It’s 3:04 AM, so I should probably sleep, or do some work that’s due later, so I don’t end up having to stay up all night some other day. But of course, I’m going to write this stupid blog post because I feel like it. In fact, this whole post was inspired by my procrastination, as I was looking for something to do instead of APENG annotation, and I had run out of random crap to look at on the internet. I hadn’t read the Pow Wow yet, so yeah. And of course, being myself, I began to cynically and sarcastically criticize everything in it. And I also felt like writing a blog post of my random thoughts just because. It’s not any more pointless than the tons of anime posts on here, or the random phone discussion.
First off, I will acknowledge that the newspaper people worked hard on the publication, and the whole thing was probably more of an accomplishment than anything I’ve done recently. Maybe this blog post is just my way of competing with these people because they’re going to get credit on their college applications for all that they write in the paper, while mine is just going to be on leafwood. Yeah, a lot of my writing is going to be fueled by disgust at how the college application system works, and why everyone else is doing crap that will help them get into top schools while I’m not, just like many of my thoughts are. Nevertheless, as the Pow Wow is a newspaper, the writers are open to criticism as all journalists are, even if it’s just by a random guy on an internet blog, like I am. This may be a microcosm of the world-they’re the wealthy, successful LA Times, Boston Globe, NY Times writers who have it made, and I’m the guy on the internet angry at the system, at how the world works, and direct it on their elitism.
Oh yeah, and if you haven’t figured out yet, much of my writing will be crappy and incoherent because it is 3 in the morning.
First off: The cover story, about AHS’s API. Naturally, the front page has to be something showing the greatness and prestige of the school. The propoganda. “Looks at how awesome this school is, we’ve accomplished so much!” Really, it’s propoganda. I don’t personally know many of these newspaper writers, but I really doubt that any of them truly believe that people try on the CST’s, with the goal helping the school, as if this is some great quest. They’re trying to help morale and school pride, I guess, trying to make this some great accomplishment in something really important. In addition to API’s not being such as monumental measurement as they try to make it out to be, AHS’s accomplishment in this category aren’t even that great. 36th in California, which is, if I remember correctly, in the bottom 5 in the nation in education. As for the credit for this, they give it to students who “put in a lot of effort into achieving these results,” which is total crap. Nobody takes the CST’s as anything other than homework or nap time. Or as a race, if you’re wierd like that. Also, they credit the teachers that go “beyond state standards.” Beyond? Maybe if our teacher taught at state standards, they could BS and say we were going beyond, but when many teachers don’t even teacher what they’re supposed to, I think this is too great of an exxageration, even for a propaganda piece.
Yeah, I’m going to keep calling it that, becuase that is what it is. At first, I didn’t want to be too critical of others’ work, but the more I’m reading and writing, it’s hard not too. “This accomplishment has been met with great enthusiasm” by students. Really. Maybe there are a few that actually believe in this, but as a whole, I honestly don’t think anybody cares. There are no inspirational speeches before the CST’s, where some student stands up on a chair and says “C’mon guys, let’s do this for Arcadia! Go Apaches!” This article tries to make it as some great schoolwide goal like that. And their quotes don’t show anything. First off, people only say they are ” ‘ really proud'” when they’re interviewed because they know that’s what you’re going to put in the article. Second, the quote is probably doctored anyway. I’ve heard discussions from the newspaper people, really few of the quotes are actual quotes. So much for journalistic integrity.
And the conclusion? “Students should have the attitude…our job…it is vital for us to understand…” Don’t tell me what I should do and what my job is. Fine, try to build up school pride and spirit and enthusiasm toward the CST’s, but don’t try to make it out to be some higher obligation. Of course, they make sure to end this demand with a compliment to make everyone feel as if they had played a vital part in accomplishing something great. Also, the accompanying picture for this article is one of a track team girl leaping over hurdles to symbolize this academic achievement, to create this image in students minds of a heroic, athletics feat. I will admit though, that was a really nice touch to the propagandy feel of the piece. If you’re going to try and manipulate public opinion like this, I would like more of this subtle imagary than the blatant lies being written.
Ok, how am I at 918 words after just the cover…there’s still the rest of the paper to go through…I should channel my frustration more, maybe I would be more productive.
