May 1, 2007

Coffman

I normally spend time at Coffman at least once a week. But now that it's getting warmer outside I often choose the outside area instead. But nevertheless I'm quite familiar with Coffman and I realized that I never really paid attention to the sorroundings or the people who spend time there.
I looked at the upstairs area, where I normally spend my time between classes. It was really obvious that most students were busy doing something and most of them had either a laptop or a book and seemed to study for classes. Only a few were actually having conversations with eachother and if they were, they deffinitly knew that person they were talking to.
I expected the place to be more crowded but surprisingly a lot of seats were open and the whole situation was rather relaxed than busy.
Students that were walking around always seemed to be in a hurry getting somewhere and didn't really take much time to pass trough that area. I think it was very interesting to realize, that it's definitly not a place to get to know people. Everybody seems to be so busy with what they are doing in that moment, that they don't seem to have time to talk to the person who is sitting down right next to them. Unless they know eachother.
For me Coffman fullfills the purpose of having a place to sit down and study but altogether it is a pretty cold environment.
Most of the people are students which is easy to tell by their belongings (backpack, books, laptops) and also their style of clothing and age. They seem to have a certain respect for eachother, leave others alone and are generally quiet.

April 24, 2007

I'm from the city

The suburbs are full of old people and families who have lots of money and live in big houses. There is nothing to do except for maybe hanging out at the mall, going to the movies or a friends house. Everybody knows eachother and it's not even possible to cross the street without saying "Hi" to one of the people that lives around you.
Everybody cares a lot about what house they live in and what car they drive. It is always very peacful and looks perfect. But really it is not. It is not real and seems to keep people and in a little artificial bubble. Away from the "bad city".

For me it is really hard to write about american suburbs because I haven't had so much experience with them. I've lived in both, the city and "the suburbs" in Germany. But I have to say that I like the city better. Especially at my age. Mostly everything is in biking distance and there is lots to do.
I bet it is great for families with younger children, to have a house outside of the cities. Because they can just go out and play without the parents having to worry about big streets or scary neighbours that they don't really know.
But in my opinion you can raise kids just as good in the city. It just depends what you make out of it. As long as you take your children out every once in a while and have a good relationship to your neighbours. And I actually have to admit that my connection to my neighbours is better in the city than it was in the suburb.
But all together it is really something everybody has to decide for themselves but not without being aware of the totally different living situation and their consequences,

April 11, 2007

Advertising and people of color

The article was really interesting and it was good to find out more about the history of “colored people? in advertisements.
I think it was pretty shocking how people from different ethnic groups were portrayed back in the days and I can totally understand that it is intimidating. The influence media has on the way people think about others is something that most people are not really aware of. Unfortunately the people who produce the advertisements are though and that is exactly the point that makes it so dangerous. But I think it is easy to overreact, too.
Even though I don’t really know what advertisements look like nowadays but I’m pretty sure that the same ethnic groups are still playing a big part in it, even though they might represent different stereotypes and deal with different topics. Or it might not be that obvious anymore because the producers found a different way to show different ethnic groups with “typical? stereotypical behavior.
The question that stays is, can we do something about it? How big is the influence of the advertisements on our behavior and would it really change our thinking?

April 3, 2007

Construction of the female self

In my opinion this article was way over the top. Even though the structure of the article itself might be good, the arguments on the other hand are just completely exaggerated.
I think it was important to think about what age group those movies are made for and if they really understand what is going on. In my opinion they don't and even though children might be watching those movies over and over again, it doesn't influence them that much so that they as a result define themselves through what they see in those kind of movies.
I think the people that one is sorrounded by, and therefore especially the parents, play a way bigger role in this. Those are the ones who are really role models on how to behave and how to treat eachother. Of course it is a problem when the tv becomes the babysitter and the children spend more time watching movies than actually interacting. But that is a completely different problem.
The question remains if movies are made to teach us something or to entertain us. I think that it can be both but at least for that age group and in this category of movies, Disney movies, it should be more about entertainment than about manipulation and on trying to show how females should behave.

March 27, 2007

In Living Color

The discussion in class was very interesting even though the article was not, at least not for me. It seemed a little old but still had some good points that even seem to fit nowadays.
For our group it was pretty hard to come up with some good examples but that is probably because we are not really aware of those racial thoughts. They are present every day and that is exactly what makes it so hard to think of them because it just appears as being normal.
I went to a benefit show for a friend of mine and we had several artist performing. One of them was a HipHop group and since I'm taking a class about that topic, this type of music becomes more and more interesting to me. I was sitting between a bunch of people and listening to those artists performing. They were really good and I was enjoying their show. But nevertheless, I felt kind of akward tapping to the beat and smiling at some parts of their lyrics. Most of the people in the crowd were white and therfore acting more reserved but the couple of black people were really enjoying it.
That appeared to be totally natural. As I was talking about HipHop to a friend afterwards, she mentioned that she does like it but sometimes simply feels like she is too white in order to really be able to listen and to enjoy it.
I was able to relate to her statement and thought about it some more. It is kind of sad that some things seem to be reserved for a special group and in this case a specific race. I'm wondering if it is possible to overcome this and if so, how long it might take and what steps one has to take.

March 8, 2007

People Like Us

In my opinion that was a pretty interesting documentary. Probably also because I was not really familiar with the whole class thing and how big it is in this country.
But from all what has been said, I truly believe that it is really hard to change the social class and more likely to stay in the one you were born in.
Tammy's son, Matt, has pretty high goals and even though he really wants to change his class and become a lawyer, his chances are not the best. How is one supposed to know how to behave in a different sorrounding if is never going to get the opportunity. I think that it is possible to learn but just like living in a different culture, it is a long process and one has to give up parts of their old life which can be really hard sometimes.
Looking at the popular people at high school makes me wonder if that is really something that is worth achieving. They think that they are something better and do not even care about others but furthermore do not even want to have anything to do with them!
They judge people outside their class by what they look like, how they walk and talk. In my opinion that is really sad and ignorant but moreover nothing that we should try to achieve! We shouldn't judge others based on outer appearance and class but take time to get to know eachother and overcome prejudices and stereotypes.

