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A CMMA Carol

Enjoy our take on "A Christmas Carol" starring majors of USF's Communication and Media Arts. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the USF Encounter and the TV Club!

ASTROWORLD Tragedy

By: Deonte Bryant Staff Writer When covid first hit, America shut down and took away concerts from not just the artists, but the fans. Because guidelines have changed and things have begun to open back up, people have been attending concerts and going to see their favorite artist or band. Before, people were afraid to attend concerts since they could possibly catch Covid. Now, people may be afraid to attend concerts at the risk of being trampled or being suffocated and losing their life. Travis Scott is a hip-hop artist known for his songs “Goosebumps,” “Highest in the Room” and “Sicko Mode.” On November 5, 2021, Scott hosted his concert Astro World in Houston, Texas. There were 50,000 people in attendance to what turned out to be a disaster and horrific event. Nine people lost their lives that day, amongst many others who came out injured. Apparently, the concert was overcrowded and people were walking on top of each other with little to no space. This may have to do with the fact that Scott encouraged his fans to jump barricades and storm security gates to gain entry to his show. Fans did whatever they could to see Scott perform. That did nothing but cause chaos amongst the crowd. Multiple attendees attested to seeing large sections of the crowd get trampled on. The chief Houston’s fire department Samuel Pena says “The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries. People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.” More than 300 people were treated at a field hospital at the festival. Other attendees were taken to medical facilities, youngest being nine years old. One of the sad parts about it all is that people tried to get Scott to stop the concert, yet he continued with the show. He claimed that he was unaware of what was going on, but myself and others find that hard to believe. On the same day of the incident, he was spotted at Dave and Busters after the show. Again, he claimed he did not know what had occurred at his own concert during that time. The next day he went on Instagram to make note of what occurred the day before and try to be concerned for the ones who lost their life. Many will say the video is very unapologetic. The lawsuits have already been rolling in, and cancel culture is back once again. Many people feel that Scott could have prevented the deaths and the injuries of those at his concert. We will never know what could have happened if he stopped the show, but we can prevent this from happening in the future. Rest in peace to all nine people who just wanted to have a good time at a concert.

Big Bird Gets Vaccinated

By: Shayna Griffith Staff Writer Since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, many adorable videos have surfaced on the internet of kids getting vaccinated, eager to follow in their parents’ footsteps. One of the most notable individuals to take advantage of their new eligibility is none other than Big Bird. Big Bird, a fictional 6-year-old puppet from the long-running children’s show “Sesame Street,” announced last Saturday that he has been vaccinated, which caused a stir online from conservatives and anti-vaxxers. “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy," Big Bird Tweeted from his verified account. “Ms. @EricaRHill even said I've been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!" Alongside Tweets of support and encouragement, many conservatives were upset with the idea of a children’s character endorsing the COVID-19 vaccine. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted in a response to Big Bird, “Government propaganda… for your 5 year old!" “Brainwashing children who are not at risk of COVID. Twisted,” Lisa Boothe of Fox News tweeted. However, most Twitter users were supportive of the idea of Big Bird’s vaccination. “Thanks Big Bird for continuing to set such a good example of caring for your community!” Twitter user Mike Anderson wrote, “My daughter gets hers tomorrow and it meant a lot to her to hear that you got yours!” “Sesame Street” has continued to educate children about the COVID-19 pandemic, talking about masks, staying healthy, and vaccines despite pushback from the right-wing.

