The breakthrough of the Industrial Revolution and the velocity of communication developed during the 20th Century set the world asunder with awe, enthusiasm and hope. However, just like there is a silver lining to all bad things, there is also a shadow of despair in positive things. Then, with the expansion of industrialization and the globalization of communications, what is the shadow of despair that lurks behind the sunshine of progress? The film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle clearly depicts the progress that globalization brought to India, but it also explicitly depicts the regression that the progression of globalization caused to the already oppressed disenfranchised class of India. There is worldwide recognition of the benefits of globalization, but is there a worldwide recognition of its drawbacks? Clearly not. The flow of wealth and comfort that globalization has provided to the populous speaks much louder than the despair that it causes to the disenfranchised. Ultimately, the populous showered in comfort and wealth, has decided to turn a blind eye to the section of globalization that keeps the wheels turning. After all patrons of a cruise ship are never aware of the men that work in the engine room. The complexity of the manner in which those who can turn a blind eye to those who are negatively affected by progress runs much deeper than the mere act of ignoring. The ubber powers of the world have taken upon themselves the task to spread globalization and freedom, but with what intention and with what methods. History has depicted several times that the conquest of a new land is solely for profitable reasons. These intentions have not changed and what was then called “conquering” is now called a “liberation act,” and what was then called “colonization” is now called the “spread of freedom” (Harvey 6). Therefore, globalization is a gilded movement that only benefits the few and oppresses the poor and is ultimately a construction of the powerful to dominate the weak using Huxely-like methods of overwhelming commodity and indulgence to control the masses from uprising.
In Slumdog Millionaire , the negative effects of globalization are present in an explicit fashion through the characters of Jamal, Salim and Latika. Through the depiction of Jamal’s stories to every answer for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the audience is presented with the side of globalization that is not openly acknowledged and juxtapose with the openly acknowledged benefits of globalization. This dichotomy is clearly depicted in the scene where the giant buildings, which were erected during the expansion of globalization in India, loom over the slums that globalization and those who are part of it, ignore. This dichotomy is further depicted by the simple fact that Jamal’s integrity is questioned during the game and is interrogated in a violent fashion. Therefore, a major theme in the film is the theme of social class and the consequences that follow if the hierarchy is threatened.
With that in mind, Randy Martin, in his essay “Where Did the Future Go? “, argues that “the history of capitalism is one in which enormous human diversity has blossomed and been socially articulated along lines of class, race, nation, gender, sexuality, religiosity, as well as urbanism, technology, literacy, institutions of social welfare, specialized expertise–all of which can be captured by the term difference.” True, with the rise of capitalism and the spread of globalization, those at the top have found ways to label, describe and study the world around us. Capitalism only allows diversity to “blossom” for those who can afford it and hence, the study of diversity and the effect of globalization on the disenfranchised is a luxury granted to those who can afford it. This essay is tangible proof of this. The study of critical theory, philosophy, theology (amongst other fields of study) become arbitrary to the Jamals , Salims, and Latikas of the world. This by no means undermines those fields of study, they have expanded our understanding of the world and to certain degree inspired change, but by no means have they saved anyone either. However, it does depict the manner in which the marginalization happens even in education, whether we want to accept it or not.
The real question at stake is whether there is something that can be done to change the negative effects of globalization and neo-liberalism. Is the idea of a utopia possible? Very unlikely. The levels of the hierarchy (which we now call classes) have shifted but have never ceased to exist. What was once slavery is now poverty and very much like slavery was the Atlas the kept the economy flowing until it was completely abolished, the weight of the world has now fallen upon the shoulders of the poor. That is the very reason why globalization and neo-liberalism is gilded.
A very important issue in today’s society and most importantly with today’s youth is the lack of critical thinking. In an era where everything is delivered to us in an almost instantaneous manner, we have become accustomed not to think over things and simply take the as they are. I feel that as we progress into a more technologically ridden world, we are slowly loosing our wisdom and out sense of sympathy and empathy.
I would take a moment in my class and tell my students about how this is a pressing problem in our society. Of course this does not mean we all must join the Peace corps or things along that line. But, to keep in mind the fact that our actions may in fact affect other people’s lives is an important part of a functioning society.
I would probably incorporate this into a a unit where I’m teaching a book.
I would try to deliver this message by showing a TED video.
I love my Cat! =^.^=
I found out my friend Jaz broke the news to his parents that he is an Atheist.
This might not sound as serious as telling your family you are gay, but it is, if you are hispanic.
I remember I told my mother I did not believe in god when I was in seventh grade. She slapped me across the face and I never dared to mention it again. After she passed away, I remember feeling more free about my atheism and I told my siblings at different points. My sister is in denial and thinks I’m just going through a phase and I know she will come to accept the fact at one point or another. My brother Angel just engaged me in a theological debate in which the main question was whether people have the need to believe in something greater than themselves. And, my older brother simply dismissed it.
