For my capstone, Becca and I created WANDERING EYES, an interactive photography exhibition/fundraiser celebrating the work of refugee photographers who have gone through a ReFocus photography and media workshop in Lesvos, Greece during their wait for asylum. After traveling to Greece last summer as teaching artists for the workshops, Becca and I knew we needed more people to get a taste of the hands of experience we were lucky enough to have in order to give people a personal connection to a pressing crisis that often feels distant. For our exhibition, I wrote and designed large informational posters that lined the walls and gave viewers a look inside the refugee crisis and the situation in Lesvos, smaller directional signs to guide viewers through the experience, 8 detailed artists cards to connect viewers to the artists and their work, and postcards for sale and business cards distributed at the event. In addition, I edited together interviews of the teaching artists and artists found on the artist cards and put them into a website for a projection room at the end of the exhibition. I also managed our email and newsletter, handled poster distribution, and made connections with local businesses that supported our project and printed our photos and cards for a fraction of their original costs. I took on a lot for this project and lost a lot of sleep, but I learned so much about graphic design, networking, marketing, and my personal work ethic and I am more proud of this exhibit than anything I have ever done before. Over 100 people attended, and the feedback we received made it clear that we gave our community a better understanding of the conditions refugees face and the power of art amidst crisis, and raised hundreds of dollars for the workshops and helped show Americans what refugees are capable of.
Polgreen, Lydia. “Entrepreneurs Rise in Ashes of India's Caste System.” The New York Times, The
New York Times, 10 Sept. 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/world/asia/11caste.html.
This article provides insight on the way the caste system and its “fall” have affected politics and entrepreneurs in northern and southern India. In the North, outlawing the caste system lead to many lower caste people jumping into politics, using their caste as a way to motivate voters and gain political power. In the South, the lower castes were mobilizing around economic mobility and opportunity before the removal of the system, making it much easier to join and expand the job market after removal. These polarizing approaches have lead to huge entrepreneurial gain for the South with lots of political divisions in the North. The White Tiger follows a character that moves from the North to the South to follow these economic opportunities and to escape the political polarisation of the North where he recalls never actually voting himself because others had done it for him. The article even goes so far as to say that many in the North “don’t cast their vote; they vote their caste.” This shows the priorities of the North vs the South and of the narrator who prioritizes material gain over ideas and politics, following the Marxist definition.
There were pieces everywhere. Sharp, shattered, sparkling. The music masked the clatter, but only long enough to shield younger eyes. Sometimes it’s better to be left in the dark. The room filled in and flowed out, empty buckets, clanking trash bags, and soaked rags trickling with them. I am cold, but it was summer, and I had been warm only seconds before.
My happiness drained through my toes. The shouting was loud but I wasn’t listening, there were too many busy faces and furrowed brows to distract me.
I can’t believe he went straight through it. Destroyed the glass that separates children from adults, shattering a sense of innocence, bridging the gap. A conflicted frame of staggered edges. I heard, but I couldn’t see him. I searched for his tangled blonde mop in the crowd but he had already disappeared. The others whizzed around. Suds flew. Towels rolled. Bodies on autopilot. An organized frenzy. I couldn’t control the mess. It was going to last longer than the blood. My skin crawled.
He was rescued. Removed and absorbed by the bustling herd. No longer at stake. We picked his pieces off the floor, shard by shard, drip by drip. We removed the evidence of destruction, but a heaviness lingered on my chest. I hated that he put me in danger.
My time there had been long and short. Summers don’t last forever but they happen every year. Each time it feels like we never left our bubble of independence and responsibility. Our own heated snow globe full of children, held delicately in our palms. But his hand broke the glass. He shook too hard. Disturbed the comfortably settled dust. We let him. So we fixed it. Patched his hand and the door. Closed the young eyes. Shielded him by shielding ourselves. Everyone is affected by weak links.
Plastic protected my bitten fingers from the glass but I was still bare. At mercy of another; powerless to change his mistakes. The bass still bumped, matching my heart beat. I had to walk away. Find comfort in less danger, away from the shards, away from the glares. I wanted to be warm again. But that was too much to ask. I wasn’t protected anymore. But that is life. The fog lifts eventually. We have to grow up. If you don’t prepare for it, you will be left cold, shivering. It took too long for me to see this. Took shards covering the floor where children played. They would never know. They didn’t have to know. We glued their snow globe back together with our stories. We kept them warm.
