Response to the “irony of aid”, providing aid within the colonialist context

Neha recently made a caring blog post about the irony of aid, thinking about Jo Cosme’s tarot cards, the etymology of aid, and the essential lack of care in the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria, especially epitomized in the “ayuda” that Trump attempted to provide by slinging a paper tower roll into a crowd of Puerto Ricans. Adding on to her blog post, I’d like to think about how this reaction is largely emblematic of The United States’ historical and contemporary relationship with Puerto Rico in general. This is a complicated and entrenched topic, so I’ll touch on just a bit of this relationship.

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In a Course Called “Metropolis,” I Almost Thought the Setting Didn’t Matter: Confessing, Reflecting, and Trying to “Do Better”

As I was deciding on what my last few posts of the semester should focus on, I thought of the churning and cycling that we have been discussing throughout this course. In the vein of this churning, I thought it would make sense to return to something I wrote about in an earlier post and consider what I might be able to add to that thinking at this point in the semester.

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Man in the Mirror: Parallel Characters and Categorization in The Tempest

Today, my castmate in The Tempest, Jeanmarie Ryan, dropped a theory in front of the cast and then walked away. “I think there are two mirrored character pairs that explore possible outcomes of a similar dynamic,” she said calmly, leaving all of us floored. “Come back! Explain yourself!” I said frantically. She and I went on to collaborate in expanding an idea that Stephano/Trinculo and Antonio/Sebastian represent couplings of manipulative relationships that exist to negotiate the limits of power. While both pairings consider homicide for the sake of social mobility, outside categorization heavily impacts how they are perceived and punished for their actions.  Continue reading “Man in the Mirror: Parallel Characters and Categorization in The Tempest”

“Great Expectations.”

I know many people have already talked about the significance of naming, but I’m still fascinated by it. I’d like to cycle way back to Helen, who suggested that names are a kind of “conscription into performance” setting “expectations that people inevitably believe will play out in reality.” This is something that particularly stuck with me since I read it, and I wanted to attempt to navigate the implications of that sentiment and its relation to my life.

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The Categorization of GLOBE

When asked where categories were seen on this college campus, I could not think of a place where categories weren’t seen. One example would be how students are divided up based on living location, whether it be on or off campus. A subcategory for on campus students would be by residence hall. Not only with living situations, students are also divided by class year, age, involvement on campus (clubs and organizations), as well as major.

As being part of a college community, the Learning Outcomes for SUNY Geneseo are separated into eight subcategories labeled Critical Thinking, Communication, Quantitative, Computational, and Symbolic Reasoning, Information and Digital Literacy, Creativity and Creative Thinking, Leadership and Collaboration, Diversity and Pluralism, and lastly, Global Awareness and Engagement.

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Caliban, Colonialism, and Me

Hatred of Caliban was the running joke of Shakespeare on the Green’s production of The Tempest. Justified with just five words (“He tried to rape Miranda!”) our cast decided that there was no jest too mean to level against Caliban. Our choice to physically mark him as other via his green, lizard-like skin (complete with a scale design I cut out from a cheap makeup bag) cemented this outsider-status and condemned him to be unsympathetic. He was the butt of every joke. We said that no scene in the play was complete without a good jab at his expense, feeling no guilt for belittling a character supposedly guilty of such a crime. Continue reading “Caliban, Colonialism, and Me”

Is There Such a Thing as an Adequate Response to a Disaster Scenario?

I’ve been going back and forth with this idea ever since we did our group blog posts on specific hurricanes, and to be honest, I still don’t have a solid answer. We’ve seen–like in When the Levees Broke and in our current events–how the U.S. government has not prioritized relief efforts towards the victims of hurricanes in lower-class or “other” areas such as New Orleans or Puerto Rico. In our post here, my group analyzed how the Trump administration failed to respond to the victims of Puerto Rico in a timely and adequate manner. This is probably because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and not a state, so there wasn’t a lot of priority in Trump’s opinion.

For the purposes of this blog post, I am mainly analyzing the responses by our past and current presidents in disaster scenarios. This is because they are usually the ones with the direct blame by citizens since they are the figureheads of our country’s government. So upon reflection on Trump’s lack of efforts combined with the lack of aid George Bush’s administration gave to New Orleans post-Katrina–as seen in When the Levees Broke–I began to think about the concept of an “adequate disaster response.”

I’m sure that we can all agree that both of these latter responses were not “adequate.” Upon further thinking, however, what really constitutes as an “adequate” response of a government in a crisis situation? Is there a situation in which government officials can incur little to no criticism from the public? Further, is there a situation where almost, if not everyone affected by the disaster is accounted for and taken care of in a timely manner? It’s impossible to define an “adequate response” because what would one consider “timely?” Who would be defined as “everyone affected by the storm?” This is the reason why this post is so long-winded and why I’ve been putting it off until one of my final posts.

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Class Struggles of Celebration

This past Friday and Saturday, I went to the calling hours/wake and funeral, respectively, of a loved one’s mother, a former primary school teacher. I have been to wakes and funerals before, but these were different – the majority of the community was in attendance. When I arrived at the wake, it appeared that it wasn’t only close friends and family, but seemingly the entire population of my little town instead. I turned to my friend who I went with and asked him why there were so many people, and his response was simply: “she was a teacher.” His answer sparked a magnitude of questions that I will explore in this post. As the wake commenced and our visit was over, I drove home, questioning the many practices and ritual ceremonies we have to celebrate and remember our dead. The performance of celebration and memory are two concepts that intertwine, and I consistently find myself referring to them in everyday life. During my drive back to school, I questioned the social barriers that allow for such large or small celebrations of death. Because of her status as an educator, the lives she touched spanning a 15-year career called for a large celebration. If her status was that of a working-class member of society, would the turnout have been as large as it was? Probably not. But what does it mean to celebrate death as a community?

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Ash and the Space of Bodies

In Zone One, Mark Spitz repeatedly comments about the ash in the air – its in the rain, its on his skin, it coats his lungs. It is not until Mark Spitz details the invention of the “Coakley” incinerators and describes the burning of skels that the reader can begin to understand what the ash means to Mark Spitz.

I want to provide some interpretations on what the ash might represent, as well as share a related anecdote from a Green-Wood Cemetery blog post about a woman’s wishes for the post-mortem handling of her body, and how Mark Spitz’s thoughts on the ash reminded me of this woman’s experience.

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The Irony in Aid

Starting to brainstorm for the final essay with the prompt “Care is the Antidote to Violence”, I’d like to start by exploring Jo Cosme’s tarot cards. Everything about the tarot cards caught my attention from the black and white contrast to the Spanish titles to the visual graphics themselves. One that was particularly memorable was titled “La Ayuda,” translating to “aid” in English. I was curious about the etymology behind the term “aid,” especially it being such a short word; only three letters long.

Aid derives from the Latin ad meaning “toward” along with juvare, meaning “to help.” The Latin term for “aid” is adjuvare but in Old French, the term evolved into “aidier” and then into “aid” in Middle English. The transformation of language can be seen as cyclic and continuously changing and evolving depending on the time period.

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