OPINION

Indy Blue

Maggie B. ('22)

Picture this: In advisory. First day of school. Suddenly, Mr. Bach hits you with the cliché question, “if you could have lunch with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?” Two years ago, I would always jump around to all my celebrity crushes, from Theo Pinson to Heath Ledger (circa Ten Things I Hate About You, aka the best movie ever). My response varied every time until I found my dream lunch guest and life inspiration: Indy Blue (Severe). Indy is THE coolest person in the world, I mean just look at her name! She understands and lives the life we all dream of. 

Last year, I hit a point where I was so unmotivated to do work and didn’t understand why I had to be doing any of it; I was so mad because I felt like I was trapped in doing this whole school thing, and never could make the memories that high schoolers were supposed to make. That’s when I decided to start asking myself, “what would Indy do?”.  

Indy doesn’t go to college; she films weddings and uses that money to travel around the world and live the life she wants. She made me see all the freedom we have, but we are so restrained in our structured lives that sometimes we don’t even see the opportunities we could have. I don’t want to live my life in this expected template that we are all supposed to follow. In one of her blogs, she puts, “you are born and then you die, but in between you can do anything you want. It’s society that creates the rules for us, but you can break out of that…” Between life and death there is like 80 years (or idk how long you’ll live) that are blank, and you get to decide what you do for those!! Doesn’t that sound so freeing? You don’t have to follow the drawn-out life; everything you do is a choice. I am having so much fun this year because I decided to. Even though I still struggle a lot with school and have super high expectations for myself, I have finally started letting myself put down that school side sometimes. I don’t really have a good balance and I’m still occasionally up until 2 am doing homework, but I’ve learned from last year that some nights I just have to say yes to the times I’ll remember more.  

Seems stupid that someone online has impacted me so much, but if you want to see more of the crazy talent Indy has, watch her That Time We Spent the Summer in Europe video or read Nothing Gold Can Stay on her blog. You may just skip through those, but if you contemplated your whole life after seeing the insane moments Indy experiences, I’m always down to fangirl about her!!!  

Rush

Kelsey S. ('23)

The Canadian rock trio, Rush, is a little-known band that deserves much more recognition than the press gives them. With loyal fans backing them, Rush has become one of the most influential groups in progressive rock history. With bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart, the group is technically gifted in music and incredibly intelligent in composition. As the classic rock nerd I am, I will be reviewing some of my favorite songs.  

Name of Song, Album, Year released 

Fly By Night, Fly By Night, 1975 

It starts with an iconic Alex guitar rift, gradually adding bass, then drums. This song is structured very much like a traditional pop song. But after carefully listening to Geddy’s screeching lyrics, the song reveals itself to be about escaping the present reality and starting a new life. This meaning is a stark contrast to songs at the time. Being Rush’s first album with drummer Neil Peart, it is a new beginning for Rush.   

2112, 2112, 1976 

Ah, the 20-minute epic poem about the future, a classic for Rush devotees. The song is so long it takes up one entire side of the LP. The song starts with nearly four minutes of instrumental, demonstrating common themes in the music: irregular tempos, drums that carry the piece, slow ballad-like guitar while other instruments speed ahead, almost like the music is dancing. Afterwards, there is a single verse “And the meek shall inherit the earth,” thus setting the mystic and spiritual tone of the piece. We here about the dystopian future, then an alien invasion. This storyline is extravagant for a rock group as well as a risky move for producers. There is only one explanation for why a band would do this: the band is Rush and they don’t care what the press thinks. The band actually kept this trend of epics during the rest of the 70’s, but 2112 is the longest song of their career. This piece of music is truly revolutionary and brilliant, and it paved the way for other bands, showing that sex and drugs isn’t the only thing to sing about.  

The Trees, Hemispheres, 1978 

“There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees, for the maples want more sunlight, and the oaks ignore their pleas.” This song demonstrated oppression among minorities with trees. What more could you ask for? The Trees really should be played more often. It is political commentary masked by tree.  

