Logan Paul is Making Some Noise

By Nat Jenkins

On December 31st, YouTube “star” Logan Paul uploaded a video to his channel featuring a suicide victim in Aokigahara, commonly known as the “suicide forest” because of the large number of people that take their own lives (estimates claim that over 100 suicides take place each year, although Japan no longer releases its death counts.)

Forbes Magazine ranked Logan Paul as one of the top entertainment influencers in the world; major companies pay him considerable amounts of money to post sponsored videos. With 15 million subscribers, it is no doubt that his videos have an impressionable effect on his audience, targeting mostly teenagers and children.

The extremely problematic video consisted of Paul and a small group of his friends planning to stay overnight in the woods where he hoped to “focus on the haunted aspect of the forest” and potentially film supernatural events. Paul’s attitude throughout the entirety of the video is disgusting, it is hard to tell whether or not he is being serious. In fact, upon discovering the body of a man who recently had commit suicide, his reaction was not of respect, but rather excitement:

“This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,”

and continued to say that “this is YouTube history because it never been done before.” While this in itself is repulsive, Paul continued to film the body of the victim and failed to hold back a laugh. “This was all going to be a joke; why did it become so real?” Aokigahara was and never will be a joke, Aokigahara is not a tourist attraction; it is a mass grave. In fact, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and at Aokigahara, Japanese officials have signs displayed around the forest asking victims who may be suffering from mental illness to seek help.

The following day Paul had received overwhelming backlash, as he should. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and American Actor Dylan O’Brien are some of many who had criticized him for his actions.

In an attempt at good faith, Paul uploaded a one-minute-long “apology video” to his channel (notably, which did not contain any resources for anybody suffering from mental illness, which he claims to support.)

He also uploaded an apology to Twitter:

“This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong. I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am.”

Paul’s apology is not sincere. He is only defending his actions. If he truly wanted to “raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention,” then he should have included resources and tools that can help people who are suffering from mental illness. Not only that, but the video is monetized, meaning that if you allow the presence of advertisements before your videos, YouTube will charge advertisers for these and share the fees with you, allowing you to make some money from people viewing your videos.

After it was revealed that the video was monetized, Twitter went on to boycott Paul’s YouTube video to ensure that the vlogger would make no further profit. The fact that Paul’s video is monetized clearly raises the questions as to whether or not he is truly sorry for his actions, and if his initial intent was to raise suicide awareness and prevention.

Some people are frustrated with YouTube’s lack of intervention since Paul himself removed the video. Recently, however, YouTube has finally decided to reprimand Paul for his actions.

YouTube posted a statement on their Twitter account apologizing to its users and promised that “changes are on the way,” implying that “further consequences” would be at hand for Paul.

In addition to this statement, a YouTube spokesperson stated in a press release that the company had removed Paul from its Google Preferred advertising tier, cancelled the upcoming fourth season of the YouTube Red series Foursome, and temporarily stopped the production of Paul’s films in its “Originals” category, including the upcoming sequel to YouTube Red’s first feature-length thriller, a dystopian sci-fi called The Thinning.

Despite this, his self-created business empire still exists. He will continue to make an estimated eight-figure profit each year – according to a Forbes estimate – since he earns the remainder of his income without YouTube involvement, mostly through brand deals and his popular merchandise.

That means that Paul’s financial success is not entirely up to YouTube, but mostly to his fans and sponsors. If his fans stopped going to his meet and greet and buying his merchandise entirely, his earnings could drop 50% at least. This is unlikely, however, as PewDiePie (another YouTuber who had a recent controversy) managed to earn $12 million last year.

It is sickening that Logan Paul will virtually face no significant consequences for his actions. Suicide is not – and never will be –  a joke.


 

Editors Note: Contributing article by Natalie Jenkins. Natalie’s conclusions expressed in this editorial do not represent the predilections’ of our writers, contributors and editors. If you would like to comment on our articles or columns, refer to our contact section above.

