Category is: The End

This year’s final “Category Is,” in which we free associate on a topic, is written by the newTalon Entertainment staff. It is a shout-out to the recent Graded graduates, including the Entertainment family’s own Kevin Bengtsson and Felipe Marques. We wish you the best of luck as you navigate the sometimes unpredictable tides of your futures. We will miss you. You are some of the classiest, smartest, and most capable people Graded has ever seen. 


Michael: Swan Song

Why would people call their last piece their “swan song”? Still, I don’t understand the whole fowl metaphor, but if the piece quacks you up, then maybe there’s a reason for it? (Okay, that was a really bad pun.) But the term “swan song” seems to carry a quaint, amorous image: swans have little heart-shaped beak-knods and appear as symbols of love in some clichéd Disney movies. I can’t even think of how many times the swans were getting it on in The Little Mermaid—I’m guessing more than five, especially in the whole “Kiss the Girl” montage. If only we all could bend our necks like those swans. I’d love to be that flexible—if you didn’t get the pun, it’s supposed to reference the aforementioned swan image. Isn’t this so entertaining? Ha, get it? Because we’re in the entertainment section? These puns are getting worse as I write. Maybe this’ll be my Talon swan song.


Manny: The End of Michael’s writing career. Just kidding, “This is the End”

When it comes to “This is the End,” the only thing left to say is that I did not like that movie at all. I need to get this point across: I’m angry and upset; it was a bad movie. How do you mess up something like that? It was such a good idea, with actors playing themselves when facing the apocalypse, being thrown right into hellfire Hollywood with the devil literally at their doorstep. It could have been so good. It could’ve actually been funny. But instead, it was only halfway there. It was kind of funny, but not really. Like, you recognize that it was funny, but it really didn’t make you guffaw and instead made you think, gee, that really could have been funnier. But it wasn’t. Its sole driving force, Michael Cera, was killed off at the beginning, leaving an uninspired work that dragged on for hours. God, it was so boring. Okay, I’m calm. Stay in school.


Catu: The Yin to Beginnings

Eventually, endings lead to beginnings. For anything new to begin, something else has to end. Endings are necessary. Perhaps they’re painful and bitter, yet are unavoidable. Endings and beginnings, like yin and yang, cannot exist without the other. The same way everything that goes up, must come down; the way day bleeds into night and vice versa; the way every inhale is followed by an exhale: endings weave into new beginnings and we start anew. Look, I know this got weirdly sentimental, but it’s the end of the school year. I’ve watched my brother receive his high school diploma, sat and listened while several friends announced their inevitable moves to different continents, and said goodbye to some incredible people. As expats, most Graded students become detached from endings after enough time. But if we dull our emotions for endings, the same happens for beginnings. We shut out the sadness—the painful saudades—but also the excitement, the thrill of something new. If endings and beginnings are yin and yang, then we should allow ourselves to feel everything.


Thomas: “The End” by The Beatles

I could have chosen another song that conveys the feeling of endings. The Doors self-titled debut closer, “The End,” came awfully close. However, it’s graduation season, and songs concerning the end of the world with disturbingly dark lyrics didn’t seem appropriate. Instead, I chose the last song recorded by The Beatles as a graduation anthem.“The End” is cheery at the start, bringing that trademark Beatles’ spiritedness. A drum solo follows from the world’s most hated drummer. It’s pretty good, at least for Ringo’s standards. Next are three rotating sequences of two-bar guitar solos from Harrison, McCartney and Lennon. The Beatles weren’t known for their guitar-playing abilities, so don’t expect something mind-blowing. But what distinguishes this from a rapid-fire, finger-tapping guitar solo is the contrast among the three guitar players. It’s McCartney’s soft melodic harmonies to Harrison’s skillful string-bending on his Les Paul “Lucy,” or Lennon’s hard-hitting, distorted notes that reflect his personality. The song peaks in the final lyrics: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” These are the last words from the Beatles that seem to go with the end of anything. And they’re pretty good.


Yoji: That’s All Folks!

If you were anywhere near a TV in your early years, you’ll remember Porky Pig or Bugs Bunny uttering the worst words of all: “That’s all folks!” Sure, it sometimes would be Taz unintelligibly growling, yet it was more than that. It marked the end of cartoon time. How else were we to spend the remainder of the day? God forbid would we have to do actual stuff. We had school the entire week. Do you know how hard it is to analyze Shiloh at a fourth-grade level? I deserved a little time off. Although I can’t say watching Daffy Duck getting his beak blown halfway around his head helped me (albeit this interested me in Anatidae anatomy), it did help me realize things don’t have to make sense. Play things off as normal and keep on keepin’ on. Graduates, when you’re out there in the big, scary world, wondering what you’re going to do with your lives—we all know you have nothing figured out—just remember, if Wile E. Coyote could catch the road runner after decades of trying (yes, it happened here), you still have a sliver of hope, however small. That’s all folks!