There were pieces everywhere. Sharp, shattered, sparkling. The music masked the clatter, but only long enough to shield younger eyes. Some things take time to understand. The room filled in and flowed out, buckets, bags, and rags trickling with them. I am cold, but it was summer, and I had been warm only seconds before.
My happiness drained through my toes. The shouting was loud but I wasn’t listening, there were too many busy faces and furrowed brows to distract me.
He went straight through it, I heard, but I couldn’t see him. I searched for his tangled blonde mop but he had already disappeared. They whizzed around. Suds flew. Towels rolled. Bodies on autopilot. An organized frenzy. I couldn’t control the mess. It was going to last longer than the blood. My skin crawled.
He was rescued. Removed and absorbed. No longer at stake. We picked his pieces off the floor. Removed the evidence. We rescued him from second death but we were still in danger. I hated that he put me in danger.
My time there had been long and short. Summers don’t last forever but they happen every year. Each time it feels like we never left our bubble in the woods. Our own heated snow globe. But his hand broke the glass. He shook too hard. Disturbed the comfortably settled dust. We let him. So we fixed it. Patched his hand and the door. Closed the young eyes. Shielded him by shielding ourselves. Everyone is affected by weak links.
Plastic protected my bitten fingers from the glass but I was still bare. At mercy of another; powerless to change his mistakes. The bass still bumped, matching my heart beat. I had to walk away. Find comfort in less danger, away from the shards, away from the glares. I wanted to be warm again. But that was too much to ask.
The chaos chilled me no matter how many layers I put on. I wasn’t protected anymore. But that is life. The fog lifts on everything eventually. If you don’t prepare for the worst, you will be left cold, shivering. It took too long for me to see this. Took shards covering the floor where children played. They would never know. They didn’t have to know. We glued their snow globe back together with our stories. We kept them warm.
Being a well rounded and happy person is hard. We all strive to be one, but we don’t always succeed. Why is that? Why is it so hard to cover all the bases in one person? Well that’s just it. We are each one person with a set of skills that work together to make us who we are. Our strengths compliment each others’; we pick up where someone else’s strengths may lack. It takes a group of unique individuals with different skill sets to create a fully well rounded and functional machine. In this blog you will hear about 3 parts of my skill set that I bring to the table. Do my strengths complement yours? Read on to find out.
There is nothing more exciting than something brand new. The universe is infinite, and there are countless things to be learned within it. Whether it be an artist who is changing people’s lives with garbage, or the complex inner workings of calculus, there is always something new to discover. I find myself the most excited by what is new to me, and I am constantly hungry to find more or those new things. My favorite research takes place when someone mentions a topic that no one else has heard of. I like to bring those stories out of the woodwork and let them shine. It’s overwhelming how vast information can really be. There are so many topics to learn about that I don’t even know exist yet, but that only floods me with excitement. I love to learn and try to be a sponge for new ideas and forgotten histories.
I am the one who plays Devil’s Advocate in class discussions when no one else will. I am the person who tells you to stop ratting on someone before attempting to see things through their eyes. I am the one who tries to rationalize every decision, perspective, opinion, and standpoint people have or make before I can fully conclude my opinion. People mean a lot to me. I believe everyone has the ability to be ‘good’ and so I take it upon myself to examine things as if they had pure intentions at heart. This does not mean I have no personal beliefs. I have my morals and stand by them, I just choose not to judge others until I have considered their reasonings and deemed them unreasonable. Doing this leads to more comprehensive opinions on my part because I have looked at both sides and formed my own well informed conclusions, and I feel that both sides are being represented. Many people overlook this as a skill and see it more as a research tactic, but for me, it’s ingrained in my conscience. I feel guilty when someone is spoken of without consideration of their circumstance, no matter the situation. I feel frustrated when people make conclusions that ignore the opposition. I try my hardest to bring a voice to the other side, regardless of if it aligns with my views, so that we can all gain perspective and a better understanding of our own stances.
I learn best by doing. I always have. If you look at me, I am often fiddling with something, whether it be my own hands or a small toy, there is always something going on. I love creative tasks with crafty solutions. Costume making, prop design, poster creating, presentation templates; I am always up for the most tedious and tiny details. I fall in love with an idea, an image, or an emotion and I run with it, not stopping until it’s achieved. I put my all into the things I want to create, and I make sure that my vision is accomplished using whatever is available to me. I often make the most of software and materials by reengineering it to fit my needs. I never take no for an answer to creative problems, and I let my ideas shine through.
