Category Archives: Features

How Wordle took over the World

Wordle is a highly addictive word puzzle game that has recently taken over the internet. It’s a game that tests your deductive reasoning and guessing skills to discover a mystery five-letter word. The word resets every day, giving players a reason to come back and play. This game seemingly popped out of nowhere, so how did it get so popular so fast?

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Wordle was made by Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Brooklyn. It was created initially as a game that he could play with his partner, and he would later share the game with his family through WhatsApp. His family would grow to love Wordle, and after seeing the game’s success through his family, he decided to release it to the public.

Wordle was released to the public in October 2021, and it wouldn’t gain much attention for a few months. It would start to become relevant in January 2022, when it would quickly start to gain popularity. Social media would give Wordle the attention it truly deserves, and it would begin to grow and be talked about on every corner of the internet.

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Many people found out about Wordle from the internet. Millions of people worldwide would share their thoughts on the game and make jokes and memes about it. Through this, people would discover Wordle and begin playing it. These people would also discuss Wordle online and spread it around even more.

Another major factor in Wordle’s success is the simplistic ad-free design of the website Wordle is on. Its design lets people enjoy the game without any large popups flashing in their faces, making the game easily playable and enjoyable for many people. The game was created with the intention of being for pure fun and no financial gain, and thanks to that, people would enjoy the game even more.

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The ease of sharing Wordle attempts also plays a role in Wordle’s popularity. A built-in share button appears on your screen after finishing the daily Wordle, and tapping it will allow you to copy a set of emojis that represent how your Wordle attempt went. People would use this to share their attempts with friends, family, and strangers on the internet. This ingenious idea would help Wordle’s popularity rise exponentially and be a critical factor in its fame.

Wordle’s popularity is primarily thanks to many varied factors, such as its spread on social media, its clever design, and its fun gameplay. Millions of people worldwide play Wordle every day, and it’s not hard to see why. These things helped Wordle spread around the internet and brought millions of people together, and that is how Wordle took over the world.

Logan Gorospe is a freshman member of The Quill.

How the chiefs/Bills game forced the NFL to make a rules change

This year we might have experienced one of the most entertaining playoffs in NFL history. It included two overtime back-to-back weeks and games that were decided by one possession, not even including the Super Bowl.

On January 23, we may have witnessed one of the most explosive and exciting playoff games of all time. The Bills scored and left 13 seconds on the clock; the Chiefs, with three timeouts, drove down the field and kicked a field goal to tie the game at 36. The rest of the game was history. 

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The rules of overtime in the playoffs were that the team that wins the coin toss can choose to receive or defer the kickoff. There is a 15-minute quarter, and if no one scores, then they will go until there is a winner. As the Chiefs won the toss, they chose to receive. The Chiefs drove down the field with ease, it was first and goal, and Patrick Mahomes tossed the ball to Travis Kelce and he caught it, ending the game. This game will never be forgotten. This game left many people speechless and wondering what would’ve been the outcome if the Bills had a chance to possess the ball.

In 2010, the NFL changed the rules for the postseason only. The change was instead of being able to kick a field goal to end the game on the first drive they had to score a touchdown to win. Although the NFL and the NCAA have many different rules, I think the NFL should adopt the same overtime rules. Both teams will have possession before the game is over in the NCAA overtime rules. If one team scores, the other team gets a possession. After three times of this happening, it stops being touchdowns and transitions to 2-point scores; they start from the 25 and have a drive to score. This would until there is a winner.

This would improve the rules because it is more entertaining to watch, it’s fair for both teams, giving them a chance to extend the game and try to win. Lastly, the rule only being in the playoffs means it doesn’t change the regular season making it a tiny change to their many rules.

I firmly believe if the Bills vs. Chiefs overtime went this way, it would have been a different outcome. I think this because the Bills had a lot of momentum as they went into overtime, but they didn’t have a chance to prove themselves. It is situations like these where it would be beneficial to have the change.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow – AlexanderJonesi, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The following week the Bengals and Chiefs played in the AFC championship. The Chiefs started off hot, getting an 18-point lead going into halftime. The Bengals were able to rally and tie the game. The Chiefs went three and out and punted the ball. The Bengals kicked a field goal and gave Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs six minutes to score. The Chiefs made it look similar to the game against the Bills. They drove down, and in the final seconds, they kicked a field goal to send it to overtime. 

