Tag Archives: Features

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 sorry state of video games

Triple-A games today are terrible.

Triple-A games are mainstream and high-budget games made by the largest development companies in the business. Game franchises like Call of Duty, NBA 2K, Grand Theft Auto, and more. Form and function, the companies, and by reflection, their games have suffered. Between the companies overworking and mistreating their employees while functionally destroying themselves from the inside. These game developers also injured their reputation with broken promises and game leaks. Companies have built a horrible reputation with gamers between criticism, scummy sales tactics, rushed quality, and lousy rapport with fans because of recent letdowns over heavily anticipated games. It is important to say that this is not the case for every AAA developer, but the frequency of these issues in recent times warrants being addressed. 

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On December 10, 2020, CyberPunk 2077 was released. This game was under development for nine years under CD Projekt RED. This game was anticipated to be the game of the decade, but has since fallen into obscurity. This game is an example of one of the recent trends of “Release now, fix later.” The gaming industry has long development processes and “due dates” that usually last between 3 and 5 years. These games don’t see the light of day until at least a year before release via trailers. Projekt RED made a terrible business decision and relied on customer patience. By expecting customers to wait even longer for a game that was already in development for 7 years by that point, they had given themselves a time limit. The game eventually could not stop the deadlines and was released as a buggy mess, an incomplete story with a considerable lack of promised features, and no improvement in sight.

In 2013, 2K games continued their profitable series of NBA 2K in which they added a new element of progression through micro-transactions. Fast forward to 2017, when its players started to notice the trend. The game comes out with a premium edition that costs upwards of $100. The people with the money to spend (or otherwise) will start the game with a steep advantage. Those who do not purchase the core game for $50 or $60 are forced into a vicious cycle of working for a few in-game rewards in VC (virtual currency). The use of VC becomes a problem as everything in the game costs VC. The more people complain about the micro-transactions, the more the games get abused by YouTubers and content creators, and all this happens in 9 months. 

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As big an issue as micro-transactions and unfinished game releases are, they are not the only issues. As presented on crappygames.org, and in my own personal experience, DLC (downloadable content) has been one of the worst gaming issues. The most recent example I can think of is Destiny. The second installment in the series, based around fighting using the power of good and evil to destroy your foes in space, has amassed $200 million since 2017. Destiny was initially released as a complete game with a full-length story and set of endgame content achievable after completion. In 2018 the game released a significant expansion called Forsaken. This content was a completely new storyline, with entirely new content. They repeated this process twice with Beyond Light and Witch Queen expansions, with another expansion on the way in early 2023.

The problem isn’t inherently with the expansions but with everything around them. For perspective, if someone were to purchase the deluxe packaging for all these DLCs, they are expected to pay around $350 alone, outside the minor content. This game does not force you into paywalls for aesthetic equipment or progression, but asks for extreme amounts of time to be equipped with satisfactory equipment. They also decided to change their game model halfway through its life cycle. The game was released at $60 and progressed into a free-to-play model. What does this mean for people who have already bought the game? Nothing. No reimbursements, just more content to spend more money on.

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When it is all said and done, the tactics, micro-transactions, etc., could change if it weren’t for the players. I understand this is a hobby for a major population of people, but I also know that we, as players hold immense power in our wallets. All we do is feed the greed in these companies when we continue to consume what is displayed in front of us. We could make gaming a much better place if we all express our criticisms and say goodbye to complacency.

Caleb Smith-Sims, Senior

Caleb Smith-Sims is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

Has Tiktok changed the way we watch videos?

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Most people today have a small attention span, so I will try to keep this short. With TikTok still going strong, companies have realized that it’s a real competitor in the video and entertainment market. Companies like YouTube and Instagram have had the most notable change on their platforms with the introduction of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels after TikTok blew up in popularity. These new additions have come with their pros and cons, and people, even the content creators themselves, have noticed a difference in viewership.

Youtube shorts

YouTube Shorts were introduced to content creators earlier this year. It didn’t matter how many subscribers or watch time you had on your channel; anyone was able to create YouTube Shorts if you had an account. It started slowly but gradually took over the platform and now has its own subsection on the YouTube page. Content creators like myself have noticed that since YouTube Shorts’ introduction, views and video retention have changed drastically depending on the type of videos you post.  

