Sitting on Top of the World

In an earlier blog post, I tried to figure out why we remember things, and what makes something memorable. I’d like to explore the latter further. I started this kind of unscientifically, by googling “most memorable images” and I stumbled upon “The Most Influential Images of All Time”. In it you’ll find Images from the 2014 Oscars selfie to Lunch Atop A Skyscraper. From Bosnia to Bandit’s Roost. From Milkdrop Coronet to A Man on the Moon.

IS there a unifying theme to every picture in the collection? Several show immense suffering and pain, but others show abstract things or moments of joy. They’re all historic, I suppose, but I think I can confidently say it’s not the fact that they happened that makes them so memorable. Well, I got curious, and I examined all 100, and I heartily recommend you do too if you get some time. They all have descriptions of how and when and why they were taken, and it’s a real learning experience. Some are remarkably old, and some have been taken in our lifetime. Some show humans, some show animals, some show abstractions. One shows every human alive at the time, and another still shows no humans. There’s catastrophe and miracles, and even everyday occurrences. People working, people playing, cats flying (That’s Dali). There has to be something that makes these images not only memorable, but universally memorable.

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Not Fade Away

Imagine you’re a server at a downtown bar and grill in the city. It’s open until 3 am and the surrounding area has gone completely silent and dark by the time you and your co-workers lock the doors and say good night. You’ve made cash tips on a Friday night, and it’s just in time too. Your rent is due and you had to make some emergency payments for your school loans and also to buy the parts for your car. It wasn’t a big deal, though, as you were able to make repairs yourself and save yourself quite a bit of money. So you’ve got a fat wad of bills in your pocket as you make your way home, through a small but poorly lit park. You eventually come to realize there are footsteps accompanying your own, behind you. Before you can react, a sharp discomfort hits you in the back and you go down, helpless and in immense pain as someone goes through your pockets, taking all that money you needed to pay rent with and escaping into the darkness. Luckily, a bystander hears the commotion and calls for an ambulance which arrives within minutes. The medics put you on a stretcher and rush you to the nearest hospital, where you’re stitched up. You can’t stop shaking, no matter what you do.

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Unbroken Chain

I’ve always applied a big picture kind of view to anything I analyze, and lately I’ve been considering how the concept of churning permeates every facet of human development. I’ve already written about a lot of the issues I’m concerned about, but I also feel that I haven’t done justice to wealth disparity. I looked at the history of the human race and applied the cyclical perspective to the rise and fall in inequality throughout time. This is an extremely rough and broad view of Western history, mainly based off my prior knowledge, but my objective is to show just how prevalent the churn is, given the most rudimentary understanding of global history.
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Hell in a Bucket

The last epidemic scare for the Western world was Ebola, a virus that still claims hundreds of lives in Africa every year. There was a measure of worry when two health care workers from the US were brought home from Liberia in order to receive treatment, and as you might have guessed, there was public outcry. Why bring this plague overseas and endanger the whole US? The truth however is that Ebola, though quite deadly and terrifying, cannot realistically produce a worldwide outbreak of infectious disease. It spreads through contact with infected body fluids; to avoid Ebola, don’t touch the sweat, blood, or bodies of the sick or dead.

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Touch of Gray

WARNING: This post may be construed as depressing for some, so if you just want to see some puppies and other animals, don’t read any of this and just watch the videos. Take care of yourself and if you need to take a break, do so.

Zombies have dominated pop culture for the last decade or two; they lord over TV with shows like The Walking Dead and iZombie, they share the subway with you on your way to a cubicle in a metal and concrete box populated by computers and board meetings, and they’re all over Colson Whitehead’s Zone One. Even though a plethora of papers has come about in an effort to explain just what it is about zombies that makes them so applicable to allegory in a new age of technology, the idea of an undead thrall that feeds on the living is an almost timeless one.

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Eyes of the World – Wake of the Flood

Every decision we make pushes us down a particular path. At each moment, our choices narrow the possible futures to one singular future, and so we must bear the burden that each choice we make shuts the door on an infinite number of possibilities.

Sometimes being given a choice is harder and more damaging than if we’d never had a choice at all. Usually when we decide between options, we must also accept part of the responsibility for not choosing otherwise. This is an expected consequence if we paint humanity as moral.

Often, making a choice relies on morality. For instance, if we’re parallel parking in the city and accidentally dent one of the surrounding vehicles when no one is around, we have a choice. Do we leave a note explaining what happened and our contact info, or do we beat a hasty retreat, reasonably assured that our crime will go unpunished? The moral choice is obviously to leave a note on the dented vehicle. Even though we may not like having to compensate the owner and take responsibility for our actions, it’s infinitely more fulfilling to be able to do the right thing and choose that option as well.

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Black Muddy River

For quite some time now, the topic I’ve wanted to write about has been the beauty found in waste, but it’s a hard thing to conceptualize. When we read “And Then She Owns You” in Blood Dazzler, I was struck by how genuine and real the writing was. It inspired me to endeavor to notice the beauty in something normally seen as worthless or ruined. At the same time, I wanted to know just what it was about this aesthetic that was so captivating. Lonnie Holley has done a better service to waste as art than I ever could.

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How are the dead given a voice through the living? I’m not talking about seances or Madame Bovary here. As we read the “Segregation of the Dead” portion of Echoes in the Bone, I thought about how we not only treat bodies of the dead, but their spirits as well. One specific faith I know of jumped out at me – Shinto. The propinquity within which societies place their dead (either physical, spiritual, or both) in relation to themselves varies across the world, but this culture in particular places special significance on the actual treatment of all spirits, and how close they always are to us. I find it exceedingly interesting when viewing it alongside Echoes in the Bone.

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Ramble on, Rose

Ever since our discussion at the beginning of class regarding the UK’s “right to roam”, I’ve been fascinated by the idea and decided to look into it further. As of this moment, the countries with a “right to roam” law or something approaching those lines, are Ireland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, and of course the UK. A few honorable mentions are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. I researched the United States’ stance on this law as well, after remembering Beth talking about the “Stand your ground” policy in Florida; what other states have “Stand your ground”, and why is it just so hard to be a wanderer in today’s day and age?

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