August 2, 2007

Why I Want a Wife

Judy Brady uses the art of sarcasm through a list to drive home a point of how women were viewed by society during the 1950's and 1960's. I feel she uses the ideas expoused in her essay very well in regards to persuading the reader at the very end that women were merely thought of as child bearers and spouses who supported their husbands and the house. In some ways Brady actually gives a bit of appeal at least to the male gender that having a wife gives all these wonderful things. I find the list approach in this case works quite well as it appeals to the ethos or emotionally context of the reader. And in this case the appeal to ethos is important because when talking about a martial relationship emotional context is a big issue. According to Brady, a wife during this time is like having a super adminstrative assistant who does all of the tedious work and attends to her spouses every need.

In playing on every stereotype of what a wife should be, Blume is able to persuade her reader that being the wife is not all that it is cracked up to be and that they are in fact second class citizens. Although this list is probably an extreme view of how a typical wife is treated during this era, it is fairly accurate assement of how they are viewed in regards to gender role they play in a family unit. In this case the context and sheer size of her list gave it good ground for being a solid persuasive essay.

July 17, 2007

Nickled and Dimed a Writer's Story

I found Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed a great piece on what is wrong with the so called "American Dream." Her take on working on nearly minimum wage in low end labor or service jobs as insightful indictment on what the American Dream is about in a highly sophisticated capitalist culture. What I found most interesting was not so much the jobs she worked (at least the ones she described through Chapter 1), but what she unearthed about the application and interviewing process. One of these said gems was when she applied to many entry level jobs that had applications or help wanted signs such as Winn-Dixie, Best Western, a bed and breakfeast, etc.. Only to find out that they do this on a continous basis even when an opening does not exist due to the nature of their labor market which has a short expectancy. Ehrenreich was orginally outragged upon finding out that she had not received any responses to her applications despite being well qualified. It was upon further investigation that she found out the underlying current that existed in this low end job market, which was that the employers always ran help wanted and accepted applications to keep a pool of secondary candidates available since their job market was cylical. I found that facinating because in most cases when writers discusses a particular subject such as ones ability to survive on a miniscue wage they ponder about the socio-economic ills of capitalist society. This piece of information I have not seen explored in any other article about this subject.

The other parts of her trials and tribulations I found interesting as well. I can't imagine that working as a waitress in a dinner would not have a little bit of humor and interest to it as human story. Although this is toil, sitcoms such as Al's Dinner" and "Cheers," were built on the stories of customers, waitresses, and bartenders. Her introduction where she gives the reader a backdrop as to her motivation helped give us a sense as to the direction she is going as a writer and allowed us to understand some of her quirkeness as to why she would take on such a project. Any time you open an intro with eating lunch at a $30 per plate French cafe and talk about plunging into doing a reflective story on being a low waged earner yourself gets the attention of the reader. So far I also enjoyed the fact that she is telling a story of what it is like living in this world of a low wage worker without lecturing on the social ills that produce such an environment. She even makes a wisecrack to herself promising not to take on a "Marxist," view of American society as takes on this project.

As we move further in this class I have began to look at our reading assignments more analytically and I have tried to emulate some of the strategies into my own writing. I plan to take what I consider Ehrenreich's fresh take on working near poverty level into my own paper. The ability to write something unique and enriching is what I find seperates a great story or essay from an average one. I hope the rest of Ehrenreich's story brings some more insight not written about or looked into.

July 10, 2007

Cop Killer and Deracialization of Lyrics

Sieving's article on the controversy over Ice T's song "Cop Killer," gave the reader a fresh perspective on why Ice T's message on racial differences failed. Ice T's song although not techinally rap, it was released as a rock song on Ice T's album Body Count. However, it was seen by many in media and the public as a rap song by a ganster rapper telling people to be violent towards law enforcement. It was released during a politically charged time in 1992 with a presidental election and the wake of the largest race riots in over 20 years in Los Angeles over the Rodney King beating. Sieving accurately pointed out that Ice T's message really wasn't about simply inflicting harm to law enfourcement, but was more about an indicment about black culture in the wake of economic and political subjecation.

When this issue become a political charged in the American media and culture, Sieving pointed out that Ice T and those around him chose the wrong path in defending or countering the arguement about the message of "Cop Killer." Because they failed to address the underlying racial component of the song, Ice T and Time Warner lost the ability to defend the artistic message of the song and its underlying tones about racial inharmony in urban areas. Instead, they looked at as protecting Ice T's first amendment rights.