The YouTube videos you know of, landscaped quality, usually 5-10 minutes long, with ads, have been seeing a decline in viewership. People nowadays want fast-paced videos. Long-time YouTube fans are still loyal to the service, but a new era of viewers have come online. For example, let’s look at some of the analytics on my recent videos and Shorts.

Just below on the left, you can see the viewer retention span on a recently uploaded video that I posted on my own channel. You can see the first bit of the video has the most viewers watching, but as the video continues, people start to lose interest.

On the right, you can see the retention span of people watching a YouTube Shorts video. The retention span is much higher and more constant than in normal-length videos. There’s a higher percentage of people watching at the end of YouTube Shorts than in the middle of most YouTube videos.

The community welcomed YouTube shorts which are a great way to grow a channel. However, content on YouTube is becoming less and less of what it was originally meant to be. 

Instagram reels

YouTube isn’t the only platform that’s been directly affected by TikTok. Instagram has implemented a new way to show off your life with Instagram reels. This feature, however, might have gone a little overboard. Reels are basically TikToks on Instagram. Most of the filters and video options on TikTok have made their way to Reels. Not only has this TikTok variant been created, but it has also seemingly taken over Instagram.

Since the release of reels, options for videos and the way you view posts have been limited. The style of posts has been changed to look more prominent, and you can only view one post at a time. With this new layout, it’s harder for people to see posts from friends and family members, where before they could easily see them multiple times. Reels are recommended to you even on your home page, which takes up much of the room that is somewhat still available.

Besides the posts, videos on Instagram have been heavily impacted. If you’ve posted a video or have seen the InstaGaelNews page, you might notice that normal-looking videos automatically convert into Reels. You can upload a landscape or square video, but once you upload it, Instagram will show a pop-up explaining that videos are now converted into Reels.

With all these new features, people over the past few months have started to speak out and tell Instagram that they want the old Instagram back. Instagram seems to be holding strong regarding the changes they have implemented, despite the backlash.

The Future

Some of these changes might be news to you, while others are a thing of the past…year and a half. YouTube has embraced the new way of video even if it might be a bold departure from what was intended initially; Instagram has been getting backlash for turning their app into what is basically TikTok 2.0; and TikTok is still running strong with over 15 million active monthly viewers.

Legacy apps like YouTube and Instagram have lasted years and have grown monumentally, but will TikTok still have its place on the internet in 5-10 years? While it might be an “editors choice” app, once trends die down, new competitors could come into the business and take over the internet, just as TikTok did years ago.

Cooper Funk is a Senior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

The Weeknd recovering after canceling concert mid-show

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Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, had to abruptly stop the second night of his two sold-out shows at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles due to the performer losing his voice. On September 2nd, 2022, during the first song of his set, Tesfaye sang out the opening song which in the original recorded version goes, “In Vegas, I feel so alone.” Throughout the tour, Abel changes it to the city he is playing in, but fans knew something was very wrong when he sang out, “In Los Angeles, I feel so alone,” as his voice cracked terribly while singing the lyrics. 

Tesfaye eventually walked off stage in the middle of his hit song, Can’t Feel My Face. Fans were left in confusion as all the lights came on and the music stopped. Tesfaye eventually walked back on stage to fill fans in on his condition. The Toronto native expressed his frustration to fans by explaining that he could not give them “the show he wanted to give them.” In addition to rescheduling the second show, fans would receive their money back from the canceled show. 

The Weeknd coming back out to talk to the crowd after having to cancel the show.

The Weeknd and his crew set out on the 20-show journey in mid-July, beginning in Philadelphia and ending in what they thought would be LA. That would change due to communication problems in Toronto where the tour was originally supposed to embark, forcing Tesfaye and his crew to move the Toronto show to a later date. In addition to making up the Toronto show, The Weeknd told fans in his message on stage that he will make up the second night of the LA show, “real soon.” After expressing his grief to the crowd, the superstar walked off stage and left fans in disbelief. 

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As of now, there is no scheduled make-up date for the second night of the show. The tour is expected to finish with two more shows, one in Toronto, Canada, and the last one in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium. Fans have received their money back from the show and look forward to seeing the superstar for one final show on the After Hours til Dawn tour.

Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

Finding value in video games

Have you ever found something so interesting that you decide to hold on to it for a very long time? This could be a sport that you love, a show that you frequently rewatch, or maybe even a toy you’ve had since you were a baby. These sentimental things can hold many different forms, but one form that stands out is video games.

Video games have been around since 1958, which was the year when Pong was released. It was a simple two-player game inspired by sports like tennis and ping pong. This simple game inspired people around the world to create similar games and show the world that technology could not only be used for work, but also for entertainment.

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Nowadays, video games have drastically improved since the late 50s. There are realistic graphics, virtual reality games, three-dimensional games, and so much more. Millions of people around the world get excited for new games to release. For instance, this year, Elden Ring was released, and it has already sold over 12 million copies since its release in February 2022.

Most games that are several decades old have died off and have incredibly small player bases; however, there are some games that seem to just never die. Games like Tetris, Minecraft, Super Smash Brothers Melee, and many more have withstood the test of time. These games still have massive fanbases despite being over a decade old. How did these games manage to stay relevant for so long?

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One reason is that these games have a lot of replayability. For an example of this point, I will use Minecraft. Minecraft has been around for a decade, and has managed to stay relevant for a long time. This is primarily thanks to the abundant amount of things you can do in the game. You can play survival mode with your friends, create enormous Redstone machines, build magnificent structures and houses, and so much more.

The insane amount of things you can do in Minecraft gives it a lot of replay value. People have made careers off of this game, and millions still play it and find new things to do. A game’s replay value is probably the most important part of a game’s survivability over a long time.

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Another reason is because of the competitiveness of some games. Super Smash Bros. Melee (or Melee for short) and have been around for over two decades because of the insane amount of competition it has. Thousands of people enter Melee tournaments to see if they have the skill to win it all.

Even though there have been newer installments in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, the Melee community is still one of the largest fighting game communities in the world. The competitiveness of video games plays a significant role in their popularity and motivates people to improve and keep playing.

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Tetris is a game that has been around for almost 40 years, and that reason is because of its replayability and competitiveness. All games must have a decent amount of replayability to stay relevant for multiple years, but Tetris is on a different level. The design of Tetris was basically made to be played anywhere at any time, and its gameplay is extremely addicting.

There are also many Tetris tournaments; there are online ones with people playing on more modern versions of the game, and there are tournaments that are played in person with the classic NES version. These tournaments gather hundreds to thousands of viewers, and many people enter them too.

The finals of the Classic Tetris World Championship, a tournament that uses the 1989 NES version of Tetris and has been running for 12 years.

There are many video games that have stuck with me for multiple years. Games like Tetris, Super Smash Bros, and Minecraft have played a large part in my life, and have brought thousands of hours of entertainment to me. These games have been around for so long because of the replay value and competitiveness, and both of those factors have kept millions of people engaged in decades-old games.

Logan Gorospe is a freshman member of The Quill.

Solutions Showcase: 5 suggestions to assist young investors

The stock market can act as a complicated topic for young high school students beginning to learn about finances. As the son of a former Equity Research Analyst, the person who delivers advice about certain stocks to investors, and the current Vice President of Investor Relations, the employee who speaks to investors about the company stock trends – my family introduced me to the market at an early age. In fifth grade, I bought my first stock with loaned money from my grandfather and continue to trade up to this day. Using information from investment websites and knowledge from my family members, I put together five suggestions for those with a new interest in investing.

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First, I have seen a recent reactionary trend among young investors where they overreact to the price of the stock. At $199 in June 2018, I purchased five shares of Facebook even though the company was at the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Since I first bought stock, I have held it through the difficulties of the technology market. In 2019, it dropped to below $120 per share due to a low earnings outlook but the long-term holding paid off when it jumped to over $300 per share at the end of 2021. Unless actively trying to make money in the short-term—between a few weeks and a month—long-term investment is worth the wait.

