Government Intervention as Violence During Katrina

I was inspired to write this blog post after reading Madi’s writeup on “cigarettes as a sign of civilization.” Their post represents the pre-apocalyptic feeling of the familiarity of a cigarette and how it represents the unity of a people, specifically a traumatic subgroup, in the future – after the trauma. Following Madi’s lens, I want to explore the relationship of other items or objects that may have meant little before a catastrophe but have had their meaning altered as a result of desolation – specifically drinking water. To be familiar with something is to be comfortable – well, sometimes anyway. In the face of trauma, one normally tends to take solace in the objects, feelings, people, etc. of the past – before the trauma. In the events of hurricane Katrina, the level of familiarity with clean drinking water became altered.

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The Memory of a Tempest

When I was in my sophomore year of high school, my English class read The Tempest. Initially, I had never heard of the play, and I told my father about it one night, to which he responded with great praise for the play, especially the final relinquishment of power by Prospero at the play’s conclusion. Having heard this about the play, I then went back into the class with renewed vigor, and found myself definitely enjoying the play, but not to the extent that my father seemed to. As the years went by, I found myself growing fonder of the play, and when I saw we would be reading the play for this class, I was excited. I wanted to see how my views on the play had evolved over the past six years, and I was intent on doing a blog post about those changes. But then, as i was thinking more about the play, I had a different idea: talk to my father, and find out what he recalls about the play and how it exists within the confines of his own memories, both remembered and forgotten.

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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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Ruminating on a Self-Sustaining Class

Beth has repeatedly made it clear to us that her goal for the class was to be irrelevant by the end of the semester – reaching a point where she has taught us so much that we, as students, can take the materials we are given and run with it ourselves. At the end of the semester, I want to reflect upon some of my thoughts on the implications of this, and how it reflects in our growth as students as we “finish” the class and write our self-reflective essays.

If anything in this blog post sparks a train of thought for your self-reflective essays, don’t forget to cite your sources 🙂 Continue reading “Ruminating on a Self-Sustaining Class”

Pseudohistory: A How to Guide by Kanye West

Kanye West. Everyone under the age of ~35 has heard his music at least once in their life. He is known for his musical ability as well as his outlandish personality. He has even been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2005 and 2015, respectively. It is a fact that Kanye West is regarded as a dominant figure in rap/hip-hop, and his influence stretches even beyond that as indicated by the statement above. The enigma that is Kanye West has been puzzling critics and the public for years – the genesis of his mystery, perhaps, could be attributed to his vocalization of George Bush’s response to Katrina, in which he is quoted as saying, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Recently, he has been making headlines again, but for a seemingly juxtaposing statement to that of his statements on George Bush. In a recent interview with Charlamagne tha God, he is quoted as saying, in regard to slavery, “[w]hen you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” These false comments sparked outrage from fans and friends alike, with musicians such as calling his remarks “one of the most ignorant statements” he could say. These comments, combined with Kanye’s influence among the public, serve to both the performance of violence as waste and the performance of memory and forgetting.

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An Appreciation of Violence

The following post is my attempt at comparing and contrasting interpretations of Roach’s “violence is the performance of waste,” and Hartman’s “care is the antidote to violence” within the context of Marvel’s Black Panther movie. One may read the title of this post as a romanticization of violence, following the popular definition of appreciation as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” Rather, I am using the word appreciation as “a full understanding of a situation.” Thus, I will be discussing how this movie, and certain elements of our class, have modified my “appreciation” of violence. Note: obviously this post contains Black Panther spoilers… but nobody should need one at this point! Make time to watch the movie after finals 🙂

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Lynching: a thread

Since several of my most recent blog posts have touched on lynching on United States soil, I’ve discovered some interested threads between my Wikipedia research and some course concepts I’ve been wanting to unpack since we first started reading Roach. One of my favorite things is when themes overlap between my classes and as it happens, I had just learned about the Exclusion Crisis with Dr. Paku a few days prior to reading about it in Roach’s “Echoes in the Bone” (44). That very day I wrote a big, underlined “BLOG POST” next to the passage, highlighted with three ginormous starts. I guess what you could say is that this post has been a long time coming.

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Unpacking Caliban

William Shakespeare did not write his characters as inherently “good” or “evil.” Rather, they would come in various shades of gray. Shakespeare understood the human condition, that every person has flaws and virtues of their own, and that’s what makes interesting characters. However, there are some notable exceptions to this: some Shakespearean characters aren’t fully “human,” and aren’t limited by this property. Most notably, the Three Witches of Macbeth are inexplicably evil: they are disproportionately vengeful, cruel, and mischievous. They knowingly drove the title character of Macbeth to madness and a kingdom to ruin for no clear benefit for themselves other than amusement.  Continue reading “Unpacking Caliban”

Care as a way to avoid catastrophe

On April 26, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened it’s doors in Montgomery, Alabama. According to it’s website, it is the nation’s first official memorial dedicated to the remembrance of enslaved and repressed African Americans. When I read that I couldn’t help but feel a sense of discomfort due to the perplexing irony found in the close proximity between the Charlottesville rally in August 2017, which in case you’ve forgotten was a rally that violently opposed the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue (who has become a Confederate icon), and the long overdue arrival of the first U.S. slave memorial. Initial discomfort aside, I am extremely glad that this monument is finally able to open it’s doors and remind us all of the horrific events (past and present) that many of us are so willing to forget.

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