Throughout our discussion of The Big Short, we have talked about how Lewis characterizes the bankers who bet against the market in a way that appeals to readers who may feel alienated by all of the heady economic jargon surrounding the details of the housing crisis. The reader can empathize with Steve Eisman’s cynicism after the death of his son, and understand the underdogs Charles Ledley and Jamie Mai and their “garage band” hedge fund. Despite the extensive back stories as well as detailed physical attributes given to the reader by Lewis to make these guys relatable, I could not help but consistently question whether or not their bets indicated complacency towards gross injustice.
King Lear, “How to Harvest a Migrant Worker”, and Batteries
During the lecture on Friday, we discussed our readings of King Lear and The Big Short, by Micheal Lewis, and discussed how we could compare elements of the books and there representations of power to that of how modern society uses batteries.
I do not know much about how batteries work, but I’ve been thinking about how people use batteries everyday and for many uses, and once the batteries are drained, they are disposed of, normally without any thought of it’s environmental impact. We extract it’s energy, and then get rid of it.
There are obvious parallels we can look at when lending “batteries” as metaphors for actual people; King Lear gives away all of his power and is thrown out into the elements, and Wall Street gives away adjustable rate mortgages to impoverished immigrants as they present themselves as an easy target. There is little-to-no thought put into the future of these people by their benefactors; Roach writes in Echoes in the Bone that “violence is the performance of waste.” (Roach, 41), and, oddly enough, thinking about batteries has helped me analyze that quote a little more.
It will be interesting to see how environmentalism will tie into future readings; the transfer of power within the texts have shown that there is frequently little thought put into the future of their actions, and I can see the housing crisis possibly be a model of what happens when issues are left unregulated and ignored, for example, climate change, or capitalism as we know it.
Scatological Language in The Big Short
As i’ve been reading The Big Short i’ve found it really interesting to focus on the concept of scatology that Dr. Beth introduced us to towards the beginning of the semester. Scatalogical language, as defined here, is obscene language that particularly deals with excrement or excretory functions in a humorous manner. Scatological words and phrases are frequently peppered throughout Michael Lewis’ novel, and I’ve noticed that they often function to drastically change the tone of a conversation.
Mickey Mouse and Statistics
Yesterday in class left me thinking of the phrase “there is strength in numbers” and I found myself interpreting it in multiple ways. Continue reading “Mickey Mouse and Statistics”
“$100 Million- Gets Thrown Around Like it’s Three-Digits Instead of Nine”
During my group discussion today in class, we talked about the fictionalization of the people discussed in this book and how they were more character-like than real people. We found this to be a present theme in our reading of The Big Short so far. Continue reading ““$100 Million- Gets Thrown Around Like it’s Three-Digits Instead of Nine””
King Lear, Rap Music and Talking to Ghosts
“…by the sacred radiance of the sun, the [mysteries] of Hecate and the night…From whom we do exist and cease to be, Here I disclaim all my paternal care…”
The above quote is spoken by King Lear in the first Scene of King Lear when he disclaims Cordelia. In one of our first classes Dr. McCoy said something about how the name “Katrina” held a violent history. I did some research into the origin of the name “Katrina” and apparently it comes from the name “Katherine.” The etymology of “Katherine” is debated but a couple of the possible etymologies directly adhere to violence. One of the possible origins is the Greek word for torture; “aikia.” Katherine was also the name “borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel.”
However, I also noticed that the name is thought to have possibly derived from the name of the goddess Hecate. Apparently Hecate was “a goddess associated with witchcraft, crossroads, tombs, demons, and the underworld.” Continue reading “King Lear, Rap Music and Talking to Ghosts”
The Essence of Home
In the PBS documentary The Old Man and the Storm, Herbert Gettridge fights every step of the way to single-handedly rebuild his home after Hurricane Katrina, despite financial difficulty, governmental abandonment and alienating discouragement. But his eventual triumph is bittersweet: his house stands empty and alone in his old neighborhood, devoid of family and community. The schools are still closed, the streets still packed with debris. His wife says the house doesn’t “smell” like home; Herbert misses seeing the neighborhood kids playing outside and receiving visits from family members. Continue reading “The Essence of Home”
Ageism is Deathly
When viewing the film The Old Man and the Storm, the brokenness of a community could be portrayed as citizens lost their homes. As Roach states “the illusory scene of closure that Eurocentrists call memory (“what’s done is done”) incites emotion toward the future, in aspiration no less than in dread…” The article is arguing that failure has to be accepted for what it is. In contrast, the film showed a man with determination and resilience in terms of saving what he lost. He states, when referring to his home, “not about to leave it, it took to long to build what I built.” The man showed pride and humility of what was his rather than focus on the supernumeraries of materialism. The Eurocentric view dominated Roach’s article of how one feels necessary to accumulate as many materials as they can with their wealth as they age to reassure their own value and life.
Joseph’s Roach’s Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Peformance immediately caught my attention as we were reading bits and pieces of it in class. Something about the text of long articles and the syntax makes the reader have to annotate the words making it even better and more challenging to read. To analyze. To understand and put into perspective what the diction is trying to portray to the reader.
In Roach’s article, death was a prominent theme presented in the article as it stated, “Arnold van Gennep’s seminal formulation of death as a rite of passage.” The most humane events a person experiences are the acts of birth and death. Roach says as “…they involve figures whose very professions, itself alternately ostracized and overvalued…” This can be related to the stigmas older senior citizens face in society as they serve as effigies. There is a negative connotation of senior citizens due to their age and can be seen as “useless.” At the same time, certain upbringings emphasize respecting one’s elders as there is a pressure from both sides to agree upon an opinion on not only senior citizens but on the topic ageism. Richeson states, “similar to racism, “ageism” refers to the negative attitudes associated with advanced age.”
An example of senior citizens being overvalued can be the idea, as Richeson mentions in his article of the “…perfect grandmother, [as the] subtype consists of women who are kind, serene, trustworthy, nurturing, and helpful.” Continue reading “Ageism is Deathly”
Killing Female Characters
In my small group discussion today, the questione was asked, “Why did Cordelia have to die?” This bothered me a lot when I finished reading King Lear, because Cordelia’s death doesn’t seem to have any immediate purpose other than increasing the drama and tragedy of the final scene. I want to talk about how Cordelia’s death was portrayed and offer my thoughts about why Shakespeare had her die. Continue reading “Killing Female Characters”
An Environmental-Psychological Perspective on “Violence” From Overconsumers
A topic of discussion during last Friday’s class was Joseph Roach’s interpretations of Bataille’s claim that “violence is the performance of waste” (41). We mainly focused on “violence” as the natural definition of the word pertaining to physical destructive forces, and how ‘people with little’ felt inclined to this violence towards ‘people with more’ who live wastefully. I found this violent inclination towards those who unnecessarily waste interesting, as my Environmental Psychology class revolves around how America promotes such wasteful actions. I choose to interpret the word “violence” less as a physical attack on a specific thing, such as an effigy, but instead as a slow degradation of our planet as attacked by the unnecessary wasters.
I first want to address how my interpretation of “violence” applies to Roach’s three interpretations of Bataille’s claim.
Continue reading “An Environmental-Psychological Perspective on “Violence” From Overconsumers”