Yoga in the United States

By: Grace Helmke

Yoga was once a practice that involved great spirituality and mindfulness. It was a way of life which no individual had taken lightly. However, after its introduction in Western society, yoga became a factory which Americans have simply thrown money at. The culture of Hindus, Buddhists, and Janeists have become a multi-million dollar industry marketed towards white women. 

The origins of yoga date back thousands of years. It was first mentioned in the ‘Rig Veda’, which are ancient Sanskrit texts from India, however, yoga was practiced by yogis long before there was written record of it. The ‘Rig Veda’ is one of the most important texts in the tradition of Hinduism. It is a collection of hymns and mantras divided into ten mandalas (books).

Over time, yogis passed down the discipline to their students. Schools of yoga had begun to expand across India, and started to spread through Eastern Asia as well. 

Yoga is one of the six schools of philosophy in Hinduism, and is a major part of the traditions of Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism as well. It is a practice which combines aspects of physicality, spirituality, and mental well being through breathing techniques, poses, and meditation.

Yoga is most commonly known in the Western world as being an exercise that involves poses, but in reality, physicality is not as significant in the traditional practices in India. Instead of being a fitness routine, yoga was focused on spiritual growth and mental improvement. The word yoga in Sanskrit means “union” and is meant to be a way to connect the mind, body, and soul.

According to a research study done by the University of Connecticut, yoga practitioners in the United States are generally white, middle aged, women, of a higher socioeconomic status. Therefore, the American yoga industry markets towards this demographic. Products such as yoga mats and blocks are so overpriced that they have become inaccessible to individuals of lower socioeconomic status. Yoga studios are generally built in areas of greater wealth. This might have something to do with the $90 yoga pants they sell, or the $20 per class fee they charge. Yoga practitioners in the U.S. spend more than $10 billion a year on classes, clothing, and accessories. The upscale white woman is the face of yoga, because that’s who Western yoga (white yoga) is marketed towards. 

One of the most significant symbols of the commercialization of yoga is the mat. Many consider this a vital piece in the practice. A top of the line mat can cost you around $100. However, mats have not always been a staple to the practice of yoga. The first mat which was intentionally produced for the purpose of yoga, was created in the 1990s. Before that, yoga was practiced on grass, rugs, and even just on the bare floor. Today some argue that the use of mats interferes with the practice, claiming it distracts the practitioner away from the true aims of yoga, and towards that accumulation of commodities.

The result of the commercialization of yoga could potentially be dangerous. Unqualified teachers can cause physical harm to students. According to an article by the ‘New York Times’, it is all too common for students and teachers alike to injure themselves from lack of experience in yoga. Glenn Black, an incredibly experienced and famous yogi, claims that the majority of people in practice, shouldn’t be.

Commercialization has driven yoga to become more of an exercise which involves harsh posing, causing injury to be common. It’s rarely known that certain poses can cause serious issues such as strokes, wounding of vertebral arteries, and blood clots. These poses are not meant for the inflexible white urbanite. The poses were extensions of positions ancient Indians used to sit and stand in every day. Their bodies were built to be able to bend this way.

The failure to discuss the idea that yoga can cause blinding pain is done on purpose. What’s pumped out into the media is the idea that yoga is a miracle cure for anxiety, depression, back aches, high blood pressure, and so much more. This furthers its already growing popularity and contributes to the rising trust in its abilities. The industry creates such an incredible profit that they would do nothing to endanger it. Therefore its potential harm is not mentioned.

In addition to the dangers commercialization of yoga can cause to Americans, the dilution and corruption of yoga in the Western world does harm Hindu people and culture, as well as other traditions that practice yoga. The way that yoga is practiced in Western society is cultural appropriation. It has erased the true traditions of yoga through the failure to practice in the correct manner. This creates obstacles for Hindu people attempting to access their own culture, and prevents the passing down of tradition.

Practicing yoga without acknowledging its background is also very problematic because of its history with British colonial rule. Hindus were persecuted by the British, and prevented from practicing yoga in their own land. Their culture was almost erased.

Hindus today still face discrimination for practicing yoga, while white people practice it without consequences and without ackknowledging the culture and people behind it. 

Western commercialization has created a culture of appropriation. We have turned hallowed traditions and spiritual practices into workout routines for the wealthy. Our lack of awareness and acknowledgement harms cultures around the world. The practice of yoga is not a weekly stretch, but in fact is a way of life.

