All posts by HPSH Plaid Line

Dog whistles of Anti-Semites

By: Irene Cohen

Dog whistles in politics is usually a type of phrase that is suggestive or a coded message used to gain support from the group they’re appealing to without setting off any alarms to their opposing group. The name comes from an actual dog whistle that emits frequencies that dogs can hear, but humans can’t.

Some of these dog whistles or phrases connect to the same antisemitic trope, so I will address several dogwhistles that mean approximately the same thing. I will cover four tropes, including the following: Jewish people being money hungry, Jewish people controlling the word in general, Jewish people being at fault for many world tragedies or violence, and the caricatures of Jewish people emphasizing all these aspects.

First I’ll start out with one of the most common/normalized tropes: Jewish people being money hungry or greedy. The insinuation of Jewish people always wanting more money is incredibly common. Specifically, Jewish people wanting gold and treasure. Many anti-semites often refer to Judas as a representation of Jewish people, selling out Jesus for 30 silver pieces. The phrase “Jew down” is also incredibly offensive. It refers to someone bargaining for the lowest price, sometimes unfairly low, because they are such penny pinchers. “Jewish” or “Kosher tax” is another one, referring to the idea that food companies are conning non-Jews to support the Jewish “agenda” by having a kosher certification that taxes them. “Jewish lightning”, which coincides with the trope of Jews being greedy, is when a home or some sort of insured building is burned down. The burning of the building gives those who insured it money, saying Jewish people are so greedy that they burn down their own buildings for money.

Another idea is that Jewish people form a secret society that controls everything in the world, from politics to media like some sort of hegemony. It also implies that all Jewish people are connected in some way and are like a political group instead of a religious one. Does this sound familiar? It’s how many describe the idea of an Illuminati or a New World Order. Not everyone who believes in that conspiracy is necessarily anti-semitic, but it is too easy to arrive at that once you get lost in it. “Cabal” and “clannish” are more words that more or less mean the same thing, but with more religious undertones. “Cosmopolitan elite” is less outright, and is less organized. Cosmopolitan means: “of or meshing many cultures”, and elite being those who are in the upper echelon of society. All of these imply that Jewish people are conniving and disloyal.

Jewish people are also used as scapegoats following many world tragedies. “Blood libel”, for one, is the accusation towards Jewish people of using Christian childrens’ blood in some sort of Jewish ritual. Even if false, children being killed is an easy way to get a lot of people against anyone. In modern times, it might not be so outright. An example of this in a story most of you should know, is Rapunzel. Mother Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel, a young girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, to use her hair in a sort of ritual to stay young. “Poisoning the well” is also a phrase used to insinuate that Jewish people have caused tragedy for non-Jews. It originates from the Black Death, where Jews were accused and persecuted of poisoning the wells of the towns to infect them, and because they were in on it they weren’t affected as much. Jewish people probably did have a lower death rate from the plague, but this was likely because they practiced ritual hygiene unlike most Europeans at the time.

Jewish caricatures and depictions have been a way to dehumanize Jewish people for a long time. Sometimes Jewish people are portrayed as rats or other vermin, snakes, and spiders. All of these animals have a negative connotation, most being pests that people are either disgusted by or scared of. Portraying them as such makes them less connected from humanity through the eyes of others, making them easier to hate, a tactic used by many oppressive groups time and time again.

Image taken from: https://www.houmatoday.com/story/news/
2010/11/28/murphy-brings-a-bit-of-broadway-to-tangled/26950211007/

Another way of painting Jewish caricatures is making them seem as “other” as possible, exaggerating the features that are more distinct than other populations, many times seen as a larger or hooked nose, curly dark hair, or drooping eyes. Exaggerating these features, again, helps people separate Jewish people from themselves, making it easier to persecute them unfairly. We see this again in “Rapunzel”/’Tangled’. Like the blood libel example, we see Mother Gothel again being portrayed as a Jewish stereotype/caricature, with her thick, black curly hair, drooping/hooded eyes, and a nose bigger than most Disney women. She is also the villain of the story. Many Jewish people, such as myself, have remarked how much she looks like a relative of theirs, or themself. This is not the type of representation a child should have to see.

Sometimes, the caricatures are drawn with not only exaggerated features, but exaggerated actions. A prime example of this is the “smirking merchant”, an anti-semitic comic of a man with a “kippah”, which is traditional male Jewish headwear, a hooked nose and an evil smile with his hands rubbing together in a way that signifies greed.

 All of these dog whistles and tropes I brought up are painted in extremely broad strokes; most of them running much deeper than I could portray in a single article. Most of these connect to the idea that Jewish people are morally reprehensible, and that they don’t care about non-Jews and act in their own self-interest, or the interest of the Jewish conglomerate. The idea that Jewish people are socially above non-Jews serves to oppress the Jewish people further. Anti-semitism can sometimes be a harder form of bigotry to understand because it is so distinct, but I hope this article helps you to understand the harm it can cause.

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2022-2023 Minnesota Wild: The good, the bad and the ugly

By: Dylan Moore

Note: this article was written before the Wild’s 12/1 game vs. the Edmonton Oilers 

The good: Kirill Kaprizov. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the Wild as of late. Coming off of a 47 goal, 108 point season (both franchise records), Kirill Kaprizov has started this season off hot. His 13 goals and 27 points in 21 games is an even better start than he got off to last season. He is currently on a 9 game point streak, and looks phenomenal in every game. 

