I thought something really interesting about the beginning of “Dominion”, at least the parts that we read Tuesday, was that it reminded of the holiday Passover. I am not sure if I would have made the connection without Passover being on my mind right now because the holiday begins this Monday. For anyone who doesn’t know what Passover is; it is, in simplest terms, the story of how the Jewish people left Egypt after being an enslaved people for hundreds of years with the help of Moses and G-d.
Part of what made me think of this section as the story of Passover was when Jasper got rid of Ould Lowe by making him sink to the bottom of the body of water. For me this reminded me of the part of the Passover story where Moses, with G-d’s help, was able to split the sea and led the Jewish people away from the approaching Egyptian army. When the Jewish people were safely across Moses let the sea become one again, trapping the soldiers underneath the sea and killing them.
When Jasper killed Ould Lowe he was able to truly start his new life, just like once the Egyptian soldiers were gone the Jewish people could begin their new lives for the first time without being an enslaved people.
For anyone who wants to read more about the story of Passover here is a link: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1827/jewish/The-Passover-Story-in-a-Nutshell.htm
Beth invited me to “loop back” to the conclusion in my Dirge essay and unpack it more on the blog, so in this post I am both circling back to the Dirge essay, and circling with it, as I explore the Dirge as a navigational tool that true to its etymology, provides direction through the often non-navigable crises of grief and loss in general. I write that the root “direct” “suggests that [the dirge] is grounded in the struggle of navigating the “liminality” of loss in general – the intangible “state of betwixt-and-betweenness” as author Joseph Roach discusses in Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (37).” I contend that considering the etymology of the word “dirge” and its roots in direction, our course may “feel like a dirge” in that it is often a somber commemoration to the loss that is associated with the housing crisis, but outside of that lament it is also our map to help us navigate the crisis and the concepts surrounding it.
I think it’s important to explore the dirge within the context of this post and the act of circling back to old content. With Beth’s direction (see what I did there), I was reminded that it’s not only permissible but often necessary to circle back and revisit what may be “in the past.” Continue reading “Circling Back To/With The Dirge”
It’s funny to me how something can have slipped entirely out of your memory, and then the barest hint of anything related to it can pull the whole memory to the forefront of your mind.
I’d completely forgotten that I’d ever seen Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House before, and I didn’t realize it when Dr. McCoy said the title of the movie out loud. I actually remembered it when I saw the actor who played Bill Cole in the opening scene. Continue reading “Dream Houses”
Property ownership has been an overarching theme of the semester thus far. From The Old Man and the Storm, which follows an eighty-two year old man as he rebuilds his home after Hurricane Katrina, to Michael Lewis’ The Big Short, which depicts the build-up of the United States housing bubble in the early 2000’s, to Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House, which tells an account of an African American family living in Detroit struggling to keep their childhood home, the concept of housing is an important element to consider. Furthermore, it is also crucial to keep in mind that in all three of these cases this notion of home is accompanied with sentiments of melancholy.
The idea of a “dream house” juxtaposes the disheartening idea of home seen in the varying art forms aforementioned. This notion of a “dream house” is largely highlighted in mediums such as magazine advertisements and television shows and connects notably to the “American Dream” throughout time. Rather than focusing on compartmentalizing, many times a key component of a “dream house” is expansion, as depicted in Mr. Blandings Dream House. In the film (seen thus far), Jim Blandings and his family are cramped in a New York apartment. After seeing an ad in the paper about new homes in Connecticut, he and his wife decide to purchase what they continuously call their “dream house,” regardless of the apprehensions of their lawyer.
However, Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s lecture “Small is Beautiful” highlights the importance of modesty and ecological efficiency. He calls attention to the contemporary “Tiny House Movement” gaining popularity, as magazines and television shows are beginning to bring this shift into popular culture. An excerpt from the the television show Portlandia, shown during the lecture, exemplifies, in a greatly exaggerated manner, the efficiency and capability of a “tiny house.” Dr. Kenneth Cooper went on to reexamine the notions of the “American Dream,” calling attention to other countries, such as the Netherlands, that use bicycles, drive smaller vehicles, have tinier food portion sizes, and overall have less grandiose ideals within the culture. This sense of more, and bigger and greater has me thinking, when did the “American Dream” begin to constitute gluttony? Or has it always had?
Amid a welcome uptick in posts (all quite thoughtful!), I thought you’d be interested in “White supremacy and class privilege in Detroit,” an essay from The Mennonite, an online publication that in offering “Anabaptist content” invites connections with both Flournoy’s The Turner House and Morrison’s A Mercy. Continue reading ““Anabaptist Content””
After attending Dr. Ken Cooper’s “Small is Beautiful: The Poetics of Relocalization” on March 23rd, I thought about this lifestyle of living using “exactly what you need, and nothing more.” Continue reading “The Power of Choice”
Watching Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House during class yesterday, I found Blandings’s inconveniences and dissatisfactions full of deeply unappreciative and bourgeois undertones. What spoke to me specifically was the casual mention of government bonds as a method of buying their dream house and how the accumulation of wealth is heavily informed by race. The following statistics come from this article.
Continue reading “Invisible Privilege: Wealth Gaps”
I made a few calculations after we watched part of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House on Friday. I was suspicious while we were watching this because there were a few factors that lead us to believe that Mr. Blandings and his family were getting badly ripped off, but the numbers didn’t seem to add up (literally). So we haven’t yet seen the remainder of the movie, and I haven’t attempted to look ahead because I want to make some predictions for the movie, or else point out some inconsistencies in case I’m wrong.
Here are some numbers to consider, with today’s equivalent in parentheses: Continue reading “Wages & Real Estate”
I had planned upon revisiting this abandoned draft after beginning A Mercy and realizing that the novel took place in colonial America, but yesterday’s class reinvigorated my desire to finish the post and push it out, as we have just finished A Mercy and it’s not quite too late to post it.
In my other English class about modern western drama, we had read George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” a play that examines a bet between two professors of phonetics, Higgins and Pickering, to produce a civilized woman from the ‘guttersnipe’ Eliza. The play is meant to be a comedy with an underlying social commentary. Continue reading “Reinvigorated Revisions: Colonial and Frankenstein-esque Experimentation Upon Economics and Enslaved Peoples”