual experiences mood and behavioral changes when the seasons change. There are two different types of SAD: winter-pattern and summer-pattern SAD. As you can tell by the name, symptoms of winter-pattern SAD typically begin in late fall or early winter and go away during the spring or summer; with summer-pattern SAD (which is less common) individuals begin experiencing symptoms in late spring or early summer, which then end in the fall.

31 | VINDICATOR

favorite YouTuber posting a video about their triedand-true tips to manage SAD or to see memes about

Sunlight Many believe that SAD can be set off by changes in the availability of sunlight, especially for individuals who are particularly vulnerable to such changes. Some doctors and researchers believe that due to the lessened exposure to sunlight, a person’s internal biological clock—the one that regulates hormones, sleep, and mood—shifts. Thus, someone with SAD would encounter irregular sleeping patterns and mood changes.


DECEMBER 2020

Symptoms of SAD that align with symptoms of major depression: Brain Chemicals Is SAD caused by a change in our brain chemicals? Possibly. Some doctors theorize that our neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, could be altered in people diagnosed with SAD. However, they believe that light therapy can correct these alterations. Melatonin The lack of sunlight in the winter months could mean

Feeling depressed nearly every day. Losing interest in any activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed. Changes in weight or appetite. Irritability and more.

an increased production of melatonin in people with

However, this year in particular poses a greater PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

challenge to people with SAD: the coronavirus pandemic. What the New York Times calls a “double whammy”, the daily stresses of the coronavirus pandemic this winter season could easily intensify seasonal depression for many individuals. In her interview with the New York Times, Dr. Kelly Rohan, a professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont, notes, “People will be limited in what they can do to stay well even if they

a few friends every once in a while, that may not be as feasible as it once was. Or, if you’ve always been an avid gym-goer when you felt the effects of SAD, that may change depending on the route that this pandemic will take regarding possible closures.

and safe treatments and coping methods out there; however, both the NIMH and

Seasonal depression doesn’t just cause a person to be

rate disorder per se, but rather a type of depression.

past by going out for a cup of coffee with

end of the tunnel! There are various healthy

both of which are common symptoms of the disorder.

Mental Health (NIMH) notes that SAD is not a sepa-

instance, if you’ve dealt with SAD in the

On the bright side, there is a light at the

SAD, which could explain the fatigue and sluggishness,

sad and sluggish, however. The National Institute of

normally have good coping resources.” For

the Cleveland Clinic strongly urge anyone

Winter pattern SAD specific symptoms: Oversleeping Overeating, with a particular craving for carbohydrates (think: your favorite holiday treats) Social withdrawal, which the NIMH alludes to as a sort of “hibernation”

who believes they may have SAD to not self-diagnose, but rather talk with a medical professional first! A doctor or mental health specialist can assess your symptoms to see if you have seasonal affective disorder or another possible mood disorder. As for handling SAD amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is completely doable. Dr. Rohan emphasizes the importance of keeping yourself busy, stating, “It’s more important than ever to push yourself to stay engaged with activities you enjoy and stay connected

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 32


BEAUTY + WELLNESS

with people as best as you can.” So while you may

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

not be able to have a few holiday parties with your

According to the Mayo Clinic, cognitive behavioral

closest friends, you can have a Zoom party and stay

therapy is a type of “talk therapy” that can effectively

in contact that way instead! The most effective treatment and coping methods for seasonal affective disorder (all of which are available even during the pandemic) include: Light Therapy There’s a chance you’ve either scrolled past an ad for a light therapy box, or you’ve seen an influencer rave about one that they’ve recently purchased. It’s no surprise that they’re a hit because light therapy is actually one of the most effective treatments for SAD! As Mayo Clinic explains, light therapy involves sitting or working near a light therapy box, which gives off a bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Many doctors believe that this type of therapy can affect the brain chemicals that are linked to both sleep and mood; to be more specific, researchers believe that light therapy can help your brain make more serotonin, the hormone known for regulating mood, anxiety, and happiness. According to WebMD, in order for light therapy to work, you must sit at least 12-18 inches in front of it for 30 minutes or more a day. Individuals usually report feeling better about 1 to 2 weeks after they’ve begun using the light therapy box.

