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Why won’t guys see Brokeback Mountain?

I’ve seen Brokeback Mountain and I thought it was great, but when I told my guy friends to watch it they thought I was crazy. They thought it was a bad movie because it was about two gay characters. Most guys just are not open-minded. I think guys should realize that gay people are not different. When somebody judges someone else based on sexual orientation, that’s a form of discrimination.
    Brokeback Mountain is more than two gay cowboys in love. It’s about a powerful love between two people who have to go through so many things.
Herla Ramos, Taft HS (Woodland Hills)

I did not like the article about Brokeback Mountain. It says that people are too closed-minded if they don’t want to watch Brokeback Mountain. I don’t think anybody would want to see a film that has two naked men making love. This has nothing to do with people being "blinded by their fear, religion, ignorance and/or homophobia," as Jessica wrote in her article. This has to do with the fact that Brokeback Mountain is a very graphic movie (from what I hear). Even though I have not seen the movie (and I don’t plan to), I believe that it is wrong to make such a graphic movie so popular, especially with teens. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not homophobic or anything, but the movie is just not a movie I would want to see.
    I don’t think that I am being mean, because a movie like Brokeback Mountain is not something that parents want their kids seeing, even commercials for the movie. Also, I don’t think that parents would want their children growing up with questions like "Am I gay?" because they see a movie like Brokeback Mountain, and question themselves, when most kids turn out to be straight. I don’t agree with the writer of this article.
Paytsar Topchyan, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (S.O.C.E.S.)

I think this was a good article, but you have to be in a man’s shoes to understand why guys won’t see the movie Brokeback Mountain. Why would we want to go watch a movie about two gay men? It doesn’t spark our interest. We want to watch movies with action, or that are about women or comedies. We don’t want to see two gay men kiss and have sex. And that’s why men don’t want to see the movie. It’s not that we’re insecure about our sexuality. Also, some guys just don’t like romantic movies.
Chris Breckenridge, Taft HS

I don’t care if guys are gay or girls are lesbians because it’s their choice and they have the right to do what they want. Guys who make fun of gays are stupid because for all they know, their best friends could be gay. You also shouldn’t judge people by their sexuality. It’s not right to make fun of somebody because they are gay or lesbian; it could really hurt them. People should just mind their own business.
Francine Mroczek, Taft HS

By reading your article I realized how big the problem of homophobia really is in today’s society. People have to realize that people are who they want to be, gay or straight.
Lauren Scherer, Taft HS

After reading the article about people not wanting to watch Brokeback Mountain for their personal reasons, I have mixed feelings. At first, I agreed with Jessica Gelzer that some teens are being idiotic for not wanting to see a movie just because of homosexuality. But then again, I agreed with some of the things people had to say.
    It just depends on how people feel about certain topics. It really isn’t fair to bash people who feel differently about things. Just because they don’t want to see Brokeback, whether it’s for a stupid reason or for religion, it’s just their feelings. For some people, it might be more awkward and uncomfortable for them to see two men kiss than watching someone get killed.    Homosexuality shouldn’t be so out there and open because it’s not a daily thing for people. It’s fair for some people to have a phobia of watching Brokeback Mountain.
Mindy Kim, Wilson MS (Glendale)

A teen tried the choking game

The article "Blacking out" was extremely powerful. I would never be stupid enough to do it, but Jenny just did it to impress her friends.
    As the article said this so-called "game" is dangerous for your health and body. Many teens have tried this game and unfortunately some have died from lack of oxygen to their lungs and to the brain. This "game" is addicting just like smoking or drugs can be. I mean trying it once is still bad but not as much as doing it repetitively. Jenny shouldn’t be influenced so easily by others. Just because they think it’s cool doesn’t mean it is.
Danielle Panish, S.O.C.E.S.

The story "Blacking out" told me a lot about the choking game. I could relate to Jenny Potter; I have played that game before, but before I read her article, I didn’t know that it could kill or give you brain damage.
    I first played it when I was 7. It was my cousin who first did it to me and I felt a small high. This article taught me what it can do to you and how dangerous it is. After reading this I won’t ever play that game again.
Alex Manukian, Wilson MS

A girl overcame an eating disorder

This story was inspiring. It taught me not to stress about weight as much and not focus my entire life around the amount of calories I consume. I truly respect Nattalie for being able to conquer her problem. Although it took a long time for her to acknowledge her problem, she was eventually able to seek help. It also took a lot of courage to write about her problem in L.A. Youth.
    Nattalie’s article will help all young women with eating disorders realize that they have a problem and should seek help.
Amanda Meyer, Taft HS

The article "Out of balance" made me think about the food I eat every day. Usually, I don’t even think before I eat. To lose weight you don’t have to stop eating altogether. The way to lose weight is to exercise two to four times a week, and eat more healthy food like protein, fruits and vegetables. This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating all junk foods though. Occasionally, it’s OK for you to have a piece of chocolate or something. I was relieved to hear that she is slowly gaining her pounds back. This article goes to show that you shouldn’t trust all the magazine ads and TV shows. Those are the people you’re comparing yourself to. Nobody’s that perfect.
Bridget Mastopietro, S.O.C.E.S.

