Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Unfamiliar Tongues

I have to admit, I would have felt much better prepared and interested in the lecture if I had read the Illiad and had some familiarity with its background. The reality is that I do not have the slightest clue what it is about or why it was written, even after Tuesday's lecture. The answer to these questions will remain unknown until I seek these books and devote the time to reading and investigating them. Altough I didn't understand much, there were a few lines that connected with me. Dr. Esposito mentioned that pain caused by humans is more absurd than illness. The definition absurd means utterly obvious or senseless, illogical, or untrue. It is foolish and irrational. In that sense, that statement is completely correct. Pain caused by humans is unecessary. It is senseless on the perpetrators' behalf. Unlike many other natural pains within the body, pain caused by humans is obvious and avoidable. She mentioned pain caused by humans as a celebrated feat. Not only is pain absurd, illogical, and senseless, but it is celebrated too. How can the most advanced species celebrate such an illogical occurance? An event that destroys their fellow brothers and the earth from which they rose. I do not know much about the Illiad, however Dr. Esposito stated that every man in the Illiad must bow his head to force. I take this to mean that every man is born doomed to fail. He who bows his head to force is not wise. All men are created missing an element for survival - they must bow their head to peace. The Illiad tells us that glory is attained through fatal challenges. If we could look at war as a fatal challange, we will see that glory is not free. Glory is paid for by struggle and millions of deaths. War and death only generates more war and more death.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Women in Triathlons

This week's topic unexpectedly crept under my skin and managed to get me a bit flustered. Women now compete in what once were male-dominated areas. Triathlons present a different path. Combining three sports into one means tripling the endurance. The question remains: are women made to do this? The Ironman competition is not called Ironman for nothing, although many choose to overlook the name and deem it an equal opportunity competition. Another competition which has risen out of this competition is the Irongirl. But isn't this competition called the Ironwoman?

The fact remains that women are portrayed smiling while men are fiercly conquering each event. As agenda setters, the media aid in the fact the traditional women's role is preserved. Susan Williams, the Bronze medalist in the 2004 Olympics, is portrayed holding her daughter in most pictures associated with her title. This ensures that she is a nurturer first and foremost, and then an athlete. For some reason women are not allowed to be fierce; that may be too threatening. In addition images of women crawling over the finish line of the Ironman competitions dominate media in order to portay women failing in a men's event.

It is said that the Ironman is not about winning, it is about battling against one's self. But again it seems that women have a different mission. The training video we watched during the lecture revealed some of the main reasons women join a triathlon training team: aging, break-ups, and weight loss. These reasons appear to be different that simply putting your body to the test. I asked a male friend who has completed several triathlons why he competes. His reply was that he simply wanted to push himself to the limit. Female triathlons seem to have a different motive. A popular short triathlon for women, the Danskin, is driven by profit and marketing. This "warm and happy event" does not seem to be about pushing yourself to the absolute limit. Some may even ask where is the pain?

Finally we were forced to consider what a female triathlete was. What did she look like? As most other "models" in society, the female triathlete was much leaner and more fit than the majority of the population. Not only do women have to be thin to fit the profile of a triathlete, they have to wear the right gear. The sexy tri-suit. Fitting the profile comes with a price, both physical and monetary.

Those who do not fit the profile of a female triathlete will find themselves in the Athena category. As someone who is tall and over 150 pounds, it came as a reality check to me that I would be considered over weight in this particular event.

Overall triathlons are a whole different kind of animal. This is a place where eqipment, weight, and age matter. They are the ultimate markers of success.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Wow, and I mean wow there are some interesting sexual niches out there. Although that's the aspect which stands out most in my mind, Claycomb brought up many other valid points. "Everything we experiance is a language construction", he said. He challenged this statement by pointing out that the experience of pain challenges language theories.

It is safe to say that when we experience pain, it is anything but a language construction. Arthur Frank would say that experiencing pain is being trapped in a chaos narrative. Likewise, Scarry brings up the valid argument that physical pain resists language. She goes one step further to say that pain actively destroys language. While in the state of pain, we experiance revision to a state anterior to language.

Claycomb's points about the subjectivity of language were not unheard. It his relation to pain that brought something new into the mix. We could never denotatively define our pain since every word used to describe our pain has a different conotation to different audiences.