Just look at Amazon, one of the largest companies in the world. From September-December 2018, at an all-time high of $1900 per share and trending upward, the company dropped to around $1300 per share, prompting many people to sell. However, since then, Amazon has not faced a significant decline and now sits close to $3500. Think about the major money made by investors that either bought a stock at the $1300 mark or held onto stock purchases from before. From what I have learned, the market will always rebound and a long-term wait will be worth it.

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Second, do not pick a company to purchase based on the name. Always look at the numbers first instead of saying, “I have heard of Apple, Amazon, and Meta so those seem like solid purchases.” However, small-cap stocks (stocks with smaller values) can be the best to make money. According to Investopedia, four numbers to investigate within a stock are PE Ratio, PB Ratio, Free Cash Flow, and PEG Ratio. The PE Ratio—price to earnings ratio—compares a share price to the per-share earnings. Usually, a lower PE Ratio is better because it shows the price an investor will pay for $1 worth of earnings. The Price-to-Book Ratio compares a company’s market value to its book value. The net value of a company is the net difference between the total assets and total liabilities. Similar to the PE Ratio, if a PB Ratio is low, that usually means the stock presents a good opportunity because the market undervalues the company’s worth. Free Cash Flow, a substantial number that indicates a stock’s performance, is calculated by subtracting the cash outflows supporting a company’s operations from the total amount generated. Obviously, make sure to look for a high number because it is the amount of money a company can invest and distribute to shareholders without roadblocks. Finally, to calculate the PEG Ratio, companies take their PE Ratio (the one discussed earlier) and divide it by the growth rate from their earnings. Depending on the company outlook, a higher number could show that they have growth potential but could also scream overvalue. Always be careful when analyzing the numbers and look at a chart if unsure.

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Third, always look to the outside world, scouting advertisements and listening to conversations. Whether watching television, browsing the internet, or taking a drive, new advertisements can begin a frenzy. Just last week, I noticed an advertisement for Newsy, a service that relaunched in October 2021 that provides unbiased news headlines. Their owner, E. W. Scripps (SSP), has had a positive gain of 15% since that release. For a company that has fallen 20% in the past five years, that represents a positive trend in their business. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram act as the most popular space for advertisements, and viewers should pay attention to the public companies for investment opportunities. Also, listening to conversations between people about popular products or new companies on the market can present another opportunity for investment. Tencent Holdings, the owner of Epic Games, has risen over 50% since the release of Fortnite on July 21, 2017, which presents another example of a hot product leading to a higher stock price. Young people talked about this game often and the purchases of materials for the game made the company boatloads of money.

Similar to my first suggestion, if you are not invested in the stock and its share price takes a massive fall, always think about purchasing a part of that company. Unless associated with a possibility of bankruptcy, which is an extremely rare occasion among large companies, expect a large rebound higher than previous prices. Big money comes from these types of examples because if a company lowers its guidance for future quarters but beats those numbers, investors will come in with big money. Obviously, purchasing stock at a medium price brings colossal gains, but buying at an even lower price helps professional investors make their first millions. Before my purchase of Marathon Petroleum in July 2020, it had dropped to below $20 a share, one of the lowest points in its history. However, I chose to wait to see if a rebound was in store for the company and officially bought it at $38. Though it seems like a minimal difference, I could have made an extra two hundred dollars off that stock if I purchased it in March. That difference makes the difference between amateur and professional investors!

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Finally, always follow company news and listen to conference calls for stocks you are currently in and stocks you are thinking about purchasing. Especially listen to the guidance numbers that the executive officers provide and how they answer questions from investors. Sometimes it can be hard to understand all the information, so try to read articles from reputable financial sources that explain why the stock acts in a certain way after they post the results. Though it may seem unimportant, add the stocks you are interested in purchasing to a watchlist and read the articles associated with them. Apple Stocks is usually a reliable source because they collect articles from all over the world. Going back to my last suggestion, stocks usually drop after bad earnings results or bad guidance so look for drops as a buying opportunity.

As always, the stock market is unpredictable and can make moves that no one sees coming. However, these five suggestions should help make it a little easier to pick stocks and decide when to sell them. For the second part of this two-part series, I will interview Mr. Simon Paterson (CFA), an equity analyst at T. Rowe Price. His professional advice and recommendations should be something to look forward to.

Alex Kwas is a freshman member of the Quill.