Society’s perception of what love is and how it should relate to relationships has been skewed into the area of fantasy and wishful thinking for many centuries, and art has always sought to satirize and critique this. For instance, while they may have been both written over 300 years apart, the classic Shakespearian comedy “Taming of the Shrew” and the 1977 Woody Allen movie “Annie Hall”, both examine to some extent the expectations of relationships and how those expectations can either tear relationships apart or bond the couple in question tighter together. Through their combined commentary, “Shrew” and “Annie Hall”, both in their similar and different approaches to tackling the nebulous theme of love, create stunning and contemporary insights on the predetermined expectations of relationships, how society has taught us they should be, how they actually are, and what they mean for both of the people involved.
Expectation is a broad term, so before we begin to compare and contrast these two pieces of media, we need to solidify what both are trying to say about the subject of expectation. “Shrew” was written during a time where men were expected to hold control over a marriage while the woman wasn’t so much as a person as a medal. She was a way to either show off prideful arrogance or attain money and land. This is reflected in the play. The two sisters: Bianca and Kate, aren’t so much courted because of love as they were because of interior motives from the suitors. The reader doesn’t so much see Bianca is being courted by her three suitors Gremio, Hortensio and Lucentio pursue Bianca because they love her as much as her land-renowned beauty is something to be won. The pitifulness of this venture is reflected in the play’s own genre, the comedic nature of the play is a way to reflect just how silly the whole situation is: that Bianca’s suitors disguise themselves as other people to win her love, or rely on dirty tricks so they can be the one’s to inherit Bianca’s wealth and land. It makes it all the more ironic and satisfying when the one who Bianca marries at the end of the play is Lucentio, the one suitor who impersonates a man(the literature teacher Cambio) who does not have money or family renowned to offer in exchange to Bianca’s father Baptista for Bianca’s hand.
As for Kate, her objectification is a little more obvious. Her suitor Petruchio only seeks to woo her initially for the money from her father, who in turn is also actively using Kate as a literal roadblock in order to get her married, not allowing for the more desirable Bianca to be married until Kate is first engaged. It’s in this sexist expectation of the time period that the play finds its most potent point, however. This is where the critique of the expectation of love is found in “Shrew”. The last scene of the play is a narratively integral culmination of the satire that Shakespeare has been building up until that point, and while it is true that the finale of “Shrew” is extremely interpretive, for the purpose of this paper, we will interpret it as it relates to the theme.
“To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?”
-Kate(Act V, Sc 2)
Kate’s passionate monologue at the end of the play is essentially complete contradiction of how she has acted throughout the entirety of “Shrew”. What she is saying here is contrary to her beliefs about the relationship dynamics between man and wife should work, and neither is she simply repeating hammered in ideals from her newlywed Petruchio. Petruchio after all, has been one of the less misogynist people we’ve met in the play, since he’s mostly just here for the money and doesn’t directly give Kate power over the marriage, but not exactly taking it away from her either. Rather, his aptitude to leave her to fend for herself during their honeymoon suggests that he completely understands Kate’s strength and will, but just needs to show her that such an attitude will only drive people away, so she best calm a bit. So, if not Petruchio to who Kate delivers this speech, then who? The answer, as well as who Shakespeare was mocking in “Shrew”, is simply the audience, and by extension the reader. Though it could be read one way or another, “Shrew”could be regarded as a biting commentary on the unequal gender-dynamics of the time, playing up the stupidness of it for laughs, before ending it with a speech that can easily be seen as completely false given what the audience have seen throughout the play. And, just to spit in the face of those who may be taking the speech seriously, Shakespeare has given the most important, longest and most thematically significant speech, the last grand monologue before the curtain drops… to a woman. It’s a combination of thematic comedy and tonal identity, that shows just how much expectations towards marriage have changed during the centuries. It ends the play on a note saying that while society may still hold these sexist expectations, Kate and Petruchio know it not to be true, though that won’t stop them from holding a mutual understanding of how they’re being perceived by other, and exploiting that expectation to win the bet of the play’s last scene.
Annie Hall, on the other hand, takes on an expectation much more relevant to modern society and marriage as a whole, and the whole affair is decidedly much less upbeat than the comedic “Shrew”. Tackling the modern expectations of how relationships should be right now rather than the sexist ideals of Shakespeare’s time, Annie Hall questions whether happiness necessarily constitutes whether two people are in love. In the modern day world, happiness for both parties is in any expectation for marriage or relationship, but Annie Hall directly challenges this notion.