I enjoyed his words about identity as a construct. I would like to think that DesCarte's words, I think therefore I am, are true. Everything beyond nature is obtained through language. In this sense our identity is constructable, it is what we say it is - we just have to believe.

Perhaps Claycomb was right when he said that there is no authentic self. We are all different people in different situations and contexts. We are made up of many identities - as people say there is a time and place for everything. This could simply mean that we have an identity for each different situation. It is true that the person I am in class is not the person I am at dinner with my friends or at home with my family.

Claycomb moved onto identity as a sexual portayl and construct. Indeed, we act as women or men because we follow the behavior of the women and men which have set the standards throughout history. What does it mean to be woman or man? Who decides on these subconcious codes?

It is clear that language and the body are connected for the purpose of constructing our identity or identities. It is not true however that we experiance everything through language. There are just some things we need to find out by doing. For example you tell a child not to touch the stove burners because they are hot. The child may not give up, however, until he or she has found out first hand. Once the child feels the pain of that the burner has caused, they fully understand that the burner is hot. The pain that a hot surface can cause cannot be clearly communicated through language, it simply has to be experianced. In this sense, there are just certain areas where words are not enough.

Everything is taken to an extreme when we look at Bob Flanagan's work. His S&M performances are said to have isolated and controlled the pain he felt from his battle with cystic fibrosis. Indeed, he survived into his fourties, an age many patients with that condition never live to see. I feel that he survived for that long because he believed.

When it comes to the works of Athey, a similar artist in a sense, I feel a different connection between his performances and his past. As Claycomb pointed out, emotionally damaged people feel the need to tear their bodies inside out. His performances release his inner pain. In that way he makes that pain real and he communicates it to the world. As Athey put it, his body is a "fleshy prison which houses the pain". He refers to a razor as a trusty friend. More importantly, he states that the razor is a release to a pressure valve. There is something more at play here. When it is your own hand that administers relief by means of releasing the body's blood there is something evil and grueling inside which scrapes at the insides screaming for air. It seems as though the cost of releasing this thing and letting it rise to the surface would cost life itself. This means permanently living with a pain which causes self mutilation over and over, but never extinguishes the pain itself. A cut simply gives the pain an impermanent voice. It is this kind of pain that cannot be written or performed. It is a never ending experiance for those who feel it and must bear its pangs.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everything is Illuminated

This is yet another great film we have had the opportunity to watch in class. The many elements within the movie added depth as well as humor. Johnathan's outragous, obssesive collecting habits were hillarious. The description of all the characters, in addition to the camera work really made the situation complete.

This movie evoked personal feelings in me since I could relate to the situation. Johnathan went back to Russia to trace his roots and collect the pieces which made his family. Being from a bordering country, Bulgaria, made everything within the movie seem so familiar to me. Even the language throughout the movie was a call of home. I could understand the key words within the sentences enough to know what they were saying. This made the movie strangely real to me. It was like I had been to alot of these places. I could relate to the characters and the people they saw along their journey to finding themselves.

One scene which really stood out to me was when the grandfather walked down into the field and looked upon the remains of war. There were ruins and infantry pieces. The foreshadowing effects of this scene are striking.

At this point it was clear that the grandfather had some connection to this land and to the war. The suspense built as the movie continued. I found myself wondering if the grandfather was one of the Germans or if he himself was Jewish.

One of the stark images in my mind was the vast contrast between the two groups' shoes, displayed by an explicit camera shot. The Jews, fearful and defeseless, wore ragged, torn shoes or no shoes at all, while the powerful Germans who held the Jews' fate in their hands wore shined, black boots.

This movie went from laughter to tears and covered a vast array of issues such as ignorance, anti-semitism, death, and suicide. The humerous descriptions were later supplemented by serious undertones. It turned out that Johnathan's habits of collecting things were driven by his fear of forgetting. The grandfathers funny, yet rough manners are later explained by the events he faced in the past. When he managed to walk away from the dead pile of Jews, he threw down his jacket, and with it, his religion. He was hardened by his circumstances and made to forget his true identity.

However, the end of the movie points out that our identity never disappears by means of Alex's interpretation of the term inside-out. Our true self is always on the inside of us looking out.

The grandfather burried his past in the banks of Trachinbrod, like the rest of the ill-fated people whose lives were taken there. The important thing is that in the end he returned home and recognized his true identity. For the first time he was content.

