"Somethings's rotten in the state of Denmark"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Camus (Post Class Discussion) Period 5

I agree with Ashley, during the first day of the literature circle, when she was explaining how the author expresses his belief that sin doesn’t exist. After all one of the themes of the book is existentialism which is a philosophy about how fate is created by a person’s observations and experiences since the universe cannot be understood with so many paradoxes, and irrational events. In this belief sin is only a sin if it considered one in the eyes of the beholder. “[Raymond] asked [Mersault] didn’t [he] think it was disgusting and [he] said no” (28). These are two people’s beliefs going against the other; one finds it alright to beat a dog while the other finds it inhuman. Yet these two characters go on living out their lives with what they believe is the meaning to life. Raymond’s life is ruled by his emotions, such as when he beats up his mistress for cheating on him. However Mersault lives life emotionless since he doesn’t care about his career, family, or personal life all of which are essential to a man’s livelihood. When Mersault’s life is threatened his belief system was shaken but eventually Mersault finds comfort after realizing that it doesn’t matter how one reaches death either by old age or execution. Mersault has adjusted his beliefs to find comfort and acceptance in his death which shows that beliefs can be tweaked to view things differently. I believe Ashley’s about how the author view sin since it is consistent with his novel “The Stranger.” Destiny is not written in stone and that it is created by our own individuality.

Currently Reading
The Stranger
By Albert Camus
see related

Red Shift (Fill in the Blank) Poem

Here I am at a coffee house sitting next to the door frame
The air, in flowering season, is looming with exotic aromas
on the way to New York City’s urban streetscape
I drink some brew made not by love but corporate greed
and sip to have follow a trend and to be accepted
In. The streets look for wandering souls, or me, life
is a play, where characters have no dialog, it’s
raw emotions without words to shape it, manifestation on me, I fall
through it, them, as
The Caffè Mocha is being sipped on a swaying mind now
eighteen years almost ago, and the man singing
Stares through the crowds to spot me & telling.
Who would have thought that I’d be here, nothing
needs to be said, no words to exchange, all is felt
Love, civil rights, family values, justice,
a vote for tolerance
Up in the hands of the people, still deciding still ruling, now
more than ever before?
Not that it’s all unfair, yet religion has it’s coat
eyes penetrating the minds of the people
& controlled in religion. Not that youngsters, of sixteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into confusion so,
To roam, & to fall down the abyss where the mind could imagine
so to go. Not that darkness who from very first meeting
I would never & never find my way back to light
into the darkness not knowing how & so demanded
To follow & who will never leave me, not for society, nor self struggle
nor even for family which is
Only our human lot & means nothing. No, not him.
There’s a song, “Homophobia”, but no, I won’t do that
I am human. When will I die? I will never die. I will live
To be forever. & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
who am always & only a reminder, despite this body. Spirit
Who lives only to teach.
I’m only one, & I am a taboo, & I didn’t want this but
I must be heard.
I came into your life to teach you, to make history
To bring change and to defy society’s role
Change, that’s for the better
Equality & diversity, oh changing fate, nevertheless
I won’t go gracefully in the good night
The world’s of all must know we’re here, we’re different, get use to it.

Walking Blindly into that Light

In the poem, “The Parable of the Blind” by William Carlos Williams the speaker is using the painting “The Parable of the Blind” by Peter Brueghel to express the main idea that following the ignorant can only lead a person astray. The speaker sees the blind “leading/each other”(5-6) downwards, though the faces are “raised/as toward the light”(19-20), they follow the others “hand triumphant to disaster,”(24) illustrating that having blind faith in others leads to discord.

The speaker points out that he is telling a “parable of the blind/without a red”(2-3). The color red is used to refer to warnings, since red is a color of danger, it requires an assessment of this danger; that danger is following others without questioning and examination. The blind “beggars” represents humankind during the setting of this painting; the ignorant lower-classes sough out guidance from a higher being through its liaison the church which was the only one to interpret the biblical scriptures. The beggars are uneducated people who are too poor to afford the luxury of being schooled which created illiterates and made the lower class people puppets to the church. Education is freedom from ignorance but if people depend on each other’s belief unquestionably they are leading each other astray.