Can't Mask Who We Are

A Photo Essay by Harlie Mast

Dave Chapelle:The closer

By: Deonte Bryant Staff Writer Dave Chapelle is arguably one of the best comedians to ever walk a stage. He is known for his comedy specials and even appears on the big screen for a couple of movies. Some of his comedy specials include The Age of Spin, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation, Sticks and Stones, and his newest special, The Closer. Millions of people have enjoyed his artwork over the years and haven’t had a problem with what he says while performing. As many of you may know, cancel culture has been something that has changed the lives of many different people who have said or done things that the public disliked. For instance, this year, famous hip hop artist DaBaby received backlash for homophobic comments said on stage at rolling loud musical festival. Cancel culture made it known that they did not like what DaBaby said, and soon enough he was removed from headliners of multiple festivals and concerts this summer. Although nothing has happened to Dave Chapelle yet, he has received tons of backlash from tons of people about his remarks on the gay and transgender communities during his comedy special, The Closer. In the special, Dave defends DaBaby and the comments that he made at rolling loud. He also goes on to speak on transgender woman saying they aren’t woman and more. In fact, Chapelle says, “Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. This is a fact.” Although CEO of Netflix openly admits that he screwed up, he says that the Chapelle’s Netflix special will remain untouched. Many people are upset by the decision and may find another way to cancel Chapelle in the future. When it comes to comedy, the main point is to make people laugh. That becomes difficult when people get offended by the jokes that comedians make. His comments may not have affected some, but there were many out there who were touched deeply in the wrong way by his comments. Awareness should be raised for the LGBTQ community, as they are apart of this world even though people try to outcast them. If you have Netflix, take a look at Dave Chapelle’s The Closer, and see how you feel about it.

Dyson Announces its First Wearable Purifier

By: Valerie Reyes Staff Writer After six years and 500 prototypes, Dyson announces The Dyson Zone. The Dyson Zone is a pair of noise canceling headphones that attaches to a small air purifier that goes across the nose and mouth. The headphones have compressors in each earcup where the air goes through dual-layer filters and produces two streams of purified air through the visor to the nose and mouth. The visor was designed in a way that it would have no contact with the users face to avoid discomfort and irritation. To ensure that The Dyson Zone was effective, according to dyson.com Dyson engineers used a breathing manikin that had “medical-grade mechanical lungs and sensing equipment, while ‘inhales’ pollution replicating human breathing patterns in a controlled chamber.” The manikin allowed them to measure the pollution level in the nose and throat to test the filters efficacy. Chief Engineer, Jake Dyson said “The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high performance filters and two miniaturized air pumps.” How comfortable are the headphones? Dyson worked to make the headphones as comfortable as possible by using the shape and design of a horse saddle as inspiration. By doing this they took a look into different foams and chose one based on density, rate of compression, and spring-back rate. The ear cups will mold around the ear for a better fit which enhances the noise cancelling effect. At the moment there is no set price for the air-purifying headphones, but based on how much Dyson products cost, I’m sure the Dyson Zone will cost about the same or more as previous products. The headphones look as if they are meant to be in a futuristic movie, and I wonder if people will buy the headphones. Personally whether I had the money or not, I would not, unless they looked less bulky and more subtle. The Dyson Zone will be available online and in-store at Dyson Demo Stores and Dyson.com starting Autumn 2022.

Exotic Pets: They Deserve Kindness Too

By: Colin Gilmer Staff Writer Exotic pets have been kept by people for centuries, so much that it has become somewhat of a norm. There is nothing wrong with having an exotic animal as a pet but there are some glaring problems with the system that need to be addressed. The definition of an exotic pet is an animal kept by a person that is not a typical dog or housecat. Exotic animals can be anything from a lizard to a ferret. However, through the widespread ownership of some animals, the “exotic” label no longer really applies. The “National Geographic” article “Exotic Pet Trade Explained” points out that even though exotic animals have been kept by humans for a very long time, the demand for exotic and unique animals has skyrocketed in the past decade with the rise of online marketing and social media. So, what is the problem? The first problem with the exotic pet trade is where the animals come from. Though many reputable sellers breed animals in captivity, many exotic animals are not captive-bred and are removed straight from the wild, stripping them from their natural habitats. Many animals are illegally stolen from their habitats and smuggled across national borders to avoid the cost and work of captive breeding animals the correct way. Because of this, rare animal populations and even endangered ones are affected. Another issue related to having wild-caught animals as pets is the dangers that these animals face in transport. Many of these animals are practically stuffed into containers with the hope of fitting as many in as possible. This can lead to broken legs and other injuries in the process. Another glaring issue (and arguably a less talked about subject) is the big pet industry’s greediness. When searching for “Buying exotic animals as a trend” and any arrangement of that wording, nearly ALL the results do not relate to the actual problem. Instead, they cater to people looking to market pets and pet supplies. These results give us a look into how far the pet industry’s influence reaches. Further, they indicate that the industry has an overwhelming grip on the topic and discourse around exotic animals and their treatment. In fact, the industry’s reach is so far that when going to the pet store looking for food, medicine or other products for an exotic pet, many of the products may be dangerous for pets by containing dyes or chemicals that might hurt them. Even with this information, pet stores and companies continue to market these products despite the danger of doing so. Often to find the right product for a pet, a person will have to do hours (if not days) of research making sure that the product will not contain anything dangerous to their pet when product safety should be the seller’s responsibility. This often results in needless illness and even deaths for many animals. One last problem that is possibly the most important of them all is the lack of research put in by prospective pet owners. Because platforms like Instagram and TikTok give people a place to showcase their pets doing cute things and being at their best, it often makes people fall in love with the uniqueness and funniness of these animals. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with sharing images and photos online of pets doing adorable things, most of the time these videos will only show the good side of pet ownership. They forget to mention how much time, effort and money having a pet requires. Oftentimes users will see these exotic animals on the internet and after falling in love with their charms, they will buy them without doing the proper research on what kind of habitat and care they need to survive. This often leads to pets being rehomed or sadly even passing away due to improper care. The aim of this article is not to shame people who own or plan to own exotic pets—the more power to you! Instead, it is to emphasize that pet owners must educate themselves on how to properly care for animals prior to bringing them home. Animals deserve the best and their care is up to us. Education is key. Now go be nice to our world’s animals. They deserve kindness too!

