Review: Stranger Things – Netflix’s best original series yet

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I just want to say that keeping up with Orange Is the New Black is a chore. The pace is glacial at times, characters that are interesting and plot threads that seem to be moving in interesting directions are often pushed aside in favor of boring or far less interesting ones (I’m looking at you, Piper). Season 4 was definitely an improvement over last (that cliffhanger scene is pretty damn good) but for me personally I feel like I really have to push myself to see what happens next as opposed to excitedly moving on to the next episode.

I had a completely different experience with Stranger Things, the newest addiction for Netflix’s strong contingent of binge watchers (myself included).

Created by the Duffer Brothers – who are, in fact, not a failed tag team from WWE – the story concerns a boy who vanishes on his way home in 1980s Indiana, and his family and friends who frantically try to find the boy. As they get closer to what happens, they unravel a conspiracy involving another young girl with psychic powers, a secret government research facility, and something even deeper and more dangerous.

Stranger Things is bolstered by a particularly talented cast. Winona Ryder plays Joyce Byers, mother of Will Byers who disappears at the start of the show, and she does a fantastic job portraying a single mother in a race against time (and against the doubts of others) to find her son. David Harbour is spectacularly understated as police chief Jim Hopper, a man with a tragic background who is investigating Will’s disappearance and becomes more and more involved in the conspiracy as the show progresses.

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Perhaps the most impressive members of the cast are its youngest, something exceedingly rare in a world where a child actor can sometimes make or break a scene. Millie Bobby Brown, the bald-headed, super powered Eleven (nicknamed El by the others) shows off an enormous range through a limited vocabulary – something done intentionally by the show’s writers in an effective way of showing El’s level of isolation and how much she has to learn from her cohorts.

Speaking of which, Will’s three friends who are heavily invested in tracking down their missing friend, are superb. Finn Wolfhard plays Mike Wheeler, perhaps seen as the ringleader of the four friends, with Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson in two. All three have fantastic chemistry throughout the series, and even from the opening D&D campaign there’s a real sense of friendship that bleeds through each scene. Matarazzo in particular steals every scene as Dustin, who serves as the intelligent (if very laid back) voice of reason at times and willing to embrace El’s differences, if only with a child’s naiveté at first.

The rest of the cast is great, with Natalie Dyer playing Mike’s sister, Nancy Wheeler, and Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Will’s older brother. While I did admittedly find myself waiting for Nancy’s scenes to end in the first few episodes – I remember thinking to myself “Alright, this part of the plot needs to go somewhere” early on – both she and Jonathan become more and more intertwined as the season rolls on.

Matthew Modine is also particularly creepy as hell as Dr. Martin Brenner, the antagonist for much of the show.

Aside from a slower start with Nancy’s plot and how it ties into everything, Stranger Things gets high marks from me for its pace. Every single scene moves the plot along at a rapid, but not overwhelming pace. Flashbacks from El’s time spent under Dr. Brenner are peppered through each episode. The audience experiences these as emotional reactions to triggers in certain scenes, explaining certain fears and providing context often with minimal or no dialogue at all.

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The Duffer Brothers channel the best of Stephen King in his prime with a sharp script with smart characters who avoid falling into some of the more annoying tropes of stories dealing with government conspiracies or those with horror elements. Motivations and actions are clear for every character, and unlike shows where characters will do the exact thing no normal person would do simply because it’s the only way to move the story along, the characters in Stranger Things are nuanced and smart without being crafty to a point where you wonder if they’re carrying around a script in their pocket.

Chief Hopper in particular comes across as a believable character. He’s certainly no genius and the show avoids any sort of convenient ability or knowledge to brute-force the plot along. (No “Boy, sure am glad I used to be a scientist form the government!” or “My training in the military sure comes in handy!” moments).  Hopper makes mistakes from time to time, but is clearly motivated and reasonably intelligent when it comes to finding Will and digging deeper in a broader conspiracy.

Also, did I mention the soundtrack? The score by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein is great, too, and sounds like a solid and authentic 80s soundtrack while keeping away from being a distracting imitation of the era’s music.

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I would be completely fine with the show ending here. The show’s ending leaves plenty of questions unanswered, though not in a way that detracts from the experience (Lost, anyone?), but I’m not particularly sure if a second season is entirely necessary if only to have another go with some truly entertaining characters. The show has just enough to mystery to keep you guessing, but doesn’t overstay its welcome, resulting in a show that’s probably Netflix’s best original series to date.