 

The Stars Would Never Run Away, After All

By Tatiana Bogdanov

there was a girl with galaxies in her eyes. she was always in a quarrel, with herself, with the people around her, with everything and everyone she touched.

he met her, and he was smitten. she looked at him all shy and nervous and jumpy, and he could only stare back.

the anxious thoughts that she shared with him, that first true conversation of sorts, conducted over the course of a day, over texts,

pulled him into her orbit.

her thoughts were his thoughts,

her eyes were his eyes.

and the conversations continued. quiet texts throughout the day, pulling him closer and closer, and yet he could never read her. she couldn’t read him.

two hearts beat, feeling the same, but two hearts wandered,

feeling as if they were the only hearts in the world

he learned of all her inabilities. he learned of all her insanity. he learned how much she complained.

strange feelings grew in his chest, wrapped around his lungs like vines

she looked in the mirror, and all she saw in herself was annoyance, ugliness, the scars she amassed and never ignored.

he saw how she was perpetually wounded, and yet. he fell in love all the same

he looked in her eyes, and saw tempests of stars

he looked in her eyes, and wondered what her lips would feel like on his.

he looked in her eyes, and he saw her; unbridled, unfiltered, confused at the actions other people took, freer than all and yet trapped like a dying bear.

he saw the cluelessness. he saw the confusion. he saw the intelligence. and dare he say, he saw the love?

she was self-centred. she was arrogant. she was hopeless, and a whiner.

and yet, his heart hammered at the thought of seeing her. his stomach leapt into his throat when he did. he hadn’t felt so nervous in years.

was he in love with the idea of her? was he in love with her?

texts turned into late-night conversations, her pouring her heart out and him gladly drinking it up. circles grew under his eyes, under hers; yet he’d never felt more awake.

he saw her in the hallways and could barely muster up a hello. he saw her in her classes and brashly looked away.

she was uncatchable. she was unbelievable. to him, she floated through life, above it all.

she was infinitesimal

‘how is this life good enough for her?’ he wondered.

he wondered the way the world looked, when you looked at it through galaxies.

the girl felt the same way. after all, he was the boy with galaxies in his eyes.

she couldn’t think of talking to him without her stomach doing flips.

he made her fingers and toes tingle, and her breath catch in the most delightful manner.

she couldn’t stop the laughter around him,

because seeing him gave her a high.

she often felt like she was wandering through life alone, untethered yet ungrounded. loved yet unliked. as lonely as the woods in the north. as solitary as the stars.

and yet, with him? With the texts,

that so often felt like she was talking to no one and to everyone? sounding off on everything; competing for the title of most sad.

so often they talked, never addressing each other.

so often they talked, and the judgement that seemed to come from so many others, never came.

they could be them.

she felt alive. she could feel the blood running through her veins. she could feel every one of her nerves on fire.

she felt linked.

here were two people.

they wished so hard they could read each other’s minds,

to know what the other thought,

about them, about life, about the universe as they know it, about everybody, about their dreams

young and naive. selfish and sad. mature beyond their years, yet plagued with stupid decisions made left and right.

alone, they had both meandered. alone, they had both digressed; deviated, diverted from everyone for no reason other than they couldn’t figure out how to fit in.

and together, they could dance in the dark.

My Transition from Vaughan Road Academy to Forest Hill Collegiate Institute

By Marian Nicole Pascual

     I attended Vaughan Road Academy (VRA) in its final year before it closed its doors forever in late June of 2017.  I have been moving schools all my life, (I have been to 6 different schools) but VRA has, and always will, hold a special place in my teenage heart. 

     VRA was a high school with a little over 200 students, which was only 20 percent of its capacity.  Because of this, and decades of dropping enrolment, TDSB voted to close the school down last December.  It may seem unfortunate that I joined the year it closed, but it turned out to be a very rewarding experience after all.

     VRA welcomed me into the new school year with open doors.  I remember walking into my first, second, and third classes and realizing that the same 15 students I saw were all in my grade.  I also realized that despite what grade you were in, everybody hung out with everybody else. At the time, one of my best friends was actually in Grade 9.

     One big difference I noticed about VRA was that there was a much more relaxed relationship between students and teachers.  That was one of the things I did not have at my previous schools where there were over 1,800 students, and teachers had to divide their attention equally between them.  But at VRA, I noticed I had a closer relationship with my teachers than I did before, and that is one of the things that made VRA so special.  I could talk to them about things that were unrelated to school as if they were my friends and not strictly my teachers.

     Spending my first few weeks at the school was truly haunting.  I was still getting used to the abandoned classrooms on each floor, and the quasi-deserted hallways. But at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute (FHCI), it takes me what seems like a lifetime to get to a class that is two classrooms away because the hallways are so cramped! #Relatable

     There is so much history in the hallways of VRA.  I felt its eerie presence every day.  I could not forget the soft buzz that I always heard in the uninhabited hallways.  It sounded like the soft hum of all the spirits that attended VRA from 1926 to 2017.   But it was actually the school’s heating system; the soft hum of the heating machines implanted in the walls.

