How to Write a ToK Essay

By: Felipe Bauer

This essay will explore (not answer, because there are no definitive answers in ToK) the title prescribed as “if all knowledge about the brain comes from the brain itself, is bias something that should be considered when talking about politics?” Despite the fact that this question has a very clear “yes or no” answer, that is “no, your wrist doesn’t actually rotate when you turn your hand, it’s all in the elbow,” I must still somehow discuss it further, showing that I, indeed, do possess the ability to analyze seemingly anything and ruin any normal conversation or movie session.

To conduct this intellectual investigation, the areas of knowledge of Natural History and Social Mathematics will be used by my person. Furthermore, the ways of knowing of science, your mom, and the Math teacher will be implemented by myself in the discussion. Finally, this essay writer must define what is meant in Solanum tuberosum in the question.

Within Natural Mathematics, knowledge comes from the words my teacher writes on the board. Since this way of knowing is not reliant on the knower’s gray matter, it, therefore, does not generate bias within the politics. As all figures of authority within this area of knowledge must go through a rigorous testing process before being allowed to produce shared knowledge, any information about the potato they choose to educate their students on will be mostly (though not entirely, nothing is entire in ToK) free of bias. For my Real-Life Situation: I recall the time that I was having Economical Sociology class and a unicorn flew in through the window. It said we were never getting real jobs with a Humanities degree. Thankfully the safe space was maintained when we beat the unicorn in a debate competition, showing that this area of knowledge is valid, and studying it develops useful skills.

On the other hand, knowledge within the area of Artistic History comes entirely from the dinosaurs, as they were the ones who left behind the cave paintings. Therefore, within this area of knowledge, it is important to refer to your mom as a way of knowing. Seeing as she was alive in the time of the dinosaurs, she should possess an intimate understanding of the point of view of the dinosaurs. Furthermore, science should be consulted, as a hyperpronated scan of the fossils should provide the knower with an even better understanding of the perspective of the creators of the knowledge. It is then up to the knower to figure out why knowing the scientific name for potatoes would be useful in their everyday lives.

In conclusion, the brain is not necessarily the source of all human knowledge, therefore, bias should only sometimes play a role in discussions of politics. This realization can be further applied to the production possibilities curve, which should always consider the elasticity of the characters unless pi is equal to three.

Getting by with Life vs Living Life

By: Pedro Venancio

A human being’s natural inclination towards survival is to draw breath, but the manner in which such is done is defined by our perception of what it means to be alive. You see, any person with a basic motor function and respiratory system can breathe, and any person with a rudimentary survival instinct can breathe. But what does it exactly mean, in this way, to breathe or, more fully, be taken away by breath? To get by is to be alive, with the consciousness of our impending mortality, but to feel alive, is to live, is to feel infinite, as if the world is never going to end, that burning sensation of awakening. That’s an entirely different matter.

I remember when I was in eighth grade, just getting by with life. Every day, the same routine: Eat, study, sleep, repeat. I completely alienated myself from my friends and family just to focus on myself. Although I was concentrating on myself solely to get better, I got worse. My mental health just dropped because I wasn’t living, yet getting by. After nearly one year of repeating this same vicious schedule, I became asphyxiated by the solitude and monotony I had brought upon myself.

To get by, in a sense, is to be stagnant. Is to let the world flow freely at a rapid rate while you are paused. Is to let the current drag you through rhythms and motions as you hold your breath. Living isn’t about preserving your breath, counting them, watching them go in and out. It’s about forgetting to breathe, dive into passions and opportunities unafraid of consequences, swimming against the current and almost drowning, but in midst of the chaos, finding purpose to live. To feel alive is to live unabashedly, unbridled, and uninhibited. Living is not simply the state of existence and being, but rather, an ardent overflow of happiness, an overpowering sensation to chase your dreams.

Getting by is pretty easy; it’s just inhaling oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Getting by is to live your life in the parameters set by the world, rather than to dream of crossing the line once in a while. To get by, is to have a heartbeat; to live, is to skip one. Henry Thoreau once wrote, “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.” And that is, in truth, the nature of the problem at hand. To be alive and to live have synonymous denotations but vastly different connotations and meanings.

Living is to pass through life in perpetual wonder, in constant motion. Living is to enjoy the present to its fullest while it lasts and not worry about the future; to live for the moment. Carpe Diem! As John Keating once said, “And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Living is to challenge everything all the time, to take a giant leap off a cliff, and somehow know you’ll float through thin air. To be alive is to go about your life, day after day, without feeling and absorbing all of the beauty of life between the chaos. Yet, truly living is to feel the moments between seconds and know that in that glimpse of time, glorious moment, you are infinite. Living is timeless, living to be unburdened by one’s own mortality, living is to look fate deep in the eye and wink. Living is to cry, laugh, mourn, love, feel, fly. Living is everything you do when it counts, to never take for granted the precious little time you’re given. Living is to exist between realities, between times, to experience the present without fear of the future or ache for the past.

