All posts by Jude Danner

“We’re working for everybody” – The thought process behind Spirit Week

Monday of Spirit Week was Jersey Day & Anything-But-A-Backpack Day

Saint Joe’s Spirit Week has always instilled a fiery pride and passion for the Gael way through many enjoyable events. These engaging, entertaining experiences bring hundreds of Mount brothers together and culminate with a high-energy Homecoming Saturday. Our Director of Student Life, Mr. Sam Bianco ’01, claimed that Spirit Week, “is one of the great traditions that we do here.” But what has made Spirit Week so great every year? What urges students to make an effort to participate in the numerous Spirit Week events every year?

To Saint Joe’s Student Council, student input and inclusivity are the answer. “It’s definitely on the forefront of every decision we make,” says Mr. Bianco. “We’re working for everybody. We’ve really got a diverse set of guys in there. They’re in all different types of classes and all the different clubs and athletics. Those guys have a really good beat on what types of students exist here.” For this year’s Spirit Week, the Student Council has worked to understand every individual Mount Man’s perspective and worked it into Spirit Week. “The whole week is a lot of effort,” continues Mr. Bianco, “believe it or not, we start talking about spirit week in June.”

A recent interview with student council representative Matthew Hockstra tells us that one of the main goals for the council this year is to make sure every student has fun and is included.

I was fortunate to speak with sophomore officer Collin Park about his perspective. He explained, “we propose ideas to Mr. Ader, Ms. Gallagher, and Mr. Bianco [the teachers who lead the student council], and they ask the administrators to see if it would go through. They give us a little path that we can follow, and that path leads to different outcomes.” Collin wanted us to understand that the students had a far greater say in the creation of Spirit Week than we might expect.

Collin further elaborated on the mechanics of the week’s development, sharing that multiple groups were formed to plan different aspects of the week. The idea is that dividing students among separate areas of the week allows every possible idea to shine. This year, Collin’s group worked on revamping the pep rally and competitions. The team worked vigorously to reimplement details enjoyed from previous years, like the inclusion of teachers in the dodgeball and arm wrestling competitions.

However, the competitive spirit is not the only thing refined this year. Mr. Bianco excitedly announced that the Student Council has a brand new decorations committee that’s “going to do some new stuff around campus this year.” In addition, the student tailgate has been excellently polished with a live DJ and brand-new party games. And you can’t forget Monday’s debut of “everything but a backpack day.” Despite all these additions and more, Mr. Bianco was most excited about the Homecoming dance.

“As long as the weather’s good, it’ll look beautiful out there,” he said in anticipation of the dance. “The facilities team is doing lights everywhere outside, We’ve got a DJ, and some great food, including Chick-Fil-A that’s all included in the ticket. And, we have a great giveaway we are very excited about.” When asked about the prize of the giveaway, Mr. Bianco refused to spoil it but said it was “something that students could definitely use.”

“Homecoming day is one of the best days of the year on campus. You could get here at 11 am, watch the soccer team take on their opponent, come over to the tailgate for free food and fun, go back to the football game and join the student section, and go home, shower, and come back for the dance.”

Mr. Sam Bianco ’01, Director of Student Life

For Mr. Bianco, and many other alumni, the thought of Spirit Week brings back many great memories. Mr. Bianco happily shared, “I remember all of those Spirit Weeks. I remember there being a lot of great energy on campus and out on the field. I went to all four of those homecoming games, and I remember all the student sections being huge and the games being exciting; I went to all four of those homecoming dances, and they were all great ones.” By allowing students to lead their own Spirit Week, the tradition has remained fresh for old and new students alike.

Jude Danner is a Sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

The rise and fall of Andrew Tate

Disclaimer: The views shared by Andrew Tate and his community are not the opinions shared by The Quill or Mount St. Joseph High School.

After a brief stint with fame, self-proclaimed hustler Andrew Tate has been banned on most social media due to concern for his preaching towards young men. Tate is a 35-year-old British-American who rose to prevalence with his polarizing opinions on masculinity, especially in male teenagers. His ban sent waves throughout the internet as the former kickboxer completely dominated the online world this summer. Posting his final video to Vimeo, the only available video platform after his ban, Tate solemnly said that many of his quotes were wrongly taken out of context and that his eradication would leave a “black hole.”

Now that a few weeks have passed since his defeat and the dust has settled, we can question how Tate grew to such infamy and whether or not his ban was rational.

