How old is too old to be making decisions for the United States?
Image c/o The Washington Post
By Madison Sciba
The oldest member of the United States’ Congress is 90 years old. California Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein has been in congress since 1992, has been in politics since 1969, and is still responsible for passing laws. Another senator, Republican Charles Grassley is 89 and has been in the Senate for 42 years. There are 20 members of congress who are over the age of 80. That is 15 years past the US’s average retirement age of 65. The past two presidents have been over the age of 70 when they first took office. That’s five years after they would have retired if they were in any other line of work. So why are we still allowing these elderly grandparents to hold the most important and influential roles in our government?
Any gen z or millennial knows the struggle of having to teach their grandparent how to use an iPhone, now imagine someone the same age as that grandparent in charge of making legislation surrounding technology. Right now, technology is advancing rapidly and our laws need to be able to keep up with it. There is very little, if any, government regulation on the use of AI and other advanced forms of technology. However, we are living in a world where those kinds of regulations are necessary. Yet those who are responsible for passing these regulations are decades behind the rest of the country when it comes to understanding this technology.
Back when the founding fathers were forming the government and writing the Constitution, they couldn’t have imagined that there would be people in their 80s still responsible for the government. Since the 1990s, the average age of members of congress has increased dramatically. There has been less turnover in elections, with congress members like Feinstein and California representative Nancy Pelosi who have been running for re-election and winning for decades. In an ideal world, these politicians would recognize that they are too old to serve and they would stop running for re-election and make way for a younger generation of politicians. Sadly, this is not the case for American politicians.
The solution seems simple enough: since there is an age minimum for congress, make an age maximum. That is easier said than done. The people who would need to make this age limit are the same people who would be harmed by the implementation of an age maximum. Until our politicians become more self aware and start caring more about what is best for the United States and not their own agenda, then maybe age limits can be passed. That, however, is extremely unlikely, so it is now up to us as the voters to vote these antiquated grandmas and grandpas out of congress and bring about a new, younger generation of congressmen and women.
Disney’s live-action remakes need to stop.
By Madison Sciba
Disney’s persistence in making sub-par live action remakes of beloved classic animated films has become tiresome. Cinderella was good, Beauty and the Beast was okay, Mulan was dreadful and so on and so forth. Disney hasn’t exactly been hitting it out of the park doing live-action versions. Most audiences are tired of these remakes, sighing every time the next one is announced rather than being excited.
When Disney first announced that they were in production of a live-action version of the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid, most people’s first reaction was not excitement but rather worry. Worried that Disney was going to butcher a much loved classic, just like they did to Mulan.
The live-action Mulan came out in 2020, and due to the pandemic, most viewers watched the movie on Disney+ where there was an added fee to see the movie. Fans of the 1998 animated film were quick to dislike the live-action version for a variety of reasons. The lack of the beloved mini-dragon, Mushu, was a huge disappointment for fans. The character, originally played by Eddie Murphy, is arguably one of the best parts of the original film, providing the majority of the comedic relief to a film that centers around war. This along with the decision to not make the movie a musical left fans devastated. Donny Osmond’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is one of the most iconic songs to come out of a Disney film, not to mention the incredible montage that plays in the film during the song. When making the live-action version of Mulan, Disney removed everything from the movie that made it a fun, loveable family film.
The latest classic that Disney has chosen to go after is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a movie that is a significant part of Disney’s history as well as the history of cinema. The 1937 film was the first ever full length animated feature film, and the first major success for the Walt Disney company. The film was an incredible show of innovation in the world of animation and was even the first movie to have an official soundtrack. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave one full sized honorary Academy Award and seven miniature awards to Walt Disney in 1938. The Walt Disney family museum, where all of the Oscars won by Walt Disney studios are held, explains in an article on their website, “The Academy honored Snow White as ‘a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.’”
Now the Walt Disney company has decided to remake the iconic film, and it is being surrounded by controversy. While the movie is supposed to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the new 2024 live-action will not include the Dwarfs, and once again Disney is drastically altering the story to fit a current narrative. At this point, they should just come up with a new story.
If Disney thinks that they need to alter the original stories of Mulan, Little Mermaid, and Snow White to make them suitable for a modern audience in a live-action format, then maybe those should not be made into live-action at all. Why does Disney keep doing live-action remakes anyway? They have almost all been box office failures, with Pinocchio, Peter Pan and Wendy, and Dumbo receiving no notable success.
Does Disney not have any new, original ideas? They keep making live-action flop after flop, not understanding that their audience does not want another remake; they want a new, original story.