I like to believe I live. I like to believe that my life is vivacious and invigorating. I like to think that if I was about to die, draw my last breath, and a small recap of my life played in my head, I would smile a warm smile, and my heart will rest in peace. I will live a life not without mistakes, but without regrets. I was once asked when I was very small, “What is the meaning of life?” At the time, I didn’t know, I pondered for years, but now, I think I might answer, “To live.” I believe there to be a sort of melancholic, almost arbitrary, beauty in life. To know that it must end, that there is a stop at the end of the ride, but that it’s what you do in between that matters.

Gender Inequality Has Reached the Walls of EAB

By: Veronica Streibel-May with the help of EAB staff

In honour of International Women’s Day this month the 8th of March I felt like we needed to remind ourselves of how important it is to acknowledge the differences amongst us and how we may find common ground. How an issue like gender inequality can unite us to fight together for so we may live in a better society. Alone we will accomplish nothing. Together we can raise awareness and initiate a pathway where change is encouraged instead of feared. So where do we look in times of uncertainty? Our role models. Thankfully in our EAB community we have so many. Teachers do everything they can to inspire us and have endless stories and experiences to share. The things they have to say really make you realize that the world can be brutal but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Please let reponses motivate you and trigger a wish for change. So with that being said, here are some questions I posed to them regarding their perspectives on gender equality:

Can you name and describe an event in your life or professional career where you have been treated unfairly because you are a woman/man?

“One event that comes to mind was when Ms. Bree was being treated in a condescending manner by an airline employee. The most glaring example was when the man called her “baby.”  The moment I arrived, the man’s demeanor changed completely and he became much more respectful in his tone and posture.  It was a clear example where a woman is treated a certain way in a stressful situation and the man is treated differently.  I handled the situation by sternly showing my disapproval with the man’s behavior.  I am sure my size helped a bit.  I don’t think there is anything I could have changed in the exchange but the episode did reinforce with clarity the difference in how men and women are treated in society. “ – David Bair 

“In sports, men have always been treated better than women. That is a fact but there have been positive changes. In the United States, there have been advancements since the Educational Amendments of 1972 when Title XI was passed as a federal civil law. The life of an Athletics Director in Mexico for multiple years opened my eyes to situations of ‘machismo’ actions.  Also, here in Brazil, I can see these ‘machismo’ acts sometimes in the culture. I can also see improvements being made in Brazil as opposed to other countries (Women’s Soccer on equal pay). I do not support this ‘machismo’ culture and there is needed room for improvement.” – John Powell 

When I was 18 back in 1998, and only 10 days away from my final Big 4 after a lifetime at Graded, I sustained a severe knee injury in a scrimmage that ruined my soccer career. A defining moment that brought to light the patriarchy in Brazil was when my mom took me to the ER at one of the best hospitals in all of Latin America, and the doctor that saw me told my mom “Well of course she got injured. What were you thinking in allowing her to play a man’s sport?” My mom and I were both furious. She was caught off guard but told him that women were allowed to play soccer too. She later filed a complaint at the hospital. To be honest, I have no idea what came of it, but my mom was always planting showing me how women are powerful.  Another instance was when I coached girls futsal at Graded. My girls futsal team won five gold consecutive medals at Big 4, in the most exhilarating and challenging games. However, after the second victory, I questioned the fact that they only allowed the girls to play on the smaller court (the one used for volleyball) instead of on the big court where the boys played. I also questioned why the boys’ games were always the last games of the tournament. They responded that the girls were unable to run for as long as boys on the big court, and that the boys’ games were more fun and engaging thus should be the final game of the tournament. Luckily, I had several other women coaches who put up a fight with me and for girls in general. We argued that not only were the girls’ games more entertaining, but that girls had the same, if not more, determination and stamina than the boys. Needless to say, we won! We got what we wanted. All futsal teams got to play on the big court and the final game alternated yearly between boys and girls. Mind you, that wasn’t that long ago. I’m talking 2010. But every small victory we get is a step in the right direction.” -Biana Bree 

When he would do “normal” activities with his kids like going to the park or playground, he would be complemented by others who saw him as an amazing dad (not to say that he wasn’t but they would go out of their way to applaud him).They would say things like “you’re such a good dad”. His wife on the other hand never received any comments of the sort. People expect a woman to do motherly things however when a dad does the exact same thing people are surprised and feel the need to almost congratulate this action. -Summary from Andrew Jones

“Yes, in my very early days as a school leader, I applied for a new job while I was on maternity leave with my son. At the interview I was asked multiple questions about how I would “manage my work” now that I was a young mother. They even asked me how I thought it would look to the wider school community, if the Board employed a working mother. I did not get the job and I still believe that the fact that I was a woman and a mother went against me. An older man got the position.

