Imitation in Art
Christina Ngyuyen ‘21
According to Plato, because art imitates things within the physical world, which imitate pre-existing forms, art will always be a copy of a copy. However, the creation of art comes from the inspiration and recreation of the things we interact with. All art is inspired by something that predates it. This does not mean that an exact copy of something can be called art; that is plagiarism. Art is the creation of something that builds upon or adapts what came before it. Ariana Grande’s latest single “7 rings,” for example, pulls inspiration from various genres and artists such as Julie Andrews’ “My Favorite Things” from the 1959 musical ‘The Sound of Music,’ 2 Chainz’s “Spend it,” Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag,” and, according to some, Beyoncé’s “Formation.” Many critics claim that Ariana has crossed a line by using so many songs, but going back to Plato’s idea, all art is an imitation of something, and Ariana on “7 rings” embraces this in the best possible way. She manipulates Broadway and trap music into something that is strictly her own, while still invoking the emotion from the songs she draws from. Similarly, other artists have also utilized the creations of their predecessors in the same way Grande has, in a method called sampling. Some of the most sampled artists are Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, and The Notorious B.I.G., among others. It can be argued that using another individual’s work is stealing, but as long as it is developed into another distinct piece, that art becomes entirely their own. Besides imitation in music, there are also instances of imitation in painting. Although many of the paintings done by impressionist artists in the 19th century share uncanny resemblances, the art is not discredited or worth less. You would never hear someone say that a Manet landscape is better than a Renoir because it was made first. Both artist’s work are equally valuable and distinctive because the individual artist had created it and incorporated their own trademark styles. Despite similarities among varying artists’ work, imitation in art does not affect the value. As long as artists find a way to incorporate their own individual styles to make it their own, the piece can invoke a sense of nostalgia while still being refreshing and unseen or heard.
About Music: An OP-ED on Music
Ian Cummings ‘19
Over the course of however many years we’ve been spinning around on this earth, one of the few escapes that people have found in life is music. Personally, I listen to music every single day as a tool to amplify my mood. If I feel on top of the world, I put on some Galantis or Quinn XCII to try to hold onto my high. On the other end, when I feel down and broken, I listen to the sadness of Bob Dylan, Billie Eilish, or Rex Orange County, and wallow in their words. Whatever emotion you’re feeling, there is a song out there for it.
There is undoubtedly a very strong argument to be made that doing this doesn’t make sense, and to be fair, it’s very counterintuitive. To preface this, I’m a very illogical person when it comes to many things. I go out of my way to park to the left instead of the right, I comb my hair after I shower even though I know full well that it’s fate is to fall down, and when it comes to music, I think that the songs you play should correspond to how you feel, and that they should make your feelings stronger, even if they are negative.
I think that it’s better to embrace what you feel with your music rather than to try to change it. If you listen to an uplifting song when you’re sad, I can almost guarantee that you’ll feel better in that moment, but it won’t have a lasting impact. However, if you listen to a somber tune while you’re down, you might sink a little deeper, but you’ll have an easier time getting it all out. This helps to draw out the core of these feelings and to face them, whether that be a happy thought that is easy to face or a sad one that isn’t so simple to solve. It’s my humble opinion, but facing something instead of continuously covering it up makes more sense.
Here are some songs I’ve been loving ( in no particular order )
Julia ~ Mt. Joy
Biking ~ Frank Ocean
Chicago ~ Flipturn
Peach Pit ~ Peach Pit (yes, this is right)
I Love You So ~ The Walters
My Cousin Greg ~ Houndmouth
Southern Nights ~ Whitney
Since I’ve Been Loving You ~ Led Zeppelin
Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright ~ Bob Dylan
Where Have You Been All Along ~ Fishing in Japan
The ABCs of Social Media
Owen McKenna ‘19
Social media has become a key social link for our generation, but how deeply are we dependent on it in our daily lives? At first, we did not have the plethora of social media options that are now available– our generation grew up just as social media itself went from its infancy to the fully fledged reality it is today. Current seniors were in fifth grade when Instagram was bought by Facebook and truly took off; we were in middle school when Snapchat became a primary means of communication. We have the unique position to look at social media’s role in our lives, because we have seen and experienced it through its beginnings.
The most common response to social media’s role is that it has become addictive, and worse, often associated with bullying, anxiety, and depression. This response is not just from parents, but teens themselves as well. Per a New York Times study, “half of teens feel addicted to their device and seventy-four percent of teenagers check their devices hourly” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/well/family/is-your-child-a-phone-addict.html). Anything that can control behavior and becomes compulsive is worrying. This study, coupled with the links to social anxiety and increased bullying, make for a strong case against social media use.
