Art vs. Artist

By: Parker Rowen

Image taken from: Shepherd, Jack. “Artist Paints Himself Painting Himself Painting Himself Painting Himself.” Medium, Sharks and Spades, 5 Aug. 2020, https://medium.com/sharks-and-spades/artist-paints-himself-painting-himself-painting-himself-painting-himself-ed11017d25fc.

“Should art be separated from it’s artist?” is a questions that has come up in recent times. This has begun to re-emerge, with Hollywood being shown to have more and more morally questionable people to be within the industry than was once known, or believed. This is an important question to answer, it brings in a question of morality, and whether it is moral to consume art made by an artist who has committed something heinous.

When researching for a paper, or some kind of formal piece, you always question the source of the information, whether it’s reliable, if it is to be trusted, or provides something which before was unseen. Art should be viewed in the same manner. When you see a piece of art, it is paramount that the artist and their intentions get discussed.

If you look at the works of someone such as Vincent Van Gough, you’ll see how it paints a picture of Van Gough’s life, and view of the world. Without this art as context, we wouldn’t have nearly as much of a view into the world of Van Gough.

Good art is often reflective of it’s artist. It is hard to put passion into something without that thing becoming part of you, and vice versa. Art is meant to be passionate, so naturally it would show the person you are to the world. 

To separate the art from the artist would be akin to stealing the sun from the sky. The artist defines their work, and sets up their themes, they are the ones to decide what their art should mean. It often reflects an opinion, or sends a message in which the artist believes in. While this opinion may not necessarily be harmful, it should be a truthful one, and help paint a picture of what the artist is like, and whether it is someone to look up to.

In capitalism, the phrase “speak with your wallet” is a common, and very true one. People have a monetary value attached to everything, and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve success in that regard. So, by this logic, when you buy something you are supporting it. Generally, art has been sold at a price, helping to support the artist living, and to encourage more of that type of art. When you buy a piece of art, you are supporting the artist, and encouraging them to continue behaving the way in which they are.

A piece of art is crucial in learning about an artist, therefore, the artist must be crucial to understanding the art. To separate the art from the artist opens a blank space in the context, and message of the art. With this assessment in mind, I feel that to consume art, such as buying a painting, or CD, made by someone who has committed a reprehensible act is immoral and something to be avoided, because supporting that art also supports the negative behavior in which they have practiced.

‘Dune’ Movie Review

By: Eva Olsen

This movie is set somewhere very far into the future in space. It follows the story of a boy named Paul Atreides, who has to go to a very dangerous planet to guarantee the future of his people and family. A war erupts over spice, the most precious substance in the universe, which is only found on this dangerous planet called Arrakis.

I thought the plot of this movie was very interesting but also kind of confusing. The most confusing part for me was remembering all of the names for the different planets, characters, languages, and objects. All of the advanced and futuristic technology was also really cool to see.

A lot of conflict was shown throughout this movie and most of it was revolving around politics. There were a lot of fighting scenes but they weren’t too bloody

I loved the characters and how they all had such different personalities from one another. It created a lot of suspense not knowing what characters were loyal to Paul and which ones weren’t. There were a lot of sad scenes where characters I liked died or sacrificed themselves. There were also a lot of plot twists in the movie, most of them revolving around betrayal.

The casting of this movie was good in my opinion and I recognized a lot of the actors in it. I thought the acting in it was very good. All of the costumes were very cool and I loved the attention to detail. The special effects were also very captivating and looked very realistic.

Overall, this movie was really good even though it was a little bit confusing at times. I recommend this movie if you like suspenseful action/adventure and science fiction movies. I give this movie a 9/10 rating.

If you were interested in seeing ‘Dune’, it is available in theaters, and online at HBO Max.

‘Sky: Children of the Light’ game review

By: Annika Getz

‘Sky: Children of the Light’ is an open-world, indie adventure game, available in the App Store, on the Nintendo Switch, and on the PS4. It was developed by thatgamecompany, a company famous for it’s indie explorer games, the most well known of which being ‘Journey’, which was released in 2012. ‘Sky’ was originally released for iOS in 2019. ‘Sky’ has a rating of 4.5/5 on Google Play, and 4.8/5 on the Apple App Store.

The main goal isn’t to “beat” the game, in fact, there’s not really a way to beat it at all. The game is simply about exploring, and communicating with other players. Throughout the game, you search for what the intro calls “fallen stars” which are spirits scattered throughout the map.