This movie said alot about searching for your roots and coming to know yourself. It is about leaving a part of yourself behind for the world to have. It is about searching for your past. Most importantly, it is about future generations' ability to find the answers to their search, so that they can come to know the inside which looks out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

If that was a pain cry...

The impact of images, in terms of portrying pain, is rather significant in our society. The importance of displays is the conotative meaning they carry. They offer the opportunity for the viewer to interpret the pain and the message being conveyed.

One artist that really made an impact on me was Tracey Emin. Overall her work was really exquisite. Her blanket type tapestries were very detailed and percise. Most importantly, beyond the construction of her works, was the message she was sending. I loved her work because she said what women were afraid to say. Through her work she exposed her feelings for the world to see and created something which will leave a piece of her behind forever.

"Mad Tracey" touched upon many women's issues revolving around women's sexuality. After being raped at the age of 13, Tracey has every right to call herself "Mad Tracey". I like her persective of sex as an adventure and an escape. Power to her for playing the game and turning her sexual life into works which make her rich both socially and economically.

Similarly, Sue Williams touched upon women's issues through her doodles. I feel that these convey more of the pain she must have experianced in her life. Where Emin seems to be pleased with her sexuality and seems to desire sex, Williams seems hesitant and upset based on her experiances.

I found it very amazing to know that the photographer who shot the famous "Napalm Girl" took the subjects in the photo to a hospital after the photo. It takes alot for a photographer to cross the boundary of his lens, a world apart from reality.

One thing which cannot go unmentioned is the artists which chose to inflict pain on themselves as a form of display and call it art. If they say it is art and they have an audience, then surely it must be art.

This brings me to the ultimate question within this whole discussion: WHAT IS ART? I believe there is a clear line between art and display, although both gather audiences. How authentic artists' work is will remain something unknown to the viewer.

I encourage the pushing of limits. Pain is a source for artists to investigate and challenge. All of this may prove the power of people. However I have to wonder if witnessing the artistic act of getting shot in the arm desensitizes us more than the real images on TV? There was a person in the same room as the viewer, who voluntarily took a shot in the arm or cut their body. More importantly, there were people in the room who voluntarily watched this event. What does that say about our society? Perhaps we are all masochists.

Dr. Highberg posed the question of which was the most beautiful image we witnessed within the lecture. My personal favorite area was Larry Clark's work with crystal meth. "Once the needle goes in, it never comes out", he said. I think the most powerful image was the pregnant woman shooting meth. Was it beautiful? Well that is just another level of dementia. We cannot call this beautiful. This is supposed to be art, but in front of the camera lens is a real subject shooting meth while carrying a life.

Pictures documenting actual painful events can never be beautiful for the sole fact that the viewer has no right to look at the event, stripped of its raw power. We see a still image of a pregnant woman with a needle of her arm. We do not see the ugly, disturbing, and raw events which follow. We see the baby in its coffin which is another grim, yet dressed up, portrayl of what took place between the last photograph and the outcome.

The worst part about the picture of the pregnant woman shooting meth is the fact that the fetus inside her never got a chance because her desire and addiction took that away from it. This photograph's purpose is not beauty, but recording. This is an event recorded in history. It has the power to make us feel, like any image of pain. This is an image portraying the hidden pain, dispair, and lost chances - it has more than done its job.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Falling, Floating, Dancing, Fading...

To be honest I was not at all excited about Dr. Pozorski's lecture. "Here we go, another talk about different representations of 9/11..." The picture of the "falling man", which was posted for us to look at before the lecture, made me feel uneasy. Generally, I feel that we are a nation who witnessed 9/11 and wether we were directly touched by it, or not, we all came away with different interpretations of the events that took place. For some reason, I have found that we are all happy with our own outlook on 9/11 and no so much with others'.

The biggest problem with a picture like the "Falling Man" is the fact that once it's published it is up to the viewer to interpret it as they wish. There is no background, no revelation of the person falling. While some are in shock, others are in awe. What was it then, that the man was expressing? Was it willpower, resignation, stoicism, or even freedom?

