Opinion: Footloose is the Greatest Cinematic Endeavor Known to Man

A few weekends ago, as I tried to ignore the looming deadline of an essay that I had to write but was procrastinating on, I decided to finally watch Footloose. I was no stranger to public perception of the film, namely that it was a terrible movie. And upon watching it, yeah. Objectively, Footloose is kind of a bad movie. However, I have never enjoyed a movie more than this one. The combination of low emotional stakes, a clear misunderstanding of teenagers and how they interact with each other, and dance montages put the 2019 Met Gala to shame, in terms of campiness. (Though anything could put the 2019 Met Gala to shame. Feathers and sequins do not constitute camp, people!)

If you’ve never seen Footloose, let me give you the rundown: the movie stars a young Kevin Bacon, whose character’s name I do not remember and do not care to look up. At the beginning of his senior year of high school, Kevin moves to a small town in Oklahoma. Much to his surprise, however, his hopes of any semblance of fun are crushed when he discovers that the town is pretty strict about what teenagers—or anyone, really—can do. See, the town is dominated by conservative churchgoers, most notably a pastor played by John Lithgow. The group of people highest up in the church are also the ones on city council, and they make all of the rules. One of these rules is one that Kevin’s character can’t seem to stop breaking: no dancing. Because of this, he decides to rebel against the town’s tyranny and leads a crusade to hold a dance for the high schoolers.

The first thing I’d like to note about this movie is that the plot is the most bonkers thing I’ve ever watched in my life, and I loved every second of it. An oppressive town that outlaws dancing is the weirdest social issue you could pick to critique, and yet, I feel like this movie is one of the most progressive things to come out of the Reagan era. (For clarification, this comment is not a compliment to Footloose, but instead a thinly veiled dig at Ronald Reagan.) The funniest thing about the movie to me is the fact that it spends the whole 2 hours dancing around the idea that church overinvolvement in the lives of everyday people leads to negative implications for everyone in and out of the organization, which is the real issue at the heart of the film. They’ll never say this outright, but anyone thinking critically about the film could likely pick this up. Every time you think they’re going to comment about this, they interject a dancing montage to divert your attention, which is quite frankly iconic.

For all my critiques about the film’s ridiculous plot, I will say that I did get pretty invested. The scene where Kevin Bacon teaches his friend to dance to the tune of “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” made me legitimately happy. Not to mention, the soundtrack excuses any narrative issues the film has. So despite its complete 80’s-ness, I must admit that Footloose is probably in my top 3 favorite films list. (This is alongside The Princess Diaries 2 and 10 Things I Hate About You, in case you were wondering.)

— Blake Ciresa

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Book Recommendations for Uncommon Genres

Short Stories

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

For those of you who love short retellings, this is the book for you. The story follows a Snow White-like character who ventures out with three of her dwarves to save a neighboring kingdom. There the princess along with her people are in a deep sleep. This tale is filled with beautiful imagery of characters, setting, and is written by the great Neil Gaiman.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

What would you do if you were only allowed to sit in a room? No phone, no books, nothing but yellow wallpaper. Considered an early feminist novel from the 19th century, it touches on the taboo subject (at the time) of mental health, making Yellow Wallpaper is a timely classic. A woman is given “treatment” by her husband in which she must sit in a room for the majority of her days in order to help her “temporary nervous depression”, as described in the book.

Graphic novels

Avatar: The Last Airbender by Gene Luen Yang

For those of you who have seen the iconic 2000s show, I highly recommend checking out the graphic novels. This series in particular is made up of four books and follows the adventures of Team Avatar immediately after the show’s final episode. Along with even deeper world-building, we also get a deeper dive into some characters, especially Zuko, Mai, and Toph. The art is beautifully crafted and stays true to the original character designs.

They Call Us Enemy by George Takei

Calling all historians! This graphic novel is a memoir by George Takei, a Japanese-American, during World War II. Takei recounts the results of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s order of all Japanese descent to be moved to “relocation centers”, where armed guards would hold them. This is a first-hand account of those years under one of the greatest faults in America’s history.

