Definition of Emotion: “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” A key word in that definition is natural.
For those living on Deimos, a moon of what humans call “Mars”, emotions aren’t natural. For billions of years, my kind has lived in what I call “emotional neutrality” without one instance of deviation. However, that would soon change.
I awoke to the sound of the monotonous doorbell tone and three hollow knocks on the metal front door. I opened the door to my bedroom and looked down to the first floor. To my surprise, standing in the doorway were three odd looking beings wearing white suits with black spheres encasing what must have been their heads. Small green bumps began to grow on every inch of my body as the miniscule hairs on my arms became straight as pins. My eyes widened and I frantically rubbed the skin on my arms trying to smooth over the green bumps. I ran back into my room, slamming the door behind me and effectively knocking down my portable Auto-Wash stall.
What was happening to me? My face suddenly felt scorching hot as an unfamiliar moistness began to replace the green bumps. My very reality was melting at its seems. However, this episode would only intensify when I heard a sudden blood curdling blend of screeching followed by dead silence coming from the first floor. I burst through my bedroom door to see my parents lifeless blue bodies being dragged through the door by the white suited beings. I stumbled down the stairs and out of the house. As the door swung shut, I was blinded by a bright white light coming from a silver cone-shaped ship. Seconds later, I passed out with the last image ingrained in my brain being a sticker with “USA” plastered boldly under a rectangle that sported red and white stripes and a blue square with several five pronged shapes sitting inside it.
I woke up to the flat tone that emitted from my EWALL system every morning at 07:05. I looked around. Nothing about my room looked any different from last night. My Auto-Wash was back upright and my bed was neatly made over my body. I ripped the sheets off my body, threw on one of my seven grey matching shirt/pant/sock clothing packages and rushed downstairs to my older brother and sister sitting at the black Onyx table that we had breakfast at before school. My plate contained the usual gelatinous cube of Evol along with a glass of water.
“What are you guys doing? Ima and Abba are gone!”
“They are at work, ퟦퟦힺ,” my brother responded with eyes devoid of care.
“No they’re not! They were taken last night! Something took them!” My eyes lit up but then focused back on my carefree siblings. It occured to me how odd it was that my Auto-Wash was back upright in my room and that I awoke in my bed.
“ퟦퟦힺ, they go to work every day at 06:24,” my sister mumbled equally as detached as my brother. Her head tilted robotically to the right,”Why were you outside last night?”
“Because Ima and Abba were taken! I was trying to rescue them...wait, did you bring me back inside?”
“Yes. My EWALL said that you left your bed,” she replied, unwavered by my uncharacteristic behavior.
“And none of that seemed even remotely odd to you?”
“No,” she responded flatly, “You tend to sleepwalk so I brought you back inside.”
But it felt so real? Was I dreaming? I stormed out of the house. I began to try and assess what had happened when something caught my attention. There was a checkered mark on the ground next to the house. I put my index finger on the mark and raised it slowly to regenerate it. To my surprise, the scuff marks had come from the ship with the strange sticker. I knew then that something awful had happened. As I climbed into the ship, the sensation I’d felt the night before washed over me. The ship was equipped with a plethora of screens, dials and thousands of wires and miscellaneous devices strewn everywhere. Before I knew it, the door slammed shut. I frantically looked around for some way out when suddenly, the screens illuminated the dark cavern of the ship and an automated female voice began to speak.
“PASSENGERS OF THE KRONOS 187, PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS. TAKEOFF WILL BEGIN IN T MINUS 20 SECONDS.” One screen turned pitch black. Green letters slowly began to unfold on it.
ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL TO EARTH: 4 MINUTES
LANDING POINT: 44.310624, -69.779490
I crawled hastily to the door trying to yank it open with all of my strength. But before long, the automated woman’s voice came back on.
“TAKEOFF SEQUENCE INITIATED. HAVE A GOOD FLIGHT MR. WOODS, MR. LAWRENCE AND MR. MARRKANAN.”
The ship lurched upward, throwing my body against the floor. I could feel my insides pressing against my rib cage and back. After 30 seconds of being nearly flattened, the ship went into orbit and finally relaxed. I floated sideways into a seat. I took a deep breath and tried to gulp down the nonexistent saliva on my tongue. Before I knew it, the automated voice came back on.
