Y’all got any uhhhh pAsGhEtTi?

A bedroom with a bed and a television

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            “Who is he? What does he want? Who’s mans is this? What does his heart seek?” These are the first thoughts I had upon seeing the above image. This image filled me with such a feeling of dread and unease that I had to close my laptop, stick it in the fridge, and go cry by the dumpsters outside for an hour and a half.

            The most prominent figure in this picture is the diminutive gentleman in the fur coat or “housecat.” He is entering the room as if to query your presence, Stranger, or to let out a tremulous cry of warning. What he is warning, we shall never know for his pronouncement catches in his trachea like an unsuspecting child specimen trapped in an IKEA.

Now one might initially see a cat walking on its hind legs and think, “I might as well lie down and die right now as he is clearly the alpha. He will consume my flesh. These are the end times. Goodnight, sweet prince.”

BUT upon closer examination of his body language, we can conclude that all is not well. His tail is not held with the jaunty swagger usually seen on fluffy cats like this, but it lies low to the ground, with a dip like that in the stock market. His tail hangs behind him like the anchor of an old warship being hauled away for scrap, once a thing of beauty and power but now decrepit and obsolete like so many killing machines of old.

The Presence under your lintel (the top part of a doorframe) holds his forelimbs in suspicion and apprehension. He is betwixt thoughts of sanctuary and thoughts of jeopardy. What does he know that you don’t? Who does he think you are? What does he suspect you of knowing?

Next we come to the Figure’s eyes. Alas, his eyes! Stranger, have you ever seen such eyes? Behind them, distrust, yes, but there is something more, something ancient and noble, illustrious and bold. His visage says run and hide.

Above his eyes, like two soft mountain peaks stand his ears, ever-vigilant. What do they hear? Hear them celestial harmonies of symphonies past, ethereal melodies? Or mayhap he hears the echoes of battle, the distant screams of children, the staccato of gunfire, and the whine of an ersatz Armageddon falling from the heavens. Has he spent his civilian life trying to escape the war or return to it? What does he hear that he longs to forget? What eternal cacophony plays in his head every eve before he plunges into the fathomless depths of slumber?

To understand this image, we must examine the figure in its context. He ambles into a bedroom in a state of moderate disarray. His eyes follow you. You, Stranger, lie upon your bed, engaging in modern media from the blue light box. Why are there maracas on your shelf? What are they for? Do you play the song of the universe to the drumbeat of time, do you play until your lifeforce runs dry and you become another dusty old record on the shelf?

Furthermore, the picture itself must be analyzed, not just the scene of impending chaos within. The colours are muted, there is poor lighting and a graininess to the quality of the photograph. This shows a dissociation between the medium and the message. This was likely taken on a cellular telephone camera, but the Figure asks you, “WHY?” The artist uses an everyday object to capture a rare occurrence. The disconnect between the physical and emotional qualities of the image forces the viewer to realize themselves within the situation. This is representative of the eternal battle between the aesthete and the moralist; the amoral aesthete is a hedonist and the moralist with no aesthetic clings to a puritanical view of opulence, only the appearance of abundance.

But what is this picture trying to tell us? There are many possible interpretations. P’rhaps the pale Figure is meant to be understood as a visual metaphor for Death. Death comes to take us all in the end; maybe he knocks on your door or maybe he creeps in silently. Death rides a pale horse, and can’t you just imagine this cat in lil cowboy boots?

They Call Me Ranch Cuz I Be Dressin

Dress codes often disproportionately target women, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students and reinforce stereotypes, as well as repress student expression.

The Afro was an important symbol of black culture and specifically the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and 70s. School dress codes banning the hairstyle are really banning blackness and black pride. Similarly, dress codes which dictate which clothes which genders can wear are banning any gender or sexuality expression other than cisgender and heterosexual.

When I got called out for breaking the dress code I felt ashamed, like I was somehow “inappropriate.” I was an Honor Roll student but all they saw were my exposed legs or an inch too much of my shoulder.

            There are always stories of women who wore the “wrong” thing to school and protested. Society has ingrained that their bodies are sexual objects and that they need to cover up. This carries the damaging implication that women are inviting rape because it is their fault for being too “provocative.” Instead of reinforcing the ideas behind rape culture, schools really need to be teaching young women to be confident and young men not to rape and harass women.