The speaker than focuses, “across the canvas/from one side/to stumble finally into a bog/where the picture/and the composition ends back/of which no seeing man”(7-12). He is showing where blind faith will lead a person towards, which is represented as a bog. This bog is the bottom of the low, it is the representation of trouble; with the insecurity of the future one might place all confidence in another which is just irresponsible as they will end up falling down in to that bog. As the blind are following each other their “faces are raised”(19) facing the light of the sun. Religion appears in the form of this “light” that the beggars are feeling the warmth of it, which shows how people trust their feelings instead of reason. The fickle emotions that one relies on are unreliable and beliefs must be backed up by evidence or else it will be inevitable that a person will perish by their gut feelings. It is religion that creates faith, faith that is not based on proof but rather it plays on the emotions of the believer. A person’s absolute devout unquestionable faith is the topic the speaker is criticizing. The purpose is to open the eyes of the people so that superstition is replaced by logic and reason.

The blind are walking hand-in-hand in full belief that faith will save them from falling to their “disaster.” It is the shoulders that the blinds hold on to and they follow their front partners unknowing what is in front of them yet they have faith. In this canvas faith will not save the beggars from tripping over into the bog, rather it blinds them from the truth that lies in front of them. This image also portrays conformity as each one is following another to their dooms. In conformity, individuality is not existent and so people must act accordingly to the socially accepted behavior of society. Individuality must be given-up which is equivalent to falling to one’s doom and in this canvas as one follows the other they are walking to their own death.

In brief the canvas and the poem “The Parable of the Blind” express how blind people are when they accept the teachings of others with whole devotion and faith; by being dependent on others their source for guidance could take advantage of them and lead them astray. It is when a person is educated are they free from others and independent for themselves to find their own way of walking their own path.

Being Resilient

In a battle one should be quick to respond in order to be successful in life. The success of being resilient or quick to recover can be seen in science, current events, and personal experience. It is our ability to quickly respond that enabled humankind to survive.

In the animal kingdom it is every animal for themselves. The Darwin Theory is about survival of the fittest. When an animal is a being attacked it has no time to think logically about what to do. It is their basic instincts which tell them to either fight or flight. Also time is not on anyone’s side. When a life is in danger it must act quickly for the same reasons as mentioned before. If too much time is used the pray would have no time to escape but if it thinks quickly enough it can survive to live another day. The animal response time is not the only thing that can prove success. In the medical field when the Black Plague was ravaging the country many died. The life of many could have been saved if their medical responses moved more quickly in isolating the infection. The quick response of recovery is essential in not dying.

The country’s response time to threat from their neighbors is also an example of resilience. When the World Trade Center was wiped out by planes the leaders of the US was slow in their response time. The US had the chance to shoot down the next incoming plan, but no thousands of lives were lost to terrorists. Another event is the spread of disease. The US had quick response to put the country in lock down and isolated the citizens from exposure. Unlike the incident with the Black Plague the US was ready. On another note leaders must be resilient in making policy deals. For instance, the US gave specific guides lines to follow after liberating Iraq. One of the rules is that they cannot have nuclear testing. Yet the Iranians have spit on the face of the US and continued to research and use nuclear power. The US has done nothing to correct this and now the sense of fear the US strikes onto others is not longer instilled in foreign nations. The US slow response or rather no response has made the great US of A into a weak country. Countries must have a quick response to threats or else they will be made into a joke.

An individual’s experience and observations can quicken responds. When a person cuts in line one must quickly recover from this. They must quickly respond with a verbal confrontation to negotiate for their fairness.

The ability to be quick after one has fallen is a survival skill. This skill is the tool between life and death as well as bravery and cowards.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

From the Ashes

It started on a cold attic floor where I stood waiting. I was faced with the internal struggle of coping with my sexuality and my beliefs. I was there staring out of my attic window about to take my last breath, watching the clouds drift as they slowly faded into the winter background of the sky, and into nothingness, or the darkness that had came so quickly. My mind was racing, thinking of what I wouldn’t miss in this world. Images and emotions came to me in waves. I was caught in the riptide of illusions. I was overwhelmed with the image of my mother crying over my gravestone which disabled me from moving any further to the rope I constantly practiced tying with. In a way, I did kill myself that day, or part of me at least, because it severed the bad habits that restricted me from being who I really am. I was freed.