Matt Boldy. Last season he played just over ½ of the regular season games (47), and registered a respectable 39 points. Now a staple on the top 6, and 1st power play unit, he already has 9 goals and 16 points in 21 games. While getting consistent power play time with Kaprizov helps, Wild fans are hoping the young winger can keep scoring at this pace. 

Calen Addison. Coming over in the Jason Zucker trade in 2019, Calen Addison was able to get a few games here and there in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 season, usually being the first guy to be called up in the event of an injured defenseman. This season, manager Bill Guerin decided to give Addison a full-time roster spot, and Addison has proved that it’s been deserved. Being the point man on the power play and getting 5-on-5 minutes with Kaprizov’s line, the 22-year-old defenseman has racked up the points. In 21 games he already has 10 assists and 11 points, and already looks to be one of the better passers on the team. His skills as a great 2-way defenseman will hopefully be exploited by the Wild for years to come. 

The bad: Marco Rossi. The other new full-time player is Marco Rossi. Our highest overall draft pick of the last decade (9th overall in 2020), the Austrian center has had a rough path to the NHL. I like to think he would have gotten more than 2 NHL games before this year if it wasn’t for the heart problems he had in late 2020 and early 2021. He got COVID in November, and shortly after captained the Austrians at the world juniors. During his physical at training camp, they found out he had a disease which resulted in an inflamed heart. After he battled through that, he spent the 2021-2022 season lighting up the AHL. In his first full season, he has only gotten 1 point in 18 games. While he is still only 21, many Wild fans are expecting big things from Rossi, and this certainly is not the best start to his career.  

Our record. As things stand, the Wild are 10-9-2, and 1 point off of a wild card spot in the Western Conference. Although we had a terrible start to the season (more on that later), we were 4-4-2 in our first 10, and 5-4-1 in our last 10. Given our record setting finish last season, more was expected from the team. Although we lost key pieces, we are still expected to be a playoff team, and a good one at that. Wild fans aren’t in a panicked state just yet, but it is in the team’s best interest to go on a hot streak sooner rather than later. 

The ugly: The start to the season. Following a summer of tough choices, the Wild went with the aging Marc-Andre Fleury, and traded for backup Filip Gustavsson. Gustavsson was the defined backup, not expected to play too many games, unless the 38-year-old Fleury needed a rest. Like most things, this did not initially go to plan. Through the first 3 games of the season, Marc-Andre Fleury gave up 20 (!!!) goals. Twenty. While the defense was utterly terrible, you can not blame them for this complete collapse right out of the gate. Of the 21 games we have played, Fleury has only started 13 (or roughly 60%) of games, less than expected. Although his record has certainly improved (now 7-5-1), Gustavsson (3-4-1) betters him in all statistical categories (probably because he didn’t let up 20 goals in 3 games). Regardless, the early-season struggles can be attributed to a less-than sound goaltending structure. 

Injuries. If our injury struggles had to be summarized, I would use Jordan Greenway as an example. The lanky power forward has already missed 3 different patches of games (16 of our 21 games) with injury. Other players that have missed more than 3 games include Ryan Hartman (11), Marcus Foligno (6), John Merrill (4), Brandon Duhaime (6), and Marc-Andre Fleury. So far this season, key contributors have missed a combined total of 48 games, which does not help with our consistency issues. With the forward lines getting mixed up countless times due to these injuries, one can only hope the issues slow down as this long season carries on. 

All in all, through the good, bad and ugly, I am still hopeful. And like a good Minnesota sports fan, I am eagerly awaiting my inevitable disappointment once April comes around. Good luck Wild! 

6 seasons and a movie: The ‘Community’ movie

By: Kaylen Fuentes

‘Community’ was released in September of 2011 and aired its 6th and last season in March of 2015. ‘Community’ is a sitcom about a bunch of college students of all different ages and backgrounds. The students all develop a study group for their Spanish class where they all become very close. The show follows their everyday lives in their community college study group. 

In season 2, episode 20, titled “Paradigms of Human Memory” characters Abed and Jeff talk about the show ‘The Cape’ they go on to argue about whether or not the show will get big. Abed goes on to say that the TV show will be a huge success and go on to have “6 seasons and a movie.”

Over the years, fans constantly referred back to this, wanting more to do with the ‘Community’ characters and it wasn’t found to be a coincidence because ‘Community’ ended after its 6th season. For years there had been speculations and fans rooting for the unspoken promise of a movie alongside the 6 seasons. But. September of 2022, it was made official, the ‘Community’ movie was confirmed. 

On September 30th, 2022, Joel McHale tweeted about the return of the ‘Community’ family, along with many of his other cast members including: Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi and more.

However, many were left wondering if all the original ‘Community’ characters would be returning such as, Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown, because they weren’t on the returning cast list. 

Chevy Chase was written off in season 5 due to problems behind the scenes, with the writer for the show, Dan Harmon, and other cast members like Donald Glover. But, in an interview at comic con with ‘Variety’ Harmon said, “I don’t even know if it’s legal for him to come back, that may be out of my hands. There may be something I sign for with an insurance company.”

It was also speculated that though Donald Glover was tagged he will not be a part of the movie because he is focusing on other projects such as writing a movie trilogy and being increasingly busy with his show ‘Atlanta’. However, Harmon addressed these rumors at the Business Managers Breakfast at Variety. Harmon said, “I think that Donald is coming, based on word of the mouth, but it’s just the deal isn’t official or wasn’t official. It would be difficult to really commit to doing this thing without Donald. So I believe he is coming back.”

