May 1, 2007

time for tea, no time for time...

I chose to sit in the cube right outside of Starbucks to make my observations on Monday. One of the main things I noticed was that people seemed to be using the sitting area as a vehicle, or a port. Doctors, adults, students, staff all got coffee, stayed a while, or just kept walking right on through. Those people that did stay were either on their computers or nose deep in textbooks. Almost everyone that was sitting by themselves was plugged into an i-pod. Some people were sitting with their empty cups of expensive coffee next to them. That’s another thing I noticed. On almost every table there seemed to be some means of caffeine; tea, soda, or the medium roast with cream and two packets of sugar. Book bags, backpacks, purses fill up the empty seats beside each person; aka the sign for “please don’t sit next to me I really don’t want to talk to anyone.? People have no time to make time. If it’s not written in the planner then it’s not part of the plan, and if its not part of the plan then it’s just an anomaly, and who has time for that, right? Everyone just seems to be on a mission to get to where they are going to. The doctors need to get back to their patients; the students need to get back to their studying, the teachers need to get back to their classes. The girl next to me is sitting with her finger to her temple taking occasional procrastination breaks from her homework to people watch. A new person walks in, goes out; purchases, consumes; starts and stops. I wonder what it’s all worth. When these people finally get to where they are going will they even stop to think about it? Or will they just keeping going onto the next step. There’s almost a soft groan about the way the people are talking. It seems that our culture hardly takes a second to stop and breathe in the situation. Life has become so routine and so mundane that there’s no element of surprise anymore. Just another check off the list of things to do to get to...done?

April 24, 2007

Suburb in the city

Everything in the city is go go go. I sweat the people don’t sleep. Being out past midnight in the suburbs is suspicious; in the city it’s suspicious if people aren’t out past midnight. I can hear the rescue helicopter landing on the hospital next door. The ambulance sirens that go off at all hours of the night have stopped waking me up; that scares me. Police sirens never seem to get tired. It doesn’t faze me when they race by; that also scares me. There’s a different kind of people in the city. Everyone is rushing to get to where they need to be even if they’re not late at all. It’s all so fast paced, and most people seem to take part in things that promise the best results from themselves. You can’t trust anyone. This place isn’t permanent for me. It almost like the in-between of my adolescence and my adulthood. Like the last step to climb before my life can start. Cars take people from their homes to their offices, then from their offices to their homes. No one stays. Its just a meeting place; “lets meet for lunch/a meeting/ a conference?. At night you pass people and you feel yourself tense up, quicken your pace and hug your bag tighter. I wonder what people see when they walk past me?
So…my perspective of the “unforgiving? city from the point of view of a suburbs girl… not my feelings exactly, just the ones in the present moment. I guess I developed the ideas of the city being harsh, fast paced, and dangerous because I grew up in small town that seemed to be the opposite of “scary? city life. You know all your neighbors, there’s two general grocery stores, and four roads that can get you to wherever you need to go in 15 minutes max. I think growing up in the suburbs has defiantly kept me sheltered and has contributed to some naivety in me. Coming from a small town where everyone knows everyone, to such a large city has really been a culture shock. I think that my more negative views of the city come from previous preconceptions I’ve developed from watching the news and reading the newspaper. After living here for the past few months I have seen other aspects of the city (like museums, restaurants, galas, etc.) that have given me a more positive perspective of city life and what comes with it. Just like the suburbs, the city has both beneficial and negative aspects; however, it all depends on the person and how they chose to interact with those differences.

April 8, 2007

Indians & Yankees, & Celtics...oh my!