Fall Fashion

What's trending for fall fashion By: Lucy Erika Ann Magat With the temperatures dropping quickly, fall themed outfits are soon to be seen all around us. Trends for the fall season vary drastically from Y2K inspired outfits to everything baggy and oversized. Here’s what to expect for this upcoming season: As reported by Vogue, baggy jeans are in style right now for street fashion as seen on celebrities during both the New York Fashion Week and the Paris Fashion Week. Styles like straight leg and wide leg are expected to be coming back as they were extremely popular during the 90s. Mom jeans are still on trend this year (similarly to last year), but dad jeans are also on the rise. USF student, Mirian Rios, says, “Vintage jeans are making a comeback! It’s so exciting to see this as I love these jeans as they are more comfortable (than skinny jeans)!” For outerwear, expect to see lots of oversized blazers and leather jackets that tend to go with almost every outfit. This trend is popular with a lot of celebrities and social media influencers right now. Hailey Bieber has been sporting this street outerwear for a couple of years, as written by Glamour. For tops, knitted or crocheted sweaters, cardigans, and vests are still popular, but so are button downs. The warmth of these tops are perfect for the chilly weather but still cool enough for those fall afternoons that may be on the warmer side. Men’s fall fashion trends are aligning with classic fall outfits. Plaid prints and flannels are still very popular, as well as knitted sweaters, as reported by Stitch Fix. Similarly to women’s, straight leg pants are also in style, especially corduroy. During the Paris Fashion week, oversized leather jackets seem to be popular among men, mirroring women’s popular choice of outerwear. According to www.forbes.com, one way to elevate a man’s outfit this fall is to add a sweater vest on top of a sweater. This version of layering also suits slightly colder temperatures. Sweater vests were extremely common back in the 70s, proving that the trends from past decades are making their comebacks. In regards to what colors to wear, neutrals for fall will never go out of style. Different shades of brown, according to Glamour, are very in right now. However, bright and bold comfy pieces were also popular during fashion weeks for both models and attendees. Whichever color the clothing may be, there is no doubt that this fall season will heavily revolve around comfortability in style.