His fall became a part of history, the photographer made it history. The fact is that the picturItalice froze the falling man as a still object, but the man was falling. Those who can look at this picture and call it beautiful due to the symmetry and the posture of the man's body are turning the subject in the picture into an object. In reality, the picture of the "falling man" features a condemed man. His jump is a brave act caused by fear. That in itself is an oxymoron. This man lost faith. With no way out, he sought his freedom. By making the active choice to jump this man chose the means to his end. He ultimately gained control of the uncontrolable situation. But was he really? I am sure that the 11 shots surrounding this one will reveal that he was not so stoic. While traveling at 150 miles per hour, this man fell just like everyone else, "trying to hold onto th elife he was leaving", according to the Esquire article.

What is this "falling" that we are talking about anyway? There is a gravitational attraction which has an end, but like Dr. Pozorski pointed out, there are no words for such a moment. When something falls, it is usually an accident. This picture of the falling man shows no accident. He was willingly falling. Willingly losing control. Willingly departing this earth. How is it that people who witnessed this horror called it a vision of flight or birth? I suppose that when we witness something like this we must become dellusional in order to make ourselves feel better. To think of "falling well, and entering a world head first; while it is we who are falling" is a bit dellusional, but in the end it makes sense. It connects the falling man to something else. We always do.

For one artist in particular, the terrorist attacks came to be represented by his mural, featuring two blindfolded men, silently screaming amongst ruins and a fallen people. Again this is simply a representation, a dellusion of realtiy. It is art. This is where I would make the argument that history and art, although intertwined often, have no place together. This painting is beautiful. It has silent fury to it. It is sad. However it is not raw and ugly, it is not loud and screetching like the voices of those who witnessed 9/11 or lost someone in its rubble.

I support Dr. Pozorski's mention of a double bind, where people tell the truth in testimonies through figuritive speech. This is the chaotic state of mind that Frank was talking about in The Wounded Storyteller. Our words can never express the pain felt during that time. It is a time remembered and untouched. That is why no piece of 9/11 art should or could make us feel better about what happened. It is simply art, separate from the actual events that took place that day and our individual memories of them.

As for the two men in the mural, blinded and crying out? They are blind, they never saw their terminal fate coming. They are crying, yet they are silent because no one can help them now.

Again, tieing this historical event to something else from the past, the entire thing reminds of the mythical being known as Icurus. Icurus, out of curiousity or vanity, flew too close to the sun. His wings, which were made out of wax, melted and he fell down into the depths of eternity.

I have to ask why the U.S. was attacked on 9/11? There are other powerful nations who are threatening. The answer is unknown, but the fact remains that we are on top of the world. Perhaps we flew too close to the sun and for that, the wax wings of many innocent victims melted, as they fell into the depths of what was soon to be the remains of the World Trade Center.

Because everything is connected and there are different ideas through this lecture I realized that it is worth talking about 9/11 time and time again. The lecture that I was not really looking forward to left me surprised and searching for more. It was presented in a very interesting manner and I look forward to working with the subject and the knowlege I gained from Dr. Pozorski in the future.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ageless Love

Harold and Maude gets five stars from me. This movie encompasses death, love, age, synicism, suicide, fun, and appreceation for life all into one wonderful bundle. The words I just used to describe the nuances of this movie would never fit together otherwise. They just don't make movies like this anymore. Anything from the feel of old technology to produce film to the characters is so outdated yet timeless. I simply do not feel that this type of movie could be recreated successfuly. There is a genuine aura surrounding it.

I never thought I would laugh at death, yet I did numerous times throughout the movie. It is so synister and quirky - smart even. The greatest scene in the entire movie has to be when Harold pulls the Ferris Bueller face and we see his smirk which quickly turns back into a blank face when he turns towards his mother. Right there the viewer has to know that there is no outsmarting him.

All of the elements in this movie are so carefully thoughout out and so fitting for the situations. I loved the hurse that Harold drove, the train car Maude lived in, the fake arm which saluted the painting, the falling veterans...etc. With a movie like this, detail is very important, it is half the humor in the situations which Harold finds himself in.

Harold in himself portrays hope in such a hopeless world; survival in the desire for death. He is so composed and serious about his interests - funerals and mock suicides. It's almost ironic that he is so young and so dead. Maude, on the other hand, is this vivacious and vigorous figure. Again it is ironic that she is so old, yet so alive. Together this characters combine to make a whole. Maude helps Harold embrace life, and death in some ways. Together they thrive because they have a different eye for the world around them. Ususally the viewer would be disgusted at such an old woman and such a young man in a relationship, however the insparation of the film helps us ignore their age and they simply turn into timeless figures.