I finally accept myself for who I really am. I don’t see myself as the monster I once did five years ago, but as an activist who eagerly wants to fight for social equality. I saw my life like a phoenix building a nest, consumed by the passion of fire for a new life to replace the old. It was through my most difficult times that I found reason and meaning to live again.

It was my 8th grade year that was the most traumatic for me. My whole belief in life was that nature intended us to reproduce and that was all there was in life: to have a little piece of ourselves in the future. I wanted to fix my homosexuality since it contradicted my views on life, but also because it made me different from the rest of the crowd. I was taught to never to do anything different that would go against my parent’s beliefs and to disobey them meant I would have to face abuse from my father and mother.

My home was not a safe haven since I was bombarded with the views of Asian conservatives. I was faced with physical and emotional abuse at home which only made me want even more to fix myself more so that I wouldn’t have to face my parent’s disappointment and punishment. The lack of encouragement from my parents left me crippled. I was not able to express my individuality so I was left with a cynical view of life. The distractions of school soon came to an end when my paranoia got the best of me.

It was the last few months of 8th grade that I was finally guided by a friend and two teachers. They helped me to reevaluate my beliefs in life and gave me the support that I so desperately wished I had during my childhood. Their encouragement was what I needed in order to grow as a person, to focus my attention on personal growth. I was lost for a time but my new family helped my rebirth and I started learning to live life again like an infant learning to walk. My bad habits started peeling away; it started with my shyness, then my insecurities, and when these walls were finally broken down the constant fears that creped up during social situations and my shortness of breath were gone. I eventually found a reason for living, which is to gain equal status for the LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community which I slowly started calling my own and to break down stereotypes that the media creates.

During my junior year life started falling into place. I came out of my shell and out of the closet. My friends are still my friends and the ones who knew me before high school remark on how much better I seem now that I am out about my sexuality. I can freely talk about my homosexuality without the fear of rejection and joke around with my friends who I never could have imaged having. In my life before high school I was always “that kid” chosen last in any team sports but it all changed freshman year when my coaches saw my potential, and I have been wrestling at varsity ever since. I’m finally seeing my old self fading away and rising as a leader.

In my life’s confusion I came out stronger, like the phoenix that rises from its ashes. I came out with confidence in myself and a brand new purpose in life with an impeccable personality that I could have never seen myself as five years ago.

The Last Fish

My illustration of “The Last Fish” is inspired by the movie “Polis Is This” by Henry Ferrini. “The Last Fish” has been made with considerable thought but it started with what Ferrini showed in his movie. The fishing industry in Gloucester, Massachusetts is being threatened by the local development in modernizing Gloucester, and the old traditions are fading away to be replaced with ordinary ones which only adds to Gloucester’s troubles as reported by Henry Ferrini and sources.

Gloucester, Massachusetts is a town based on its fishing industry but as technology improves it worsens the conditions of towns with its own identity. The invention of the automobile has allowed “people to spread out.” During Mr. Ferrini’s appearance he said this to explain how town’s are “progressing” but really they are going backwards. As technology has improved it allowed people to live further away from the big cities to a more quitter and suburban neighborhood. His town, Gloucester, is being destroyed by the construction of a “mall” and the easy accessible “highway” that are dropping off strangers to his small little fishermen’s town. The effect of this highway dumping allows people to visit Gloucester, and this in return gives the town an opportunity to make money from those visitors.

A town is a town but not those with something that set them apart which make’s them special. “Gloucester is a state of mind,” it is created by the buildings, the people, the traditions and etc. Charles Olsen fought to keep commercial companies from having building projects that would threaten his image of Gloucester. This town was special to him and it made him even more frustrated when a building is tore down from his memory. “All people have a sense of their childhood, it’s special to them.” It is childhood that shapes a person to who they are, and Olsen found something special in this town of his. The town has a special mass dedicated to mourning the sailors lost at sea. When the fishing industry ceases to exist the people of that town will forget about those hundreds of lost sailors and the mass that is held will no longer be there to morn for those sailors. The “Gloucester state of mind,” is starting to fade away and the old traditions will be lost to modernization if the people of Gloucester don’t realize this threat soon before everything is lost.

