Peter’s Path: A Blend of Politics, Screenplays, and Witty Papers

From Astoria, Queens; An approximately one-hour and half train commute to City College, majoring in Political Science, Peter is his name. We chatted over Zoom on a Sunday night, he is very polite and a delight to work with. There were some technical difficulties but we managed to make it work. Though he wasn’t available for a few days for personal reasons, he was still very patient with arranging the meeting.  What makes him interesting is he has a fairly wide variety of hobbies: he is a screenplay writer, a huge fan of films, a history fanatic, and a piano player. In the pre-interview during class, I commented I also like writing, but I prefer to use art as a form of a means of expression. He respectfully disagrees.

  He chose to study at City College for a multitude of reasons: Wanting to stay in New York City, being convenient to commute, possessing a great number of programs for his major, and being a big fan of the campus. These were some of the few colleges he applied to, as he was very selective with the number of colleges he applied to. Peter also applied to Hunter College and Columbia University. Columbia was his reach college, and he didn’t enjoy the campus of Hunter that much. He describes his hometown as middle-class—a Greek and Italian neighborhood near the East River.

            With a degree in political science, he plans to be a consultant. “I wanted to work in consulting because you work for different groups, politicians, and activists on certain issues or get certain bills passed”. He follows this up by stating consultants aren’t that directly involved in politics, more by the fact they make laws on the politicians’ or activist’s behalf. The laws are written outside the office, whereas the laws are proposed in the office. Sounds a lot like a lawmaker. Having a career in politics without being directly involved in politics? Sounds like a dream.

Let’s look at a politician he might be working for in the future. Going back to Astoria, the Democratic congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the youngest Latina and woman to be sworn into Congress in 2019. Since then she has served in New York’s 14th district. Her website states “NY-14 is one of the nation’s most diverse districts and one of the fastest-growing in New York state. Throughout the district you will find rich cultural legacies from a number of communities and more than 200 languages represented. Particular points of interest include The Louis Armstrong House, Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, Astoria Park, Orchard Beach and many more.” After graduating from Boston University, she worked as a volunteer organizer for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election. Alexandria eventually won the 2018 campaign which was fully funded by volunteers and donations. She attends almost every town hall meeting, quickly gaining recognition for being an effective questioner in committee meetings. 23 legislations have been passed in the first term, one of them being The Loan Shark Prevention Act, which caps credit card interest rates at 15%. This is quite interesting because while Alexandria would be the one introducing the act, Peter would be the one ratifying it behind the scenes.

As for his writings, it is noticeable that his screenwriting skills influence the style of his papers, whether the purpose is to be informative or to recall a meaningful anecdote. From the pre-interview, it is noted he likes to write the tone of the scene, how the characters feel, and the position of the camera.  Humor is consistently present throughout these writings, as some of them gave me some chuckles. Peter emailed me two of his writings. We’ll start with the research paper.

                   The research paper The Word Terrorist, Western Media Institutions; and a Means for Manufacturing Consent goes into the topic of terrorism in the Western media: What is defined as terrorism, the overlap between patriotism and terrorism, and how Western media profits from framing any group they’re biased against as terrorists without further proof. Western media does not label groups that they favor as terrorists, despite those groups committing actions that comply with their definition of terrorists. He uses many sources to supplement this argument,  from YouTube videos to the U.S. Department of State, to journalist sites like the Boston Globe and The New York Times. His writing uses analytical and formal language and explores the term terrorist from different perspectives. “Terrorist in itself is a vaguely defined and emotionally charged word, which makes it the perfect scapegoat term for anyone or anything that is against the United States and its positions internationally. Thus Western Media outlets can use this term in places where it is necessary to push public interests for escalation of conflict, whether it be Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or the Magreb in Sub-Saharan Africa.” He explains that the United States likes to use that term for groups they’re in conflict with to encourage public interest and influence the audience to provoke political fear. This fear may snowball into more international conflicts and even wars.

In the second paper English. In Russia, or, Greek, this one is more meta and lighthearted in style. We learn more about his personal life and relationship with writing. The narrative covers a lifelong journey with writing and articulating ideas, from early success in school to struggling in gifted programs and dealing with strict teachers. Then he is taught by this one mentor who influences his growth in writing skills, whom he is forever indebted for. On the cover page, he says “ I love to work under pressure, especially short deadlines, while the caffeine and Adderall I need to meet my usual standards within those time constraints likely have taken my years off my life. I love the thrill of being messy, chaotic, and getting into a flow, where my thoughts move faster than my fingers and my mind bleeds out into the paper.” Though he struggles with deadlines and finishing assignments at a steady pace, he often waits until the deadline is close so he can feel the pressure and get moving. Painfully relatable.


About | Representative Ocasio-Cortez. (2023, October 23). Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

Our District. (2012, December 4). Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

‌Kasapis, P. , & Lubner, C. (2023, November 22nd). 

The word “Terrorist” Western Media Institutions, and a Means for Manufacturing Consent.

‌Kasapis, P. , & Lubner, C. (2023, September 29th). 

English 110

English, Russian, or Greek

Interview Transcript