Harmon also implies in this interview things about other names missing from the list such as Yvette Nicole Brown. He says, “I think if there’s names missing from the list, their deals are agreed upon enough that it’s okay to say they are on the list, and anybody that’s not on a list, it’s just not the case YET. So there is nothing official about anybody being out.”

There aren’t many specific details so far about the release of the ‘Community’ movie: when it will take place, who will be in it for sure, will there be guest stars or even what it will be about.

As for when the movie will be released, the timeframe has been vague. In an interview with ‘Variety’, Dan Harmon says, “It’s a matter of when. It still doesn’t mean there’s going to be a movie tomorrow. It means there is definitely going to be one.”

My guess is we can expect it around 2024. As far as the concept and story of the movie goes, I am hopeful the writers and directors are able to recapture the same humor and concept as the 6 seasons of the show. The movie is expected to be released on Peacock and is now in production.

You can watch the 6 seasons of ‘Community’ on Netflix now, but in the near future will be able to watch the ‘Community’ movie on Peacock.

‘Wendell & Wild’

By: Stephanie Caballero Benitez

In this article I will be reviewing and summarizing ‘Wendell & Wild’ from Netflix.

*Warning: This review contains spoilers. 

Short summary:

‘Wendell & Wild’ begins by giving the watchers a little background about the main character throughout the movie, Kat. We start with a memory of Kats’s father and mother at a brewery, which later on we are informed used to be Kats fathers brewery.

Leaving the brewery, the family gets caught in a storm, making roads dangerous. Kat suddenly screams as the apple she had bitten had worms in it. The scream causes her father to take his attention off the road and onto Kat. The father loses control of the car, which makes the car fall off the road/bridge they are driving on and into the water.

This is what leaves Kat as an orphan later on, and also into the criminal justice system where she is treated unfairly.

Kat is sent to a girls school to better herself and her opportunities of getting out of the system. Kat dislikes the idea of the school and finds out the only reason she is there is because the school was offered money if they accepted her.

Kat begins having nightmares about her parents. The demons Wendell and Wild are also introduced through her visions/dreams. The demons believe that Kat is a hell maiden who will be able to summon them into the world. In exchange for Kat summoning them they offer to bring back her parents from the dead. Kat agrees and makes a deal with them but to summon them she needs ‘bears-a-bub’, a plushie owned by Sister Helley. She steals the bear and makes the deal and sister Helley finds out about the plushie and the hell maiden mark.

Later on in the movie, we find out that Sister Helley is also a hell maiden which is why she was warning Kat.

Once the demons are summoned into the world they begin making deals with mostly everyone to be able to gain control/power. They make deals with Father James and Irmgard and Lane, the owners of most buildings in the town. The deal was for them to bring people from the dead so that Irmgrad and Lane will win votes in a council so that they are able to do whatever they want with the town.

Once they win, they begin to destroy the town. Kat sees the mess that this deal has created and reaches out to Sister Helley who offers to help. By summoning the demons, Kat also creates an entrance for the father of the demons to be able to come to earth. Their father is summoned and makes peace with the demons and agrees to leave them alone in return for Sister Helley to give him back all his children that she had captured.

The demons offer to help Kat make everything go back to normal. They fight off Imgrad and Lane and prevent them from going any further with their plans. Imgrad and Lane end up arrested and all the people who had come back from the dead begin to die again.

Kat gets peace with talking to her parents one last time and also gains the power of being able to see into the future.

Overall, I would give this movie a 8/10 because the movie is very well done and it seems like the entire production worked hard on this as it is a stop motion movie that took longer to produce than other movies (7 years). I also really enjoyed how the movie was not rushed at all. 

Should we have class time to do homework?

By: Gabe Kleiber

I’m sure many students have wished for this on a particularly difficult day at school, but would that actually be a good thing for students learning? I asked one HPSH student what they thought, and they had this to say.

“We already have time in advisory. We have a lot of time there. I get a lot of work time there. But you have to realize that most people just go on their phones or talk during that time. If we did have time in class most people wouldn’t even use it. A lot of people do it at home because they are more focused and their friends aren’t around.”

I think this is a great point. Even if you provide people the opportunity to get their work done early, many people wouldn’t use it and would just goof off. This means that if you give them extra work time, in reality you just shorten their school day which obviously isn’t ideal.

But then again if people don’t want to do their work it is their own fault, and not a lot would change. That’s because many of the kids that wouldn’t do their work in that extra time don’t pay attention in class anyway.

In my opinion, we should have more class time for homework, but not so much that it severely impacts our in class instruction. Especially because a lot of kids have sports after school or some kind of other activity, and having too much homework on top of all of this wouldn’t be helping them at all.

For kids that don’t pay attention in class nothing would really change, but for everyone else the extra class time would be greatly appreciated, especially those of us with busy schedules after school. Even just 10 extra minutes per class would be extremely helpful.

Obviously this wouldn’t work for all classes every day, but any and all time would go a long way. I have some classes that do this already, and I feel a lot less stressed about the work in those classes.

In class homework time wouldn’t fix kids not doing work, but it would be extremely helpful for students that care about turning things in on time. So, while classes shouldn’t turn into study hall, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of extra homework time here and there.