In the illustration “The Last Fish” represent the struggle of Gloucester. The hands are open holding a fish gasping for breath. The openness of the hands represents the openness of the town’s willingness to allow change. This change includes the mall, as mentioned before, that’s being built in this town, which the people are hoping will bring in the money. However the hands are holding on to its old ways as well. The fish in the hand is the representation of what the town is most famous for its fishing. As the fish is fighting for another gasp of air it’s bleeding out internally. The blood that is spilling out onto the hand shows how draining it is for the fish to keep on living. People, “move in the now, we don’t think of what came before us.” The old ways are slowly being replaced and its killing Gloucester’s individuality that sets it apart from all the other towns around it. The young people of that town don’t know how it was before and so they carry no concern of how it’ll end up. It is the people of before that remember what was but it’s replaced with malls and houses that have no significant to add to the rich history Gloucester has to offer.

In conclusion “The Last Fish” is drawn with considerable though that has been floating in my mind during the research into the town of Gloucester. The research and the movie has led my mind to draw what I feel is what’s happening to towns such as Gloucester and other small towns that are being threatened with the common threat of modernization.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Act 3:1 Hamlet’s Soliloquy

Judging from the three videos, the best video would be by Laurence Olivier who best captures Hamlet’s thoughts and emotions in his soliloquy in Act 3:1 of Hamlet. The director has given much thought to the camera effects, and setting of the movie while Oliver presents the soliloquy in a subtle manner by which the speech is given appropriate pauses, tones, and reactions of body and emotion. The work that is put into the video all collimates into a piece of work that evokes the audiences’ emotions, allowing the viewer to experience his pain and suffering.

The scene first begins with the camera being focused from the sky to the ocean waves crashing against the rocks below Hamlet in black and white. The camera does not capture images in black and white but rather it captures the deep and serious overtone of the scene. Hamlet’s emotions are as black and white as the camera that is capturing him. The camera captures the actor in a depression faced with the resolution to escape his “mortal coil” (82) by killing himself. It shows this by having Hamlet stand by the edge of a ledge where if one were to fall they would fall into their watery graves.

The watery setting is extremely fitting for this scene. In the soliloquy water is referenced more than once. When Hamlet says over the water that he is “against a sea of troubles” (81) the actor is gazing over the sea watching the rocks going against the waves, but in the end one has to go with the flow of events to face their troubles. Speaking of flow of events, on lines 63 to 66 Hamlet uses death being comparable to sleep. When one sleeps, one has dreams fantasizes the relief of work and labor, which is the same as death. After leaving the physical world there isn’t any duties to keep a person from coming back from the afterlife. These duties are the physical labors one slaves over and to dream is allow the mind to rest, leaving the conscious mind dead, and setting the unconscious free: death brings about an image of the soul being set free from it’s physical body.

Laurence Oliver’s pronunciation is clear and easy to hear, unlike the other videos. Oliver presents Hamlet’s most famous lines slowly saying “To be, or not to be, that is the question:” (81). For each comma that separates the words Oliver pauses for 3 seconds each. The pauses help the listeners to digest and understand what he is talking about. By listening to him one can tell that Hamlet is stuck in a dilemma of whether or not to commit suicide. By lines 63 Hamlet switches from speaking with his mouth to speaking through his mind then a dramatic noise arises and Hamlet is then awaken to say how great it would be to be asleep, where pauses seem like forever or silence has come to Hamlet’s world, death. Oliver uses pauses to help stress the effects of a word or phrase to help the listener hear more clearly the important words that are said.

During the beginning of the scene the actor maintains a certain ambiguity in his tone; after all Hamlet starts out asking himself whether or not to end his life. Then the tone of his voice shifts to critically speaking of life and “the law’s delay”, or the “insolence of office.” (82) He is feeling anger because of how he insults the government or the way one courts a woman. But the tone eventually changes to soft nostalgic manner, as he refers back to Ophelia for solace, as he mentions Ophelia and sin in the same sentence.

While presenting the most famous lines of Hamlet it can be seen that Hamlet is holding onto the rock ledge in the beginning, it appears that he wants to jump into a vast ocean that is distinctively heard in the background noise. He stares deeply into the sea, making him appear as if he is deciding whether or not to drop into the sea head first, he holds his head still to stare down the ledge and into the sea. At lines 56 Hamlet reaches for his dagger on his left belt and draws it to have the tip point at himself; appearing as if about to lunge it into his upper chest. By lines 64 he lowers his weapon and lays himself on the ledge and adjusts his head to face the sky.