All of these skills are parts of what make me who I am and help me compliment others. I am a driven person with loads of ideas and ambition, and I work best with people who share my dreams but shine where my organization skills sometimes lack. I work well with individuals who can take my ideas and help put me on a track to see them through. I know my strengths, what works well with them, and how to be a team player. With those skills, anything is possible, in college and beyond. College is truly one massive group project. You go to classes where you work with professors, and then go to study groups where you work alongside peers. You join clubs and sports teams to work on your communication and collaborative skills, and you live in dorms to test how well you can socialize and adapt around others. You are constantly put in positions where your skills can mesh with those around you, and I think my skill set puts me in a great place to be successful in college and eventually in the world. I have big dreams and a big heart and all the passion and compassion to help others. My skill set shows my drive to make change and my drive to see the world through other people’s eyes to come up with creative solutions. I have no doubt that I can make an impact if I take advantage of my strengths and the strengths of others and put them to good use.
Opposition is a driving force to many empowerment movements. What is there to fight against if everyone is on your side? That very idea has become a downfall for the modern feminist movement. Today, more and more people are calling themselves feminists. This is the result of equality being pushed to the forefront of society and feminism being sold and marketed as “trendy”. Either way, feminism has begun to lose some of the “toxic” buzz that used to surround it, and has gained followers in the process, but this hasn’t turned out to be as good as it may seem. Feminism has no strict definition. That means that if you believe in female empowerment, or income equality, or reproductive rights, or trans rights, or sexual assault awareness, or any other form of liberation for women, you can call yourself a feminist. The word is open and fully customizable, an appeal and weakness of the cause. People whose views would not have identified them as feminist 10 years ago are now claiming to be, which alters the meaning of the word. Those strongly opposed to feminism are becoming less common, and more common are the conservative feminists who are shifting the movement from the inside. With more and more people claiming to be feminists while lacking a uniform message or goal, the strength and meaning of the word is diluted.
Feminism first began as an in-your-face stick-it-to-the-man empowerment movement, often associated with radical suffragettes, hairy armpits, burning bras, and furious campaigning. These women, over the course of 3 waves of feminism and many decades, set a precedent for the rest of society and aimed to change the standards of gender rights through laws, cultural shifts, and increased opportunities. A timid society built to protect the patriarchy was quick to push these bold fighters into a category of radicals that were not to be associated with, even by women who benefitted from the feminists’ efforts. Titling yourself a feminist had substance, and was worn with pride by those who dedicated their lives to earning it. Today, feminist culture has shifted. Corporations and brands have begun to use feminism as a selling point and a way to gain “cultural clout”. Jia Tolentino from The New Yorker says that “The inside threat to feminism in 2017 is less a disavowal of radical ideas than an empty co-option of radical appearances—a superficial, market-based alignment that is more likely to make a woman feel good and righteous than lead her to the political action that feminism is meant to spur.” Being seen as “woke” is of the utmost importance to the online-activist types of our time, and phrases such as “the future is female” and “girls just want to have fun-damental rights” are easily marketed to that crowd that craves validation. These campaigns, while true and empowering, focus less on tackling the modern problems facing women and more on making those who buy into them feel included in the solution without having to prove it. Tolentino sums all of this up by saying, “the decline of feminism is visible in how easy the label is to claim.” Buying into the feminist brand without having to earn it is creating a generation of activists with very little stake in the cause, and this opens the door for a wide range of feminists to walk into and change the conversation.
As feminism becomes more commercial and the number of feminists rises, so do the number of viewpoints. With no set book of laws to filter them out, no idea can be easily labeled as “wrong”. This has lead to people, who would once have been seen as directly opposed to feminism, strategically joining the movement and stating their views from the inside, which Claire Fallon of the Huffington Post argues, is more dangerous that blatant anti-feminism: “Feminism has grown too mainstream, too broadly accepted, and even expected, for vociferous anti-feminists to be taken seriously in any debate about women’s rights, even if they are women. More useful to the opposition are women like Roiphe, feminists in name only.” The “Roiphe” she speaks of is a women who labels herself a feminist but stands for things that seemingly undermine the movement entirely. She can say whatever she likes, even things that would previously have never been called feminist, and keep her title, all because there are no rules that can say her views go against the movement. If she claims she is a feminist, she is a feminist, and no one has the power to take that away from her or force her to prove it. This blind acceptance is allowing previously opposed viewpoints and uninvested members to be welcomed into the circle of feminism, thus adding those views to the never ending list of the feminist agenda, and effectively changing what the movement stands for just by being a part of it. All of this raises the question: is bigger always better, and if so, can and should it be controlled?
