The Declaration November 2020 | ISSUE #2
2020: A Review in Politics by Ciaran Santiago
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Drew Angerer/Getty Images
With the result of the 2020 election all but certainly locked in for former United States Vice President Joe Biden, the narrative begins to transition to what will hopefully be a return to some degree of political normalcy, or at least not having to open up your phone every day and wonder what dumb thing the leader of the free world just tweeted. The election ended up being unpredictable and surprising, with silver linings for both parties and no clear path forward for anyone. As rural white populations grew more conservative and urban groups shifted left, the realignment of the 21st century continued, but also diverged along strange paths that left open a bridge forward for American politics to fundamentally reshape itself. At the top of the ticket, Biden appears to have secured 306 electoral votes, exactly the same as Donald Trump won
in 2016. However, his winning coalition was propelled by a new, exciting demographic never seen before in a victorious Democratic ticket. While the main path to his victory involved securing the so called “Blue Wall”, or the three northern states– Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania– that narrowly flipped red in 2020, he also did well in the so-called Sun Belt, flipping Arizona, a state last won by Bill Clinton in 1996, as well as Georgia, not won by Democrats since 1992. Some of the attitudes about how well the parties’ nights went is a little skewed, since the results were not really that close. In order for Trump to have won the electoral college, a minimum of three states would need to have gone his way, a virtual impossibility. Down ballot, hopes fell a little flat. In the Senate, Democrats whiffed on key competitive races in North Carolina,
Montana, Iowa, and most significantly, Maine. In the House, their majority was cut down impressively thanks to low ticket splitting, shaving the overall majority to what may well be single digits. While the House is still firmly in Democratic hands, with new congressional maps, it will be a long slog to maintain that majority in two years. For the Senate, control will ultimately come down to two runoff elections in Georgia. While the national environment can be challenging to predict, it is inevitable that the next few years will in all likelihood continue to be an electoral equivalent of trench warfare, even without someone as bombastic as Trump in the Oval Office. So while 2020 may be a welcome respite for those seeking some level of normalcy, expect the rest of the country’s politics to continue the highstakes conflicts for the foreseeable future.
A Modern Perspective on Modern Love by Cynthia Chong I didn’t start listening to the “Modern Love” podcast until the pandemic consumed our lives—that’s when I really got into podcasts. But even as a newcomer, I feel like I’ve been a cult follower for years. I anticipated Wednesday nights because that was when new episodes were released. That was when I could savor essays of loss, joy, betrayal, and of course, love. Along the journey, I came to know the storytelling voices of Daniel Radcliffe, Saoirse Ronan, and Hasan Minhaj. To those who are unfamiliar with “Modern Love,” it’s a podcast that originated as a column in The New York Times but has soon evolved into a TV show on Amazon Prime, three books, a sub-series called “Tiny Love Stories” –featuring reader submissions that are no more than 100 words–and, of course, this podcast. In podcast form, “Modern Love” invites celebrities to read aloud essays from the column, and afterwards, the writer, the editor (and creator of the column) Daniel Jones, and the reader all reflect upon the story. That was the old “Modern Love.”
The revamped version, or rather, season two, which was released on October 7 after a 4-month hiatus, has none of this. Yes, the podcast retains its most significant feature—submissions read aloud from the beloved column—but it follows a very different format. For one, celebrities were replaced by narrators from Audm, a service owned by The Times that turns long-form journalism into audio content. These readings lack the expressive reading that well-known actors usually give and the discussion of why they chose that particular story. I liked that segment of the podcast because it showed how the essay personally touched its reader. Now, episodes are filled with an impartial narrators who never join the conversation; their job is to merely read the narrative. I would have preferred hearing the writer reading their own anecdote. And instead of focusing each episode on one essay, the new ones now feature two—one short submission from “Tiny Love Stories” and one traditional long story from the “Modern Love” column that are similar in theme
and content. I wouldn’t mind listening to more stories per episode if it weren’t for the lack of discussion at the end of the shorter story. The author and the editors (Miya Lee, editor of “Tiny Love Stories,” is a new addition, joining Jones as co-host) still engage in a conversation at the end of the long narrative. And to give “Modern Love” 2.0 some credit, the writers of the shorter essay do narrate their own story, but, unfortunately, the longer one does not get the same special treatment. I still love “Modern Love,” and I still listen to it every Wednesday evening as I wind down from the day. I still end the week by reading the column and “Tiny Love Stories” when they are released every Friday. And the TV series is next up on my watchlist. In season two, I will miss guessing which stars will be on air next and their voices. I’d also like to hear the not-so-tiny story behind each 100-word paragraph. But the new season, just like the first, provides what I’ve always been craving: touching, emotional, romantic, adorable, and realistic love stories.