In conclusion Laurence Olivier appeals to the audience and he exceeds the performance of the other actors performing Hamlet’s soliloquy. It was the director’s mastery of the camera that he was able to capture the exact seriousness of Hamlet, with its black and white tones, and dramatic sound effects. It is also the decision to stage the soliloquy by the sea that enhances the word choice of “opposing”, “sleep”, and “dream” which is referring to the fluidity of liquid. It is also the skill of the actor that helped make the soliloquy flow nicely into the ears. The pauses that stress importance, the body language that changes to the emotions of the speech and to the tone of the voice the actor speaks in. It is these elements of directing and acting that makes this video so much worthier than the other choices.

March 11, 2008 12:52 AM

Tom Phillips: Explicating A Humument

Page 304

On page 304 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillips suggests that men solicit favors to a woman in order to court them but they will solicit favors to many a women by gifting them with elaborate gifts. Philip colors the page with black shadings with the edges being darker than its body of light goldenrod and as he maps out a body of land he encompasses it with words and phrases like water around an island. This island is the representation of men’s continuous journey to court the right woman.

Philip first begins the page by putting into light how moral are the ways men tries to purse women. The passage begins on the upper left side of the page. It starts with, “A Cruise in an Opium Clipper,” which is referencing Captain Lindsay Anderson’s book about the morality of trading Opium to China. This is the author’s way to introduce the reader to question men’s morality of how they try to woo women. By bringing up opium it is expressing the poisonous acts men perform to get what they want. Opium has properties to sooths the mind and emotions which is the way men will try to trick women into giving them what they please. The opium clipper is a ship that is used to transport opium over seas and for a man sailing on this boat leads one to question his morality to allow the trade of poison. Despite the British knowing opium is very addictive they kept on trading poison to get into the ports of China, just as men will do the same to get into the ports of women.

As the lines cruises above to the page it begins to describe male conquest as a long but adventurous journey. The description is addressed on top of the page where he writes, “Ten years travel.” The specified amount of years is to stress how long a male’s sexual conquest takes for them to find a settlement, which in this case is a woman. The whole process of a male selecting its mate is a, “sport in foreign lands.” The choice of word the author uses to explain the process is by sport. When a person sports they are performing an athletic activity to amuse themselves but in context it means performing a sexual act because it requires vigorous effort to perform this activity with the mystique of the female body.

Philips creates a lake where “Toge” follows a path to “soften…” a woman’s, “heart.” The line introduces the behavior of what Toge does to try to win the heart of a woman. This leads to more words surrounding Philips’ drawing. He takes her to “breakfasts luncheons and ball suppers,” which are display of his affection and it demonstrates men’s efforts to try to buy their way through to their lady with food. The first method to court a woman uses food as a sensual tool to arouse the senses of a woman. However if the first method doesn’t succeed men will try to appeal to a woman’s material desires by, “precious stones” of diamonds and gems. These acts are poisonous as described by the image that one can see in the window of pitch darkness. At close inspection a skull lies at the center of the framework, which is a symbol of poison and death. The window also has the skull lodged within a heart and the red surrounding it is spreading to other parts of the heart which is the heart being filled up with the acts of lustful men.

The chase of wooing women is a man’s, “marine engines and boilers.” Marine engines describe the driving force of men to woo women and as they woo other women their blood boils like a boiler that heat up water. The boiling describes men’s intense heat and passion when they spot an attractive mate as well as the blood that rushes to their sexual organ to allow it become erect. The process of wooing is only understood by a select few as described by “esoteric Buddhism.” Buddhism main principle is that desire causes suffering and that the whole process is repeated if a male has not realized their actions, “karma.” It explains that good deeds are the way to win a woman’s heart and not through food or material affections.

This is the end of the journey and where the words begin to repeat itself. The words traces around the drawing symbolizing the eternal cruising of the sea to woo a woman’s love. The drawing is an island that is colored in light goldenrod and separating it from the sea of words is a border colored in the dark shades of black. Along with a dark window located near the center of the land representing the deeds one has done to gain the chastity of a woman.

In conclusion Philips’ encompass image of words portrays the male behavior as eternal. It cannot be broken until lessons are learned from the past to find the proper way to court a woman because material gifts are nothing more than getting women addicted to poison acts of lust.

February 26, 2008 2:39 AM