Category Archives: Editor Blogs

Editorial: The MPAA is Ruining American Kids and Their Parents

By Leah G.

I have spent much of my middle/high school career making excuses to spend time in the basements of friends with cool parents. My parents, like many other American parents, have spent this time glued to IMDB, checking ratings and forbidding me to watch all the good movies, like Love Actually and Shutter Island. The Motion Picture Association of America is to blame for this.

Perhaps if The MPAA, a top-secret, conservative committee who rates (PG, R, etc) movies before they are released, was not so unsystematic and prejudiced in their ratings, their existence would not be so objectionable. The way things stand today, however, I believe there is too much power in the wrong hands. I mean think about it: how does the movie The Kings Speech, a sexless, violence-less film that promotes family values and community togetherness, get an R rating? According to the MPAA, for language. Honestly, what normal person under the age of 17 hasn’t heard the f-bomb, or even used it from time to time for that matter? And what exactly is the worst a kid can do with the word? Any reasonable young adult knows not to say f*** in polite company, and the only possible side effects of doing so is general outrage. The possible side effects of the drugs, sex and violence in countless PG-13 reated movies, such as 2011’s Limitless, include STDs, pregnancy, brain damage, serious injury, and oh yeah, death. I’m not saying that movies such as limitless should necessarily be rated R, but it seems to me that if an action-packed thriller about the positive effects of a somewhat sketchy wonder-drug deserves a PG-13 rating, a dull movie about old British people who only ever give speeches and stuff should practically be in curriculum for kindergarten.

You Know You’re in IB When…

Brought to you by: Southwest’s IB diploma seniors

-you have too many CAS hours
-you get cranky when you can’t do your homework
-you laugh at the AP kids
-you notice and can’t ignore any grammatical errors
-you recognize (and secretly solve) math equations in movies
-even your math teachers can’t solve your homework problems
-you spend your nights on “college prowler”
-solving a hard math problem is fun
-you make up cute nicknames for the characters in Crime and Prunnishment
-going to prom seems like a chore
-you start and finish conversations by compainig about IB
-you recognize that reference to King Lear
-you would never jeopardize the curve by giving answers to a test
-an A- is a death sentence
-you don’t remember how to turn on the TV
-you feel hostile toward your peers who get better grades
-there’s no numbers in your math problems, just letters
-you begin every sentence with “it’s all subjective, but…”
-your Extended Essay topic comes up in casual conversation
-you watch TED talks in your free time
-you ask someone out using math
-you make up stories to non-IBers about having fun/partying
-you gossip about your IB English books like they’re soap operas.
-you’ve memorized your IB number
-you skip school to do homework
-you relate to or laugh at this list

Anchor News Poll #2: Coke or Pepsi?

by Taylor Leighton and Tanner Leighton
Thank you to everyone who filled out the second Anchor News Poll of the school year. Over 330 people took the time to fill out the form. The goal of the poll was to compare and contrast the answers of students and staff members here at Southwest. Ten miscellaneous “this or that” questions were asked and posted below are the results as well as our commentary.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke Pepsi
Students 68% 32%
Staff 48% 52%

Students………we weren’t talking about that kind of coke!

Sitcom or Reality?

Sitcom Reality
Students 49% 51%
Staff 60% 40%

If you would look at the results of this survey 20 years ago, sitcom television would win by a landslide. That would still be the case if it wasn’t for little Kim Kardashian plotting her way to the the top at the age of 10.

Basketball or Hockey?

Basketball Hockey
Students 62% 38%
Staff 50% 50%

Did you know that Happy Gilmore still holds two records in hockey. The first is the most time spent in a penalty box, and the second is that he was the only guy to ever take off his skate and try to stab someone.

Ski or Snowboard?

Ski Snowboard
Students 52% 48%
Staff 67% 33%

There are three snowboarders riding in the backseat of a car. Who’s driving? The cop!

College or Pro Sports?

College Pro
Students 52% 48%
Staff 44% 56%

There is a disagreement between the students and staff…I hope this doesn’t lead to another World War.