I did actually contact a Women’s Rights representative within the union I belonged to. She guided me through a process, where I made a complaint about the questions I was asked at the interview. The outcome of my complaint was an apology from the interviewers and a commitment to do some gender equity training. It was really hard to do this, as at the time I worked in a small city, and I was criticised by others for complaining. However I am really glad that I did stand up for myself and hopefully other women who might face this situation.” -Lesley Tait 

“Yes I have been treated unfairly because I am a woman. In the previous school I worked in they wanted to decrease the number of physical education teachers, at that time there were 5 male teachers and I was the only woman. When choosing who would be let go, I was the one chosen. Their reason for it is because I had a husband that could financially support me so I didn’t have to work. If I was a man I wouldn’t have been fired.”  – Simone Keller


Do you feel that you have to perform a certain way to meet society’s standards of a man? Are you “allowed/ not allowed” to do certain things. Please give examples.

“I think there is a certain expectation of how a man is supposed to act, especially in Brazil.  I honestly don’t think about it much, however, and go about my life without thinking much about society’s standards for me.” -David Bair 

“I feel that it is my responsibility in my family life to provide. My wife does not currently work, but that is her decision. She will work again someday and then it could be her time to provide for the family and maybe I don’t work. There is an equally shared understanding. There are not many, if any, things that I am “not allowed” to do being a man. This is the truth.” -John Powell 

“Again, I’m thankful that in the different stages of my life, I’ve mostly felt encouraged to be the way I am instead of conforming to gender norms. Actually, I’ve always appreciated the fact that Mr. Jones and I exhibit many traits that might not normally be associated with our gender and I like the example that this sets for our kids. I have to say that I do worry a bit because while we can control the messages they get at home, we’re not in control of the messages they get from the world. I remember when we signed Eliza up for after-school activities and she could choose ballet or futebol, but not both. There were all boys at futebol and all girls at ballet. We signed her up for futebol outside of school, but even there, she’s played for 4 years and never has played with another girl. When she joined in a game at a birthday party once, there were boys who made fun of the way she played or laughed when she made a mistake. She’s a tough kid but I worry that many girls would see all this and just think it wasn’t worth it, that it’s easier to conform instead of challenge a system that’s not set up to do things a certain way.” -Erin Kahle 

“Absolutely. I have felt it numerous times in my lifetime. Walking alone on streets is worrisome because I am a woman. Walking in the dark is worrisome because I am a woman. Paying attention to my surroundings because I am a woman is necessary. Granted, I was raised in a large city, São Paulo, and the violence has always been significantly higher than in other areas. However, I always had to watch my back since I was a young girl. When I was 14 and walking home from school, a man from a construction site began following me up the street.  He began harassing me and saying the most horrendous things to me. I knew that if I tried to outrun him, he would beat me because he was simply built differently than me. I ignored him, never once looked at him, held my backpack ready to swing at him if needed, and once I got in the linesight of the building complex I lived in, I began running. I knew at that point that the guards at the complex would see me and hear me if he continued harassing me. Clearly from that day on, I had to take the long way home instead of the shorter way due to the fear of that man. Once the construction was done and he was gone, I was able to start taking the shortcut again. The fear I felt at the moment, and the anger I felt afterwards were intense.” -Bianca Bree

No, because teaching English is seen more as a female role so he’s a minority as male. They see it as an advantage when they find a guy to teach a humanities based subject. Socially it’s been a mixed bag because he likes sports- like a typical man. It wasn’t cool to like poetry as a male so he stood out but his athleticism balanced it out so he still felt society accepted him. -Summary from Andrew Jones


3. Does your gender have an impact on the relationship between your personal and professional life? If so, in what ways?

“I actually think this has been the most significant challenge of gender in my life, which is navigating the balance of professional duties along with those involved in raising children. Even in a progressive society, the majority of women end up taking on more of the household and child-related duties while also having the same demands in the workplace. I’m not trying to throw Mr. Jones under the bus. I actually think he’s better than most men in terms of contributing to the household and childcare, but I think there are also a lot of unconscious influences that require a lot of work in a relationship to actually make this division equal.” -Erin Kale 

“Yes in some ways. When my children were younger, I still tended to take on more of the domestic chores and parenting  than my husband. This certainly put a lot of pressure on how well I could balance my work and home life.” -Lesley Tait

“Absolutely. I had to give up coaching which was my all time favorite thing to do. Now, in choosing to have kids I knew I would have to give up certain activities at school. I was heavily involved and invested in extracurricular activities. I gave them up willingly in order to spend time with my kids and watch them grow. But I have also been heavily criticized that I should have hired a nanny to watch them so that I could continue coaching. I understand that, but I did not have children for someone else to raise them. I chose to have children so that I could raise them and be involved in their lives. At some point, when they are more self sufficient and maybe not as interested in hanging out with me (in their teenage years) I would like to go back to coaching. I understand men questioning my choice, but several women were also not able to understand why I made that choice.” -Bianca Bree