I think Nattalie’s courage to write this article is amazing. She reached out to help others who are in her situation and has educated many people. She is a very strong person. I think that inner beauty is the most important thing. People should not try and hurt themselves to achieve what they see on TV. Sure, it would be nice to wear cute clothes or have your hair a certain way, but that is not the only thing that is important. I believe health is the most important thing. If you criticize yourself for the way you look, then that is not really healthy. There are many other things in life that are important, not just how skinny you are. More teenagers should stop worrying about who could be skinnier and should start enjoying their lives.
Ramona Cohen, Taft HS

I think every woman at some point in her life thinks she is fat or is just not happy with her body. What Nattalie did was wrong, but I’m happy she recovered. Having an eating disorder is very serious. Food is the most important thing for our bodies.
Eugenia Delgado, Taft HS

Cartoons insulting Islam

After reading "Cartoon controversy," by Beeta Baghoolizadeh, it started me thinking about the job of a political cartoonist. The job of these cartoonists requires them to draw controversial cartoons. They have to make cartoons that impact people’s lives and get people talking.
    The reaction that the cartoonists and newspapers received from Muslims is exactly what they were looking for. If they didn’t think the cartoon was going to raise a dispute, they would not have put it in the newspaper. This cartoon was offensive and I do not blame Beeta for being upset by it, but it was meant to happen. The cartoon was published for this reason and this reason only.
Molly Isken, S.O.C.E.S.

After reading Beeta Baghoolizadeh’s article, I strongly disagree with her. That’s not to say that I agree with the Danish cartoons’ message. However, that is freedom of speech, something that is rarely heard or even implied in many Arab countries. I felt like if the protestors had protested peacefully, I would have been more inclined to support them. However, after 10 people died, I was disgusted by these ruthless and bloody riots. These are riots, not marches or demonstrations.
    Frankly, Beeta’s views seem naive and out of touch with reality because she said "Why would the Danish editor decide to attack my religion?" Although the vast, vast, vast majority of Muslims are peaceful there are, as in any religion, fanatical zealots prepared to die for their religion. By publishing the cartoons the editor was aiming at those extremists.
    Also, an Iranian cartoon was printed showing Anne Frank in bed with Adolph Hitler. As appalling as this is, I will not riot. I will fret quietly because in America, I have a little thing called freedom of speech.
Evan Moorman, S.O.C.E.S.

‘Do you love me, mom?’

I liked this essay, because sometimes I wonder, too. When my mom gets mad at me I just go to my room and start thinking that she doesn’t love me. But of course after a few minutes I get over it and I go to the mall with my mom or to a relative’s house.
    However, this is more serious. My mother never makes me pay for gas or her stuff. She pays for everything I have. I feel sorry for Nicole Williams because all children should be loved by their parents. It really hurts when you are not loved.
    I understand what she means when she says, "If things keep going the way they’re going with us, I will still love you, mom." No matter how much I get mad at my mom, I will always love her. I think all children loves their parents. So I hope that Nicole works everything out with her mom.
Anahit Airabedian, Wilson MS

A teen’s parents push him very hard

I could understand what Troy Romillo feels [about his parents pushing him so hard in school]. It’s wrong that our parents push us so hard. We have our own lives. Troy made me see better what’s happening in my life with my parents. Sometimes our parents don’t get that we need to have fun and not always study. Sometimes they forget that they were young, too. We know that they want better for us, but it doesn’t mean to study 24 hours a day. We need to have fun, too. And finally, they should understand that we are going to be whatever we want to be and they should agree with us.
Karla Martinez, Cabrillo HS (Long Beach)

I think my life is the same as Troy Romillo because he has problems with his grades and I do, too. In my ELD class I have an F because the teacher thinks I don’t learn English. I don’t speak much English and she thinks I can’t read and write well, but I try.
    When my mom saw this grade she got angry with me because she thinks it isn’t a good grade. My mom suspended my cell phone. I feel the same as Troy feels. I think everyone needs attention and understanding.
Johanna Espinoza, Cabrillo HS

