Tag: opinion

“Birdbox” Review

A new Netflix movie has surfaced and is taking over the Internet. It’s called “Birdbox.” People are raging about this new movie and even coming up with real-life challenges based on things that happen in the movie. Although “Birdbox” is classified as a horror movie, it contains more suspense than a typical horror movie, moving it slightly towards “thriller” territory.

 

“Birdbox” is set five years in the past, where it shows the world–just as normal as it is today–and the main character, Mallory, who is pregnant. Mallory’s sister tells her about an insane mass suicide going on in Russia, but she brushes it off and doesn’t worry. Instead, she decides to simply go about her normal day, which includes a check-up with her OB/GYN. While leaving the hospital, Mallory sees a girl trying to kill herself, and experiences one of the first signs that whatever is happening in Russia is now happening in the U.S. Mallory and her sister hurry home, but on their way, they come across chaos within the streets–it isn’t even safe for them to be on the road. Mallory’s sister abandons her, but thankfully, Mallory, shell-shocked and confused, is helped by a man and woman who bring her into a safe home along with other people. These survivors stay together and come to find out that the only way to survive is to avoid going outside–and that if you have to, you need to keep your eyes covered. The “entity” is outside, and if you look at it, you see your worst fears and end up killing yourself.

 

The movie then goes on about Mallory not only having her child but also adopting another one, and tells the story of how they survive. The movie itself succeeded in getting me hooked onto the storyline, and had me wondering what would happen every minute of the movie, which kept me anxious for what was going to happen next. It had me on the edge of my seat at some points, I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I was worried my favorite character was going to die. However, I also found it a bit all over the place, because it would go back and forth between the present and past what seemed like every few minutes. I also felt like a lot of questions were left unanswered.  I would recommend this movie to people who love a good suspenseful movie and who have maybe seen “A Quiet Place” and really liked it. I would rate this movie an 8 out of 10 overall.

 

By: Rylee Tuzzeo and Cesar Dominguez

The Race to Destruction: Fast Fashion’s Effects on the World and Society

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, there has been a steady incline in the efficiency of clothing manufacturing, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that clothing companies began to really produce garments with intense speed. Fashion became easily accessible to the public for consumption at lower costs than ever before; the allure of having trendy and fashionable pieces in one’s closet catalyzed more demand for these cheap and fast clothes. Fast forward to 2019, and clothing brands such as H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Charlotte Russe, and TOPSHOP are everywhere and dominate the closets of children and adults alike. Who wouldn’t pass up a $3.90 pair of leggings or a $4 dress? This cycle of the production of “fast-wearing” clothes and even faster consumerism has paved the way for detrimental consequences for the producer, the environment, and the consumer.

 

Cheap labor is the euphemism, in this case, for sweatshop workers who unfortunately do not make enough money to surpass the poverty line–the workers who live heavily-clustered in slums without the basic necessities and resources needed to have a decent quality of life. In the 1990s, the textile industry began moving overseas at an extremely high rate–fewer labor laws overseas would lead to the opportunity to rapidly amass products and cheaply sell them without having to worry about workers’ wages and rights. The sweatshops aren’t safe; “accidental mass killings” aren’t just a tragedy of the early 20th century. They still happen even in the most technologically advanced generation we’ve seen thus far. In 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing at least 1,138 workers making clothes. In response to this incident, a European-led coalition of unions and allied NGOs (non-governmental organizations) teamed up to work with Bangladeshi labor groups to create a worker safety initiative focused on empowering workers themselves, adopted largely by European firms and led by H&M but also adopted by several major U.S. brands. Even with such a development, the initiative has had some trouble staying afloat, and there is still more that needs to be done. How can we support the abuse and complete disregard of the very people that give us the things we crave most? Textile factories have also been found to be ripe with the foul stench of human trafficking, found even in the United States. Girls and women promised jobs and opportunity come only to be bound to a cycle of abuse and servitude; real people in terrible situations are grossly underpaid, mistreated, taken advantage of, subjected to devastating health problems, and even dying- to make disposable clothing for the “lucky” us, the consumers.