New version (left) v. Old version (right). Photos courtesy of New York Times
Bondrewd: A New Take on Villainy by Brian Nanton One of my favorite anime series is “Made in Abyss.” I know I’ve said this before, but the series shines above the other 200+ anime that I’ve watched. There’s just an innocent but realistic feel to the plot; the show will not hesitate to break your heart, make you cry, or even just make you connect to a character in a way that you never had. The movie came out in Japan in January 2020, and then you could watch it online with English subtitles a few weeks ago if you paid a ticket fee. And to say the least, I was not disappointed. “Made in Abyss” is a manga/ light novel series written by Akihito Tsukushi. It follows the story of Riko, the daughter of a white whistle (they are the top cave raiders), traveling deep into the abyss to find her mother. The abyss is basically a large hole that travels down and down into the earth to unknown depths. In the abyss, many relics of ancient times sit and are valued at a high price, and just like the gold rush, travelers come from all over the world to journey down into the abyss unaware of the danger that lies ahead. Beneath the surface are unknown dangerous monsters, trials, and other things that might prevent these travelers from adventuring. One of these dangers is the curse of the abyss. This curse affects the cave raiders only when they ascend up the abyss and gets worse the further you descend. The curse effects can include mild nausea, vomiting, headache, bleeding from every orifice, and even death. After a while these adventurers became known as cave raiders, they got ranked on their skill level, white being the highest. Riko, while only a red (the lowest adventurer rank) whistle (the lowest adventurer rank), escapes from the surface and ventures down to the bottom of the abyss with a human-like-robot named Reg. They face
assorted hardships and challenges on their journeys but manage to make it to the sixth layer where the movie begins. Now, let me say it again, this movie was amazing. I cried four times during this movie, and I don’t know whether I should be proud of myself for that, but it’s beside the point. To be honest, this movie had the villain that became my favorite anime villain so far, Bondrewd. Bondrewd is more of the mad scientist type who would sacrifice anything to gain what he wants. In order to combat the curse of the abyss, he makes what he calls “cartridges.” These “cartridges” are made of the brains and organs of human children. They absorb the curse of the abyss and protect Bondrewd from its effects. While he does have the traits of a mad scientist, it’s the way that he acts around his adopted daughter, Prushika,
that makes me taken in by Bondrewd. He saved her from his own experiment, and basically became a father figure to her. As the movie progresses, Riko and Prushika become great friends and care very much about each other. Bondrewd continues his experiments hiding them from Prushika, but Prushika will love her father no matter what. He hugs her and puts up a beautiful facade or true version of love. He admires the curse in a rational sense, as something that both gives blessings and curses. He had a cool demeanor throughout the story and we really never see him lash out at anyone, almost like he’s lost the human side of himself. Prushika, meaning “Flower of Dawn,” both foreshadows the ending of the movie and finally exposes what exactly white whistles are. If you have some free time, hop on Netflix and watch some anime.
Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video
by Lloyd Stohler
Across: 1.Small, black insect 4.Virus related to COVID-19 8.Bug slap 12.Absolute values 13.Skilled with computers or hacking 14.Comes in ‘whipped’ and ‘ice’ 15.Constellation bear 20.Plant scientific 21.Informed 22.Not ____ (2 words) 23.Ernie’s pal 24.Study of mountains 25.Soccer offensive 26.Grabs 27.Visual media 28.American Printing House 29.Temmie currency
30.Consumed 31.Entirety 32.Group of items 33.Russian slang for prisoner 34.Police officer 37.Price to pay 38.Feline star sign 39.Digs for gold 41.____ roll (2 words) 42.Slow animal 43.Had run 44.2005 Nickelodeon series 45.Participators in use 46.Collaborative world map 47.Pig Will and Pig Me ____ 48.First African American president 49.Father stallions 50.The extra hour gotten each year
email email@example.com for the answers!
