The holiday season is here and that means that family will be visiting soon. Everyone has the set up for Christmas or Thanksgiving that happens every year: going to your relative’s house for the week of Thanksgiving Break, then the other side of your family that you do not see as much comes to stay at your house for the second half of December. This sounds good and fun at first, but it gets old quickly.
On the first day of Thanksgiving Break, you get the genuine catching-up conversations that you are actually engaged in, but these topics last about five hours until everything happened in the past year has been shared. By the third day of break you start to fight more with the other kids and the in-laws start to bicker, and you start to wonder when Thanksgiving Dinner is actually happening. However, when the dinner does finally happen, you end up having to go through the whole meal listening to your older relatives be politically incorrect while you sit there and decide to stay silent or make them mad by correcting them. Finally, after Thanksgiving Day is over it is time to go home and wait until next year to do it all again.
Around the second week of December is when it clicks for your parents that they are having people over for an extended period of time, so that means one thing: cleaning. The floors, the walls, the door frames, they all have to be thoroughly cleaned at least twice before your relatives arrive, but they never notice any of your hard work. When these more distant family members come to stay, the catching-up does last longer because it has been longer since you have seen them, but it will inevitably run dry. After this happens, you realize that Christmas is still five days away and that you will be asked if you are dating someone at least ten times, even though the answer is always no. However, when Christmas comes, and the relatives finally leave, despite how annoying they are, you always find yourself looking forward to next year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas with your relatives.
People have been debating which holiday Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas should be associated with since 1993, the year the movie was released. The argument that people have is whether the movie is for Halloween or Christmas. A popular opinion in the matter is, even though it is in the title and it has Christmas themes, this is a Halloween movie.
The movie starts in a forest and there is a circle of trees with different holiday symbols on them, and after showing all of them the camera stops on the Halloween door, and then the door opens. Then the movie takes you into Halloween Town as the song “This is Halloween” plays in the background, which leads to the main character, Jack Skellington, who is a giant talking skeleton, being introduced. So far, it is extremely obvious what kind of movie this is, but as it goes on peoples’ confusion becomes justified.
Jack ends up getting lost in the forest and he ends up at the trees with the holiday symbols on them, and he ends up being intrigued by the Christmas door. He then opens this door and falls through it into Christmas Town, where he discovers snow, elves, and Santa Clause. He loves everything so much that he decides that he has to have it. Jack forms a plan to take over Christmas and he wants to have reindeer, and give presents, and essentially wants to become Santa. To do this though, he arranges to kidnap Santa and throw him in a dungeon with a monster. This big plan does not work out, though, because the presents and reindeer are scary, and as Jack is trying to be Santa, his sleigh gets shot out of the sky by scared citizens.
In the end this movie is more focused on Halloween and a creepy undertone frames the entire movie. Jack goes back to Halloween and he and Santa end on good terms with each other, which does give the movie a positive ending. So even though Jack does discover and love Christmas, it is the fact that he tries to take over the holiday but then bring a creepy edge to it that makes it a Halloween movie.
“Finals week” has evolved into a phrase dreaded by nearly every high schooler, whether in real life or in movies and television shows. Similarly, words and phrases such as stress, exhaustion, and too much float around the phrase “finals week” like bees to honey. How is it that children from ages thirteen to eighteen can spend an entire week with little to no sleep in constant states of stress and still be considered mentally well enough to take up to seven long, cumulative tests for four days straight? In recent years teachers and schools have come to value grades over a students well-being, and have, in turn, integrated that ideal into the minds of developing children, a practice that is detrimental to the development and mental health of a growing student.
While the purpose of finals week, to test students of their growth and knowledge over the course of a semester, can be an understandable factor in public schooling in theory, the execution of it has warped into students losing sleep and sanity over back-to-back, hour-and-a-half long exams over content learned months ago. The pressure to do well set by teachers and parents, as well as the massive sway these final exams typically have over a student’s final grade, put unnecessary pressure on the children, whose brains simply cannot process and handle those amounts of information and stress. Too many times, adults have convinced students that getting good grades is more important for their future than their mental health, and when students get a bad grade they are convinced that it is their fault and not the fault of the adults telling them that an A is more important than sleeping.
Unfortunately, these ideas have become a part of our culture. Finals week and the school system, in general, has become a machine that spits out mentally unstable robots instead of fostering a healthy practice of learning, and there is not much we as a society can do about it. However, the truth must shine through: mental health should always take priority. Despite what teachers and society has forced us into believing, grades do not matter more than the well-being and sanity of the student.