     Switching from IB Physics to Philosophy was probably the best thing that happened to me at Vaughan, besides meeting the love of my life, whom I will mention later.  Philosophy helped me come to terms with my purpose in life, and my religion.  Philosophy helped me realize I was agnostic.  I remember writing a “Does God Exist?” essay, and I could not sleep for nights because of it.  Before attending Vaughan, the majority of schools I attended were Catholic schools where religion was incorporated into most of the curriculum, and there were no Philosophy courses. When I was introduced to Philosophy last year, everything I learned in Catholic school leading up to that moment simply did not make sense to me anymore. Everything I learned in Catholic school leading up to the moment I was introduced to philosophy simply did not make sense to me anymore. To this day, I am still thankful that I decided to switch to Philosophy because it impacted the way I perceive life greatly.  

     Towards the end of the school year, we had yearbook signings in our cafeteria. I decided to ask a particular gentleman I met very briefly during school events to sign my yearbook. He signed it, I signed his, and here we are 5 months later.  Most VRA alumni have said that they found the love of their lives in those hallways, and it was possible that I could have just missed him and not asked him to sign my yearbook that day.  But I am glad I did anyway.  

     Although there were not many students at VRA, there were still many clubs.  I tried to join most of them, like Peer Mentors, French Club, Music Council, and the Girls Volleyball Team.  It was especially hard to be a part of a sports team because we had very little people. No one could be absent or else we would not be able to play due to the lack of players.  For example, I was a setter for the volleyball team, and I always had to attend practices and be present for games or else we would not be able to play at all.

     In the end, VRA felt like more of a home than a high school.  Everyone was just comfortable with each other, and you can not get that same feeling in any other high school.  My transition from VRA to FHCI was a shock at first (mostly because there are so many students) but so far, I am happy to spend my last high school year at FHCI.

 

Dolly Dearest

By Raine Love Perez

Being left home alone was a normal part of Marley’s life since her Mom was always at work. She was a surgeon so she was in the hospital for fifty to sixty hours per week. Sometimes even more. Right now, Marley and her seven-year-old sister, Callie, were flipping through channels, trying to find something interesting to watch.

Marley glanced at the clock, abruptly sitting up. 11:37 PM. Shoot. It was way past Callie’s bedtime. A solid two hours and thirty-seven minutes past. Her Mom would not be happy with that. “Alright. Come on, Callie. Let’s get you tucked into bed.”

“But I’m not tired,” Callie said, yawning right after the words had left her mouth.

Marley chuckled at her sister’s childlike behaviour. “Yeah, right,” she said, standing up as she gestured for Callie to follow. She turned on her heel, sauntering towards the staircase and was about to ascend the first step until the power went out.

“The lights turned off!” Callie exclaimed.

“I can see that.” Marley pivoted towards the nearest light switch, flicking it on and off. Nothing. Whatever. They were going to sleep anyways. She reached for the emergency flashlight on a shelf, pressing the power button and feeling that reassuring click under her thumb as a beam of light shone into the darkness. She pointed the light towards the stairs and looked at Callie, smiling. “Up we go.”

Callie gazed at the top of the stairs then shook her head. “No.”

Marley blinked. “No?”

“The lady is blocking the way.”

Marley gave a look of confusion, following her sister’s line of sight and pointing her flashlight towards it only to find nothing. “What lady?”

“The one with no eyes.”

Goosebumps rose. “Stop that, Callie.” The urban legend of Dolly drifted into Marley’s mind. The malignant demon that once was a beautiful lady, one that had doll-like features such as porcelain skin and rosy red cheeks. Her eyes were her best feature. They were a forest green, and it contrasted greatly with her black hair. Unfortunately, she lost her beauty when the townsfolk sacrificed her to the gods. First, her green orbs were carved out, then she was burned to death.

Suddenly, the flashlight went out. Marley furrowed her eyebrows and tried to turn it back on. “What the…”

“She’s coming closer…” Callie said, fear evident in her eyes.