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“Nintendo NX will be super dope” – Nintendo Uncle

The Nintendo NX will be a nVidia-powered toaster, complete with 12GB of RAM, a bidet, detachable VR controllers, an optional headset, vacuum, and will be Keurig KCup compatible, sources close to Johnny’s uncle at Nintendo have confirmed.

“He said he couldn’t tell me because it was a super secret – like, mega secret, top secret – but my dad has been making Nintendo for 20 years,” Johnny said. “He had pictures and everything he drew for me.”

While no reputable service or primary source could be cited in the latest round of rumors from Johnny’s uncle, according to previous reports his dad was correct at least one other time. He previously said Nintendo was preparing to manufacture a new “Regular Nintendo,” likely connected to the new mini NES the company will be launching this year.

“It’s gonna be really cool,” Johnny said. “My uncle said they were going to make my game too.”

Johnny also provided this blog with more evidence of Nintendo’s newest plans, including schematics drawn with crayons and links to vague Reddit posts belonging to other relatives of Nintendo employees and “game testing” employees themselves with wildly conflicting but 100 percent accurate information

Johnny’s game, while currently untitled, is based on his fanfiction post from 2009 in which Mario enters a grimdark fantasy world with adult themes that would be “awesome and really really bloody,” Johnny said.

While only vague bits of information have been leaked by Nintendo officials and others regarding the new console, set to launch next year, the information provided by Johnny’s uncle represents the most reputable evidence yet that Nintendo’s new console will be completely cool and not “dumb and gay” like the Microsoft Xbone.

Other points we know about the NX:

  • It will have the capability to both download games and play them.
  • Selecting an online option in any game will autoplay an apology by Reggie Fils-Aime in which he apologizes profusely for the creation of Friend Codes.
  • Wiimotes can be paired with the system to allow users a chance to commit virtual seppuku.
  • Sonic will be on it and it will be “great, the best and coolest Sonic game ever and Mario and Cloud Strife will be in it,” per Johnny’s uncle.
  • The console will be available in two packages – one with Windows 98 sideloaded and another command-line only interface with a braille keyboard (sold separately).
  • Connecting to a WiFi network called VirtualBoy will change the screen to 3D.
  • The console will be completely detachable from a power base that plugs into an outlet and requires $400 worth of attachments to achieve full functionality.
  • NX will be more powerful than “Playstation Five but somewhere in between dad’s computer and his laptop,” per Johnny’s report.
  • It will be backwards compatible with Game.com games.
  • Sources have also told us that instead of cartridges, games will ship on coasters that mom will scold you about if you don’t use them on your coffee table.

Johnny’s uncle could not be reached for comment as he was too busy making the next Super Smash Bros. that would also be ported to PC because “Nintendo doesn’t make money anymore,” Johnny said.

Oh dear god my eyes were burning at Distant Worlds

logo.jpgI am a complete and total nerd and there are times I am ashamed of this.

Of course, I wasn’t completely ashamed enough that I wasn’t totally willing to shell out money for Saturday’s great Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy concert at the Jones Hall. Final Fantasy games have been a bit hit or miss for me – games earlier than the fourth don’t get much attention (and with good reason as the remake of FFIII is horrendous) and I think the eighth has one of the weakest stories out of the entire series. But the one thing every game has had going for it is the music.

The opportunity to hear 8-bit, 16-bit, and more modern soundtracks being played with an orchestra as talented as the Houston Symphony sounded great. I even dragged along my less-than-excited girlfriend Rachel for the ride and she ended up enjoying the music and performances, though not for the same reasons I did obviously.

What I really want to talk about though is everything else. The performance was great, the videos they showed were good (we’ll get to that), but there is something that always inherently bothers me any time I attend some of nerd-centric events in a major city like this.

Nerds themselves.

I mean it. If there is one thing that is absolutely insufferable in this world, it’s people whose only frame of reference is whatever pop culture icon, genre, or hobby they partake in and I’m not saying everyone in the audience at Distant Worlds was like this. Quite the contrary – there were a ton of people at the event who were well-adjusted and socially competent human beings.

The ones I sat next to and around, however, were not.

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Dear Febreze, deliver us from evil.