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Streaming Services Are A Thing

In the spirit of this article, I’m making the header image literal advertising space for Pizza Hut. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to do this *Editorial disclaimer: we are not being paid by Pizza Hut for advertisement, but agree with the author’s decision to use the ad

So, recently, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Paramount launched it’s brand new streaming service known as Paramount+, and while I know it’s hard to contain your excitement at the idea of being able to watch as much ‘Young Sheldon’ as your heart desires for only $5.99 a month, this had me thinking of sorta how this all started.

Back when I was a drooling toddler, with a dent in my head, my family used to go to a lil’ place called Block Buster, where you could rent a DVD of ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ once a week, whenever you wanted to see a movie without having to go through the hassle of going to a theatre (or a theater, one of the two).

But now, in the Year of the Ox, 2021, the moviegoing industry is just a little different now that cinemas are considered boiling soups of disease and sickness.

Originally, people would’ve turned to Netflix in this specific scenario, where you could watch all the movies you want in the comfort of your own lil’ hut, for only a given price per month. But now, there’s like 30 different variants of Netflix, all with different shows which are all exclusive to each, so you gotta collect them all now like some Yugioh cards or whatever.

So now, the experience seems to go a little something like this:

Man, I really like the movie ‘Caddyshack’, but Netflix only has ‘Caddyshack 2’, so now if I wanna see the entire Caddyshack cinematic franchise I need to pay for both Netflix and Big Burrito+, but I can only get both if I get the SpaghettiTV+ package which includes ‘Two Broke Girls Express’, which is the streaming service that only has 1 show, and that’s ‘Two Broke Girls’, which is the worst show of all time, but at least I can listen to Donald Glover’s new album which is exclusive to Disney+ because Donald Glover himself is apparently a Disney property now and so is ‘King Of The Hill‘.

All the most popular streaming services, including everyone’s favorite; Big Burrito+

So, I dunno, maybe it’s just me being cynical, and it probably wasn’t any better during the days when you had to deal with all those cable packages and stuff, but honestly, I just wanted to mention how interesting it is to me that ‘King Of The Hill’ is actually a Disney property now.

But, nonetheless, companies are now realizing that that if anybody is going to watch anything, you need to make it in a “binge watching” format, so people can feel like they’re in control to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. Even though the selection of shows/movies are only based on algorithms designed purposefully to announce the removal of a given show they know is popular, so that people’ll rewatch it as much as they can, out of the hope they can catch the fleeting availability of ‘Friends’ before they pull the rug out from under you, and Ross, Joey, and whatever Jennifer Anniston’s character’s name was, are gone from your life forever. 

And aside from already established shows being stuck on to these services as exclusive items to collect, more and more “original” shows are starting to pop up all over these places. But what’s wrong with having original stuff? Nothing, but there is one show, in particular, me and a buncha other people are sorta upset about.

So, there’s this show called ‘Kamp Koral’, and it’s all about the “infant years” of SpongeBob, which only particularly makes me lose my big ol’ Cheshire Cat smile cause the creator the original SpongeBob, Stephen Hillenburg, sorta was known for always talking about how he never wanted any SpongeBob spinoff shows, like a ‘Muppet Babies’ or a ‘Patrick Show’, to be made under his watch, as he didn’t wanna over commercialize it and sacrifice quality for profitability whatnot.

So, the executives in charge of Paramount/Nickelodeon conveniently waited until about 7 months after he passed away, to announce 2 separate ‘Cleveland Show’esque SpongeBob spinoffs; one being exclusively about Patrick, and one about SpongeBob as a toddler (Kamp Koral), which is just peachy… 

Honestly, people in general are sort of expecting this sort of thing from the overall “industry” in general, because it’s nothing new that corporate higher ups would be disregarding this guy’s wishes like this in such a blatantly disrespectful way, and I mean you can always just pirate your shows anyway if you don’t wanna contribute to 0.000001% of these guy’s overall revenue.

Which, I mean, is a really cynical way of looking at things, but, I mean, if you think about it, what if people just don’t wanna pirate stuff, and are happy to pay for networks which host shows they have fondness for? And what if these shows carry memories which might seem silly to some people, but could be meaningful to other people? What if people actually enjoy the exclusive content, and remember it with happiness like I remember watching SpongeBob as a lil’ kid?