It is completely acceptable to use those classic stories as a jumping off point for new ones, but just remaking and changing these movies for the worse is not the way to go. Some examples of using classics to make a new, great story are Maleficent and Cruella. Both films received much better reviews and audience ratings than the other Disney live-actions. They were based on classic Disney films (Sleeping Beauty for Maleficent and 101 Dalmatians for Cruella) but took a new approach. Audiences enjoyed seeing another side to the infamous villain, Maleficent, bringing a whole new angle to the character. Getting the intricate back story to Cruella DeVille was a great example of using another film as inspiration but still creating something new and interesting.
Disney was once the epitome of filmmaking, but they are now releasing flop after flop. They need to regroup, be original, and stop copying their own work from decades ago. Bring back old Disney. Bring back the Disney that had people, young and old, flocking to theaters with friends and family. Bring back the Disney that would make Walt proud.
A goodbye from The Collegian's outgoing EIC's
To the Saint Mary’s Community,
We are so honored to have had the opportunity to take the helm of this incredible publication. The Collegian has been a staple of Saint Mary’s student life for almost 120 years, and it was truly a privilege to be able to shape some part of this great legacy.
Our time with The Collegian has been a challenging and rewarding experience. Navigating student journalism in a pandemic, and through school scandals, censorship, and a societal shift to digital news has provided us with numerous opportunities for learning and growth. After surviving the past four years, we are confident this publication is here to stay!
The Collegian has been an incredible space for personal growth and career development. There is no better way to learn the ropes of the journalism industry than to be thrust straight into it and learn to navigate running a paper along with your peers. The experience we have gained in this newsroom has been truly invaluable. Later in our careers (hopefully both in journalism!), we will definitely look back fondly at our fulfilling, fun, and oftentimes chaotic years with this publication.
We are so grateful for the continued support of SIL, the Communication department, the SMC administration, and our readers on and off campus. A special thanks to our advisor Nolan Higdon. Having a seasoned journalist like him guide us was indispensable. We look forward to reading The Collegian for decades to come, and wish Madison Sciba and Lillian La Salle the best of luck as they take over the leadership of this incredible paper. We hope you like this issue, and we are thrilled to see our names and articles in print one last time!
Ryan Ford and Kiera O’Hara-Heinz
Note from Kiera:
As an aspiring journalist, working with The Collegian the past three and a half years has been incredible. I am endlessly grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this publication. In my time writing for The Collegian, I hope I was able to bring some attention to the issues facing the SMC community. Whether you loved or hated my articles, thanks for reading them!
Note from Ryan:
I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to serve as Co-Editor-in-Chief at The Collegian this past year. After joining as a sports writer last year, The Collegian helped me realize my passion for journalism. Thank you to everyone who read any of our articles over the past two years, I will always look back on my time at The Collegian with the fondest of memories.
Should students have the option for a more practical life skills class at SMC?
Image c/o Saint Mary's College
By Lillian La Salle
Culture Section Editor/Visiting Opinion Columnist
Saint Mary’s is one of the few schools on the West Coast to offer a seminar course which some students adore and others despise. It's understandable to dislike seminar, especially if you had a subpar teacher who didn't know how to get that one kid with a few too many opinions to read the room and finally stop talking. We’ve all been there. Luckily, for the rising sophomores and future Gaels, they only need to take 3 seminars instead of 4. However, these core classes take up a lot of SMC credits that could go to taking some much-needed courses in the upper division major requirements.
What if instead of having us take one of these courses and learn not one, not two, but 5 or more different philosophical concepts that are too dense for any sane person to understand, we learned about some necessary skills that would help us after college?
What if instead of having multitudes of extra career courses, financial planning, and mental health gatherings, SMC actually put its efforts into creating a student improvement course to replace one of the seminars?
After two seminars, the whole reading and discussion with your fellow peers who probably also didn't do the reading becomes very repetitive, and our time could be spent learning about what an ROI and 401K are, or how to not get conned when we have to take out more student loans to continue to go to SMC. Don't get me wrong, I love seminars and think that we learn very valuable communication and close reading skills in this context, but like I said earlier, how different will our third or fourth seminar be from our first or second? Meanwhile, we are floundering after college to try to invest in the right accounts so we can possibly support our family, buy a house, and pay for our kids' college, even though these three goals seem mutually exclusive nowadays.