The upcoming television show ‘Lockwood and Co.’

By: Jocelyn Knorr

Image taken from: Wikimedia Commons

‘Lockwood and Co.,’ a middle-grade children’s book series by the author Jonathan Stroud, is getting a Netflix adaptation. The source material has defied description repeatedly; I have pitched it in the past as “teenagers with swords and an unhealthy lack of respect for the supernatural,” and “Percy Jackson’s goth cousin from across the pond.”

Much more poignant than the middle-grade tag suggests, the series speaks to a past in which the dead—capable of killing with nothing but a touch—have come back to haunt the living. Curfews are enforced across Britain as the ghosts are most dangerous at nightfall, and ghost-hunting agencies have sprung up, desperate to capitalize upon the need for forces to fight the paranormal scourge.

The worst part, to me, is that only children can see them; ergo, thousands have been conscripted into the agencies as a sort of slapdash army, and sent out each night to fight back the dark while the adults sleep safely behind iron-reinforced thresholds. This has all been going on for fifty years when we meet our main character, by the name of Lucy Carlyle.

Lucy is an experienced agent, with a sharp Talent (which is essentially the ability to see and hear ghosts) and seven years of professional experience under her belt. She’s in London, searching for a job after being let go from her previous agency position, when she meets the titular Anthony Lockwood. He—and his friend George—run a tiny independent agency, completely free of adult interference. It is here where most of the series unfolds before us. For spoiler’s sake, I will allow the rest of the plot to remain in obscurity.

The live-action adaptation is coming out near the end of January; it is being directed by Joe Cornish, who also directed ‘Attack the Block’ and ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’. For those who have been scarred by book adaptations in the past—the ‘Percy Jackson’ movies come to mind—have no fear! Jonathan Stroud himself has a consultant role on the show, described in this interview. He’s cautiously optimistic about it—he has described the script as “brilliant,” and was looking forward to visiting the set at the time of the interview.

The 8-episode series is now in post production; ‘Bridgerton’ actress Ruby Stokes has been cast as Lucy Carlyle and Cameron Chapman as Anthony Lockwood. Ali Hadji-Heshemati rounds out the trio as George Karim. Not much else is known at this time, except for a specific release date—the 27th of January, 2023.

I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoys paranormal fiction or suspense stories, as well as fans of the Percy Jackson books. If they stick closely to the source material—and, judging from the official teaser, they will—it promises to have just as much heart, spunk, and action.

What is Biathlon? A beginner’s guide

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

Biathlon is a sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Athletes compete on a circuit where they stop to shoot at a set of tiny targets on a shooting range. In addition, they ski with rifles carried on their backs, which adds another level of difficulty while skiing. 

Each race has a set distance, and the number of laps is determined by what race is going on. Every race has at least one trip into the range where athletes shoot at the targets in the prone position, which is lying down on their stomachs, and one where they stand and shoot. 

The tiny targets are 50m away from the shooting mat. That equates to 164ft and is about nine-tenths of The Leaning Tower of Pisa, half the height of the Statue of Liberty, or half the length of a soccer pitch.

The target size varies depending on the position the athlete is shooting from, prone or standing. Since standing is considered harder, the targets are 115mm wide, equaling 4.5in. That’s four and a half quarters wide for comparison. 

The size of the targets while shooting in the prone position is only 45mm wide, which equals 1.77in. That’s around the size of 2 quarters. The target would be just smaller.

Besides the target size and the range length, biathletes have other factors making it hard to hit the targets. Heart rate and muscle fatigue play a significant role in shooting accuracy. Imagine running as hard as you can while holding weights for, let’s say, 10 minutes straight and having to very precisely aim a rifle at a tiny target 50m away. Your arms are probably shaking, and you have to get your breathing under control.

Every time athletes come into the shooting range; they shoot at a set of 5 of those targets. If they miss, they usually have to ski a penalty loop for every target they miss. The loop is an extra 150m (490 ft) added to the original race distance. These usually take around 20 seconds for the athletes to complete.

The only times biathletes might not ski the penalty loop is the individual race, where if you miss, you get an added minute onto your time. And the relays, where biathletes get three spare rounds they must manually load into their rifle. If they use the extra rounds and still miss, then penalty loop(s) are required.

Good shooting times for women are around 30 seconds on the range, while good shooting times for men are around 20 seconds in total. You will see the biathletes take the most time until their first shot, getting their breathing under control and their rifle steady. Then men usually take around 2sec between shots and women around 3sec. 

Most biathletes shoot the targets from right to left, as it’s the easiest way to do so. However, some shoot left to right, and some start from the middle and go right or left after. There is no rule about which order you shoot the targets in.

Types of races

There are a few different disciplines in biathlon. The first is the sprint and the pursuit races. The Sprint race is 7.5km for women and 10km for men. Each shoot twice, one in the prone and then one standing. The sprint format is a time trial. The starting times for the pursuit are based on the sprint race results. The pursuit is 10 km for women and 12.5km for men. Both shoot four times total, two in the prone and two standing. They alternate, with the first time into the range in the prone position, the next in the standing position, and so on.

Then there is the mass start, which is self-explanatory. It is 12.5km for women and 15km for men. They shoot four times in total.

