The Higher Standard//Samantha Pérez

I have sold myself short

I had accepted that there are things I want that are out of my reach

I had taught myself to learn my limits

I had told myself some accomplishments will just be impossible

I had created these barriers within my mind that I was only capable of a certain amount, and then my potential just ran out. I built these walls within the confines of my brain that I wasn’t able to achieve as much as some of the people around me; that I would never be as successful as him or her because I wasn’t smart enough or talented enough or good enough. Continue reading The Higher Standard//Samantha Pérez

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The People have the right to know

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Scott Norris, “Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil”, CC 2016.

This Featured picture by Photographer Scott Norris represents an old Chinese saying. It refers to the three monkeys of their divine pantheon. It means that to ignore and refuse to acknowledge evil deliberately is to be a part of it. As individuals, we find ourselves sometimes blinded, deaf or speechless in regards to evil; but it is not necessarily the people’s fault. Through the studies of pop culture, food and violence, I have changed my perspective on the actual power we have as individuals. Shakespeare’s words “All the world’s a stage” have resonated in my mind during this course. However, where he describes us as actors, I think we may sometimes be mere spectators, perceiving what the spectacle has to offer. We only see what we are shown and only hear what we are told, therefore in this class I have come to notice that we don’t always see what’s behind the curtain.  Continue reading The People have the right to know

A Closer Look // Connor Lucier

When I first enrolled in classes at Santa Clara University (SCU), I found out that I had been pre-registered for an English class for two quarters at night. I hadn’t the slightest idea of what the class was about, but I initially disliked the class simply because of the timing of it. Upon first entering the class on my first day of college, my mind was elsewhere. I tuned out and wanted nothing more than to go back to my room and hang out with the people who lived near me in my dorm. However, as the class progressed, I found myself increasingly intrigued with the subject matter. The first topic we covered in class was the food industry. To do this, we started by watching multiple short films, including “This is Water,” an excerpt from David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, and “Fed Up,” a short documentary about obesity and the food industry. These films began to pique my interest – I began to wonder where the class would go next.

A couple weeks into the class, we began reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. I had seen videos and read articles on animal abuse in the food industry in the past, but the level of detail that Foer provided had a much more significant impact than anything I had seen or heard before. More so than the animal abuse, the environmental implications of animal agriculture and the corruption of the industry by lobbyists in major companies bothered me the most (Foer). After reading the book, we also watched Cowspiracy, a documentary by Kip Anderson that revealed the extreme effort by the industry to hide the horrors of the industry from the general public. Together, all this information began to have a significant impact on me.

Growing up, my eating habits constantly changed. For the first several years of my life, my diet consisted of very few things. I was afraid of eating almost anything, so I was limited to eating pasta with tomato sauce or butter, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, waffles and microwavable mini-pancakes. Eventually, my mother gave up on this diet and forced me to try different foods. To my surprise, I liked just about everything. From then on, I was happy to eat anything that my mother put in front of me, though my preferences remained with pasta and chicken for the most part. When I came to SCU, I was happy to see that both chicken and pasta were widely available throughout the Benson Center, where the school’s dining hall was located. However, throughout this class I began to question my eating habits, and the thought of becoming vegetarian or vegan actually crossed my mind. I had never known just how awful the food industry was, and I wanted to make an impact however I could. Being the adventurous person I am, I decided to try going vegan for a time.

I realized soon after trying veganism that SCU’s vegan options were extremely limited. In the Benson Center, there are five main food stations: The Bistro, Sauté, La Parilla, 540º, and Tailgaters. The problem with being vegan at SCU is that nearly all of these places use some animal ingredients in nearly all of some of their food. The Bistro offers a daily special, which includes a vegetarian option, but the kind of food is unpredictable. At Sauté, you can get salads or pasta with the veggies of your choice, but the dressing and sauce options for each are unclear about their ingredients. La Parilla serves Mexican cuisine, which unfortunately features different types of meat, sour cream, and cheese in many of the options available. Tailgaters primarily serves burgers and fries, though veggie burgers are available. I sadly made the rookie mistake of not mentioning “no cheese” and “no sauce” on my burger, so I was unable to eat my burger the first time I ordered it. Finally, 540º serves pizza and pasta, where the only option for a vegan dish is to get pasta with marinara sauce. After about two weeks of being vegan, I decided that it was too difficult to continue being vegan, so I tried going vegetarian. To my pleasure, there were plentiful vegetarian options available in the Benson Center, so I continued being vegetarian for several months after.