“It’s okay, Cal. I’m sure that you’re just imagining things,” Marley reassured. She wasn’t sure if she was trying to reassure her sister or herself. She picked Callie up and reached for the landline. “This is why sleeping is so important,” she added, before dialling her Mom’s phone number and waiting for an answer. She tried once, twice… When she got no answer on her third try, she put the phone down. She frantically looked around, paranoia slowly rising. It was pitch black, and her sister was claiming that there was an eyeless lady in the house. What else would she feel? She then got an idea. She could drive to her Mom instead. She rushed towards the front door, unlocked it, and tried to open it, but it wouldn’t budge.

“This can’t be happening.” She spun towards the windows and opened the curtains, only to see blood covering every square inch of the glass pane. Her heart skipped a beat. Its pungent scent filled her nostrils and she gagged. Suddenly, with no time to react, the glass shattered, the pieces flying everywhere and making Callie scream. Instinctively, Marley threw Callie to the sofa and shielded herself with her arms. Most of the shards bounced off, some managed to pierce Marley’s arms, and one punctured her stomach. She grimaced and hissed in pain while tears brimmed Callie’s eyes.

“Go to your room,” Marley managed, delivering each word as calmly and steadily as she could. She didn’t want to frighten her sister any more than she probably was. Callie heeded immediately. Not because she was intimidated, but because she was scared. Marley plucked a fragment of glass from her stomach and tossed it aside before proceeding to do the same with the other ones that were protruding from all over her arms.

When she was done, she started towards the stairs as well but was forced to a halt when a heavyweight pounced on her. She turned her head to see what was on her and was met with an inhuman face. A lady with no eyes. More specifically, Dolly. Only she didn’t seem doll-like at all. Her skin was an ebony colour, rather scorched, that in which correlated with her death. Proof that she was burned. Some of her skin was peeling off, and the very few remaining patches of her hair was as crispy as fallen leaves during the autumn season. Dolly plastered a smile on her hideous face before speaking in a guttural voice.

“Hello, dearest.”

Completely horror-struck, Marley’s eyes widened and she drew in a sharp breath. She swung her fist at the demon’s face, but it reacted almost immediately and countered the attack by sinking its teeth deep into her forearm. Marley shrieked in pain then head-butted Dolly’s face, the force of this causing the demon to bump into the side table and spilling the glass of water Marley never finished earlier. The demon shrilled and Marley crawled back, her heart pounding against her chest. She wheeled around to grab a lamp, but when she turned back around to attack, Dolly was gone.

She let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and swallowed, scrambling up to her feet then scurrying up the stairs. “Callie!” She called, stopping at the top.

Her sister, she whom stood in the hallway, spun around to face Marley. She opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted when she was suddenly flung into the open room.

“NO!”

Marley heard the sickening sound of Callie’s fragile bones being broken and this made her heart twist in pain. She ran towards the entrance of Callie’s room, and there she was. On the floor, lying face first in a pool of her own blood. Marley screamed and brought her hands to her mouth, sobbing in horror.

Dolly emerged from under the bed, reaching a dark hand out and grabbing Callie’s corpse, pulling her under the bed as well. Marley gasped and pushed herself against the wall so that she wasn’t in the creature’s view. Just then, both of Callie’s brown eyes rolled out the doorway, a trail of blood on the floor where the eyeballs previously rolled on. Marley stared at it through wide eyes, completely petrified.

She winced when she heard the demon hungrily devouring Callie’s corpse, and that was the only sound that filled her ears. Marley shut her eyes tightly, and despite how tight they were closed, tears still managed to leak. “Please stop,” she begged weakly.

Suddenly, the power turned on again, and the phone started to ring. Marley jumped in shock. She ran into her Mom’s room towards the ringing phone. She fumbled for the phone and brought it up to her ear, not wasting any time to speak. It was her Mom.

“Mom, I need you to come home,” she urged, her voice cracking. Her knees were knocking and she was trembling greatly, barely holding the phone in her hand.

“Marley? What’s wrong?”

“Someone—something is here. And it’s not human.” Marley’s voice was suddenly lower. She cast a nervous glance around, getting the feeling that she was being watched. “Mom, please come home. I’m scared,” she whimpered.

“Oh, my…I’ll call 911 and be there as fast as I can, okay? I’m going to need you to-“

The phone flew out of her hand and right against the wall, breaking into pieces. Marley screamed, running into her room and slamming the door shut, her alarm clock falling onto the floor.