33 | VINDICATOR

treat SAD. CBT can help an individual identify and shift negative thought patterns and behaviors that could be making them feel worse and teach them how to manage stress—something that all of us

—the

could use after this past year!

coronavirus

Mindful Activities

pandemic

seasonal affective disorder: mind-body connection.

this winter

themes of “mindfulness” and connecting your mind

season

and art or music therapy. While these activities

could easily

healthy coping strategies when it comes to dealing

Mayo Clinic suggests another type of treatment for Certain types of activities that revolve around the with your body include yoga, meditation, tai chi, may not get rid of SAD entirely, they can serve as

intensify

with the effects of SAD. Antidepressants If you’ve tried different treatment methods that

seasonal

haven’t helped alleviate any SAD symptoms for

depression—

you, then the next step should be to talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking a medication. As the National Institute of Mental Health mentions, because SAD is a type of depression, it disrupts the serotonin activity in your brain. Some antidepressants target and can treat SAD symptoms, but again, it’s always best to talk to your doctor to get their insight on the matter. As mentioned earlier, not everybody experiences the full-on effects of seasonal affective disorder,


DECEMBER 2020

but the “winter blues” instead. If you experience

WebMD notes that you should aim for around

this from time to time but it’s not so severe to the

30 to 60 minutes of exercise three times a week

point that you’d need to seek treatment, you can

to reap the benefits.

still do something about it. Implementing these small lifestyle changes, especially during the colder months, can help you cope whenever you feel the

“Socializing” looks very different this year, but that

“winter blues” coming on.

doesn’t mean that it’s any less important to our

Natural Light

care for can improve your mood instantly, and you

health and wellbeing. Being around those that you

When it comes to Ohio winters, we all know that we

can count on them to be there for you with helpful

can go days without seeing any sunshine throughout

advice when you need it. Although you may not be

the day, which is why it is so important to try and

able to spend time together in person this holiday

get as much natural light as possible when the sun

season, this is the 21st century, so we have plenty

is shining! Open up the blinds the moment that you

of technology to make up for that! Get a group of

wake up or try sitting near the window and letting the

friends together for a Netflix Watch Party and watch

light touch your face when you’re reading or studying.

a funny movie together, or have a coffee date via

Even just the tiniest bit of sunlight can improve your

Zoom—get creative and have fun with it!

mood and help boost those serotonin levels. Exercise We’d all love to spend the entire winter sleeping and watching Netflix, but let’s face it: life is all about balance! So, if you want to nap and relax all day, you’ve also got to carve out time to exercise. We all know that regular exercise is great for boosting serotonin, PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

Maintain Social Connections

endorphins, and other “feel-good” chemicals in our brain, but it can also improve your sleep and keep you healthy. If you’re able to exercise in natural sunlight, such as going out for a walk or run at your local park, you’re also getting more mood-boosting benefits! And if you’re the type to avoid the outdoors at all costs during the winter months, you can always sweat it out at the gym—just remember to wear a mask!

2020 has been anything but easy, and it’s affected us all in a myriad of ways. None of us are quite sure how the pandemic will play out over the coming months, but what we are all sure of is the need to take care of ourselves and others. Continue wearing your masks and social distancing, but remember to look after your mental health as well. If you’ve been cooped up indoors too long, go outside and get some sunshine—even if it’s just for five minutes. If you’re missing your friends, catch up with them through FaceTime or Zoom. The chillier temperatures and darker days can certainly affect your mood and energy, but rest assured knowing that you can

—remember to look after your mental health—

take steps to prevent SAD from diminishing your holiday spirit this year.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 34


EDITOR'S LETTER

Gift Guide The Ultimate Holiday

In The Vindi’s Holiday Gift Guide, we’ll walk you through perfect gifts for everyone on your list!

A

s the holiday season approaches, you may

be experiencing the stress that accompanies gift giving which may be especially difficult

this year. Because you can’t shop around the mall or make a quick pit stop at the store, it’ll be more difficult to navigate holiday shopping than usual. While this holiday season will look a little different than we’re used to, it’s still a great time to show your love and appreciation for friends and family. In order to ease the stress of holiday gift giving, we’ve created the following gift guide to aid your holiday shopping!