In this quiet scene in a bookstore, the protagonist of Annie Hall: Alvy, a neurotic comedian, explains his philosophy of life to the titular female lead. According to Alvy, in life, you’re either horrible or miserable. If you’re horrible you’re either terminally ill of psychically disabled, so if you’re neither of those things, you should be grateful to be miserable. It’s an extremely negative outlook on life as a whole, and while it’s one that only Alvy seems to hold in the movie, it’s an outlook that the movie seems to want to transfer to the audience. Life is a miserable experience, and so by extension, are relationships. But just because life and relationships are horrible, that doesn’t mean they still don’t hold some kind of value.
The conclusion of both media pieces ultimately hinges on whether the couples of “Shrew” and “Annie Hall” reject or deny the expectations about love and marriage that have till that point driven the narrative. In “Shrew”, both Petruchio and Kate have defied the sexist expectations of the time, and as a result, while they may not be in love with one another depending on how the dialogue is interpreted, they are certainly both are happy at the end of the play. They hold each-other in a certain amount of respect, and the reader can gather that their relationship, even if it was not romantic, still persevered long after the last scene.
“Come, Kate, we’ll go to bed.
We three are married, but you two are sped.
[To Lucentio] ‘Twas I won the wager, though you
hit the white,
And being a winner, God give you good night”
-Petruchio(Act V, Sc 2)
In this quote, Petruchio lays out why exactly he thinks he is the “winner” at the end of the play. Though Lucentio has won the jewel of the play: Bianca, the ultimate symbol of purity and “victory” throughout the plan, Petruchio knows that his relationship, built on a bedrock of mutual understanding rather than the sneaky underhand tactics that Lucentio stooped too, will ultimately prove more sustainable. This again, is shown by Shakespeare in the play. When the men make a bet to see which of their wives will come first when called, it is only Kate who comes to Petruchio, and not only that, but drags the non-obedient Bianca by the ear along with her. This could be seen as Kate being fully indoctrinated into the gender politics of the time, but more likely, it’s to show that the woman and men who built their marriages on the norm, and by extension, expectations of the time will not have a healthy, mutually respected relationship.
On the other half of the coin, Annie Hall shows how relationship dynamics falter when both sides of the relationships believe wholeheartedly in the romantic expectations of the time, which is in this case, that love equals happiness. Building up to the finale, Alvy and Annie have broken up and reconciled multiple times, but now that he’s about to lose Annie perhaps for good to a handsome music producer, Alvy flies to California to get her back. His attempt utterly fails, even an attempted marriage proposal, and he flies back to New York. The film closes on a slight fast-forward to chance meeting Alvy and Annie have back in New York, and it’s Alvy’s closing narration over this final scene that truly ties the thematic core of this piece together.
As the ending credits start to roll, Alvy describes an old joke he once heard. In the joke, the narrator tells a doctor that his brother believes that he is a chicken, and when the doctor asks the narrator why he doesn’t turn his brother in, the narrator says that he “needs the eggs”, which strikes a chord with Alvy about his experience with relationships. In Alvy’s opinion, while relationships may be chaotic and stupid and miserable, everyone still puts up with them because they “need the eggs”. This is a direct parallel to the film’s thematic message about happiness in relationships. While modern day expectations say that relationships should be happy, Annie Hall says that they are in reality, well… chaotic, stupid and miserable. But despite that, relationships still “give eggs”, that human connection that we call love, and the hurt is worth it. The ending of Annie Hall shows what happens when expectation about relationships get in the way of actual relationships, that that human connection crumbles.
Both “Shrew” and Annie Hall are critics of relationship expectations in terms of the time period they were both created. While they go about it different ways, both pieces of media agree that these expectations that society create around the concept of relationships destroy those same relationships. Proper relationships can only work if both parties look past the expectations created by society, and see their human connection for what they are eggs that worth harvesting despite the nasty stuff around them.
This quarter in Art saw a shift to more experimental forms, and because of that, it challenged my more simplistic, feel-of-the-moment style to move to places that need to incorporate more abstract ideas. To that extreme, I think this quarter that I was reasonably successful.
With projects this quarter such as the collage and illustration, I was able to take the vague inspirations that usually are the driving force behind my art and make them come to life, in ways that I usually were satisfied with.From the first piece of art shown in this slideshow to the last, various amounts of reworks, both inspirational and technical are going on behind the scenes. I don’t ask for the audience to understand all of my work, in fact, most of it is beyond the understanding of anybody but me. What I ask for is interpretation, whether for myself or my artwork, so that the work I’ve put in won’t go to complete waste.
