Is Tik Tok the new Vine?

Catherine Enos –Opinions editor

Vine was easily the greatest thing to happen to internet humor. The 6-second video format produced some surprisingly hilarious and viral memes that are still around today (if you search “Vine compilations” on YouTube, there are thousands of multi-million viewed videos). It was different from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any social media platform. And then, at the end of 2016, Twitter (who had acquired Vine in 2012) decided to shut the app down. It was a blow to internet humor. Memes obviously still proliferate on social media, but there was something unique about these quick, creative and niche memes that Vine pushed out.

Musical.ly was another app known for short videos but it was mostly odd hand-dancing or lip syncing videos (and was the laughing stock of the internet). But something happened a year and a half after Vine shut down. Musical.ly was bought by another nearly-identical platform called Tik Tok. The app was steered towards a different direction– closer to humor and further away from the lip-syncing.

Today, the app is vastly different from what it was just a few years ago and closer to Vine. It offers a longer video time at 60 seconds, but the videos people make tend to be shorter. It can create some Vine-like video loops, while also allowing people to tell longer jokes.

It also has some features that Vine didn’t have– like being able to use another Tik Tok user’s audio over an original video, or allowing “duets” (a feature where a user films their video next to another video). The algorithm is a little different than Vine, too. On Vine, you could scroll for a while on the trending page, but you’d eventually reach an end. On Tik Tok, you can scroll for hours and still keep watching.

With all this being said, Vine set the foundation for apps like Tik Tok. It may have had its problems, but there was more originality. Tik Tok tends to be more “trendy” with people repeating and recreating the same exact meme (while still being funny). Vine would start off with a meme and people put their own spin on it (I’m thinking of all the “what are those?” spinoff Vines: an exasperated grandma replying “these are my crocs!” and Jurassic Park dinosaurs wearing shoes).

So, is Tik Tok the new Vine? The answer is no. Tik Tok is Tik Tok. But the only reason Tik Tok exists is because it has the foundation that Vine had set for it. Either way, both apps are great (or were great, in Vine’s case) and provide somewhere between seconds and hours of entertainment.

Back to Three Credits

Alison Macbeth –Assistant Opinions Editor

Most of us don’t realize that RIC’s four credit course system is not the norm for American colleges. Several years ago, RIC adopted this method as a solution that allowed people to graduate on time. However, this may not support quality education for all RIC students.

A majority of colleges have a three credit system which meets three times a week for a 50 minute session. Students typically take five classes and upon completion would receive 15 credits a semester. The University of Rhode Island and Brown use this credit system. RIC used to have a majority of three credit classes for many years before switching to our current four credit class.

Four credit classes run twice a week for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Technically, professors are supposed to give a ten minute break in the middle (that doesn’t always happen). Those who advocated for the 4 credit system believed that this schedule would be a better fit for RIC students’ work calendars and busy lives. This system allows students to complete requirements more quickly, by locking down sixteen credits a semester.

However, RIC students are losing out on the opportunity to expand their research and understanding with the five classes. Simply, RIC students are exposed to less topics and courses that are important to a liberal arts education. Four credit classes leave a student with approximately 32 course topics at graduation while a three credit system gives a graduate about 40 courses in an eight semester plan.

Similarly, although the 1 hour and 50 minute structure seems comparable,  the class is often the same in content as a three credit course. Therefore, students are jipped from the depth of their education with a wide spectrum of topics.

Although we might be in it too deep to change the system back to four credits, it is worth thinking about the ramifications of this plan, and develop ways to counteract these effects. Ensuring that professors are teaching four credits worth of material is an important first step along with quality experiential learning to engage students for the longer class period.

Accessibility for the typical RIC student’s schedule is important; however, quality education is equally important. Many other universities prescribe the three credit system and so it should be vital for the RIC administration to reevaluate if four credit classes serve the mission and excellence of RIC students.

Truly Young at Heart

Thomas Yakey Jr. –Anchor Staff

This past Tuesday night, the Young@Heart Chorus gave a fantastic and energetic concert at Rhode Island College. The Performing Arts Series at our school brings professional groups to RIC for enjoyment of the school, as well as the community as a whole. Young@Heart is a group of senior singers, ranging in age from 73 to 92, who come together to sing and live life to the fullest.  