“ LANDING SEQUENCE COMPLETE. PLEASE EXIT THE VEHICLE,” the voice exclaimed.
I ripped open the door and was immediately met by the brightest light I’d ever seen. Heat seared my back as the orange beams glanced off the ship making smaller white lights. I shielded myself from the light and looked around. I was surrounded by the most violent mix of color I’d ever seen. Two my right and left, dark brown structures held out trothes of small green needles. Directly in front of me stood a building that had to be at least four or five thousand feet tall with a huge sign with the letters “NASA” stuck near the top of it. But before I could figure out how to get into the building, several beings came out of the building wearing the white suits without the head compartments.
As absurdly small as their heads looked in their clunky suits, they were still quite intimidating. One of the being’s head tilted to the side as its miniscule eyes peered out at me. As if a switch had been turned on in their heads, all of the beings began to furiously charge at me. My legs turned rock solid and refused to move as my eyes widened, nearly filling my face. The white suited beings were now within ten feet of me, all of them now brandishing long black sticks with blue electricity weaving in and out of them. I finally regained control of my legs and sprinted as fast as I could as my wiry toes buried themselves in the ground. The beings slowly began to get further and further from me until they disappeared behind the hundreds of brown structures. I slowed to a stop.
Between a several brown structures, I could see a long grey path way with yellow dashes dividing the path in two sections. On the other side of the path there was a small blue sign that read “WELCOME TO AUGUSTA, MAINE’S CAPITAL CITY”. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had just found a new planet. I was the first being from Deimos to find the planet of Augusta Maine’s Capital City!
The corners of my mouth began to climb upwards towards my eyes. I tried to move my mouth back down but it continued to climb up my face until my mouth made a “U” shape. I walked onto the path and over to the yellow line. I put one foot over one line then the next foot onto the next one. I slowly got the hang of it and within minutes I was rhythmically bouncing from one yellow line to the next. My mouth opened and excreted a shrill shriek as my body buckled and shivered. However, my episode of shrieks were interrupted by the shrill cry of an odd ship. The red vehicle sported six rectangular windows, two bright eyes, and four thick disks that the the ship seemed to be moving on. I looked inside the vehicle to see who was controlling it.
Vigorously clutching a round black disk attached to the front of the vehicle’s interior was an odd looking creature. It had an unhealthy amount of hair on its ridiculously small head along with small dashes of hair above its multicolored eyes. It had a triangular structure protruding out of the center of its face along with hair sandwiched in between the structure and its mouth. Its pink lips hid two rows of ovular teeth along with a small tongue. The being stopped its vehicle and sat glued in its seat. It stared at me, mouth agape.
I looked around nervously to figure out what to do when a gigantic sign caught my eye. The fading brown sign read “FIX YOUR TEETH WITH DOCTOR KEITH” along with a picture of being that looked like it was the same species as the odd thing in the vehicle. The being had long brown hair and wore an odd expression. Its red lips seemed to be yanked as far apart as possible revealing two rows of ridiculously white teeth. As odd as the expression was, the being seemed to experiencing enjoyment. I looked back at the being in the car who was still frozen. I pushed my upper and lower lips apart as much as I could and widened my eyes as much as I could. I figured it was common courtesy on this planet to do so. Not the case. The being passed out cold.
I skipped over to the yellow line and started to walk on it when I realized the vehicle could easily move faster than walking. I put the being into the seat next to the seat with the disc in front of it. I sat down in the disk and tried to figure out how to operate it. I moved the disc to the left and write, but the vehicle would only shift slightly. I started to press random buttons, most of which turned various lights and temperatures on in the vehicle. I looked under the disk to find two petals. I slid my foot on top of the left petal and pressed hard with my foot. The vehicle lurched forward throwing my body against the seat. I jerked my foot off of the petal and the vehicle began to slow down until it was barely moving.
