Free Speech

by Lucia Ruffolo

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Constitution of the United States of America, 1789). The First Amendment is an important and distinct right Americans can boast about, be proud of, and celebrate. It is the very first amendment that appears in the Constitution–an aspect that makes America, America, even more so than fast food. The First Amendment is the very essence of our patriotism, our pride, and drives(delete) our pursuit of happiness. It was a national achievement that could be celebrated by anyone, even those who do not always agree on everything–or so it was thought. In recent years, specifically in 2016 and 2017, how can we decipher what “free speech” really entails?
To begin with, it is a well-known fact that “free speech” never really meant all speech. There are certain elements that fall into the category of speech that are not protected, including obscenity, threats, perjury, libel and slander, blackmail, child pornography, etc. Some of these elements are more well-defined than others, while some are slightly related. For instance, hate speech and censorship are constantly being questioned, defined, praised, or challenged by Americans daily. The issue of free speech and expression has been especially prevalent at college campuses. Political and social figures are invited on campuses to speak on specific issues or attend and speak at various events. In regards to inviting speakers that have certain political or social views, it may be controversial, unpopular and even considered harmful to students. This has led college students and school administrators to re-question and examine the rights granted by the First Amendment.
Famous conservative/libertarian speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, Charles Murray, and Gavin McInnes have either been heavily discouraged from speaking or been met with extreme protesting and/or rioting. The arguments for forbidding these individuals from speaking at college campuses is that they incite violence and hateful opinions regarding minorities, and therefore should be banned from speaking. This view coincides with the creation of “safe-spaces”, an environment created for college students in which theoretically a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. Some argue that safe-spaces are beneficial; the Northwestern University president claims that “the best hope we have of creating an inclusive community is to first create spaces where members of each group feel safe.” Others, including the University of Chicago, claim that safe spaces shelter kids from reality and shield them from opposing political views. According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, 72 percent of college students believe that colleges should not be allowed to filter out certain political ideas or expressions. Even former President Obama has said that college is a time to expand students’ horizons and listen to people who they do not necessarily agree with. In the legal sense, colleges are permitted to turn away uninvited speakers from their campuses. However, if the speaker is invited by a club or other audience, the college has a responsibility to not interfere. It is also unconstitutional to ban certain speech just because some may find it offensive. A main instigator and challenger to free speech is Antifa, short for Anti-fascism, which is ironically fascist in their ways of fighting against “fascism”. Antifa members, known for their extreme far-left ideologies, often become violent–kicking, spitting, punching, and pepper-spraying people who they believe are champions of fascism, racism, and sexism, even if the view presented does not necessarily correlate with those things. While particular speakers may see some issues and the world itself differently than the members of this group, it is not fair to presumptuously assume that they must be hateful.
Another proponent of free-speech that has received speculation is the banning of certain books from libraries for inappropriate content. Some challenged books include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (for being “racially insensitive”), Catcher In The Rye ( for being “foul and negative”), and Beloved (for containing violent and sexual content). These books have been considered literary masterpieces for their reflections on the cultures of the time periods during which they were written. The thought of “banning” these important works of fiction is a hard concept for many to swallow, as the choice of banning a book based on a dislike of its content is ludicrous. Past court cases, like the 1982 case of Board of Education v. Pico, ruled in favor of the First Amendment, stating that the right to read is included within this amendment, and consequently a school cannot ban a book simply because it dislikes its content. Despite these past rulings, book banning still occurs (though not too frequently), often going unnoticed. Whether the reason is for containing violence, sexual content, homosexuality, or for being politically incorrect, books often find themselves quietly removed from a library’s shelf. It is estimated that for every book challenge that is reported, up to four or five books challenged go unreported.
Whether it is banning certain speakers or banning certain books, these problems regarding free speech are important issues that do affect the future of America. How can we work towards agreements and compromise if we refuse to allow everyone to share their opinions? How can we let our children’s minds expand and grow if we bar them from reading certain novels? The more that people refuse to leave their black and white world, the more that change will become less and less likely. However, the more we consider other people’s point of views, even the ones we strongly disagree with, the faster we can create a rich, diverse, and productive society that reflects an America we can love and be proud of.