The group has travelled internationally from Europe to Japan and has made various appearances ranging from “The Ellen Show” to “The Daily Show.  They even have their own documentary which has been on PBS and Netflix.  They continue to perform at dozens of schools and universities, as well as retirement and community centers around the world. Young@Heart was even in E*TRADE’s Super Bowl ad, “This Is Getting Old.”

The chorus has been around for 37 years, and they will likely continue to be around for many to come.  The group comes from all various backgrounds ranging from an opera singer to a school secretary. They come with their own band and perform different music for all musical tastes.  

Along with Young@Heart, we were lucky to have The Green Sisters as special guests to accompany them. In addition, our own RIC choir had the privilege of singing two songs with these musical greats.

The concert ended with “Forever Young,” something that describes the choir in great detail, despite being only two words. Proving age to be just a number, they shared their amazing talents and put on a great concert that made all smile.

The long road to school: Commuter students frustrated with driving to, and parking at RIC

Tim Caplan –News Editor

In 2018, the non-profit national transportation research group TRIP ranked Providence roads as being America’s ninth worst in urban areas with a population of 500,000 people or more. TRIP claimed that 46 percent of Providence roads were in poor condition as of October.

According to RIC.edu, 85 percent of students who attend Rhode Island College are commuters. The Anchor set out last week to find out how commuters felt about traveling to school and the effect that these roads have on their cars.

“I worry at least once a week about my car while driving into school,” said commuter Josh Dibastiani.

Photo Courtesy of Sam Scetta

Perla Torres and Aria Nirandone are two commuters who come by way of Mount Pleasant Avenue. They both spoke of serious concerns with the amount of potholes in the streets when coming to RIC. “Sometimes I take the bus because at this point I want no more problems [driving],” said Torres.

The Mt. Pleasant route to RIC was not the only one in which students expressed dissatisfaction.  Kim Hout makes his commute from Cranston to Johnston and vice versa. “Coming and leaving construction sites are especially [problematic] right now,” said Hout. “When there’s potholes they don’t fill them until they finish everything [at the site] and when they fill its not complete, and tires that are more flat tend to consume more gas mileage”.

While the roads leading into the college were the primary concern of commuters, several people also conveyed disappointment in the maintenance of roads on campus.

“When it snows, they don’t plow right away, the cars slip and hit curbs,” said Tabatha Karlowicz, a student at RIC, “also the sand is unnecessary, and they don’t clean it up when the snow is gone, and snowbanks take up spots to park in.”

The Anchor found at least four different spots in lots J and K which had snow banks that either partially or fully obstructed parking.

Kareem Hunt deepens the NFL’s continued struggles with domestic violence

Joseph A. Griswold –Assistant Sports Editor

What is the worth of a woman according to the National Football League? Eight games. Just eight games. That was the suspension handed to Cleveland Brown’s running back Kareem Hunt last week, after a video of him punching and kicking a woman emerged in November last year.

Following the release of the video, Hunt was quickly released by his formed team the Kansas City Chiefs; however, the running back did not stay unemployed long signing a one year contract with the Cleveland Browns in February.

Hunt’s suspension serves as another example of the NFL’s failure to appropriately punish domestic abusers in the league.

Photo courtesy of CBS Sports

Hunt is now a part of a growing notorious list of NFL domestic abusers including Reuben Foster, Greg Hardy, Joe Mixon, Ray Rice and many others.

This is not a one-time event, and continuing incidents make it clear that the NFL has a domestic violence problem and is doing nothing to solve it.

This is furthered by last year’s resignation of Deborah Epstein, co-director of the Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic from The National Football League’s Players Association commission on domestic violence.

Epstein’s resignation came after repeated attempts to take concrete steps to reduce domestic violence in the league. However, after continuous talk and no policy change Epstein decided that she “could no longer continue to be part of a commission that is essentially a fig leaf.”

Following her resignation, the NFL thanked her in a short one-sentence email while not responding to any of the issues she raised.