The Spirit of Radio, Permanent Waves, 1980 

This was a song made in reaction to the growing commercialization of radio. Rush speaks of the corruption in the music industry. Many producers would force bands to create so called “radio friendly” songs, songs that lasted for about 3 minutes. This was an issue for Rush (see 2112). Instead of submitting to what their producers asked for, Rush penned a song about the radio. They described the lack of freedom in the industry. Consequently, this song is about 5 minutes long, not at all “radio friendly” for the time. “For the words of the prophets were written on the studio wall, CONCERT HALL!” You guess who the prophets are.  

Tom Sawyer, Moving Pictures, 1981 

This song is not about white washing fences. “No, his mind is not for rent, to any god or government.” Geddy plays the famous synth melody on the Oberheim synthesizer. The synthesizer is to Rush as the Sitar to The Beatles; a band member found a new instrument that they liked, a lot. The Oberheim is one of the band’s prized possessions, making an appearance on almost every album and every live show. During live shows, Geddy would play his bass and step on Taurus pedals to play synths at the same time. “Playing Synths with his feet” thus became an easy way to identify Geddy’s talent. Tom Sawyer is one of the few songs by Rush that made it big. It was played all over the United States, introducing the band to more and more people. Its commercial and innovative at the same time.   

Subdivisions, Signals, 1982 

Suburban alienation feels so real in this song. “Conform or be cast out,” describes the life of teens who listened to Rush: the outcasts. Their music spoke to the teen stuck in the suburbs, encouraging them to get out of their small town and the world. Listening to the lyrics, Rush obsesses over how much the suburbs lack and what the city has to offer.  

Manhattan Project, Power Windows, 1985 

The Atomic Bomb. Simply a song about the atomic bomb. It’s all there in the lyrics, from “A weapon – that could settle the score,” to “Shot down the Rising Sun.” Even though the song was written 40 years after WWII, Rush was still making the atomic bomb a piece of pop culture. With the fast tempo and synth overload, listening to the song feels like you are in the Enola Gay. Many of the songs on Power Windows follow the same theme.  

Roll the Bones, Roll the Bones, 1991 

It’s the 90’s, and it is time for awkward rap to enter Rush’s music. Listening to this song is like eating sushi and a burger at the same time; it doesn’t work. This song shows that not every band is perfect, including Rush. Combining intense psychological thought and slang does not mix. “It’s a parallax – you dig?” No, I do not dig, what is a parallax?  

One Little Victory, Vapor Trails, 2002 

Neil Peart experienced the death of his wife and teenage daughter in the late 90’s. After taking a break from music, Neil came back with this song in tow: a rant about his willpower to carry on. Most people get into addictive substances after tragic loss, but Neil decided to write a song. Rush pulled together for their first album of the 21st century, starting it off with a reaction to the past. The song starts off fast and ends fast. Depending on your personality, you either gain or lose energy from listening to it.  

The Anarchist, Clockwork Angels, 2012 

When people ask me if I listen to modern music, I show them this song. Rush went back to their roots, little to no synths and thought-provoking lyrics. It is a 1st person narrative of a loser that wants to start something. They lack materialistic things others have. It is looking from outside of materialism in with envy. But the main character still has hope, because they know that materialism will eventually collapse and that they will remain on top. It is a pessimist trying to explain their pessimism to an optimist. “The lenses inside of me that paint the world black,” is showing what its like when you focus on negativity rather than ignoring it. “A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage,” describes an inability to find happiness in every situation.  

Honorable Mentions:  

Working Man, Rush, 1974 

Something for Nothing, 2112, 1976 

Closer to the Heart, A Farewell to Kings, 1977 

Circumstances, Hemispheres, 1978 

Jacob’s Ladder, Permanent Waves, 1980 

Freewill, Permanent Waves, 1980 

Limelight, Moving Pictures, 1981 

Countdown, Signals, 1982 

Distant Early Warning, Grace Under Pressure, 1984 

Territories, Power Windows, 1985 

Middletown Dreams, Power Windows, 1985 

Presto, Presto, 1989 

Ceiling Unlimited, Vapor Trails, 2002 

Summertime Blues, Feedback – EP, 2004 (cover) 

Far Cry, Snakes and Arrows, 2007 

Fun Facts:  

  • Neil Peart is an introvert and travels the world on a motorcycle. 