For Stress Relief

Rocketbook smart notebooks are also a great gift for those who do a lot of work online. These notebooks have the look and feel of paper, but can be wiped clean and reused. Before being wiped clean, send your notes to the Cloud to transfer them into digital materials. These notebooks can be purchased anywhere between $20 and $30.

For the Book Lovers

If there’s someone on your list that always has their nose in a book, consider giving them a book by their favorite author or a One Line a Day Journal. When you have a book lover on your list, you can

For those on your list that could use some stress

never go wrong giving them a book by their favorite

relief, a weighted blanket or heated back massager

author or a book in a genre they enjoy. A great way

is a great gift.

to find books to gift is looking at the listing of their

Weighted blankets offer a number of incredible

favorite book on Amazon.com and looking through

benefits that help ease stress. Because they keep a

the related searches, as these books will be similar.

person’s body from fidgeting throughout the night,

Another great gift for book lovers is a One Line a

weighted blankets improve sleep which leads to

Day Journal. These books consist of five years worth

decreased anxiety. The average price is $66, but can cost anywhere between $20 to $200. Another great stress relieving gift is a heated back massager. These back massagers relieve back pain with both heat and kneading. Heated back massagers may be incredibly helpful this holiday season, as most of us sit in front of a screen for most of the day. The average price for a massager is $40, but the price can vary from $10 to $60 depending on the variety of settings.

For Life Online

Because many of us have had to learn how to adapt to online schooling or work, you can’t go wrong giving gifts that make life online a little more bearable. A great gift for those that spend a large part of their day online is a pair of blue light glasses. These glasses have lenses that block or absorb the harmful blue light that comes from a computer or phone screen. Blue light strains the eyes and also activates the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep after looking at a screen. A pair of blue light glasses can be found at almost any price, but you can expect to pay around $30 for a quality pair. 35 | VINDICATOR

of journal entries with a few lines each. The idea is to write a few lines each day and at the end you have five years worth of memories. When the One Line a Day Journal is completed, it serves as a book reliving the last five years of an author’s life. These journals cost a little less than $15.

For the Cinema Lovers

When you have a cinema lover on your list, a great gift is an article of clothing referencing their favorite show,movie, or a subscription to a streaming service. If a person is passionate about a show or movie, you can never go wrong getting them a sweater that references that. For example, if you have a friend that loves The Office, you could give them a “Dunder Mifflin Paper Company” t-shirt or a “Schrute Farms” sweater. Another great gift for the cinema lover in your life is a subscription to a streaming service. There are a variety of streaming services that all offer incredible content and by gifting your cinema lover a subscription, you are gifting them endless hours of

WRITTEN BY

Megan Mullaly


PHOTO CREDIT SHUTTERSTOCK

DECEMBER 2020

entertainment! Two of the best streaming services

market. Their Skin Care Edit bundle is a collection of

are Netflix and Hulu, which both cost around $10 a

their best-selling skincare products, including their

month.

iconic Milky Jelly Cleanser and Balm Dotcom. This

For The Travelers

kit is perfect for anyone with a passion for skincare, and comes in at $50.

Great gifts for someone in your life that loves to travel

Another great gift for a skincare guru is a makeup

is a scratch-off map or a portable charger.

organizer. These organizers offer a great way to keep

Scratch-off maps allow the traveler in your life

skincare products organized and easily accessible.

to document their trips and visualize all the places

Makeup organizers can costanywhere from $10 to

they have been. There are options in different color

$50 depending on the size and style.

palettes for every taste and both United State’s and

While online shopping is a great way to avoid a trip

world maps. These maps can cost anywhere from

to the store, local businesses also offer great gifts

$10 to $50 depending on size and quality.

and shopping local gives back to the community.