To Epstein the message was clear, “The NFL Players Association is no longer interested in even making a public show of concern about violence against women,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

The NFL’s failure to provide a zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence makes one point abundantly clear. The NFL cares more about money than it does the safety and well being of women.

Southern fried violence: showtime in music city, USA

Tim Caplan –News Editor

With the odds stacked against him, Anthony Pettis shocked the MMA world in typical “Showtime” fashion on Saturday when he Superman-punched his way to the top of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Welterweight (170 lbs) rankings with a prolific knockout of number three ranked Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the main event of the night. UFC Fight Night 148 took place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on March 23.

When Pettis lost his lightweight (155 lbs) world title in March 2015 to Raphael Dos Anjos at UFC 185, he looked like a defeated man. It has been a long road back to contendership for Pettis, trading wins and losses throughout the past four years at three different weight classes, compiling a 3-6 record including three bad technical knockout (TKO) losses to Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier and most recently Tony Ferguson in a fight of the year candidate in which he broke his hand. Pettis was a +305 underdog going into fight night, and many in the MMA community believed there was no chance Pettis would be in the UFC after this fight, much less win by stoppage.

“Wonderboy” is a two-time title challenger at welterweight, and has adapted his traditional karate style to develop an MMA record of 14-3, with wins over Rory Macdonald, former champion Johny Hendricks, and Jorge Masvidal.

Pettis entered his first fight at welterweight the much smaller competitor. Throughout the first round the two exchanged flashy strikes, with Pettis landing his patented boy kicks and Thompson his signature spinning heel kick, as well as several straight crosses, which bloodied up Pettis’ face toward the end of the first five minutes.

Pettis plotted on Thompson, landing rear leg kicks, slowing his movement, and with just five seconds to go in the second round landed a superman punch that sent “Wonderboy” to the floor, and was knocked unconscious with two follow-up punches on the ground before referee Herb Dean separated the two.

In his post fight scrum Pettis explained his strategy, “If he was going southpaw we wanted him to turn so he couldn’t take the hook… once he did that, it was my que to go for the hooks… once he took that stance, boom, overhand right.”

The rest of the night was largely uneventful, with four of the six fights on the main card going to decision. Number one flyweight (125 lbs) contender Jussier Formiga won unanimously over Deivison Figueiredo and will most likely face champion Henry Cejudo in a rematch for the world title next. Fourth ranked heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes also gained a division victory over Justin Willis.

The next UFC main event will feature a lightweight matchup between elite strikers Edson Barboza and Justin Gaethe. It will take place next Saturday, March 30, at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The MLB again fails to generate offseason buzz

Jake Elmslie –Sports Editor

Opening day for Major League Baseball is slated for Thursday and as it’s been the case over the last decade, it will come with a whimper.

Unlike two of its biggest competitors, the NFL and the NBA, the MLB routinely fails to generate intrigue once the season ends each October with the conclusion of the World Series. This is in stark contrast to the NFL, which has crafted a year long calendar to keep professional football in the news cycle and in the minds of fans long after the season wraps up in February. March 11th, the opening of the legal tampering period in which NFL free agents can begin to negotiate contracts was followed by an immediate flurry of personal moves, with a variety of high profile players changing teams within a few days. Similarly, the NBA also features a very fast paced free agency period that regularly sees multiple star players change locale in a short period of time.

These high tempo free agency periods when paired alongside other offseason activities such as the NFL combine, the NBA draft lottery, the opening of training camps and the draft, which has become a major television event in both the NFL and the NBA, keep both leagues at the forefront of sports news regardless of whether any games are being played.

Meanwhile the MLB offseason can be generously characterized as a slow burn. For the second offseason in a row, marquee free agents such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado lingered without contracts for months, both signing at seemingly random times less than a month before opening day. Meanwhile, across the rest of the league, players sign with next to no regularity leaving MLB free agency a disjointed meandering beast of a thing to keep up with. The lack of any specific free agency period to look forward to robs hardcore baseball fans of an exciting way to experience personal moves while also giving the more casual sports fan little reason to even think about the MLB during its five month long offseason. While the NFL and NBA have mastered their offseasons and turned them into critical parts of the fan experience the MLB offseason resembles little more than a wasteland before spring training rolls in.