  • Geddy Lee’s parents are both holocaust survivors and met while they were in Auschwitz.  

  • During live shows, they set up actual clothes dryers and ovens cooking fried chicken in the background.  

  • Alex Lifeson’s real name is Aleksandar Zivojinovic. 

  • Neil Peart never finished high school yet his lyrics are highly intellectual.  

  • Alex and Geddy met in a middle school history class. 

  • The band’s members are the “Official Ambassadors of Music” of Canada. 

  • Every four studio albums they made were followed by a live album.  

  • All three earned honorary Doctorates of Music degrees from Nipissing University but were unable to attend the ceremony due to bad weather. 

  • Alex’s speech for the rock and roll hall of fame was him saying “blah blah blah” over and over again with extremely animated expressions. 

The Most Underrated Teacher

Katie F (Graduated)

Mrs. Zepsa is literally the most underrated teacher in the school. She is a Latin genius, which is fitting because she’s essentially a goddess. Pretty much everything that comes out of her mouth is golden, but here are some of the best:  

  • "she's just growing up so fast, we're all so surprised that she can have her own, like…email signature"  

  • "tomorrow is my anniversary. My treat to myself is takeout and going to bed."  

  • "I hate the tin whistle. We all had to learn it in Ireland. It's like the Irish national instrument" 

  • "You know when you have a full list of things to do and then someone tells you what to do and it's shucking peas?" 

  • "So, he's gonna talk to Hercules and say 'don't cry little buddy'" 

  • "Do the snakes make my face look fat?"  

  • "I knew it was gonna be a glasses type of day" 

  • "I emailed him before I had kids and he got back to me literally three years later like 'oh hey good to hear from you'" 

  •  "Right now [my son] looks like a medieval monk" 

  • "It's for Halloween only, but obviously we'd use it year-round" 

  • "Law was totally 100% convinced that Mr. Peery was Greg Olsen" 

  • "Are you going to pray to the sewer Venus or the love one, like, you need to get it right"  

  • "If you're wondering about the significance of the different colors, there is none, I just kept getting distracted and losing pens"  

  • "So we now have three dogs, three kids, a turtle, and a partridge in a pear tree" 

How to Write About Being “Mixed”: The Satirically Honest Truth 

Morgan T ('22)

(a piece written in response to Binyavnga Wainaina’s satire “How to Write about Africa”
https://granta.com/how-to-write-about-africa/)

When creating a character to write about who is biracial, always use words like “half-breed,” “kinda black,” or even “kinda white” when referring to those who are, or look, biracial. Better yet, try using the phrase of “you’re not black enough,” “you’re not white enough,” or even “you have to pick one” in which it becomes a label society wants to place on mixed kids. When all else fails, the historical “one drop rule” becomes important in certain situations when you try to classify what it means to be biracial. 

To illustrate the best, the brightest, and the most scholarly biracial and influential leaders in America, you must not show people like Jesse Williams, Zendaya, or even Grammy Award-winning Alicia Keys. The biracial community needs to be represented by stereotypical Rachel Dolezal, the actions of Danielle Bregoli and, most importantly, please use Woah Vicky to represent what it means to be biracial, a person of color, in America. 

 

In the American Biracial “depiction” in literaure that society has created, use the label “biracial” as if that is a nationality or the reason for the day-to-day struggle. On government forms and standardized tests don’t, say, pick as many ethnicities as you want, because that is only an option for some. When writing about mixed people, never depict them as academically gifted and automatically put into the higher classes. You don’t need the mixed kids to help a school with diversity quotas or athletic rankings, especially the young men who know how to run the court, the field, or the track. Make sure people see them as only one of the two races; being both races is impossible because the outside appearances will always depict everything you need to know about them. Hair type and skin color are always the perfect way to categorize biracial men and women. All biracial people, with the same mixes, look the same…do not get that wrong. There is no difference between being Black or a biracial who “looks black” because “they all look the same,” so it doesn’t matter. Don’t you know, they all look alike? 