There is the individual race, the longest race for each gender. As I explained above, this race values shooting a bit more than the others. It is better to be accurate and take more time on the range than try and shoot fast, as you get a 1 min penalty for every target you miss. The race is 15km for women and 20km for men.

Lastly, there are the relays. The men’s relay is 4×7.5km, and the women’s relay is 4x6km. There is also the mixed relay, two men and two women, and the single mixed relay with one man and one woman. Teams are by country.

The person who wins the overall for each gender wins the trophy known as the Crystal Globe.

In addition, there are nine World Cups throughout the season, not including the World Championships in February.

The season starts this Tuesday, November 29, in Kontiolahti, Finland. After that, the World Cups will stop in Austria, France, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Sweden and end with Norway in mid-March.

How you can watch

You can watch all replays this season at: youtube.com/@BiathlonCentral1.

My opinion

I enjoy watching this sport because the shooting adds another aspect to the race, keeping it interesting. I’ve tried watching Nordic Skiing, and the distances are very long, and it only comes down to who is the fastest over a distance. Maybe there are some passes during the race, but the fastest person wins.

Biathlon keeps things varied during races; you can gain and lose positions because of the track or the range. The wax you use, your ski speed, your shooting accuracy, there are so many factors that make or break the racing. That is what makes it an exciting and fan-friendly sport.

Washington, D.C. — Capital of the country and hardcore music

By: Ann McMullen

Image taken from: Image taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grixlGSNS6U

The nation’s capital is, understandably, most well known for politics. However, the District of Columbia also birthed multiple genres of music. In fact, if you’re into any subgenres of punk, your favorite bands probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the thriving early hardcore scene in D.C.

Although the first punk rock band is generally considered to be Death, who emerged from Detroit in the early 1970s, a major punk explosion took place in D.C. in the late 70s to mid 80s.

Here are some D.C. hardcore punk bands and the impact they’ve had, in chronological order of when they were active.

Bad Brains were pioneers of the scene, forming back in 1977. Being one of first punk bands in the D.C. area, their shows were often seen as “too intense” by the public eye, resulting in many local clubs banning them from playing. This caused the band to relocate to New York, where they released their first studio album — with the hit track given the straightforward title of “Banned in D.C.” The band has played a number of reunion shows over the past couple decades, and frontman H.R. has released a good amount of solo reggae music as well. Bad Brains further established that punk is by no means an exclusively white genre, kicked off hardcore scenes in both Washington and New York, and could easily be considered the face of the D.C. scene.

Minor Threat was arguably the most well known and iconic band in the scene. If you wouldn’t consider Bad Brains the face of D.C. Hardcore… you’d probably give that title to Minor Threat. This early 80s band was fronted by Ian MacKaye, previously the bassist of the short lived Teen Idles. MacKaye created his own label, Dischord Records, which would eventually own almost every band in the city, but Minor Threat was one of the first bands signed to it. While a lot of their songs consisted of the typical anger towards society, they also coined the term “straight edge” by a song of the same title — used to describe a lifestyle free of drugs, alcohol, and anything of the sort. This was truly groundbreaking, as most other rock adjacent bands prior to them were all about “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.” The straight edge culture created by Minor Threat remained very prominent in future music in D.C., and created a movement that spread to musicians and fans all over the world.

Rites of Spring isn’t a name as well known as Minor Threat or Bad Brains, but they had just as big of an influence. The band put out a single album in 1985, and later released a six song demo tape under Dischord. Despite the small amount of content they put out, the legacy of Rites of Spring is absolutely incredible. The insane number of bands they went on to inspire is all thanks to the label that was placed upon them due to their intense, personal lyrics and emotionally intense live shows: emotional hardcore. This would be shortened to emocore, and then simply emo. The emo label would go on to be used on some of the most well known bands of future decades, and, similar to straight edge, create a worldwide subculture.

The Hated were technically from Annapolis, MD, but are still considered a part of the D.C. scene due to their close proximity. Their work is often overlooked considering they were first active at the same time as the iconic Rites of Spring, but The Hated are believed by a good group of people to be the true beginners of emocore. They are having a reunion show in Los Angeles next spring, which is something relatively uncommon among bands of this scene, and era, and will hopefully bring more attention to this truly underrated band.

Moss Icon emerged from the same Annapolis scene as The Hated in late 1986, but had somewhat of a different approach. Their songs almost have a spoken word aspect to them, and the lyrics can be read as stories or poems — which makes sense, as vocalist Jon Vance is rumored to be a descendant of Edgar Allen Poe. Lyrics aside, the most prominent sounds in Moss Icon’s music are the intricate basslines. Their longest term bassist was Monica DiGialleonardo, and having a female in a band like this was pretty groundbreaking, at the time. Although they may not objectively be the best band to come out of the capital, Moss Icon is easily my favorite.

Embrace was short lived, but highly influential nonetheless. Like Minor Threat, Embrace was fronted by Ian MacKaye. They only released one self titled album in 1987, but also contributed greatly to the emocore phenomenon as their live shows were just as intense as those of Rites of Spring. In fact, Thrasher Magazine referred to Embrace as the creators of emocore in a 1987 issue, and MacKaye (and most other musicians at the time) were… not fond of the label. Embrace tends to be overlooked because of MacKaye’s more well known bands like Minor Threat, but they are my personal favorite project of his.