Let me clarify – there is nothing wrong with people who are socially awkward or may have anxiety with crowds or being around new people. I understand the litany of reasons of why some of the people with these issues find solace in some of the nerdier hobbies out here. I’ve known plenty of people like this, but there is one difference between the ones I have known and those that surrounded my girlfriend and I at Distant Worlds.

The ones I know all had the ability and self-awareness to maintain even the most rudimentary levels of hygiene.

We all know the stereotype of the utterly sedentary gamer who spends more time raising their MMR in Dota or trying to get a higher rank in CS:GO (or trying to swindle other nerds out of cash by betting on skins), subsisting on Doritos and Mountain Dew and failing at all things related to being a responsible adult, particularly hygiene. Fortunately it’s a stereotype that has slowly begun to wither away as the industry itself became more and more “mainstream” throughout the 2000s into today. In any group of enthusiasts, you will always come across a handful of people that fit a bad idea of what one would expect from the more “hardcore” side of the hobby.

The cloud of BO that hovered over us during Saturday’s performance was nauseating on a level that I simply wasn’t prepared for in a public space. I’d imagine that after the evening performance, a Hazmat team had to enter Jones Hall and systematically decontaminate the premises to avoid some sort of citation from the health department. Alternatively, just set the concert hall on fire and build it from the ground up again.

To make matters worse, I had to ask the person sitting next to me to stop humming along with the orchestra loudly twice. Look, we’re all here for the same reasons. We know the games, we know the music (mostly), no one will be impressed that you happened to know a theme song at a video game concert. We all know them. Please shut up.

I think what was more frustrating than anything was when I asked if they were, in fact, humming as I didn’t want to be wrong, the person not only admitted it but said it in such a flippant way they appeared to be proud of the fact that they humming along and others could hear them.

I don’t have the expectation that a crowd at any show or performance I see is going to be the most respectful, but anecdotally I can say I’ve never been to a concert and had to ask anyone to do something like this. Not sure if that makes me lucky or what, because I do know this was the first video game music performance-type event I’ve ever been to and it was a whole different beast compared to other concerts/festivals I’ve been to in terms of the smell.

Needless to say I was happy to get out of there and get some fresh air, or about as fresh as air in downtown Houston can get anyway.

Regardless, I was very happy with Saturday’s performance. Of note, the show marked the debut of the series’ Battle Medley, which played a series of battle themes throughout each game. Hearing the boss theme from FFIV was a great experience as was the general battle theme from FFVII which has been forever burned into my brain.

As much as I didn’t enjoy FF8, Balamb Garden was also fantastic.

The encore performance was worth the price of admission – as many guessed, they played fan favorite One Winged Angel from FFVII but again I felt disappointed that, instead of footage from the final battle against Sephiroth they opted to show footage from Advent Children. Personally, I found AC to be an overly convoluted, boring, poorly directed mess of a move that really added nothing and stands as a poorly made epilogue to a game that really didn’t need anything expansive as a follow up and certainly nothing that incomprehensible. (I think I might be in the minority when it comes to liking the somewhat minimalist ending to VII.)

Another strange thing was all of the footage that was shown came from the Japanese versions of the games. I found it odd, as other video game performances like the Legend of Zelda’s Symphony of the Goddesses used footage from the English translated games. Hope non-fans in the audience weren’t expecting to actually get a sense of what they were watching because they were pretty much SOL unfortunately.

It was also a shame that no one sang along with the Chocobo song after conductor Arnie Roth encouraged the audience to do. I know that makes me a bit of a hypocrite as I didn’t shout out the letters to Chocobo, but I’d imagine in a different crowd it might have been fun.

I was a little sad Nobuo Uematsu wasn’t in attendance but he obviously can’t make it to every performance. I can’t help but feel a little selfish in my disappointment.

Also on sale were shirts, bags, CDs, and other merchandise but I had my fill of nerd cred for the day. Also the shame usually prevents me from buying such things, minus my Doom shirt. Everyone should own a Doom shirt. Doom shirts transcend being nerd attire.

It was a great show with no major issues to speak of but I would love to enjoy such a performance without having to hold my nose but I guess given the sort of crowd that attends these events, perhaps I’ll just have to grin and bear it, particularly when the Symphony of the Goddesses rolls around in a few months.

Dear nerds, please shower, thanks in advance.