We need to learn not only about the great texts but about what life experiences have shaped us as humans and what we don't like about ourselves and what we want to change about ourselves. SMC is good at shaping our identities in a very hands-on way, but it causes students immense stress to cope with self-discovery, friends, academics, activities, and all the other programs we need to complete in order to be eligible candidates for a successful career in the future. We can't be left on our own to fit all the important parts of adulthood into the cracks of the already bursting schedule filled with parents, advisors, and friends' expectations of us. We need the seminar to become a course that helps students understand how to lead a productive and successful life after college and gives them all the proper financial and social skills we need to know how to use in order to accomplish our goals.
By Vivian Hill
We have all been guilty of using the saying “It’s okay because God is a Gael.” But what if SMC introduced more than only God being a Gael? Why not get the whole Trinity in there too? God is the Gael, the random guy that dressed up as Jesus. Even though I’m sure he was trying to be Moses to “part the red sea” the costume works well for being Jesus. And finally, for the Holy Spirit, we have Jeffery the giraffe. Put some wings and a halo on him and you have the final piece of the new SMC Mascot Trio.
With this new trio, SMC will stand out amongst any other team. For God and the whole Trinity on our side. Basketball games would be so much better and the crowd would be so into it. With the Brothers on the sidelines and the Trinity as part of the mascot, SMC would be an unbeatable team. And have an even more powerful crowd to cheer along. If only God is a Gael, then why even be a Gael? Have the Trinity on our side Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because why shouldn’t this work? God is a Gael, right? No, it’s even better. The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are Gaels now.
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY FROM THE COLLEGIAN STAFF!
Everyone loves paying more money!
By Molly Baziuk
Visiting Opinion Columnist, Reluctant Tuition-Bill-Payer
Hooray! SMC tuition is being raised yet again with cries of joy being heard through every corner of campus! This is stellar news from the community as it seems there are clearly some very underfunded parts of the school and what better way to get more money than to take it from starving college students who, well let’s be honest, probably can’t afford a decent meal or housing! But hey, we could all use a bit of student enhancement! They said they’ll put more money towards student activities, so thank God our Gael we have rich folk here who can attend those activities while everyone else slaves away at work to get out of even more massive loads of debt!
Maybe raising tuition will go towards fixing that delightful wifi that crashed about 67 times while I wrote this article, or perhaps towards meals, but we all know Oliver will stay as peachy as ever and more and more students will have to drop out due to this raise. But hey, maybe those underprivileged students who are on full scholarships can finally get a taste of what one percenters have to deal with on a day to day basis. Now we will all be paying like we’re supposed to and everyone will be equal!
The decision to raise tuition is a stellar one by our administration, after all, this school gives out so many scholarships. Saint Marys’ decision to raise tuition is a lot like my relationship with my Safeway Club card. Every time I go to Safeway I use my club card and feel ecstatic because of all the great deals and discounts that come with shopping there. I always end up spending way more than I intended because Safeway says they’re giving me free money and even though they raise prices, they give random discounts on bread sometimes. Who doesn’t love bread? Exactly, and who doesn’t love a good Saint Mary’s tuition raise?
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY FROM THE COLLEGIAN STAFF!
By Brooke Haggerty
Opinion Columnist, Professionally Tardy
One way or another, life has thrown us unexpected curveballs. Because of this, we have to decide what matters most, and sometimes this requires us to take time to gather our wits, consult and find comfort in our support systems, and finally to rest. But the reality is that this can all be difficult to achieve depending on one’s available resources. Though if there is anything that we can blame for not giving us sufficient time to obtain the necessities to survive life especially in this present day where the world seems like it is going to end at any moment, we can point our fingers at SMC’s absence policy.
I don’t know about you, but I am well-acquainted with it. In fact, I would consider the absence policy and I frenemies. But somehow I have found a way for it to accommodate me regardless of my collegiate career’s extenuating circumstances, but then there have been times where I have fallen victim to it and had to take a leave because life became too much to do both school and itself. Nevertheless, I still find it ridiculous for SMC to expect us to cope with every consistent, catastrophic (world) event that has taken place since 2020. Yet, before I go on what SMC and its policymakers will call another tangent versus sensible reasons on why absence policy is nonsense, ignorant, and overbearing on students, I have to make a concession by saying that it is true that some courses and majors are necessary for a student to be present in order to pass and get the material out of the class. the and call SMC and the policymakers out, I will say that some courses and majors really do understandably require you to be present in order to pass and get the material out of the class.