The Chiefs won the toss and got the ball to start. The Chiefs got the ball at the 25, and they got a first down, thinking this game would be the same as the week before. Everyone now assumed the Chiefs would win. Mahomes dropped back and threw an interception. The Bengals drove a few yards and kicked the field goal to win. I believe that if the Bills had a chance, they would have won like the Bengals did.

Ironically the Super Bowl between the Rams and Bengals came down to a similar situation to the divisional and championship. The Bengals had a chance to go down and score, but they didn’t.

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In the following months, the NFL would change the rules, and as of March 29th, 2022, the NFL just recently changed the rules of what will happen in overtime. Both teams will get possession. Also, if the kickoff is fumbled and results in a safety the game will end there. As they made these changes in situations like these, I believe they don’t need to fix anything else in the rules. This change will be seen in the upcoming 2022-2023 season.

Roger Fredrickson is a freshman in Mr. Lambdin’s English 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.

The Art Shack

Episode 1:

In the first episode of Art Shack, we give an overview of different forms of expression in art. Art is fundamentally that, an expression, and it can be shown in many ways. We introduce this topic and give some examples of famous pieces of art from history.

Episode 2: Chuck Close

Chuck Close was an extraordinarily accomplished and highly talented artist. He created so many notable works in his time and has inspired so many. Despite some controversy both at the beginning and end of his career, he is undeniably an art legend. Upon his recent death, I found covering him on the show appropriate.

Episode 3: Art in Secondary Education

As a high schooler who finds art important, this was a necessary topic to cover. Art is something, that in recent times, has been overlooked at this level of education. But it is one of the most enriching subjects for students of all ages and throughout his episode I express that and give examples.

The Art Shack was designed, created, and produced by John Lauer.

John is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Don’t look around: the scary reality of “Don’t Look Up”

From absurd presidents to toxic social media, the Netflix film “Don’t Look Up” brings light to the absurdity of modern United States society. Other than giving audiences a satirical story about the end of the world, the film gives many viewers, specifically Americans, a scary wake-up to the ridiculous nation that is the U.S. The only question remains, “How accurate was the film?”

Film Poster (photo from Wikimedia Commons, Copyright Netflix)

The story follows astronomers Dr. Randall Mindy and Kate Dibiasky, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, struggling to alert the world of its soon-to-be death. The two face modern culture, social media, and a troubling government in the journey to prepare for the end of the planet. What becomes clear to the audience is that the film mocks several familiar issues and topics we are dealing with today. The entire plot highlights the controversial concerns of climate change and COVID-19. In the world we live in, people either believe and are concerned about the issues, or think that everything is fine and there’s nothing to worry about.

The fictional presidential administration in the film takes many shots at, the one and only, President Trump. As Dr. Mindy and Ms. Dibiasky take the precautionary steps to alert mankind; they run into President Orlean, played by Meryl Streep, who resembles the MAGA Man. She is a former reality star who falls into politics, similar to Trump and his time on “The Apprentice.” The astronomers come to find that President Orlean and her chief of staff son Jason Orlean, along with the entire administration, are not concerned about the comet. Mindy and Dibiasky are told to “sit tight and assess” rather than prepare for doom. Not only does this mock President Trump’s attitude towards topics like climate change and COVID-19, but this bit also makes fun of President Trump’s children. Jason Orlean’s character is based on Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, her husband, Jared Kushner, and not-so-subtle hints of Donnie Jr.

As the film progresses, the Orlean Administration hosts many rallies spreading the slogan, “Don’t Look Up,” a direct jab at Trump rallies. The motto in the film is created to end the worry of the deathly comet, while the astronomers spread the words, “Just Look Up.” President Orlean proudly wears “Don’t Look Up” hats, mirroring the “Make America Great Again” merchandise. Jonah Hill’s character remarks to a rally crowd calling them Republicans to confirm all of these satirical coincidences.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of “Meta” (photo from Flickr.com-https://flic.kr/p/26F9s2C)

Politicians were not the only target of McKay’s writing as social media, pop culture, and the news was also hit with ridiculous, but accurate, satirical comedy. Mark Rylance plays Peter Isherwell, CEO of an advanced technology company who oddly resembles Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. Isherwell is a very odd man, to say the least, with strange mannerisms and his way of speaking, which is most likely inspired by Mark Zuckerberg. For years, social media has claimed that Zuckerberg is not a real human being for his looks, his way of speaking, and his overall personality. Rylance does a good job breaking out the awkwardness to mock the Facebook, or “Meta,” CEO. Also, Rylance’s character focuses on how his new tech and cellphone tracks aspects of its consumers. This is a direct joke to Zuckerberg and the idea that Facebook tracks data. The glimpse of Steve Jobs comes into play when Isherwell showcases the new phone that has unique features to make society lazier.