The muddy legacy of John H. Reagan

JHRegan.jpgThose living in the Heights community in Houston have no doubt already heard of the controversy surrounding the potential name change of Reagan High School. If some living there haven’t heard of it, it will likely be unavoidable now that HISD narrowly passed a measure ordering the renaming process to begin, joining several other schools as well.

This has caused an uproar among current students and alumni alike, with many framing this as a case of political correctness gone wild. At first glance, it seems a bit absurd to go after a school named for someone who only served as Postmaster General for the Confederacy, but the reality is the nature of who John Reagan really was and what he stood for is far more complex than supporters might realize.

To establish context, HISD began examining the idea of potentially renaming several of its institutions named in honor of Confederate figures following the Charleston church shooting which made national headlines. There was a national movement to remove or otherwise alter imagery related to the Confederacy and many schools and universities have taken similar steps to HISD to remove imagery that celebrates those that supported the cause of secession.

HISD selected Reagan along with other schools, including Henry Grady, Richard Dowling and Thomas Jackson middle schools and Robert E. Lee High School. The latter schools had their name change proposals pass earlier this year, and a month later in February voted to rename Lanier Middle School, Sidney Johnston and Jefferson Davis High School.

While sitting in on the meetings addressing Reagan High School, people were quick to praise the legacy of John Reagan and quick to denounce HISD as politicizing education and engaging in frivolous spending and poorly representing the students. There have been heaps of praise for Reagan as a man who denounced slavery at the end of the war, who supported African American slaves and their freedom at the conclusion of the Civil War, and a man loyal to his country.

But after spending weeks reading about Reagan, the most I can say is that the man was never clearly for the rights of black slaves but was most definitely against them more often than not. That being said, let’s try to weigh the good and the bad.

The Good

An article by Philip J. Avillo Jr.in the East Texas Historical Journal, described Reagan as one who “epitomized the American ideal of the self-made man.”

“At the age of sixteen. although he remained in Tennessee, Reagan left home to seek his fortune. For the next four years he supported himself through various jobs and pursued an education in his spare time. In 1838 Reagan ventured to the newly created Republic of Texas, where for the next several years he worked at different times as a surveyor, farmer, and teacher. Dissatisfied with these occupations, Reagan began to study law in 1846, and one year later plunged into politics.”

Reagan would go on to be a successful politician with a career that lasted until 1903, serving as a US Congressman, Postmaster-General of the Confederacy, post-Civil War leader of the Democratic Party in Texas and Texas’ first Railroad Commissioner.

In 1897, Reagan helped establish the Texas State Historical Association, and, according to the organization’s website, he served as a delegate to the Texas Constitutional Convention that framed the Constitution of 1876. He was also responsible for the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 while chairing the Committee on Commerce in Congress.

Reagan also accepted defeat while in a Union jail, urging cooperation with the Union and denouncing secession. His name is commemorated in numerous places across Texas.

The Bad

At one point in 1860, Reagan essentially advocated for the potential genocide of African Americans, because, should they be granted freedom, their bloodthirsty desire for revenge would eventually lead to white Americans culling them from the Earth. But don’t let me steal Reagan’s thunder. In his own words in a letter written Oct. 19 1860:

“The people of the Southern States now own near five millions of these negroes, and they are worth to them near three millions of dollars. They constitute an important element in society as well as the wealth of the Republic, and are the chief producers of more than two-thirds of the foreign exports of the Union. They are and ever have been, under all circumstances, and probably ever will be, incapable of free self-government. They are now more intelligent, better fed, better clothed, and more contented and happy than any other equal number of that race in any other part of the world, whether bond or free. The success of the republican doctrines would liberate among us this large number of negroes, would strike down our agriculture and commerce, involve us inevitably in a war of races, which would result in the murder of many of the white race of all ages and of both sexes, and in the burning and destruction of a large amount of property, and in the ultimate extermination of the negro race among us.”

Before this, he also just straight up says slaves are property and the Constitution wasn’t intended to cover African Americans:

“The Constitution of the United States was made by white men, the citizens and representatives of twelve slaveholding and one non-slaveholding State; and it was made for white men.”