Another great gift for a traveler is a portable phone

A great Cleveland-based company to purchase

charge. When you’re travelling, having your phone

gifts from is Cleveland Candle Company. They offer

at all times is vital because phones offer maps,

a range of scents in the form of candles, wax melts,

translation apps, and a method of photographing

and bath and body products. Their products can be

your trips. Portable charges can cost between $5 to

purchased online or at one of their stores in Mentor,

$50, with the higher end offering a longer lasting

Coventry, or Ohio City. Another great option from the

charge.

Cleveland Candle Company is a gift card to stop in

For the Outdoor Lovers

the shop and create your own candle. You get to pick your jar and the scents you’d like to mix into your

Because the holiday season can be cold and gloomy,

candle. The price ranges from $16 to $36 depending

a succulent kit or sunlamp are great gifts for an

on the size of the jar you choose.

outdoor lover.

Another great gift for the creatives on your list is

Succulent kits allow a person to plant and grow

a gift card to Maggie and Ellie’s. A pottery and art

their own succulent. This brings the element of nature

studio in Strongsville, they offer board art, pottery

into their home, which is incredibly helpful in the

and canvas painting, and glass fusing. You could even

wintertime. Succulents alone can cost as little as a

create a custom piece to give someone on your list.

couple dollars and succulent kits can cost between

If you’ve racked your brain and are unsure what

$20 to $50.

to give that last person on your list, you can’t go

Another great gift for the outdoor lover is a sunlamp.

wrong with a gift card tree with gift cards to popular

One of the great things about being outdoors is the

Cleveland hotspots. With gift cards to places like

exposure to sunlight. Because there is so much less

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream, Barrio Tacos,

sunlight in the wintertime, you can’t go wrong

Campbell’s Sweets Factory, and The Chocolate Bar,

gifting your outdoor lover a sunlamp. These lamps

this gift is bound to be a hit.

cost between $30 and $80.

While this holiday season may be more stressful

For the Skincare Gurus

than usual, don’t pass up the opportunity to show your appreciation for friends and family!

Great gifts for the sk incare guru in your life is Glossier’s The Skin Care Edit or a product organizer. Glossier is one of the frontrunners in the skincare

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 36


SOCIAL

NIGERIAN LIVES

MATTER TOO

WRITTEN BY

Claudia Ugbana

Why the rest of the world should be speaking up to #EndSars.

T

he Special Anti-Robbery Squad, commonly referred to as SARS, is a federal police unit created within the Nigerian police force which has drastically evolved over time. Originally created

to deal with crimes associated with robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and fire-

37 | VINDICATOR

of October were unlike anything the country had ever witnessed, causing the hashtag #EndSars to trend across all social media platforms, and millions of individuals became acutely aware of growing turmoil happening in Nigeria. On October 4th, a video surfaced on social media platforms, showing officers from the SARS unit dragging two civilians out of a hotel building and

arms, the unit is now being described as a terrorist

gunning them down in the streets. The graphic footage

organization that antagonizes and kills innocent

created an outrage amongst Nigerian citizens living

citizens.

within and outside of the county. All over the world,

The call to end the police force first surfaced in

Nigerian citizens took to the streets and social media

2017, when activists petitioned the government to

to aid all individuals to speak up against the police

abolish the unit as a result of their radical behavior.

brutality occuring in Nigeria.

The Nigerian youth accused the police force of

In response to the outrage of millions of Nigerians

unconstitutional harassment, mirroring the very

all over the world, on October 11th, Nigerian president

gangs they were instructed to protect citizens from.

Muhammadu Buhari announced he would disband

However the protests that occurred during the month

the organization. However many were unconvinced.


DECEMBER 2020

A TURNING POINT

A WAY FORWARD

The Nigerian youth continued to voice their out-

The hashtags #EndSars and #LekkiMassacre2020

rage with continued protests for several weeks. In

continues to trend on social media platforms, how-

that time, the women of Nigeria led the movement

ever the numbers are relatively low compared to how

front and center. Feminist Coalition was created, a

often they were used during the weeks the protests

women-led organization used to fund the movement

occurred. The youth of Nigeria seized all protests,

against police brutality in Nigeria. The organization

but occasionally reflect back on the events that oc-

assisted with the bail out of peaceful protesters,

curred during the month of October on their social

funding protests occurring across the country and

media platforms.

providing medical aid to individuals who sustained

An investigation into the Lek ki Massacre was

injuries at the protests. The organization raised nearly

conducted by CNN, displaying video footage of the

$400,000 in donations, posting real-time accounting of how the money was spent, an act of accountability the Nigerian people have demanded of the government for numerous years.