 

This radical mass production creates pollution, and the mass waste caused by consumers carelessly tossing old garments contributes to utter environmental chaos. During the farming process for cotton, the pesticides that are used are being linked to cancer and birth defects in farmers’ children in the Punjab region of India, as well as contributing to the development of a brain tumor in the case of one Texan farmer. The production of cotton, though only making up “2.4 percent of the world’s crops… is responsible for 24 percent of global insecticide sales and 11 percent of global pesticide sales,” as well as the immense consumption of freshwater–one t-shirt can take up to 2,700 liters of water to make–and the facts don’t stop there. American clothing waste, nearly 3.8 billion pounds annually, ends up in landfills, which amounts to nearly 80 pounds of textile per American citizen–which seems practically unimaginable. In addition, over 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased each year, mostly by Americans, even though the clothing was made in outsourced low-income countries such as China and Bangladesh. The factory workers’ subjection to environmentally unstable working and living situations is appalling, yet Americans can’t seem to decrease their demand for trendy and cheap clothing. Textile waste begets the production of methane during decomposition and the dyes and chemicals used to color and create the textiles could sink into the soil; whole communities and agricultural systems are crumbling due to mass production of fast fashion.

 

As a modern consumer, there seems to be something extremely satisfying about inserting a card into a chip reader and walking out of a store with a new purchase. With fast-fashion retailers churning out new trends and styles many more times a year than in the high-fashion realm–either as a continuous release or around 12 seasons for fast-fashion retailers versus 2 seasons for typical high fashion–buyers are armed with the caveat that they must shop then and there in order to stay up-to-date with the most current style. Having this feeling of staying on top of “the game” tends to bring an immense feeling of instant gratification when compulsory shopping, a feeling that is catalyzed with each swipe or chip read, and to keep feeling that instant gratification, we buy. This cycle can very easily turn into an addiction with us giving immense support and money to the factories and fast-fashion companies.

 

As the public eyes turn more towards to atrocities associated with fast fashion production and retail, hopefully, change will come. Remove fast fashion from your spending habits, buy second-hand clothes, boycott the fast fashion industry, or even just learn about and advocate for sustainable clothing.

 

Sources:

Ross, Robert J.S. “The High Toll of Fast Fashion.” Dissent Magazine, http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-true-cost-review-fast-fashion-rana-plaza-accord.

Morgan, Andrew, director. The True Cost. 2015.

Bailey, Carolyn. “Slow Down: Fast Fashion Has Harmful Effects.” Trusted Clothes, 10 Sept. 2016, http://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/09/slow-down-fast-fashion-has-harmful-effects/.

“The Impact of a Cotton T-Shirt.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, 16 Jan. 2013, http://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/the-impact-of-a-cotton-t-shirt.

Bick, Rachel, et al. “The Global Environmental Injustice of Fast Fashion.” Environmental Health, vol. 17, no. 1, 2018, doi:10.1186/s12940-018-0433-7.

 

To learn more, watch The True Cost on Netflix.

 

By: Aly Sickles

 

The Kavanaugh Circus

Written by Jaron Bullington, October 4th, 2018

This article is not meant to say that Doctor Ford or Kavanagh are guilty, or completely innocent, but instead bring light to the issue at hand- the ignorance of the due process of law.

For many weeks, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been in the light of the mass media. Headlines upon headlines storm every person’s social media and newsfeeds, and it is one of the most heated subjects of this year. Why, though, you may ask, has Kavanaugh been at the center of this media attack? He was accused of rape and sexual assault, by Doctor Christine Blasey Ford.