Finish Writing Your Story: Project Semicolon

By: Kathryn Drey Staff Writer We all have stories that we have read or heard from the second we were born until this moment. Whether it may be a book our parents read to us, one we read for enjoyment or even the ones we read for class. It can even correlate to a story we follow on TV or a movie. There is never a moment where we do not get a story. Did you ever realize that in hearing and reading those stories you are actually creating your own? Our lives consist of chapters that contribute to the greater one that is our life. Relationship? Chapter of your story. Big achievement? Chapter of your story. Injury or death in the family? Chapter of your story. Anything and everything that has happened to you is a chapter of your story but have you ever thought of the way it would end? For many people, they live their lives day to day, week by week, never truly thinking about the way their story will end. For others, they try to end their story early. When reading a story, you are bombarded by words, phrases, sentences but do you ever pay attention to the punctuation used? You have commas, periods, exclamation points and so on and so forth but the one that is the most unnoticed is the semicolon. Semicolons are used to indicate a pause between two different main sentences that is more pronounced than a comma. See what I did there? You may think to yourself, why does this pertain to me? The answer to that is quite simple. By simply looking around you, there are people everywhere but you may not know what is going on in their minds, what they are feeling or what they have gone through. For some, they may have tried to end their stories too soon. Project Semicolon is a nonprofit organization that advocates for mental health wellness and focuses on an anti-suicide initiative. Project Semicolon came to light the most with the TV show “Thirteen Reasons Why”, which focused its story on Clay Jenson and his journey to find out why his friend, Hannah Baker, committed suicide.  An influx of people rushed out to get a semicolon tattooed on their wrists to symbolize their connection or their support to the mental health community. The semicolon is used as an affirmation and unity against suicide, depression, addiction and the diverse mental health issues that are prevalent in our world. I backtrack to the notion that our lives are our stories. A quote from Project Semicolon itself states, “A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” We are all trying to make it in this world but there are factors out of our control that can affect us tremendously. They can make us feel weak when we usually are not. We can feel like the world is crashing all around us even when it is not. The thing to remember is that even when it feels as if the world is crashing, it is just a chapter—the climax if you will. Speaking from experience, I have hit the lowest I could possibly go but what I learned from it, and what I hope you learn from yours, is that you are stronger than you think. The pain will subdue, the dark will turn to light, the cuts will fade and the memories will start to loosen their dominance on your life. It will take time. Nothing will change overnight I can promise you that but the one thing to remember is to surround yourself with the people, activities and everything else that will make you happy and make you shine in the light. The darkest nights make for the brightest days and there is so much you can offer the world. It will not be easy, but again it is just the climax of your story that will prove your strength and your ability to slay the dragon that will save the damsel in distress that is locked in the tower of your mind. Stand with those who struggle. There are so many resources if you are feeling in the dark and have feelings of depression, anxiety, suicide and all of the mental health issues that plague our world. You are not alone. Never think you are. The person sitting next to you could be feeling the same way. You are the author. Wow will you write your story?

Generational Financial Disparities

By: Lucy Erika Ann Magat Staff Writer Millennials or Generation Y are adults born from 1981 to 1996. This generation has 73 million people living in the United States alone and surpasses the baby boomer generation as the largest generation in terms of numbers, according to www.pewresearch.org. Van Dam states that “They are also the second most educated generation next to Generation Z.” However, statistics show that despite their large numbers and better education, this generation is the poorest by only holding three percent of the country’s wealth compared to the twenty-one percent wealth held by baby boomers, according to www.federalreserve.gov. It is shown that even Generation Z (those born between 1997 to 2012) controlled six percent of the nation’s wealth. In addition, millennials have also been amassing a great deal of debt in comparison to their ancestors. How and why is this happening? According to Van Dam, one of the major factors that puts the millennial generation at a great disadvantage is their entering the workforce during one of the slowest economic growth periods in comparison to other generations. This is also evident among their wages. From 2007 to 2017 the median income only rose about 0.3 percent per year but during the 1980s and 1990s, it rose almost one percent annually, states Reich. Their working years also coincide with the Great Recession (2007-2009) when the average millennial lost about thirteen percent of their earnings in contrast to the seven percent loss of the average baby boomer and nine percent of the average Gen X, which are those born from 1965 to 1980. The odds are stacked against the millennial generation as their stagnant incomes come with extreme increases in costs for necessities like housing, food and health care. Moreover, this generation has been raised with the teachings of “The better the education you get, the higher salary you will make.” While this is true, the cost of education has made it impossible for some to catch up financially after graduation, or even get a degree to begin with. The student loan debt of 1.5 trillion is now considered a crisis that millennials are suffering from the most as the cost of college has increased 68 percent from what it used to be since the year 2000, according to www.newamerica.org. To make matters even worse, well-paying jobs often require a master’s degree. This only further contributes to student loan debt. On average, a millennial is $33,000 in debt by the time they reach 30, according to Lowrey. How does this affect the nation as a whole? The financial issues of one generation may not seem like a big deal to others but because of the millennial generation’s size, its impact is felt across the nation. Due to their debt, data shows that many millennials are hitting pause on the “milestones” of an average American life. Fewer millennials are getting married, buying homes or having children (at least until later). According to a Pew Research Study, about 52 percent of the American millennials are living with their parents instead of being homeowners, which is a statistic that has not been reached since the Great Depression. This lower percentage of homeowners among millennials (in comparison to previous generations) is affecting the housing market. Pushing off big decisions like this to a later time also means decreasing population growth for the United States. Data shows from 2018 that the American population has hit a stagnant wall as the population growth is at its lowest, which has not happened since 1937, according to Frey. This means that there will be a smaller workforce that will have to offset the larger aging population but Frey indicates that this can be achieved with the number of immigrants the United States receives yearly. The millennial generation has gained a stereotype of prioritizing unnecessary items with memes relating back to spending absurd money on avocado toast and iced coffee (which were commentaries from millionaires). With actual necessities costing more than they can afford, millennial hardships are unending, especially with the pandemic still occurring. There seems to be no end to their financial misfortune. Where will this leave future generations? Only time will tell.