Nigerian youth continued to voice their outrage with continued protests

While people praised the Feminist Coalation for their efforts and transparency, the

for several

October 20th, the peaceful protests turned

weeks.

PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

bloody when members of the Nigerian army opened fire and murdered at least a dozen protesters

massacre. The reception from the Nigerian youth was

gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. The hashtag

positive, praising the media organization for con-

#LekkiMassacre2020 began to trend across all social

ducting the investigation promised by the Nigerian

media platforms, as millions of people expressed

government, but was never delivered. A loss of hope

their anger and sorrow over the lives lost.

was reignited by the report, proving the massacre was

Protesters across the world and within the coun-

real and holding government officials responsible.

try demanded an investigation into the massacre,

The impact of the movement will never be forgotten,

demanding to know who ordered the killings of

a testament that has been made clear by millions

innocent civilians. Civilians also responded to the

across the world. Although the movement appears

massacre with demands for accountability, as the

to have come to a halt, the youth have made it clear

bodies of the individuals murdered that night were

they intend on regrouping and continue demanding

reported missing by family members and never to

for their rights. The strength, integrity and power

be found till this day.

shown by the Nigerian youth has forever changed

On October 22, nigerian president Muhammadu

Nigeria, for the better.

Nigerian government was not pleased. On

Buhari addressed the nation, condemning the excessive force of the military as well as the youth, for coordinating protests that lead to this violent act. The address did not in fact address the senseless loss of lives or hold any members of government accountable. Instead, the address left citizens feeling hopeless with no resolve in sight. THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 38


MUSIC

A VERY VINDI WRITTEN BY

ILLUSTRATIONS BY

Eric Seitz

Emily WIliliams

A playlist of this holiday season’s freshest tunes — dare we say, bangers??

N

December, you can’t escape the spirit of

orignal song carried. Legend’s part promotes true gentlemanly behavior while maintaining the context

the season. The holiday music scene is

of Clarkson’s part.

o matter what holiday you celebrate in

a crowded (and possibly oversaturated) market, so sorting through the hun-

dreds of renditions of Holly Jolly Christmas can be daunting. That’s why we at The Vindicator have put together a list of all the most original, fresh tunes to carry you through this holiday season. Read below about some of our favorites!

You Make It Feel Like Christmas (feat. Blake Shelton) Gwen Stefani If this song doesn’t make you believe in both true love and the spirit of the holiday season at the same time, nothing will. Life partners Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton hit home the holiday spirit, wrapped in an ode to the fuzzy, almost first-crush-level

We Need A Little Christmas Pentatonix If any artist has the holiday music scene down to a science, it’s Pentatonix. It seems that every year, more artists realize that this song is a bop, despite its outdated and, frankly, gross mention of fruit cake. This song has a frenetic and jittery air, making it a perfect match for the quintet’s fine-tuned harmonies

feelings of love.

paired with Kevin’s electrifying beat-boxing.

some of Carpenter’s lines as well as Stirling’s almost

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (feat. Sabrina Carpenter) Lindsey Stirling Carried by Stirling’s mesmerizing violin, this song is a bright and punchy take on the classic song. Carpenter’s soaring vocals stand out in a song traditionally meant for a baritone voice. Further, the cadence of foreboding instrumental interludes serve to give this

How Could This Be Christmas? Mandy Moore The existence of the mournful Christmas song is perhaps as old as Elvis’s “Blue Christmas,” however, this original feels distinctly its own while maintaining that holiday feeling. Moore’s angelic voice carries with it a melancholy weight that evokes a sentimentality

song a contemporary facelift.

for what once was.