In the same article by Avillo Jr.:

Besides, Reagan added, he found Negroes so incapable of self-government and survival that if emancipated “they would fall into such. . idleness and vice as would render it necessary for the security of society, to exterminate the greater portion of the race. “

He was also completely unapologetic about the war. From an address in Fort Worth, TX on April 19, 1903:

“During the war, 1861 to 1865, and ever since there has been a studied, systematic effort on the part of those who were our adversaries to pervert and falsify the history of the causes which led to that war….”
“Their (the North’s) pretense was that They were fighting to save the Union, and they made thousands of honest soldiers believe they were fighting for the Union. Their leaders knew that the Union rested on the Constitution, and that their purpose was to overthrow the Constitution. The Union the soldiers fought for was the Union established by the Constitution. The Union the leaders sought was only to be attained by the subversion of the Constitution, the annulment of the doctrine of State rights, the making of a consolidated central republic, abolishing the limitations prescribed by the Constitution and substituting a popular majority of the people of the whole Union in their stead, and to open the way for individual and corporate gain through the agency of the government….”
“Our people were not responsible for the war; it was forced on them. They were not rebels or traitors. They simply acted as patriots, defending their rights and their homes against the lawless and revolutionary action of a dominant and reckless majority.”

Of his letter written while still in prison, what he calls the Fort Warren letter in his own memoirs, Reagan makes it clear that he understands the South would continue to fight even with their leaders in chains, but he is also aware of what sort of treatment lies in store for the southern states during restoration. However, his idea of submitting to the Union comes with his own ulterior motive:

“I determined to point out to our people at home the demands which I knew would be made of them, as a condition to the rehabilitation of the Southern States, and to advise them to make such concessions as we would inevitably be required to make, as the only means of avoiding the establishment of military government in the South and to save us from universal negro suffrage.”

Things get worse when you actually read the Fort Warren letter and see what he proposed regarding the treatment of African Americans:

And, second, by fixing an intellectual and moral, and, if thought advisable, a property test, for the admission of all persons to the exercise of the elective franchise, without reference to race or color, which would secure its intelligent exercise. My own views would be: First, that no person now entitled to the privilege of voting should be deprived of it by any new test. I would recognize m this the difference between taking away a right heretofore enjoyed, and the conferring of a right not heretofore exercised. Second, that to authorize the admission of persons hereafter to the exercise of the elective franchise they should be, 1st, males; 2d, twenty‑one years of age; 3d, citizens of the United States; 4th, should have resided in the State one year, and in the district, county, or precinct six months next preceding any election at which they proposed to vote; 5th, should be able to read in the English language understandingly; and, 6th, must have paid taxes for the last year preceding for which such taxes were due and payable, subject to any disqualification for crime, of which the person may have been duly convicted, which may be prescribed by law.

The ones in particular that stand out is his fifth and sixth suggestions – Rich Heyman wrote in an article for the American-Stateman that this falls in line with the strategy in the South following the Civil War of establishing literacy tests and poll taxes, thereby disenfranchising African Americans and lessening their democratic power.

There are other candid comments Reagan makes about race throughout his letter, and when it comes to whites treating blacks with any form of dignity or grace socially, well…

“First, it would remove all just grounds of antagonism between the white and black races. Unless this is done, endless strife and bitterness of feeling must characterize their relations, and, as all history and human experience teach us, must sooner or later result in a war of races. We know from sad experience what war is between equals and enlightened people. But of all wars, a social war of races is the most relentless and cruel. The extermination or expulsion from the country, or enslavement of one or the other, being its inevitable end, where they are left to themselves; or the loss of liberty to both races, when they are subject to the control of a superior power, which would be our situation. I speak of course of the legal rights and status of the two races. Their social relations are matters of taste and choice, and not subject to legislative regulations.”

That last line is not exactly a shining example of compassion and understanding.

He really doesn’t mince words when it comes to his continued support of the disenfranchisement of African Americans following the war. He opines that many former slaves will go to other countries seeking equality (which they’ll never truly get from people like Reagan) and he supports policies that would prevent them from “becoming an element of political agitation, and strife and danger.” This reflects the idea that former slaves were inherently dangerous not only to the democratic process, but to whites as well.