The month of December is an eventful time as the holidays and festivities approach. Christmas time is great as a child, but the older one gets the more baggage comes along with Christmas, and the “most wonderful time of the year” can become the hardest. The many pros of Christmas-time come with cons as well, and these cons cause hatred for the season many love.
This time of year is said to be a “joyous” one. The beautiful decorations, snow, presents, and activities are loved by many across the entire world. Christmas is a reflection of what is truly important: family. It brings families together to celebrate an important religious holiday and shows them all they have to be grateful for. For children, Christmas can be a stress-reliever or a time where they can be happy as they use their imagination. Santa Claus, “Elf on the Shelf”, school activities, etc. all bring children excitement this time of year. For children suffering from a disease or dealing with anxiety, Christmas is their outlet. These festivities that have been practiced for centuries bring people joy by giving them something to look forward to.
However, the holiday season can also be hard for some people, giving them pessimistic opinions of it. This season can be hard to enjoy for those who have suffered trauma. Children with divorced parents often do not enjoy Christmas because it is not the same “family” feeling. Often, they will celebrate two Christmas’ and it will take an emotional toll on the kids and parents. Christmas can also be hard for those who have had a death in the family. Once again, the “family feeling” will not truly be there anymore, and it can also make families dislike the holidays. This season also can be difficult for low income families. They cannot afford gifts for their children who are surrounded by others at their school who get more than them. This puts pressure on the parents and makes the children sad, making the season unenjoyable for them.
The holiday season brings both positive and negative feelings to the table. It is a great time of year with decorations and family, but can be hard for those who struggle with issues at home. Different people have different opinions, so there really is no answer to if it is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Natalia Bass, Co-Blog Editor and Editorials Editor
Besides making hot chocolate, sitting by the fireplace, and listening to Christmas music, one of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit is to watch some of the classic Christmas movies. This begs the question of which Christmas movie reigns superior to all. In an effort to answer this question, we have asked Lassiter students what their favorite Christmas movies are:
Joker, a long awaited origin story of Batman’s arch-enemy, came to theatres on October 4th and has started quite the conversation. Directed by Todd Phillips, people are calling for a chaotic Oscar season as the Prince of Crime will compete for a top spot in the prestigious Hollywood awards. It is surprising that in 2019, a comic movie still breaks ground and attracts a large audience. Joker was said to be the most controversial movie this year as it dove into issues surrounding mental health and extreme violence.
Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson argued that Joker possessed an “irresponsible” way of telling the story of a mentally ill man. The movie focused on Arthur Fleck (later Joker) and how he lived with a mental disability that eventually caused him to turn to mass violence. It tells the story of how Arthur went from a party clown who was beaten up in the streets, possessed a disability that made him constantly laugh uncontrollably, and lived with his mentally ill mother to the most feared man in Gotham who was out to kill anyone who made him angry. The movie was set in a time where the economy was suffering and the rich people were hated, and those who hated the rich supported Joker and his murderous personality. The violence in the movie was gruesome, as producers were not afraid of showing gory images of blood and shooting scenes.
Joker is being seen as wrong for portraying a “hero’s journey” for a man who killed aimlessly and was mentally ill. In this day and age, with shootings happening consistently in the United States, was this the best idea for a movie? In New York, it was reported that the audience was clapping as characters in the movie were violently murdered, causing others to become frightened and leave. This has caused an uproar across the nation. Particular theatres have stopped showing the movie, some have placed security outside the doors, and the Colorado theatre where the shooting occurred in 2012 refuses to show the movie. Joker seems like it is promoting violence, as Arthur was seen in the last scene being glorified by the poor people in the town for killing those that angered him. This is scaring people and causing backlash at the production company.
This movie has been quite the hit, making $96 million after its opening weekend. Some say it was an insightful movie on mental illness. Others loved seeing the villain they had watched growing up have his own story and be portrayed in a new way. However, society as a whole is against Joker and what it seems to be promoting. Obviously, the directors behind the movie did not predict this type of reaction. With recent shootings and the fear behind them, this movie was not a good idea to put out. Joker was a very successful movie of 2019, but it also began a nation-wide discussion of what it truly stands for and if it should be continued to be shown in theatres.
As senior year continues on, many students are accumulating their resumes, teacher recommendations, and grades in order to apply to their dream colleges. While many apply in the spring through the regular application system, some take advantage of the early action programs that several colleges around the country offer.
Around 450 colleges offer early admissions for applicants. This allows students to apply to a school in October or November and then find out if they are accepted or deferred by December or January. There are many benefits to the early action plan that students should take advantage of. Some applicants have a better chance of getting in early than in regular admissions because it allows them to avoid competing in the regular applicant pool. So if your GPA and SAT/ACT scores are top notch, this may be a good option for you. Colleges also benefit when students apply early decision because they get the students who really want to attend to commit to their school early.