Democrat or Republican?

Democrat Republican
Students 85% 15%
Staff 86% 14%

Looks like Romney still has a chance…yeah right.

Fame or Fortune?

Fame Fortune
Students 25% 75%
Staff 19% 81%

How’s that working out for you, staff?

iPhone or Droid?

iPhone Droid
Students 77% 23%
Staff 70% 30%

Looks like Steve Jobs is getting a sympathy vote here…lame!

Summer or Winter?

Summer Winter
Students 73% 27%
Staff 82% 18%

The only reason people voted for Summer is because she’s so hot. (Who names their daughter Winter) :)

Dog or Cat?

Dog Cat
Students 69% 31%
Staff 92% 8%

Dogs are sooooooooo cute.

And the Anchor Poll #1 Results Are In…

By Taylor Leighton and Tanner Leighton

Thank you everyone who took the time to fill out the form. It is greatly appreciated. The survey consisted of 13 general questions regarding Southwest, sports, current issues, and miscellaneous topics. The goal of the poll is to compare and contrast the answers of students and staff at Southwest. Posted below are the results.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST:

Are you happy to be a part of Southwest High School?

YES

NO

Students

98%

2%

Staff

100%

0%

The first Anchor News poll is complete and the students and staff have spoken. Fortunately, 100% of the staff and 98% of the students are happy to be at Southwest. As for the other two percent… there’s always Washburn.

Do you think lunch options are too limited at Southwest?

YES

NO

Students

66%

34%

Staff

56%

44%

Interesting enough, 1/3 of all students didn’t think lunch options are too limited. Wow, who knew people would like bread with cheese on it three days a week. Oh wait- there’s always that cold, chunky marinara sauce to throw on top.

Do you think that having stadium lights for athletic events overrides neighborhood concerns?

YES

NO

Students

48%

52%

Staff

82%

18%

Regarding the stadium lights issue, less than half of the students are in favor of the permanent lights. The only explanation for this is that all of them live in surrounding houses. I mean come on; “I saw the light” shouldn’t be a bragging phrase, because most schools have seen the light at every athletic event.

SPORTS:

Do you think we should fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings?

YES

NO

Students

18%

82%

Staff

5%

95%

The Vikings have gone from a top team to one of the worse in all of the NFL. This is one of the obvious reasons why we shouldn’t fund a new stadium for them. Seeing as the Metrodome was built for the Vikings, they should be happy with anything, at least until they start playing with some self-respect. I think someone should inform them that the game doesn’t end after the first half. But, for those who want a new stadium, I agree with you because it will help them play better… YEAH RIGHT!

What Minnesota Sports team do you have the most faith in?

Twins

Vikings

Wild

Timberwolves

Students

50%

12%

28%

10%

Staff

47%

13%

40%

0%

Before long, the Timberwolves will be one of the best Minnesota sports team. Lucky for me I will have moved out of state by this time.

CURRENT ISSUES:

Do you blame President Obama for the poor economy?

YES

NO

OTHER

Students

3%

80%

17%

Staff

16%

74%

10%

Southwest is very liberal… enough said.

Do you think that violent video games negatively affect kids?

YES

NO

OTHER

Students

27%

52%

21%

Staff

76%

18%

6%

The only negative to video games is that they cost $60 a game. So with Modern Warfare 3 out, start saving gamers!

Do you think inappropriate rap lyrics negatively affect kids?

YES

NO

OTHER

Students

27%

52%

21%

Staff

79%

16%

5%

There is no $&*%# way that rap lyrics affect %$&*$@! They are always positive toward women and a healthy life-style. So shut your $%#& mouth, you %&*$, $%#@ because they don’t affect %^$&!

Is social media a detriment to kids socially?

YES

NO

OTHER

Students

34%

50%

16%

Staff

28%

44%

28%

Thx Mark Zuckerberg! U r gr8! JK, lol! Suzy hasn’t left the computer in three days! She is starting to smell.