4. What have you personally done to advance gender equality?

“Throughout my life and my career, I have been aware of gender equality and the need for girls to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in a school, on a team, or in a community, that their voices are heard and their rights as equal members of society are adhered to.  Though I believe deeply in gender equality, I can’t point to one specific instance when I advanced gender equality.  I hope, however, that my actions over time have shown the women and girls around me and under my leadership that they are valued equally.” -David Bair 

“In my profession thus far I have hired more women coaches each year in the programs I have been in or am involved in. I have fairly allocated practice facilities, game scheduling, equipment requests, and support on tournament trips to make sure gender equality is fulfilled in the athletic program I lead. I have raised my personal education on diversity and gender equality by attending seminars on these topics, reading the latest trends in athletics across the world and simply standing up for what I believe is correct on how to treat women and others.” -John Powell

“I really try to lift up other women within our profession. Women often seem to need someone else to tell them that they should apply for certain positions etc, whereas men tend to have no trouble putting themselves forward for anything going. I try and make it my business to coach and guide other women, so that they build their personal self-confidence.” -Lesley Tait 

“I address gender equality constantly with my children in an attempt to teach them that they have equal rights regardless of their gender. I question and confront situations, oftentimes in front of them, always respectfully, but show them that they can question things and work towards fair treatment. In the class I teach and through service projects, we address human rights, but oftentimes gender issues are addressed too since women are still fighting for equal rights.”  -Bianca Bree

He has high expectations for his daughter and what he wants the world to be for her. In addition to this he feels he has a balanced relationship with his wife where they share duties and responsibilities equally. He also coached turkish girls basketball and these girls were actively disobeying their fathers by playing sports. Being an english teacher it has also allowed him to push people to see different points of view. These initiate conversation which he feels is a crucial step. -Summary from Andrew Jones

“I believe that just by working in this area is already a big step into gender equality. At school I coached boys teams, and at NR I was one the first female coaches in volleyball. When I was a referee I was also one of the only women at the time. When coaching I always tried to reinforce the girls at school to join the teams, I organized tournaments and events for them, and always tried to make sure they were heard and happy when playing a sport. I believe that by being present in this area and showing other women that anything is possible is a big step into gender equality.” -Simone Keller 


5. If you could give advice to young women, what would you tell them?

“As the father of two young girls, I think the advice that we give is not advice per se, but more of giving a constant message that they are valued, equal, and should not take a backseat to any male simply because he is a male.  The more the parents, but especially the fathers, of girls give that message and live that truth, the more society will change towards gender equality.” -David Bair

“I would tell young women to continue to fight for what they feel is fair in life. Fight with the understanding that you are trying to be treated as equal as young men, not better nor worse. Those that understand this movement will be able to have a conversation – use those people as a resource. Those are not able to understand this movement – use your education to open their eyes as best as possible. The world is not man’s or woman’s. It is ours and we need to continue to move in the direction to share it together!” -John Powell 

“Always think of yourself and put yourself forward as an equal to men. Don’t hold back. If you see inequality, speak up!” -Lesley Tait 

“Stand up for yourself and others. Clearly there are moments when we need to back down somewhat in order to avoid serious injuries or situations such as the one when the guy followed me home. However, standing up for ourselves and others is essential in teaching others that we are strong and that we have equal rights.” – Bianca Bree

Both genders need to understand that there is no playbook. Both need to realize that gender doesn’t define anything and you can create your own path. Guys can’t be threatened or feel as if supporting feminism hurts them. The message for men: equality is better for you too- it’s freeing. -Summary from Andrew Jones

Top 10 R&B Albums You Should Check Out (Age-Ordered)

By Vitória Arantes

In light of the recent (faulty and unjustly served I might add) Grammy nominations that came out last week, how about we check out some R&B albums that in my opinion, served the music scenario well. These are few from many top notch R&B albums that made history, take a look…

1 – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Ms. Lauryn Hill (1998)

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2 – Voodoo by D’angelo (2000)

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3 – Take Care by Drake (2011)

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4 – A Seat At The Table by Solange (2016)

A Seat At The Table by Solange (2016)

5 – Blonde by Frank Ocean (2016)

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6 – Anti by Rihanna (2016)

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7 – CTRL by SZA (2017)

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8 – Sonder Son by Brent Faiyaz (2017)

Sonder Son by Brent Faiyaz (2017)

9 – After Hours by The Weeknd (2020)

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10 – Chilombo Jhené Aiko (2020)

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Mental Illness in the Music Industry: Is There Hope?