 

At the start of the winter quarter, the class began to transition away from violence in the food industry toward violence in general. We read Dave Cullen’s Columbine, a graphic, detailed account of the Columbine High School shooting and an in-depth analysis of the two killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. It was terrifying to see the two teenagers, seemingly just like any of my friends and classmates from high school, come up with a detailed, horrifyingly brutal plot to kill as many people as possible at their high school before turning their guns on themselves. Reading this book and watching Bowling for Columbine, a documentary by Michael Moore on the Columbine shooting and the greater problem of gun violence in America, I was inspired to investigate the issue further.

I first researched different types of abuse and investigated the myths surrounding abuse cases. I found that there are many myths that exist surrounding abuse. For example, many people who I surveyed defined definitions only by physical or sexual abuse. Next, I took my research to Los Angeles (LA), my hometown, and looked at gang violence throughout the county. I found several articles about LA mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to end gang violence, and from my findings, the plan seems to perpetuate racial stereotypes. Just like in Straight Outta Compton, a recent film about the formation and endeavors of N.W.A. in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the anti-gang plan in LA involves increased police force and racial profiling. Only time will tell if changes will come in the anti-gang war in LA.

All in all, this was a successful class and the issues we investigated were pertinent both to the modern world and our future, and the newfound knowledge we have of these issues will help us be better, more informed citizens – I look forward to investigating new issues in the future.

Works Cited

  • Foer, Jonathan S. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009. Print.

The Decay

When I was twelve or thirteen, I made a choice—a choice to not be like everyone else. I wanted to do something big with my life. I wanted to be… successful.  Whatever that means, right? I was never one of the kids who knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a firefighter, or a doctor, or a lawyer, I just didn’t know. The closest I ever got was in Kindergarten when we learned about dinosaurs, after which I was pretty convinced I wanted to become a paleontologist and dig up T-Rex skeletons. But I was always sure about one thing. When I sat in the auditorium surrounded by the hundreds of other kids in my middle school class, I saw nothing—a bunch of “shmucks.” I had to get out, their mediocrity was contagious.

Continue reading The Decay

An Education on Apathy // Pranav Swaminathan

English sucked. I love writing and I love reading but I hate people telling me how to do it. Why should I analyze a specific way? Why can’t I read a book and write about my own opinion of it? You can probably tell that I didn’t necessarily come into my 7:20 PM (PM!!) CTW class with the rosiest of outlooks. That might actually be an understatement. I thought the class would be pretty much the same as all my other English classes – I’d show up, participate a bit, discuss a little, and write an essay the way that the teacher wanted. I was about as far off base as I could have been. My professor was a man that looked like a grad student; we were sitting in these weird spinny chair in very neon colors, and the only question discussed on the first day was “what is happiness?” Happiness? What? I thought this was an English class?

Continue reading An Education on Apathy // Pranav Swaminathan

We See Everything and Nothing // Ryan Willett

Look around you, what do you see? I see Billboards and commercials advertising the return of the famous “McRib” to McDonald’s stores, people trying their luck at the newest diet featured in some well-known health magazine, hundreds of different products on the shelves that serve the exact same purpose, and every news station reporting on every shooting, crime, potential terrorist threat, and offensive trump quote they can get. I see all that and much more on a day to day basis. Those days add up, and as weeks, months, and years go by, it all becomes normal. It becomes so normal that wetrump-traditional-marriage don’t even realize that everything that we see, we see for a reason. That reason being: To incite thought, feeling, emotion, and response within all of us; which all correlates to us purchasing a specific kind of pain reliever because we recognize the name, voting for one presidential candidate over the other because one of them has had something they said twisted and mangled and posted all over the internet for people to ridicule, and to consume a specific brand of animal product because it is “Free-Range” or “Organic.” We see so much in our day to day lives, yet we are blind to what is really happening. Continue reading We See Everything and Nothing // Ryan Willett

Curiosity Killed the Cat// Annie Martin

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When I was a child, I talked an incessant amount to everyone within earshot. The poor souls around me were trapped into conversations my younger self found interesting and my parents, in particular, were subjected to question after question about why the sky is blue, how planes fly, and if we could have McDonald’s for dinner. One night, on the way home from ballet, I distinctly remember apologizing to my father for the constant stream of inquiries, suggesting that I had asked “too many questions.” My father chuckled, looked back at me, and stated that was impossible and that I should never be ashamed for wanting to know more about everything around me. I am lucky to have been blessed with educated parents who support me in all my endeavors.
Continue reading Curiosity Killed the Cat// Annie Martin