Do you think the U.S. is an immigrant-friendly country?

YES

NO

OTHER

Students

44%

40%

16%

Staff

53%

26%

21%

America is called the “Melting Pot,” for a reason. So turn the heat up. We were all immigrants at one point, so we have no right to judge.

MISCELLANEOUS:

Do you see yourself living in Minnesota 20 years from now?

YES

NO

Students

35%

65%

Staff

88%

       12%

As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing worth staying around for. If I leave, you’ll know why: the cheese bread hasn’t killed me, Southwest doesn’t have stadium lights, we wasted our tax money on the pathetic Vikings, no Minnesota team is worth following, and if I don’t get killed by a video game addict, I will be leaving Minnesnowta most definitely. (For all you staying, have fun freezing your %&$ off!)

Picture 1

A Notable Exception to Southwest Liberalism

Southwest High School is viewed traditionally as a bastion of liberalism, where Republican students are oddities, impassioned classroom debates are encouraged, and discrimination is simply not a problem. In my high school experience, I have found these assumptions to be mostly true—in the Unhinged theatre program, the most controversial plays are often the most successful; in sports, all players are welcome. Thus, when I set out last spring to produce a documentary about the reality for gay adolescents in this day and age, I assumed that Southwest would commend my efforts. What I found instead was an undercurrent of unresolved feelings about a controversial social issue.

That is certainly not to say that Southwest is bigoted. I love attending a high school where I can exercise freedom of speech without reluctance in classroom discussions, the only risk being that I may tick off a few of my peers. Compared to other area high schools and practically every suburban high school, I have not a single complaint about the level of tolerance at Southwest. Yet herein is the root of the problem. It is time that I stop looking at the level of open-mindedness at Southwest relative to other schools, and start looking at how I can improve the situation right here.

It was during softball season at Southwest that I found out that I would receive a grant to make my documentary. At the time, I was excited and proud, but for some reason, incredibly reluctant to share the news with my teammates. When I finally spilled the beans, I was congratulated, yet it was the follow-up question that always made me wring my hands and kick up dirt: “What is your film going to be about?” In about half of the older girls on my team—as well as a few parents on the sidelines and coaches—my answer elicited an ever-so-subtle change in facial expression (like a raised eyebrow) or caused speaking voices to jump an octave.

Perhaps I just was being paranoid, but I could not help but wonder what judgment had crossed their minds at the moment that I professed my interest in gay rights. It was not unlikely, I thought, that they had jumped to the conclusion that I myself might be a lesbian, and if so, that they had better keep their distance. For the rest of the season, I avoided discussion of my film at all costs.

To harp any more on intolerance at my high school would not only be insolent but also misleading. Had I not received support from a handful of Southwest teachers and peers, I never would have captured some of the most vital footage in my film, taken right here in the halls and classrooms. In the process, however, I certainly discovered some of Southwest’s less liberal-minded niches. To iterate my point, it is not as though there are more than a few openly gay students in our entire high school of over two thousand students.

The good thing is that I cannot think of any topics that stir up awkward reactions at Southwest besides homosexuality (although I am sure that there are a few). Even so, at a time when the number of gay teenaged suicides is increasing steadily, my observations have unsettling implications about how liberal Southwest really is. If we want to maintain our pride in being open-minded, we cannot continue to overlook the unwelcoming aspects of life at Southwest for gay and lesbian students.

The first step toward change is to stop measuring tolerance in what does not happen—e.g., bullying, censorship, suicide—and to start thinking about taking the initiative. As far as how that can be done, I leave that up to you. Open discussion is always a good start.

 

To view Morgan’s completed documentary, “This Gay & Age,” click here.

snow angel

DON’T GET FROSTY, IT’S ONLY SNOW!