Fire Party was a racially diverse, all female band. Unfortunately, they were significantly lesser known than their male counterparts, but released a great couple of albums and played a number of live shows in D.C. and far beyond. Although members of the group have since moved onto other endeavors like writing and art, they remain very open about their experiences in music. Fire Party was successful despite being faced with various challenges as women in the scene, and established that the genre was a safe space for people of any gender.

Scream peaked around the same time as Fire Party, and actually toured Europe with them. Although their music was just as important as that of every other band in the scene, what really stood out about Scream was a certain member of their lineup. Later into their career, the band hosted auditions for a drummer – who would end up to be none other than Dave Grohl of future Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame. Grohl credits Scream, the Dischord label, and the D.C. scene as a whole, as his starting point in the music industry. Essentially, without Scream, one of the greatest music icons of this generation would not be who or where he is today.

Fugazi is considered a supergroup, with a highly accomplished lineup including Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Embrace and Guy Picciotto of Rites of Spring. Forming in the late 80s, Fugazi released their debut album in 1989, and carried hardcore music into the 90s and beyond, while also adding more experimental aspects into their later work. They remain one of the most well known bands from this scene, and their 1988 single “Waiting Room” helped to make hardcore more mainstream.

As you can see, the D.C. hardcore punk scene most definitely peaked in the 80s, but the same type of music is still being made there today. Dischord continues to sign new bands, and a few groups that have been around since the initial explosion still make music to this day.

Although the musical history of the city is greatly overshadowed by politics, there are still places of musical importance available to visit. Smash Records, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, has existed since the peak of the D.C. hardcore explosion, and is still open to this day, making it a fun place to pick up authentic memorabilia. Museum exhibits related to local music also come and go, and the city is still home to great, iconic small music venues.

There’s really something for everybody in D.C. hardcore, even if you’re not a fan of the style of music. For those interested in the history of music, I greatly recommend a visit to the capital, or simply looking further into the musical significance of this location.

For more information on this era of music, please see:

JOYSTiCK Ep. 4: Minecraft Story Mode – A fate much, MUCH worse than death

By: Daniel Kendle

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/url?
sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ign.com%
2Fgames%2Fminecraft-story-mode-episode
-1%2Farticles&psig=AOvVaw0EvFLrY4lSV__2LZ-1jFEf&ust=1668716262312000&source
=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CA0QjhxqFwo
TCIDasNTCs_sCFQAAAAAdAAAAABA7

Uh oh.

Greetings, and welcome back again to JOYSTiCK, the HPSH serial that enjoys reviewing and exploring video games. Today we’re taking a shot at our 4th game on the docket, eternal pain and suffering ‘Minecraft Story Mode,’ which I’m not even going to try to hide my disgust of.

…..

So, I really, REALLY like ‘Minecraft.’ Like, to an abnormal amount. And it being the prince of gaming giants in the industry, of course it would eventually get a spin-off.

As of writing this, there have been 4 ‘Minecraft’ games made besides the original. ‘Minecraft Dungeons’ is an isometric dungeon crawler based on ‘Diablo,’ ‘Minecraft EARTH’ was – I say “was,” as it’s been permanently shut down due to COVID-19 – an AR game similar to that of ‘Pokémon Go’ and ‘Pikmin Bloom,’ where you built stuff in the real world using resources obtained from resource deposits (similar to that of the base game), and then… There was ‘Minecraft Story Mode,’ which similar to the rest of Telltale’s games – the company that teamed up with Mojang, the creators of Minecraft – followed a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” format. There were actually 2 games, being season 1 and season 2. Each had the same characters, but different stories. For this review we’ll be looking at season 1 only.

So, to preface this review, this’ll be mostly about the story of ‘Minecraft Story Mode,’ as the game doesn’t have much to offer, gameplay-wise. It’s mostly focused on telling a narrative rather than actually having you move around and do stuff on your own merit, like most games. So, for this review, I’ll be discussing the story first, then eventually the music. If you’re looking for a review of a game with the player actually “playing” instead of just clicking through multiple-choice questions, then this isn’t the review for you.

So, ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ is a bad game, it’s not like I’ve tried to hide it in the title and introduction alone. But, why is it like this? Well, the answer is pretty interesting, actually.

PART ONE: STORY *Warning, Spoilers*

Settle down everyone, this might take a while.

For context, I don’t actually own a physical copy of ‘Minecraft Story Mode.’ However, the first game has actually been archived on Netflix, of all places, categorized in their “Netflix Interactive” group, a group made up of playable movies. This is because Telltale eventually shut down, and these 2 games were removed from production lines forever. Thank goodness Netflix was able to swoop in and save this insanely-bad experience.

But now, the game’s story. Keep in mind, ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ comes in an episodic format, having 4 episodes for the main game and 4 additional episodes after completing the first half. I’ll be covering the first half for this review.

We open on a bit of background The Order of the Stone, a group of legendary heroes that once defeated the Ender Dragon, a powerful creature that lived in a place known as The End. Afterwards, they disappeared into legends, where they have since split apart and gone their separate ways.

After this we open on our playable character, Jessie, as him (or her, you can choose their gender) and his friends prepare to head off to take part in a building competition in order to win tickets to Endercon, a festival that they’ve always wanted to take part of.

After a rival group causes a commotion at their 1st-place winning build, Jessie’s pet pig runs off into the forest. After saving him they’re ambushed by monsters – or “mobs,” as they’re normally called – being saved by another friend, Petra. The three go off to Endercon and meet up with Jesse’s friends in order to exchange a Wither Skeleton skull for some cash.