By Vitória Arantes

It is crucial for the musician to have an oasis; an escape in the midst of chaos. Those who are lucky enough, find their nirvana in the process of music making. 

There is no doubt that modern day musicians are in an endless game against anxiety. Money problems, self medication, and the pressure to please the public are life changing factors that might become great issues in the artist’s life if not treated correctly. Being a musician is a rather emotional rollercoaster, filled with the ups and downs of the thrills of life. However, it is also very exhausting and takes up most of the artist’s energy. According to Genius Magazine, in 2019, the digital distribution platform Record Union conducted a research regarding the music industry. The survey stated that more than 73 percent of independent music makers suffer from symptoms of mental illness, and that anxiety and depression were the most common conditions mentioned in the songs. It is crucial for the musician to have an oasis; an escape in the midst of chaos. Those who are lucky enough, find their nirvana in the process of music making. 

In light of the news that Kid Cudi’s and Kanye West’s Kids See Ghosts collaborative album is possibly making a comeback, it is only fair to analyze a successful example of how music managed to heal a musician’s wounds. 

“I was ecstatic to be alive,” says Cudi to Esquire Magazine when discussing Kids See Ghosts, a collaborative album launched in July 2018 with the rapper Kanye West. Followed by some time spent in rehab in 2016 and a year off making music due to depression, Scott premiered his comeback alongside Ye, who was not only a shoulder to Cudi, but also a mentor who was crucial in Cudi’s path to recovery through music. “I felt a little bit more confident because I had my friend lifting me up,” Kid Cudi stated when questioned about the role that Kanye played during the music making process. The self titled album was released through the label imprints, GOOD Music (an American record label founded by Kanye in 2004, co-signed by Def Jam Recordings), and Wicked Awesome Records. It also has a total of seven songs all produced by Kanye and Kid Cudi, along with the collaboration of worldwide known artists like André 3000, Justin Vernon, Cashmere Cat, and so on.

Mental Illness in the Music Industry: Is There Hope?

“Kids See Ghosts”: a hip hop duo formed by Kid Cudi (left) and Kanye West (right).

The album is filled with messages and symbols that reflect on Cudi’s journey and how he managed to emerge from a catastrophe, stronger and better than ever. In the song “Reborn,” for instance, the hip-hop duo sing about rising above their errors and overcoming the “lemons” that life gives you with lyrics like “I’m movin’ forward,” and “peace is somethin’ that starts with me.” Clearly, the rappers grew a very fruitful harvest with those “lemons,” because two Gold-certified singles (“Feel the Love” & “4th Dimension”), one Platinum track (“Reborn”) and a No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart does not grow on trees.

Mental Illness in the Music Industry; Is There Hope?

Album cover of “Kids See Ghosts” debut album. Artwork designed by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

On most “recent” events, during an interview with Complex in September 2019, Cudi confirmed his and Kanye’s plan to develop more Kids See Ghosts projects. “There will be more Kids See Ghosts albums. Kanye already told me he wants to start working on the second one,” affirms Cudi. Although this might seem like it is not happening anymore because it was announced over a year ago, an artist’s work should never be rushed. Furthermore, a fan that encountered Cudi on the streets in December 2019, made a tweet testifying that the rapper stated he was working on the album during that time. Could there be hope, after all?

Mental Illness in the Music Industry; Is There Hope?

Tweet made by a fan when encountering Kid Cudi. Via Twitter.

“I’m really learning the art of pacing myself. I don’t think I knew how to pace myself before. I was always just like, ‘Work, work, work, work, work. This is my dream. Ain’t no telling how long it’s going to last.’ …Whenever we feel like we’ve seen it all in life, or there’s nothing more to do, God tells you, ‘Yo, you’re not done here. You still have more work to do here.’” Kid Cudi, on how collaborating with Yeezus helped him balance his work mentality and take one step at a time. 

Thankfully, Scott Mescudi managed to release himself from the chains that his mental illness pinned him into and consequently, showed to the world that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Kid Cudi’s breakthrough served as an example to the world that embracing what holds you down is better than trying to blind yourself from it. Kid See Ghosts is a clear example that there are always better and healthier alternatives to overcoming your obstacles. Cudi used his passion – music – as a way out, and the commitment he made to living in alignment with what makes his heart skip beats played a significant role in his healing. After all, this is what we should all live for: passion. It is what tingles our sense of individuality and stimulates us towards innovation. 

Mental Illness in the Music Industry; Is There Hope?

The album’s “price tag” showing its tracklist, awards, collaborators, producers and release date.

