#TEAMCAP

Story by: Maggie Brown, News and Copy Editor

When going into the theater to see “Captain America: Civil War,” my expectations were extremely high. I am an enormous fan of the Marvel movies, and as someone whose favorite has always been Captain America, I was pretty sure that no matter what happened I would be on Team Cap.

Thankfully, as I witnessed the events of the movie I found that even if Steve Rogers hadn’t been my personal hero, I would have been Team Cap. The movie was excellent, and is the perfect blend of action and comedy, as all Marvel movies seem to be. The addition of characters such as Spiderman, who is portrayed by Tom Holland, and Ant Man, who is played by Paul Rudd, add so much to the already fantastic story line. The quality of almost all of the performances was beyond my expectations, and I am extremely pleased.

The story was a bit odd, but the themes were clear and the point they were attempting to make was definitely made. What makes a hero? Does killing a few to save millions warrant revoking a hero’s title? Would it even make someone a monster?

In my opinion the lives of a few are worth less than the lives of all. Sacrificing a building of people, or even a city of them, to save the world is entirely justified. Team Cap is the only way to go here.

 

Deadpool is not the average hero

Story by: Maggie Brown, News/Copy Editor

“Deadpool,” based on the popular comic books, is a movie that has been much anticipated by people from all walks of life. “Deadpool” is rated R, unlike most Marvel movies, and the reason is quite apparent. The “F-bomb” is dropped 84 times, which is 83 more times than is acceptable in movies with PG-13 ratings. The fight scenes are much more graphic than anything I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie, although the term superhero applies quite loosely to Deadpool.

Wade Wilson is a man who, when diagnosed with cancer, seeks a cure in a “mutant factory,” a place where a man named Francis attempts to force people to mutate with some sort of serum and around the clock torture. The treatment works, but causes Wilson to become what is described by his friend Weasel as looking like “an avocado that had sex with an older avocado,” which is to say quite ugly. He then spends almost two years trying to track down the man named Francis in hopes of curing his ugliness.

As a fan of Marvel, I was extremely pleased with the way this movie came out. From an openly pansexual protagonist to the well-executed fight scenes and quick humor, “Deadpool” is an all around hit. Ryan Reynolds was perfectly cast, and the way he portrayed Deadpool was excellent. His comedic timing was impeccable, his character more than adequately developed, and his physical appearance is arguably one of the better ones to ever appear in Hollywood films.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Deadpool”, and after a few more times viewing and examining it, it may even make my top three favorite superhero movies, which is quite an honor indeed. I highly recommend “Deadpool” to anyone with a strong stomach, a tolerance for language, and a sense of humor that toes the fine line between genius and crass.

Someone help Kesha

Story by: Maggie Brown, News/Copy Editor

As most people have heard one way or another, pop singer Kesha was recently denied a preliminary injunction, or the right to produce music outside of Sony and her contract with Dr. Luke.

Kesha has made claims that Dr. Luke has sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally abused her since she first signed on with him in 2005. The New York Supreme Court ruled that Kesha did not have enough evidence to legally remove herself from this contract with her alleged abuser, although Sony has cracked under pressure from the public and dropped Dr. Luke from it’s label without any official legal persuasion.

This is disgusting on so many levels. The idea that the legal system allows a woman who identified her alleged abuser to continue to be forced into a relationship with that abuser is horrifying and wrong. Sony Music views this woman, a human being who has been hurt in so many ways, as nothing more than an investment. Kesha had the bravery to step forward and tell her story, even though she must have been well aware of the reaction she would receive, and I applaud her endlessly for it.

This case, while tragic, is not the only one of its kind. Everyday people who have survived sexual abuse are faced with criticism from people all around them, often people they thought they could trust.

Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, with nearly 68% being left unreported. According to the website for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, of every 100 rapes, only 32 will be reported to police. Of those 32, only seven people will be arrested, and of those seven, only two will ever spend a single day in prison.

Rape culture surrounds us, whether we realize it or not. Every time someone teaches a young woman to simply avoid being in areas where she might get raped, they unknowingly promote rape culture. We teach our daughters to carry keys in their hands like knives and download apps to ensure their safety, but why is it we rarely hear anyone teaching anyone else not to rape? It seems like common sense, but the numbers support a clearly different message.

The idea behind “don’t get raped” is often overlooked, because very few people know to look for it. What people who say this are really telling people is “make sure that someone else gets raped instead.” Even if we do not mean to, we make it so that even though our world may be safe, someone else’s might not be. There will always be a girl whose skirt is a little shorter, who had a bit more to drink, who took a sketchy route home, and I want her to be just as safe as I am.

Kesha is shedding light on a subject that remains in the dark far too often. People don’t want to talk about sexual abuse; they believe it’s filthy, it’s the victim’s fault for being drunk or for wearing revealing clothes, or it could never happen to someone like them. But it could, and there is a one-in-four chance that it might.