Now taking everything into account, if SMC and its policymakers really had “[r]espect for all [p]ersons,” one of its Lasallian core principles, then they would respect the time, mental health, and capabilities of us in today’s stressful circumstances as well as our own life-related issues. Because the reality is, there are few and far between people who are resilient enough to gracefully endure life while being extremely successful in all of its areas, especially academics. They can say, “Well, that’s just life,” and while that may be partially true, it is just an excuse to keep up an outdated, never-necessary system. We deserve to have breathers and to still be able to complete our degrees. We should not have to be told to get ourselves together and take a leave because many of us do not have the time or the circumstances to do that, and to be frank, it is quite exasperating and discouraging.
Life is hard enough. Living during these times let alone in the U.S. is insane. Why can’t SMC be more compassionate? If only SMC was and mandated that each department revised their absence policy, then we could only that the overall well-being of us, students, would be better. All we can do is keep going and get our degrees while hoping in our own individual times here that SMC will do something about its absence policy.
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY FROM THE COLLEGIAN STAFF!
Should psychobiology fulfill SMC’s scientific understanding requirement?
By Joshua Suhaimi
Visiting opinion columnist
At Saint Mary's College of California, all students are required to take a "scientific understanding" core requirement course which is any course that is designated as "scientific", and includes a lab and lecture. All psychology students are required to take the psychobiology course, which includes a lab and a lecture, but the course does not fulfill the scientific understanding requirement. Instead, psychology students are expected to take a "real” science or "hard science" course which does not include psychology. Psychology is sometimes called a “soft science” because the study of behavior, the mind, personality, and cognition are intangible, and often associated with humanities and/or liberal arts. Courses that fulfill the scientific understanding requirement include biology, chemistry, physics, kinesiology, and biochemistry, but often require prerequisite introductory courses that do not fulfill the requirement. Classes like geology or astronomy can also fulfill the requirement, but have limited availability with only one class section usually being offered per semester, at best. More often than not, there is one section in Fall and none in Spring, and they are always filled quickly, leaving no room for other students.
Psychobiology arguably includes multiple disciplines of science, including but not limited to: psychology, biology (cellular, molecular, genetic, evolutionary, health/medical), chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and neurology. It is trivial and simply absurd to require a "hard science" course such as geology or astronomy because psychobiology doesn't count as "scientific understanding". Psychology alone is a science, as it is a part of the school of science, but with the inclusion of biology and other sciences it should undoubtedly qualify as a science course. The decision to not count psychobiology as a scientific understanding course was made a decade ago by the administration at Saint Mary's and is an outdated and flawed choice based on an outdated perspective. In this day and age, with the growing usefulness and popularity of the field of psychology this ideology is unsensible.
Many psychology students are forced to take courses unrelated to their major to be able to graduate which, to many of us psychology majors at Saint Mary’s, feels like a waste of a course, especially when there are only four classes students are able to take in a typical semester. Typically, the only options that do not require prerequisites are geology and astronomy, both of which are at less than ideal times for most students (8 AM), and both of which are often full and waitlisted for registration. As a student who will be graduating this semester, any changes to this system would not personally affect me, but I would not want anyone else to have to experience what I and so many others had to go through, both currently and in the past.
The decision on this matter is out of the reach of the psychology department faculty, however, many psychology professors agree that psychology, and by extension, psychobiology, is certainly a real science. After all, psychology at SMC is in the school of science! As it stands, many students have to take a course completely unrelated to their major in order to graduate, and the other science classes have less space for students who actually want to take those courses. The current system reinforces the idea that psychology isn't a "real science", which is detrimental to not only the hundreds of current psychology students at SMC, but also to all the future psychology students who decide to attend SMC, and the development and progress of society as a whole.
Does there really need to be that many award shows?
Image c/o: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES; ANDREW H. WALKER/GETTY IMAGES; MICHAEL SCHWARTZ/CBS
By Madison Sciba
Associate Editor/Opinion Columnist
We are currently in the peak of the awards season, a time of year where everybody who is anybody is flaunting their wealth at award show after award show. There are the Golden Globes, the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) awards, the BAFTAs (British Academy Film Awards), the Critics Choice awards, the Academy awards (Oscars), the list goes on and on. From January to April there is at least one award show every two weeks.
It seems as though the same actors and actresses get the same awards at almost every show, so much so that by the time we get to the Academy Awards almost no one is surprised by the winners. By the time the Oscars came around, the only big question this year was if Austin Butler or Brendan Fraser would win the award for Best Actor.