Kavanaugh has been labeled many things these past few weeks- rapist, misogynist, etc.- but why is he labeled this way? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, right? The fact of the matter is that there has been absolutely no corroborating evidence to confirm Ford’s original claim, something crucial to determining if Kavanaugh is guilty of said crime. The basic feature of U.S. law is the idea of due process, or the idea of an accused person being innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. It seems that this case, the case of Kavanaugh v. Ford, has had many people abandon this idea. Sparks have been flying in the #MeToo movement, and throughout the left, some outright saying or implying that Kavanaugh is indeed guilty. It is true, and undeniable that Doctor Ford’s statement in the Senate judiciary committee was heart wrenching, it felt meaningful. But, as is law, guiltiness is not determined by how someone acts or feels, instead, it is determined by cold, hard evidence. Doctor Ford does not have it.

There are many that say to “Believe the Victim”, or in this case, “Believe Doctor Ford”. This is a dangerous thing, and many do not realize why. If we inherently say that the accuser is a victim, before even determining if the accused is guilty, there is a problem. This ignores basic law, again, due process. The court should decide whether the accused is guilty, and then we can start to talk about the accused. What this creates is a sort of “guilty until proven innocent” culture, where the “victim” has bias toward them, not due to substantial evidence, but because they said that they were victimized.

This also hurts those that are victims of actual rape, and sexual assault. It demeans their claim, because of others who were trusted or “believed” but were proven wrong in the court of law. It is a “the boy who cried wolf” sort of situation; if so many people say that they were victimized by a person, but proven wrong in the court, other people who may have actually been victimized might not be trusted.

Overall, the Kavanaugh hearing has been an absolute circus; a parade. A total ignorance of the law. Our elected officials act like children in a daycare- arguing, screaming, and running away. If there’s one thing to take out of this (other than to trust in the due process of law), it is the fact that we, as the next generation, need to get out and vote.

“The Nun” Movie Review

Over the past weekend, I watched “The Nun,” a new movie that just released in the movie theaters September 6th. “The Nun” is a horror movie that ties in to the popular horror movie “The Conjuring;” it explains the story of “The Conjuring” and gives out answers towards the end that had been left unanswered at the end of “The Conjuring.”

 

“The Nun” is about an investigation within an abbey, a building occupied by a community of nuns, where a nun killed herself; the events begin when a priest, along with a nun, appear on the scene to find out what is going on. Little do they know, however, that there are many secrets they are going to discover. The movie opens with a young nun running for her life before she sacrifices her life in her abbey. A local man named Frenchie, who lives in the village, comes across the dead body, and the word soon gets out. A priest, Father Burke, is contacted by a church, and he goes with several other priests to investigate the scene. They are accompanied by Frenchie and a young nun named Irene, who has not completed her final vows. Frenchie, who found the body, leads both Father Burke and Sister Irene to the abbey. When they arrive, they immediately begin to feel weird vibes about the abbey and what is going on in it. The abbey is old, run down, and completely empty, with darkness all over–the perfect setting for a horror movie. The first person they come across looks suspicious and is covered head to toe in a black cloak, and she then assigns them where to stay and sleep. The first day they arrive, weird things begin to happen, and that is only the beginning.

 

The movie itself succeeding in scaring me to the point where I needed to cover one of my eyes and squint to look back at the screen. Overall, it was a good scare; however, I found it a bit odd due to some of the scenes. I would recommend this movie to people who love a good scare, especially the kind that pops out of nowhere, and people who love suspenseful movies. I would rate this movie a 6/10 compared to other horror films that I have watched.