How Trump vs Kim Jong-un turned into a boxing match

by Hubert Pach


Just as tensions have grown higher every day in the nuclear tension between the United States and North Korea, their respective leaders have battled with something just as dangerous: words. Since long before the Trump administration, North Korea has been building up its nuclear arsenal and conducted several tests, but the country, once mocked for its empty threats, seems to be closer to being able to carry them out.
President Trump had an important choice early in his presidency: either to fight North Korea with diplomacy and sanctions or to severely anger Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on his Twitter feed. Obviously, as any rational leader would do, he took the latter option and barraged North Korea with threats of “fire and fury.” More recently, he has mocked Kim Jong-un by calling him “Rocket Man.” Insiders in the White House said he looked “very smug” after coming up with the nickname and apparently saw Trump repeat it to himself in the mirror with “a huge grin.”
North Korea responded with the rhetoric of an aggressive teenager going through a poetry phase, saying Trump had “lit the wick of war.” To counter his humiliating nickname, Kim Jong-un dubbed Trump a “dotard.” There were many insults and threats in addition to these, but the young North Korean leader was surely not expecting what came next.
On October 1st at 4:32 pm CST (at which time Trump was apparently in a “very important meeting”), @realDonaldTrump tweeted out “Enough words, Rocket Man. Let’s box.” The tweet was accompanied by a picture of the president wearing his boxing gloves. Minutes later, this tweet was the most trending topic in every news outlet, classroom, coffee shop, and dinner table. A poll later in the day said that 100% of Americans would be in favor of such a fight.
Two days later, the North Korean press secretary released a statement that both governments had reached an agreement for both their leaders to fight a full 12-round regulation match in Pyongyang on Christmas Day of this year. According to records, Rocket Man v. Dotard is the most anticipated fight in world history. The tickets, the least expensive of which were back row seats worth one hundred thousand dollars, were sold in less than a minute.
Many say this sporting event will bring back the spirit of Christmas, while others worry it will distract from the holiday’s meaning. One thing is for certain, however: the true present this year will be the honest and incredible diplomacy that these two leaders represent.

Top 5 Underrated Movies Made In The Past Decade

by Maddi Polley


“We Are The Best!” (2013) NR Dir. Lukas Moodysson
(Swedish, subtitled in English.)

Three young and rebellious girls named Bobo, Klara and Hedvig form an all girl punk band at their local community center in early 1980’s Stockholm. DELETE
“How To Follow Strangers” (2013) PG-13 Dir. Chioke Nassor

Casey fakes his disappearance after becoming obsessed with a recent tragedy, which sparks the interest of a woman named Eleanor whom he meets on the subways of New York.
“The Summer of Sangailė” (2015) NR Dir. Alante Kavaite
(Lithuanian, subtitled in English)

A teen who is spending her summer at her family’s lake house becomes infatuated with a girl interested in fashion who works at the local canteen. DELETE
“Asthma” (2014) R Dir. Jake Hoffman

A young rock n’ roll junkie named Gus takes a road trip with his tattoo artist love interest in a stolen classic car.
“A Street Cat Named Bob” (2016) PG-13 Dir. Roger Spottiswoode

Based off of the novel by James Bowen, a ginger tabby cat changes the life of a homeless junkie on the road to recovery in the streets of London.

Olivia Holt: Generous

Katherine Barnes

Olivia Holt is yet another Disney Star to start a music career. Her newest single “Generous,” that was released this year, is her biggest hit yet. This song had a lot of potential with the tune and lyrics to becoming a number one hit single but the delivery was a bit weak, and the song became pretty mediocre. It is a pop song very similar to songs by Selena Gomez, and Hailee Steinfeld. It would be hard to differentiate Olivia’s song with a lot of other young female singers. That being said it had a very good beat to it that just makes you want to dance and sing along. The song is lighthearted and will lift your mood on any bad day. Overall, the song “Generous” has a very good rhythm and tempo that can make you happy.