I mean, yeah, these shows could probably be made without these services so easily, and the conscious of all the ‘Kamp Koral’ stuff still is scummy on a moral level, but in a time where people just naturally want entertainment to distract them from all this wacky stuff around them, maybe I should just let people enjoy their ability to watch as much ‘Young Sheldon’ in peace as they want, because at the end of the day, it’s just entertainment and what matters more in an American’s life than their TV?

What is it with logos becoming more and more simple?

So, recently, the obscure indie tech startup known as Google, decided to change the icons of all their apps (sheets, docs, etc) to basically the same design except with different shapes. 

I mean it’s not really earth shattering to me, like, I’m not gonna be hopelessly lost and confused in my treacherous journey to decipher which icon’s Google Sheets or not, but it still makes me go “well that’s sorta dumb I guess”, and that’s what this article’s all about!

A lotta other brands have been going this direction too, of sorta simplifying their logos and other corporate symbols to be more flat and less iconically memorable. Some good examples are like, WB, Intel, Petco, and Pringles all just being basically more corporate and flat shells of their former selves, that don’t really devastate me, but just make me go: Why’d they do that? 

Logos are just sorta a small commodity, a nice lil icon on your packaged product, so honestly there’s more I could be worried about in my life. But if one thing’s true about humans for all of history, is that we like to complain about useless nothingness which doesn’t affect our lives in the slightest. But anyway, they probably do this just to make it easier to draw and incorporate into stuff in a way that doesn’t take too much risks, and are easier to animate with less individual assets to keyframe or whatever, but there’s just something about say, the 2000’s era Pepsi logo, or Windows Xp logo, that just stand out to me I guess.

Making an icon, or design that’s memorable and iconic as a brand or otherwise that’ll stick, is definitely not an easy thing to do, especially when you probably have 20 different executives and management teams that your design’ll have to go through before they can even consider using it. But it is important when you wanna get your brand out there, to be something remembered by people so they can, y’know, keep buying it.

So, I guess when you’re a company as big as Pringles or whatever, striking iconography isn’t really that important when everybody already knows who you are, like people aren’t going “Woaa Burger King? Their logo’s like…a burger or somethin…thats wild man I gotta tell someone about this stuff”.

New Firefox logo next to new Snapple bottles

But still, the worst offenders of this are definitely Snapple and Firefox. While the browser icon’s still there, the Firefox company logo’s sorta just a fire uhh, circle now?

But then again, it’s not as bad as the Snapple redesign. I mean like I’m legit mad about this one, I mean my face is definitely turning red as I spit up white froth on my kitchen counter like a fat baby with a big ol’ vein popping outta my eyeball cause a billion dollar ice tea brand changed how their bottle looks, but really though, IT SUCKS!

I mean art’s all subjective and whatnot, BUT IT SUCKS!

80% of the whole appeal of Snapple was those glass bottles right? And like, ok ok, they changed the material to plastic, that’s alright I guess… but now seriously?? It looks like a bottle of coffee creamer or somethin, like alongside that insanely flat corporate logo, it’s almost like a different drink now.

But here’s a lil beacon of hope so that you can end your reading of this terrible article what some consider a high note: The new Popeye’s logo’s pretty cool.

It ain’t too bad.

My first day of work ever experience

By: Jimmy Somerville

I recently picked up my first ever actual job at Dominos. I turned 16 in November and like many other teenagers, and just people in general, I want money. And you get money by having a job, so I was never seriously job searching, but if there was an opportunity for a job, I was going to take it, and I got that opportunity.

My mom picked up pizza for us at Dominos and she saw they were hiring and all I had to do was text PIZZA to the phone number on the sign, and before you know it, I had an interview, and now I officially work at Dominos.

So, about my first day of work experience. I want to say my first day was around 17 days ago. So, it was a Tuesday I’m pretty sure. I was a little bit nervous but nothing crazy.

My shift was from 3-7 and 4 hours is actually a lot longer than I thought.

They had me sorting out and placing the order number stickers on the pizza boxes, and had me putting what the customer ordered on the pizza boxes. For example, if a customer orders a large pizza, the sticker would say 14” because it is 14 inches. I then take the sticker and put it on the box and set it a certain way on this shelf.

I also took calls which are harder than you’d imagine and sort of stressful at times. It is kind of difficult at first understanding how the computer works, especially when you have to move fast.