 

By: Madison Moore

“The Meg” Review

Over the past weekend, I watched a new movie at the movie theater called The Meg. The Meg is a story about a man named Jonas, who is a retired trained rescue diver. Jonas saves many people when they encounter a enormous shark, also known as a megalodon. The movie starts with Jonas in trouble, and he ends up losing some crew members in a rescue mission. Jonas then retires from diving and moves to Thailand. Five years later, a submarine crew, working for a billionaire who funded an international undersea observation program in the middle of the ocean, gets stuck underwater beyond a ground level that has never been discovered before. Their submarine is attacked and thrown around by an unknown creature outside. They begin to run out of time and their crew, in the lab above water, begins to panic, thinking about how to rescue them. Jonas is contacted by a friend who works for the program to help save his crew, and he immediately turns it down–until he discovers his ex-wife is one of the people in trouble. Jonas comes to the rescue and is able to save the crew members; he also encounters “the Meg,” as they call it, while performing the rescue operation. The giant shark is believed to stay under the ground level due to the temperature difference, but it follows the submarine into a world it has never seen. It’s now up to Jonas to save the ocean and all the creatures that are in it from this monster.

I found the movie pretty interesting, because it was action-packed and had great special effects. The shark actually looked real and it didn’t look too fake. It had some funny moments which brightened the movie and kept it from being too serious, and those cracked some laughs in the audience. It was also suspenseful because I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and it had me on the edge of my seat. However, I found it a bit corny and cheesy as well, considering some parts were very unrealistic and the movie jumped around too much. I would recommend this movie to people who are not scared of unexpected occurrences and who like a suspenseful or funny movie. I would rate this movie a 6/10 overall because it seems very similar to the popular movie “Jaws” and isn’t as unique as it could have been.

 

By: Rylee Tuzzeo

This Is Us Review

This Is Us was the hit breakout show of fall 2016 and has not stopped. Giving the public two seasons, This Is Us has made its way in TV history by earning nominations for Best Television Series – Drama at the Golden Globe Awards and Best Drama Series at the Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as being chosen as a Top Television Program by the American Film Institute. Sterling K. Brown has received an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award, and an NAACP Image Award for his acting in the series. Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz received Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In 2017, the series received ten Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, with Brown winning for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. 

The series follows siblings Kate, Kevin, and Randall as their lives intertwine. Kate and Kevin were originally part of a triplet pregnancy, conceived in the bathroom of Froggy’s, a bar in downtown Pittsburgh, during Super Bowl 14. Their due date was October 12, 1980, but they were born six weeks early on August 31; their biological brother was stillborn. Their parents, Jack (who also has an August 31st birthday) and Rebecca Pearson, having expected to bring home three babies, decide to adopt another newborn: Randall, a black child born the same day and brought to the same hospital after his biological father abandoned him at a fire station. 

This Is Us is a definite tear jerker for most of the public and even the cast and crew get a little teary-eyed on set. I give myself credit for lasting as long as I did before the waterworks began. It was the sixteenth episode of the first season when — spoiler alert — Randall’s biological father, William, dies. That final scene of Randall holding on to his dying father’s face hit me right in the gut. I must have bawled for at least a good fifteen minutes before I got annoyed with myself. As someone who watches shows like The Walking Dead religiously, I know that at any minute someone could die on my favorite TV shows, and I’ve quickly learned not to get too attached to any character. But there’s something different about This Is Us. Maybe it’s the genius minds of the writers who craft impeccable story lines around sensitive topics like adoption, addiction, and body image, or the incredible actors who bring it every week as flawed, yet endearing characters who I’m now consistently rooting for. Whatever the reason, I’ve become invested in the Pearsons and their complicated family makes me an emotional wreck. 

 

Written By: Genna Rose

Image from NBC.com

Death Penalty Divided: For

The death penalty is reserved for capital punishments. These crimes include: murder, treason, and more. The “Worst of the worst.” However, despite the wide belief of it being too inhumane or costly to even be considered, there is a large portion of the public that supports it. While there are many reasons to disapprove of this punishment, there are too many positive effects to justify disbanding it completely. Instead, play it scenario by scenario. The things that should be taken into consideration while arguing for the death penalty are simple and few: closure for the victim’s family, and disapproval for the crime, and (surprisingly) a humane sentence.