Sources

https://www.complex.com/music/2018/12/kid-cudi-mental-health-red-table-talk

https://artists.spotify.com/blog/a-psychologists-take-on-mental-health-for-musicians

https://www.complex.com/music/2020/10/kid-cudi-says-recording-kids-see-ghosts-with-kanye-west-saved-him

https://genius.com/a/kid-cudi-speaks-on-how-kids-see-ghosts-helped-him-overcome-self-doubt-after-rehab

https://genius.com/a/kid-cudi-confirms-kids-see-ghosts-2-explains-why-he-didn-t-want-kanye-west-too-involved-in-his-early-music#:~:text=Learn%20More-,Kid%20Cudi%20Confirms%20’Kids%20See%20Ghosts%202’%20%26%20Explains%20Why,Involved%20In%20His%20Early%20Music&text=%22I%20had%20my%20single%20with,my%20albums%20were%20all%20me.%22 

Surreal Seemingness in The Things They Carried: The Horrifying, Beautiful Death of Curt Lemon

By Lucy Landry

The beauty of the scene draws the reader in, making one ask “real, or not real?” once more, as they become more aware of the absurd essence of war.

In Tim O’Brien’s memoir The Things They Carried, it is difficult to discern what is real and what is not. What appears to happen in O’Brien’s Vietnam War timeline is not always what exactly happens, even if it feels so to O’Brien and his fellow soldiers. O’Brien seeks this idea out in his work as he writes, “In any true war story…. there is always that surreal seemingness, which makes the story seem untrue, but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth as it seemed” (O’Brien 67-68). The traumatic events O’Brien describes are true to some extent, but the author claims that, in war stories, particularly true ones, what happened is hard to differentiate from what seemed to happen. O’Brien creates this war-clouded vision for his readers. He looks to mirror his own experience of not being able to tell if what he knows and holds from war is fact. A prominent example of this reflection of the bizarre, grotesque essence of war is in the event of Curt Lemon’s death, where O’Brien utilizes descriptive language, juxtaposition, and antiphrasis.

In The Things They Carried, O’Brien paints Curt Lemon to be an aggressively masculine man who always looked to show off to his fellow soldiers, even going to the point of having a healthy tooth pulled out to “renew” his image when the other soldiers began to see him as cowardly. However, Lemon is shown in an entirely different light during the telling of his death. O’Brien employs the use of descriptive, vivid words to transform a horrifying event into a beautiful scene. He writes, “I remember the smell of moss… up in the canopy there were tiny white blossoms… all around us where those ragged green mountains… I glanced behind me and watched Lemon step from the shade into bright sunlight” (O’Brien 67). O’Brien sets the scene for his reader: the air carries the scent of moss and up in the treetops grow small, white blossoms, all surrounded by jagged, green mountains. Lemon enters, clothed in the sunlight, and is lifted up into the treetops to mingle with the tiny flowers. O’Brien’s descriptive language creates an illusion for the readers as he looks to mirror his same experience and feelings in war. What O’Brien illustrates is exactly what seemed to have happened in the moment. Although what is described might not be factually correct, and it wasn’t the sunlight that took Lemon up, it was what appeared to have occurred to O’Brien. To see the difference between it and the detonator killing Lemon would be especially difficult for him. The language in this scene causes the reader to experience the bizarre and ugly nature of war as they witness a common and beautiful death.

To be able to completely render the effect of the almost unreal nature of war onto his readers, O’Brien uses juxtaposition. He writes, “Up in the sunlight there were tiny white blossoms, but no sunlight at all, and I remember the shadows spreading out under the trees…the way the sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms” (O’Brien 67). Here, O’Brien shifts his perspective. At the beginning, the scene is painted with no sunlight. As the narrative moves closer to Lemon’s death, sunlight suddenly appears and it drips off of Lemon. Lemon is completely wrapped in it and is thrown up into the trees from its force. To be carried from such a dismal scene of shadows and tiredness to a scene of play and glow is especially effective. It creates a contrast for the reader that allows the death to stand out. It’s almost as if Lemon’s death sparked an “awakening” in the dark jungle that caused light to enter. This creates the haze over the question of “real, or not real?” within the reader.

O’Brien completes the extraordinary task of forming a death into something beautiful when he retells the demise of his comrade, Lemon. With antiphrasis, O’Brien uses language opposite that of those common to death. Lemon’s death is written as, “His face was suddenly brown and shining. A handsome kid really… when he died it was almost beautiful, the way the sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms” (O’Brien 67). O’Brien directly calls the soldier’s death “beautiful” – something not typically understood in a person’s passing. Lemon himself is shown as a beautiful figure as well, having tan skin, a slim waist, and a face that glows in the sun. Even what he was blown into is shown in a pretty light: the trees are covered in moss and vines and white flowers. The scene is made so carefully and so attractive that the reader almost wants it to be true. The way death is described as something pretty highlights the absolute horror of war. The beauty of the scene draws the reader in, making one ask “real, or not real?” once more, as they become more aware of the absurd essence of war.