When applying early action, make sure to research which schools offer it and what type of system it is. Most are non-binding, which means that if you are accepted early, you do not have to tell your final decision until spring. However, some universities such as Harvard and Yale only allow applicants to apply to one school early action, which can be limiting for a student.
Overall, applying to colleges early action has a multitude of benefits. It can provide security and relief for students who get accepted into their schools of interest and reduces stress that many seniors often face. This is a good option if you know which schools you are very interested in and have the requirements to attend. While you may not be able to procrastinate your college applications and essays until second semester, applying early action usually has no negative effects and provides only advantages to students.
The homecoming dance can be very fun with the dancing, friends, and nice dresses, but is it really worth it? In my opinion, I think homecoming is not at all worth it. For starters compared to other dances such as prom, it is not that much of a big deal. Then you need to buy a ticket and for homecoming you would not think it would be too expensive, but it is. A big part of homecoming for girls at least is the dress. Most girls go out and buy a nice dress to wear and wear it once, so it is somewhat a waste of money. Also, homecoming is a dance so you would overall be dancing for quite a while. Why pay to go and dance in a dress and listen to music may or may not like when you can wear pajamas and dance to whatever you want with your friends? So, is homecoming worth it? No, it is not.
Picture this. The rustic old school gym is decorated in cardboard cut-outs of stars, and string lights dangle across the bleachers. A sheek maroon rubber mat serves a multipurpose use as a dance floor and a basketball court protector and exquisite delicacies including Cheez-Its and miniature water bottles are available at concessions. The DJ plays “Wobble Baby” not just once but twice, and limited seating leaves only one other alternative, dancing all night long until both legs turn into noodles. Does the infamous homecoming dance sound appealing yet― any logical individual would probably assume no. So, why do several hundred students spend the cost of a dapper outfit and the twenty dollar admissions ticket? Because the quality of those whom they are with and of their attitudes improves the quality of the dance ten fold.
A little bit of positivity, a well-dressed friend or date, and a willingness to participate in the occasional “Cupid Shuffle” or “Macarena” can go a very long way; a school dance is only as entertaining and exciting as its attendees make it. Despite this, people contemplate whether they should partake in the Saturday night festivities and question the cool-factor of the dance. The fact is that homecoming is cool by association― association with those who make the dance all that it can be. The memories made while laughing with friends or slow-dancing to Ed Sheeran can only be made during high school. Take a bit of advice from the “Dancing Queen” herself, and what does she say again: “You can dance, you can jive. Having the time of your life, ooh!”
The irony is that if every person that wishes homecoming was more popular would take part, then it would become popular. So, when another seemingly uneventful school dance appears on the calendar and many are tip-toeing around the idea of going because of a fear of standing out from the status quo― go!
As Halloween rolls around the corner yet again, seasonal entertainment follows close behind. Horror movies tend to come out in the season of spooks to make for some sweet sweet box office revenue. But as it always is, people that argue about horror movies always rise out of their grave year after year. It is an age-old question: are modern horror movies worse than the classics. Fans of the horror genre are divided on that infamous question, and a true consensus has never been reached. It is understandable as to why this discourse comes up time and time again, as horror is one of the original genres, not only for movies but for literature as well. Modern horror movies tend to rely upon jump scares in order to get a cheap reaction out of the audience. Jump scares aren’t a new phenomenon to horror movies, and they have gotten rather predictable. It is very common to see the setup where a character opens a door, the music subtly rises, tension is building up, and nothing happens. Yep, there was nothing horrible on the other side of the door, what a relief. But then BAM, when they close the door the monster was standing directly behind the character. Modern jump scares tend to follow the pattern: build-up, more build-up, just a little bit more build-up, psych out, then the actual pay off. Sometimes they do not even have the decency to even try to be interesting and cut straight to the pay off with no build-up. Classic horror movies aren’t safe from shame either. The horror genre saw a massive boom in the ’80s and ’90s, and the list of b-list movies alone easily goes into the thousands. Classic horror was mostly quantity over quality gig, and while there were some that where truly horrifying like Halloween, Nightmare on Elms Street, and Psycho. But most of them where absolute garbage that was thrown to the wayside. Even the best were predictable, with their formula being: character does something stupid/get separated, the character dies in a unique way, rinse and repeat until there are only one or two people left, then kill the monster. Sometimes there is an added bonus of sequel bait where it is revealed that the monster was never truly dead. The real takeaway here is the same as it always has been: movies are subjective, even the worst movies are probably someone’s favorite, so just watch the movie and enjoy it.