The opponents of this song used the argument and as Sieving points out quite effectively the brutuality of the lyrics. They even frame it differently by having people like Charlton Heston read it out load as if it was short story. This effectively nullified the protection of the 1st amendament rights that T's supporters had used to defend the lyrics and the song. Sieving went as far to point out that the mainstream media and opponents of the song went as far as just using snipets of the song to further their agenda. One of the best at this was then future President Bill Clinton who used part of an interview by Sister Soulijah to point the violent sub-culture that rap (hip-hop) artists brought to American society.

I thought Sieving did a good job of presenting an argument about the failure of Ice-T to capitalize on his song as being culturally relevant commentary on black issues in urban environment where those that represent the law are often the ones bending or breaking it. His song was an outlet of what many in black urban area felt in regards to the police state that existed in these areas. Not only were blacks fighting amongst themselves they had to deal with what Ice T contended was a corrupt law enforcement system. In Sieving's final paragraph he pointed out that Ice T's record was fairly popular with white surburban teens who had never experienced this kind of oppresion. In some ways this song and album helped bridge a cultural divide between white and black America. However, the supporters of this song missed that point and eventually pulled the song from the album due to the controversy and political polarization it created.

June 28, 2007

Holy Homesexuality Batman: Camp and Corporate Capitalism

I found Johnson's article on the movie "Batman Forever," a different perspective on underlying sub-cultural currents in contemporary art. Johnson touched on two interrelating subjects, one being Batman Forever's characters latent homesexual inneundos and the campy, cross-promotional, marketism that exists in today's comic book movies. When reading this article I understood the premise behind SNL's campy take on homosexual innuendos in comic book characters with their cartoon spoof, "The Amigiously Gay Duo: Ace and Gary." After reading Johnson's take from the costume description to the playful flirting that occured between the protagonist and his arch-enemy The Riddler, I found why one reads into homosexual undertones in comic book movie genre. Johnson was able to interlace the campiness of the homoerotic behavior of the characters in "Batman Forver" with the zany undetones of cross culture capitalism. Not only is Batman trying to quell his homosexual desires he also was promoting what some would coin as "good capitlism," while his antagonist The Riddler and Two-Face promoted unbridled or bad capitalism. Johnson even went as far as to point out the fact the "Forever," sold itself out with what was essentially a commerical at the beginning of the movie for McDonalds.

I also wanted to look at this article from the perspective of how Johnson came to thesis in his critical analysis article. I figured he first came up with the argument as a question of how movie genres support subversive cultural behavior and how marketism promotes capitalism within artistic venue such as a motion picture. His thesis is that used the combination of campy homoerotic undertones and capitalistic marketing all within the same movie. His subject matter in this regards is great. Any so called "popcorn" action blockbuster is breaming with cross market capitalism and often has overtures of capitalistic virtues of its heroes. This dates back to movies from post-WWII through until now. It was driven by the need to establish a clearly Western or American value of capitalism as being good especially during the "Cold War," when a cultural battle between the US and Soviets pitted capitalism against communism. What suprised me most was Johnson's ability to hash out the sub-context of homosexuality that came out in "Batman Forever."

June 14, 2007

The World is Text Response

The first reading in the The World Is A Text really gave us something to chew on in regards to how we analyze and think of text. Simple words such as "stop," or "open" can really trigger or certain thought on what we are reading and how we are reading it. For instance "stop" in a story would not have the same effect as "stop" on a metal rectangle, red sign. Conatation is very important in how we think of words and how they are presented or perceived by us the reader. What the writers are trying to convey is that text is not something that simply on paper to be read, it is a living and breathing object of the world. When we read an article, watch television, see an advertisement, or even a see a road sign we are interactively conntecting with "text."

Another important thing that the writers are trying to implant upon us readers and writters is that we need to be analytical of the media we consume, whether it is an advertisement, a book, or even an infamous poem. One example of being able to analyze media is how look at a "Tommy Hilfeger advertisement. In the intro Rader and Silvermen analyze the ad for Tommy colongne by pointing out the visuals of six, young, attractive people being "real America." Text is not just the words "real America," it is also the picture of the models wearing "Tommy," clothing and the picturesque, rural, Americana background that is also part of the text. To me the writers want us to know that text is simply syllables or words that are read or spoke, text is something that is felt, tasted, and thought about. Lastly, the writers Jonathan Silverman and Dean Rader are trying to tell us that being better writers is not simply about skill, but it about being a better reader, thinker, and interacting more the world around us.

Continue reading "The World is Text Response" »

June 13, 2007

New to Blogsphere

Just Checking to see if this works