Killer Whales in Captivity

Killer whales have been kept in Captivity since 1961. They have been separated from their families; helpless and disarmed, they have no idea what is going on. One minute they are happily swimming freely in the wide open ocean, going wherever the seas take them. Next to them swim a calf, barley one year old. Suddenly a scream fills the tranquil ocean and the calf is entangled in a strong piece of netting. It squirms and struggles to get out. Its mother is calling for help, trying to untangle her baby,  but she can’t for she is weak and tired. The calf is heaved upwards and into the world of sun. Everything goes black.

The calf is called Tilikum; he is kept in SeaWorld – Florida, Orlando. He is kept in an enclosure that is too small for him, and in the shows, which are  held three times a day, he has to put up with people standing on his fin which is now bent.

Tilikum spends night after night in a tiny enclosure with 3 other orcas, having to endure 14 hours of this daunting experience. When Tilikum did not perform a trick correctly, he did not get any food. His fellow tankers did not get any either and started to bite Tilikum and rake their teeth against his body.

On 21st February 1991, a diver fell into the pool containing the three orcas. They were not getting fed properly and stress levels were very high, Tilikum dragged her down into the pool and she drowned. In 2010 a diver named Dawn was found dead in Tillikum’s enclosure. Killer whales are very dangerous and should not be messed around with. Tilikum was then put into a minute cage, just big enough for him. He is often found floating above the water. After a year of isolation Tilikum returned to performing, forced to endure the same cruelty as before.

There are even more orcas in danger because of this and we need to stop it. Would you like to be laughed and ridden on for 12 hours a day? Would you like to have endless days without food? Would you like to be stuck in an enclosure not even big enough for you to breathe in?

No? Then we need to put a stop to this.

By Sameera Patel 7R

My Daily Shame

I am an addict. I cannot go a day without my drug of choice. What is that drug? It’s the Daily Mail. I refresh it every hour, on the hour. It keeps me up to date with Kim Kardashian dropping her phone or perhaps a new conspiracy theory.

When I’m on it I can’t look away, I go into the zone of scrolling and I can’t function like a normal person until I’ve heard all of Nigel’s extremists policy’s and looked at the size 6 celebrities showing off their ‘curves’. My friends don’t believe me when I tell them about articles I’ve read and my current affairs knowledge is not up to scratch. So why do I still read this rubbish?

I use it as a relaxation a break from my homework a way to relax like others might use sports or go shopping. But Instead of being super fit as a result, I’m just well equipped with knowing what foods not to eat to prevent cancer. It appears I’m not the only one with this problem with nearly 2 million people reading this junk a month and an extra 9 million online. How can the Daily Mail have such extraordinary readership when many newspapers are struggling to survive?

I have tried to quit, several times. During my GCSEs, the app was forcibly deleted by my family in an attempt to stop me reading it instead of revision. Another time it was deleted off my phone was when I began studying politics and I was instructed to read BBC news. I found this to be a lot more concise and non bias in comparison, but frankly a bit dull.

There is some good to this atrocity. It measures the views of the British middle class, supposedly 60% of the country. It has previously channeled the force of housewives into several campaigns which were actually benefitting whilst under Paul Dacre. The newspaper published a photo of the alleged murderer of Stephen Lawrence and said if it’s not that person then they invited others to sue them, and was subsequently praised by Stephens parents and Ed Miliband who claimed that the paper played an ‘honourable role’ in bringing the killers to justice .

Now I can admit I am still addicted to the Daily Mail, but I know not take everything to be the truth and I plan to balance all the conspiracy theories and celebrity gossip with a something a little bit more serious in future.

By Phoebe Van Den Bergh

The mythical creature that lurks on social media

Despite his political stance and identification with the lower class, Ed Miliband has been ridiculed, taunted and rejected by members of the public. All of this is down to being slightly odd-looking. It seems that for our society, for the people who he will soon govern, appearance overrules politics. Surprising? Unfortunately not. In today’s society, the public figures and celebrities who we see in the papers, on the television – and just about everywhere we turn – seem to be a punching bag for the insecurities and ferocity that every normal person, who reads the paper instead of appearing in it, turn to in order to release pent-up anger and frustration.

Perhaps it is down to old-fashioned jealously. Or perhaps it is something more than that. Possibly, this is more than just picking on other people to bring ourselves up, and seeds to something more.

Following his ‘bacon sarnie’ disaster, Ed Miliband was cruelly slated: for simply not enjoying his breakfast, he was deemed as not being at one with the public, thinking he’s better than everybody else, not relatable, and, of course, people remarked on the unsavoury way he shovelled the sandwich in his mouth. What is it about public figures that bring out such an ugly, unacceptable side to us?

These people who take to the internet to criticise the public have aptly been named “trolls”. A troll (not the internet kind) is an ugly, mythical creature who dwells in isolated places,work together in small groups, and are rarely helpful to human beings. I cannot help but notice that the mythical ‘troll’ does not seem all too dissimilar to the internet troll.
These trolls work together in small hate clubs that join together over the internet, uniting over distaste for a reality TV star or a mutual hate for a politician.