51.Nostrils 52.Two thousand pounds 53.Anyone can ask and they’ll answer 54.Object 55.Between a castle and a mansion 57.The 45th VP 59.Ancient Greek outfit 60.State in the Pacific Northwest 62.Perfect score 63.Slumber 64.Truly love 65.Provider of education to organizations 66.Location of the first 4 Henry Stickmin games 67.To be (in Spanish) 69.Russia’s greatest love machine 71.Year (in Spanish) 72.____ your own horn Continued on page 5
74.Hot leaf water 75.Eastern equine encephalitis 76.Sheldon’s catchphrase 77.Kenyan ethnic group 78.Hearing organ 79.Of the unknown number 80.Time passed 81.Like rain on your wedding day 82.Decreases 83.West of Yemen 84.Uncommon 85.Cloud of space dust 86.Food scrap 87.Solar satellite made in 2010 88.Brand picture 89.Socratic love 90.Biblical garden 91.MTV’s fifth greatest MC of all time 92.Sticky road gunk 93.Not odd Down: 1.Expression of pity 2.Cancelled Pixar film 3.Salty eye water 4.Mufasa’s brother 5.Creative piece 6.Respond 7.Room (in French) 8.Piece of paper that commands one to court 9.Focibly take 10.Automatic Server Restart 11.Not Tit 12.Rick’s grandson 13.Order of the Temple of the East 14.Gambian Dollars 15.Sealed 16.Cigarette starters 17.Cold 18.Sewing style 19.English writing group 20.Very common child name 21.Christian African character in Lost 22.Cut off contact on all sides 23.Water air 27.Mayonnaise with garlic 30.Skilled 31.____ carte (2 words)
32.Mario’s catchphrase (3 words) 33.There are lots of children’s songs about going there 34.Capture in a trap 35.Dark spirits in “Fran Bow” 36.Setting of “Adventure Time” 37.Setting of “Les Mis” 39.Thinker of creative thoughts 40.High quality furniture 42.Simple human sketch 43.California, Transylvania or Mario 44.Jaiden’s bird 47.Skeleton piece 49.Nonprofit software tool 51.Long angry speech 53.Early gaming console 54.Modification 55.List of food 56.Dog foot 57.Public service announcement 58.Kind of salt 59.A pirate’s favorite letter 60.Fence door 61.Jon Arbuckle’s dog 62.Zero amount 64.Consume 66.Car’s heart 67.Flew over 68.Light wavelength measuring tool 69.Detecting device 70.Tap 72.Strive and suffer 73.Killer whale 74.Bird homes 75.Cooled plasma 76.Naked 77.Gelatinous substance 78.Nada 79.Beware the ____ of March (the 79 on the left side of the puzzle) 79.Pit (the 79 on the right side of the puzzle) 80.Order of the British Empire 81.Church lady 83.Spanse of time 84.You won’t talk about it 85.Movie file 86.Amount of existence 87.Not prefix
Continued from the previous page
Comic by Maya Albano
Switching It Up: What’s New With Nintendo? by Brian Nanton
Photo courtesy of The Pokemon Company.
Now, I will not lie — I had not picked up my Nintendo Switch in months until the release of the following DLCs (downloadable content) for these next games. As it stands, many people only use a Switch if they want to play one of these games: “Super Smash Bros: Ultimate”, “Pokemon: Sword” and “Pokemon: Shield games”, or “Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. I usually use my switch for the three, and, since new content came out this month for both, I got right on to playing them. First up this month came the newest character in the fighter pass–one that no one was expecting. It was even joked about in the Smash community, but it actually happened. Steve, from the popular game “Minecraft”, actually got into “Smash Bros Ultimate”. While watching the live Nintendo Direct, in front of millions, Masahiro Sakurai, lead director for “Smash Bros Ultimate”, presented Steve
to the masses. And to put it simply, the crowd went wild. Gasps of joy could be heard from both myself and friends watching with me, and we could not wait to play the new character. Once Steve came out a few days ago, the Smash online servers got flooded by so many users that they crashed and were offline for about 15-20 minutes. Once my friends and I finally got to play the character, we fell in love with the character’s move set and unique design. The overall creativity and commitment of the developers over at Nintendo should be commended for the great effort they put into their newest addition. Second, as of Thursday, October 22 at 9:00 p.m., the crowned Tundra DLC got released for “Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield”. I went home, did my homework, and immediately hopped into a voice chat to start playing. First, we got introduced to the new storyline
and slowly but surely progressed through it. My friends were most excited for the Galarian Forms (basically different forms based on the Pokemon region) of the legendary birds: Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno. While we could catch those first, we decided to follow the main story and get that out of the way. It took us a while and was a little tedious, but as long as you’re talking with people and having fun, anything can be made exciting. We caught the Legendary Box Calyrex (the main legendary of the DLC), and then we move on to catching the legendary birds, and then the new Regi Forms that originally came from Pokemon Platinum. It was a long night, but it was fun. If you’re playing a game, play it with some friends. Even if you don’t know the person that well, you can use games as a way of bonding with others. It gives you something to laugh about, and remember for days and months to come.