However, when we talk about the dangers of social media, we ignore the the amazing tool that is placed in our hands. We, unlike any people in history, have the ability to connect and communicate with other people immediately. It allows us to share ourselves and our lives while simultaneously experiencing other lives. Furthermore, it provides an outlet for new social groups of like-minded peoples to share their interest with one another. So, the benefits are apparent; yet, what is to be done about the pitfalls? I believe the answer is education.
When adults bemoan social media as an evil that destroys our world's youth, they often assume that the problems are inherent to social media. Yet, isn’t social media just another social scenario we must learn to navigate? No one prepares use to manage it, because as teens we are on the cutting edge of all new social media– not the adults around us. We don’t learn social media etiquette or time management, so it stands to reason that issues would arise in these areas. If we truly want to curb our “addiction,” significant effort needs to be put forth in educating the youngest children about how to operate this new medium of communication, just as our parents taught us how to have a polite conversation or play fairly at recess.
Priya Anand ‘21 & Alaina Steck ‘22
Alaina: Being a new student at GA is stressful, especially because I didn’t know many students at first. Being encouraged to join sports teams and clubs helped me quickly meet new people. Much of my time has been dedicated to volleyball practices, which has led to bonding with new people. Overall, I think that it’s healthy that GA encourages students to join sports and clubs. It makes the transition to the Upper School and immersion into a new group of students much easier, especially for newer students. Clara Alger ’22 states that sports “give a great sense of community,” and John Maketa ‘22 agrees that sports are “a huge part of [his] experience.” As a shy person, I don’t think that I would have joined many sports or clubs if students weren’t required to fulfill activity credits. This requirement helped me make new friends and learn about new activities that I otherwise would have not done. I feel that sports provide more time than clubs for students to meet new people, making bonds even stronger. However, clubs aren’t advertised as much as sports. GA should advertise extracurricular activities equally so that students can explore interests besides sports while feeling that they, too, will meet new friends this way.
Priya: Joining the Upper School as a freshman can be a daunting experience. It often seems as if there is a system that every other student and teacher has mastered except you. Beginning on orientation day, freshmen are often told that the best way to immerse themselves in GA life is to try something new by joining a club, or, even better, an athletic team.
GA’s requirement of two activity credits per year exemplifies this culture. I absolutely believe that this requirement encourages students to try new things, meet new people, and fulfill their potential in fields of interest. At the same time, I notice that freshman are pushed, usually by an unspoken desire to fit in with peers, to join a high-intensity sport; meanwhile, equally valid choices like managing teams, or participating in the yearbook, jazz band, or art club are often viewed as less important or trivial by classmates.
The problem isn’t that other extracurriculars aren’t promoted enough at GA, but instead that being involved in anything other than a widespread sport is often undervalued in our school’s culture. We, as students, need to be more accepting of the diverse extracurricular offerings at GA and encourage our classmates, especially freshmen, to pursue whatever activities interest them.
Why Do We Learn?
Tiffany Zhong ‘20 & Sabreen Mohammed ‘20
For many students, learning is merely a requirement or pathway to achieve future success. It’s not that they don’t see the value in learning, but the strenuous demands of high school classes quells their love for learning. Learning requires the student to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to discover unfamiliar concepts and skills that may confuse them, and to spend time and effort in order to retain these concepts and skills. Because of this, many students begin to associate learning with stress and hard work. Moreover, the pressure students face to get good grades can easily overshadow their love for the actual content of their courses. Many students feel the need to prove to themselves, their parents, and/or college application readers that they are gifted students by achieving good grades. As they continue to learn the material for their classes to do well on a test, quiz, or paper, they begin to develop the mindset of learning just to get good grades. However, we need to remember the true purpose of learning in order to reform the current education system. We learn to find solutions to problems by learning from the mistakes of the past in history class. We learn to understand each other more clearly and to strengthen our relationships. We learn to expand our knowledge of other peoples around the world in our language classes. Finally, we learn to become involved citizens who contribute to the policies being made around us. While it may seem idealistic to stress the importance of learning simply for the sake of learning, it is also essential to the progression of the way teachers teach and the way students can enhance their own learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom. We, as students and teachers alike, often forget the importance of increasing knowledge that can help one day. Instead, we choose to stress what percent of the material is “understood”. Education should be engaging and interesting every day for students and faculty alike and not a part of a student’s life that is merely consisted of letter grades and GPA numbers.