The stranger that they’re to trade the skull with ends up cheating them, taking the skull and leaving some dirty lapis in return. Jessie, Petra, the pig and the friends all chase after him. They reach the main convention hall and head down to a basement library, where they find the stranger’s been working on some sort of demonic summoning practice, constructing a statue in order to resurrect the Wither Storm, a monster capable of destroying entire cities with ease.

The group runs to warn the public, stumbling into a Q&A with Gabriel, one of the members of The Order of the Stone. They try to tell him of the plans, but Jessie is interrupted by the stranger, now known to be Ivor, another past member of the order. He uses the Wither Skull with 2 others and a machine known as a Command Block to summon the Wither Storm, though it’s revealed to only be a ploy to scare the crowd, as Ivor has the potion to subdue the beast. The problem is that one of Jesse’s friends, Axel, took the potion for himself, replacing it with one that turns out to be useless on the creature. It quickly starts destroying the town, and Jessie, his friends, his pig, and one of the members of the rival gang have to enter a portal to escape.

Now in a place known as the Nether, they travel across a minecart highway in order to travel away from the destruction back home, and reach another portal to get back to the normal world and end up far away from Endercon.

After finding The Order of the Stone’s past bunker, they split up to find 2 more members of the order. This is one of the game’s BIG player-made choices, allowing for Jessie to either find one or the other, which takes a large chunk of the next episode to do.

You go to find either Magnus or Ellegard, both being pyrotechnics and “Redstone” engineers, respectively (In the normal ‘Minecraft,’ Redstone is a kind of circuit-like ore. I wont cover it here, but I wanted to give context for the confusion). After some hassle getting them to come back, Jessie, a friend who came with them depending on the order number chosen, and the order member all leave after the Wither Storm reaches them again.

Upon getting back to the bunker, they find out that the friend Jessie didn’t go with got the other member, so now the group technically only have one more member to find: Soren, the group’s expert builder. He’s located in The End, a dimension surrounded by an endless void. After getting him, the gang has to make their way back to their normal world once again.

The main story ends with Jessie and Co. all defeating the Wither Storm through a series of inventions that let Jessie access the monster’s core, slaying it in the process. Unfortunately, his pet pig dies too, which is used as a sad moment in the plot. The past order is shown to be frauds and are either forgiven or not, and the new order becomes the guardians of their town, or something. The. End.

Wow.

So as I’ve said… this is a really, REALLY flat story, tonal-wise. It’s obviously meant for a smaller age demographic, seeing as Minecraft is a kid-friendly experience.

I’d say that my main issues with ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ is that it feels like it wants to more like an adult-focused adventure with mild swears and somewhat-dark themes, like death (in a “bad” way) and basically the genocide of hundreds of citizens, though its writing is so stupid that it feels like satire at times.

Characters in the game are just annoying, there’s not many I find decently likable. Pretty much everyone is either rude to our heroes or ARE the heroes, who are 10 times worse! The Order of the Stone has most of the 5 members be dismissive, weirdly paranoid or just a very mean character in general. When going off to find 2 of the members, Ellegard and Magnus, their characters are seen exclusively as these petulant whiners that only care about themselves and couldn’t give less of a thought towards the people they lead.

Looking at the actual story itself, it’s… fine? Like, I’ve seen worse, though I’d say that ‘Minecraft Story Mode’s’ biggest detriment is that, as I said, it feels like it wants to be both a kid friendly romp through a fictional ‘Minecraft’ world, and also a semi-dark take on the ideals of evil, not trusting those around you, etc.

The main message of the game is to not trust those around you. However, the moral doesn’t come off as many other kid-friendly media do, because whilst something like ‘Arthur’ or ‘Curious George’ can teach viewers that blindly believing in someone or something can be hazardous without proper reasoning, ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ says that trusting ANYONE is dangerous. Though unfolding events the plot has pretty much any character, unimportant or not, be these hostile, arrogant folk. It’s almost disturbing how there’s practically no one in the game that’s a genuinely nice person; it feels depressing. The characters save the world from an extra-dimensional deity, and what changes? Nothing. People still act callus to you and your friends, as if all you’ve done is prolong the drought, metaphorically speaking.

Going back to the characters, I do like a couple. I stated in the story that Lucas, a member of the gang, comes with you, and he’s actually decently-written. His arc is of how he’s arguably the nicest towards Jessie’s group, and breaking away from his toxic peers. Then again, this is an exception, not the rule. Or dare I say, THE exception. Outside of this, there aren’t many other characters that have somewhat-compelling motivations and arcs.

If I could change anything, it’d be ‘Minecraft Story Mode’s’ message. Having this sort of paranoid theme of trust and “stranger danger” is convoluted at best and dumb at worst. Instead, I feel like a message of “trusting others through conflicting ideals and thought complexes” would be a solid choice. Considering the source material is a multiplayer game where you’re able to literally make anything, a theme of adapting to another person’s different morals and beliefs could work well in what is basically a more story-focused version of ‘Minecraft.’

PART TWO: MUSIC
So, you’d expect that for such a bad game, the music would be too, right? Fortunately, no.

When I went into this review, I was only gonna talk about the story, and maybe the creepy animations too. However, I decided to write about the music because – and you might not want to hear this – ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ has amazing tracks.