comfort. This rendition of the song feels fitting as

Caliente Navidad Isabela Merced Bringing Peruvian flair to the Christmas scene, Isabela Merced’s self-penned original begins almost not as a holiday song at all. It’s not until the mention of mistletoe 45 seconds into the song that begins the progression toward the holiday spirit in the dance-fueled chorus. Born and raised in Cleveland, the 19-year-old singer and actress is one to watch out for. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (feat. Kelly Clarkson) John Legend With Legend’s release of this song in 2019, he seemed to single-handedly antiquate every other rendition of it—the rewording of the male part’s lines eliminate the subtext of rape and sexual harrassment that the 39 | VINDICATOR

Silver Bells She & Him A n i nt i mate, m i n i ma l ist ta ke on t h is classic, Zooey Deschanel’s alto voice combined with the adorable-sounding ukulele evoke a feeling of unusual a pandemic-riddled holiday approaches, and many prepare for a much more limited celebration of Christmas. To Christmas! (The Drinking Song) Straight No Chaser If Pentatonix are the rulers of fresh takes on holiday classics, Straight No Chaser are the kings of holiday originals with only the most relatable of lyrics (see also Text Me Merry Christmas, The Christmas CanCan, Nutcracker). Encapsulating the essence of Irish pub anthems, this song thrives on the multitude of deep and rowdy voices Straight No Chaser boasts. This song is practically begging to take the place of “Thunderstruck” for a holiday twist on the drinking game of the same name.


DECEMBER 2020

I Got My Love To Keep My Warm Idina Menzel & Billy Porter

All I Want for Christmas Is You Dolly Parton & Jimmy Fallon

A lesser-known holiday tune, this song sounds like it

After Mariah Carey made this the unofficial official

was written specifically for Idina Menzel. With jazz

contemporary song of Christmas, artists began

club instrumentals to match Menzel and Porter’s

flock ing to record the song for their Christmas

bold voices, the tune is a representation of shameless

albums. With so many versions in the world, any new

declarations of love.

versions must have some sort of additional hook to

Round and Round Sia It’s incredibly Sia that the only song on her Christmas album to not be an original is not even technically a holiday song at all. Written in 1957, the original has approximately zero holiday spirit, but that didn’t

exactly that with some banter throughout the song that would be cringey if anyone else did it—but the two of them not only pull it off, but they make it adorably their own.

stop Sia from turning it into one of her album’s most

HOLIDAY Lil Nas X

festive songs—so much so that Target used it for a

The genre-bending star embraces festive winter

Christmas ad two years ago.

themes in his long-awaited single. The music video,

Holidays (feat. Earth, Wind & Fire) Meghan Trainor It seems that Meghan Trainor has managed to drag Earth, Wind & Fire out of their disco cave of obscurity to create this Christmas-themed ode to the 70’s. Earth, Wind & Fire’s disco funk blends perfectly with Trainor’s signature retro flair to make this a surprisingly fresh take on the holiday original. Winter Things Ariana Grande With two EPs, a single, and a couple of features under her belt, Grande is no stranger to holiday music; but this original from her adorably titled EP “Christmas & Chill” pays homage to spending Christmas in her home of Boca Raton, where the snow never falls.

PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

keep them from feeling bland. Parton and Fallon do

Christmas Don’t Be Late Kacey Musgraves Hidden in an album of amazingly Kacey holiday tunes, Musgraves displays how this song is good in its own right, without being sung by cartoon rodents. Originally sung by Alvin & The Chipmunks, this song actually won a Grammy and took place in society as a staple children’s Christmas song. Musgraves, however, takes the song and gives it a bit of polka

which surpassed 10 million views on YouTube in its first weekend, opens at the North Pole on Christmas Eve, 2220. Lil Nas X showcases his creativity and dance talent as he plays four elaborately-costumed characters, including a futuristic Santa Nas X. He raps about his rise to fame, including a verse that references the breakout hit “Old Town Road.” It’s hard not to dance to the catchy beat, and the stunning Christmas-inspired visuals make this track a holiday hit. White Winter Hymnal Fleet Foxes The lyrics as a whole may not make the most sense, but the mere mention of snow, scarves, and winter coats, combined with the beautiful harmonies and uplifting melody that you can hum along to, come together to create a song that encapsulates the essence of the winter season.