The answer seems simple; everyone should consider themselves feminists and support the greater good for all people, but nothing is truly that simple. Female empowerment author, Jessica Crispin as quoted in Tolentino’s article, points out that, “Somewhere along the way toward female liberation, it was decided that the most effective method was for feminism to become universal, [And the people who decided this] forgot that for something to be universally accepted, it must become as banal, as non-threatening and ineffective as possible.” That means that in order for feminism to become a norm, it has to fit everyone else's needs and be watered down along the way. Well, if feminism can not be for everyone all at once, who gets to decide who the feminists are and whose views to follow? Again, there is no easy answer. There is much debate over the non-binding guidelines of feminism. Some think the leaderless movement should, similarly, remain lawless, and that censorship of any kind aids in the oppression of female thought, (Crockett). Others believe that allowing too many views under the umbrella of feminism surrenders the message to counterproductive change, and that “without some boundaries for claiming the word feminist, it becomes meaningless” (Valenti).
It is hard to say which side reigns true or what form the movement will take. Some supporters are turning the title into a platform for their pro-establishment agendas while others are bashing victims for coming forward with sexual assault claims. Limitless followers stand ready to use feminism as a convenient defense and flaunt it for their benefit. Millions are turning out for marches when they gain attention, but there is seemingly no energy to fuel the fight against less publicized hurdles. Still, none of this is technically un-feminist. As of now, the movement refuses to damper anyone who claims the name but will eagerly scorn the shrinking number of people without it who stand in their way. Will a day come where every person on earth is a feminist, but equality still does not exist for all? If feminism fights those who oppose and endanger the movement, will there come a time where they must attack themselves in order to stay alive?
Valenti, Jessica. “When everyone is a feminist, is anyone? | Jessica Valenti.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 24 Nov. 2014, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/24/when-everyone-is-a-feminist.
Crockett, Emily. “Can you be a "pro-Life feminist"? The Women's March on Washington offered some insights.” Vox, Vox, 22 Jan. 2017, www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/22/14335292/womens-march-washington-abortion-pro-life-feminists.
Fallon, Claire. “The Fake Feminism Of The #MeToo Backlash.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 31 Jan. 2018, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/metoo-backlash-feminism_us_5a621cf7e4b01d91b2552f26.
Fallon, Claire. “The Fake Feminism Of The #MeToo Backlash.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 31 Jan. 2018, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/metoo-backlash-feminism_us_5a621cf7e4b01d91b2552f26.
Tolentino, Jia. “The Case Against Contemporary Feminism.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 19 June 2017, www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-case-against-contemporary-feminism.
This paper, to me, was intended to express my fear and love of time. I wanted to demonstrate the fragility of a moment, and how something so meaningless to one person can be the result of a lifetime for another. I think that I did a good job using description and painting a picture for my audience, but I think I could do better at tying my ideas together in the future. I wish I’d done a better job of getting my message out the way I see it in my head because I think it got a bit blurred. My future writing will reflect that, but overall, I am pretty happy with what I created.
Small cafes and restaurants line the sidewalk. It is getting dark and we are trying to pick the perfect place to eat. A street light blares down on us and illuminates the concrete. At my feet, I see a man and woman together, in love, trailed by a sea of green. Smiles like no other envelope their faces, the corners of their lips creeping to their ears as they look out of the carriage to the brand new scenery. Above them, words stretch across the tree coated sky. One yellow followed by white, alternating like the sun peaking through clouds, reading “honeymoon in manhattan.” The couple’s gaze travels up and lands on the “moon,” awaiting their adventure. I reach down to get a better look, and realize that what I thought was a newspaper was really a stack of record covers. Beautiful colors and fonts and patterns lay abandoned on the street with their musical partners sitting neatly beside them. I let out a shriek of joy and stop my family.
“Look!” I say. “There’s tons of them!”