It is important that we as a society learn to unlearn the aggression and desire for power that we instill in young boys at an early age, to teach everyone of every gender that no means no, stop means stop, and their partner doesn’t owe them their body in any way.

For more information and stories of sexual abuse survivors visit https://rainn.org/ .

The Adventures of Dog Leg: Home sick

Photos by: Maggie Brown, News and Copy Editor

sick dog leg

Dog Leg had big plans to attend the theater this weekend. Unfortunately DL’s companion, Maggie Brown, got sick. So they spent the weekend snuggled up trying to feel better.

dog leg at the window

Later, when they both felt better, but still were not yet allowed out by Maggie’s mom, they found themselves looking longingly at gusty world outside their window.

El nino

Story by: Maggie Brown, News/Copy Editor
Photos by: Amanda Wiggins, staff photographer

el nino 1

The drought in California has been going on for nearly five years, but the West Coast has recently gotten some rain. Quite a lot of rain, actually.

El nino, which occurs every three to six years, is a change in the temperature of surface water in the Pacific that has brought unreasonably warm weather to the entire country and massive amounts of precipitation to southern and central California.

el nino 2While the rain will most certainly help put some water in California’s dusty reservoirs, it is not an end to the dry spell from which they suffer.

Meteorologists have been examining the patterns of El Nino since fall of 2014. They have observed that it began to grow steadily more intense in the beginning of 2015. The 2015-2016 El nino is one of the three strongest ever recorded, after 82-83 and 97-98, and there have been noticeably warmer temperatures all over the eastern half of the country.

In Buffalo NY, the first snowfall was the latest it had been since 1899. In addition, Hurricane Patricia, which devastated Mexico earlier this winter, was the largest storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.

Many have been worried that this is due to global warming, but there is no evidence that the odd weather patterns, especially those in the US Northeast, are influenced by any singular factor.

El nino is expected to calm down by spring of this year, which will hopefully bring el nino 3milder weather in 2016. Weather prediction is a very tricky and inexact science, and so they have no real way of knowing what the weather may do in the future. It is meteorologist’s best guess, however, that this odd weather too shall pass.

Pumpkin flavored pedophilia

Story by: Maggie Brown, News/Copy Editor
Photos by: Caty McGovern, staff photographer

Male ringmaster

Incredibly popular coming-of-age movie “Mean Girls” said it best.

“Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.”

Female ring master

Whether you agree with revealing costumes or not, you will see them everywhere you go this Halloween. Sexy nurse, sexy witch, sexy devil, sexy baked potato, you name it. And while I have absolutely no problem with however women choose to dress themselves, something must be said about the choices available for women.

If you are confident enough to dress in nothing but underwear and animal ears, more power to you. But if you want to be a mouse and keep your midriff covered, that should be an option as well. As you look at costumes for young boys, you notice that they are cute, accurate representations of the animal or character they are intended to be.  As you look further at the costumes targeted for teen boys, and then even further to grown men, the level of coverage and accuracy remains generally the same.

Female skeletonIf you look at the costumes marketed towards girls, however, you will find that even costumes marketed towards very small girls are more revealing, focused less on the accuracy of character portrayal and more on the sex appeal of whoever is wearing it. Giving a small boy an accurate costume and a small girl a tutu and striped tights is, quite frankly, mildly pedophilic and disgusting. This is my problem with the sexualization of Halloween costumes. Girls should be given the same opportunity to dress as a simple witch at the ages of 5, 15 and 25, and not have to make their own costumes if they do not want to be mistaken for festive street walkers.

It is sexist and wrong to provide nothing but a black bra and miniskirt, Male skeletonthrow in some garters and a pointy hat, and call it a witch costume while simultaneously providing one of those really cool starry robes and beard for a person of the same age who wishes to be a warlock. Forcing little girls to choose between homemade costumes and whatever pumpkin flavored pedophilic propaganda that is gracing our shelves this year is so obviously wrong I am having trouble fathoming how it is still being permitted to occur.

So if you would like to be scantily clad this Halloween, by all means, go for it. But is it because it is what you want to do, or because you can not find a modest alternative?

Ableism

Story by: Maggie Brown, Copy/News Editor
Photo by: Samuel Jobe, staff photographer

Ableism

Ableism is, by definition, discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. While much of the population is aware of the discrimination against women, people of color, or transgender individuals, ableism is a topic that rarely receives the attention it deserves. It is all around us, from the lack of wheelchair ramps to the blatant disregard for mental disorders by requiring classes such as Speech, which is turning a blind eye to the struggles of students with social anxiety disorders.

The world is full of people who are different, and it is our inability to view them simply as differences and not defects that has caused so many issues in our society. The use of derogatory language is perhaps the most prevalent act of ableism in our society. This trivializes mental disorders and uses them as everyday adjectives, which is horrifying to me.

“I’m like, super OCD about it.”

“My mom is being so bipolar.”

“Don’t be such a retard.”

Words like these are not slurs for us to throw around haphazardly. It is not funny, it is not appropriate, and it is not kind. Taking words that were thrown at people who suffer from Downs syndrome, autism, and all varieties of mental illnesses for years is horrifying to me.