Catching my breath, I moved the disk to the right a couple inches. The vehicle followed. I centered the disk back to where it was and the vehicle followed. I pressed my foot on the petal again and moved the disk accordingly. Soon enough I was moving steadily down the grey path in my brand new land ship. As I steered the ship, the monstrous bright light that had bullied me when I landed seemed to be moving downwards creating a orange glow that spread all along the gargantuan dark green and blue mountains. I pressed the right petal and the vehicle jerked to a stop. My eyes were glued to the light that slowly descended behind the mountains. My chin stayed glued to my lap as time seemed to slow to a crawl. It was the most beautiful melting pot of color I’d ever seen. Harsh yellows and oranges fought for attention from the deep blues and greyish blacks that had started to invade the sky. These wars created elegant purples and reds whose sleek waves fluttered across the sky, sliding on top of both dark and light sides this epic. Slowly but surely, the darker colors covered the sky with animalistic tendrils that made sure to secure every corner of the sky. Before long, the entire sky was pitch black but bore tons of white lights that looked like they’d been poked into it.
I needed to find somewhere to sleep. I shook the being awake that had been knocked out stone cold next to me for the past couple hours. Its eyes slowly blinked awake.
“Honey, it’s the weekend,” it mumbled. “I told you not to w-”. The beings eyes were now wide open and it began to shake. “You...you’re an...a-alien,” it said.
“What? No, you’re an alien. How does that even make-,” I stopped, realizing that this must be the first time it had ever seen anything like me. “Look, I need somewhere to sleep. Where can I go?” I clenched my teeth as my foot began to tap rapidly against the vehicle’s floor.
“But...but how do you know-,” its tongue seemed to stumble every time it tried to speak. These beings were clearly idiots. I cut him off.
“Ugh, I don’t have time for this!” I pressed my finger in between his eyes and he immediately feel back asleep. I shrugged.
“Huh, never did that before,” I wondered aloud.
I turned the vehicle back on and steered it for at least an hour until I saw a lonely, poorly constructed house made with an odd red rock looking material. It loosely held three windows in place, barely held its roof up, and had a door that looked like it had been sitting under a ship for decades. The house looked primitive at best, but it would have to do for tonight. I stopped the car, got out and was immediately berated by an awful smell that was alien to me. Brown glass bottles littered the outside of the house all sharing the same stench that emanated out of the house. As I approached the house, I could hear screaming in the house along with the loud groans of the barely stable house moving with every scream.
“Shamus please! Calm down, you’re scaring him,” a female voice sobbed from the inside of the house.
“The kiz fucking retarded! He dzn eev know w scared is!” A man with a hoarse voice bellowed, slurring his words in the process.
“Don’t call him retarded! He’s just as capable as you and me!” The woman responded, barely being able to speak clearly.
Just then, a small being sprinted out of the door waving its hands over its head frantically. I stared as it burst through the door of a dilapidated square structure that seemed to be made out of the same material as the brown structures I’d seen at the NASA building.
I creeped over to the structure, opened the door, and slid inside. Inside the structure, visible only by a small light strung from the low ceiling, was a small being with its legs crossed still making the panicky waving motion with its hands. Its back was bent forcing its head to awkwardly hover over its feet. Its brown matted hair stuck to its head covering the top part of its murky brown eyes. One eye was the color of the night sky. I tilted my head to one side. What was wrong with this thing?
I closed the door behind me and sat down across from him with my legs crossed. I put my hand on his small shoulder, my long fingers easily wrapping over it. Slowly, it began to stop waving its hands over its head and looked up. Stained with some sort of liquid substance, he blinked twice and gave me a hollow stare that never quite caught my eye.
“Are you going to pass out?” I asked, remembering how odd the being who operated the vehicle had reacted to me.
“No,” it sniffled. “Why would I?”
“Because when I was on a grey pathway, there was a being that passed out when it saw me. It called me an alien.”
It wiped its eyes. “Your eyes are big and black. Your head is big. Your body is thin. You’re different. I like you,” it said with almost robotic inflection. “My name is Sam Hutchins. Do you have a name?”
“ퟦퟦힺ,” I responded.
Its mouth curved upwards slightly. “That was funny. How did you do that.”
“Its...my...name.” There was something really off about this small being that was also strangely familiar.
“Well, I can’t pronounce that. Can I call you something else?” He asked surprisingly lacking a condescending tone. He looked at a metallic object with a plastic handle that rested on a battered shelf. “How about Finn?”
“Uh,” I shrugged. “Sure.”
“Hey, why were you waving your hands over your head when I came in?”