The lore of the universe is a bit ambiguous, though enjoyable nonetheless. The spirits are beings trapped in statue-like forms. Your objective is to find them, experience one memory of theirs, and learn from them. From each spirit, you learn a new action, such as hugging, clapping, waving, etc., as the game progresses, the actions get more complicated and fun. You can learn to flip, play hide and seek, blow kisses, and more.

There are also figures made of pure light in many places on the map. When you find these spirits, you receive wings. The more wings you get, the longer you can fly for. There are also options to customize your character’s outfit the more you progress.

There are seven realms in the game, the first being “Isle of Dawn”, the second “Daylight Prairie”, the third “Hidden Forest”, the fourth “Valley of Triumph”, the fifth “Golden Wasteland”, the sixth “Vault of Knowledge”, and the seventh “The Eye of Eden”. Eye of Eden is the final and most difficult part of the game, and the first time you face a real life-or-death situation (there are similar perils in the “Golden Wasteland” area, but it’s less high-stakes).

Overall, I think this game is great, the visuals are beautiful, and the music and sound effects do a great job immersing you in the world. The large scale of the map, and frequent editions of new seasons keep you from getting bored too quickly. The concept, though mysterious, is intriguing and enjoyable.

My main critique is that the controls aren’t the greatest. I’ve only ever played on a touch-screen, so I can’t speak as to what it’s like on the Switch or PlayStation, but as far as mobile devices go, I and others find it to be difficult to control. Moving your character, and moving your perspective, is basically the same movement, just on different sides of the screen which makes it difficult to control your movements at times.

Overall, this is a game I’d highly suggest to anyone looking for a calm, and visually beautiful adventure game: 4.5/5.

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How does the Pfizer vaccine work?

By: Sarah VonBerge

Pfizer is 1 of 3 COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States. The ones currently available are Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer and Moderna are both Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, meaning they recognize proteins and help our body learn how to fight an illness so we don’t feel the serious symptoms. This type of RNA does not stay in the body for long, but it helps the body remember how to deal with illnesses.

These vaccines do not release a live virus, but instead a harmless protein called a spike protein, which sits on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. These spike proteins are then displayed on the cells.

When the immune system realizes that that protein is not supposed to be there, the body begins to fight it as if there is an infection even though there is no danger, which is why people may feel sick after they get a vaccine.

Even though the spike protein sits on the cell, it never goes into the nucleus, which is where DNA is kept. Because it doesn’t get into the nucleus, it does not alter DNA in any way even though this is a popular belief.

Just because the spike protein eventually leaves the body, the body doesn’t forget it. Our immune system will continue to remember it, so if the same protein were to come into the body again, it knows how to fight it.

Many are hesitant to get a COVID vaccine because they don’t believe that mRNA vaccines have enough research when, in reality, they have been tested and developed for decades, but only recently became available to the public. They have been studied for the flu, Zika, rabies, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and even cancer.

To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ in our body, whereas mRNA vaccines do not. This immune response is what causes our bodies to release antibodies and fight an illness. Although mRNA vaccines can not prevent an illness, they do help our bodies know how to fight an illness and help us not feel the serious symptoms, if any symptoms at all.

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Why Highland Park should give out seconds

By: Marcus Lund

As a 16-year-old with a high metabolism, I’m always hungry. So, when I head to the lunchroom, I’m ready to eat a nicely sized meal. But, then I’m served 3 chicken nuggets with a side of sadness and beans. After those 250 calories, I’m obviously going to still be hungry, so I head up again, only to be turned back: “No seconds”.

Highland Park seems to think that by offering unpaid lunches, they can’t afford to give two lunches to high schoolers who need more food. However, other schools in the Saint Paul school district who offer free lunches do offer seconds. They implement a system in which they require student pay for seconds, while their first lunch is still free. This allows the school to retain the funds needed to keep up free firsts and free breakfasts, as well as lessen food waste.

In multiple instances, when students bring up their tray and ID for a second lunch, they’re turned away. This happens even though SPPS nutrition services states that second lunches are purchasable for all SPPS students for $4.40, with second breakfast also available for $2.75. Even an extra milk is apparently available for 50 cents if wanted, an option I haven’t even heard of.

Not allowing for seconds at lunch has caused much strife throughout the cafeteria. Methods used to get a second lunch include students using other students’ IDs, students hopping the barrier to avoid scanning their lunch pass, in hopes of only needing to scan once for two lunches. Students have even gone as far as literally running away from lunch staff.