The albums for both season 1 and 2 were made by Antimo & Welles, otherwise known as Skyler Barto and Andrew Arcadi. Looking at their YouTube channel, the soundtrack for ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ is arguably the most popular of their works.

If asked to describe the feelings the playlist gives me, I’d say “atmospheric.” This isn’t some kind of Lo-Fi soundtrack where it has these relaxing, calming beats. Instead, the game has a somber, almost eerie list of songs, though seeing as this game has an annoyingly creepy undertone throughout its duration, at least it knows it’s weird. Some of my favorite songs include the following.

  • “Ivor’s Theme” is my personal favorite. If anyone had to ask me the perfect mix of a horror theme and Lo-Fi track, this would be one of them.
  • “Wither Storm Theme” has a very fitting sense of dread and anger, seeing as the monster it’s named after destroys part of a city whilst this plays. I like it, as it feels very epic in scale.
  • “The Finishing Blow” is from one of ’Minecraft Story Mode’s’ various DLC episodes. I have not played any of them, so I don’t actually know what this song correlates to. I do know that it’s very good, however.
  • “Mob Grinder” slaps, and there really isn’t anything else to say about it.
  • “Boomtown Suite” feels like it belongs in a completely different game than this, akin to ‘Borderlands’ or ‘Splatoon.’ Nifty!
  • And finally, “Ivor Fight” isn’t as good as its companion, but definitely rivals it.

PART THREE: CONCLUSION

So, that’s that. The skeleton in the closet that’s been bugging me since September has been freed, and ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ has been reviewed.

No, it’s not a good game. No, my opinion hasn’t changed. And no, this review isn’t nearly as much as I could talk about it. Honestly, I could write an essay on this game and its tonal problems, story struggles, and beautiful soundtrack. A part 2 could happen, though I’d have to somehow buy the 2nd season off of Craigslist, seeing as the 2 games are no longer in print.

And finally, I can definitively say that ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ is a 3/10 game. The music entirely keeps this above a 1 or 2, which isn’t a good look. And seeing as I’m one of, like, 10 people who’s given an in-depth look at this game, I feel I need to warn the public of this menace to society. We need to stop this game from infecting the brains of children across the globe! But how? How could we destroy all the copies of ‘Minecraft Story Mode’ in existence? Hmm…

Well, shoot, now this fiendish game shall go on to take over the world with its hazardous mediocrity. And I will NOT let the game do this; it must be stopped.

Hmm. Oh, that’s it!

Everyone who has a copy of ‘Minecraft Story Mode, listen up. Go out and PURCHASE A NUCLEAR MISSILE AND UNLEASH IT UPON THE HORRID CREATURE THAT IS ‘MINECRAFT STORY MO-!’

…..

And that’s all for this episode of JOYSTiCK. It was a little shorter than usual, though this is more akin to a special rather than a full-length story. (That also explains the ‘explosive’ ending). Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

The Haitian Zombie

By: Maya Breininger

When you think of the word “zombie”, what do you picture?

Many cultures have different depictions of the creature; some are shown as intelligent spirits – a being that is brought to earth to bring harm to humans, while others are shown as soulless bodies of humans being brought back from the grave in search of people to consume.

Unbeknownst to most who enjoy the creepy story, the idea of a “Zombie” was a Haitian borne concept, one that will be broken down in today’s text.

In Haiti, voodoo and other forces of witchcraft, are common amongst civilians, and are used in everyday communication. In Haitian culture, the definition of a zombie, is a being that retains human form but does not contain a soul, and who’s actions resolve a human’s most primal urges such as cannibalism, and resisting death.

Image taken from: https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/02/17/
guest-post-on-the-origin-of-zombies/

The idea of the zombie, or in Haitian terms, “Zonbi”, originated when slaves were brought to Haiti from West Africa, increasing the vodou religion. According to Haitian folklore, zombies are the result of a spell that was cast by a sorcerer called Bokor, which is enacted by an elixir, or potion that slaves were forced to drink.

Image taken from: https://thesocietypages.org/socimages
/2011/02/17/guest-post-on-the-origin-of-zombies/

According to many sources, slaves considered suicide the one way to take control of their lives. However, with the potion, it would force each person to appear dead, causing them to be buried. Weeks after being buried, Bokor would return for them and force them to do his bidding. This was considered a slave’s worst dream, because it rendered their ability of choice completely useless, and rid every sense of comfort.

So, now that you know this deeply rooted folk tale of the original zombie, you must wonder; how did this turn into the depiction of the brainless, slow and even humorous version that we see today?

Zombies appeared in films and pop culture, along with Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula, around 1932. They appeared in many viral versions of film such as, the movie series ‘The Walking Dead’, and Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller”.

Over time, all folk tales and stories will be washed down, but it’s important to understand and remember the origin of such mythical creatures, and to properly credit the millions of people who truly believe and respect this tale.

For more information about the origin of Zombies, or how they rose to fame, visit these websites:

http://websites.umich.edu/~uncanny/zombies.html
https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/02/17/guest-post-on-the-origin-of-zombies/
https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/02/17/guest-post-on-the-origin-of-zombies/
https://www.history.com/topics/folklore/history-of-zombies?scrlybrkr=8461370e
http://websites.umich.edu/~uncanny/zombies.html
●https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/12/13/250844800/zoinks-tracing-the-history-of-zombie-from-haiti-to-the-cdc?scrlybrkr=8461370e