Poetry

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The Rules

No. 1: Crying

Don’t.

No matter what.

No. 2: Snitching

Don’t.

No matter what.

No. 3: Revenge

Do.

No matter what.

Do.”

Long Way Down is a tale of a boy named Will. Not William. Will, who plans on getting revenge on the man who murdered his brother. However, Will lives on the seventh floor, and it’s a long way down to the bottom. And things start going south once he reaches the sixth floor. With things getting weirder at every level, Will recalls his family and friends’ dark history. The story ends with an unexpected twist that will leave readers questioning their own life choices.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Silence was not an option. For Xiomara Batista, her thoughts had to be hidden, at least from her Mami. With this in mind, along with being a young woman, she kept her mouth shut. However, when her teacher invited her to join the school’s slam poetry club, silence was not an option.

Retellings

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Danielle Paige takes the iconic classic of Wizard of Oz and twists it on its broomstick. Amy lives in her trailer with her pet rat along with her non-existent mother. But her life soon takes a turn as a tornado occurs and takes her to the not so wonderful land of Oz. With the yellow brick road broken to pieces, good witches turned evil, and Dorothy as queen, no one is safe. Amy is soon recruited by the Revolutionary Order of Witches and is given a mission: Kill Dorothy.

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

With Cinderella dead and gone, teens girls are required to be selected by male royal suitors at a ball based on basic appearance. Sophia wants none of that. Instead, she longs to marry Erin, her childhood best friend. As she flees the ball, she is soon met with the descent of Cinderella along with her sisters. Together they vow to take down the kind once and for all.

Contemporary

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Death-Cast is an organization that calls you 24 hours before your death. Mateo and Rufus are called on September 5; they are going to die. Using the Last Friend app, the two spend their last few hours “living a lifetime in a single day.”

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda are sure to love this award-winning novel. Felix is desperate for romance and longs for his happily ever after, but it is soon jeopardized as an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages and posts. However, Felix refuses to be pushed around. With plans of revenge in action, the last thing he’d expected was ending up in a love triangle. As Felix navigates through this quagmire, he soon goes through a journey of self-discovery.

— Maya Ross

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Demon Press Review: ‘You’re Wrong About’ Podcast

I’ll admit it: despite the recent podcast boom that has been going on recently, I’ve had trouble sticking to listening to a podcast consistently. That is until I discovered ‘You’re Wrong About,’ a podcast led by Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes, two journalists with a penchant
for the past.

The show’s premise is pretty simple: the two hosts re-examine an event that occurred in the past, and they dissect what we were missing in our previous analysis of the situation. Typically, this means either discussing maligned women of the 20th century or examining moral panics of the past and present. The first episode I happened to listen to was their episode about Courtney Love, in which they debunked the theory that she killed her late husband, Kurt Cobain. Other episodes I found particularly interesting were ones about the Enron scandal, human trafficking, and the life of Nicole Brown Simpson. (The two hosts have been on a mission to
cover the O.J. Simpson trial in its entirety, and as one would imagine, it is taking a long time.)

Though most, if not all, of the topics discussed on the show tend to be rather serious, the rapport between Hobbes and Marshall gives each episode a nice touch of levity, while still giving each subject the amount of weight it deserves. One aspect I found most refreshing is their coverage of women, specifically ones who are cast in a harsher light by the media. Both hosts approach each person with a sense of understanding, and they try to sympathize with some of the ‘villains’ of our societal narratives, giving a more well-rounded look into the often one-sided stories we see in the media.

Though I sometimes disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by both Hobbes and Marshall, I cannot deny that every topic they discuss truly makes me think. Their coverage of history has allowed me to look at similar situations today more holistically, and I believe that if everyone looked at the past through a different and more well-rounded lens, we reduce the risk of repeating our past mistakes.

— Blake Ciresa

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The 2021 Grammys

“Good luck with the Grammys. If you don’t win at least one, I’m going to hit someone, OK?” Elton John exclaimed to Grammy nominee Phoebe Bridgers last week. Someone must have a black eye, because Phoebe didn’t win. The competition preceding this top music award was fierce. Stars like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and Megan Thee Stallion rocked the music world, winning Best Pop Solo Performance, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist respectively.