Tate had grown from 1 million Instagram followers in June to 4.5 million shortly before his ban. (Lumared, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Anyone who was on the internet this summer knew that Tate was everywhere, rapidly building a fanbase of young fans that knew him as the “Top G.” Fan accounts were reposting his debatable opinions, such as that depression isn’t real or that men need to “man up.” Content creators voiced their disagreements with him, and commenters were split entirely. Others think his controversial speeches are stunts to gain more traction for his “Hustler’s University” program since many of Tate’s sermons contain harmless motivational advice. An example of this is in his quote, “Close your eyes. Focus on making yourself feel excited and powerful. Imagine yourself destroying goals with ease.” 

The bigger problem is Tate does not only make controversial claims about the mindset and hard-workingness of young men but how disrespectfully they should treat women. He has said many times that women should be submissive to men; a more recent interview sees Tate admitting that he loves women but thinks they cannot fulfill the same roles that a man could, and vice versa. It is important to understand that Andrew Tate’s ideas when it comes to gender roles are sexist and harmful to listeners.

Tate claims that he should help women and protect them. But by comparing them to dogs, children, and sports cars, he endangers the minds of his listeners with sexist views.

Tate began his empire shortly after his failure to reach success on the reality series Big Brother in 2016; he began to overflow his pockets with money from crypto and casinos, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to expand his brand. By 2022, Tate had set up online learning programs such as “The War Room” and “Hustler’s University,” teaching money-making strategies through the online platform Discord. Costing $49 per month, H.U. taught the strategies of crypto, e-commerce, copywriting, stocks, affiliate, and freelance. Although receiving negative reviews from professionals, the “college” still thrives with over 100,000 members.

The critical success of Hustler’s University comes from the affiliate program, which tasked students to find somebody else’s product and advertise it for their own financial gain. Many enrolled simply advertised Tate’s products by flooding TikTok with clips and edits of his finest quotes. A viral video in which Tate recounts his response “what color is your Bugatti” to a hater gained millions of views. These short but iconic videos not only made thousands for Tate but attracted a mass of impressionable young men to his brand. While the program is currently paused due to Tate’s ban, he is creating a 3.0 version which should only achieve a far higher level of success.

Above: The Front Page of “Hustler’s University 3.0” claims that it is the “future of learning.”

However, after his ban, one could argue that it is harder for him to network himself online. It seems as if the showrunners of social media want to keep Tate’s ideologies from young men. They, and many others on the internet, believe that his idea of “grow up” masculinity is harmful to our newer generations. A separate group defends him and his vision of a return to a more polar traditional masculinity. This minority argues that his ban was unfair, as anyone on the internet has a right to their own opinion. The season-spanning incident this summer may seem like a loss for Andrew Tate. Still, his message to the world about the unreliability and chaos of modern masculinity has left a massive mark on the internet.

Jude Danner is a sophomore member of The multimedia journalism class.

The Demise of Rock Music

Here’s why the wide-spanning genre isn’t in the American mainstream anymore.

Rock is one of the most complex and storied genres in all music, despite beginning less than a century ago. The genre contains countless subgenres with many variations, such as the present contrast between hard and soft rock. Many have associated the genre with lively drums, powerful guitars, and teenage revolutions. However, when facing 2022’s pop radios and streaming services at face value, new rock artists are barely visible. It’s near-impossible for an average adult or teen to name a newly developing rock band. Rock’s dead, at least, within the American mainstream.

Rock’s dead, at least, within the American mainstream.

Rock began in the 1950s with the rock ‘n’ roll movement: a combination of genres such as jazz and blues with new ideas mixed in. In the 70s, certain rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd explored their guitars to shoot rock entirely into the mainstream. More varied bands appeared in the 80s and 90s, such as the romantic U2 and the grunge-y Nirvana (the latter of which paved the way for a lot of the rock landscape nowadays). These bands had airplay on the most popular radio channels, so this adds to the question: what happened to make rock bands fall off the map?

Nirvana has enjoyed a resurgence over the past year since The Batman used “Something in the Way” as its trailer and soundtrack music.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act was the first significant change to radio regulation in America since the 1930s. The cap on the number of radio stations one group could host was altered from 40 to as many as possible. Now a select group of companies run hundreds of all the radios and manipulate what type of music they play; most of them play the same artificial pop songs on every radio. This influences the rock industry in multiple ways. For example, it is almost impossible to get airplay as a local rock band, and if companies don’t believe that rock is going to give them popularity (which it won’t), they won’t play it. But why won’t rock draw in listeners?