One part of the article “Advertising and People of Color? that I didn’t exactly agree with was the section about racial stereotyping and sport team names. I can understand that the merchandise or mascot that accompanies a team name may be pretty standard of what a certain group of people is associated with. However, I don’t think this is necessarily a negative and stereotypical thing. Most merchandise sold to support a sports team, like the Cleveland Indians for example, may resemble an Indian with a feather and headpiece which could be interpreted as a stereotype. This has potential for offense because no, not all Native-American people walk around with feathered headpieces on. That insignia, however, does have to do with Native-American culture and history. It isn’t a mockery of what all “Indians? are like; it’s just a representation of something that is part of that particular ethnic group’s makeup. This segment of the article also bothers me because it singles out specific sport teams that have Native-American names, but those aren’t the only sport teams that are associated with a group of people. Teams like the Boston Celtics refer to Indo-European languages such as Irish, Welsh, Scottish, etc. The same goes for the New York Yankees whose meaning refers to someone who is native to the United States. No they aren’t specific to a race, but they are specific to a group of people whose teams I’m sure have merchandise and mascots that could be considered stereotypical to those specific groups. The point is that although such things may be associated with a group of people it does have a relation to the history and culture related to a group.


April 3, 2007

[Disney's Dirty Deeds]

It’s pretty much common knowledge that Disney has pulled some pretty debatable stunts in the past years. From the sex in the leaves in The Lion King, to the priest in The Little Mermaid we’ve begun to question how “kid-friendly? some of the movies really are. However, those examples are some of the more obvious situations in which Disney has tested us, but what about the oh so repetitious plot lines we have seen in “The Princess Collection?? Each story is not doubt adorable, but also seems to have one thing in common, and its not just the happy ending. It’s the idea that at the end of each movie this character (whom many young girls look to as role models) is rescued by her darling prince charming. But what the story lines actually portray are more than that. Each movie begins with a troubled young woman; she’s smart, pretty, but also has a flaw. The plot then proceeds to thicken, reaches the climax, and ends, ultimately with the idea that this princess (who was previously lacking something in her life) now has her prince, and along with that an undeniable happiness. No, not all little girls are picking up this idea that “oh my gosh I’m lacking something without a man, thus that is what I need to be happy?, but this general idea of a Prince charming making all the bad things go away is drilled into little girls’ heads again and again. My opinion is a bit extreme, too extreme for a 5 year old to observe, however the general idea of a woman needing a man to be happy, I believe, does have an affect on the way young girls begin to develop as they grow up.

March 27, 2007

the R word...

Racism; the white elephant of society. [sort of a play on words huh]. Over the years, this topic has progressively become more talked about and addressed, but never the less still stands as a division between different cultures and groups today. Talking about the subject and addressing the issue in class helps to identify where our generation stands on the topic. The discussion in class proved difficult for me however. Of course I have talked about racial issues in class before, but picking out where they actually stand in relation to my life was some what harder. When our group was talking about TV shows that identified with common stereotypes, as well as those that challenged them you really begin to see how rooted this idea is in our society. Shows like the Simpson and South Park address many political a racial issues in the world today. Such shows are also some of the most watched by youth. I know South Park is one of my 13 year old brother’s favorite shows, I enjoy the show myself. However, if such young age groups don’t understand that the racial commentary and stereotypical innuendo is really just mocking the way our society works they might begin to model their behavior after the actions of racist characters like Eric Cartman. Now, I’m not saying I think South Park should be limited to a specific audience because I think the show has a good message. The point I’m trying to make is that these racial ideas are so widely accepted that our youth sees these portrayals and begins to accept such ideas, possibly taking them on as their own. Could such shows possibly be adding more fuel to the fire by presenting racial ideas to our future generations?

March 8, 2007

PEOPLE LiKE US

People Like Us was a very interesting documentary. Its amusing to observe the way our culture sees itself, and also a bit embarrassing to ask ourselves if we, in fact, fall subject to any of the classes that might snub people because they are different from themselves. I think it’s easy enough to say “well we have the same background, so we automatically have that in common?, but is that really justifiable? Yeah you and Ritchie Rich from down the street may both have billionaire parents, a car that costs the equivalent to a small country, and the resources to not have to worry about expenses, but should this really determine how well you’re going to get along with someone? The boy from the trailer park that you’ve never really talked to may have the same political interests, religious affiliations, and other opinions as you have. Aside from the idea that you may have more in common with someone outside of your social class, there’s always the opportunity to be influenced and learn from other people with different life experiences than yourself. Is only associating yourself with people that have the same background as you really saying that you’re closing your mind away from any kind of diversity or alternate opinions that may differ from your own? The way “upper? class children are often brought up has a large affect on the people they associate themselves with, and who other to subject this influence to this youth but the parents. As long as the cycle of upper class people snubbing their noses to people outside of their income exists, their children will always model their behavior after it.