To recap, popular artists like Beyonce, Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and Post Malone were all nominated for Record of the Year. Billie Eilish ended up winning this prestigious category. Reflecting on the tragic events of 2020, H.E.R.’s song “I Can’t Breathe” won the award Song of the Year. Other nominees for this category included Taylor Swift, Roddy Richh, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and Post Malone. Beyonce even received her twenty-eighth Grammy, this time for the category Best R&B Performance.

This year’s event, much like the 2020 Grammys, looked very different from past ceremonies because of COVID-19. The Grammys are typically a sold-out event with thousands of spectators, commercials, and glamorous post-parties. This year, only a very limited and socially distanced audience was allowed to attend. However, the performers were able to put on a spectacular show. Taylor Swift stunned her fans with her performance of songs cardigan, willow, and august on top of a one-room cottage with mystical lighting.

All in all, the 2021 Grammys were as entertaining and successful as ever, despite the COVID-19 circumstances. Performers and audience members alike are looking forward to the 2022 Grammys, which hopefully will be back to normal.

— Vienna Gurev

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Pirates of the World

What is a Pirate?

A pirate is defined as “a person who attacks and robs ships at sea,” by Oxford languages. The first significant pirates, who roamed the Mediterranean around 1276-1178 B.C.E., were known as the Sea Peoples, who were made up of a myriad of ethnicities. Accounts of their destruction were recorded by the last king of Ugarit, Ammurapi, whose kingdom fell victim to this mysterious force. However, the origin of this fearsome group is unknown and remains a mystery to this day. Nonetheless, this practice of abandoning sailor jobs in exchange for a life of piracy became common during the late 1600s to early 1700s which is known as the “Golden Age of Piracy.” Here’s a list of some notable pirates throughout history.

Black Caesar

During this time, piracy was popular among Black people, as it was one of the few ways they could attain power in the West. Often given only two choices, fugitive slaves would often choose the life of piracy over eternal captivity. While discrimination was still apparent, some captains did treat their crew members equally regardless of race. However, the same can not be said for prosecution. As white pirates were hanged, Black pirates were either returned to their owners or resold into slavery. Black Caesar or Henri Caesar, is the most acclaimed Black pirate as he escaped captivity aboard a slave ship with the help of a sailor. Thereafter he would pose as a stranded sailor to rob vessels that offered their aid. Legend has it that he buried his treasure on Elliot Key. He would soon join Blackbeard’s crew in the early 1700s and would even come to witness his death. After their defeat, Black Caesar was captured and taken to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1718 to be hanged.

Madame Cheng

Arguably the most successful pirate in history, outnumbering Blackbeard in terms of ships with 70,000 sailors, 800 large junks—Chinese sailing ships—and about 1,00 smaller vessels, Madame Cheng is not to be forgotten. Though her name was Ching Shih, she was also referred to as Cheng I Sao, which translates to “wife of Cheng.” Little is known about her early life. She was born in 1785 at an unknown location. For the majority of her life, she served as a prostitute in the city of Guangzhou. But in 1801, she married Cheng Yi, a famous pirate captain. During this time, many unorganized ships were unified into professional fleets to serve the Tây Sơn dynasty of Vietnam, who were at constant battle with the Chinese. When the Tây Sơn was conquered in 1802, instead of scattering the Cheng’s unified rival Cantonese pirates and were divided into different squadrons. Cheng Yi soon died in 1807, yet Madame Cheng soon took charge and appointed her husband’s protegé Zhang Bao as the captain of her most powerful fleet. He would soon become her lover and eventually her new husband. It is said that Madame Cheng was ahead of her time in terms of rights to women, as any carnal abuse of female captives was punishable by death. There were even accounts of those who were commanders who were ordered to capture her and damaged their own ships in order to avoid conflict. By 1810, tension increased between two of her fleets, causing the unison to be unstable. This led to Madame Cheng accepting the Chinese government’s pardon in exchange for a peaceful surrender in 1810. The rest of her life was quite peaceful, living off of her husband’s military earnings until she died at the age of 69.