They follow to where I’m squatting and leaf through the antique records on the curb. We grab as many as we can hold, and carry them with us to dinner.
Back in Philadelphia, I pin up each record cover with care. They line the wall below my window and each one brought a little magic to my bedroom. Antiques are special in that way. They are from a different time, were used by different people, and bring their stories with them wherever they go. Who knows where these records started, but they ended up on the streets of New York, and now they’ve come to bring their stories to Philadelphia.
Time blows my mind whenever I think about it. There are different time zones, which means while I’m waking up, other people are fast asleep, others are eating lunch, and other people are going to bed. When I travelled this summer, I experienced this first hand. If I got up early enough in the morning, my friends might still be awake, and later in the day they would just be rising. All of this was happening at the exact same moment, but it was technically different times. How could it be two times at once? How does time stop? Why does time stop for me? Who else was wondering about this with me? I often think about the people who are doing the exact same thing I am doing but around the world, or people who have stood in the same places that I stand. Regardless of what currently covers the land, someone was there, someone came before me, and someone will come after without ever knowing I existed. These records made me think about their stories that I’d never know, and the one I will leave behind. Everything happens at the same time and people cross paths without ever realizing, and I want people to know where I’ve been. Not for my own fame, but because I helped someone. I want for someone’s life to have changed for the better because I was in it, regardless of if the world remembers my name. When I found those records, I couldn’t help but feel the connections they’d had with past owners. First kisses to the soft tunes of a musical soundtrack, angry nights spent listening to loud rock. The life events of another left behind and leaving their mark. When my time is up, I want my accomplishments to leave their mark so that I too can be remembered.
The perception of something is more powerful than the thing itself. When we are faced with an object, for example a peace sign, we see much more than just a circle with some lines through it. Our minds take into account the opinions of others, the places we’ve seen the symbol, and the way that it is typically used. The final judgement we give of the peace sign takes all of this data into account and influences how we perceive it; in this case, as a symbol of peace, safety, and kindness. The fact that others have the power to control how we perceive things means that they also have the power to destroy those views -- and one way to do this is by attacking the items we associate with those powers. People destroy symbols, both literally and figuratively, in order to assign a new meaning to those objects.
Before 1920, the hooked cross, or swastika, was no more a symbol ofr evil than the cross or Star of David. In fact, the symbol had been used for religious purposes for over 5,000 years before Adolf Hitler claimed it as the face of the National Socialist Party in Germany. Jainism, Hinduism, Odinism, Buddhism, Aryan nomads, and many other groups used and/or still use the swastika as a religious symbol. For them, the swastika represents the movement of the sun across the sky. It’s name comes from a Sanskrit word that means “well being,” and it symbolizes luck, prosperity, the creator, the Buddha, and rebirth; a stark contrast to what the symbol became known for after Hitler stole it. His reasoning behind choosing the symbol was that he needed to put a face to the party. He needed something to draw in the working people and to give them hope. The swastika was chosen, in particular, because of the Aryan’s ancient ties to German culture. Hitler falsely took this to mean that if the Aryan’s used it and were ancestors of the Germans, then the swastika had always been an anti-semitic symbol, making it perfect for his regime. The Nazi flag became a red background to symbolize movement, a white circle to symbolize the Nationalist ideals, and a black swastika in the center to symbolize the struggle for victory of the Aryans. Regardless of its pleasant religious ties, after Hitler claimed the swastika as the symbol of Nazi Germany, the old meaning was destroyed. The swastika will never regain its former peaceful glory because Adolf Hitler destroyed it in order to create his symbol of terror. From this we can see that no matter how strong or positive a symbol may be, once destroyed, the destroyers have the power to give it an entirely new meaning.
This theme of assigning new meaning to symbols is also found in William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies. In the final chapter, Ralph has been exiled by the remaining boys on the island and is being hunted by them in the woods. When they first arrived on the island, the boys killed a pig together and placed its head on a spear as a symbol of their power. While running away, Ralph finds this relic, and stops to think: “The skull regarded Ralph like one who knows all the answers and won’t tell. A sick fear and rage swept him. Fiercely he hit out at the filthy thing in front of him that bobbled like a toy and came back, still grinning into his face, so that he lashed and cried out in loathing,” (185). Understanding the contrast in Ralph’s relationship with the skull before and after this interaction is key to breaking apart this quote. The skull on the spear is a standing symbol of power. It was constructed by the boys to make them feel strong at a time when they were unified, so it can be thought of as a symbol of their strength and unity. The fact that Ralph finds this symbol of unity as he is running away from the boys he now feels completely isolated from is pretty striking. In that moment, Ralph feels something, most likely betrayal when thinking about it as a symbol of unity, and starts to destroy the skull. This skull represents the boys. This object that he once looked to to feel safe now makes him paniced and destructive. As in Nazi Germany, a once cheerful symbol has taken on a completely opposite meaning thanks to its destroyer.
