Thursday, March 31, 2011

Analysis #2 - The Truth in Comedy

Here is comic drawing. The artist who drew this is unknown at this moment.

In this drawing you have four large men playing soccer with what seems to be a bomb. They are playing this "game" on what appears to be the ruins of a city. There is a man in Arab garb as goalie, an Arab in terrorist garb going face to face with an Israeli soldier and the referee, which is the United States. It is safe to say that these Arabs are in fact, Palestinians. The world knows about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The world watches them kill one another, like watching a football game. The world stands back and pretends to mediate. The world is owned by The United States of America and its affiliates (Europe and the U.N.). We see the faces of the Palestinians in this game, we see them bomb, we see them suffer and we think they deserve this. We don't see the Israeli soldier, who is playing the same game. The men going face to face is Israel's army and Hamas (government of Gaza which was founded on "terrorism"), the goalie is just a Palestinian civilian who has to make sure he catches the bomb because if not; Israel AND Hamas will go after him. We see the referee doing nothing because there is "nothing to be done". According to the referee, Israel has the right to exist. There is no doubt that Jews deserve a homeland but do they deserve the support they receive for creating an apartheid state? Do they deserve billions of dollars worth of weapons to "defend themselves" against rock throwing, home-made EID making, Muslim AND Christian Arabs, who were living on the land before it was claimed by the Israeli's in 1967? After all these years, we just sit and watch the game. Israel is the referees hugest ally in the West. The game is unfair but if anyone speaks out about it; they will be labeled anti-semitic.

Analyzing this comic using structuralism is easy. Since we can define structuralism as using and interpreting signs from text, literature or art in general, we can clearly see the sign of the Star of David on the back of the ball player with a helmut, which can easily be identified as a soldier. Last I remember, we don't wear helmuts in soccer or football. We can also identify the other players in the game by the way the artist has drawn them, their facial expressions, their clothing attire and the label on the referee's jersey. We can identify the Arabs from the soldier and even the referee (dressed in what we would most identify closely with). While one would automatically assume that the message being sent here is that; Americans are just watching the Israeli's and Palestinians destroy themselves, it is not the entire story. Take a look at the faces in the drawing, you only see the two Palestinians and the referee, we don't see the Israeli soldier. Does this drawing imply that Israeli is sneaky? What does it mean? One can assume that this drawing was not done by an Israeli. One can also assume that this drawing was not done by an American either, look at the expression of the referee. Does he look happy? Does he even look like he is doing anything? It appears that he can not do anything because the will of the Hamas individual and the Israeli soldier are intent on getting the bomb on each others' side. We can safely assume that this is not drawn by a Palestinian either because the goalie does not look very nice. The guy's nose is large, he is largely shaped and his eyes are protruding as if he is confused or scared. However; we can safely say that the artist is neither for Palestine or Israel and doesn't agree with the United States interference with the conflict.
       I can come to a different conclusion of what the author truly thinks because I am familiar with Palestinians, Arabs, Israeli's and Americans. I know what they wear, eat, consider art and think politically. Because of my knowledge, I can assume more than what might have been intended by the artist. Here is where structuralism and semiotics takes place; the knowledge of what these individuals wear and represent in real life, can make my definition of the drawing much different than someone who sees this through the lens of just being American and not really knowing Palestinians or Israeli's. One who would only receive their news from U.S. media would think that Palestinians are bad. Or that the U.S. is doing right by standing in solidarity with Israeli policies in Gaza and The West Bank. The artist of this drawing seems to be looking through one lens; that of the West. There is always two sides to a conflict, even three or four or five. At the end of the day; it is what we are familiar with in which we can identify and define what we see through pictures, drawings, literature, etc. It is our perception and ours alone that would affect the way we interpret a certain drawing like the one above.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reflection #2: Imitation is Sublime

Aristotle, Poetics, On Rhetoric
Longinus, On Sublimity

Aristotle, the student of Plato, argues that imitation is inevitable, therefore; Art and that poetry is good.

Well -- I'm not in to Poetry so.... I think I like to agree with Plato; however, the concept of imitation (which originated with Plato and then was held in positive light by Aristotle) is in fact, art. I say the word fact because as an American; it is a fact that a majority of the good films that are made here are imitations of European films. Did you know that great summer comedy, Death At A Funeral, is in fact a British film? Or how about that cool vampire flick, Let Me In, which is really a Swedish film called Let The Right One In.  The originals were far better than the American versions. In this particular case, I would have to argue that Imitation is NOT Sublime.

