Poetry has never been something that I’ve enjoyed. I find myself tripping over the words, images, and emotions they are supposed to provoke and usually find myself stuck in my own head without a clue about what I am reading. That’s why reading “On Aesthetics” surprised me a bit. Focusing on haikus during the first section, the author discusses how the word itself means “being sharp in the senses” and how important it is to “embrace complexity through simplicity.” Although this is easier said that done, I found the actual purpose of haikus to be rather surprising. Before, I had found them rather annoying and idiotically short (if I am being honest). Anyways, what I enjoyed most of the article and what has stuck with me is how she listens for poetry on a daily basis. I love that. I feel like a lot of time the honesty and simplicity of what people say without thinking is better than the words carefully attended to. And the fact that she actually listens to them and looks for more than everybody else does is wonderful. So, while poetry may still not come easily to me – especially the whole simplicity thing – maybe just the act of enjoying the words and feeling something will get me farther than thinking. In the meantime, here is a great toothpastefordinner comic!
While Della Pollock’s entire article was insightful, I found her argument about the process of making history into dialogue particularly captivating (Pollock 2). With this in mind, she explains throughout the piece how both the performers and the audience are involved in this process. Pollock describes how change is possible through performance because it causes audiences to imagine other possibilities of how the world should work. In this way, the audience members are not just left with the tone and memory of the performance but rather the responsibility of taking the performance and transforming it into change.
Pollock continues by discussing how no one can own a story and so the story is told over and over again in history. With this in mind, the story changes from situation to situation allowing the performer to demonstrate how history can alter the meaning and the audience’s reaction to it as well. She continues this argument with the discussion of Rivka Eisner who used “doubling” to reveal that “performance is a repetition” (11). With time always changing, the performance changes as well from moment to moment. This notion reminded me of 30 Rock‘s Tracy Morgan who can never do the same thing twice. While this proves to be difficult when he has to perform the same play again, Tracy finds this keeps him creative and original. However, if he was to study Eisner’s aesthetic views he might find that each performance is unique since time has altered it.
During the “Organizing for Social Change” reading one thing kept popping into my head: South Park. Now, I know that some people may not understand the intelligence behind the construction paper animation, but most people would agree they are pretty great. ANYWAYS, there is an episode (Night of the Living Homeless – an obvious reference to zombie movies) where homeless people come to South Park, Colorado and grow in numbers because someone gives the first homeless man money. As the show continues, the whole town freaks out and eventually gets rid of them by luring them with the promise that California loves the homeless people. This negative position towards the poor community became obvious with this episode.
The second section of the reading discusses how “when you cannot see a population of people it is easy to forget them” (254). Just on Franklin Street, policemen urge homeless people away as a way to hide the poverty occurring. However, by simply ignoring the problem, nothing can get better. In the South Park episode, the homeless people are simply hidden away to California in an initial attempt to ignore the poverty occurring all over the world. Numerous suggestions of methods to improve the lives of the poor and the homeless such as the Community Suppers in Appalachia. Such an idea was extremely reasonable and respectable especially since so many opportunities today are based on the people you know. However, the problem of acknowledging the homeless as real people is something that came up in the article as well as South Park. During the episode, a scientist explains that the homeless “anotomy is shockingly similar to ours. See? Everything is there: heart, lungs, kidneys, they’re almost identical to us in every way.” Although Matt Stone and Trey Parker are obvious being satirical, the message does reveal how many people view the homeless as different than them.
This episode also revealed the power of television in America as well as India. The idea that the show Tinka Tinka Sukh can affect communities so deeply reveals media’s ability to change the world for the better. While South Park attempts to reveal the issue and the problem of simply ignoring the situation, I doubt many viewers were as touched as those watching Tinka Tinka Sukh. Although they are addressing different issues, the influence of the media is impossible to ignore and the need for change to occur is apparent.
Also, here is the South Park episode.
For the next performance, I am going to do the eyes stanza. I will use the line “Your presence, mother, is the living drama of a race” as my opening.
Although the topic of oppression has been discussed by many, Paulo Freire certainly has shed some light on the subject. And while other students have chosen to discuss the question of what exactly being human means, I found myself hung up on Freire’s concept of the oppressed and the oppressors. He stresses how the oppressed “must realize that they are fighting not merely for freedom from hunger, but for freedom to create and to construct, to wonder and to venture” (Freire 16). This point has caused me to wonder what exactly must occur for the oppressed to realize this. Although Freire does write about the importance of pedagogy for this to happen, I found myself wondering what historical evidence he is using to support his argument. He mentions North Africa among others but I ask myself, how is his argument supported? Although I find his points are valid, what historically is backing up his arguments? From my own knowledge, I find his reference to Africa to be extremely valid. Writings such as Exterminate All the Brutes and Heart of Darkness have revealed man’s ability to dehumanize entire groups of people and ignore the treatment of the oppressed.