Declapedia: 10 Tips for Self Care by Marissa Panethiere Now more than ever, with the world experiencing a pandemic and election season upon us, self care and prioritizing mental and physical health is integral to staying sane. Not everyone has the same needs, and so whatever makes you happy is an individual endeavor, but it can be very difficult to find exactly what you need to do to maintain yourself and keep yourself happy, calm, and healthy. I know that college applications have wrecked my sanity in these past few months, and I have found several great approaches to my own self care, so if you don’t know where to start, here are 10 things you can try! Guided meditation. This is a wonderful way to really centralize your focus and take a few minutes out of your day to release any tension you may have! Youtube, Spotify, and even Apple Music have countless guided meditations that you can follow. My personal favorites are ones that are curated to help reduce stress and promote presence in your daily life. I recommend doing guided meditations either right when you wake up or right before bed—starting or ending your day on a calm note can really set you up for success! It only takes around fifteen minutes to completely transform your perspective. Face masks. Over the past few years, skincare has become synonymous with self care. With the beauty and skincare community becoming a growing presence on social media and TV, more people now have access to a wide variety of skin care products. Sometimes, just cleaning up your face for a little bit of time can help you feel refreshed from a long week! With the added benefit of clearing up your skin, the methodical practice of putting on and washing off a fairly low-maintenance product, face masks can help you feel more in control and restart your mood. Make a playlist. Music is healing! Most people have a favorite artist, album, or song that they latch onto. If you are ever feeling down-in-the-dumps, curat-
ing a playlist of all the music that makes you happy, excited, or energetic can boost your mood. Finding your favorite songs and putting them all in one spot is not only a therapeutic practice in itself, but it will also give you a permanent resource to a mood boost whenever you’ll need it next. Take a walk. I know with the winter months steadily approaching, going outside seems like a less-than-ideal option for self care: who wants to freeze? But hear me out: getting your adrenaline going and increasing your heart rate will make you feel so recharged! Exercise in any form has been shown to help people sleep deeper, wake up faster, remain at healthier weight, and retain stronger personal relationships. Perhaps a walk wouldn’t hurt–– cold does help with circulation, after all. Cook smething. Learning to cook something new, no matter how simple or complex, is a great way to take care of yourself. Find a new recipe for dinner, or bake a fresh batch of cookies! Even making a slightly more complex version of your daily coffee can help boost your mood and make you feel proud of your experimentation. Have a fashion show. Not literally, but going through your clothes and planning outfits for different events can be a fun approach to your week! While you’re in your closet, you may find a sweater you forgot you had, or be reminded of that pair of pants that you haven’t gotten the chance to wear yet! Don’t fret! Now you’ve given yourself the opportunity to have fun with your style, which is a great way to feel more like yourself and be confident! Unplug! Get off your phone, your laptop, whatever device is sucking away the precious hours of the day. Set screen time reminders to keep yourself from wasting your entire evening on TikTok or Instagram, and set your devices aside to do something new! Try doing some of the other listed activities without your technology, or go spend some time
with your family and friends unplugged from the internet! It’s a refreshing change of pace that makes you a lot less hyper aware of other people’s perception of you and gives you a few moments of freedom, for however long you decide to do it. Craft. Doing something with your hands and creating sentimental, handmade items has been shown to boost your mood. There are countless different methods of crafting that you can do: friendship bracelets, art, sewing, really anything is a great outlet for creativity and relaxation. I took up knitting and crocheting again recently, and I have found these activities to be a great respite from my daily life. Drink water. While this may not be the textbook definition of fun, your body will THANK you. Despite many people’s best efforts, we often fall short of our daily goal of eight cups. Whenever you have the time, grab yourself a huge cup of water and try to take a few sips every couple minutes. Before long, you’ll have finished the cup and you’ll be far more hydrated than you were that morning. Sleep, sleep, and sleep. Staying up super late is very tempting in the moment, but we all end up hating ourselves for it in the morning. Try to set a goal of going to bed at a decent time however many times is reasonable for you. Maybe for you, this could be going to bed on time every other day or even going to bed an hour earlier once a week. However you can reasonably set that goal is going to help you in the long run. Any extra hour or even minute you get of sleep helps keep you healthy and not grouchy for your first period class. Self care is really defined by its name: you have to take care of yourself first. Whatever things bring you joy or boost your mood are things you should be doing for your own personal self care. And if you have any additional suggestions, let us know!
