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As one of our final contributions to the blog and a transition to our discussion of the power of popular culture in America, you should make two blog entries over the next two weeks that use The Things They Carried and Tim O'Brien's concept of a true (war) story to evaluate whether recent stories you have read, watched or experienced were true or not. One of the blog entries should be about a work of culture that you think, inspired by O'Brien's definition, is a true story. The other blog entry should be about a work of culture that you... Continue reading
You have many great choices this year. Check out info on all the books: OPRFHS Summer Read 2014 By this Friday, March 21, all students should have submitted their choices: Select Books Continue reading
As we discussed in class, the next blogging assignment -- due Friday, March 14 -- asks you to write an original argument discussing how a work of American popular culture constructs gender. We call that a feminist critique. You can see the details of the assignment here. This post should be more substantial than a normal blog post. Make sure you have a strong thesis and defend with plenty of specific evidence from your work of culture. Do not forget to add comments to classmates' posts as well. Continue reading
The next blogging assignment is due on 3/7 -- and you have a few options. First, you could blog about a part of Beloved we have not discussed or a part we have not discussed enough. Just make sure you refer to specific parts of the novel -- quoting or paraphrasing and citing evidence to make your point or to spark reflection. Second, you can continue to expand the conversation about mothering. Look back at Chodorow's argument. Consider the questions she ultimately asks: Why do women, and not men, "mother"? What are the consequences of that gendered system? What would... Continue reading
The blogging assignment for this week -- due 2/28 -- is to discuss a work of contemporary American satire: a film, TV show, song, etc, from the last few years that uses humor to make a larger point about society. Even though we just finished on unit on constructing race and are starting a unit on constructing gender, your example does not need to involve race or gender as its primary subject matter (although the stereotypes that surround race and gender are frequent satirical topics) Your post should include the following: 1. A summary of the work of culture --... Continue reading
Great initial point, John -- and great subsequent point, David. I would only add to the discussion by saying that in all eras of hip hop history, rappers have been political and positive as much as "gangster." And this is not to take the responsibility off of those rappers that perpetuate the brute stereotype, but it's the white-dominated media -- feeding the white suburban boys who became ironically the driving audience of hip hop in the 1990s -- who chose to champion the gangstas while disregarding the other rappers. Just sayin' it's pretty complicated.
For the next blogging assignment -- due February 7 (early extra credit by February 2) -- answer one of the following questions, each of which "expands the conversation" that we are having through our reading of King Lear: 1. Does a person have a moral responsibility to relieve another's suffering? Respond to Peter Singer's argument in the "Expand the Conversation" packet (41-46) -- and consider David Brooks' own response to Singer (47-48). Make sure you discuss the reasoning behind as well as the implications of your answer. or 2. Is suffering a necessary part of life? Is it a good... Continue reading
For this week's assignment, you can either post an analysis of a contemporary romantic comedy or a contemporary satire -- or get extra credit for posting on both topics or posting on one topic and reflecting on Pride and Prejudice. You need to do more than simply post an example. For the romantic comedy, discuss how meaningful it is. Does its themes attempt to inspire a type of social change or do they make a conservative statement? And how does your example fit in with the generic romantic comedy -- is it a notable exception or a classic example of... Continue reading
Maddie, I think Adele is a great choice, but what you describe in your post is how she is "romantic" in a small "r" sense -- but you still need to make an argument that she is Romantic in the classic, ideological sense.
You clearly are obsessed with Mr. Gabriel, John. Thankfully, he has a body of work that seems to have an appropriate song for every occasion!
This is potentially the coolest (in more ways than one) post in awhile -- but can you explain what characteristics of a rugged individualist Mingus exemplifies?
This is our unmixed mix -- just in the order of submission on the blog. I'm trying to get a local DJ I know to mix the songs into a more coherent whole -- at least with smooth transitions. If you have never used Spotify, you can sign up for a free account and listen on your computer. It costs a monthly fee to get the app for your phone. If you are presenting your song as "music poetry," you be ready to provide the following: an introduction to the song: the "title" of the song, the artist, and the... Continue reading
I got some movie watching to do -- will get back to you.
A Faulknerian blog post -- and in the middle of it all is a very astute point about the diction of "body."
Such cool, interesting people in the world (and that include you, Nora!).
I think you have rhetorically seized back the power from the college application process. And it's over, right? Well, there you go.
Haven't seen that one -- so can't help -- but sounds like a cool camera technique.
The way we define "intelligence" over the years has always supported binary hierarchies. See Howard Gardner:
Sacco and Vanzetti ... what about Joe Christmas?
I used "tree" because it is a pretty value-neutral word in our society (although environmentalists and loggers might not think so!). Let's take the word "man" -- and see how, while certainly there is a "real" biological entity that we identify with "man" -- the word itself is very much what a linguist might call a "floating signifier" -- meaning it implies a bunch of characteristics, different ones for different people, that have little to do with biology. I only say this to indicate that language is not just communication; language is power -- the way we define something defines something, if you know what I mean.
Well, that's a depressing one from Joni, isn't it? Thanks for the honest reflections, Evan.
Many of Freud's premises have certainly been questioned -- and the universality of his psychosexual model has been fairly roundly rejected -- but most of Freud's insights, including the psychosexual model of development, are still seen as "valid" to a great degree -- and certainly as ground-breaking and very helpful to our understanding of the human mind. I only note this to say that the way Faulkner portrays that encounter with the dietician -- which is clearly a Freudian moment, on many levels -- is also insightful. It seems to capture a truth about human development -- and the power of social forces -- in this case, around gender and race -- that shape the individual.
Coming off our "expand the conversation" reading and conversation in class -- where we we were applying a Benjamian perspective to our contemporary world -- use this week's blog post (or if you've already blogged for this week, do it for next week) to reflect on the following question: How did our latest conversation about Benjamin's conceptions of binary hierarchies and mutual recognition change your view of the world around you (your view of race in America, your view of our present political or social crises, your view of popular culture, your view of literature, etc), your view of what... Continue reading
Not a divergence at all -- seems to tie in very well with The Awakening and how gender affects our relationship to society. Thanks!