Letter from the Editor

Hello, and welcome to our first issue of the 2017-18 school year! In this issue you will find interviews with new teachers, political satire and political analysis, pop-culture reviews, and as always, a small snapshot of the achievements of students at Ridgewood High School.
This month, our cover art comes from the graphic artist NotKayChan. This creative Tumblr user employs stunning graphic art with vibrant watercolors.
After you are done reading our physical issue of The Rebellion, make sure to head over to our website, rhsrebellion.com, where you will find even more outstanding content.
And of course, thank you to our talented writers, editors, and advisor, Mr. Lippstreuer, for making this issue possible!

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.

Fall Festival 2017

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Here’s to a successful 2017 Fall Festival! This event could not have been possible without the detailed planning and organizing of the RHS Senior class council. They have done a fantastic job! Also worthy of mentioning are Pat Rossi and the maintenance staff for not only setting up for the event, but also delivering pumpkins and bales of hay prior to the event, Brian Collier for making the wooden cutout for the Fall Festival sign, and a big thank you NHS, Interact and to the hard-working staff members who came to volunteer and participate.

Pictured are several activities and the individuals mentioned above!

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“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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