Category: Focus

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Abstract Ambitions

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh sold exactly one painting, “The Red Vineyards near Arles,” for $1100, and died penniless at the age of 37 in 1890. Today, his name appears seven times on a list of the most expensive paintings ever sold, and those seven works alone were sold for over $712 million. According to Teresa Chen (11), the belief that artists “[won’t] get famous until after they [are] dead” has been wrongfully conflated with the idea that pursuing a humanities degree is not as practical or worthwhile as is studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or STEM subjects. “For some reason, [society] is still ...
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The Standard

The emphasis placed on numbers — getting a certain score, studying only to do well on a test — often extends far beyond classroom walls. Grades, scores and statistics permeate the daily lives of many TPHS students. “I wasn’t allowed to go to Prom last year because I didn’t score above 750 on my SAT subject test,” Katie Qian (11) said. “So many Chinese parents insist that their kids retake the SAT until they have a certain score, or punish their kids for not getting a certain grade in a class.” Since the release of the Oct. 5 SAT scores, students have been identifying themselves on a scale of 1 to 2400, fervently discussing retakes...
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The Dangers of Activism

“We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.” This is the mantra uttered at every meeting of San Diego’s chapter of Veterans for Peace, an organization of local World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Gulf War veterans dedicated to “engaging conflict without violence,” according to their website. “One thing we say is that new wounds scratch open old wounds,” president James Summers said. The peace group has organized events such as beach memorials to increase public awareness of both the physical and emotional “costs of war,” according to Summers. Still,...
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The Art of Activism

All across New York City, on the walls of buildings and the sides of subway trains, there is graffiti — garish, sometimes illegible block letters, spray-painted art and hurriedly stenciled figures. The “art” has long been controversial among city officials because marking property without the owner’s consent is a punishable crime. But graffiti artists say that’s the point — form and function are deliberately connected. Activist artist and Center for Artistic Activism co-founder Steve Lambert said graffiti can be a useful tool for personal expression and the promulgation of stimulation of anticonsumerism, which opposes mass consump...
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Waves of Fadtivism

Like trends in music, the types of causes teens fight for are simply forms of self-expression, whether it be going green or pushing for LGBTQ rights. “As teenagers, a big part of what you are doing is developing and establishing your identity to yourself, as well as how you present yourself to other people,” psychologist Daniel Singley, Ph.D said. “The activist causes you get involved with [are], in a sense, not all that different from other ways that you put yourself out there and how you spend your time.” Just as teens’ interests and mediums of self-expression may be changeable, so are their inclinations toward supporting a cert...