However; my title is my initial response to imitation because all life is imitation in one way or another. For instance, all these theories and critical analysis done by these "classical literary artists" are just the same thing over and over. Questions over other questions with more questions to question the previous questions. I mean; c'mon! Can't we all just agree that things are what they are and that everyone perceives them differently so that no matter what we say, ask or artistically produce, someone is going to love it and someone is going to hate it. Or someone just might not care but most importantly, someone is going to IMITATE it. Imitation is life and therefore; life is beautiful and in every life (whether good or bad) there always lies a sublime moment. Longinus might know what I'm talking about ;)

Sublime does not need an audience, it just is. We saw great examples of these in class with the group presentation. John Keats once wrote, "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty", while looking at an Urn. AN URN! Now if that isn't sublime, then I guess I don't know what sublime is?!?!?!

If your from California, you should know the band Sublime, which is one of my all time favorites. The lead singer of the band, Bradley, died of a heroin overdose only three months after completing their third self-titled album, which went platinum 5 times over. Would you consider this a sublime moment? A death of the lead singer of an upcoming band, only to have the band blow up and out of the water? I think it is somewhat sublime because if Bradley would have lived; how could they ever live up to this amazing album? I don't know if they could. Not since the whole ska, reggae, punk rock thing sorta died out....

Sad for the death, a moment of Sublime for the band's success.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reflection #1 - What the Hell....?

Classical Literary  Criticism, "Intro"
Gorgias, Enconium of Helen
Plato, Republic Books I, II, X

What is "Classical Literary Criticism" ?
-Don't ask me. Because if you did; I'd just say that it's a bunch of old men trying to explain what literature means to who, what, where and when. However; our book tells us that the foundations of theory lie within Plato, Aristotle and Horace.  Rhetoric has been revived through the works of Gorgias and Quintilian.

      In Gorgias, Enconium of Helen, it is argued that someone who uses their words persuasively, whether they are right or wrong, is a rhetorical genius.

"If speech (logos) persuaded and deluded her mind, even against this is not hard to defend her of free her from blame, as follows: speech is a powerful master and achieves the most divine feats with the smallest and least evident body" (pg.39, our textbook).

     This is very true, take for example, lawyers. Whether the person they are defending is innocent or guilty, they are able to persuade a jury by speech in to convicting or not convicting someone of their alleged crime. We can also apply this to our history of diplomats and presidents who used their persuading speeches in convincing countries to go to war. A good example of this would be Hitler, he was able to use speech and specialized rhetoric in having the people of Germany (and other parts of Europe) in to believing that not only were they a special race but that Jews, criples, gays and other non-anglo saxon whites were infecting their country, inevitably leading to one of the worst genocides of our lifetime. Another more modern example would be the speech used by our two-party systems (GOP vs. Democrats).
       One perceives that the GOP uses particular speech in persuading not only their colleagues in the house but also that of the people. For instance, they reference the new health care bill as, "the job-killing health care bill", during a time where the American people are in the most struggling financial position since The Great Depression. By implying that such a bill "kills jobs" would only convince the people that this is not a good bill, without even really showing the facts. This is just a small example of how speech and/or words can be used to persuade without really being materialistically true. Oh and John Boehner  (Our House Speaker) has a great way of using, "The American people have spoken...", "The American dream...." and crying as tactics to get what he wants out of "The American People".
I'm just saying.....
           Plato has an interesting argument on different accounts; The Allegory of The Cave, being one of my favorites, can probably speak to us now and in the future. It's all about perception.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



This is a blog for English 436 with Professor Wexler at California State University, Northridge. I am having a difficult time grasping the concepts we are learning. Normally, I would just drop this class but I was told by enough people to challenge myself; so here I am. Even if I look like an idiot...

Here is a brief description of myself:

I am a female. Valley Girl - born and raised. My favorite thing to do would be to watch films....Facebook, Twitter, Blogging are not something I am fond/familiar with even though its the grandest gesture of my generation. Sometimes I take things too personally and often times I just don't give a sh--.

I hope to gain a lot of knowledge from this class and sound more educated when I speak and write.

One Very Confused Chick