Maude utters the wonderful words: "how the world loves a cage". In a way Harold loves his own cage. He is so involved with his mock suicides and trying to get a reaction out of his mom that he is not living. "I am not living, but I have died a few times", he says to Maude. Yet Maude is completely free of this cage. "The earth is her body, her head is the stars". She speaks of people as her species, notices the differences in daisies, and envisions herself as a flower.

While the characters are comical in many ways, this movie does show subtle political and historical undertones. Maude has a number tattooed on her arm, indicating that she was a Jewish Concentration Camp Prisoner. The impact of this is much greater than just the flash of her numer on her arm, which is left without mention. (Another clever and subtle technique, I thought) While she is this fun, free, and loving spirit she has endured great pain in the past. This shows us that the best of us percerviers and conquers our obstacles. She is the ray of hope in this movie both for viewers and Harold.

"If you want to sing out, sing out; If you want to be free be free; There's a million things that you can be; You know that there are. If you want to live high, live high;...There's a million ways to go; You know that there are". Maude helped Harold choose the better path. Through all the pain of losing true love and preying on death we, the viewers, are instilled with hope.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Vagina - as a regular word

Over this past weekend I had the incredible opportunity and honor of being a part of the 2009 Cast of the Vagina Monologues. Although the three performances did not allow for a sold out show the turn out was pretty great. The feedback was positive and many people said it was worth their money. For those of you who did not go - you missed out!

I performed the monologue called: "Because He Liked to Look At It". Ironically the character of the monologue is very much like me. The woman who originally said those words did not appreceate herself. She didn't even associate her vagina as a part of herself. When I was younger I didn' t have all that much appreceation for it either. Like my character, I found it incredibly ugly. Unfortunately just like in the monologue, it took a man to make me realize that I am beautiful and I should not be ashamed of my body. Through him I was abled to grow and appreceate my vagina for the beautiful body part that it truly is. I stopped hiding. Where there were once dark rooms, are now illuminated spaces. Sober with the lights on, as some would like to put it.

Each and every monologue which was performed over the last weekend is unique and beautiful. Each one brings a different undertone and hue to the word vagina. Each is empowering in its own way. It is important to remember that these monologues were written after Eve Ensler spoke to many different women. Each woman had a different experiance with their sexuality and the word vagina. Like those women, the cast was composed of many different students here. I thought it was amazing to come together for this one performance and devote ourselves to such a great cause. All else aside, the power of twenty women is pretty great. I have to admit our breaking chant before the doors opened was "I have a vagina!" and it felt pretty good to say that. For many of the women which the monologues are about may even have been saying that for the first time.

It was an amazing experiance. I love the cause which all of our proceeds is going to - the women of the Congo and also the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crises Services. I also love the meaning of the Vagina Monologues - it's not just about raising money. It's raising the love and appreceation of vaginas amongst our audience and ourselves and also shedding light on some devastating facts about abuse. All together, the Vagina Monologues are trying to make "vagina" an appreceated and accepted word, not the way it has been thought of throughout history as an inappropriate word, while balls and dick are common occurances in speech.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the unfruitful search

If Dr. Ealy's lecture and Celestina's text have taught us anything, it is that love ends in tragedy for it is in some part a figment of our imagination which keeps us hungry and unsatisfied. If we are partly born with this inate need to search for our completeness, it is almost ironic that there is no real answer. We are born to torture ourselves on the path to attempting salvation. However, the sad news for us is that there is no such thing. We cannot be fullfilled - ever. No matter how many hearts or bodies we conquer and how many things we pocess, Celestina teaches us that we are in love with the idea of them and not the physical things we come to collect along the way.

It seems as though humans are then none other than delusional. We have a fixation on an insatiable desire and we go in circles trying to find the same answer - completeness. Yet, we are in love with an image, a simple figment of the imagination. We are in love with the subjective reality of percieving a certain object a certain way and then seeking the means to pocessing that object. But alas, that object does not exist the same way in reality as it exists in the mind so we can never have our cake and eat it too. What is the reason for living then?

Celestina is just another love story. The classic longing, and sickness. The classical elements such as forbidden pocessions, gardens, and death. It all seems so tragic. Like the classic Romeo and Juliet, Celestina ends in death. All that is left behind are the forlorn families of those who gave their life to the pangs of the sickness which, through their eyes, inflicted their unsuspecting hearts.