Both news and social media work together to highlight how morning shows focus on drama and lighthearted topics, rather than actual issues. The news show in the film, “The Daily Rip,” is hosted by Brie Evantee and Jack Bremmer, played by Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry. The two news anchors portray the power of the news that exists in our world, as it is said that the show is top-rated. One of the main themes in this bit is the whole idea of these morning shows focusing on the positives, rather than reality. For example, when Dr. Mindy and Ms. Dibiasky join the show for a segment about the comet, the two anchors continue to make light of the situation instead of informing the nation of its inevitable end. This scene took place after Ariana Grande’s introduction as “Riley Bena,” legitimately based on herself. On the show, she talked about her recent dramatic breakup from a rapper. Obviously, this is a play on Grande’s actual drama involving her ex-fiancé Pete Davidson, in which their breakup was spread around social media and news sites as if it were news-worthy.

McKay’s star-studded film has divided its audience completely. The comedy disaster premiered on Christmas Eve only to bring in mixed reactions. Either critics tore the movie apart line by line or praised it for its cast and humor. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 54% while hitting a 7.3/10 on IMDb. It currently sits in the Netflix Originals category on the streaming service, awaiting further criticism, praise, or fear from the film’s accuracy.

Ethan Webber is a senior member of The Quill and the Multimedia Journalism class

From ceramics to K-pop, how Korea’s art has evolved

Korea has a long history of art and poetry. There are numerous surrounding nations and cultures for the Korean people over the ages to draw from. Between their neighboring countries, religion, naturalism, and personal expression in one of the most repressive nations in history, there is a lot to express and also many cultural mediums to express that through.

For the understanding of Korean art, there is a level of knowledge of Korean culture that many in the west do not have. This is not surprising as one of the defining characteristics of Korean culture is reclusiveness and suppression. This sounds brutal, and perhaps sometimes it is. The people of the Korean peninsula have been reclusive to their nation and repressed individually.

To a modern American, this may sound awful. This created as many obvious issues as one could imagine. But it also made the most harmonious and peaceful society ever. As well as this, for most of modern Korean history, there was a highly encouraging outlet for these pent-up emotions, questions, or perspectives. Art and poetry. The number of built-up emotions, thoughts on society, and questions about the world, that were just inside of every Korean, allowed for a great deal of beautiful and culturally rich art and poetry.

For as long as Korea has had art and Buddhism, they have mixed. There is an excellent heft of Korean Buddhist art. Though the defining philosophy of Korea for some time has been Confucianism, because of how pervasive in all aspects of society it is, it often works hand in hand with Buddhism, Christianity, folk religion, or any religion/philosophy. We see this now with western capitalism being very firmly rooted in South Korea and other western ideas. However, Confucist and traditional Cofucist Korean practices are still in place.

Pensive bodhisattva, Gilt bronze, Korea
Pensive bodhisattva, a Korean Buddhist statue from the Three Kingdoms period (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Korean art follows a few main phases. But these are based on the influence on the peninsula. These influences can be broken down into a few main eras. First, the Three Kingdoms period from 57B.C.-668A.D. The Three Kingdoms period was when the Korean Peninsula was separated into three main kingdoms Goguryeo in the north, Baekje in the southwest, and Silla in the southeast. There was also a tiny kingdom Kaya in the south, and part of the north was controlled by Chinese dynasties. This was the time when Buddhism was first introduced to Korea. This affected the artworks of the time to have more Chinese style incorporated in their works. However, Korean culture remained united through their art and culture, separate from Chinese influences.

Just from the length of this period in history, you can see many changes over time. When it comes to Chinese influences, you will see that the Buddhist aspect of East Asian culture is more prominent at specific points. The level of harmony and peace in Korean society and culture also contributes to how long these phases of Korean history last, not only in the Three Kingdoms Period but with their next major steps in the Korean timeline.

After the Three Kingdoms, Korea did go through a lot of turmoil due to the constantly changing hands of the political systems of the peninsula. There are numerous rules of Korea separated up into different kingdoms until in 918A.D. The law falls into the hands of the Kingdom of Goryeo.