Now, why am I talking about Atheism?
Well, because I feel that to a certain degree atheism is treated with a sense of fanaticism similar to the one found in religious believers.
Some atheists seem so vehement on spreading atheist views. The irony here is that this is the same exact vehemence with which evangelists try to convert people. And, that is just rude.
I am an atheist and by no means will I ever try to make other people think the way I think. I like to live by the philosophy that just because you do not agree with what I think, it does not necessarily mean you are wrong and I am right or vice versa.
Keeping that in mind, last class discussion on myth and Freud was a bit…unorthodox? I am not sure what word I am trying to use here (English Major Fail). Nevertheless, I thought it was intriguing but extremely confusing. I had no idea what Wexler was trying to get at by comparing Freud theory to Myth-apart from the obvious use of myth references on his theories, it is important to keep in mind that Wexler is trying to compare Freud’s theories themselves as myth. As a matter or fact, I still don’t.
However, that does not mean I didn’t think about afterwards.
I came to the conclusion that like myth (at one point when it was an established religion and even as myth) and Freud theory (when it is applied) can create a sense of catharsis, an overwhelming sublimity if you will.
Well, religion has the same effect on its believers.
I always thought that spirituality was a cathartic experience.
Then, what do atheists have?
We have art? music? education? sex?
I think that personally as an atheist, I have it all. I can look into religion and appreciate their rituals and their moralistic stories. Their sense of moral guidance and ways of thought. However, I am not tied down to follow anything that disagrees with my personal morals that I have derived from -what I consider- my common sense and observations. I am not tied down to anything that disrespects my rationality or my person. I do not have to feel guilty for using and informing myself through empirical methods.
Just because I am an atheist does not mean I cannot appreciate religion.
I feel Alain Botton puts it better than I do:
A lot of credit goes out to Jaz and his friend Dennis.
** I know this is an English class but since it is a multigenre course I’ll share this poem I wrote in Spanish that cannot be appreciated in any other language but the one it was originally written in.**
Cuantas noches han pasado
desde la ultima vez que te vi
tu rostro suave y delicado
tus labio llenos y rojizos
Tu juventud plena y deslumbrante
tus manos firmes
tu pelo sutil
tus curvas llenas
y tus senos brotando amor
Hace mucho tiempo que deje de pensar en ti
y como lluvia en tiempo de sequia
a regar mis deseos
para hacerlos crecer
When the Pen Inspires
How many nights have passed by
since the last time I saw you
Your soft and delicate face
Your red full lips
your bursting stunning youth
your firm hands
your teeming curves
and your breasts full of love
It was long ago that I stopped thinking of you
and like rain during a drought
to water my desires
and make them grow
like wild weeds
with no orientation
The Dark that lurks in human soul,
Its power waits to take its toll.
At night my soul in terror cold it folds,
To know that of my soul it took a hold.
For some it is an established fact that everything that surrounds us is a form of text. One may even argue that text has acquired an omnipotent quality, it is all around us at all times. We can look into things and interpret anything and anyone we want as long as we are willing to look into it.
Hence, if text is everything then art is text. Therefore, art can be interpreted, it can convey meaning and be perceived with meaning.
For some, art can be pretty stupid. At moments I think it is, very much like the painting of the Blue Oval at LACMA…some say is a minimalist stance against the already minimal white color it’s contrasted with. Some even go as far as to interpret the wall surrounding the Blue Oval painting.
It’s just a blue dot to me.
Haha, sorry, OVAL.
Personally, art should be entertaining, perplexing, it should peak the imagination and challenge our boundaries. Does the artist need apply some sort of intentional meaning to their work? Perhaps. Does the spectator need apply some sort of affective notions to their personal perception and interpretation of a piece of art? Perhaps.
It all depends on what mood you’re in when you look at it.
For me, I like to look at art with a Kantian frame of mind.
I do not need to know why I like it as long as I like it.
I’m like that with food as well. I don’t care whether it is healthy or not, whether it is organic or processed. As long as it tastes good I’ll eat it.
We’re all going to die anyway.
I do not mean that in a pessimist way, more a realist look at life.
This does not necessarily mean that I live my life with a “Live fast and Die Young” philosophy.
Moderation is good, but so is moderate pleasure.
With that in mind, I present to you:
An Art performance by Millie Brown.