Dr. Ealy brought up an interesting point when he talked about the gender divide in love sickness. How could that be when we are all humans who suffer the same fate? Indeed throughout history women and men have been drastically separated. The woman embodies desire, lust. She brings with her intentions the devil. She brings forth life, yet she brings forth mankind's doom. It seems correct to percieve a woman who desires as a great threat. Dr. Ealy mentions that female desire can destroy patriarchal alliances and class structures. This reinforces the notion that women stand for destruction, as irrational, desire-driven, beings.

Throughout Celestina we see the way women have been employed by the patriarchy. Women played beneficial parts in society while acting as matriarchs, perhaps all the while without knowing. Celestina promotes the tradition of virginity by sewing young women up to "re-virginize" them. All of the prostitutes play a part in granting men authority and rationalism. In a way all of their efforts simply re-inforce their subordination.

This play provides the answer in life and our inescapable and terrible fate as early as 1499. Yet, generations upon generations have not listened. There is an ever-strong belief in true love and fullfillment. Plenty of people still believe in a thing such as soul mates which complete their missing parts. Yet, much of Celestina and Dr. Ealy's words prove to be true. We, as a sociey, are in love with being in love. We are constantly searching and hoping. Hoping to find what? Fools, we are all fools. We hope to find a different form of obsessive compulsive disorder. We search for the invigorating mix of endorphins and adrenalin that special someone can provide. I suppose this is the inner drug addict in us, searching for their next high - their next obsession. Do we really enjoy how crazy love makes us? In the lows of it, suicide is not uncommon. So many places have warned us and told us of this erotic melancholy which Dr. Ealy mentioned. Our obssesion with an image is in turn a never ending pursuit of unattainable things.

Like drug addicts are a slave to their addictions and their never ending hunt for that deeper, higher high, we are slaves to our desire on our never ending journey to completion and fullfillment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rape is Funny

First off I just want to say great job Dr. Highberg! We had quite the turn out. With a title like "Rape is Funny" it isn't surprising that the lecture drew such a crowd. The reality is, there are references of rape and rape jokes all around us. We have grown so accustomed to this that we do not even notice the horrible conotation of "making someone your bitch". More importantly, many people do not take the time to think about the corrupt circumstances this phrase has come from. Prison. No jokes there.

Half of the viewers in the room last night were probably thinking that, the people sent to prison deserve everything they get. The others probably sided with Dr. Highberg when he brought up the example of Fish, where a teenage boy was sent to prison for a robbery with a toy gun. While in prison he was raped over 1,000 times. There is no way that is the correct punishment for such a crime, when taking into account not only the physcial, but also psychological damage involved.

I do not side with the fact that people deserve to be raped. However, if we think about it that is the only prevelent threat in prison. Otherwise, if you are someone who roams the streets, has no money for food, and committs crimes day and day out to support themsevles...well then prison may not sound so bad. It's a roof over their head and food in their stomachs. The only real punishment and potential threat is the fact that in prison, either you own inmates or you are owned.

An interesting topic also came up - what about rapists, sex offenders, murderers? It seemed as though the audience agreed that it would be good for them to get a taste of their own medicine. This would mean that we concent to those people getting raped, but not those who committed lighter crimes. Here we almost have a proposal for a rape prison with the sign "WE RAPE" in the window. If you have murdered, raped, or sexually assaulted anyone you belong with us. However, this is where we enter the shades of gray...there is no way some people could go to a prison where people rape, and some could go to a prison where there is no rape permitted. Prison is prison.

Stemming from prison rape, is the idea that rape is the sexual way we show our domination. This is how we exert our power over someone else in the deepest possible way. In some instances like college campuses, guys think that raping a female may put her back in her place.

The last mention, brings us to a whole new place. Raping a woman to put her back in her place truly disgusts me, primarily for the reason that if women seek any improvement in status they will be brought down. If a woman dresses in a manner that displays her body, perhaps because she is proud or wants to test her boundaries, than she is shot back down because anything that happens in that circumstance is going to look like it was her fault. If she was so irrisistable then a man could not help but to rape her - what a proposterous idea! Yet this is a widely accepted notion, that still circulates today.