Anne Bonny

While male pirates dominate history, there were plenty of notable female pirates, too, such as Anne Bonny. Born in Cork, Ireland, around 1700, Anne Bonny was known for her tough spirit. There is little information known about her, but it is said that she married a poverty-stricken sailor at the age of 16. Her father did not approve of this and disowned his daughter. The couple would soon turn to the life of piracy and join Calico Jack’s crew. It is said that she “dressed like a man, while she fought, drank, and swore like one too.” Legend has it that while Bonny appeared as a man, she developed feelings for Mary Read, who joined the crew later on and was also dressed as a man. They would both switch between men’s and women’s clothes as necessary. However, this adventure would soon come to an end in October in 1720, when the ship would fall to Captain Jonathan Barnet to collect their bounty. Records say that, while the rest of the crew caved into surrender, the two women fought to the end and called the men cowards. They were tried and found guilty of several crimes, but their execution was delayed as it was discovered that both women were pregnant. However, it is unclear whether this is true or if the two lied to save themselves. It wouldn’t be until five months later that death would take Mary Read in prison.

Mary Read

Much like Anne Bonny, Mary Read’s history is unknown. She was born around 1690 in England to a widow. It is said that her mother passed her off as a boy to get money from Mary’s grandmother. Later, Read continued to dress a man and would even get a job as a sailor. Later on, she revealed her secret to a Flemish soldier she met during the War of the Spanish Succession and would come to marry. Together they ran The Three Horseshoe Inn in the Dutch town of Breda. After her husband died, she would return to the war dressed as a man, though when peace was signed, Read looked for adventure elsewhere in the West Indies. While navigating the waters, she was soon attacked and was captured by pirates. She then joined them, living life as a free pirate until 1718, when she signed a king’s pardon in exchange for hunting down others who did not acquire the pardon. Read would eventually make her way onto the ship of Calico Jack, where, as stated before, there were accounts of her and Anne Bonny forming a romantic relationship. In any case, it is said that the two were the most ruthless of them all, each carrying a pistol and machete. But as stated above, the ship was captured, but despite this, the two fought till the end. It is unclear what exactly happened to Mary Read during their containment, but records do show that she was buried on April 28, 1721, at St. Catherine Parish in Jamaica.

— Maya Ross

Sources:

5 Notorious Female Pirates

Black Pirates and the Tale of Black Caesar 

Ching Shih the Pirate Queen

Five Pirate Myths That Are Actually True

8 Famous Pirates from History

Pirates in the Ancient Mediterranean

Biography of Anne Bonny, Irish Pirate and Privateer

Biography of French Pirate François L’Olonnais

Biography of Mary Read, English Pirate

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Willy Wonka and Emma Chamberlain

Famous Tik Tok star Duke Depp sparks controversy with his latest infatuation with celebrity and internet personality Emma Chamberlain. Duke gained a following on Tik Tok by dressing up as Willy Wonka from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Depp used his own platform to hint that he had taken a liking to Chamberlain, but nothing was confirmed until Chamberlain was asked directly by paparazzi. She rejected Depp during the interview, causing many fans to question whether Emma Chamberlain is in a secret relationship.

See the video recap by Sofia Silva

— Clara Jane Mack

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Skiing

One of my favorite extracurricular activities is skiing. Not only is skiing thrilling, but it is good exercise and COVID-19-proof. Throughout the snow season, my dad, sister, and I drive up to the Pocono Mountains. Our favorite local resort is Blue Mountain. Tucked away in the little town of Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain is the perfect place for tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. From the training slopes to double black diamonds, they offer trails for every skill level.

Recently, we went up for a day trip. The conditions were beautiful. The weather held steady all day in the mid-twenties. Tiny flakes greeted our warm gloves and fell into the creases of our jackets. There was a subtle wind at the top of the mountain, which was expected, due to the approaching storm. When I was learning how to ski, my Grandma told me to watch good skiers speeding down the mountain. Did they slightly bend their knees? Yes. Was the alignment of their feet parallel? Or were they doing the pizza position? Absolutely not! French fries for the controlled speed. By French Fries, I mean the pair of skis are side by side. Normally more advanced skiers tend toward this orientation.