“My dad’s drunk again,” he responded matter-of-factly. “I have autism so I’m not very good at dealing with stressful situations and when my dad gets violent, I come in here so I’ll be safe.”
“W-wha-,” I was utterly lost. “Three questions. What’s a dad, what’s a drunk, and what’s an autism?”
“You’re not very smart, are you,” he stated.
My face got hot. “I discovered a planet with inferior life on it! And I figured out how to operate a land vehicle within less than an hour!”
“W-Yeah, a car,” I tried desperately to make it sound like I knew what I was talking about.
“I’ll answer your questions only if you answer mine afterwards. I like to research so acquiring as much information as possible is ideal.”
“Deal,” I smirked.
“A dad is a male human who is the father of another human,” it responded. ”Him being my father would make me his son. A drunk is an asshole like my dad who consumes too much alcohol on the regular to be a good father, and according to Autism Speaks.org, autism is a disorder that impairs your ability to have social interactions, pick up on social queues, understand others emotions, among other things.”
“What’s an emotion?”
“An emotion is the natural reaction the body makes to certain situations, people, or moods”
“So that’s what’s been happening!” My eyes lit up, I finally figured out the reaction that had forced my body to awall. “I’ve been feeling hotness in my head, liquid all over my body, and these weird green bumps! See?!”
I held my arm up to reveal the surplus of green bumps that had covered my arms. The son started with his mouth ajar.
“Alien goosebumps,” he sounded out every syllable. “Ok, I have some questions for you. Where are you from? What’s it like being an alien? Do you have any special powers? Why are you here? Are you gonna suck my brain out of my ear? Do you like lobster? Maine has some excellent lobster. I caught one one time with an old lobster trap grandpa Rod gave me and mom cooked it for me and it was amazing. Are you here to annihilate the planet? If so, can I rule the world with you? Oh and-”
“Sloooooow dowwwwn,” I put my hands up defensively. “Give me some time to answer.”
“Ok,” the son pulled a rectangular device out of the shelf and opened it. It made his entire face glow with a dim light.
“I’m from Deimos, a moon of-”
“Mars. I know.”
“What? Oh, that’s what humans call it. Ok, um I don’t really know how to answer that question because I’ve never not been an ‘alien’ and the only ‘superpower’ that I know of would be that I can make humans fall asleep with my finger. I’m not here to kill anyone or rule your planet and I have no idea why anyone would want to eat a brain. I can’t imagine that they’d be healthy. I’m here because my parents were taken by some humans with white suits. And I have no idea what a lobster is.
The son finished clacking on the keys of the rectangular device and looked up.
“With white suits?”
“Yes. They had huge white suits on with rectangular packs strapped to their backs.”
The son’s eyes widened. “Astronauts.”
“Astronauts. According to Wikipedia, Astronauts are people who are ‘trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft.’”
“How do you know all of this stuff?”
“Part of my condition is the acute attention I give to certain things that interest me. I have to know about my disorder and I like knowing about places other than my hometown, including outer space and all places in the United States.”
“So what you’re saying is...you could get me to my parents?”
“Maybe. You know where they are?”
“Well, when I was in the ship, the automated voice said that we landed at...uh...44.31..0624, -69.7...79...490. But I have no idea what that means.”
“They’re coordinates to the Augusta Space Station!”
“Well Sam, that’s my next destination,” I grinned at him. “Thank you, for everything.” I got up to leave when he tapped my heel.
“Can I come with you? I’ve never really been on an adventure and I’ve always wanted to leave this house,” he asked with a hopeful twang stitched into his tone. “I have a shotgun. It’s a weapon used to hurt the people who took your parents from you.”
“I need all the fire power I can get,” I said.
We both got up and walked out of the small structure and walked toward the car I’d steered to get to the house. By that time, the screaming had stopped and the bright light was rising into the black sky spraying rays of light against its colorless counterpart. The two of us, an autistic human child and a formerly emotionless alien, walked into the sunrise ready to conquer my parents white suited captors.
23 April 2018
Are Hip-Hop Producers Undervalued?