While there is not a single clear solution for the MLB’s issues, in a time where professional baseball is seeing little to no growth in its audience, it can not afford to continue the practices that render it barely an afterthought for nearly half of the year.

Nicholas Cage and an acid trip through hell

Alec Ematrudo –A&E Editor

It’s no secret that Nicholas Cage, a former Oscar-winner for Best Actor, has been deep within the hole of straight-to-DVD movies for the better part of the last decade. The once celebrated actor, has become a meme, the face of countless B-grade and even C-grade films, and has almost entirely descended into what many might call a series of mental breakdowns. If he had just stolen one more historical declaration, or just decided to not play Ghost Rider, things may have been different for Cage these last several years.

Graphics courtesy of infamoushorrors.com/film

That being said, Panos Cosmato’s “Mandy” which debuted last year to audience and critical acclaim, may have just launched Cage’s career into a cult-hit renaissance. Hold my beer and let me explain.     “Mandy” premiered this past year and swept film festivals by storm. Critics hailed it as a masterpiece and possibly one of Cage’s best performances in years, if not ever. This film, which you almost certainly have never heard of, pits Cage’s character; Red Miller, against a fanatical hippy cult, and several interdimensional demons who ride quad bike and motorcycles. Sounds insane right? It most certainly is. Once you add in a moody synth-wave soundtrack and an incredible use of color and psychedelic/gothic imagery, you’re in for a wild ride. There’s also a tiger and a chainsaw battle… but we don’t need to get into that right now.

“Mandy” is most certainly not for everyone. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this is a fun action flick. It’s a slow-burn color orgy for around seventy percent of the film. However, against all odds, this movie is satisfying and legitimately really good from both a filmmaking and narrative perspective. On top of all that, Cage does in fact give his performance his all. There’s a scene where the camera doesn’t cut away and allows Cage to have one of his signature freakouts all in frame and it’s incredibly well acted and equally as engaging to watch.

In other news, Cage is currently filming and starring in a film adaption of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Color out of Space.” All signs are indicating that this film will, like “Mandy,” be another beautifully chaotic cult hit amongst film buffs and dedicated H.P. Lovecraft fans alike. I will provide more info on that movie as it comes out but expect it to be released either later this year or first quarter of 2020.

Nicolas Cage might be making a comeback and I’m all here for it. Regardless, I highly recommend that you all should watch “Mandy.” The director has a sequel idea in mind, where it would have Cage fighting Nazi punks in a bombed out city and I for one really hope that comes to fruition.

Mandy is available for purchase on Amazon Prime and iTunes, as well as as available for streaming on Shudder.

An interview with Rhode Island-based duo, Soul Babe

Esther Watrous –Anchor Staff

Photo courtesy of Soul Babe

Local music artists, Mary Gipson and Helena Widmann, have been performing as Soul Babe, an R&B, Hip-hop, Funk, and Neo Soul group, for almost two years. Besides performing together, Widmann is a 2018 RIC graduate and a voice instructor, and Gipson is a cosmetologist and radio personality at 101.1 WBRU.

The Anchor: You’re both very talented musicians, how did you meet?

Helena Widmann: We were both a part of a showcase called, “The Wave,” curated by BO8 Studios, and we were the only two women who were a part of the show. We exchanged information and that’s how we met.

Mary Gipson: Yeah, we networked a little bit. I was really impressed. When you go to showcases, especially the hip hop and R&B community, everybody is singing over a track, but she had a guitar player, and she just brought a whole different vibe.

The Anchor: What is the meaning and purpose behind Soul Babe?

Mary Gipson: When you’re an artist, you put your soul out there to view and see and criticize. That’s one thing that I wanted to incorporate in the name of Soul Babe. The fact that she does her own thing, and I do my own thing, I thought, let’s use this as a platform together and let’s do some live stuff.

The Anchor: Are you working on any originals together?

Mary Gipson: Not yet. We both live crazy lives right now. I think this year we’re really focused on getting at least a couple originals, even if it’s just basement tapes where we’re just vibing.