In the elections of 2012, a political commentator named Ann Coulter decided to use the r-word in reference to President Obama, and received this letter from Special Olympian John Franklin Stephens.

The world is a difficult place for people who are different. We have set ideas of what people come with which labels, and that is going to be a contributing factor to the downfall of our society. We are not one thing, we are not caricatures or symbols or anything of the sort. They are not “the disabled.” They just have to go about the world differently than we do.

The least we, the able-bodied majority, can do, is be accommodating.

Toys for girls and boys

Story by: Maggie Brown, News Editor

Retail giant Target has announced that they will be making efforts to go gender neutral after a social media backlash when a mother of three tweeted a photo of a sign in a Target that distinguished “Building Sets” from “Girls Building Sets.”  The company has said that they will be removing gendered suggestions from their bedding and furniture department, and has stated that in the toy aisle they will, “remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves.”

This will not affect the ability to purchase traditionally feminine or masculine items, but rather will be a step towards eliminating the idea that what we can or cannot do and say is based on our gender. They will still offer all of the same items, but the labeling will be changed to help ensure unbiased choices from their younger audience.

Live Long and Prosper Leonard Nimoy

Story by Maggie Brown, staff writer

Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Spock on the classic TV show Star Trek, passed away on February 27. His wife, Susan, has confirmed that the cause of death was end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The disease was attributed to his smoking, a habit he gave up over 30 years ago.

Nimoy was not just an actor. His love for the arts as well as his love for other people spanned many forms of expression. He performed in multiple movies and shows, his stage credits including one of the most iconic roles of all time, Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof.

He was also a photographer, inspiring many with his photo collection The Full Body Project, a collection featuring women of larger sizes showing everyone that it is in fact possible to be both happy and fat.

“It’s super chill that he did that,” said Caty McGovern, 9. “There isn’t a lot of media out there that paints big women in a good light.”

The lovable half-human, half-vulcan character of Spock resonated with a wide range of people, and the man who played him was included in their appreciation. He was an excellent actor, an excellent man, and some fans of the Star Trek franchise considered him to be their honorary grandfather.

As Nimoy’s last tweet before his passing reads, “Life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.” Leonard Nimoy ended all of his tweets with Spock’s most famous phrase, live long and prosper.

And now that his life has ended it can be said, with utmost sincerity, he lived long and prospered.

Missing in Mexico

By Maggie Brown

This past September, 43 college students went missing in the Mexican city of Iguala. The abduction and possible massacre allegedly occurred on orders of a local mayor, who has been arrested under suspicion of giving the order for the abduction. Seventy eight others thought to be involved in the tragedy have been arrested as well. Those arrested are majorly composed of corrupt municipal police officers, who are suspected to have handed the unwarranted arrests of the students over to a local gang, Guerreros Unidos.

The gang has an abundance of influence on the local government, and the governor who gave the order for the abduction is known to have ties to members of Guerreros Unidos.

President Enrique Pena Nieto announced a wide range of possible safety measures that could be taken in response to the kidnapping, but it has not been enough to appease the citizens of Mexico. His plan put particular emphasis on stopping corruption at the municipal level, beginning with a proposal to give congress the power to dissolve local institutions with affiliations to organized criminal groups.

The plan also includes promises to reduce human rights violations by the security forces and efforts to combat general corruption, though none of these immediately stand out against the backdrop of a history of similar promises.

Jesús Murillo Karam, the Mexican attorney general, said members of the gang have confessed to killing and burning a large number of young people in a rubbish pit outside of neighboring town Cocula. The identity of the remains that were found in a large pyre of rubber tires and tree branches has yet to be confirmed.

Though the government said on November 7 it looked as though the students had been killed, then incinerated by gangsters working with the police, officials stopped short of confirming their deaths for lack of definitive evidence.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans have taken to the streets to protest the government’s handling of the case of the missing students, and on November 8, protesters in central Mexico City set fire to the door of the National Palace.

Part of Mexican protesters’ infuriation is based on a press conference held on November 7, when after fielding questions about the case for less than an hour, Jesús Murillo Karam, attorney general, said, “Ya me canse.” or, “Enough, I’m tired.”

Overnight, this became a viral internet trend, and many are using the “Ya me canse” hashtag to express their frustration with Mexico’s politicians. People have written messages expressing their tiredness with their corrupt representatives and living in a country driven by drug violence. Manuel Martinez, a spokesman for the families of the students that went missing, said the “YaMeCanse” rallying cry was proof that their demands for answers is gaining strength.

On November 8, protesters burned several cars and trucks outside the governor’s offices in Chilpancingo, the Guerrero capital where demonstrations over the students’ disappearance have already escalated into violence on several occasions. This was followed the next day by the burning of the doors of the presidential palace.

Mexican citizens feel they can no longer deal with the vague answers the Mexican government has been reluctant to give, and the power and influence that organized crime groups have on all levels of their government.