Current events…not much to say…good job copying stuff off the LA Times…
Opinion section. I’m not going to discuss each article one by one, because I think I probably should sleep sometime soon. So I’ll just keep my criticisms to a broad round-up of all the articles. Mostly. There’s actually some good writing on here. Much like this blog post, there’s stuff inspired by teenage/AHS cynicism, only theirs is less caustic and much more well written. However, it is frustrating to read some interesting observations, only to have the conclusions be so, I don’t know, arrogant. All of them end with the author learning some life lesson that has changed them. Yeah, you’ve brought up some interesting points, but really, if all of these discoveries changed you like you claim they did, these Pow Wow people would all be renowned philosophers by the end of the year. In addition to many of the conclusions being cliche, such as “slow down and enjoy life,” I highly doubt that the authors adhere to the principles they claim. It’s jut not possible for an AHS student to do all these idealistic things. You’re on the school newspaper, you obviously care about school and college apps.
It seems pretty obvious that many of these observations are good, but they writers then feel as though they need to tie it up as some life lesson, with an optimistic conclusion with hope toward life. Contrary to popular belief, I wouldn’t what all the articles to cynical conclusions, like this one; why can’t they just leave the observation and opinion as an observation and opinion, as something to contemplate, rather than feel the need to turn it into something more than that? I’m guessing that as part of the newspaper tone, they kind of have to write like that? I don’t know.
Real quickly, I’ll go through some of the articles individually. The one of sexism tries to be fair, to both sides, to say that sexism applies to males and females, and this article is an inclusive call for equality, not some girl ranting about sexism. Maybe it’s just because I’m a guy, but this attempt to seem fair to both genders just seems to make it more clear that it’s a girl being mad about sexism toward her gender. Don’t feel like getting specific quotes right now, but if you read it, I just feel one of those “women’s rights” overtones. I don’t know, maybe that in itself is sexist.
Another interesting observation on that article: in trying to say that more blame should be put on guys for cheating (which seems kind of strange, as I’m pretty sure girls to get pissed at guys when they cheat, not at the other girl, as this article claims, see Woods, Tiger) the author says that despite hormones, she hasn’t met any guy “who is dumb enough to succumb to a one sided temptation.” Maybe she just hasn’t met any guys, because after reading this, I certainly don’t want to be around her. I’m not trying to defend guys cheating, but to say that we always have control of out hormones and desires is absurd. I don’t think I need to provide examples on this…
Other article I wanted to discuss individually was the one about parents bribing kids with stuff to get good grades. First off, I don’t think that this problem is quite as prevalent as she claims. Maybe I just don’t hang around enough rich people, but the opening parts make it seem as though this is everywhere. I’ve only once heard of something like this in detail, and it was a super-rich guy in my Spanish class. Skipping to the end, she somehow turns this into a call to be motivated to do well not for outside reasons. She brings up her mom being proud of her for getting an A because she “wanted to learn.” I don’t think I need to point out what is wrong with this image. Either this whole thing is made up, because no Asian parent would compliment her kid like that, and no Asian kid, or really, any kid, would try to get an A only to learn, or somehow this is true, her and her family are a one-in-a-million case, and she should not be telling others how to live when she is one of the very few fortunate enough to be capable of living so idealistically. I agree that doing well just to get a phone or something is stupid, but she takes it to the other extreme by suggesting doing something that could only happen in an ideal world. This is AHS, not some school on PBS Kids. Oh, and this article was by the same person as the previous one. Random Pow Wow writers don’t read this blog, I hope…
Music..blah blah.. good job…
An article about how to sleep. I don’t think most AHS students want or need help on how to sleep. Either they know it already, or it’s something they’re not going to to do. Like avoiding all nighters. But what was really wierd was the final tip to “set an alarm clock for bed.” I’m going to quote the whole thing:
“5. Set an alarm clock for bed
Sometimes you are so engrossed in your homework or game that you forget what time it is. So, set an alarm to remind yourself that it’s time to go to bed. You may be reluctant to stop what you are doing, but you’ll be glad of it in the morning.”
Yep, I’m always really glad during the school day when I don’t have my homework because I decided I was going to obey my bedtime instead of finishing it.
Article on backpacks-When you’re article takes up half a page and discusses things such as what material you should look for (“630-denier rip-stop nylon and Coudra fabric”) , it’s not really “simple rules.” Also, “for any type of student, nothing is more important than backpack safety!” If you want to be taken seriously, don’t use such dramatic hyperbole, and don’t end articles with exclamation points.
Article about not wasting time-I’m sure the author of this article never takes time away from doing homework to go on IM and talk to her boyfriend, who in turn obviously does not waste hours having stupid IM discussions with his nerdy friends…
“Talk nerdy to your date”-Tries to have nerdy humor, mostly is just lame and cringe-worthy
Tips for freshmen: lol, freshman. A lot of these tips are kinda stupid (and too sympathetic to freshmen), but I agree that they shouldn’t “be a hyper monkey at lunch.” Those annoying freshmen in our lunch area totally fit with the description in the article, and are as annoying as the article claims. For once, no exxageration here.