“The negroes will, it is hoped, gradually diffuse themselves among the greatly preponderating numbers of the whites, in the different States and Territories; many of them will probably go to Mexico, and other countries, in search of social equality, and few or none of their race will be added to their numbers by accessions from other countries. While the steady rapid influx of great numbers of the white races, from other countries, will gradually increase the disproportion in numbers between them and the whites, and so render this new element in society and government innocuous, or at least powerless for evil, if they should be so inclined. But from the general docility of their dispositions we may expect the most of them to be orderly, and many of them industrious and useful citizens. But to secure these desirable ends, it must not be forgotten that it is an essential prerequisite to confer on them their reasonable and necessary rights, and to adopt a policy which will prevent them from becoming an element of political agitation, and strife and danger.”

Again, these are Reagan’s own words. It’s clear he was no champion for the freedom of all men following the war. In fact, his own Fort Warren letter paints a very different picture all of its own – a man desperate to preserve the last remnants of an economy directly built upon slavery.

The Ugly

Here is where I have to look at how HISD handled the situation.

People will naturally get very mad at the first sign of change, and this is doubly true when such change is focused on something as sensitive as what many consider to be their heritage. Many people living in this part of the country identify with former relatives that lived and died under the Confederacy and it’s understandable that they would want to pay tribute to their fallen heroes.

What they must understand is that these are not heroes to most people living in America. In fact many people are ambivalent or have completely unfavorable views of the Confederacy and what it stood for. In my opinion, the high school in the Heights should never have had been named Reagan High School in the first place.

The most frustrating part of this is that HISD completely missed an opportunity to have an honest discussion of what having an institution named after a man like Reagan actually means. Instead of approaching council members and districts and schools with an understanding of what sort of anger the measure would produce, district trustees seemed completely bent on passing these name change measures with little to no input from those in the community.

This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the district was in fine financial shape because it’s apparently not at all. The district is working to make up for a $107 million budget shortfall, with tens of millions of dollars already on the table for cuts, although I have to wonder how much of the state’s own cuts are to blame as that isn’t something I have had time to look into yet.

According to reports, should the cuts be made, each school would lose a little under $200 a student on average.

The total cost for these name changes sits about $250,000 per school. With about 8 schools in line for new names, that number adds up quickly.

On top of this, people are also claiming that by changing this name they are changing history, but I disagree. The history written by Reagan is already there in full view of the public eye and it’s clear from his writings that he doesn’t deserve to have any school named after him – he was in clear support of the oppression of an enormous group of Americans who know make up a substantial portion of our population today.

The people against the name change who argue that this is “taking away their history,” must understand that this history doesn’t belong to any one group. It is our collective history, and unfortunately, it bears the ugly black eye of slavery of which its remnants can still be seen today in the form of institutionalized racism and discrimination from coast to coast.

Hanging the name of John Reagan, a man who supported poll taxes and literacy tests as a way to appease oppressors rather than granting universal suffrage, is an affront to the continued mission of the district in my opinion. Still, one of the issues is that a decent conversation was never held in the first place – instead of opening with community meetings and debates on the place of Confederate images in society, the district kept many in the dark and opted to move forward with little to no details for those who have become enormously invested in their communities. The timing is also poor, as that $250,000 could arguably be better spent elsewhere.

While the district has to bear the brunt of the firestorm it ignited, the anger in question appears to be misplaced. Reagan supporters must acknowledge that simply pointing our racism and symbols of racism is not itself racist, and falling back on this strategy shows an unwillingness to confront the demons of our past. Whether white Americans in the south want to admit it or not, people like Reagan supported a legacy that kept people oppressed for generations beyond the end of slavery and the Civil War.

Perhaps a level-headed conversation could have never happened, given the intense emotions surrounding this situation. I wish people would understand that no one is going to go inside of the homes of alumni and rip their trophies down or use whiteout on their class photos. I can’t speak for others, but my time in high school and college is defined not by the name on the wall, but the education I received, the relationships I forged, and the friendships that have lasted with me for years.

To say that all of those things would evaporate with a new name doesn’t make much sense to me. What makes even less sense is how some in the community are threatening to essentially hold students hostage over any upcoming bond elections.

I understand that HISD is clearly in the pits when it comes to budgeting issues, but let’s not allow the renaming of a few schools dictate what happens for every underprivileged student in the district. The important thing to remember is that voters still have a voice through trustee elections and if people are unhappy about how the district is going should use their democratic power to change things. Saying you’ll vote against any bond initiative simply because they decided to rename a school is the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Perhaps the new name for Reagan High School won’t be quite so controversial.