February 27, 2007

Depictions of Class

Today’s media has a large affect on its consumers opinions about different race’s, classes, sex’s and genders. One example is the movie Crash. Several different scenarios portray not only typical stereotypes people make about cultures that differ from themselves, but they also challenge those stereotypes. For instance, once situation demonstrates a general stereotype towards an Asian woman. A car accident between a Caucasian woman and an Asian woman leaves an officer in a position to fall into a stereotype. The Caucasian woman, the one at fault for the accident, blames the whole thing on the Asian woman, making accusations that she “couldn’t even see over the wheel? etc. the Asian woman goes on to defend herself against the accusations. The police officer, however, tends to sway more towards the side of the Caucasian woman because of some sort of previous experience or understanding that Asian drivers are poor navigators on the road. Scenarios throughout Crash play out stereotypes and generalizations that have become commonly accepted in today’s society. When people watch a movie or take in some kind of media that repeatedly portrays certain classes lower or higher up on the social scale, an acceptance that there is truth in such illustrations becomes part of the mentality of its viewers.
When young children are brought up watching certain TV shows or movies that depict certain people in certain class levels of society, they begin to adopt those beliefs. TV shows like the OC portray several very rich families, all of whom are white, and all of whom do not have any friends of different ethnicities. The popularity of this show displays that a setting of white upper class families is accepted by its viewers, which in turn, most likely has an affect on the way success and normality is perceived.

February 13, 2007

Racism, Homosexuality, and all that JaZZ...

Homosexuality. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Prejudice. All large factors in the way the world works today. Yes, we have come a long way since voices like those of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and Martin Luther King Jr., but those great steps are just the beginning to the road against stereotypes and racism ahead.
In Mehta’s article “Society’s Need for a Queer Solution?, she talks about homosexuality in several different lights. The ideas that homosexuality is “curable?, no one is born that way, and it is dependent upon the culture, etc are all brought up. I think these are interesting points to make because they exemplify society’s growing need to define what isn’t necessarily understood. Because the general population does not fall under the category of homosexual, society attempts to decode this “foreign? way of life; Mehta even quotes that being homosexual “was now a species? rather than a personal preference. Stereotyping what “gay? is also plays a large role in society. What a person wears, how they speak, who they talk to, and their body language all register in a person’s mind, falling into certain category’s based on previous pre-conceptions or ideals.
The same can be related to racism, as described in Kim Nelson’s article. She explains that although not many people can verbally or mentally admit it, they too have generalized ideals about certain groups of people. Whether it’s race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, etc., she claims it is normal for a person to have these opinions about different types of people. Since when was it normal for a person to be “ok? with having these pre judgments against others? Isn’t that the wall so many people are trying to breach?

February 6, 2007

cop killer?