Producers in the Hip-Hop/Rap genre are the architects of the sounds that are heard in rap today. These musicians work behind the scenes to create a melody for the music that paints a picture of what the artist is talking about. Without a strong or fitting instrumental, the message of a given song deteriorates, ultimately becoming obsolete. But do rap fans even know who producers are and what they do? Due to the fact that these unsung heroes aren’t vocally at the forefront of a given song, many people don’t even know who producers are or what makes them such an integral part of the genre. The lack of credit given to rap producers causes the rap industry to put artists before producers when it comes to notoriety. This message limits fans ability to truly understand the music they’re listening to and allows record labels to take advantage of producers financially.
In April of 2018, a survey was conducted in Ms. Pahomov’s 11th grade English class with avid rap fans that focused on the recognition of producer “tags” and if the given student knew what the job of a producer was. Of the ten students who participated in the survey, six knew what a producer was and could describe at least partially what the job of a producer was. Of 40 producer tags,--all of which were/are big-name producers like Metro Boomin, DJ Khaled, and RONNY J--the average amount that a given student recognized was 19.5. Further, all ten participants new at least one of each of the 40 producers collaborators. This lack of knowledge pertaining to the very people who are making the hit songs that have stormed the nation is flat out wrong. These statistics show how uneducated and unexposed the teenage fans of rap music are to the people who are building the foundations to their favorite songs. This lack of knowledge creeps into the minds of the management of record labels, making it easier to take advantage of these producers.
This past year, TM88, a member of the production powerhouse 808 Mafia, tweeted that he hadn’t been paid by Atlantic Records for his work on rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s breakout hit “XO TOUR Llif3”, despite the report that the song had raked in approximately $4.5 million for the label. However, TM88 is far from the only producer to speak out on shady business deals and lack of payment. Producers like E. Dan, DJ Burn One, and Illmind, among others have spoken out about missing payment from labels and rappers alike. These shady payment deals result in the producers getting paid much less than the artists that they work with. One example of this phenomenon is Atlanta producer and architect of the “trap music” sound Mike Will Made-It.
Despite a successful and lengthy career spanning well over a decade, the producer’s net worth is estimated to be $10 Million, according to celebritynetworth.com. This may seem like a lot of money, but compared to the artists he’s worked with, this number is meager at best. Over ten of his collaborators have net worths that surpass his despite similar career lengths and accolades. The music industry’s inability to recognize its producers allows those producers to get paid much less than their vocal counterparts.
If rap fans were to realize how little they understand about the music they’re listening to, they’d realize that they’re actively limiting themselves from finding music that they like. Producers that have one hit song may have several others and may have relationships with some of the most popular artists in the world. For example, “trap music” producer Zaytoven has worked with everyone from Lil Pump to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie to Wiz Khalifa. If someone who’s a fan of Lil Pump decides to look at who Zaytoven has collaborated with and finds that they like other music he’s made, they’ve just opened themselves up to a whole new path for discovering music. By shutting out the idea that producers are an integral part of Hip-Hop, fans are shutting out a possibility to access music that they’d like.
This is my best 2Fer because I try to be as precise with my evidence as possible. I've struggled with this before and I think that I was effectively concise in this essay.
Cantor, Avi M. “Interview Data.” Google, Google, 17 Apr. 2018, docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A_uA0C1wHT37vBSujYU80-dtSaXnKJ5Cs_ogrq8kJo4/edit#gid=0.
“Rae Sremmurd.” Celebrity Net Worth, www.celebritynetworth.com/dl/rae-sremmurd/.
Being Jewish on Christmas
It’s January 2nd, 2018 and I’m sitting on my beanbag chair writing the draft of what Ms. Pahomov has assured the class will be the “Best Personal Essay Ever”.
If I was part of the majority of students in Ms. Pahomov’s Air Stream English Class who “celebrate” Christmas, I might have been able to blame my procrastination on Christmas. I could’ve given the reader an excuse like “Oh I had tons of family over and we were all so wrapped up in the exchanging of gifts and all the other fun stuff that is involved with Christmas.” But I can’t because I’m a conservative jew (which is a branch of Judaism just like Catholic or Protestant etc) who has quite possibly one of the most jewish names ever. Adding on to the in-your-face nature of my unusual name, I am the exact stereotype of a jew on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
I rolled over and squinted at my old alarm clock. The red blocky numbers read “11:07”. I pulled the covers off of my body and stumbled lazily downstairs. “Guys we should go see Three Billboards,” my dad started, “Woody Harrelson’s in it. You know right? The dude from White Men Can’t-”
“Abba (dad in hebrew), I know who Woody Harrelson is,” I said matter-of-factly.
