Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Analysis #5 Poststructuralism and Postmodernism

Analysis of the open mic nights, controversial issues of voice vs. written word by way of Derrida and others from the post structuralism and postmodernism theory

It would be very useful if Jacques Derrida went to a poetry reading, if he had any interest in it at all, because he would be able to experience how reading off of a page more often than not, brings a work alive rather than dulling it. Many times, the spoken word is more powerful than written, due to the ability to control fluctuation in the rhythm and pronunciation, the levels of volume and tone, and other things like body language. Most often, we find that people, especially in these days, are visually wired, and have short attention spans. But with this in mind, we see that Derrida has a good point. However, writers of poetry and lovers of words would obviously say the opposite. That there is room to fight for the other side, that the written word does not compare, because, like Sartre would say, the meaning ends in the reader. Because of this, there are more avenues that one piece's interpretation can go down, rather than the one presented to us, already decoded through biased opinions and persuasion of rhetoric.
Derrida says that writing is a fall from the full presence of speech. That it is only a derivative. Someone like Donald M. Bahr would agree, in his article on transferring Native American oral poetry to the page. This is ingrained in their culture. But we must not underestimate the power of our minds to read the written word as if it were spoken, and the opportunity to have no voice but our own interpret its value.

Works Cited

Bahr, Donald M. Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Written

Page. Wicazo SA review: A Journal of Native American Studies 15.2 (2000) 153-157.

Web. 17 May. 2011. .

Monday, May 16, 2011

Analysis # 3 Reader-Response

Reader-Response theory using the "text" of Salvidor Dali himself and his paintings such as this, and Jean-Paul Sartre's theories

In art pieces, Sartre says "if they come from the depths of our heart, we will never find anything but ourselves in it. Though entitled "Autumn Cannibalism," at first glance we wouldn't think of these things. After staring at this picture without the title, it would be assumed that most people wouldn't think of cannibalism off the cuff. They might see arms, faces, some sort of human characteristics melded together with the environment and random objects. But as Sartre talks about the author, or in this case to draw a parallel, the artist, he says he does not see the words or the work as the reader or viewer does, since he knows them before writing, or painting them. He only "projects." He says it is directed creation. The text "does not serve my freedom, it requires it," he says.
For Dali, he had many endeavors and an eccentric personality. He had made a collection of jewels, and in speaking about one, said himself, DalĂ­ himself commented that "Without an audience, without the presence of spectators, these jewels would not fulfill the function for which they came into being. The viewer, then, is the ultimate artist." In this way, he completely would agree with Sartre, who believes the meaning ends in the reader.
While many would look upon this painting and draw their own meaning from it, not many would think of cannibalism, or hopefully not, which shows that Dali had a strange, unique mind that only "projected" an instigator of interpretation, regardless of his inspiration or thoughts at the time. In this way, "art exists as fact when it is seen," not before.

Analysis #6

Just Ain't Right
Analysis on Feminism and Gender Studies through Genesis and the show Mad Men

It is interesting to see that Beauvoir starts out by bringing up the fact that people have discussed if women exist. Beauvoir says that we have all the proof; ovaries and such. She says "In truth, to go for a walk with one’s eyes open is enough to demonstrate that humanity is divided into two classes of individuals whose clothes, faces, bodies, smiles, gaits, interests, and occupations are manifestly different. Perhaps these differences are superficial, perhaps they are destined to disappear. What is certain is that they do most obviously exist" (Beauvoir).
And on to the question of what a woman is. This topic, as she says, was not easily written about with all the controversy and exhaustion. But I would like to highlight her statement that leads back to Adam and Eve. She says that "St Thomas for his part pronounced woman to be an ‘imperfect man’, an ‘incidental’ being. This is symbolised in Genesis where Eve is depicted as made from what Bossuet called ‘a supernumerary bone’ of Adam." Whereas most people cannot fathom that their equality be muted in any way, shape, or form, Genesis highlights the point that Eve was made from Adam's rib, and created as a helpmate for what symbolizes the head of a body, Eve symbolizing the body, which symbolizes the church, which we all know is a part of the head, and yet the head, holding everything together (representing Christ) is the Alpha and Omega, not the body. And so we have a text to consider with the feminist theories today. Her quote from Benda confirms this idea, that "'the body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems wanting in significance by itself ... Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man.’"

Taking the show Mad Men for example, we see how women are discriminated and used, looked down upon and trying to be controlled. However, we see that man, as Beauvoir brings up, sees women as sex, and thus, this notion is brought into play as the men give way, appreciate, and extend grace, seemingly only for this reason, throwing the women into turmoil and confusion, but thus, gaining more confidence to be equal, socially, and in the work place. Now, we see that this is a place where the "other" is full blown. Eve was just as important as Adam, yet they had different roles. What we see today, is imperfection in God's perfection through these two beings, who even to this day, are continually struggling to be happy, just as feminists see that things just aren't the way it should be. And they are right. But then, what better to strive for God's perfection? Gaining a real sense of love, and therefore going about our daily lives with respect, concern, and understanding of the other gender, bringing relationships together not apart? Being ourselves in our specific roles as individuals and not putting men or women in a box?