Being biracial is unique and fun; it’s cool to say that you are made up of two different races, but make sure the readers don’t see that nor understand that. Half is white: the rich, private jet owning, daddy’s business girl. The other half is black: the gang-banging, steal your stuff, with no daddy at home type of girl. Make sure in your writing that each part of their ethnicity is seen as those stereotypes. All America sees is the same people walking around, even though they dress differently…it’s the same person, I promise. Make sure they surge through the crowds of white people, clutching their purse as they rush to their G-Wagon, quickly locking their car doors. Make sure they all live in nice neighborhoods, never knowing gang signs or selling drugs. They are all exceptionally rich, thanks to their lawyer fathers, and the police will never pull them over. Make sure they are given jobs at cool boutiques that their mothers or a friend of theirs own.

If you want to mix it up some, your character should live in the hood and the population should be de-populated due to drugs, gangs, guns, and the luxurious resorts, known as prison. Of course, you should depict them with fancy beds, nice food, a basketball court in the yard, and some Gucci orange slides to keep their feet comfortable. If they are lucky, toss in some J’s for the court, but that is only if they behave and create rap music to fatten America’s pockets. When your main character experiences his first death within his gang, make sure they play “Murder on My Mind” so the cops know exactly what happened and who did it. Also, “hands up, don’t shoot” is always accepted by the cops, and it is a cool catch-phrase.

Always end the American depiction of being biracial with a bad outcome from the decisions made while living a biracial life. Especially add the death of someone close to you or even a couple of people…well, just go ahead and make it the whole family, because you care.

Cambridge Analytica: Great Hack or Brilliant Targeting Strategy? 

MC J. ('20), Griffin C. ('20)

The so-called “Great Hack” does not appear frightening or wrong in any way. We’ve grown up with technology and have only known a world in which our information is accessible to whomever wants it. However, it’s understandable that technology users could see this as a violation of their privacy. Fortunately, our generation understands that everything we write on our phones and computers can be recorded or saved. Nothing is ever truly private.  

  

This leads us to question, what is privacy? Is anything on the internet private? The answer is no. In a study done by CNBC, reporter Jacob Kroll discovered that Instagram does indeed track all the history and information that we’ve logged onto their platform. He describes how to find all of this information and actually download it. This gives us an idea of the amount of information there is about us. 

  

According to Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are using Instagram. And of those, 60% of people go on Instagram every day. From our viewpoint, using the information that people have planted on social media platforms to find potential voters is a brilliant strategy of voter-targeting. It’s simply a new form of propaganda taking over the modern political scene. 

  

The tactic may not appear moral to potential voters, but persuading Americans to vote is constantly evolving. The argument over whether the 2016 election was fair or not really doesn’t hold up. Why? Because there has never been a “fair” election! When Napoleon got reelected in the late 1700’s he had townsmen cut up votes for his opponents. So, as the world modernizes, and technology becomes a higher pillar of society, are the accusations against Cambridge Analytica warranted? According to Micah L Sifry, author of The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet), The Great Hack is “garbage”. He claims the election wasn’t stolen or rigged, rather it was won because of a brilliant plot to attain voters based on their information.  

  

Facebook users should not be upset over the actions of Cambridge as they put their own personal information out there, allowing Cambridge Analytica access. No “secret edge” was present, rather a better digital targeting strategy. It can be assumed people don’t realize just how much information they’re putting out into the e-world when signing up for social media outlets. Furthermore, when that outputted information is used to predict their thinking or sway their votes, they’re outraged. Unfortunately, many Americans are not educated on each platform’s functions by not taking due-diligence to understand the lack of security personal information has when being outputted into the world. Everything is fair game.  