“I think it was the move from analog to digital; the move from album to CD; the move to snippets of manufactured songs created by demographic. [Artists] make what the corporate says will sell.”

-Mount Theology teacher Mr. Tim Breen

Mr. Tim Breen, rock music aficionado, in his natural habitat – Room 3

The first, most obvious reason is that there are genres that have overshadowed rock’s draw. Rap began during the 70s, but it has steadily gained attention. The genre utilizes flows and beats to create enjoyable songs that can resonate with listeners. Other examples of newer genres that are beginning to obscure rock include EDM and indie. All of the aforementioned categories utilize electronics over the guitar, and its evident that younger listeners would rather listen to these developing genres. There’s a better chance that an average mount man could name more rappers than rockstars.

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Kendrick Lamar, one of the world’s most popular rappers, preforming live in front of hundreds of fans (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The second reason is that the fundamental instruments of rock – the guitar and drums – have already been utilized to their fullest. However, genres that use electronics are constantly pioneering new instruments and tools to keep people listening. Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins shared this opinion. “They’re engaging in new technology. Guitar isn’t new technology—there are only so many ways you can warp it around,” Corgan said while comparing rock to electric genres. The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s, so it’s stark to see their frontman recognizing rock’s death.

“Anything with autotune in it, you can blow that up. Real musicians play with real instruments. That’s why I love live music, because you can find out who can or can’t play it.”

-Mount Theology teacher Mr. Tim Breen

The grunge band Aberdeen has recently begun with the goal to mimic the classic sound of the nineties. The young musicians have already released and thoroughly advertised multiple EPs containing intricate production and vocals, so why aren’t they popular yet? The answer is their sound was already heard decades ago from bands such as Nirvana and other alternative artists. Nothing new is present in these songs, but can the band help it? The higher-ups of the music industry know that young audiences will find the music old and unexciting, so they don’t push it out as much. Many new rock artists suffer from this dilemma every day.

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The 3 members of Nirvana, who could be considered rock’s last huge band (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In order to get an opinion from a far more mature music fan, I interviewed the Mount’s Mr. Tim Breen. Mr. Breen is a Theology teacher known to be a diehard fan of rock music. Mr. Breen expressed his strong opinion about modern music passionately: “There was just more art and aesthetic into creating an album than from beginning to end than there is with these idiotic songs of three minutes and twenty-eight seconds that are manufactured at a corporate level.” By the end of our conversation, he had driven home the point that the industry is now driven by technology, greed, algorithms, and autotune, all of which are enemies to the creativity within rock.

“There’s no comparison. [Rock] was everywhere. It was dominant. I never bought music because you didn’t need to; you always heard it on the radio or at concert.”

-Mount Theology teacher Mr. Tim Breen

No matter their attachment to it, people should acknowledge rock’s absence from mainstream music and the charts. It doesn’t stand a chance within the modern music landscape compared to newer genres that continue to grow in popularity. The artists who produce rock find it much harder to have their music heard than in the past, as the switch from analog to digital led to a chokehold being held on America’s music industry. Due to the developments within the past two decades, modern rock has suddenly morphed into a niche genre that is gaining less and less respect. I love rock music, but the genre will never reach the popularity it once did.

Jude Danner is a Freshman member of the Quill.

20 years later, the Lord of the Rings movies still resonate with fans

Did you know The Beatles wanted to adapt The Lord of the Rings long before Peter Jackson’s classic trilogy arrived in theaters?

The theatrical poster for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (© New Line Cinemas)

I have to admit, I love The Lord of the Rings movies. I love the atmosphere and everything that makes them so magical, whether it’s the developed soundtrack or realistic characters. I think they are the greatest movies of our time, and it’s wholly safe to say that many others agree. Since the first movie was released on December 19, 2001, the entire trilogy has been kindly welcomed into the hearts of many people. It snagged 3 billion dollars in the box office and scored 17 Oscars. Both casual fans and critics loved the movies. The movies haven’t been forgotten either; they’ve kickstarted a huge movie franchise that one can’t expect to go away. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is huge – and worth watching. But what is it about them that makes them so appreciated?