I will admit, there were some jokes Dr. Highberg mentioned which made me chuckle - I couldn't help it. This definetly rules out the moralist category from our reading, however since I do not hold these attitudes and I believe that these are just jokes, like most of us, I do fit into the amoralist category. What we don't realize is just how much damage "just a joke" can bring. We have been conditioned with rape as a common occurance with unproportional importance. We can poke fun because most people don't take it seriously enough. It is definetly a matter that deserves more attention. Not enough rape victims come forward. We should all take a step back and re-consider the correct move after we hear yet another rape joke. I think it's time we stop laughing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

California Dreamin' Leaves Us Blue

Requim for a Dream was quite a movie - I mean wow. The images on the giant screen before me took me for an unexpected ride and left me perplexed and upset at the hard reality of durgs and our world today. The strong sense of loneliness toward the end of the movie was practically seeping out, and I was left like a bystanding, wounded tree. Thank God for the five minute break at the end. By the cast list, I was shaking, trying to hold back tears, but the giant bulge was creeping up. I put my shoes on and stormed into the bathroom, trying to conceal just how upset I was. Truth be told, I just couldn't hold back my tears. Requim for a dream is one sad story. No good comes happy hope. I can see why this was # 13 Premiere Magazine's Most Dangerous List - Americans are left both shocked and disturbed by the series of events which unfold in this movie. We are not used to sad endings; we do not like sad endings.

From Beautiful Boy we learned that addiction to drugs is a disease which we did not cause and cannot cure; it's all within the individual. Although I pitty Marian, Harry, and Tyrone's situation they had a fractional idea of what they were getting into. They voluntarily took the first dose. My heart goes out to Sarah, who had no idea what she was doing to herself, and she had no idea where those four colorful pills were going to lead her. She is the epitome of lonliness in its most raw form. It makes me cringe to try and put myself in her shoes - although we all must have that fear sub-consciously. The fear that we will grow old, and end up alone. Alone to wallow in our lonliness and self pitty, and no longer be needed by anyone after an entire lifetime of adjusting to taking care of others.

All four of the main characters have their own requiem for a dream. Their own dream. Sarah's to be on TV and be important, known, and needed; as well as having her son awknowlege her and show his love for her. Marian wanted a life with Harry, with a space where she could design clothers. Tyrone wanted to live a better life and fullfill his mom's words. Harry wanted to build a life for himself, better than the one he came from. All four of these characters are haunted by their dream and in the end if remains simply a dream.

What are we willing to pay for our dreams? Through the characters' quests we find that they are willing to sacrifice all that they have in hopes for unrealistic images in their head.

It did not surprise me that Harry was saying "It'll be like that again man" to Tyrone when they were hitting one of their drug and financial lows. It seems as if addicts are always saying how it will get better. I have to wonder where they get all of that hope? Is it the chemical substances that fill thier veins and lift them? I suppose it wouldn't be hard to dream and hope if you spent half of your waking time in the clouds.

Once again it becomes evident that drug use diminishes all boundaries which were once established, through every characters' drug use. They are dellusional and will do anything for another hit. The plot quickly turns into a never ending chase for drugs. Without realizing it, each of the character's drug use begins to separate them. Separating a family bond, friendship, and a love.

The images which make up the ending of this horrific story will be permanently pressed into a file in the back of my mind. This movie alone is reason enough for me to never touch drugs. I feel that the fact that each of the four characters, separated in the end, turns to their right and curls up in the fetal position screams their regret and sorrow for letting themselves get to where they are. Where do they go from here? We may never know. However we are left with the image of Sarah, looking glamorous in her red dress, all done up, on stage of her favorite show along with Harry telling him she loves him, and him saying the same to his mother.

If we think about this realistically, Sarah ruined herself over a foolish deception. She received a phone call, which in turn changed her life. Everything began to be directed towards this one cause. This just shows that she had nothing else left, she needed this opportunity as something to look forward to, even if it were never real.

Lastly, another scene which struck me is when Harry is walking towards the ocean on the dock at the end. Unlike the beginning of the movie, Marian was not there this time. He was alone and when he walked up to the railing and looked at the water he began to walk back, after which he fell off the edge of the dock into a dark street. His last words were "Marian". They say that if you fall into black space in your dreams it symbolizes death. In a way each of these characters fell into their own, unintentionally, self-created, black hole and suffered a kind of death by separation from everything they ever dreamed of and loved.