I like blue intermediate slopes the best. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried all the greens (easy) on the mountain, along with a few blacks (advanced). Sometimes ice covers the trails in large sheets. When you ski over them, they make a terrible screeching sound. Other times the ground is covered in little ice balls. But most of the time, you will find buttery soft snow or fresh corduroy.

At each lift, employees require mask-wearing, however, this is no big deal. The chair lift is always swarming with skiers and snowboarders. Because of the cold weather, everyone is already wearing facial masks to maintain warmth.

On the ride up, you can watch park rats mastering their tricks. These skiers spend the majority of their time in the terrain parks. You could even spot an owl and maybe a couple of epic crashes too. Overall, skiing is the best way to be outdoors and enjoy the company of family and friends in winter. Look into making a future ski trip and hit the slopes!

— Paige Smagala

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How to Feel More Connected During Covid

It is safe to say that we all have felt detached from the world around us over the last 10 months since Covid began. It can be very hard to stay in touch with our friends, family, teachers, etc.—almost like every day is the same continuous cycle. You are not alone. We are all experiencing this pandemic for the first time together, so whatever you’re going through right now, you are not the only one feeling that way. That emotion of “time is going by so fast” is not uncommon, and I hope you can find ways to stay more connected through this article.

First off, we are all on our devices every single day. Going to school and teaching from home, isolated, is not a pleasant thing to have to endure. After you are done with your remote work for the day, it’s easy to just want to go watch Netflix or scroll through social media. However, I have found it helpful to try to get engaged in more activities that benefit your mind. When you are on social media, you’re immediately comparing yourself to everyone else whether you notice it or not. That’s not fun. One thing I have started doing is yoga. Stretching and working out can release that tension and anxiety you have been holding onto all day. Another helpful thing is getting outdoors. Take your dog for a walk or just walk around your neighborhood by yourself and enjoy the present moment. Or, you could find a new book series to get wrapped up into. Our library has a lot of selections to choose from, or you could order a book online. A lot of people say that they aren’t readers, but once they find a genre that interests them, it’s easy to change your mindset.

Secondly, a lot of us tend to stress about the future weeks to come. Obsessing over what could happen is pointless, and it will save you a lot of energy if you try to concentrate on the ‘now’. Write down your goals for the day and check them off as you get them done. That will help you feel more motivated and proud of yourself once you have completed what you need to do. Just take it day by day, and I can assure you that it will make you feel more accomplished and in control of yourself. Journaling is something that could also help. It sounds silly at first, but once you get into the habit of writing about your day or things that are on your mind, it will help with organizing your thoughts so it’s not so overwhelming. There are so many things going on constantly, and getting inside your own head can be very frustrating.

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have days where we just want to lay in bed and do nothing, and that is perfectly okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect because we are human and humans are meant to make mistakes. It may be hard to start incorporating these kinds of activities into your daily routine, but once you start, the habit will get easier. Don’t forget that there are always people here to help you and talk to you as well. None of us has ever had to deal with something like this before, so give yourself some leeway and be proud of how much you have grown!

— Sierra Tellman

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Letter from the Editor

Hey Blue Demons!

Welcome to the new Kennett High School student journalism website! KTV and the Demon Press have teamed up to create a place for you.

This is the place to go to find the latest KTV episodes and your favourite segments—anyone else excited to bring back Nate Asks People Stuff someday? You will also find news articles written by our classmates about topics relevant to us, updated on a weekly basis.

The content here is created by and for students. The talented teams at Demon Press and KTV will cover school news, local news, and beyond, tailored to you in an easily-navigable format.

I know that some of you might not have known that KHS even had a newspaper, but we’re here and ready for you to discover and enjoy.

If you’re looking for entertainment, information, and Demon Pride, look no further: the Blue Demons journalism website has it all!

Rhiannon Stewart

Editor-in-Chief

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