Listen to playlist on Spotify

flair, capitalizing on the song’s 3/4 time signature.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 40


ositions Obvious POV Shut Up 34 + 35 Motiv e

A review of the recent “Positions” album released by Ariana Grande. n October 30, 2020 (the day before

she began writing all songs in the album with a heavy

reaching the best time of the year!),

focus on strings. She would bounce ideas off her

I woke up to an immense amount

co-writer, sharing different tracks of string mel-

of messages, as it was my birthday.

odies. In songs such as “shut up”, “love language,”

Never in my life had I forgotten my

“positions,” and “34+35” strings are featured heavily,

birthday; yet this year has done nothing but distract

whether with slimy chords that almost crunch from

me and others from having a positive mental state.

how perfectly lined up they are, or a quick plucking

Fortunately for me, waking up, showered with love

of string that urges us to dance. As Grande continues

by friends and family was the perfect way to start

to push out one successful album after another, the

my day; but what came next would make things even

style of her music has evolved.

more exciting…

Whether you have a professional background with

“Positions (the album) is out now,” posted on

the production of music or are an average teen hear-

Ariana Grande’s social media made my heart glow!

ing one of the album’s songs on the radio, you can

The Positions album was a moment that redefined

agree that this album is a stylistic shift. Beginning

what kind of music we, as listeners, should expect

her music career starring in the musical “13” on

from the pop superstar. Grande explained in a recent

Broadway, her musical training has evolved as she

interview on the Zach Sang Show that she questioned

produced albums targeting younger crowds (“Yours

whether now was the right time to release an album,

Truly” in 2013 and “My Everything” in 2014), has

but she decided that was the exact reason why she

become more confident and vulnerable, (“Dangerous

should release an album. Music is medicine to the

Woman” in 2016, “Sweetener” in 2018, and “thank

soul, and not only was the news of her album fresh

u, next in 2019), and ventured beyond her pop roots

and positive, but the album itself broke records. The

into more R&B territory. Although the “Dangerous

title track of “Positions” is her fifth number one

Woman” album will always be my favorite Ariana

single, extending her record for the most number

Grande album, I am loving the jam sessions I’ve been

one debuts, and the most number one singles in 2020. The album consists of 14 tracks that take

having thanks to her latest album.

listeners through an emotional roller coaster as Grande shares personal emotions on her lost

West Side Lov e Language P ositions Obvious POV Shut Up 34 + 35 Motive ft. Doja Cat Just Lik e Magivc

West Side Lov

Reem Abumeri

Safety Net My Hair Nasty

WRITTEN BY

MUSIC

feeling as she discusses sex.

Grande further explained her process with songwriting as more sporadic than consistently working on one song at a time. Additionally,

41 | VINDICATOR

e Magic Off the Table ft. The Weeknd Sixty Thirty

Safety Net My Hair Nasty

relationships, while creating an empowering


POETRY

Drenched in Violet WRITTEN BY

Breathing used to be slow and steady an all encompassing feeling.

Sydnie Dorma

Now it is like swimming in deep water. your head becomes heavy from all the dense pressure caging you under. yet, your heart and limbs feel light. I’ll keep you like a breath taken in when needed but exhaled out just the same. I’ll keep you like death long awaited and mind-torturing but inevitable. I’ll keep you like music euphoric the last thing I hear before my last breath. I won’t sit back and watch things wither away. that would make me a lazy gardener. I rather sit back and watch a hot sun turn gray than hear a hollow “I love you.” My fears are drying me out that I don’t even feel them anymore. an endless empty glass no matter how thirsty. Breathe because you’ve been here before. the shaken devil that is your mind are more flowers than weeds. teach yourself to look at the wilted petals as a friend. it hurts but it won’t break you. it will become homesick if you refuse to be its permanent. become its favorite northern vacation. alienate it instead of yourself. It will fade long before you do. If i am stuck with you I hope to be left with a tan not a burn. if I am scarred by you I hope to be marked by things as soft as cotton and sweet as honey. if I am to cry by you it shall be in thanks to the rain sticking to my cheeks. When did we come outside?

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 42


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