J.R.R. Tolkien, the book’s author, was a reasonably normal guy who loved to tell his stories. One of these stories, The Hobbit, was developed especially for his kids. It followed a simple man with no desire for adventure who was thrust into an epic journey across the magic-filled Middle-earth. Tolkien blended his boys’ simple life with that of epic European mythology, and The Hobbit was the product. Tolkien published the story in 1937, and its great popularity warranted a sequel. And so, The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954. Tolkien understood that he didn’t have the constraints of a children’s story anymore, and he used that to his advantage. The new tale had greater stakes and a darker undertone. As one would expect, it’s been hailed as a fantastic novel in addition to The Hobbit.

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What is The Lord of the Rings about? The Lord of the Rings follows Frodo and his three hobbit friends who are tasked with carrying The One Ring, the most powerful and evil thing in the world, to its doom. A war begins throughout the world as Frodo inches closer to the evil place in which it was created. It can be dumbed down to a complex coming-of-age story. Frodo left his blissful home in the shire and went on a globe-trotting quest throughout Middle-earth; along the way, he made new friends, as well as new enemies. Although being fantasy, the story is very grounded in real emotions. The movies can be credited for the brilliant acting that parallels the developed characters. One of my favorite performances in the films was by Sean Astin as Sam (Frodo’s best friend and the heart of the story).

During the late 1990s, the New-Zealander Peter Jackson was given the director’s chair by New Line Cinema for The Lord of the Rings movies. Jackson had never scratched the surface of popularity, but it is important to remember that this was in a time before the MCU and an overall explosion in the fantasy genre. Studios did not understand that a far-out fiction movie could make them rich, so they didn’t plan to recruit an A-list director; for this reason, Jackson was recruited. Jackson used his home of New Zealand as a set for the whole trilogy. It has all the mountains, rivers, rocks, hills, etc. that Middle-earth contains. Much of the spectacle within the trilogy can be contributed to the filming locations. On October 11, 1999, The Lord of the Rings began shooting.

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In order to match the grandeur of the books, the production had to pioneer digital effects. For example, they captured the creepiness of Gollum by creating an entirely new technology (which would then go on to win an Academy Award) for the character. It is known as Subsurface, and it spreads light out perfectly onto a computer-generated animation to make it look real. The technology is still utilized today in many films. Another example may be found in the action scenes. A brand new computer program known as Massive was used to render large groups of characters battling. During an era in which great developments were being made in technology, people recount how amazing the CGI in The Lord of the Rings looked compared to other movies of the era.

At the same time, New Line was filming, Howard Shore was busy writing a soundtrack for the films. Shore had read the books far before the production, so he understood where he wanted to go for the score. He attached certain instruments, sounds, and melodies to certain characters, items, and places. For example, when we first learn of The One Ring, a dark and sinister melody of strings plays. When Frodo begins to fall victim to the effects of the ring, the theme plays more often. Another example is the Fellowship’s theme. Throughout the story, the fellowship between the characters morphs constantly. The soundtrack does the same: the instrumentations and strength behind the music change yet still keep the same melody. This adds a second layer of emotion that cannot be found within the books.

And so, we come to the end of our journey. The Lord of the Rings trilogy should be appreciated for many reasons. The acting and writing capture the immense development in the books, and give the film more accessibility than would be found within the complex book.

Jude Danner is a freshman member of The Quill

Should you be excited for Spider-Man: No Way Home?

The movie will follow Peter Parker, the teenager with spider powers, as he navigates through his superhero life turned upside-down.

In less than a month, Spider-Man: No Way Home will arrive exclusively in theaters. The movie will cap off a (hopefully) fantastic trilogy. We’ve seen Tom Holland’s incarnation of Peter Parker do some fantastic things, like working with Iron Man, getting turned into dust, and defeating Mysterio (what an awful name). Unfortunately for Spidey, Mysterio leaked his identity and framed him for his death shortly before dying. As we can tell from the recent trailers, the new movie will take place directly after. It will be the eighth live-action Spidey movie, but the first in which his secret is revealed. What can we expect from this ambitious wall-crawling flick?

To kickstart the movie, Peter will attempt to save the secret. He asks Stephen Strange, a fellow avenger, to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. As a result, many different people from other universes enter theirs (In classic Spidey fashion, Peter tampered with the spell by speaking to and distracting Stephen). Some of these visitors are classic villains, including Green Goblin, Electro, Lizard, Doctor Octopus, and Sandman. What’s exciting about it is that actors of the same characters in older Spider-Man movies will return to reprise their role. Jamie Foxx, who originally played Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, has returned.