Analysis # 7 Ethnicity Studies

Black Hair, Blonde Masks
Analysis on Ethnicity studies through cross cultural influences of America on Japanese fashion and maybe more

"The white man is sealed in his whiteness. The black man in his blackness"(9). Though Fanon Frantz brings out this concept in "Black Skin, White Masks, he reveals that the widely held, subconscious wrench that is thrown in is that "for the black man there is only one destiny. And it is white" (10) It is the ultimate place that he saw a certain class of black people drawing their visions from, their day to day goals and instillations of values for their children. Today we see a parallel, in the area of America still being a desirable place, the land of the free and better education; a place where people from all over the world want to reproduce the Hollywood style and glamor. Whereas Langston Hughes stands for identifying one's self not as a poet, but a black poet. Because he says "it is the duty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old whispering "I want to be white," hidden in the aspirations of his people, to "Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro- and beautiful! (1316).
So in this case, of the modern Japanese girls who bleach their hair and make their skin bronzed, we are not just dealing with fashion, but a desire to be like Americans in many other ways. From the older, more traditional generation, we see a new generation, adapting the culture and lifestyle of Americans. Langston Hughes would say that these girls, called gangurus, are Japanese, not American, and to be all that you are inside, not trying to conform to some idealistic lifestyle or different way of living than what they are used to for the sake of envy or what people will think of them. To hold on to your own culture and accept who you really are. I would like to think it is only for reasons of fashion, but you never know.

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. 1313-317. Print.

Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks. Trans. by Charles Lam Markmann. London: Pluto, 1986.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Analysis #4 Marxist Theory

Analyzing the idealistic American "culture" of the 1950's and surrounding ties by way of Ross and Marxist theory

I think Ross’ ideas are very relavent to today’s society. We deal with a world that is constantly throwing ideologies at us. Even though we know a lot of them aren’t true, we will still take that placebo to “lose weight and feel great” or try and handle circumstances as simply and effectively as shown in an episode of “Family Ties.” For Ross, “all you have is ideologies,” as if there is a wall of haze between the text and the reader, always there to change the truth. I associated this with believing people have rose colored eyes, permanently seeing their world through an idealistic filter. Ross says there is a false relationship we have with the world around us. I think that it is definitely dangerous to be looking around wishing and hoping for things that aren’t practical to you.
For example, envying someone that has a great job, yet your talents are elsewhere, having nothing to do with the work that this particular person does day in and day out. As she has a smile on her face due to the joy it brings her to walk our her own talent, as you are trying to follow her exact footprints to catch that happiness, so to speak, your smiles are leaving you. Another thought is pictures. Some pictures, like the ones in frames you buy at the store, containing smiles that are ready to burst through the page at you and are lathered with content happy families can be misleading. The purchaser might even buy that frame because they felt nice looking at it, and somewhere deep down wished they had a family like that. Taking a step back, how does she know they don’t get into arguments, and why is she wrapping up their whole family life into one small picture; one small joyous moment? This is an ideology we all fall into, according to what we desire.

Marxist Theory

This topic I find to be highly important. Deception, manipulation, secrecy, power, greed and selfishness all play in to the superstructures leading into religion, politics and cultures as a gateway for some key figures, such as the owner of a large company, to manipulate the tokens on the game board of their system.
As we discussed in class, something as seemingly simple as a drink we buy at Starbucks is really not that simple at all due to the labor that different categories of work forces put into it. There is the beans, which at first had to have a place to grow, and harvest, and package, and ship, and commute, and grind, and steep, and pour into your cup. This is just the bean trail. There is a “vast totality of labor” within the process. The problems we hear about are working conditions and payment to the hard labor workers out in Africa, for example. Or the bottom of the barrel office workers to a major corporation, under payed and taken advantage of, so that they receive just enough to live on, all because of numbers. All because the owner couldn’t bear to lose one cent over a less thought about process that they could have extracted more labor from, which is all the worker is to this owner; labor. It’s what he buys from them. He is a capitalist, or rather, the mother was the first capitalist; the first proletariat.

Weekly Blog #7 Phenomenology and Reader-Response Theory

Where meaning lies is a crucial question. We can theorize all day long, but if we don’t know when to stop; where it ends, what conclusion to come to and rest the brainstorming, what is the point? That is why these philosophers had to come up with some idea of where to find the truth. For Jean-Paul Sartre, the meaning ends in the reader. When these eyes hit the page, I agree that they start hypothesizing, forming opinions, testing, all the material that is in front of him and as other critics say, we are continually critiquing and judging everything that is around us and that as humans, this is impossible to get away from therefore, we conclude at the end of the passage or whatever it is that we are reading, where we stand. For Sartre, this is where the meaning rests.
This is the purpose of the literature, as a kick start to a brain’s formation of thought processes. To ignite the continual interpretation through the freedom that exists within it as he says, “in short, reading is directed creation… the book does not serve my freedom, it requires it.” In other words, we must have freedom in order for the meaning to exist. For Kant, art exists as fact and then it is seen. But for Sartre, art exists as fact when it is seen. The difference is that Kant believes things exist whether there is someone there to perceive it or not. Sartre believes that those eyes, that mind to perceive the thing actually brings it to existence.