Look, I love seeing the outfits and watching those incredible moments when a deserving actor finally receives an Academy Award, but we don’t need more than the four most popular awards. The EGOTs. The Emmys, the highest award for television. The Grammys, the coveted award for musicians and songwriters. The highest award available to those in the film industry, the Oscars/Academy Awards. And the Tonys, the goal of every stage performer and writer.
Called by some the most coveted award in Hollywood, only 18 people have won all four awards in their lifetime. Notably Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Hepburn, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Legend, and most recently, Viola Davis.
With the Oscars now over with, it just proves that no one really cares about the other awards. It barely made the news when Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Fraser won SAG awards, but people were in tears online when they finally won their Oscars. No one is arguing that those men, as well as Michelle Yeoh, were making history with their incredible Oscar wins.
Quan became the second ever Asian-American to win the award for Best Supporting Actor, an incredible win considering his role in Everything Everywhere All at Once was his first acting job in over 20 years. He rose to fame in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom starring as Short Round alongside Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones. Quan then went on to play the iconic character of Data in the 1985 classic The Goonies. He struggled to find work, realizing that there was no demand for young male Asian actors, so Quan began work behind the scenes. It was only after he saw the 2018 rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, he was inspired to return to acting. Quan then landed the role of Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once, so surprised that he landed the role, he turned to longtime friend and fellow Goonie, Jeff Cohen (now an entertainment lawyer) for help.
During his emotional Oscar’s acceptance speech, Quan told the world of his struggles, being a refugee who fled Vietnam as a child and had previously given up his dream of acting. He encouraged all who were watching to not give up on their dreams as he once did. At the end of the night Everything Everywhere All at Once was announced as the winner of Best Picture presented by Indiana Jones himself, Harrison Ford. Ford embraced Quan on stage, the Indiana Jones star congratulated Quan for the win, 39 years after Quan was a young boy starring alongside Ford in The Temple of Doom. The look of pride on Ford’s face mirrored the pure joy on Quan’s.
That was just one of the biggest and most influential moments of the Oscars, something that will be talked about for years to come. You just don’t hear about things like that happening at the Golden Globes or the BAFTAs. So what is the point of all these different award shows? Do we really care who won the Critics Choice Award? For most people the answer is no. No, we don’t need all these awards. Let's just stick with the EGOTs.
The dangers of censorship.
Image C/O Madison Sciba
By Madison Sciba
Associate Editor/Opinion Columnist
Penguin Random House, one of the largest publishing houses in the world, made waves after they announced that they will censor some of the most popular children’s novels by the late author, Roald Dahl. You have probably read at least one of Roald Dahl’s books or even seen one of the various movies or Broadway musical adaptations from one of his works. Dahl is known for books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and many more. Many of his novels have been staples in the childhoods of many.
The publisher of Dahl’s books, Penguin Random House, has decided that in an effort to be more “inclusive” they will be editing Dahl’s novels by changing the more “offensive or insensitive” wording. They will be replacing words such as “enormously fat” to “enormous” (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and phrases like “You can’t go round pulling the hair of every lady you meet, even if she is wearing gloves. Just you try it and see what happens” are being completely reworded to “Besides, there are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that” (The Witches).
Roald Dahl is just the latest victim in this censorship craze that is being disguised as being “inclusive.” Classic literature such as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird have been censored and banned in several libraries and schools throughout the United States by people on both sides of the political spectrum. Books that are considered classics are being banned and censored for having “inappropriate” or “insensitive” content by today’s current standards.
While no book or piece of literature should be banned, these classic novels should not be banned purely because of their worth to education. Most of these books have been read by students every year in all levels of English and Literature classes. Yet now, they are suddenly not okay for students to read.
In my last year of high school (2019/2020), my senior AP Literature class was instructed to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was originally published in 1885. My teacher however, was told that the school board of our district was making a list of books students were not allowed to read and Huck Finn was on the list. We were told that due to the use of an expletive in the novel, it was now forbidden to be taught in any school in the district.
Banning books based on things like explicit language and content that is not completely acceptable to today’s standards is ruining literature. No book is perfect. No author is perfect. Just because there are some inappropriate terms does not mean that the book is not worth reading. Just because an author is controversial does not mean that their work is not worth reading. Let people decide for themselves what they should and should not read. Why not use controversial books as opportunities to learn and improve us rather than shelter us from the past? Censorship is dangerous and something we need to speak out against. Don’t let companies like Penguin Random House ruin your favorite books. Don’t let groups like my high school district tell you which books you are not allowed to read. Make those decisions for yourself. Read what you want. Say no to censorship and say no to banning books.
Madison Sciba '24,