            Depression and anxiety disorders are at an all-time high for teenagers. Alternative classroom settings have been found to have positive impacts on students’ academic performance and mental health. The same approach should be used with dress codes: relaxing them so students feel more comfortable to wear what they want and not punishing them in extreme ways.

            LGBTQ+ feel the effects of gendered dress codes more than most students. When students already struggling with gender dysphoria and transphobia at home and in the real world encounter the same discrimination at school, it can be incredibly damaging to their mental health, instead of providing a safe place for them to explore their identities.

Schools are supposed to be preparing students for the “real world” but these dress codes reinforce institutional racism, as well as ideas that black people will always be “inappropriate” and that they need to become white in order to succeed. It shows the assumption that students don’t know how to dress for school . These dress codes also show that administrators don’t have trust in students’ parents to dress their children.

Saying that students need to focus on “what really counts” is a patronizing assumption that students and parents have the money to purchase uniforms year after year and that it is the fault of the students for turning to crime and not the institutions which reinforce the school-to-prison system. Schools should not be making it more difficult for low-income students to attend school.

A school in North Carolina refused to stop students from wearing the Confederate flag and argued that the flag wasn’t a form of hate speech and they were protecting students’ First Amendment rights. Dress codes are almost always biased towards white and higher-income students and for blacks, the Confederate flag represents a history of violent racism and oppression.

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District was a landmark case for students’ rights. A school which represses students’ self-expression using either uniforms or incredibly strict dress codes can’t prepare them for a world in which creativity is encouraged.

Schools are designed to prepare students for the real world; they are meant to be safe spaces for children and teenagers to learn how the world works and to explore their identities and practice their expression. The next generation needs to be shown that sexism and misogyny, racism and ethnicism, homophobia and transphobia should not be tolerated, and many dress codes send the opposite message through their disproportionate targeting of women, minorities and LGBTQ+ students. These rules need to be opened up to allow for free expression and critical exploration at an important time in students’ lives but also to ensure that schools are safe and inclusive places for everyone.

final proposal

I will be writing about dress codes in public high schools and how they disproportionately affect women, LGBTQ+ students, and students of color. I will discuss the problematic history of dress codes like these and the origins of ones targeted towards women, LGBTQ+ students, and students of color. I will also talk about the effects reinforcing these destructive rules have on students’ mental health and identity.

A MODESTY PROPOSAL:

In recent years, there has been a rise in awareness of seemingly unfair school dress codes. It has become commonplace to see news stories of, often, young women and people of color posting on social media pictures of the outfits they got sent home from school for wearing. These are generally outfits that are seen as acceptable to most of society. Many young women have staged protests at their schools against dress codes that unfairly target them. I want to research the effects discriminatory dress codes have on the students targeted by them, as well as who makes these dress codes and how they do so. Overly strict dress codes claim to have students’ best interests in mind, but ultimately disproportionately target women and minorities and can have drastic effects on their education and mental health.

In this essay, I will analyze common themes in dress codes from around the country, focusing on public high schools. I will discuss the origins of dress codes and specific guidelines in them. This essay will link sexist and white-centric fears with targeted dress codes and the history of why dress codes exist in many places. I will then talk about the ways in which dress codes are enforced in often sexist and humiliating ways and the effects this has on students’ mental health and identity. I will specifically analyze how female students, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students are affected by dress codes.

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/real-impact-school-dress-codes

Space Colonization: Not An Excuse To End The World

The human race has, at most 11 years, in which to slow climate change before it becomes inevitable and disastrous. While there are many who deny climate change altogether, there are also those who are apathetic about it, seeing no need to combat it. These people think of the moon and Mars as backups to Earth, that we can move to once it’s destroyed. However, humans have yet to even visit Mars and no one has spent an extended period of time on the moon. The argument that humans can just pack up and leave once Earth is no longer habitable shows a lack of insight into the particulars of off-world colonization and indifference to saving the planet we already have.