The Anchor: How do you choose cover songs to sing together?

Helena Widmann: There needs to be attention put towards popularity, so, what people like. My type of vibe is much more like an acoustic setting. People want to hear upbeat dance music. They want to drink and have fun. We have to focus on incorporating music that is soulful because that’s part of the band name, but it needs to be something that people are going to recognize.

The Anchor: Who has the most stage confidence?

Helena Widmann: Mary all day. I’m just more introverted and I don’t always like people watching me like a fish bowl, but I like performing. I like to sing, but I’m not as good at entertaining.

Mary Gipson: I’m awkward too but I just make fun of myself half the time. I think I’m funny, and I was always one of those kids who was like, look at me, look what I can do. So it just comes naturally with me.

The Anchor: Helena, How did you get into teaching voice lessons?

Helena: When I was in high school, I had developed this habit of pushing when I sing and it really made my voice hoarse all the time, and limited my ability to perform and use proper dynamics. It took away a love that I had because it was painful to sing. Over time, I had to learn from different teachers to sing in a healthy way. I like to help people achieve their best sound through what I’ve learned.

The Anchor: Mary, you released the single, “Therapy” recently. Do you have any more singles coming soon or any bigger projects?

Mary Gipson: I have another single coming out very soon. I want to release a video at the same time because its a fun track and I feel like with the video and some dancers it would gain a lot more attention than just releasing the song.

The Anchor: How do you find inspiration for both your group projects and your independent projects?

Mary Gipson: We all have separate lives. We all do what we need to do, especially with the band, it’s hard keeping everyone together and on the same page. You just have to keep that inspiration alive. I would say other bands that we go and watch inspire us to keep what we have going.

Helena Widmann: I write poetry a lot. That’s something that I enjoy doing because there’s no pressure. But I know that if I can take something that I wrote and turn it into a song, then I’ve already done half my work.

“Kingdom Hearts 3” fulfills every fans wishes

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda –Senior Layout Editor

After over a decade-long wait, one of the most anticipated conclusions in videogame history, finally arrived. Closing the door on the “Dark Seeker Saga,” “Kingdom Hearts 3” reinvigorated the series with the new title, while still having room for improvement.

The series is a combination of original and Final Fantasy characters, joining forces with Disney characters.

After being stuck in the Playstation 2 era of gaming, the Kingdom Hearts series made its way onto next-gen consoles, with this title being the first available to Xbox owners. However, as the series faces an incredible challenge with having so many games on different consoles, the finale may leave many confused on what is going on. Luckily, the new title has options to look back at synopses of previous games so new players can be somewhat in the loop.

The series is known for its semi-open Keyblade combat, where you basically mash the attack button until the enemy is dead. As the series progressed, the mashing and occasional magic attacks got more complex, and this new edition proves its evolution further. Despite the elimination of quick-timed events for an attack, the player now has a list of action commands that pop up after using certain abilities like magic or the typical attacks. The dynamic team attacks, magic attacks, and attractions that can be used throughout a fight can be extremely fun and keeps the player engaged, using each move strategically rather than sporadically.

The game falls flat in some of the world design, with some of the best design coming from the open platforms, like in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Monsters Inc.” worlds. However, the world of “Frozen” was one of the biggest disappointments. Already not being a major fan of “Frozen,” the world felt shoe-horned in for Disney to build more hype around it. After the announcement of the second movie, I knew for certain that it was just a well-timed advertising move. The world was bland and with so many better Disney properties to choose from, it truly slowed down the games momentum. Even the world of “Big Hero 6” was not as impressive as I expected, with verticality preferred over discoverable expansion.

The main story did feel dragged out, as the most important things to happen throughout the game were in the beginning and then in the last few hours. However, when the last few hours of the game came along, the build-up from the previous titles showed as all the stories from each game tied together with the final fight.

The finale left most longtime fans satisfied; however, it isn’t a Kingdom Hearts game without making the plot more confusing. As the last few frames of the ending still haunt me, and the secret ending left me confused and wanting more, the series has a blank slate to do anything they want. Hopefully, though, it won’t take them another decade or longer to make the next one.