“Ooh it has the woman from Fargo! I’m down,” my mom exclaimed. My brother walked down the fading grey carpeted stairs sporting blue and green plaid SLA pajama pants. He was on his way into the kitchen for breakfast when my mom asked him if he wanted to go to the movie as well. He lethargically shrugged his shoulders as he stumbled off of the wooden step and turned through the doorway into the kitchen. Minutes later he brought a pair of strawberry Pop Tarts into the living room and abruptly dropped into the seat of a green one-armed chair.
“When are we going?” he mumbled through a mouthful of Pop Tart.
“Soon as you finish eating,” my mom responded in an eager tone.
“M’kay,” he grumbled.
After my brother changed, we headed to the movie at the Roxy Theater in Society Hill. As we drove, I spotted tons of signs with “LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS DEALS” or “MERRY CHRISTMAS, PHILLY!” printed on them with huge red and green lettering. But not one that mentioned anything about any other holiday. Being that I’d seen signs like these since I was little, it didn’t bother me that there weren’t any signs about Chanukah or Kwanza or any other seasonal holiday. Our car bumped along on a cobblestone street until we found a spot across the street from the theater.
As Lonely by Yung Bans and Lil Skies’ bubbly and video game-esk instrumental started to become less resonant in my headphones, I started to slowly slide my legs out of bed. I stretched out and looked outside my bedroom window. The PECO building lights stuck out like a sore thumb against the pitch black sky. The numbers “6:48” jogged across the top of the building as I began to stretch my groggy limbs. I walked downstairs to my mom sitting cross legged on her computer and my dad fast asleep on the couch smothered in a red and blue yarn blanket. My dad finds football games as the ideal soundtrack for a nap while my mom finds the games to be perfect background noise for working on the various things that come in her job description.
“Oh Av. You’re up. I was thinking that we could go to Chinatown for Christmas Eve dinner. What do you think?” My mom asked, suddenly looking up from her computer.
“You want to go to-”
“Sang Kee Noodle House!’ My brother exclaimed walking out of the kitchen with a newly peeled orange.
I gave my mom the “he has a good point” look and she shrugged. “I’m down.”
Ten minutes later, a Lyft arrived at the door of our small brick row home. We climbed into the driver’s sedan and drifted down to the bottom of our street. “So, you guys got your Christmas tree up yet?” The driver asked. My dad casually answered that we had, a typical move from a man who doesn’t enjoy hostile or uncomfortable confrontation. Many Jews who I’ve been around are as passive as my dad when it comes to questions about Christmas. However, my mom isn’t one of those people. She viciously bit her lip as her eyes narrowed. Her arms were flexed just above her lap and her fists balled up so tight I thought her hand would split open. My dad continued to make small talk with the driver for most of the ride, seeming unfazed by the man’s remark.
The driver dropped us off in front of the restaurant, gave us a stiff lipped smile, and drove off. We entered the restaurant and were guided to a table near the restaurant’s glass doors. Seconds after we’d sat down, my mom started to voice her dismay at the driver’s inability to recognize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas. She continued to argue that America is notorious for not recognizing people’s cultural backgrounds and making generalizations that allow people to think that everyone celebrates Christmas. Her point really resonated with me as I continued to explore this concept throughout the night. Her argument made me realize that watering down culture and our differences is a value that is deeply embedded in American culture. Digging deeper into this theme, I realized that commercialism has made a similar effect on Christmas. Commercialism turned the holiday into an excuse to spend money on meaningless items and has seemingly lost all religious ties to Christianity. I went to sleep that night asking myself what the point of Christmas really was.
I woke up late the next morning to my dad shaking me and telling me that we were going to my aunt and uncle's house for a Christmas-ish lunch. My brother and I stuffed Pop Tarts into our hungry mouths and hopped into the car. As we drove over the South Street Bridge, I looked at various people’s Snapchat stories and watched as they ripped open presents. I scrolled through three or four stories that were all variations of boasting what they got from their parents and/or loved ones. But then I saw one story that stuck out from the others. After ripping open presents, the girl got up and gave her mother a huge embrace. While hugs aren’t exactly a commodity in the world we live in, this hug made me really think and helped change my view on Christmas entirely.
