Unit 1 Post 3
Angela Davis’ writing deals with the legacy of institutional racism, and most specifically with its influence on the American judiciary system. Sadly, as the data she exposes shows, minorities such as African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be incarcerated than any other demographic in the US. Her book focuses on the debunking of the myth that structural racism is no longer and that racism only exists in individuals. Our society is choosing to ignore the fact that people of color are more likely to go to prison than any others because we try to believe that racism no longer exists. However, when the facts are on the table it is hard to not believe that the American justice system is deeply flawed and overtly racist. I’d also like to mention the way the brief excerpt we had to read of her ended; simply mind blowing. To think that the American political landscape was changed because of racism as late as the Bush election is a very scary thought and she makes a clear cut argument for it. I connected with this reading because I was lucky enough to visit many prisons last year and after talking with inmates I realized the inhumane way these people were treated on a daily basis and even after they became “free” again. So, reading this piece by Davis only confirmed what I already thought, the American penitentiary system needs a good bit of change in order to become efficient and impartial again.
Authors on my panel: Davis, Morrison and Locke
Are humans born equal and are they treated equally?
If inmates in the US, who are mostly minorities, are deprived of their voting rights, is everyone really part of the political system?
Who’s job is it to tell these inmates stories and who needs to be listening?
Unit 2 Post 3
Option 1: On the surface, this statement seems to hold true. One can always defend an argument by saying that something must have gone wrong, or that the rules were not followed to the letter. In my eyes, this technique works to a certain point. If one is forced to use secondary elaborations everytime their views are challenged, these views must be deeply flawed. If constant justification is a must for one’s views, then those views cannot hold true. But, the fact of the matter is that what is true to one person cannot automatically be true to everyone else. Hence, belief does not always need to be explained. This issue is only relevant when one believes their views need to be shared.
Option 3: Why does Frankfurt see bullshit as worse, in a moral sense, than lying? When my section discussed this question together, it became clear that most of us disagreed with Frankfurt, which made it very hard to validate his point of view. However, when trying to validate it, we came to the conclusion that he saw bullshit as a lack of knowledge over a subject and the subsequent use of lying to make one look better than they are. This makes bullshit worse than lying because it is an addition to lying. However, this makes no sense because, as Frankfurt explains, lying is knowing the truth and going in opposition to it, while bullshitting is not caring about the truth. This seems to mean that bullshitting is more of a joke than anything else, while lying is a serious affront to values and morals. I don’t believe I could formulate an answer because of the contradictory nature of the essay. However, when trying to formulate one, I can see the fact that completely omitting the truth can be seen as worse than going against it.
Unit 3 Post 2
Photographs bring out our raw emotions. It is the only way to put us all on the same moral ground regarding the horrors of war. Even though it is a man’s game, war is seen as gross, inhumane and useless by everyone; pictures help vehicle those emotions. Sontag in this first chapter talks of the pros and cons of war photography. The main pro is the fact that it enables everyone to see how terrible war really is. We are able to stand in other people’s shoes for just a second and see what we have never experienced. However, there are a few cons with war photography. The first thing is that they can leave a lot up for interpretation. Hence, in a conflict, both sides could claim that the other side did the horrific deed. Furthermore, it can be seen as dehumanizing to use dead bodies as propaganda for more war resources. War photography is the strongest type of photography.
This chapter deals with the strength of war photography and the way seeing the ravages of war makes us feel.
Violence, death and mutilation are all things that most people do not see everyday. Thankfully, most of our planet is living peacefully and can choose to ignore the horrid things that occur on an everyday basis. However, it is exactly because most of us do not see such things that we are so deeply attracted to them. In this chapter, Sontag explains why so many of us wish to interact with such images. We crave to see them because we feel that through sympathy we are helping the people that are feeling this pain. Furthermore, we feel that pain, is more than just pain. In extreme cases pain can become transcendental. The people that feel this type of pain, are seen as having lived something out of the ordinary, which makes us curious and in a way arouses us.
This chapter deals with the relation between the gruesome war images one can encounter and how our mutual attraction to them is what makes us humans.
To remember something horrendous happened is the ethical thing to do. It is an ethical act that shows one has a heart. However, remembering quickly becomes paradoxical. If we choose to never forget, then peace will never be achievable. Grudges and revenge will never die out and will cause a perpetual cycle of hatred to prosper throughout the world. This is why, Sontag, argues that thinking is much more important when we are confronted with horrible things. We are not only to remember but we are to understand how terrible humans really can be. Hence understanding that we are powerless in front of such actions is the only thing humans are able to do. Compassion or moral indignation will not solve these problems, and if we could solve them, then they would not matter as much. Seeing images of terror and desolation make us feel compassion, when in reality, the distance between that reality and our comfy chairs makes cowards of us. To see is effortless. Still, thinking about that violence is still key to our development.