Teenagers need a lot of food, and school lunch shouldn’t be a sad excuse for a real meal. Can Highland Park step it up?

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Pros and cons of homework: How much is too much?

By: Isaac Lund

Homework is a concept that has been utilized by teachers all around the world for decades. It seems to be a tried and true concept, but is it really the best for students?

Many teachers and parents argue that homework is necessary to keep the standards of education high. With the following pros I’m about to list off, you may well agree.

First off, homework helps students develop study skills that they can utilize throughout the rest of their life. It teaches responsibility and organization, as well as enforcing individual learning skills that will come into play more and more as students stop having teachers to look to for help later in life.

Another upside of homework is that it helps to further engrain classroom learning. According to Ed Cooke, a grand master of memory, using a word repetitively is the best way to remember it. This repetition concept carries over to homework as well.

Homework can also help students apply what they learned in different situations, many of which weren’t gone over in class. This helps to improve improvisation.

Homework also helps teachers recognize patterns in academic comprehension within students. This can help give students who are struggling more help, and change teaching approaches if entire classes fail to comprehend the material.

Image taken from: Wikipedia.org

Although the paragraphs above makes homework look like a fine and dandy tool, it ignores the grievous shortcomings homework has to offer as well.

Obviously, homework decreases leisure time. As I sit here at my desk writing this article, I am squandering time that could be spent building social skills or discovering a new hobby—both are things that will benefit me for much longer than my grade in newspaper class.

Homework also increases stress levels: when the workload becomes too much or too difficult, students lose sleep and motivation. Through this concept, homework is seen as a negative aspect of school by almost all students.

Finally, homework isn’t always effective. A study conducted at the University of Melbourne found that homework in primary school has an effect of around zero, with many students completing work unrelated to class material.

Homework can be greatly beneficial, but it can also be greatly detrimental. Although I do agree that homework should remain to some extent, it must be related to class material, and must create a low stress environment, while still reinforcing prior learning.

The World Series

Image taken from: Ajc.com

By: Abby Altman

Back in July at the trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves had an estimated 3% chance to represent the National League in the World Series. Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL in July and would miss the remainder of the season, which put a huge damper on the Braves season and playoff hopes. 

On the other side of the league, the Houston Astros were winning the AL West with the best record in the MLB and a massive 10 game lead. The Astros making the World Series was not only possible, but probable. 

The Braves front office was busy this season. They acquired outfielders Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler, as well as Joc Peterson. All 3 played massive roles in the Braves postseason success. 

The Braves beat the Dodgers, and the Astros defeated the Red Sox, securing their spots in the 2021 World Series. 

Game one opened with a deep home run by Braves Jorge Soler on the 3rd pitch of the World Series. In the bottom of the 1st, Atlanta pitcher Charlie Morton was hit in the shin by a comebacker, resulting in a fractured right fibula, and an early 2nd inning exit. 

Games 1-3 went back and forth with the Astros winning game 2 and the Braves winning games 1 and 3. The Braves also won game 4 giving themselves a commanding 3-1 lead, with game 5 at home in Atlanta. The Astros went on to defeat Atlanta in a must win situation to force game 6, back at home in Houston. 

The Braves went out strong in game 6, and never let up. Atlanta’s offense went on to score 7 runs, propelled by World Series MVP Jorge Soler’s 3 run homer, and Max Fried and the Braves bullpen combined for a World Series winning shutout against the Houston Astros. 

The 2021 World Series marks Atlanta’s first series appearance since 1999 and their first title in 26 years. 

Freddie Freeman has been an Atlanta Brave for 11 years, drafted in 2007, making his first start in fall 2010. Freeman has been a team and fan favorite for nearly 12 years, winning an MVP, 2 Silver Slugger awards, a Gold Glove, 5 All Star appearances, the Hank Aaron award, and finally his first ring this year. Freeman will be a free agent after this season. 

“We’ve had so many ups and downs this year… and for us to be world champions…it’s still so great to hear,” via Freddie Freeman in a post game interview. 

The Atlanta Braves are your 2021 world champions. 