The amount of carbon emissions produced by the human race today is not sustainable in order to maintain a habitable planet. Too much CO2 in the atmosphere leads to a changing climate, turning hot areas boiling and cold areas frigid. Parts of the planet will drown, and parts will dry up. There won’t be enough food to sustain the human population because there won’t be anywhere to grow it. There won’t be enough oxygen to breath because there won’t be anymore rainforests. Billions of people will lose their homes and livelihoods. First, life as we know it, luxury and abundance, food and freedom, will vanish. Then, the human race will go extinct.

While much of the negative impact of humans on the environment is irreversible, there is still time before it is too late. We need to slow the warming of the planet to less than 2° by 2030 but ideally to less than 1.5°. Carbon emissions need to be severely cut down. The obvious solutions are a carbon tax, eating much less meat, not using carbon heavy transportation, and not eliminating the natural elements that already work to absorb carbon, such as rainforests.

However, some people are too lazy or too invested in their own assets to take these ideas seriously or even consider them. People would rather continue eating hamburgers for every meal and driving their SUVs and the heads of huge fossil fuel corporations would rather continue hiring lobbyists and “scientists” to spread misinformation to continue making a profit and expanding their personal fortunes. It’s no coincidence that most climate change deniers are old and wealthy: they won’t be around for the end of the world and can only profit off polluting the environment.

Space colonization shouldn’t be considered as the solution to climate change. We shouldn’t be investing time and resources in an unsure future on a different planet when we should be investing those in saving the one we already have. Space colonization is not the safety net people like to think it is; it should be the last resort in the far future for if our planet finally goes to shit and the human race hasn’t curbed its population growth rate. We haven’t done enough research into the effects of living off-world on humans and we don’t know if we would be displacing or exploiting native races. The idea of space colonization is alluring but our focus at the present should be on making Earth habitable into the future.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_colonization

Politics, Patriotism, And The Public’s Perception of Protest

Emma Rigaud successfully makes an argument for the defense of public protest through historical perspectives.

Rigaud begins by addressing the increasingly controversial nature of modern protest and discusses the reasons for the many protests seen today, such as the political climate. Many people say that protesting against the actions of one’s government or one’s country is unpatriotic. However, she asserts that the United States was born out of protest and that continuing to protest is a celebration of that tradition and, therefore, patriotic. Rigaud uses the American values of freedom and democracy to show that the right to protest needs to be protected.

 One of her strongest arguments is the way in which she shows that not only is protesting not unpatriotic, but it is actually patriotic. She links protesting and patriotism by showing that the reasons for protesting in the first place are a desire to make one’s country better.

Rigaud uses emotion most effectively when talking about the American history of protest, particularly in reference to the Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights leaders. Dr. King is venerated in American history so comparing those who disapproved of King’s protests then and those who disapprove of modern protests is particularly compelling.

Rigaud knows that because of the emotional appeal of Martin Luther King, him being called a “troublemaker with ill intentions” in his own time will be upsetting to modern readers.

The author wrote this essay specifically to address the current perception of many recent public protests.

Her use of logic and emotion are especially effective because of the way she concisely dismantles the opposing points and uses well-known figures, movements, and events to invoke an emotional response from the reader. The audience cannot help but listen to the author carefully due to the competent research evident and the sophisticated resources used.

Rigaud appeals to American values and how they need to be protected through protest, a true form of patriotism.

Analysis Outline of “Politics, Patriotism, And The Public’s Perception of Protest” by Emma Rigaud

Thesis: “Protest does not signify the absence of patriotism; rather, it is an exhibition of patriotism. Protest provides all people with an equal opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that plague their country and argue for ways in which it can be made better.” “One key lesson being that protesting is an essential part of American democracy whose practice should be valued and respected by all.”

Audience: Modern Americans who view the act of protesting itself as disruptive and unpatriotic.

Ethos: “I believe the same can be said about today’s society, and how white Americans are unwilling to acknowledge the continued oppression of blacks.” This is the only instance in which the author uses “I” and doesn’t share any personal anecdotes or obvious political opinions.

Logos: “The outright denial of the right to free speech and the right to assemble peaceably clearly conflicts with America’s ideals. It is unreasonable for a person to take out their anger on the act of protesting itself, as this is only a way to discredit what others are protesting for.” The author uses logic to show that the American ideal of protest being a protected act makes protest patriotic. They also show that attacking protesting itself only draws attention away from the issues at hand.