Snow. You love it or you hate it. This is to the Scrooges who grumble and groan at the sight of those linty, white flakes.
It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s messy. It’s magic. Nothing can compare to having a snowman greet you in the front yard. And what is more exciting than spinning out of control on a saucer sled? What could compare to the strategy of a snowball fight or perfect hot chocolate recipe?
You could hide indoors, or you could stand outside, stick out your tongue, and catch a snowflake. Decorate your neighborhood trees in strings of lights- nothing else will sparkle as bright! Slip on some wool socks and a pair of warm boots, it’s a guarantee for comfortable feet!
Don’t know how to skate? Get out on the ice in your boots- nothing beats an intense game of Broomball! But if contact sports aren’t for you, you might prefer a nice, sleepy game of Curling (a.k.a. shuffleboard on ice).
Don’t walk on the sidewalk, take the first steps through a new blanket of snow!
You could choose to stay dry, or you could lay down and make a smiling snow-angel. And if you’ve never seen the inside of a snow fort, you’ve definitely been missing out.
Suck on a candy cane or build your own gingerbread house- gumdrops are always a nice touch. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to make your own eggnog? Go ahead and do it!
It’s up to you!
Don’t “Bah humbug” your way through winter. Go play. Get wet. It’s only water!
Rev up your sled, the snow is here.

The College App Generation

Our generation is largely defined by how it appears to colleges on a sheet of paper.  We live in an age when to be young means to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  For many ambitious students, joining more and more extracurriculars has become something of an insatiable but unpleasant addiction.  In the halls of Southwest High School it is not uncommon to overhear adolescent boys and girls casually discussing their GPAs.  Sure, there’s still time for us to shoot the breeze with friends and family—we just have to make sure it’s on the weekend (and not on Sunday).

There are certainly exceptions—some of us would rather have a high Call of Duty Kill-Death ratio than a high GPA—but for a sizable portion of the Southwest student body, there is no denying that the idea of applying to college has had a huge impact on the choices we’ve made and the time we’ve spent throughout our teenage years.  The real question is, how much are we taking from it all?

These days, success is hardly measured in true achievement and life lessons learned.  Instead we focus on whether or not someone was accepted into his or her dream college, or tested well, or got the IB diploma, or was a superior athlete or virtuoso musician.  In this age, we as individuals have been taught that we are less valued by our taste in culture, style of clothing, and quality of character than by the rigor of our courses, or by a bad grade that haunts our transcript.

Of course, this is not necessarily a difference from ten or fifty years ago—people have always placed value on academia, high IQs, and special talents.  The difference these days is that it is much harder to get recognized in the first place.  Once upon a time, the best and the brightest were automatically rewarded.  Nowadays the same people must not only be intelligent but well-rounded in order to come out ahead.  They must show leadership, commitment, cooperation, interest in a number of hobbies, and so on.  At the same time, they must survive a number of specific obstacles, including grading systems, standardized tests, and their teachers’ approval.

The problem that arises is a lack of free will.  We know what is expected of us, so we do it.  The side effects kick in when school clubs begin to suffer, because their members don’t actually care about what they’re doing.  A club devoted to animal rights, for example, isn’t going to succeed if it’s filled with vicious carnivores trying to pick up some service hours and maybe a free after-school rice crispy treat.  The true spirit of community service is often replaced by the requirement IB and college applications tack onto it.  It is difficult for us to become enthusiastic about a certain course when we have a dozen other subjects, just as difficult, that demand our focus.

Ah yes, if only it were about passion.  To those who are prodigies in sports or music or tightrope walking and who genuinely love what they do: Kudos.  The truth is, it is hard for me to focus on what I really enjoy anymore.  Everyday I am force fed requirements and expectations.  I hardly have time to absorb a chapter of reading from one class before it is thrown out of the picture by my next big assignment.  I want to take it easy, but I also realize what’s at stake every time I sit down to take a test.

Perhaps it is noteworthy that getting into college is so damn hard—perhaps it says something great about my generation and its capabilities.  As for how much college really matters, well, that’s a separate issue.  All I know is that as long as I want to get into my dream school, and as long as my peers remain smart and talented, I am really only worth a bundle of transcripts, essays, and other slips of paper to someone in a college admission office.