How social media affects self esteem in teens

By: Liv Miller

Image taken from: How social media affects self esteem in teens
https://mashable.com/article/social-media-self-esteem-protection

In the past decade social media has taken the world by storm. If you ask any teenager today they will tell you that they have at least one social media app downloaded on their mobile device. Social media is a great way to connect with friends, family, and meet new people. We are now able to share videos, photos, and ideas with one another faster than ever through these platforms.

Even though the creators of the most popular social media websites created the platforms to bring people together, there is a very serious issue developing through social media, specifically affecting this generation’s teen population.

With social media comes influencers. Urban dictionary defines influencer as “a prominent figure on a social media platform whom generally exchanges financial instruments or special benefits for enforcements.” While this is correct, there is another aspect of influencers on social media. To typically become an influencer you have to fit today’s societies standard of beauty.

Instagram influencers in particular focus their brand on themselves, or their looks if you will. These influencers gain a following because of how “perfect” they appear online. When people, especially young teen girls, see these influencers they start to compare themselves.

The thought process this encourages is “If she looks like that and has 100,000 followers telling her how perfect she looks, that is what I should look like to be viewed as attractive.”

Nobody is at fault for this outcome but it is what’s formed over the years on social media. A study done by a college student at Duquesne University shows to what extent teens are affected by this. When asked if they have ever been left with low self esteem after viewing someone else’s post on Instagram, 83.3 percent said yes.

This is true for other social media platforms as well. The newest and most popular social media app right now, TikTok, has various trends that people partake in. For the most part TikTok trends are harmless, usually dancing, acting challenges, ect. but these certain trends focus on unrealistic beauty standards. An example of this would be people comparing side profiles, waist size, bust, and butt size, ect. When these trends show up on teen girls pages they start comparing themselves to everyone they see, which is not good for self esteem.

Even though social media was created for good, these new issues need to be taken care of for the sake of the mental health of our youth.

‘Inception’ review

By: Eva Olson

This movie follows the story of a spy (Dominic Cobb) who steals secrets by entering people’s dreams and extracting information. He is tasked with doing something that is nearly impossible, inception. Inception is where instead of taking something from someone’s mind, you plant an idea in someone’s mind.

This movie was very suspenseful and kept me intrigued throughout the entire movie. I loved the way the movie messed with your mind and made you question everything. I thought the pacing greatly added to the suspense and made it feel very stressful.

I thought they did a very good job with the casting and I recognized a lot of the faces. I thought the acting was also very good and made the movie feel more real.

This movie had a lot of fight scenes in it that kept me on edge the whole time. This movie definitely had a lot of scenes that used guns and knives. Although the movie was very action packed there wasn’t a lot of blood and gory violence shown up close which I liked.

The plot was very interesting and captivating. I loved how everything didn’t go exactly as planned for the characters. There were a lot of unpredictable scenes and plot twists throughout the movie.

This movie was kind of hard to follow at some points but I think that added to the anticipation of what was going to happen next. The ending of the movie was also a cliffhanger and made me wonder what would happen next if they made a sequel.

Overall, I loved the movie and it exceeded my expectations. If you are looking for an action movie that is very suspenseful and will get you thinking, I recommend this movie. I give it a 9.5/10 rating.

How does social media affect the way people view COVID-19?

By Ella Sutherland

Fear is a big component of COVID and social media. There is a lot of different, wrong, exaggerated, and misleading information on social media apps.

The main social media apps that became a source of that information were Twitter and TikTok. Both of the apps allow anyone to post anything on them, and a lot of the information is false. On TikTok you can make short videos, and it is mostly Gen Z. On Twitter you can make short messages called “tweets”.

Before COVID was super well known there were a lot of accusations about what COVID really was. When there was wrong information out there, it scared a lot of people, and the reason for that was that we didn’t have a lot of information from real scientists.

Social media also helped influence people in different ways on how to handle the coronavirus. Lots of people looked to popular influencers on how to handle the whole situation. Many influencers were not doing a good job of staying safe and even with them knowing that they have a big fan base that looks to them for guidance, they didn’t really seem to care. They were still going to parties and going out to eat at busy restaurants, while some of them still weren’t wearing masks.

When the COVID vaccine came out I’m guessing many of them got it, but they didn’t make that clear. However, there were a few influencers that were promoting the vaccine and making it crystal clear that they were all for it and had gotten it. Many celebrities were promoting and talking about the vaccines and masks a lot more than influencers were, which definitely increased the amount of people getting vaccines and wearing their masks. Many politicians also joined celebrities in spreading the word about masks and vaccines.

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