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By Charlotte Wood, VI Form
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: a Social Commentary
Jim Sharman’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), an absurdist musical comedy that parodies sci-fi B-movies, particularly those of the 1950’s, reveals much about the culture of Vietnam era America. Specifically, the film comments on the conservatism of the previous decades, the Watergate scandal and other governmental matters, the counterculture movement, and questions of sexual and gender politics.
The 1970’s were a complicated and often confusing time in American history. By 1975, the U.S. had finally withdrawn from Vietnam after being entrenched in the anti-Communist conflict for nearly twenty years, and even then the war raged on between North and South Vietnam for two years after the U.S. had removed its troops. America was left divided, economically devastated, and, perhaps worst of all, defeated. These troops were not coming home as heroes. The right saw them as failures or losers, while the left saw them as murderers. Vietnam truly “pierced the myth of American invincibility,” and postwar America has never been the same as a result. (more…)
By Steven Li, VI Form
To the 2017 Graduates of Elite High Schools
For seniors, graduation is approaching us faster than we think. In addition to celebrating the payoff of our hard work, our departure from elite schools, particularly independent schools, also means we are about to enter the society that it has sheltered us from. This society is not very friendly and accepting. Truth be told, it has never been this divisive since the Vietnam War and never this irrational since the Red Terror. Disagreement escalates into hatred, frenziness replaces reason, and worst of all, we as a society struggle to find a common moral standard.
In such circumstance, people criticize the elites of our society, blasting them for not caring about voices of general public, being selfish in their decisions, and to sum up, causing all the social disorders from their high ground in Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. Secretary Clinton calls “Wall Street Elites” a threat to the “Main Street” for ordinary American people. And, President Trump criticizes the rigged political system since the first day of his campaign. These voices have definitely raised society’s hatred toward elites. And the US is definitely not alone in this case. Back in my hometown, Beijing, it’s impossible to get a taxi ride without hearing the driver complaining how his livelihood is ruined by selfish elites. In my second hometown, Hong Kong, tens of thousands of anti-establishment protesters set up camps on the main street of Hong Kong island, right outside my dad’s office building. Because of that, by the way, he was forced to walk 30 minutes everyday to work. Surrounded by nothing but bad news, he was somewhat reassured by losing some weight. All in all, there are different causes behind these people’s discontent, but the common ground is that they attribute the wrongs of our society to the failure of elite leadership. (more…)
By Lulu Eastman, V Form
Moral Obligation…in Hamlet & a Fetus
Hamlet, a Shakespeare play, follows the tragic tale concerning a deeply troubled Danish prince of the same name. Hamlet is forced to confront his traitorous mother and uncle in order to avenge his murdered father, who, as a ghost, has requested Hamlet takes his uncle’s life in order to bring him justice. However, Hamlet is distressed by the thought of committing such a bloody deed. As he wavers through indecision regarding his proposed mission, he also struggles against the drowning weight of his depression, as the toxic environment of the palace causes him to lose faith in the goodness of people. In the novel, Nutshell, by Ian McEwan, the story of the fetus is based off of Hamlet. With the reflective fetus entangled in the plotting of his traitorous mother and uncle, he finds himself in a predicament similar to that of the Danish prince. Although he has yet to even experience life for his own, the fetus has already lost hope for the vitality and decency of humanity. Every moment of his being is spent listening to conversations that only reveal more and more of the villainous and duplicitous ways of his mother and uncle, Trudy and Claude. Both Hamlet and the fetus reach a point where they contemplate committing suicide, as it seems to be the only way to put an end to their pain. However, both decide to live instead. Though both Hamlet and the fetus have cynical views of the world, and both consider suicide, they continue living through their suffering because they have moral obligations, beliefs, and fears that bind them to life. (more…)
By Grace Gorman, VI Form
Facing the Big Bad Wolf
My mom has always described me as “fearless.” To some extent, when she recounts my fearlessness, she is referring to my willingness to try new, courageous things. However, I also possess another kind of fearlessness – the determination to face whatever comes with strength and bravery. The way she retells it, she first recognized my fearlessness during a family trip to Busch Gardens amusement park.
That day, I was unable to go on many rides with my siblings because I was too small. However, this all changed when we arrived at The Big Bad Wolf. This ride was notorious for being the fastest and most thrilling at the park, and no matter how much my mom tried to convince me that I should not go on it, I was determined. Despite measuring tall enough to ride, right before stepping into the suspended seat, my stomach dropped, filling with fear and uncertainty. Nevertheless, I proceeded and, with my mom sitting next to me, we climbed the long, steep track. As we were hurled through the air, my mom screamed, “Gracie, are you okay?” I joyfully hollered back, “I want to do this again!”
From that moment on, I have been considered the most adventurous child of my family. At four years old I gleefully jumped off the high diving board at a local pool, at eight years old I began riding horses, and last year I snorkeled in the middle of the ocean, where I swam right next to a Barracuda and touched stingrays. While my mom might use these examples to describe my fearlessness, these are not the moments during which I consider myself to have been the most fearless. My most fearless times were after my sister died. (more…)
By Mo Liu and Jamie Lance, V Form
Letter to the Editor: Native American Policy
Dear Editor Jackson,
It occurs to me that there is much attention raised among the general public regarding our government’s policy towards Indians, and therefore in writing to you, I, as a member of the Board of Indian Commissioners, want to clarify my position. Indians cannot be entirely excluded from our picture as a nation. However, the Indian society is not a cultivated society likes ours. One of my colleagues, who is experienced with Indian affairs and always provides us with elaborate information about the Indians, says their tribes are corrupted by “idleness, improvidence, and indebtedness”. The lack of private property or land and the underdevelopment of laws mark the Indian society as barbarous and inferior to ours. Because of this difference, since 1871 Indian tribes are no longer considered sovereign nations. Governments before us circumvented the Indian dilemma by relocating and establishing reservations west to the Mississippi River, yet now with a closed frontier and western migration, conflicts between settlers and the Indians are inevitable. The issue is pressing. (more…)
By Katie Hartigan, Nick Hadlock, and Anderson Fan, VI Form
(In)Visible: The TV Pitch Project Winner
Unified in isolation, six strangers’ morality is put to the test when taking a pill makes them invisible to everyone but each other, but what they don’t know is that they are part of a social experiment and are constantly being watched.
(In)Visible is a two-season television show falling under the category of sci/fi, drama, and thriller. It is about six main characters that participate in a seemingly risk-free drug trial by Osiris Pharmaceutical that leaves them invisible to everyone except each other. They must cooperate in order to overcome the challenges presented to them and the mystery of what happened to them. Little do they know, they are being watched by six “monitors” behind the operation who are observing the behavior of people who think nobody is watching. Themes of cooperation, isolation, and leadership emerge as the characters find modes of survival and uncover the mystery. Season One ends with the six participants transitioning into monitors, and thus inheriting the responsibilities of monitors. New participants are introduced as the six monitors give them different moral tasks as part of the social study. Season Two ends with the new participants discovering how to escape the cycle: do the right thing.