Directly after punching the skull, Ralph reflects on what he’s done, and how the symbol has changed for him; “Then he was licking his bruised knuckles and looking at the bare stick, while the skull lay in two pieces, its grin now six feet across. He wrenched the quivering stick from the crack and held it as a spear between him and the white pieces. Then he backed away, keeping his face to the skull that lay grinning at the sky,” (185). Here, the changed meaning of the symbol fully comes to life. Ralph has hit the skull, effectively destroying the bond the boys once had, even though it injures him. He is hurt by the destruction of something they built as one. Next, Ralph looks at the bare stick, and this is where a switch in his thinking happens. Previously, he has not been too focussed on self defense, and was only acting out of anger and fear. Now, he physically separates the spear from the skull. He makes a weapon out of something he loves. He destroys something he cares about in order to defend himself. He has to use the boys against themselves, and in the end of the story, that is basically what he does. Ralph is forced to outsmart the boys at their own game. This short interaction between Ralph and the skull not only demonstrates a change in Ralph’s mindset, but also in the traits of a key symbol from the novel. After this section, the old meaning is completely gone, and only the new destructive meaning remains. Ralph has injured himself during the process of this transformation, proving how unstoppable a motivated destroyer can be.
A powerful person is someone who can alter the minds of others. Both in Nazi Germany and on the island in Lord of the Flies, a powerful person changed the perception of an object, either to German citizens or to readers. By taking a joyous symbol and turning it evil, both men gained power and strength over their lives and the lives of those around them. Hitler was able to command the masses to commit a genocide, and Ralph was able to command himself to be fearless and survive. While one may have had a most massive impact on our world, both are equally good examples of people destroying old symbolic meanings to create their own new ones.
"History of the Swastika." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
"The Swastika: A Sign of Good Luck Becomes a Symbol of Evil." Holocaust Teacher Resource Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017."What the Swastika means - Times of India." The Times of India. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
Dear Mr. President,
[should all be read quickly and eagerly, like a small child, sad parts slow down like a little kid too]
My name is Lexi, and I am 6 and 3 quarters. My birthday is February 15th and that’s one day after Valentine’s Day which is the day of love. My teacher asked me to write about something I love. But I love a lot of stuff. I love pizza and swimming, but I hate pink. Pink is for babies and I’m a big girl now. Never wear pink, Mr. President, because I won’t like it. My mommy likes pink though, especially when the sun rises and the clouds turn into cotton candy in the sky. I love my mommy. I also love my daddy. They love me too. They love me soooooo much that they’d do anything for me. They tell me that every day just so I’ll remember. I think that’s silly though because I’m smart, so I’ll remember it anyway. My teacher wants me to write about how much we love you, Mr. President. I think I can do that.
My mommy really loves you. She said that she voted for you a whole 2 years before I was born. Two years is pretty long if you ask me. She said that the White House was in serious danger because some really bad men were trying to live in it, and we needed a hero to come protect us. She said that you were different from all the other Mr. Presidents that came before you, and that you were the one who could save the day! You were the one who could change the world and keep our country happy and safe forever! When you won, my mommy cried big happy tears. In 2012, I went behind the blue blanket to help push the button with your name on it to make you win again. When you won, my mommy told me our country was still safe from the bad guys. The big tears happened all over. This year was really different. We didn’t get to push your name.