What is a nonsense verse? Who knows! It makes no sense! Yet, it does. That is one of the main contradictions in Lewis Carroll’s works Alice Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, of which the latter contains Carroll’s famous nonsense poem Jabberwocky. It is clear that many have tried to impose a definitive meaning to something that possibly carries no meaning in a deliberate manner while others discard its significance on the mere fact that it possibly carries no meaning. Michael Hayman points this out in his essay “A New Defense of Nonsense; or, Where Then Is His Phallus? And Other Questions Not to Ask” and argues that “an alternative to these two schools of criticism: a model for a theoretical reading of nonsense as “nonsense”…Combining both critical schools, I use theory to explore non-sensicality rather than to create a false sense of sense” (Heyman, 187). And, hence “Jabberwocky” will be surveyed in a theoretical fashion in order to explore the sense of “sense” that it carries within its nonsense.
“Jebberwocky” at a single glance appears to be a common poem consisting of seven stanzas of quatrains with an abab rhyme scheme. Nevertheless, the first four lines are always a perplexing surprise of semantical nonsense loaded with grammatical sense. The grammatical sense stems from the proper suffixes and affixes applied to the words that are probable nouns, adjectives and verbs. For example, in lines 1-2, “’Twas brilling, and the slithy tove/ Did gyer and wimble in the wabe” (Carroll, 164), the words “brilling,” “slithy,” “tove,” “gyre,” “wimble,” and “wabe” carry no semantical sense because even if they are made up words that carry meaning, they are not part of the English lexicon that the reader assumes is being used in this particular instance and therefore does not make sense. However, they are loaded with grammatical sense since these words are placed and used with grammatical methodology. This ultimately creates confusion within the reader because although the reader reads these words that make grammatical sense, it has no semantical meaning. This confusion then brings up the question of how closely connected is grammatical sense to semantical meaning. Clearly the use of one and the lack of the other throws the reader off because the familiarity with which the grammatical use of these words is executed creates an expectation of semantical meaning, one which is ultimately not delivered leaving the reader perplexed.
The initial perplexity the reader encounters with the four lines of this poem is followed by lines of ambiguous yet clear meaning of a story of the slaying of a creature of sorts. Lines five and six describe the warning of the Jabberwocky, with “jaws that bite” and “claws that catch,” give the Jabberwocky a menacing nature. These lines a followed by two additional lines that warn about a “Jubjub bird” and a “frumnious Bandersnatch.” At this point it is understood that these creatures must be dangerous, after all if they were not then no warning would be necessary. Nevertheless, although the ominous dangers that these creatures represent is evident, there is however, no definite description of the appearance of these creatures. And albeit there is some descriptions, the descriptions serve the purpose of imposing the sense of threat that the Jabberwocky represents rather than actually describing the appearance of the Jabberwocky.
Stanza three introduces the rather thoughtful hero who, upon not finding the Jabberwocky rests by a “Tumtum” (l.11) tree and stands a “while in thought” (l. 12). Stanzas 4-6 depict the arrival of the Jabberwocky and the battle that ensues, “One, two! One, two! And through and through/ The vorpal sword went sniker-snack” (l.17-8), followed by the celebratory victory and ultimately ends with stanza seven which is a repeat of stanza one. Even though theses stanzas carry out a story of a hero who fights a Jobberwocky and is congratulated, they do not carry out a comprehensible description of the story. Carroll’s deliberate use of unknown words in his poem create a sense of ambiguity that leaves the reader confused with no other clues to grasp on in order to fill in the gaps of the imagination that these unknown words create.
Ultimately, Alice offers the best description of what “Jabberwocky” invokes in a reader: “It seems very pretty, but it’
s rather hard to understand…Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don’t know what they are! However, somebody killed something: that’s clear at any rate—“ (Carroll 166). What are these ideas that fill the reader’s head? No one knows but the reader. This is because each individual reader will fill in the gaps, that Carroll deliberately creates with the use of unknown words, with his or her own imagination which is never like any other but their own. This could quickly become a zen subject if Freudian psychoanalysis and Barthes’ “Death of the Author” is taken into consideration. However, that expansion will be explored further at another point in time, definitely not this one. All in all Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” makes no sense…although it does.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble Classics. 2004. Print.
Freud, Sigmund. “The ‘Uncanny’”. Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2010. 824-841. 1350-1361. Print.
Heyman, Machael. “A New Defense of Nonsense; or, Where Then Is His Phallus? And Other Questions Not to Ask.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. 24: 4. 1999. 187. Web.
The name is Clara.
I was born in the year of the Horse.
In this vast yet miniscule world we live in, technology has allowed us to both express ourselves while simultaneously disengaging ourselves from our surroundings. Nevertheless this disengagement has, in an ironic way, created a new sense of awareness of the world in a manner that was unheard of 10 or 15 years ago.
Technology has given us the power to communicate, create and destroy. We’ve witnessed this several times throughout history, most significantly through the creation of the internet, the industrial revolution and the atomic bomb.
Technology is by no means evil, and to a certain degree neither are we as humans. We just have the tendency to misuse the power the ability to create has granted us.
I feel safe to assume that one of the constant human struggles is to become better human beings.