April 10, 2007

So...

So I haven't done in entry in a while, no real reason other than I've been busy and mostly just forgot to do one, but there may be one later today. That's all.

February 27, 2007

I Disagree With Michael Parenti

How’s that for a thesis? Many of the movies I was able to think of were in complete contrast to Parenti’s ideas. There are plenty of films and television shows that are totally opposite of Parenti’s views, such as Superman, The Natural, Erin Brockovich, The and Simpsons. In Superman, Clark Kent, a farm boy from the country is the “good guy? fighting the evil Lex Luthor, the big city millionaire who is out to destroy everything. In The Natural, Roy Hobbs, an unknown middle-aged batter overcomes criticism from other, seemingly more talented baseball players and other people of that ilk to become one of the greatest pitchers of his time. In Erin Brockovich, she is seen as a slutty single mother who can’t amount to anything because she won’t clean up her appearance but shows everyone how capable she is when she wins a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company. In The Simpsons, Mr. Burns is seen as the evil billionaire who destroys playgrounds and runs over small animals in his extremely expensive limousine and those who work for him are seen as the “working people? who are just trying to earn a living for their families. Really, the “hero? concept in any movie or TV show opposes Parenti’s idea of a less desirable, less moral “working man.? In hero films, the hero is generally some poor to middle class person who appears to be the least likely candidate to come out and save the day. However, at the end of almost every hero film, the one you least expected in the beginning is the one who comes out on top and defeats the evil mastermind genius with all the money and the nice car. It’s all the same and it’s odd that Parenti didn’t realize how many films and TV shows have this same concept.

February 7, 2007

Cop Killer

When I read this piece, my first impression was that it was odd that this song “Cop Killer?, one of many other “offensive? rap songs, was singled out to take the blame for the problems with rap music at that time. After I read the part, however, about how the album had sold over 100,000 copies since the time that the entire debate had arisen, it occurred to me that Time Warner and Ice-T could’ve been making the whole thing out to seem like a bigger deal than it should’ve been. That didn’t seem like a logical conclusion to me because, even though so many albums were sold, Ice-T eventually pulled his album off the shelves to make a more appropriate version.
As Ice-T himself mentioned, the lyrics were not to be taken in the sense that he wanted to go out and physically kill a cop, but the lyrics were meant to be “fighting words,? which is what so many white people didn’t understand. This seems more like the logical explanation as to why Ice-T’s album caused so much hype. Since people didn’t understand that Ice-T’s lyrics were more cathartic rather than a literal depiction of what he wanted to do to a cop.
It also seems, to me, that the whole issue was blown way out of proportion. This type of debate has been seen in the past with artists like Prince and Frank Zappa, who both basically said that the lyrics in the song were “just words,? which brings to mind the old child’s saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.? Looks like that’s not the case this time.

February 1, 2007

Shitty First Drafts

When I first read “shitty first drafts,? it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I had always thought that good authors and writers always sat down and just came up with their best work on the spot and then looked it over later for small mistakes like grammatical or syntax errors. I now realize that, while those are two of the things that they look over, they can make all the mistakes they want in the first draft. I have written plenty of papers where I have done a first draft, thought it was terrible, but then given up hope and just end up turning in the first draft as it is because I thought it wouldn’t get any better. That may also be because I had been writing my papers the night before they were due and never got the chance to look over my paper to see what I could improve. It also struck me as ironic when the article mentioned that nobody would see your shitty first draft, so you could write whatever you wanted when, in fact, we are sharing our first drafts with other people in class to get feedback about what we can improve upon.

January 23, 2007

"Ways of Seeing"

It was somewhat difficult for me to put into words what I took from this reading, mostly because when I was reading it through for the first time, the author seemed opinionated. However, when I read to the point where Berger described Van Gogh’s painting “Wheatfield with Crows,? I realized that I should think about the writing from different perspectives, just as I had done with the painting. I thought that, once I had finished the reading, it would be easier to understand the rest of the essay with more knowledge. The Van Gogh painting had the biggest impact on me when I first read the short statement under the picture. After knowing that was the last painting Van Gogh made before he killed himself, the picture had a darker mood. I also noticed the amount of black color Van Gogh used at the top of the painting, which hadn’t occurred to me when I first saw the painting. I also noticed that the stream or path or whatever is in the middle of the painting came to a stop near the top of the wheat field. When I reread the essay, I also found some things interesting that I hadn’t noticed before, like the very first sentence at the top of the essay: “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.? I think I should’ve understood more of the writing the first time through, but it could’ve been because the writing seemed dull and somewhat crass. Until I reached that point when I understood what Berger was getting at, the essay bored me, but now I find it interesting.