Unit 4 Post 2 (March Post)
Throughout most of the book, the pages and panels in general have very dark undertones. The background is usually dark or darkened by some elongated speech bubbles. However, on these two pages we see light, we see space, we see hope. This march on Washington represents the height of the civil rights movement. After this demonstration, everything picked up speed and civil rights came to the forefront of the American psyche. So, having these pages so void of words but full of imagery and action makes it all the more powerful. Furthermore, I was not aware that John Lewis, Martin Luther King and other leaders did not end up leading the march that day. It makes these panels even more crucial to the whole event, as America really left without them. As John Lewis said, “There goes America.” This shows that him and his colleagues gave Americans the nudge they needed in order to fight for civil rights.
These panels heightened the already legendary march on Washington.
As previously mentioned, most of the book depicts the darkest times in modern American history. Most times everything is bunched together in one panel, making them dense and almost impossible to understand. On the other hand, when we get to these panels, we are able to breathe. We start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. No longer does violence surround us but rather benevolence starts to encircle us. The huge crowd of people marching together with one common goal, uninterrupted by racism or violence, sends a powerful image of what America hopes to be and should be. I chose these panels because they show the power of nonviolent protests. If members of the movement had decided to fight back at any point, this march and change would never have been possible. Even though other more powerful panels are present throughout the book, this one resonated with me the most because it showed the beauty of unity. The beauty that can be found only in humanity.
Unit 5 – Post 1
Disappearance of a performance has always been seen as necessary because it was not a western tradition to pass things on through performance.
Has there been a push to archive certain performances? If so, who is in charge of picking and choosing which performances matter the most?
Pages 102 to 104 were particularly interesting and led me these ! and ?
A lot of research goes into dancing. It is never simply a movement for the sake of movement, it always means more and is often thoroughly researched.
Can dance be archived through written testimonies of their choreographers? If that is seen as not enough, are videos a better alternative?
Pages 19 to 21 were fascinating and made me think of these ! and ?
Unit 6 – Post 1
Black Girl Linguistic Play took me by surprise, not only because I had a great time while watching it but also because I somehow felt that I could relate to some parts of it. To me it seemed to transcend racial and gender norms and to speak to a larger audience that was not made up of only African-American Women. I felt that the scene between the two sisters was very evocative of the relation I have with my brother while also highlighting the fact that no matter one’s race, growing up is not easy and mental illnesses are very real.
My main question about this performance was in regards to the chalk, why was it necessary and what did it signify?
Unit 7 – Akhmatova Post
After reading both translations of Akhmatova’s work, I realized the main difference was the degree of freedom the translator took when translating her work. On one hand, Anderson took a lot of freedom in order to keep the artistic value of the work and on the other hand, Thomas decided to translate the work word for word in order to keep its original content. Even though both approaches make sense, I resonated with the work of Anderson more because the poems had better flow and rhythm which made it sound like poems while Thomas’ work was very choppy and hard to read. Not having rhyming and rhythm takes away too much of the work which is why Thomas’ translation did not resonate with me.
How are artists treated in Russia today?
Artists who spoke out about the terror of Stalin’s rule have been able to make a name for themselves!
Unit 8 Post 1
“Shadows of the Summit Pointing West” (1960)
!: DeGaulle fought for national sovereignty in order to take care of Algerian war alone.
?: Was Camp David the most important diplomatic meeting of the 20th century?
“Hitler Within You” (1961)
!: German people refused to sweep Nazi past under the rug.
?: How should a national shame be handled?
“Human Dignity is Violable” (1962)
!: After WWII, the German Constitution was anti-militaristic for a while.
?: Do we need laws, as a species, in order to uphold basic human decency standards?
“Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf” (1968)
!: Women in Germany fought for their rights.
?: Why were Germans so against equal pay?
!: The column is a stress reliever, it is a free space in a paper.
?: Who controls which journalist writes what and how does that affect freedom of speech?
! & ? on The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
!: Tabloids were trusted, almost, religiously.
?: Why did the media have such power at the time?
! & ? on Baader-Meinhof Komplex
!: The Shah was one of the most important figures of the 20th century.
?: Why is leftist terrorsim not as critized as right-winged terrorism? Or at least, why does it seem that way?