I realized then that while Christmas is often the forefront of seasonal advertising and that consumerism has become an integral part of the holiday, at the end of the day, Christmas is about being with family and going out of your way to do something nice for someone else. Christmas gives families an opportunity to bond and reconnect and to be a part of something greater by giving to others. Thinking critically about Christmas made me realize that going to my aunt and uncle’s house meant that I was “celebrating” Christmas in my own way. I got the opportunity to reconnect with family and celebrate our time together with food and exchanging time from our busy lives to spend time together.
This theme of an intense familial bond and being a part of something greater is one of the overarching themes of Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried. In O’Brien’s various stories, he shows how being together for every hour of every day force the soldiers of the Alpha troop to form fervent familial connections to everyone in the troop. The beginning of the book lists every single thing that the soldiers carried with acute precision. This acute attention to detail shows how well O’Brien knew his troop. As for being a part of something greater than yourself, all of the men in the Vietnam war were fighting so that their families and country would have security in their lives.
My film review is on the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story using the Mako Mori test. The Mako Mori test is based on a character from the science-fiction movie, Pacific Rim. This test evaluates three things in a movie. First, the movie must have at least one female character. Second, the character must get her own narrative. And third, that narrative can’t be about supporting a man’s story. There is also the Bechdel test which focuses on needing two women who have at least one conversation that’s not about a man. These test are vital to movie culture for a couple reasons. First, the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests give movie directors a push to have a more diverse plot. This way we aren’t just seeing the same old recycled plot over and over again. Second, it shows that directors actually care about what light movies put women in. A movie being able to pass the Mako Mori test or the Bechdel test shows cultural progressiveness and shows that women can be more than something on earth for the sake of men. And third, the tests give moviegoers a higher standard for female actors, besides just being a wife who comforts her husband or other shallow and stereotypical female roles. The movie is centered on Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), a woman who had her mother and father torn from her as a child. The Imperial forces, led by Director Orson Krennic, kill Jyn’s mother and takes her father with them to become an engineer for the Imperial force. She runs away before they get to her and gets taken in by Rebel extremist, Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker), who makes her into a great warrior. Fast forward many years later, she is now an adult. She joins the rebel alliance with the hope that she can find her father Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen). How does Star Wars, a famous $4 billion franchise—one that has spawned a Jedi religion followed by over 390,000 people— have relevance to a test that was inspired by a sub-par science-fiction movie? In this particular movie, Jyn Erso has detailed narrative arc that eventually leads us to the motive of the movie. She is the main character and while her story is about finding her long lost father, her narrative arc doesn’t lean on or support her father’s story. If anything, her father’s story is supporting her story. He makes this key to the destruction of the death star so that he can help defeat the Imperial Empire, but also so that he might one day see his daughter again and make the world a better place for her. To recap, the Mako Mori test needs one female character, which is accommodated to. One female character must get her own narrative arc, which is in a nutshell the plot of the movie. And finally, that narrative arc doesn’t support a man’s story, which is accommodated to. A new test that I would make would need a total of three things. The test is only applicable to superhero movies. First, it must have a female character. Second, that female character must have her own narrative arc. And third, the character can’t be a lover who is only there for the man’s needs or can’t be a sidekick. A movie that would pass this test would be Wonder Woman. She gets her own narrative arc and is there to save the world, instead of being Batman and Superman’s sidekick in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I believe this is important criteria because women aren’t represented as strong characters in superhero movies. When they are seldom cast a superhero, they are cast as in a small role where they are there to occasionally assist the protagonist.