A week without talking

I can totally relate to Sue Li and her article "Speechless." I am a big talker with my friends and I can get really annoying. I often hear the words "shut up" from my friends. Sometimes I have found myself in the same situation as Sue, being the loudest person in the room.
    I don’t think I could ever keep my mouth shut for a week. It was interesting to see how Sue coped with not being able to talk. I think that she is right in the end when she says it’s better to be a gabber than forgotten. Everyone has a voice so they might as well use it.
Christie Morishige, Wilson MS

As I read Sue’s article "Speechless" I felt that Sue really accomplished something big by not talking for a whole week. Being someone who loves to talk to friends at school, on AIM, or wherever they are, makes me recognize the challenge she had to not speak to them at all. I’m not sure if I could handle it.
    This article demonstrates how challenging yourself can actually show you your strengths and weaknesses. I’ve also learned that those specific qualities make up part of who you are. Without knowing your strengths and weaknesses you can’t fully know who you are.
Julius Weng, S.O.C.E.S.

In the article, "Speechless" by Sue Li, she seems like a chatterbox. When she stopped talking for a week, she failed a couple of times. Right after that week, she just started to talk again and again. It shows that she wasn’t in control of herself. I think she should have been quiet from then on after she tried her "experiment"; her friends don’t like it when she makes all these comments about food and how she can’t get into college. Her friends tell her to shut up, so why won’t she listen? I know it’s hard, but if she can do it for a week, why can’t she do it forever?
    She needs to learn how to stop talking. I think that she was right when she said no one really listens to what she says because she says too much. I have friends that talk like crazy and it’s so annoying! She doesn’t have to comment about everything, everyone tells her that she talks a lot and she just nods it off. She needs to get the message that sometimes she can BE QUIET. At the end, when she said that she’d rather be "Sue the gabber" than "Sue, forgotten" why can’t she just be "Sue, one of the normal people who speaks less?"
Irene Wu, S.O.C.E.S.

A girl’s horrible prom

After reading "Unenchanted evening," I was so scared for my future prom. "What if the same thing happens to me as it did to Jasmine?" This thought kept running though my mind. Having the wrong dress, having grades go down in school, and having the limo company with no proof that you made reservations!
    However, in the end, all things worked out and I was happy for Jasmine. I am not so scared anymore because when the time gets close, I will make sure that I follow her advice: "don’t let prom take over your life because it is only one night." In addition, I learned from this article not to have too high expectations because if things don’t go perfectly, you will get disappointed. It’s better if you just don’t slack off but not "live prom 24/7" and "plan too much." It’s better if you just "go with the flow."
Cynthia Astorga, S.O.C.E.S.

After I read "Unenchanted evening" by Jasmine Smith, I was appalled. Just by looking at the pictures of Jasmine’s dresses I could tell that she was obsessed about making everything perfect and everything turned out horribly. It’s ridiculous to stress about one night for prom half a year before it actually happens. Jasmine took advantage of her parents’ generosity and splurged on unnecessary objects. If my grades dropped so dramatically, my parents wouldn’t even let me go to prom.
    The main reason that everything turned out so badly was because she daydreamed more than she actually organized. She should have booked a limo earlier, instead of modeling her tiara every day for five months. It seemed to me that Jasmine just wanted to prove to everyone that she was superior and I’m glad that her plan backfired on her. Most importantly, I hope it taught her a lesson because it sure did teach me one.
Danielle Rekhtman, S.O.C.E.S

A teen still doesn’t "get" video games

I strongly agree with Katherine Lam about video games. It is boring to play the same thing over and over. When I started playing video games, I was five or six. I was playing Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo. As I became older, the style of games shifted from 2D to 3D. In the first two years it was kind of cool playing 3D games. After a while there was nothing new left to make, so the same kind of games became boring to play.
    I think playing video games for 30 minutes is normal. But when you start playing for hours, I think you’re just wasting your time on something that gives you nothing but vileness and nervousness.
Razmik Kajberuni, Wilson MS

The article "Crash and burn" by Katherine Lam was interesting to read. I disagreed with one of her points, which was that since she was a girly girl she didn’t play video games. I know many girly girls who do play. But she also made good points like how video games help your hand eye coordination. I also agree about Sims because that game can get boring when you’re sitting in front of your computer waiting for something to happen. I would have liked to hear that she would still play video games and not give it up but what she gave up is an important thing too—READING! If I met Katherine, I would say try playing video games. And just because you play video games doesn’t mean you can’t read and do well in school also.
Michael Reed, S.O.C.E.S.