First-Time Voters Take On 2020 Election by Cynthia Chong and Marissa Panethiere Cynthia: With the pandemic throwing everything off course, this year’s presidential election was no exception. Before 2020, I had never realized the myriad ways one could cast a ballot—voting in person, by mail, early, or absentee. As a first-time voter, I conducted numerous Google searches to figure out the best option for me: By what date should I request an absentee or mail-in ballot? What did I need to bring to the polls? Did I even register to vote? I had hoped I could vote by mail and even sent my request, but because I turned 18 within a week of the election, the St. Louis County Board of Elections could not send me a ballot. The weird thing, however, was that they still mailed me an absentee ballot. Of course, due to my birth date, I had to surrender the ballot at the polling station when I voted in person. To avoid long lines and waking up early, I decided to vote absentee in person (Missouri does not have early voting!). The line was very long, but it was probably still shorter than it would’ve been on Election Day, and it moved quickly: I was out the door with my “I voted today” sticker in only about 1.5 hours! I was expecting the process to be chaotic and time consuming—I was wrong. The staff was helpful, and the instructions were straightforward. Since I received a paper ballot, I did not have to use any voting machines (except putting it in the scanner at the very end). Overall, my first voting experience was overwhelmingly positive. With some research and preparation, I made sure my vote counted in the 2020 election. Marissa: As a first-time voter, I wanted to be sure my vote counted. I prioritized going in person to cast my vote on Election Day, so around midmorning on November
3—after the morning rush, of course—I hopped into my car and went to my local polling center. My city’s recreation center, a giant gymnasium-hybrid building, had a line wrapped around the building. I took the half-mile trek to get to the end of the line, and I waited. St. Louis had an interactive map that tracked waiting times at the various polling stations within the city and county, and I saw my wait time was only around 30-45 minutes, so I stuck it out. The line moved extremely fast (I talked with some of my neighboring voters, and apparently, lines had never
moved this quikly in previous elections!), and when I reached the front of the line, it was much easier to receive my ballot than I had thought! All my pre-election stress (regarding the mechanics of voting, of course) was totally unnecessary. After I had filled in my ballot and turned it in, I was very proud of myself for being an active voice in our country. As many of my fellow first-time voters have noted, the process was extremely positive, and with this year’s voter turnout being the highest in the last 100 years, I think this positivity is going to help keep the population informed and voting!
Marissa with her “I Voted Today” sticker. Cynthia waits in line wither her AP Lang book, which is very fitting for the election!Photos courtesy of Marissa Panethiere and Cynthia Chong.
“...with this year’s voter turnout being the highest in the last 100 year, I think this positivity is going to help keep the population informed and voting!”
Creature Feature: Bornean Orangutan by Phil Nye
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and PBS
Whether you’ve seen them in a nature documentary, the Saint Louis Zoo, or the hit Disney movie “The Jungle Book,” Orangutans are one of the most interesting and intelligent animals in the animal kingdom—and their existence is being threatened by an ever-changing world. Here is how and, most importantly, why you should help these creatures. The Bornean Orangutan (pongo pygmaeus) is one of three species of Orangutan; it is the most well known and the most endangered of the three. Bornean Orangutans are native to the Island of Borneo and play a large part in the ecosystem of the island through seed dispersal: over 500 different species of plant life have been recorded in their diet, and Bornean Orangutans spread a large majority of these species’ seeds through their feces, giving not only Orangutans a full belly, but the other animals in Borneo as well. Orangutans are the only species of great ape that spends a large majority of their time in the trees. With males weigh-
ing up to 200 pounds, to spend all their time in the trees seems quite dangerous, which is why they have developed dexterity in all of their limbs. Their feet and hands act in almost the same way, so when climbing they can test and feel a branch before stepping on it, showing not only their excellent body structure but also their intelligence. In the trees, one could find an Orangutan sleeping, munching on leaves or fruit, or using what primatologists call a “long call” where males puff up their cheeks and release a loud holler that can be heard for several miles, telling other males to stay away, and females to make their way over. Despite trying to enact conservation efforts, many of the areas deemed a “protected area” have very few Orangutans. The areas used for timber or being converted to agriculture hold a majority of the population. While there are efforts, they are not in the right places. Orangutans also have the longest interbirth period out of any mammal—8 years. The
fact they don’t reach sexual maturity until about 15-16 years of age means that they don’t reproduce very quickly, and they are declining rapidly, with poaching and pet trade leading the way. The greatest way to save these animals is educating people about them. How is somebody supposed to protect these animals if they have no idea about the problem? By showing the world the danger and donating to legitimate organizations like the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Orangutan foundation can help increase the chances of preserving these apes. Use products that do not have palm oil, or make sure the palm oil that you use is sustainable palm oil as many of the forests inhabited by Orangutans are being decimated for palm oil, contributing to the loss of habitat. These are just a few things that can help the Bornean Orangutan and return them to their original status as the King of the Jungle. (King Louie, we are looking at you!)