Curt Lemon’s death is created in a bizarre and almost unearthly way. What is a brutal death is shaped into something beautiful and to be in awe at. This is how O’Brien experienced Lemon’s end, whether it be factual or not. Using descriptive language, juxtaposition, and antiphrasis, O’Brien allows the reader to experience and understand the surreal seemingness of war through Lemon’s “beautiful” death.

Pollution is Slowly Killing Our Oceans – This is How You Can Help

By Kristine Bakker

 

Causes and Effects 

Oceans are the largest bodies of water present on our planet and cover more than 70 percent of it. Over the last decades, human activity has had an immense impact on marine life and has caused ocean pollution to increase even more each day. The main cause of this pollution is the introduction of toxic and harmful materials into the ocean such as plastic, oil spills, heavy metals, chemicals and most importantly, agricultural, industrial and radioactive waste. Another factor that has a great influence on ocean pollution is the garbage we throw away, which in the majority of cases is transported into the ocean through improper dumping in rivers and streams. Plastic bags can also be carried by the wind and not recycled by recycling facilities since only 1% of them are recycled correctly, leading certain countries to dump their trash illegally into the ocean as well. Mining for materials such as copper and gold is also a major source of contamination and can interfere with the life cycles of major marine organisms like starfish. Sewage is also a clear factor of why the oceans are being polluted more and more. Polluting substances (minerals) inside sewage can enter the oceans directly, causing more impact on marine life than you think.  

THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR PLANET IS THE BELIEF THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SAVE IT. ~ ROBERT SWAN

What You Can Do to Help Reduce Ocean Pollution 

 

  • Support Non Profit Ocean Conservation Organizations

 

Many organizations out there raise money for ocean conservation such as the 4ocean company and Oceana. For every bracelet you buy (which is made out of 100% recycled materials), 4ocean takes out 1 pound of trash from the ocean. Oceana is also a non profit organization that’s more focused on influencing specific policy decisions to preserve and restore the world’s oceans. 

If you don’t want to spend money on helping out a specific organization and want something more local, you could always participate in clubs right here at EAB that focus on impacting the world positively regarding environmental issues. EAB Goes Green is a great example of this, since their main objective is to reduce, reuse and recycle materials here on campus (you can access https://www.eabdf.br/student-life/eab-goes-green/ for more information). 

 

  • Use Fewer Plastic Products 

 

It’s proven that the effects of plastic on marine life are immeasurable and several marine species are on the verge of extinction due to our own plastic consumption. To reduce your own plastic consumption, try not to consume single-use plastic (like plastic straws, cups, plates, etc), instead choose products made from recycled materials and that can be reused. 

 

  • Conserve Water

 

Any of the water you use in your home is later sent to a sewage treatment plant, where the pollutants are removed before going into local bodies of water. However, the problems start to come in when we use too much of the water available to us since our supply is limited. 

 

  • Don’t Litter 

 

It’s a fact that littering is one of the main causes of ocean pollution and can greatly affect marine life. Animals like turtles, seals, birds and dolphins often mistake plastic waste for food, which ends up killing them, so don’t litter! 

 

Political Circus: The Amazon, The Fires and the Interests

By Fernanda Ferreira

The Amazon Rainforest is Burning at Record Rates – The Political Issue Around It Only Worsens It.

A political cartoon published in the BusinessDay magazine caricatures Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro with a lawnmower in his hands cutting up the Amazon forest. In a symbolic way, that cartoon represents the current environmental situation and the political issues around it that is wounding the world’s most important rainforest. It is widely known that the Amazon rainforest – whose territory is 60% in Brazil with the other 40% located among 9 South American countries such as Peru and Bolivia – has essential importance to humankind. Besides providing one-fifth of oxygen available in the atmosphere, it is a huge climate controller. According to studies reported in The Ecologist, Amazon’s flying rivers – air current that takes vapor from the forest to the entire south of the continent –  prevents Brazil from turning into a barren desert. 

The importance of the forest is nothing new. Recently, however, there was a large scandal regarding the Amazon forest fires – these happen naturally, on a smaller scale, every year, due to the drought season and other natural conditions. Yet, it has been proven that a significant cause of the fires was humans. This year, the forest is burning at never before seen rates. A comparison made by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) states that from the same point last year, this year’s fires are 85% worse. Reasons for the astonishing increase have been investigated but, according to the same institution, there is solid evidence of these having a criminal origin. Brazil’s newspaper G1 reported an inquiry made by Brazilian police that found out that farmers from Pará state organized a Fire Day, as they called it, to set fire to the forest to “show work” for Bolsonaro. For those who are not familiarized, the president’s policy supports the exploitation of the forest in order to ensure the agricultural triumph.