Why did you take your name away, Mr. President? My teacher told me it’s because you have to give someone else a turn, but you’re doing a great job keeping out the baddies, so it’s fine with me if you just stay. This year, Mommy wasn’t so happy to watch TV with me anymore. She would turn it off sometimes when this one man came on the screen. He had tiny little eyes and almost-gone hair like Daddy’s that was always rushing away from his face. Kind of like it was blowing in the wind but all the time. When he talked, his mouth got really small like he was biting a lemon, and he would move his hands around like he was my music teacher. The weirdest thing about him though was his orange skin. It was almost as orange as my friend Crissy’s hair, except by his eyes. Sometimes this man was hunched over behind a tall table, talking to a blonde haired woman that made Mommy smile. Other times, he was just talking to the screen. He was always yelling at Mommy through the box. He always looked angry. He always said mean things. I asked my teacher about the big orange man one day, and she told me that he was trying to get your job, Mr. President! Can you believe that? When my teacher told me that, I got really upset and I threw my notebook. She got stern with me, but I told her that you can’t just take someone’s job like that, especially not a hero’s! She still told my mom. Luckily my mommy agreed with me, so she didn’t get too angry. Mommy says the orange man has none of the experience that you need to be a good president for our country, and that he is mean to all of the people who don’t look and think like him. She said he would break our country. That sounds bad. Daddy doesn’t hate him like Mommy does. He says the orange man will make more jobs, and he needs one. He says he will run the country like a business, and make us all rich! I want to be rich too!...But Mommy says he’s a bully. Sometimes we watch the TV all together. Sometimes it’s not fun. Mommy gets upset and Daddy tells her she’s being stupid because of course the orange man can’t actually do anything that bad to the Mexicans, but Mommy says it doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that he says it at all, and I just sit there. Mr. President?
Last night, Mommy made Daddy and leave our house for the night. When I asked Mommy why he left, she said it was because the nice old woman didn’t get picked to take your job. She said the mean orange man did, and Daddy helped him. She told him that he was just as bad as the orange man himself. My dad threw something at the wall. I could hear it from my bed. I heard the door slam too. My mom crawled into my bed last night. This time she wasn’t crying big happy tears. These were blue. They were the ones that leave a big line on your face because they don’t stop for a while. Like when a boy takes your toy while the other kids are watching, but when you tell on him, they all shake their heads. And the teacher gives the boy the toy. And the kids walk away with him, laughing. And you know you’re all alone. Those kind of tears. When I woke up next to my mommy this morning, the sky outside was gray and still. The birds weren’t singing. Cars barely honked. The world was stiff and tired. Mommy didn’t smile today.
Mr. President, I know you aren’t going to have your job for much longer, but if you can do one last thing for us, can you please make the birds sing and the sky pink again? I think that will make Mommy smile.
For our Creative Macbeth project, we chose to make a musical that made the complex story of Macbeth easier for all audiences to comprehend. The purpose of this project was to help further our understanding of Macbeth. By rewriting or illustrating or acting out events from the play, we helped to analyse the story and put it into simpler terms. This helped to make sure that we fully understood the whole story, and that we grasped the meaning behind the Shakespearean words.
We chose to create a musical because we knew it would highlight our strong points and challenge us at the same time. We knew that we weren’t very artistically talented, so we didn’t want to try to draw a playbill. We had just made a board game for our last benchmark in Biochem, so neither of us were feeling up to making another one this quarter. We also knew that we would struggle with making anything that involved recording because our schedules wouldn’t fit very well for filming. Overall, Tommy and I felt like a musical was the best fit for us. We could be creative and use our imaginations to make our musical original, while still having to use our knowledge of the story to make our songs factual and interesting. We used these factors to create our musical and write 2 of the songs.
Our musical consists of many songs that weave together the different scenes and acts of Macbeth. We have taken general themes from the play and put them into songs that are popular and known today. By making the songs ones that people have heard of, it makes the challenge of grasping Macbeth much more approachable. Although songs like “Hotline Bling” may seem extremely off topic, they can actually be very effective when used to define the key points of the story. We used the song “Hotline Bling” to illustrate Macbeth killing King Duncan, and also to give more background information. That’s why using songs instead of just a picture is so effective; with them we were able to not only explain what was specifically in the text, but also our interpretations and reasoning for what has occurred. For example we also wrote out lyrics to “Somebody That I Used to Know,” a spin off on the popular song by Gotye, where we demonstrated the point that Macbeth had totally lost it. We used the lyrics and tunes of songs to show how we felt about the characters and about how they felt about themselves.