Goryeo continues to rule the entirety of what we know to this day as Korea until 1392A.D. We saw the introduction of Buddhism from India via China in the Three Kingdoms. We see the Golden Age of Korean Buddhism with the Goryeo kingdom. The most notable example of this is the Tripitaka Koreana. This is one of the most famous pieces of art ever made. This is a collection of 80,000 pages of Korean Buddhist canon printed using woodblocks. The woodblocks are a national treasure of Korea and are in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

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Also, at this time, ceramics, porcelain structures, and other craftwork was flourishing. Especially the Jinsa strategy using copper oxide. This was so successful it was later exported to the Yuan dynasty in China.

Immediately following Goryeo, the longest-reigning Kingdom to have control of Korea came to power. This was the well-known Joseon dynasty. The Joseon dynasty ruled until the Japanese stomped them out. They led from 1392A.D. to 1897A.D., over 500 years, and the Kingdom underwent changing societal influences multiple times. However, through these events, like becoming a tributary state of the Qing dynasty in China, there were many notable and independent aspects of Joseon when it comes to culture and art.

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Confucianism became the principal ideology of Korea throughout this period. This meant that people were becoming even more adapted to the reclusive aspects of Korean culture. Related to these cultural changes, the art scene also had a lot of developments both concerning Confucianism and changes independent of ideology. Korean art throughout this time separated from the Chinese despite sharing Confucian values. Koreans did this by increasing realism in their art, which became a distinct feature of Korean art but not Chinese. Ceramics also flourished throughout this period, predominantly white and blue ceramics using cobalt pigment.

Jar decorated with flowers and insects, Porcelain with cobalt-blue design, Korea
Jar decorated with flowers and insects from the 18th century (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The fall of Joseon came from increasing conflict with the outside world. That eventually culminated in a short-lived “Korean Empire” that was soon annexed to Japan after its founding. This rule under Japan lasted until 1945. This period was tragic for Korea and its people. Koreans were treated without respect and were highly suppressed by the Japanese. Unfortunately, there is not much to show from this period.

After this Japanese rule fell, Korea, unfortunately, suffered once more. Korea fell into a civil war that never truly ended. There was a ceasefire in 1953, which created a mostly peaceful Korean peninsula. While the tension is not gone, there have been no regime shifts since the ceasefire, and Korea is split into two parts. A democratic republic, modeled after and supported by the United States in the south. This is the Republic of Korea or South Korea as most know it. In the northern half, the people have been living under an authoritarian communist dictatorship backed by China and for some time the Soviet Union, this is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea.

North Korea has continued down a road of isolation to become the most isolated country in the world. They also have very poor human development and human rights. Due to these, there is next to no art produced by the free will of artists. There is almost no art that is not a tool of the dictatorship. In the south, there has been an entirely different story. South Korea has become increasingly intertwined with western and, specifically, American culture. There are some negatives and positives to this. However, for the most part, Koreans have been able to hold onto their traditional culture while also adapting aspects of the far more liberal western and American culture that amplifies and idealizes self-expression. This has led to a much more diverse pool of art coming from Korea. Everything from realism, western styles like impressionism, and much more.

Within this advancement and change in Korean art, there are other aspects besides just the painted art that have been majorly influential. There is a large amount of South Korean artistic media growing in popularity throughout Korea and the world, particularly Japan, The United States, and China. This is known as the Korean Wave. The Korean Wave takes on many forms of visual and musical art and media.

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The most popular of these in the world today is Korean pop music or K-pop. K-pop has become vastly popular worldwide mostly with groups of young performers such as GFRIEND, Stray Kids, and BTS. These groups mix catchy music with impressive choreography that has taken the world by storm. The pop music industry in Korea has faced scrutiny recently due to the treatment of its performers. While many performers in the industry are seemingly paid less than they deserve for their work due to the contracts they have with the label companies that own their work, there are few cases where companies have done anything illegal to take advantage of performers in Korea. It is primarily a moral concern that is hard to judge from the outside.

Art and culture are directly correlated. As the culture in Korea continues to change, so will the art and media. We have seen Korea go through so many different stages, politically and culturally. And we have seen these stages have their effect through art. Korea has one of the most beautiful and rich artistic histories that spans everything from early ceramics to the K-pop of the modern day.

John Lauer is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class