Get Ready for 10-Minute TikToks

By: Shayna Griffith Staff Writer TikTok is by far one of the most popular social media apps in the world. With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, TikTok has shaped internet culture over the past few years--from memes, trends, and especially music. Part of what made TikTok unique from other social media is the quick, bite-sized videos users share. Back in July, the platform increased the video length to allow for up to three minutes of video, two minutes longer than originally allowed. Now, however, TikTok is undergoing major structural changes and users will start to see 10-minute videos. The change was announced on February 28, with a spokesperson of TikTok saying, “Today, we’re excited to start rolling out the ability to upload videos that are up to 10 minutes, which we hope would unleash even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world.” Many users of the platform are skeptical if the change will actually be a success, since so many users are used to content shorter in length. A vital reason TikTok has become as popular as it is, some users say, is due to its currency and easily-consumable content brought right to your ‘For You page’. Social media consultant and analyst Matt Navarra told The Verge, “TikTok is creeping in on YouTube territory. They could do with a dedicated home for longer-form content as [it] doesn’t sit so well in the vertical feed with shorter stuff people are used to whizzing through at speed.” Other users say the new 10-minute video format will allow for ease of use, and eliminate the dreaded hassle of forcing a video to fit in such a short amount of time. Despite the criticisms of the recent change, TikTok is an undeniably massive social media platform, with over one billion active monthly users. It is unlikely that the increased video length will push users away from the platform.

Going Batty for This Film

By: Frank Piegari Staff Writer Look, I can’t believe it but here we are talking about a DC Comics production two weeks in a row. "Peacemaker" wasn’t just good, it was perfect and I can’t wait to rewatch the series, but "Peacemaker" is not the only DC character making headlines as "The Batman" begins to astonish critics and fans alike. With a current score of 85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, it is clear that this pulp noir film is not only fresh in the eyes of fans and critics, but it is also a new direction that the superhero genre of film has not been exposed to in quite a long time, yes the genre has seen three hour long epics, but when is the last time you’ve seen a superhero film packaged as a detective mystery? That's where the appeal of "The Batman" comes in. Despite the three hour run time seeming like a major commitment, people that I’ve talked to, Batman fans and casual film goers all say how fast it goes by, how beautiful the visuals are, and how the plot grips you up until the last second before exploding into a third act that is as stressful for the viewers to watch as it is for Batman to fight through. With the release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" in December, "Peacemaker", "The Batman" and future films such as "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness", "Black Adam", and "The Flash", it is so exciting to see where the genre of superhero films will go. This lineup of movies seems so diverse and fresh and "The Batman" definitely feels fresh with its detective crime solving feel. Are you going to see "The Batman" in theaters? Comment below and let me know your thoughts on this film, until next time!