February 28, 2007

Class and Virtue

I disagree with the site that Michael Parenti takes in his article 'Class and virtue'. In my opinion working people are not only presented as less desirable and less moral than other people.
Most TV shows and movies show succesful people as happy and desirable people. It seems like most people even want to fit into that group because they seem to not have much to worry about.
That can turn into a big problem when viewers get affected by what they see on tv. They start to think that this is a lifestyle they should long for and therefore forget about other things that are important.

On the other hand Parenti article has also a true side. Some movies and tv shows do show wealthy people as less desirable and less moral. Just like Mr. Burns in "The Simpsons". The only thing that he cares about is his money, his factory and therefor his succes. He does not care about the people around him and seems to not even notice them at all.
Another example would be the movie "Dirty Dancing", where the girl, who comes from a rich family, falls for the not so wealthy guy. Her parents make a big deal out of it and try to keep her from being with him.

I guess viewers can be affected both ways and it also always depends on where they come from. If they either have a more wealthy background or not. But once again, it is not just black and white. Even though there might be some less desirable rich people out there but probably also less desirable poor people. We shouldn't base our opinion by what we see on tv but by what we experience every day.

February 13, 2007

Facing the facts of bigotry

I really enjoyed reading the article by Kate Nelson. It was written really easily and pretty straight forward, which made me wanting to read on. Especially the first statement "I'm a racist. And so are you" was very catching because I would never describe myself as a racist but I think she has a very good point.
We all have prejudices in our minds and we can not deny them. I have to face them a lot when I tell people that I'm from a different country and sometimes I'm wondering if I fullfill those thoughts or not. I think it is very interesting how our thoughts can change the fact how we see things and especially when it comes to people and "racism".
If we would spend more time on actually thinking about those prejudices and thoughts maybe we could get rid of some and replace them with facts. But having prejudices in also necessary, at least in my opinion. It helps us to deal with the people we meet everyday. We can place them somewhere and decide whether or not we want to get to know them better. Nevertheless, it is really important to not rely on them. Because even though someone might not seem to fit ones expectation the first time meeting, they might become a really close friend after spending more time and replacing prejudices with facts.

February 7, 2007

Cop Out?

This whole article was kind of hard for me because I'm not really into Rap and HipHop. Even the whole discussion in class could not really clear it up.
But I'm pretty sure of one thing. Music is a piece of art and just like painting pictures, writing poems or stories, musicians should have the freedom to say what they want to.
It is probably true that some people feel offended by what they sing or rap but isn't that they same with pictures or poems, too?
We ban books, so that kids in highschool can't read them just because we figure that they are not appropriate at this time of their life. Well, and it is just the same with music.
Somebody needs to feel offended or touched by it otherwise the artist wouldn't have reached anybody.
Maybe we are way to used to the daily pop music on the radio, that has barely any message because it is just about getting another song into the top 10 and sell as many copies as possible. And who cares about a message when it is all about profit, so let's just write a sond about love. That should work!
I think Ice-T had a point and I think it was his right to tell people about what happened and wake them up even though the language that he used was kind of strong. It was good that people felt offended otherwise the chief of police would probably still work and nobody would know what is going on.

January 31, 2007

Shitty first draft

I think the article was pretty good. It was easy written and therefore well to read, without complicated sentences or long passages about something no one really needs to know. Even tough in my opinion her example and how she used to write the food reviews was a little bit long but gave a good insight in how it can look practically, at the same time.
The author really had a point and therefore it had a positive effect on me. When I read it for the first time I just thought that it's propably true for some people but because I was so used to writting papers without a "shitty first draft" I was convinced that it doesn't apply to me at all. But writing the Art Description paper really showed me something different as well as her telling us that even the best writers write them. That was almost like a revelation to me. Don't we all think that all those amazing authors just sit down and start writing a book because it just seems to be in them?
But it is good to know that they don't and nobody does.
Like Anne Lamott mentions in her article, everybody writes shitty first drafts, no matter how experienced they are and it will always be like that. We just need to except that the first one is just going to be something that no one else is going to see except for us. That really encouraged me. Even though I think it's going to take a while until I'm really going to except my first draft of a paper as what it is, "the child's draft".
Keeping that in mind while writing the Art Desription Paper did not really make it easier for me yet and especially the fact that someone is going to read over it and is actually going to share his opinion on it, is pretty hard for me.
But keeping in mind that we are still learning and that we don't need to be perfect yet, is maybe a good way of looking at it and therefore i'm excited to see how this whole process is going to effect my writing in the long run.

January 22, 2007

Ways of Seeing

I found the article to be very interesting. Even though the examples were not always well to understand and in my opinion therfore not the best choice.
The structure on the other hand as well as the choice of topics and arguments lead to a good flow in reading and made it fun to read.
For me the aspect of art being a product of culture and the change of art affected by the invention of the camera was very interesting. The consequences of reproduction was another very interesting point for me to read about. Even though it sometines seems that the point of art becoming a mass product is overused but still interesting to think about. Especially because Berger was talking about the advantages of this progress and not only about the disadvantages. In my opinion it is important to be aware of the things. It gives one the chance to understand the world better and to realize what is going on. We don't just become blind consumers but are actually aware of the procedures one is using for this purpose.
I think being aware of these things gives one the possibility to start looking at art with a different perspective which can make it even more interesting because that background knowledge can open a totally different view.