I thought the article Cop Out was very interesting. Prior to the reading I did not know much about the Rodney King incident. After class I went home and googled the subject to get a little more understanding of the situation. Under the Wikipedia link a list of references to Rodney King in popular culture came up. It included South Park, the Dave Chappelle Show., Family Guy, the Simpson’s, Malcolm X, and many other media’s that used the beating to help get a point across. Such shows and movies (as listed above) are known today for their political implications. The point I’m trying to make here is that just as Ice- T used Rodney King to get his point across, so did the shows listed above. It’s the consumers who decide if they, as the viewer, are going to sit down and watch an episode of the Dave Chappelle Show, which has a reputation for pushing the envelope, and subject themselves to the suggestive remarks and racial slander. The same goes for Ice- T’s song. The consumer makes the choice to listen to the rap song or not. That’s the beauty of freedom of the press, media, and speech. Ice- T’s controversial rap song was his opinion, an opinion he was expressing in a non- violent way. Whether or not the listener agreed with the message of the song really has little importance. That same truth could go for any type of music. A Christian could sit down and listen to an atheist band sing about their disagreement with God and be highly offended, but at the end of the day what it comes down to is that living in a free country, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The article even states that only a “tiny minority of Americans actually heard the song at all?(669). Disagreement with the song prior to even listening to it adds proof of the general culture’s ignorance to the situation at hand, and the preconceptions towards rap music being bad. It was much easier for the people to snub the song and look down on it than it was for the nation to actually address the problem, as well as the possibility that the Rodney King beating might have actually been out of racial discrimination and prejudice.

January 30, 2007

Ahhhh, the Shitty First Draft...

I think teachers know how to spark an interest in their 18, 19, 20, something students when they assign a reading titled “Shitty First Drafts?. I mean, right away you know its not going to be the usual stuffy, 70 some year old man sitting behind a desk preaching the key elements to producing a first draft. This reading defiantly goes about the topic differently in a way that it can relate to the readers; us, the students.
The purpose of a first draft is just to get the ideas down on paper. The average person typically thinks at about 800 words per minute; try to get that all down on paper and you’re bound to have one hell of a mess. That’s the trick though. That’s the jump off point. Lamotte uses an example of this idea when she talks about the first draft being the “child’s draft.? Seeing all your thoughts on paper is the beginning of shaping how you really feel, which even you may not know until after it laying out in front of you. People have this huge misconception that there is no room for error. All of our lives we’re brought up being taught that mistakes shouldn’t happen, and thus, when we screw up we get punished for not doing it right the first time. That is all wrong. How many times have you heard your friends say “this had to happen so I could learn from it?? (Maybe that’s just me and my friends, but go with me here). The point is first drafts are easily comparable to this in that they are full of mistakes, and that’s OK! Beethoven didn’t just wake up one morning and whip out a perfect Symphony No. 9. The horrible first draft is where the re-working begins so that you can get across what you’re trying to say and develop a voice. The reason teachers call it “the writing process? is because there are steps involved. By playing with your thoughts on paper, you just might stumble onto something that had never even crossed your mind before.

January 23, 2007

Blog Numero Uno

The difference between what we see and what we know; in my opinion, the main point the reading was trying to get across. The author argues that how we see things will be affected by what we already know. That may be true, it may not be, but to me the area I had the most response to was the author’s idea that if a great work of art is replicated, it will indefinitely loose its value. I do not find that to be true. By replicating a piece of art, it becomes susceptible to the opinions and ideas of many people. Art itself is supposed to induce thought. For example, paintings with blunt titles (like one of the examples used in the book from the reading) are “dry? because that way the interpretation of the painting is open to whatever the viewer sees in it. I think that being able to shape a personal opinion of a piece of art work is much more thought provoking than reading an excerpt that describes exactly what, whom, and why a painting portrays something. To say that a piece of art isn’t going to mean as much once duplicated is incorrect. By duplicating, many people have the opportunity to observe fine pieces of art work, and draw from those pieces their own opinions. Granted, if someone told me I could hop a plane to Paris to see the Mona Lisa up close and personal you can believe I wouldn’t turn that down, but in doing that, not only are you taking the art into account, but the atmosphere, surroundings, and other outside influences as well. Sure, that could provide a completely different experience in comparison with viewing it in the comfort of your own home, but that’s not the point. The point is that art is meant to be seen. Not everyone has the resources to fly around the world and “see it for themselves?. By duplicating works of art, personal opinions, conclusions, revelations, etc. etc. are opened to many people. Art shouldn’t be about if your lucky enough to witness it up close, but an equal opportunity for anyone willing to spend the time to think about it.