They dwell in isolated places: the corners of cafes clutching their phones, the attic of their house, underneath their covers with the computer screen dimly lighting up their shelter. They cannot be seen, nor heard: only their trails can be found, the footprints of loathing and abuse they leave in their wake.

And of course, these internet trolls are in no way helpful to human beings. What joy do they bring to our lives? Scrolling through a celebrity’s Instagram, between the other decent comments, you cannot avoid a troll’s sneer of a comment. They are never amusing nor intelligent, and they make no input into anybody’s lives: in fact, many go unseen. So, I beg the question, why do it?

Kim Kardashian, reality star and wife of rapper Kanye West, has one of the highest amounts of followers on photo-sharing site Instagram, with over 19 million fans. On a recent photo she uploaded of herself, dressed in a black suit at Fashion Week, people couldn’t help but abuse her, with comments such as “You killed fashion week!” “What’s wrong with that woman” and, “You disgust me. You should not be famous; you’re an embarrassment to our world”. Indeed, there is not a single photo on her Instagram that has not been battered with abuse.

On ‘The Student Room’ a popular website for students to share information and discussions, the question “Does anyone actually like Ed Milliband?” appeared. Some of the comments were so explicit and disgusting, they cannot be shared. Some were milder saying: “I hate his nasal voice…and he looks like an inbred….why don’t you clear your seemingly blocked nose before you give speeches.”

I’m sure that the people who write these comments are not perfect and flawless. I’m sure they have bad hair days and blocked noses and wear odd clothes. People in the public eye once held respect: the general public looked to those in the public eye for inspiration, to dream bigger, to have courage to pursue their dreams, to work harder in their lives.
I wholeheartedly agree, some people who are deemed ‘famous’ should not be given such a title. They should not be privileged enough to be role models to our children, and to the general public. Yet does that give these people, people who are just like us, reason to be subject to such exploitation?

It’s as if we’re in the playground again, and celebrities and public figures have had a post-it note with “KICK ME” stuck on their backs. I doubt these ‘trolls’ would say any of the abuse they proudly stamp out on the internet to these celebrities’ faces. In fact, I bet they’d be lining up for a selfie with them.

Being in the public eye gives people certain responsibilities: you have a duty to be a role model, a respected citizen, a valued member of society. Spiderman’s saying is true, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. But this applies to the owners of computers and members of social media: if you have the power to comment on other people, be responsible. We shouldn’t abuse that power.

Because, we may forget, celebrities are just famous versions of ourselves. As actress Betty White neatly put it, “Trolls suck.”


The Hierarchy of Classics

At school the only literature we seem to study are those which are deemed as ‘classics’. Dickens, Austen, Wells and of course Shakespeare?

In a nutshell at school people do not study contemporary novels. But with the vast variety of great literature texts out there, maybe we should. I am personally enthralled by both contemporary and classic novels, yet I feel a sense of exasperation at the same time.

Contemporary novels do not necessarily have less complex plots or fewer sophisticated themes. In contrast Classics can be off putting in the style they are written in. Even Shakespeare’s use of the ‘side joke’ only appeals to a 16th century audience, making completely incomprehensible to a 21st century audience.  Contemporary novels are easier to comprehend.  The reader is able to focus more on the backbone of the story, analysing the plot line making it easier to appreciate the plot line more, (rather than tearing away a padding of language).

On the other hand, classics teach people that dedication can be fruitful. Nothing is handed to anybody on a platter and one might argue that the reading of classics helps to reiterate this idea. The fact that the structure and wording of the English language used in classic literature differs from the version we use nowadays adds to the authenticity of the text.

On a more practical note, the great effort it takes to read classics, forces people to analyse the text in greater detail. Developing a new found skill set for several jobs and written exams, whereas contemporary novels benefit the current-day reader linguistically. All readers, whether inadvertently or not, pick up on the language in books and use it to develop their own dialect. Most classics, (even the more recent ones), contain language that is simply not accessible to a modern day audience.

Many will argue that classics have stood the test of time, some have survived centuries,  and others have been read for over a millennium. Why would we keep reading these books if they are not interesting? However, every classic had to be written and published at some point: a point before it was a classic. A book must be read by many people in more than one generation before it can be called classic and our generation will have nothing to show if we do not propel our own books to classical status.

Something old is not necessarily better than something new.

I think the main reason that contemporaries are excluded from the higher levels of education is due to the hierarchy which novels are placed in. We are stuck in a spiral of woes. The more people read a book, the more people read a book. Once a book has achieved classical status, it can be very hard to avoid (especially in the education system).

Contemporary novels have equally exciting plot lines, they are easier to understand and they help people develop their language skills. However, classics have stood the test of time. They have forced people to analyse, and at the end of the day, they are classics. Overall, we ought to juggle classic and contemporary literature as both forms of enhance our learning.

There may be some controversy as to which contemporaries we should study and how often we should rotate the texts in the education curriculum. So we should read contemporary novels but, we should not entirely cut out classics as well.

And who knows, maybe someday our contemporary books will become ‘classics’.