2020 Film Fest by Greta Stucke and Ana Casares On Saturday, October 10, the Student Activity Committee (SAC) presented Film Fest for virtual and in-person students. The evening brought students together in person and by Zoom to enjoy two feature films and snacks. The two movies shown on the giant screen in the gymnasium were “Back to the Future” and “The Breakfast Club.” Even though there were only about twenty people joining us in person, others participated virtually. To involve the virtual students, there was a live chat that shared everyones’ conversations and opinions. We had intermissions where we could eat snacks that SAC provided. During intermission we also had the chance to laugh and have fun with our friends. “Back to the Future” had some inappropriate parts to it, but don’t most 80s movies have some inappropriate parts mixed in? But it was nice seeing it again. “Back to the Future” is about a teenage boy (Michael J. Fox) getting stuck in the past and almost destroying his existence because his scientist friend (Christopher Lloyd), who is a bit crazy, made a time machine. “The Breakfast Club” is a movie about five high-school students who come together to serve a Saturday morning de-
by Carson Kizer
Photo courtesy of The Dissolve
tention with their self-important principal (Paul Gleason). The five students come from different backgrounds: there’s a jock (Emilio Estevez), a nerd (Anthony Michael Hall), a rebel (Judd Nelson ), an outcast (Ally Sheedy), and a popular girl (Molly Ringwald). Even though they are different, they still find that they have a lot in common. The movie was released in 1985 and directed and written by John Hughes. The plot of the movie follows the high-school students at Shermer High School. Mr. Vernon, the principal, assigns
them to write an essay about “who you think you are” and about what they did wrong to get them into detention. The students pass time in a variety of ways, and gradually, they begin to talk to each other and reveal their secrets. They discover they all have difficult relationships with their parents and are afraid of making the same mistakes as the adults around them. The friendships that develop that Saturday morning become a problem because they are afraid that once detention is over, they will return to their cliques and never speak to each other again. They wrote their essay as a group to Mr. Vernon, illustrating the changes the students underwent while they were there; their attitudes in retrospect have completely changed. We think the movie was brilliant and was one of the best teen films ever made. The movie is an extraordinary mix of humor, heartbreak, and anger. Both of these movies are classics and always fun to watch with friends and family. The experience of attending Film Fest was amazing. Looking at our friends when we both thought a line in the movie was funny was definitely worth being there in person despite being socially distanced. Everyone had fun, and a big thanks to the SAC members for helping set up Film Fest.
“Rear Window” Review
“Rear Window” (1954), a thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the “Master of Suspense,” remains one of the most famous suspense films of all time, if not the most well-known. And yet we aren’t treated to the secret spies and dazzling locales one might expect from that genre. No, “Rear Window” takes place in a single courtyard surrounded by the open windows of various apartments. Our protago-
nist, an adventurous photographer named L.B. Jefferies or “Jeff”, played by Jimmy Stewart, lives in one of these complexes. In fact, he’s stuck there, just like us in our homes during this pandemic for several weeks prior, he suffered an injury that left him in a cast from his left foot to his hip, temporarily confining him to a wheelchair. Jeff receives only two regular visitors. The first is Stella (Thelma Ritter), an
insurance company nurse with intuition. The second is his socialite girlfriend, Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly), who makes a habit of never wearing the same dress twice. Stella believes that Jeff should marry Lisa, but he is reluctant given their vastly different lifestyles. Aside from the two women, however, Jeff has no other visitors. With nothing to do and nowhere to go, our adventurous protagonist spends Continued on page 11
his time looking out upon the courtyard from his rear window, secretly and perhaps unethically observing his neighbors with binoculars and his camera equipment. Among the assorted characters who live in the apartments, there’s a flirtatious dancer whom Jeff nicknames “Miss Torso,” a single woman he calls “Miss Lonelyhearts,” a talented pianist, several married couples, including one with a small dog that enjoys digging in the flower garden, and finally a middle-aged salesman with his nagging wife. All is well in the neighborhood until one evening, Jeff notices the disappearance of the salesman’s wife, followed by her husband’s strange trips in the dark hours of the night. Convinced a murder has taken place, Jeff investigates from his apartment, aided by Lisa and Stella. We watch with him as mysterious happenings begin to unfold in the salesman’s apartment across the courtyard, as well as observe their effects on the other neighbors. Throughout the film, we’re truly as powerless as L.B.