But overall, not a bad first day.

I will say work isn’t fun and I am just hoping my shift ends pretty soon after I get there. But my schedule is 2, 5 hour shifts a week, so nothing crazy at all. But 5 hours is a pretty long time. But at least I’m making $12 an hour. I know it’s worth it to have money at the end of the day.

Why Wendy’s social media should be concerning 

By: Quentin Miller

Wendy’s, we all love them.

Their charming insults over Twitter and their #relatable memes are just tons of fun and a good move for brands to be going, right? No, not at all, and I’ll explain why.

Now, what is a brand? Is a brand the person who runs their Twitter account? 

No, that’s a team of social media experts. A brand is a corporation with lots and lots of money, whose main goal is to make more money. Not to say corporations are bad, that’s not the point of this article, but corporations aren’t our friends. 

The only thing Wendy’s is trying to do by being relatable to the average person on Twitter is to hide the fact that just like every other company, they’re trying to cut every corner to make as much profit as possible.

One specific example is when Wendy’s had a scandal where they were serving rotting fish according to an ex-employee’s testimony. But my guess is that you never heard of it, because instead of making a public statement, or seeking for defamation, they did nothing and continued to make fun of people on Twitter, acting like they didn’t just put the lives of hundreds of their customers in danger.

Wendy’s isn’t the worst offender, really they’re just very cheap. But imagine what this type of dominance over the public perception of a company could do in the hand of a company like Tesla or Amazon, who have enough money to influence world politics, if not called out and stopped. The new marketing strategy introduced by these chain restaurants is worrying and should be called out before it becomes dangerous. 

Why even “woke” stereotypes in media hurt LGBTQ+ people 

By: Quentin Miller

LGBTQ+ representation in media is currently better and more progressive than it ever has been before, but does that mean it’s any good yet?

In my opinion, no. Most LGBTQ+ stories can fall into three main stereotypes, all of which I will cover in this article.

1. The closeted romantic partner 

This overused plot (normally set in a Christmas, or other holiday, setting) normally revolves around a gay couple, almost always lesbians, who are in the situation where one of them isn’t out to their family, but they have to bring their partner home.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this trope is tiring for many reasons. There’s the first reason which is coming out to your family isn’t a comedy, it’s a very real experience for many people and it’s almost never handled well in these movies, where the closeted character is either outed or caught in the act for cheap laughs or drama.

And my main other problem with it, is the implication that being in the closet makes you a hinderance to your partner, as normally the partner who’s gay openly is very annoyed at their closeted partner. All this does is portray openly gay people as angry and unreasonable and forces closeted people to feel pressured into coming out.

2. Literally just gay people suffering

This one is very self explanatory. Any film that is just a story, normally adapted from real life, but now written by a straight man, where a gay man suffers intensely because he is gay.

I don’t think I need to explain why this can be harmful if overdone. While obviously these stories are important to tell, it’s less meaningful and much more creepy when directed/written by straight people.

Another factor of weirdness is added when instead of society holding them down, it’s themselves holding them down.

Think any story centered around a hyper sexual gay man who catches a lethal STD, or a lesbian who ruins her life because she got caught sleeping with another women, or the gay man who’s in a toxic relationship with another gay man who’s really just a negative stereotype.

3. I don’t hate you because you’re gay

This one is a bit more out there but it’s any movie where instead of people not liking a character because they are gay, it is because of some other arbitrary reason that is a stand in for them being gay.

Think ‘Love Simon,’ where the main character is abandoned not because he is gay, but because him coming out as gay is causing drama and makes him a toxic manipulator.

These movies do nothing but gaslight people who experience homophobia in their real lives, instead of just telling a story of a gay person experiencing oppression in an insightful way, straight directors will opt to just give the gay person a bunch of made up negative traits so everyone leaving them is justified.

Now, obviously there are exceptions to these categories, and some movies that fall into these categories are actually really good. Many of those “the real story” type movies, like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or ‘Rocket Man’, are great examples of the second category. But the fact that movies like that are the exception and not the standard is highly damaging to queer people who just want proper storytelling about their experiences. 

Trans representation in media

By: Quentin Miller

Flag representing the transgender community

Name a movie you know that includes a character that’s openly trans.

Now, unless you are trans yourself, I can almost guarantee that you couldn’t think of any. But if you did, was that character played by a cis actor? These are the two biggest problems with trans representation in the media.