While it is true that everyone processes grief with varying degrees of difference, it reassures many to know the perpetrator will be unable to repeat the crime. Kermit Alexander, a victim of multiple family member massacre, testified for this. Not only did Tiqueon Cox (the murderer) massacre his mother, sister, and two nephews, but he also attempted to escape prison as violently as possible. Escaping with as much bloodshed as possible. This easily shows how immoral and unstoppable killers can truly be. Of course, others may find that letting a man-slaughterer live is worth the risk of innocent family members. The simple thought that they might prevent the same pain weighing down another person brings the victim’s family much relief. That agony should never be felt.

Additionally, while some families may believe such a punishment brings them down lower, they are ultimately the ones most affected. The death penalty also gives more impact to the crime itself. As stated previously, a form of capital crime is rape with bodily harm. While vague, this should be punished more severely. In today’s society, many women and men are being raped daily. Many victims sustain physical damage as well as emotional. Many rapists, despite the horrendous crime, often go under-punished, if disciplined at all. By enforcing the death penalty for this crime, rape would plummet. This kind of punishment deters even the thought of such a repulsive act.

Treason is another capital crime that results in the Death Penalty, albeit a more deadly one.When someone sells or gives secret information to others it can have severe consequences. Enemy countries (such as North Korea) and terrorist organizations (for example, Isis) would do about anything to get their hands on this information, putting American citizens into harm’s way. Getting rid of the death sentence would create less of a threat for those who may wish harm against America.

Many reasons against the punishment are often from those that are uninformed or contain information from studies that are out of date. These oppositions range greatly, from morality to racial bias. Though most (if not all) of these claims can easily be counteracted.

In the case of racism, the case simply needs to be more understood. There are more cases in which the murderer of a white victim is more likely to be put on Death warrant. However, more white males are also the ones more likely to be put to death. If one does enough research they’ll find that murders will target another person of the same race over one with a different race. Of course such a statement is generalized and not applicable to every situation. Because people tend to kill their own race, both killers of white males (typically white male offenders) are the ones more often penalized.

Humanity and morality is also a widely protested subject as well. Some say “They don’t have morals, why should we?” Others protest “Killing killers won’t bring back victims”. Though, once put into life in prison without parole, what happens behind the bars? According to Kenneth E. Hartman, a prisoner serving life in prison without parole, it was “the quieter, less troublesome death penalty,” She explains that many people go crazy, as most prisons carry the sentence out in maximum security cells. According to her experiences, they don’t get programs the other criminals get. There was no point in wasting extra money on, as written, a “dead men walking.”  So, is it any more humane to subject a prisoner to a meaningless, hopeless life? Kenneth even says himself, “I have often wondered if that 15 or 20 minutes of terror found to be cruel and unusual wouldn’t be a better option.” He himself is now fighting to rid the punishment he was sentenced with altogether. If one was worried about being humane, this is not an alternative to the death sentence.

Overall, there is no reason why the death penalty should be overlooked and overruled completely. Instead, modify it. Change it. Alter it. Use the penalty to properly and effectively punish (as it was intended). Use it to discipline the ‘worst of the worst.’ Those that kill and betray, those that seem to have no morals or care for the life of others. There is no reason for America to destroy something that can be used to benefit the country. The death penalty does not just kill killers; it kills the risk of another victim being harmed by the same hands. It makes America just a little safer. In the end, that is what this country needs. For this generation, and the next.

By: Mylena Ferman

To view the opposing article, click here.

Sources below:

“Capital Offense | Nolo’s Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions.” Nolo.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/capital-offense-term.html>.  

“Crimes Punishable By Death.” Crime Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <http://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/crimes-punishable-by-death/>.

“Is Life in Prison without Parole a Better Option Than the Death Penalty? – Death Penalty – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001017>.

“Top 10 Pros and Cons – Death Penalty – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002000>.

Urbina, Ian. “New Execution Method Is Used in Ohio.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Dec. 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/us/09ohio.html>.