Avi Cantor Gender Studies Ms. Menasion 10/5/16
In class last week, we created resolutions for laws that we thought should be put in place that relate to the treatment of our specific body of people. There were some similarities and some differences when it came to our laws versus the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. I will start with stating the similarities between the activity and the Declaration. First, the Declaration has a list of things that men wouldn’t allow women to do, much like the document that we used to determine what laws were most important for, for instance, my group, the Cherokee women. An example of this is in the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions is the quote “He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.” This quote gives us a context as to one specific right that women of the time didn’t posses. Second, there obviously were resolution. In the activity, we had to make resolutions from laws that we created. An example of a resolution that I found was “Resolved, That the women of this country ought to be enlightened in regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer publish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want.” The only difference between the Declaration and the activity that we did was that a Cherokee women’s values were a little different than white women’s or mill workers. I wasn’t that surprised to find out what injustices women faced in the 1800’s. I kind of already knew about it a little. Even though these resolutions didn’t surprise me, they were still upsetting. I think that even though some of these problems have been long eradicated, women face so many injustices in this country.
What TV show did you watch in class?
What was this show about?
Answer: The show was about how the internet and technology influences how we live.
What is the most memorable thing to you about this show?
Answer: The most memorable thing about the show was how much the internet and technology negatively influences us.
Why/Why not - is it important to watch shows like these?
Answer: It’s extremely important that we watch shows like this because it helps us see what the internet does to us. For instance, after seeing both of the shows, I have cut down on my phone usage.
How will you keep your future family safe online?
Answer: My mom and dad both follow me on instagram and I have never sent and will continue never to send anything inappropriate via snapchat.
Why is it important to talk with your family about internet safety
Answer: It is important to talk with your family about internet safety because your family needs to know that you are safe online. Especially when you share so much online.
What advice would you give to parents that don't know how to keep their children safe online?
Answer: Follow your kids on all of their social media and ask them about what they send to other people.
Find a copyright-less photo/image to enhance your post
After being critiqued, I realized that my slide had no relevance to the project. So, I decided to completely redo my slide. Instead of images that just don’t look right, I decided to convey my love of baseball with contrast, in a simple manner.
My slide as you can see is my name constructed by all of the things that make up who I am. First, there are lines under the images to show that I am still learning new things, gaining interests and still forming my identity. In addition to that, the first two letters, only have one image duplicated multiple times but the i in my name has multiple images. This relates to the theme that my identity still forming. I will also explain to you the decisions that I made about the format and appearance of the slide.
The A in my name has all baseballs. This is because of my love of baseball. I have played for 11 years and hope to bring my talents to SLA to win the championship. The V in my name has all lobsters. This is because my family goes to Maine every summer. We eat lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seriously, it’s gross. I have been going to Maine since I was 7 and have always loved it because of its natural and rural simplicity. The I in my name has a couple different pictures. As I said before, this symbolizes the ever evolving part of my identity. The pictures on the top of the I are a stylus, the SLA logo and a bulldog. The stylus represents my love for writing. The SLA logo represents what this school means to me and how SLA will influence my future. The picture of a bulldog represents that I’m a dog person and hope to have a dog when I’m an adult. The middle image is a flame. This doesn’t represent Brendan’s mixtape, sorry. This represents a fire that happened last April across the street from my house. Two houses literally exploded due to a gas pipe somehow fusing with the heater of my neighbors house. The first bottom picture represents my appreciation for rap. I have been listening to rap since I was 7 or 8 and it kinda runs in the family. The second picture is a question mark. This symbolizes how I feel like I’m a little misunderstood. I feel like people are sometimes too quick to make assumptions about me and then use that assumption to label me. The last picture is pretty self explanatory. I’m one of the only guys you’ll ever meet who likes reading. I will now explain the format and design of the slide.
I wanted to make this name collage because it represents all the things that I associate myself with in a clear and creative way. In the IKEA billboards that were good, the design was simple, could be looked at for a few seconds and instantly be understood. I feel like this slide is easily read and people understand that it says “Avi” and has images that represent who I am.
Today we watched an animated video on bullying and its effect on people. In relation to that, we did an assignment on our identity on the internet and how we are portrayed by our social media.
The video we watched today about bullying really showed me how people feel when they are bullied. When you are bullied, even if the things people say aren't true, you begin to believe the lies you are fed and eventually this effects your self esteem. Online, I monitor myself pretty well. I don't curse or cyber bully other people. Once you put something on the internet, even if you delete it, it still resembles and embodies things that you associate yourself with, good or bad. I think that people think of me as a good kid who likes baseball. The goal of internet trolls are just to make you feel you feel horrible and to draw attention to themselves. Anonymity allows people to stay anonymous for the better or for the worse.