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Villains aren’t the only people fans expect to return. Fans theorize that Andrew Garfield will come back to play Spider-Man. He starred as Peter Parker during The Amazing Spider-Man movie series. However, audiences were disappointed by the two movies, and Andrew couldn’t finish the series. There’s no evidence that Garfield will star, but people continue to bombard the actor with questions on whether he would return. In an interview with GQ, Andrew claimed he was done with the questions. I don’t blame him, as fans are getting excited for nothing. Despite the rejection, I’m looking forward to the fans’ reactions of his appearance (or absence).

I can tell this movie is going to be filled to the brim with action, as there’s so much to look at in the trailers. For example, we see Doctor Strange on top of a passenger train in the middle of the Grand Canyon. What does this mean? We don’t know, but it’s amazing to look at. The official trailer also hypes up an epic battle near the end in New York. We think this is where our web-head will defeat all the villains. Something else that’s eye-catching is Doctor Octopus’s and Electro’s costumes. They seemed to update from their designs in previous Spider-Man movies. Electro even has Tony Stark’s arc reactor on his shoulder. What could that mean for his character?

Spider-Man: No Way Home has an aura of hype and mystery around it. Only a couple trailers have been released, and they share a lot of shots. However, we can tell that Spidey is going to have to go against many classic Marvel villains. It looks to be the most exciting superhero event of the year for new fans and loyal fans alike. Longtime fans can look forward to seeing the villains they saw while watching Spider-Man movies as kids. New fans will definitely be treated to some amazing action sequences and impressive visuals. That’s certainly the situation for me.

Jude Danner is a freshman member of The Quill

How the Houston Astros became the villains of baseball

As Jose Altuve stepped up to the plate during game four on the 2021 ALDS in Chicago, he was berated by boos from opposing fans. Carlos Rodon, the White Sox’ ace pitcher, started the at-bat with a ball. The second pitch sped at 95 miles per hour straight into Altuve’s elbow, and the crowd erupted into applause. Altuve was once one of the faces of baseball, and a hero to baseball fans across the globe. However, the roles have switched, and Rodon is now the hero for nailing him in the elbow. The Houston Astros have quickly become hated. How did we get here?

Despite being founded in 1962, the Astros are seen as a newer, less historic, expansion team. Expansion teams are newer teams created to spread the influence of baseball and make more money for the league. During the 2010s, the Astros rose to fame as they equipped themselves with star pitchers like Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Also, star position players like Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve helped expand the popularity of the team. Fans were entertained to see a new and fresh team on the block. In late 2016, Houston began planning a different approach to how they played.

In 2017, the Astros won over 100 games and were well on their way to the playoffs. They defeated the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS and the New York Yankees in the ALCS, both teams with legendary statuses. In an intense 7-game World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Astros proved victorious and won their first World Series ring. After that fantastic season, the Astros gained notability among fans and players across the nation. What fans didn’t know is that throughout the entire season the Astros had been stealing signs illegally.

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In both 2018 and 2019, the Astros scored above .600, gaining two division titles and one pennant. At the same time, the league was looking into the possibility that the Astros weren’t playing a fair game. Houston had been viewing a live feed of the game (including the passing of signs between the pitcher and catcher) and banging a garbage can a certain number of times depending on the pitch. Through this, the hitter understood what pitch was coming. Justice came in January 2020 when the league released their investigation and fined the Astros for $5 million. Astro’s manager AJ Hinch received a one-year suspension, and Houston lost their first and second-round picks for 2020 and 2021.

The Houston Astros have faced many difficulties within the past two years, as they have been bullied by fans and players alike. However, they are still a postseason contender. Now, as I am writing this, the Houston Astros are two wins away from another World Series ring. Their opponent is the Atlanta Braves, a fierce team that has become one of America’s favorites. In a best of seven series, the Braves are leading 3-2. You can watch Game 6 of the 2021 World Series Tuesday on Fox. The broadcasters have continued to refer to the past cheating of the Astros, so you aren’t going want to miss the broadcast. Do you think with the Astros recent past that America is firmly on the Braves’ side?

Jude Danner is a freshman member of The Quill