Not only do trans people barely get the light of day, even when they do, they are often played by cis actors, which is blatantly offensive especially when the actor belongs to a gender the character is not.

To list some examples of this we have: Glenn Close in 2011, Jared Leto in 2013, Benedict Cumberbatch in 2016, and many more. And those are recent examples. The behavior of casting almost exclusively cis people for trans roles has been around for decades. 

Now why is this a problem?

Well if it isn’t already obvious, it isn’t real trans representation if it isn’t a real trans person. Just like a white man isn’t African American representation or a straight relationship isn’t LGBT+ representation.

This is especially bad when the joke of a character is just the fact that they’re trans, as it turns the trans community into this group that you’re allowed to point and laugh at, but there’s nothing funny about being trans. 

An example of good representation in media includes The Adjudicator, from the most recent ‘John Wick’ film. The actor playing them is non-binary, and so is the character. There’s never a big scene about it, it’s never played for jokes, and the character just exists as a trans person.

Obviously, we’ve come a far way from mocking anyone who even dared push social norms, but our media doesn’t reflect it in the slightest, wether it’s cis directors hiring cis actors to tell trans stories, or the millions of cis people explaining why that’s OK despite the fact it’s not their place to say.

It’s obvious that trans representation in the media is nothing but cheap sympathy points or laughs used by directors to profit off of, and demonize, the trans community.

What Trump will do after he leaves the White House

By: Heidy Ramirez

Mr. Trump is really mad at aides and is isolating himself from everyone because they failed to make him president again as he wished.

It’s really sad how he asked to get the votes recounted from some counties, and Joe Biden still became president of the United States in 2021.

Back to Mr. Trump, he believed that no one was helping him, but the White House always tried their best. He just couldn’t accept that he lost on trying to become the president again.

Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes and Trump had 232, and Trump will never forget that. He became president because of the power. as he didn’t know what he was going to do, and that’s why Biden had to take over as president. 

A lot of people think that Mr. Trump is rotten to the core because of all the things he did as president. He should have shown that the President of the United States is a great leader of the people, not someone who cages kids, and rips them from the families that they love so much.

Also, what he is doing now is unpredictable, but everyone knew how it was going to end, him throwing a fit because he didn’t get his way at the end. Since the jump, Trump wasn’t honest because he said he was going to do things differently if he got elected, but he did not, so he lied to everyone that voted for him. He didn’t see a president’s job as any different from another job. He just wanted the power.

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‘The Plaid Line’

Hello,

Due to a number of circumstances, Newspaper class is at risk of being cancelled for 2nd semester. Unfortunately, this means that ‘The Plaid Line’ would no longer be putting out new content consistently, after the last batch of articles from 1st semester were published.

At this time, a week has been given to try to recruit students to the class.

If you are a student that has interest in being in Newspaper, or if you know anyone that may be interested, please contact your counselor ASAP to try to be added to the class (or tell the person you know to contact their counselor).

In the end, we hope that the class will be able to continue. We still feel that it is vitally important that students have a place to have their voice heard.

If the class is discontinued, we hope to be able to publish at large features periodically from a club model.

Thank you for your continued support and readership.

Why are teens smoking more now?

By: Heidy Ramirez

“Why are teens smoking more now?” is the question of the day.

A lot of them are smoking because of peer pressure or stress and it has not been good with the pandemic going on. They don’t really have anyone to turn to, so people turn to drugs.

2020 was no one‘s year. There was a riot, pandemic lockdown, and COVID.

The teens that start to smoke, mostly start before the age of 18 because of their friends, older siblings or they think they look cool. Another big reason they start is stress, because of everything in the world.

Right now, with the entire pandemic, and with the students not going to regular school, and parents not going to work, there is a lot of pressure at home because of school and work. So, there are a lot of arguments going on, and that creates people wanting to let out steam which is smoke, so they start smoking. 

There is a lot of pressure, and it mostly falls on the teens because we have to show leadership to these younger kids, but the parents don’t understand that it could be a little bit too much for us, so we turn our heads to smoking.

Some teens think that doing grown up stuff can make you grow, but that’s not what happens with smoking; they are smoking their life’s up. The teens are using vapes, juul’s and e-cigs now these days, and there are different flavors so you can choose the one you like and get hooked on it.

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