She sunk to the floor, her back against the door. She occupied herself by applying pressure to the bite wound on her forearm as it seemed to keep bleeding. Marley had never been afraid of the dark, but now, she was terrified of it. She was terrified of everything in the house and she wanted so badly to escape… But she couldn’t.

She rested her head back against the door’s surface, closing her eyes and not wanting to open them again.

She couldn’t.

Her fate then dawned on her and she started to hurt. Not just physically. It was even worse than physical pain. Her soul hurt, and the thought that her death was inevitable made a heavyweight drop on her. She would never graduate from high school, she would never become a teacher, she would never marry, have kids, grow old…With this thought in her head, she cried herself to sleep.

The last thing Marley saw was her alarm, blinking the bolded, red ‘12:06 PM’ before the creature pushed its long, rotting nails into her eyes, painfully carving them out. Its other hand muffled her screams as it tore and ate away at her body.

Marley shot upright, letting out a shaky breath of relief that it was only a dream. She glanced at her alarm clock. It read 12:05 PM. In a moment of realization, her breath caught in her throat, just as the closet door creaked open.

#

Callie’s eyes fluttered open, followed by a small moan of pain. The lights nearly blinded her. They were way too bright for her liking. She rolled her head around the pillow, eying the hospital room in a way that made it seem like she was leaving little fingerprints everywhere. The metallic taste of blood was in her mouth, but she paid no mind to it.

Her Mom lifted her head off the bedside, a clear look of fatigue and sorrow on her face despite the wide smile she displayed. “You’re awake “she whispered. Her eyes watered and she held Callie’s cold hand. “If I lost you too I would’ve… “she trailed off and bit her quivering lip, looking to the side as she tried to keep her tears at bay.

Callie didn’t say anything; no other sound being made other than the heart monitor and its consistent beeps.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“It’s my fault,” Callie finally spoke. “She’s dead because of me.”

“No… No, Sweetheart. It’s not your fault.”

Callie looked directly at her Mom. Perhaps it was her fatigue that made her notice so late, but Callie’s eyes weren’t brown like they were supposed to be, but instead, a forest green.

The heart monitor suddenly stopped beeping, flatlining as Callie let out a menacing smile.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

“But it was, Mommy.”

THE END

Things to Look Forward to In 2018

By Sapna Humar


2017 was a lot of things. For some people, it was the best year of their lives. For others, it was a bummer.  Now, it’s a new year, and not surprisingly, there’s so much to look forward to.

For instance, in only a couple of weeks, on January 31st, we will be treated to not the first, but the second supermoon of this year. In fact, on the exact same day, there will also be a total lunar eclipse — so be sure to mark your calendars.

Next, kicking off February is the long-awaited 2018 Winter Olympics, held in PyeongChang, South Korea. This will be Canada’s 23rd appearance at the Winter Olympics, and they are scheduled to compete in all the main sports. The NHL has refused to participate in this year’s Olympics, but Canada’s hockey team is still one of our strongest assets, and there is a still a chance of winning our third straight Olympic gold.

Speaking of sports, the 21st FIFA World Cup is being held in Russia in June and July. After Germany’s win in the 2014 World Cup, early predictions for this year’s winners include Spain, France, and Brazil.

Along with 2018 also come some of the biggest blockbusters to hit the theatres. This, of course, includes Avengers: Infinity War in April, the culmination of 10 years and 18 movies by Marvel, featuring superheroes from all corners of the Marvel universe. Black Panther is also scheduled to come out next month, followed by Solo: A Star Wars Story in May. 2018, it seems, is also the year of sequels, as movie releases include the second Jurassic World, Deadpool 2, and The Incredibles 2. So far, it’s looking like a jam-packed year for Hollywood, and hopefully, they don’t disappoint.

Not only does the new year bring much to look forward to for science, sports, and pop culture, but it also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and celebrates and remembers the lives of all those lost.

On a more local scale, there are a ton of things happening in Toronto this year, including the opening of Drake’s restaurant, Pick 6ix, the Toronto Light Festival, beginning later this month, and several music concerts to look forward to, with artists like Ed Sheeran, Lorde, and DJ Khaled performing.

At FHCI itself, students can look forward to our school’s first semi-formal on February 15th — a great way to start off a long weekend. Speaking of days off, the March break is coming up as well, and with it come vacations and springtime weather. Overall, the second semester is bound to be filled with fun events and activities!

In short, 2018 is definitely not lacking in excitement, and even if 2017 wasn’t so great for you, this year definitely has something for everyone!