Pathos: “Americans view King’s preferred method of nonviolent direct action, described here, as the “correct” model for how people should protest today. They value him because of how peaceably he was able to enact positive change, although King wasn’t as revered in the 1960s as he is today. Instead, he was portrayed as a troublemaker with ill intentions, which proves that it takes time for people to adjust to the positive change that is so often brought about by protest.” The author uses a former negative representation of Martin Luther King Jr., a venerated figure in American culture and politics, to appeal to the emotions of readers.

Kairos: “The past decade has seen a rise in the number of movements for change, as well as in the number of participants.” “That said, there is a dangerous notion floating around that protesting is something destructive, as opposed to something constructive.” The author connects the current political climate, resulting protests, and further scrutiny of those movements to make a case for protecting Americans’ right to protest.

Paté the Bunny

I drive like a goddamn idiot. That is to say, I drive like a teenager who got her license less than a year ago. I also have two black and white rabbits. Their names are Poppy and Clover and they’re adorable.

I’m not exaggerating about how I drive. I inadvertently run red lights, I always go at least 15 miles over the speed limit, and I listen to heavy metal at maximum volume because it makes me feel cooler than I am. I don’t get distracted necessarily, but I get wrapped up in some Mad Max-style fantasy.

It took me years to work up the courage to sit behind the wheel of a car. When I was twelve, a dead buck unexpectedly came flying through the windshield of my mom’s car one night. My mom didn’t have time to swerve before the glass broke and there was a dead deer’s head on my lap. My mom pulled into an empty parking lot and screamed for two minutes before calling AAA.

After that night, riding in the car was difficult for me. I didn’t trust myself to drive because I didn’t know what I would do if I hit an animal or had a panic attack when I was in control of a vehicle. Still, I hated feeling powerless if someone else was driving, regardless of how much I trusted them.

I’d been asking for a pet bunny since I knew how to talk. I love rabbits to the extent that my childhood bedroom looked like a temple to an all-powerful rabbit god. Three years ago, I finally adopted Poppy and Clover.

We begin our story on the night of April 20th , 2019. I’m driving home from something at around 10 pm. I was taking my usual route home on the same road the deer incident happened on a few years prior but that was the last thing I was thinking about; I’d been feeling overconfident about my driving at this point. I couldn’t see well more than fifteen feet ahead of me. The road was marked 35 mph, but I was going 55.

A flash of brown in the corner of my eye.

A thought comes to my mind–bunny.

The rabbit begins to run across the road

There’s a car behind me. I’m going too fast to stop.

NO! STOP!

I freeze while my car keeps rolling forward. I know there are only two possibilities: the rabbit got across the road in time…or…. it didn’t.

I pray to every deity I can think of that they were swift enough.

Please. Please no.

It comes like a dagger in my heart. The most awful sensation in all the world. Time seems to slow down as my car moves forward and I feel it-

thump.

I begin to scream and cry and panic all at once, the same first reaction my mother had when she hit an animal on this road. I pull into the same empty parking lot she did and continue screaming and crying and staring wide-eyed at the spot where the rabbit had been in my vision.

I start to rationalize with myself.

Maybe you didn’t hit it. That could’ve been a stick; that could’ve been anything.

I force myself to turn around and drive slowly back up the road. I crane my neck and look for the spot where it happened. I don’t want to describe what I saw. I had definitely hit it.

I cry the rest of the way home.

As soon as I get to my house, I pick up my rabbits and hold them close and confess what happened. I get tears on them and apologize over and over and I vow to them that it will never happen again.

I’m still not a great driver but I do drive with more care now. I’m growing out of my recklessness and invincibility and I now realize that driving doesn’t exist within a bubble- my stupid decisions can affect the world around me and that which I love. I still blast music with the windows down and speed on open roads but I’m always looking for the small brown blur before it’s too late.

Hello there!

General Kenobi…

My name is Anne and I’m from Williamsburg, Virginia which you’ve probably taken a family trip to because it’s home to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. I haven’t declared my major so I’m in “University Studies” as they so nicely call it here. Recently I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods but I read a lot of different genres. I really love music, specifically 1960s avant-garde, 1970s glam rock, and 1980s punk. Here’s the mandatory Office reference in any introduction online: I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.