Jefferies in his cast, since our vision is only limited to what we can see out the window. Even events that occur in different apartments are shown only from Jeff’s perspective in his apartment. Because the film confines us to such a limited range of vision, we feel obligated to speculate what occurs elsewhere. The film has a witty script, filled with clever dialogue and interesting interactions between the few main characters of the story. The relationship between Jeff and Lisa is particularly well-executed by Stewart and Kelly, who have excellent chemistry with each other. And I haven’t even mentioned the set design. The courtyard in which “Rear Window” takes place is in fact one massive indoor set with nuanced lighting and a unique drainage system to accommodate the rain sequences. All of these factors combine to thoroughly immerse viewers in the neighborhood, elevating the experience overall. If “Rear Window” has one major flaw, it might be that the film takes a
Photo courtesy of The Film Experience
Continued from the previous page Page 11 long time to really get going. The actual mystery doesn’t introduce itself until approximately half an hour into the movie. Instead, we’re treated to an introduction to both the main characters and the many neighbors. The film’s first few scenes serve brilliantly to get us familiar with the setting, but I must confess that some of them are needlessly laden with extended dialogue. However, once the film truly kicks off, it never looks back. “Rear Window” is a very engaging if unconventional thriller flick. It’s the type of film that keeps the viewer guessing and searching the background for all sorts of clues and connections, much like L.B. Jefferies and his binoculars. Though the beginning drags, the rest of the story gradually builds up suspense, layer by layer, until the climax. If you want a taste of Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliance, or if you simply want to spend the evening enjoying a well-made suspense film, “Rear Window” may be the movie for you.
All School Play Review: Carl the Second by Michael Hanson “Carl the Second,” a memory play by Marc Palmieri, revolves primarily around Carl, a bookstore owner (played by Ethan Chamberlin) who is a societal reject accustomed to being “second” at everything. He has a convoluted love life: he is able to date attractive women, but only after a horrible breakup of sorts (mostly ending with them breaking up with him to get back with their former lovers). After his friend and former professor’s (several characters played by Jonathan Teagan) timely advice, he is able to sit in on an acting class exclusively for “attractive women.” Through this class, he is able to meet Christine (Allison OverKamp), a French teacher and basketball coach at a local high school. The two have much in common and quickly begin dating. Carl becomes convinced that she will resume a relationship with her ex, and he begins fabricating a scenario in which characters from a variety of novels, including “Madame Bovary” (Nathalie Guillossou), “The Great Gatsby” (Carter Cashen), and “Moby Dick” (Jonathan Teagan) begin to give him advice. Their advice is mixed, however, and he challenges her ex-boyfriend (Addox OverKamp) and his softball team to a game (in Carl’s mind, this game represents a duel). Christine, upon discovering Carl’s motives for the challenge, asks Carl for a date, promising to fix all that may have gone wrong. Carl goes to the game, which he loses when most of the players on his team quit. Christine comes to his house, knocking frantically. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we never get to see what happens. Nathalie commended her fellow actors on their teamwork and perseverance even when things didn’t go as planned. She commented that “both days’ performances were excellent,” and said of the experience: “I enjoyed playing so
many characters that were different from myself”. Director Mr. Rob Lippert, stated: “Our failures do not define us. Instead, how we respond to failure shapes us as we mature” when commenting on the overarching themes of the piece. The play was staged outside next to the pavilion. The outdoor atmosphere provided a more intimate experience and allowed one to better imagine the scene. The set consisted of a single flat–a bookcase–along with a desk and some chairs. Easily moved props and furniture came on and off stage carried by the actors. Maya Albano was responsible for turning everyone’s individual body mics on and off (flashbacks to Zoom) as well as playing sound effects. Since this is the first time an entire cast had individual body mics, it was impressive how easily Maya used the new technology.
The hardest part for me in my eighth-grade play was the costume changes. In “Carl the Second,” everyone but Carl played multiple characters, with some even changing back and forth every couple of minutes! Miss Karen Fairbank, who pulled the costumes together from the costume closet and the actors’ own clothes, was backstage helping with the rapid changes, making sure the actors were in their correct clothes. Having performed in a TJ play myself, I was impressed with this production, especially during COVID. The junior class and I had our fair share of struggles with “Arsenic and Old Lace” (the 2018 Eighth-Grade Play), and I can’t imagine how hard this show was with all the setbacks the cast and crew endured. Even though the play was about recurring failure, this cast and crew put on something beyond amazing.