“New Phone Who Dis?”

by Hubert Pach


It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone needs a new phone every single year. Whether it has gotten a millimeter thinner or its camera has more megapixels, life would be unsurvivable if, heaven forbid, one were to have an outdated model. This has been the norm since the invention of the telegraph. However, a new ideology has surfaced through a very strange man.

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What is Feminism?

by Lucia Ruffolo


When someone hears the word feminism in 2016, they probably picture some overly dramatic man-hater who complains too much and doesn’t shave her legs. They might even use hurtful words to describe feminists (followers of feminism), such as “whales” or “cows”. Journalist Milo Yiannopoulos calls feminism “cancer”. At the other end of the spectrum you’ll see a multitude of women advocating for movements such as “Free the Nipple” and “The Free Bleeding Movement”. I think it’s safe to call both ends of the spectrum pretty radical. Regardless, the question we really need to ask ourselves is what actually is feminism, and what is the history behind it? It is crucial to note that feminism is separated into three waves: first-wave, second-wave, and third-wave. While all three movements share a common interest, they all have different primary focuses of accomplishment.

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January 16th, 2017

— (Santa Monica, CA) —

Interscope Records’ La La Land: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack — which features songs from the original musical film, La La Land, from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label and starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling — has leapt to #1 in pure album sales and #2 overall on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. In addition, the album comes in at No. #2 this week overall with over 42,000 album equivalent units.

Listen to the soundtrack HERE.

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Alessia Cara Know-It-All Tour Pt. II

by Samantha Arroyo

At only 18, pop singer Alessia Cara became a hit when her debut single ‘Here’ was released. Now at 20 years old, Alessia Cara is already on her second leg of the Know-It-All Tour with fellow pop singer Nathan Sykes and singer/songwriter Ruth B. On October 7th, 2016, my friend and I were dropped off at the Chicago Theatre only moments before the concert officially kicked off that night. Feeling hungry, the two of us purchased some popcorn, found our seats, and waited for the concert to begin.

The lights in the theatre began to dim, the audience quickly found their seats and quieted down, the stage lights began to change color, and then appeared the first performer of the night, Nathan Sykes. He performed songs such as ‘Kiss Me Quick,’ ‘Give It Up,’ and ‘Over and Over Again.’ Sykes even performed his latest release, ‘Famous’ while beautifully playing the piano at the same time. Nathan Sykes was only a crowd warmer though. After a short intermission, Ruth B. came onto the stage and the audience only grew louder. She sang multiple new songs and songs from her EP, The Intro, including ‘Lost Boy’ and ‘Superficial Love’ (and I am not embarrassed to say that I sang along with and danced to). When Ruth B. left the stage the audience began to stand up, they walked around, went to the bathroom, got food, and etc. It was only a matter of time before Alessia Cara walked onto the stage.

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Sheppard Review

Sheppard Review

By Pamela Granda

Sheppard is a new up and coming band from Brisbane, Australia that has taken over music charts all over the world. Their newest single, Geronimo, is an upbeat song that talks of taking a leap to find new experiences. the single has reached #1 on Australia’s Aria Charts and the band has had continued success with their other single, Let Me Down Easy. Sheppard is an indie pop group whose vibrant yet acoustic sound highlights lyrics consisting of making the best out of the worst situations and enjoying new, blossoming relationships. In Australia, their album Bombs Away came out on July 11th, 2014. In the United States, their album was exposed in early 2015. Their stand out songs are The Best is Yet to Come and Smile. Overall, Shepard made a mark with this album and I expect several songs to become instant hits. If you’re looking for some new music to enjoy this summer, check out Sheppard and see if you, too, enjoy what they have to offer.