We also had to select songs for all of the important scenes that we weren’t going to fully flesh out, so we had to think about the general emotions that the scene conveyed. For example, because we are 2000’s kids, for Act 2 Scene 4 we used the “Wizards of Waverly Place” theme song, since the scene was about things being unnatural and out of place. Our interpretation of the book was heavily based on our class discussions, and by writing songs we were able to expand upon and share these understandings through our musical. To conclude, we wanted take our understanding of the play and share it using a musical that others could understand and laugh at.
We did a lot of our work over Google Hangouts. This made it possible for us to collaborate at home, and for us to be able to get good work done.
In tech class, we watched a show called Growing Up Online. It was about the first generation of digital natives, and how their lives are different than the generation before them. It talks about the pros and cons of this new technology based lifestyle, and it describes some of the challenges that technology can cause for us in the long run. We learned a lot about how technology can save schools, but how it can also destroy people’s lives. Something that stood out to me is that there are websites that people visit to be encouraged to have an eating disorder. It just seemed like something that people would fight so hard to overcome or that we shouldn’t let happen. I’d hope that more people would visit supportive sites that help with some of the hardships that come with overcoming an eating disorder instead of ones that encourage you to have one.
I think that these shows are semi-important to watch. I think that it is good to know what life was like without technology, how we have grown since its invention, and how it can be abused. Knowing these types of things can influence the ways we live our lives and the decisions we make. That said, this movie was very old, and I’m not sure if it accurately reflects the actions of the younger generations of today. We might not use the internet in the same way people used to. We might be less attached in the ways that others were, but we also might be abusing the web in ways that the movie didn’t show. The internet has grown in big ways since this program was created, and I feel like it would be more impactful if the examples they used were more current and up to date.
Today, problems that come up with internet abuse can be very severe. Hackers can access all of our bank info, personal information, and photos. If someone has this information about you, they can do a lot of damage, both financially and emotionally. Therefore, it’s the parent's’ job to keep their children safe. Parent’s should have a friendly approach to how they monitor their children. Being too overbearing or strict can make the children want to act out even more. A good way to help your kids be safe is to give them your trust. Make sure you tell them that they shouldn’t post anything that could give strangers personal info they could use (exact locations, addresses, credit cards, etc), revealing or inappropriate photos, things that could be seen as bullying, or anything that they would regret when possible employers look them up when they are applying for a job. Hopefully, by giving the children the freedom of making their own good choices, they should think about what they post. If you have a hunch that they aren’t, have a talk about what is appropriate and what isn’t. If that still doesn’t work, maybe consider taking the passwords for certain accounts or keeping an eye out. Different people respond to responsibility in different ways, but for the most part, having the right to make their own decisions will guide your children to make good choices.
In my house, I have up to 10 devices connected to my internet at one time. There are 3 cellphones, 2 laptops, a desktop computer, a Nikon camera, a Sony speaker, an Xbox, and a Wii. We use most of them every day, but not the Wii and Xbox. Most of our devices connect to the internet wirelessly. The desktop is the only one that connects with a wire to the router. The rest use WiFi.
While we learned about our networks, I learned a lot about how the internet actually works, and about how a home network is put together. I was kind of confused when we first started this unit. I have an Apple router that is very visible in my house, and I thought that it was my modem and my router. I ended up doing the first assignment incorrectly because of this and had to go back and find my modem. When I went back, I was very surprised to see that it connects to my router through my walls! I had heard that this might be the case during out class discussions, but I didn't know it was like that in my house. I had definitely never seen the holes in my floor! I also learned a lot about how the internet works. I didn't realize that information travels through packets all around the world and into space to get back to you. I had no idea how much trouble my Netflix shows had to go through to get onto my screen.
We also learned about ISPs, and how they control how fast our internet is. This made me kind of upset. We pay so much money for internet and they can give us slow connection on purpose just because they feel like it! I'm not sure if this is a marketing scheme or what but it seems pretty messed up to me. This makes me appreciate it more when the internet is fast and works well, and very angry when it isn’t.
If I could tell other people something about their home network, it would be that they should know how it connects to the world. I think it is really cool to see how the chords go outside and into the city. We are all really connected in that way, which is interesting because people are so different most of the time. I think that they should also know about the big corporations. What we learned about how our ISPs might make things off limits if you don’t have their network is insane! People should be able to view whatever they want on whatever network they have. As we said in class, that might be a violation of freedom of speech, which is not okay at all. I know that I have strong feelings about this, but I would have never known about it without learning about my network. That’s why I think that others should get the chance to learn about it, too.