Photo courtesy of Yana Hotter of Spoonful of Sugar Photography
My Remote Learning Experience by Sonora Halili Whether in front of a screen or physically in the classroom, this year has so far been quite the experience for every member of the TJ community. I would never have thought that I’d be having my senior year classes from my bedroom in Elbasan, Albania starting at 3:00 p.m. every day, but here I am embracing the challenge and enjoying every bit of it. My first observation about this quarter’s online learning has to be that the synchronous model is definitely more intensive than that of last spring. And I do like that. Seeing my friends every day, attending full-time classes, has really been giving me a taste of what TJ was like prior to the pandemic. Yet, the old taste of TJ
also involved skip days, which I think this year’s upperclassmen truly miss. The Zoom experience has been great in most ways. The class can be interactive through annotation tools and collective note-taking, which, again, bring bits of the classroom experience to our homes around the globe. Forgetting to mute and unmute–issues that our 2019 selves couldn’t imagine seeing–are skills that we might still have to work to perfect, but we’ve been making significant progress. We’ve had minor issues related to weak internet connections, such as laggy audio and video, but overall they haven’t significantly affected any aspect of the
classroom experience. From what I’ve been hearing from other remote learners, we all share some mutual concerns. Participating in class discussions is and will always be an issue. Not because we don’t want to, but because our responses have to be wellthought out as opposed to more spontaneous comments that we would make in person. The green bracket around our video definitely puts us on the spot and makes us feel self-conscious, which can be both good and bad. The first quarter was fairly successful, for we managed to get through it as a community, and I hope everyone had as pleasant of an experience as I did.
APUSH with Miss Fairbank and a special guest: the editor of the Walton Tribune, David Clemons. Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Collins
Star Wars Trivia: Part 2 by Michael Hanson Question #1: The best Jedi lightsaber fighter in the galaxy at the time of the clone wars was Mace Windu. There was only one force-wielder who could match his saber skills. Who is this character? Question #2: Who was more powerful: Yoda or Darth Sidious? Question #3: Could Grievous use the force? Question #4: Where did Obi-wan kill Maul? Question #5: What is the only sith of the old republic to have a successful long-term relationship?
Question #6: How many kyber crystals did Vader’s saber have? Question #7: Who said the following line to the Inquisitors?: “Back in my day, we didn’t have spinning lightsabers” Question #8: True or False: Chewbacca was first introduced in the prequels (I mean in terms of plotline and the “Star Wars” timeline) Answer: True. Chewie was in the prequels (“Revenge of the Sith,” on his homeworld of Kashyyyk).
Question #8: True or False: Revan was a Sith. Question #9: What is the species of the animal roasting over a fire (while the same species looks on from inside a cage, looking terrified) from the first episode of “The Mandalorian”? Hint: The same species as Salacious B. Crumb, Jabba’s pet and jester (who was killed in the Sail Barge explosion) Question #10: Another Mandalorian question: From where is the Darksaber? Where does it originate from (before Moff Gideon got his hands on it)?
Photo courtesy of filmdaily.co.
of them in a brutal fashion) Answer 8: He was both at certain points in time (first a Jedi, then a Sith, then a Jedi once again). Answer 9: Kowakian Monkey-Lizard Answer 10: Mandalore
Answers: Answer 7: Maul (right before killing most n) Tatooine Answer 5: Darth Malgus (weird, right?) Answer 6: 2
Answer 1: Darth Tyrannus/Count Dooku Answer 2: Darth Sidious (easily) Answer 3: No, but he used lightsabers without the force nonetheless. Answer 4: (this was a trick questio
What TJ Looks Like Right Now: A Photo Collage
Photos by Carter Cashen
Note from the editors: TJâ€™s appearance has changed a lot due to health regulations, and we thought the community, our subscribers, and students learning remotely would like to see what current TJ looks like!
A food truck offering vegan pastries and coffee, Looking Meadow, visits TJâ€™s campus.
Lunch and breaks occur outside or in the Gym, depending on the weather.
Proctored study halls happen in the Art Barn (pictured) or in the Gym.
A class in the Bio-Chem lab. Desks and lab tables are spaced out to observe social distancing.
The Declaration firstname.lastname@example.org C/O Thomas Jefferson School 4100 South Lindbergh Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63127
The Declaration Staff and Advisors
Editors - Cynthia Chong ‘21 and Ciaran Santiago ‘22 Copy Editors - Marissa Panethiere ‘21 and Carter Cashen ‘23 Distribution - Anastasia Casares ‘25 and Greta Stucke ‘26 Faculty Advisor - Karen L. Fairbank Founder - Chino Kim TJ ’85
TJ's school newspaper.