But that is not all. The institution previously mentioned, INPE, has also recently published the data regarding the 2019 fires, which have invalidated the on-going fake-news that said the fires situation was not that critical. In response to the publishing, Bolsonaro exonerated the president of the institution saying that the data must be biased and it was not reliable. As being a national organization, INPE is legally required to publish all its information and researches.  Another chapter of this circus was the conflict between Bolsonaro and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. It all started with a demonstrated notable concern from Macron with the Amazon fires. He urged the G-7 members to gather in a discussion on how to address the problem and turned out to a donation of 20 million dollars offered by the countries. Bolsonaro rejected it. His arguments were that France and the international community had imperialist interests on the Amazon forest and moreover, he said the donation would only be accepted if Macron apologizes from insults made.

In contrast, many European countries have had a contradictory concern regarding Amazon preservation. Norwegian investors such as the store brand ASA and the pension fund KLP managed $170 to ensure that global companies were not involved in the fires. The irony is that one year before, another Norwegian company, Hydro, was held responsible for dumping toxic waste in the Amazonian rivers and refused to pay the compensation. Why weren’t the investors concerned back then? It is certainly very controversial for them to express such a genuine concern with global companies when their own country’s company is being blamed for part of the damage as well. 

On the other hand, Brazil’s president continues to support farmers and tried to take out their blame from the Amazon fires. Bolsonaro declared to the Brazilian press when he was asked about the cause of the fires: “Everyone is a suspect, but the main ones are the NGOs”. Again, the political inclination has been over the environmental concern itself. Amazon is burning and the Brazilian government is prioritizing the political issues around it rather than focusing on battling the fires. The political aspect is a huge determinant of all national matters but it must not surpass in importance, the topic itself. 

Bolsonaro is not directly burning the world’s biggest rainforest as the cartoon presented. Still, the trend of positions such as his, inside the Brazilian government, is directly encouraging the setting of fires. Neither Bolsonaro nor the controversial international companies are in fact helping the forest. The political interest of all sides is not really promoting solutions as it should. The Amazon is burning and, unfortunately, the political issue is making it even worse. 

 

unnamedPolitical cartoon mentioned / By Brendan Reynalds

 

*DISCLAIMER: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article above belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the Bullseye newspaper nor the EAB institution*

 

Movie Review: Captain Marvel

By: Kenton Heidemann

Marvel is back at it again with a new movie, Captain Marvel, released on March 8th 2019 and in theaters now! Here is a review of the Marvel film.

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

If you don’t want any spoilers but would like to see the overall review, scroll down to “Summary and Overall Rating”

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Photo Credits: vox.com

For this review, let’s start off by talking about the star of the movie. The movie stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel. People have been excited for this movie ever since it was announced. The first official trailer was posted on YouTube on September 18th 2018 and this made people even more excited for the movie, except for one thing. Brie Larson’s acting wasn’t great in the trailer or the movie. Throughout the movie, Carol is finding out so many things about herself, such as the fact that the Kree have been lying to her and she has been away from her real home for 6 years, but Larson still seemed to just keep a straight and emotionless face through almost the whole film. We are hoping that this will change in Avengers: Endgame. Other than that, Brie Larson was a great decision for the role of Carol Danvers.jpeg;base64e799d10447075814.jpg

Photo Credits: movieweb.com

Alongside Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson has returned to the big screen as Nick Fury. Jackson stole the spotlight in this movie with his once again great acting and funny character, but there are also some points where the movie made Fury seem like less of a serious character than he is supposed to be. The humor of the character is great but there is a point where it is too much. For example, in this movie they made it that Nick lost his eye because of a cat (Flerken) named Goose. It got a lot of laughs, but it made some of Fury’s more serious quotes from the other movies seem less serious. Such as when Fury said in Captain America: The Winter Soldier “Last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye” while talking to Steve Rodgers about “Project Insight.”

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Photo Credits: indiewire.com

Despite those things, the movie’s storyline remains great. The movie is about how Vers, a member of the Kree military, gets kidnapped on a mission by another species named Skrulls and ends up getting stranded on planet C-53 (Earth). While she waits for the Kree to find her and get her back to the Kree home planet Hala, Vers discovers she once lived in Earth, her real name is Carol Danvers, and that the Kree are the real enemies. This was a great way to introduce Captain Marvel into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It gives the background of the character in an interesting and exciting way and Carol wasn’t the only who was given a little more of a backstory in this movie. It gave more information on characters such as Nick Fury and Ronan (the antagonist of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie). Not only was the storyline great, but the fight scenes were choreographed really well and definitely kept the audience’s attention.

Summary and Overall Rating

The overall rating of this movie is a 7/10. Larson’s acting could be greatly improved and made the movie a little boring. The comedy was funny at times, but there were points where it made quotes from other movies sound weaker than they should be and a few jokes were badly timed and not needed in the final film. Despite that, the storyline and the fights were very well written and interesting. Along with that, there are the great performances from actors such as Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Annette Bening as Mar-Vell. It’s recommended that you watch this movie.