Article on Ms. Jeng: I guess she really does make people want to stalk her. You’re not alone, Hanning…
Oh look, ” ‘she adores teengers ‘ ” Maybe you and Ben’s fantasies are true. On first glance at her picture, she kinda looks like your ex-gf.
k, now that I’ve taken care of that…
“Ms. Angela Jeng fit right into the AHS staff with her charismatic personality and enthusiastic outlook on teaching”
Erm, she fit right in with those qualities? I’m pretty sure being like that at AHS makes her totally stick out…
And “if she were not a teacher, Ms. Jeng would have wanted to become a movie director or screenwriter”
I don’t know her, so maybe she really does have a passion for teaching, but I think most people would be directors or screenwriters if they got the chance to. As they say, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Teaching is usually a second option, with something like screenwriting being first…”Oh I’m so glad I got this job as a high school teacher, otherwise I would have had to resort to my backup plan, of going to Hollywood and making millions”
Quote from article on one of the girls on the golf team: “Coach Greep, who had nothing but nice things to say…”
Really, Coach Greep is going to say something bad about her, to the school newspaper…
Note that I am not implying that he would have had anything bad to say if it were not for the paper, because the girl in the article is a lot better golfer than I am…I just think there could be better compliments than an obvious statement like that.
Finally, article on girls volleyball. I’m going to go on a sports rant here, and I don’t think any of my audience is going to understand, but whatever. This is quite absurd, and one of the things that inspired me to write this stupid post.
The author (A guy, one of the very few) compares the girls volleyball team to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, and Showtime Lakers, and the 1992 Dream Team. If you know anything about sports, which none of you do, and I guess the reason why he can get away with this, because no one in AHS understands the absurdity of it, this is ridiculous. The Dolphins were the only team in the entire history of the Super Bowl Era NFL to go undefeated and win the championship. No team beat them that year, which is a huge accomplishment. The Patriots 2 years ago tried to match it, a team that was full of great players, and also cheated with illegal use of video cameras, and won every game before losing in the Super Bowl. This was one of the most talented teams of all time, and they couldn’t match the Dolphins’ record.
As a Laker fan, I am especially offended by the comparison to the Showtime Lakers. The 1980’s Lakers teams, led by Magic Johnson, not only won over other great teams such as the and the Detroit Pistons, but were exciting in doing so, hence the name Showtime. They were a great basketball dynasty that also created a new style of play, a fast-paced, high-scory team. They had 3 hall-of-famers, and many others that are considered greats.
But the most absurd comparison is that to the 1992 Dream Team. This was the first Olympics in which NBA players were allowed to participate. This meant that the best of the best in the United States would play together, dominating the world. The team featured Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird, three of the best basketball players ever. The rest of the team consisted of other Hall-of-Famers. Guys that were the superstar of their team, that would later be honored as one of the greats, became unimportant bench players. This team utterly dominated the competition, with their smallest margin of victory being 32 points in the Gold Medal game. That was their closest game. For those that don’t know basketball, 32 points is a lot. Every other game in the Olympics was even less close than that, with the greatest margin of victory being 68 points against Angola. Angola is not known for basketball, but winning by 68 against the best from another country is not easy. The team is still viewed as a symbol of the dominance of America, representative of what happens when all the best players are on the same team.
So, having said that, we’ve established that there is no way the volleyball team can match that. But still, they must be pretty good to draw these comparisons, right? There’s no way the writer is just using hyperbole to build up a school team…
But then he follows this by saying that the reason they are so good is that they have dropped down a division since last year, which “essentially means the team will face easier competition.” Yeah, that’s one way to become a good team. He then follows with a report from the first game, in which they won, but needed the full 3 sets to do so, only winning the last one 25-23, and discusses finding “a silver lining.” No team of the caliber of those the author alluded to would need to find a silver lining. I am not saying that the volleyball team sucks, I hope they do well, and I think they probably will. But to be compared to the Dolphins, Lakers, and Dream Team is an expectation that should not be put on any school team.
Ok, that’s it. I really have no idea why I wrote this. I could’ve spent the last 1 hour and 45 minutes sleeping. Maybe I’m addicted to sleep deprivation. After all this though, I want to say that despite all that criticism, and newspaper is still a good publication, one worth reading, if for no other reason than to see how other at the school think and write. It’s still entertaining, and much better than one might expect from a school. I just felt like criticizing it, because I always do stuff like that, and someone could probably write an equally caustic critique of this post.
3062 words and counting. I should go to sleep now…I’m gonna excuse this by saying that I’m practicing for APENG. It’s just like with taxes. You chalk up all your wasteful spending as business expenses.