The Harmful Side of Social Media Platforms 

Quentin C ('20), Livi P.  ('22)

What is privacy? Is anything we store on our phones really secure? Who has access to our data? What role does social media play in the usage of our data? 

 After watching The Great Hack, we had to take a step back and reflect on these questions. We also took the information on pictures we posted and liked throughout our time on social media into consideration. For instance, in fifth grade, Q would always click on various personality/character tests that generally appealed to the younger population. This made Q consider all the data could have been kept on file in regards to his identity. Data privacy is of great significance and we should care about what happens to our data/information and who it is shared with.  

 According to Yale researchers, companies can control what content we have access to based on the data they have on us. This surprised us because us most people tend to keep our information hidden and private for security purposes. A great amount of individuals willingly use these apps knowing that their data can be used in selling people agendas and political candidates. A Pew study states that 70% of Americans use Facebook and yet more than half of Americans view social media in a negative light. However, people still use these apps in hope to stay in touch with friends and remain connected. Individuals willingly forgo the fact that companies can use their data to sell people agendas and political candidates.  

It is vital to be cautious and selective about which apps, if any, we choose to give access to. We often think cookies are harmless, however the posts we share and like can lead to entities selling, controlling, and restricting the content we view. It is possible that these third parties are foreign countries, for example.  

Cell phones are clearly a necessity in today’s society because they have countless benefits such as navigation and capturing memorable moments via camera. However, we must be more aware and cautious about the potential consequences of willingly providing sites with our personal information.  

Subconscious Convenience

Rita C. ('23) 

Your phone is  a portal for big companies to collect and use your information at their own will.  Controversies like the 2016 presidential election  and  the Facebook data breach  caused America to question:  who is collecting our data and why?  Raising privacy and  security concerns on a  fundamental  aspect of today’s  society: technology.  Data  collection and distribution is essentially harmless, and even helpful to the general public’s  decision-making in their daily lives.   

Why are we so afraid of a practice that has been going on since the beginning of the technological era?  The knowledge  that our every move on technology is monitored and  recorded raises collective fear and outrage; yet we have  made little to no changes in  our  social media habits.  According to Facebook’s  own data, their  users per day  averaged around  584 million  at the time of their launch in 2004.  Today, even after the 2016  presidential election  scandal,  Facebook is clocking in at  1.4 billion users per day.  We’re shocked over the way  social media violates and  stores  our data,  yet Facebook had a  151.2% increase in daily users since their launch.  This is  mainly  because  the  general public  subconsciously prioritizes the  aspect of convenience  over the aspect of privacy

.    

When you  purchase an item  on your favorite website, the last thing anyone wants to do is  type in the seemingly endless information  before  clicking “order”.  However, if the website already has your credit card and shipping address on file,  that is  one less step for you.  Yes, these companies do have access to  the entirety of this personal information;  but what are they really going to do with it to negatively affect you?  It is illegal for these companies to sell your credit  card and shipping address to third parties, so really the worst thing “Big Data” can do with  this sensitive information is manipulate advertisements toward  you as  their  consumer.   

An  example of this happened to  me  earlier this year.  I  was looking for a new pair of soccer cleats, so I was searching and visiting websites having to do with soccer. Later that week,  I  was scrolling on Instagram and right on  my  feed was an ad from Nike for their  brand-new  soccer cleat model.  The reason this ad popped up on  my  Instagram feed  is most likely because of the cookies on the websites  I  visited  earlier.  This  company  used  my  data to  both  better  distinguish  me  as  their  consumer,  and  ultimately  prompt me to  spend more money  on the  products they offer.  

Companies have no  ulterior motives when collecting and storing your data.  They tell you exactly why they’re using it, and that reason is  the  goal  of every  business: to  make you spend  your  money. The distribution and collection of data  is  an innocent marketing  tactic  used to target  potential  consumers;  and  can even result in a new pair of cleats  if you’re lucky enough.  

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