The first few pages of Tim O’Brien’s classic war novel The Things They Carried are focused on the titular idea, as it randomly peruses through the objects the soldiers are carrying with them throughout the war. About 15 whole pages pass by as we learn about what was carried, when, at what time; how Jimmy Cross carried letters from Martha, a girl which he had developed a rather tragic one-sided infatuation for years. How Mitchell Sanders carried a 26 pound PRC-25 radio. How Henry Dobbins carried and ate chocolate bars as he marched through the rough terrain of Vietnam. How Ted Lavender(before he was shot) carried “6 to 7 ounces of dope”.
Some of these random objects come into play later in the novel. O’Brien decides to elaborate on Jimmy Cross’ relationship with Martha, as well as the bible always carried by the soldier Kiowa, as his character’s unyielding faith plays a somewhat key narrative role later on, via truly elaborating the desperation felt by O’Brien(represented by the author, as the narrator) as Kiowa dies one rainy night in a veritable “shit-field”. However, more often than not, no real reason is provided to the trinkets carried by the members of Alpha Company, the squad O’Brien is part of during the novel. We never learn the reason why some of the soldiers carry pencils and pens. Why Lee Strunk carried tanning lotion, or why Henry Dobbins carried 15 to 20 pounds of spare ammunition around with him wherever he went.
I find that many similar odds and ends appear throughout my life, reactions or objects that I cannot find any justification for. I have learned that, for whatever reason, I have to keep my phone in my right jean pocket, and my other trinkets(my ID, my pocket change, my transpass for the train) in my left pocket. If I try to change this order up, for instance, dare I say, put my phone in my right jean pocket, I start fidgeting like someone put an ice-cube down my shirt until I put all of my carry-ons in their correct place. Things like this might indicate to the casual observer that I’m some sort of OCD psycho-path, but then there are things that no matter how much I try, I can’t seem to find a reason for my behavior. I brush my hair out of my eyes about 50 times a day, despite my hair currently being so short that even if I brush my hair downward it probably wouldn’t block my view anyway. When I go to sleep every night, if all of my trinkets aren’t in my line-of-sight on my dresser, I might just freak out because apparently if they aren’t on that dresser, they’ve probably disappeared from planet earth all together. Also, if I’m on an airplane, I always want the aisle-set for no adequately explored reason.
I don’t expect to know my I do these things, neither do I ever expect to learn why Henry Dobbins carried chocolate or why Ted Lavender carried 6 to 7 pounds of dope. Hey, I’m 16, I don’t expect myself to explain myself, and for that matter, I don’t expect myself to be able to when I’m 60. Sometimes, the reasons people do things, or change the way they do are unexplainable. That’s not very satisfying from a storytelling perspective, but that, much to my personal dismay, is the reality of the life we live in. Things happen. People change. I change. I’m a different person than I was yesterday. Sometimes there’s a reasons for that, and sometimes there isn’t. My likes and dislikes change. Sometimes there’s a reason for that, and sometimes there isn’t. And sometimes it’s for a whole other reason I’m not even considering. And though I’ve never personally been another person in my life, but I feel like that is true for everyone, at least on some level. Like how Rat Kiley’s mental state complete deteriorated once he transferred to Japan. For no real reason. Even though he had been more stressing things during the war. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a transfer to Japan. Why? Hell if I know.
I’m 16. Right now I’m a moody, somewhat sarcastic, somewhat condescending person, who is always trying to figure out the reasons for the things I do and the things I think. Which is frustrating, frankly, since I’m always thinking things, so I’m always trying to process those things, which means I miss sometimes the words when others talk to me, which means I start to think about why I missed their query, and you get the point. Why? Hell if I know. Right now, as I write this very essay, I’m copying Tim O’Brien’s writing quirk of constantly remind the reader how old he is, since I’m constantly repeating that I’m currently 16. Why? Hell if I know.
I’m 16, and I spent a long time trying to figure out the question how are we, as individuals, are affected by the world around them. The answer I eventually came to, is that it’s the opposite. Perhaps it’s that the world changes us as we see more of it, but those changes are arbitrary, complete. I’m 16 now, and I hate tomatoes, but perhaps I’ll love those red slices in time. Because… we all change, if you think about. We’re different people, throughout our entire lives. And that’s okay. Because everyone changes, in ways often unexplainable, in ways often explainable. I don’t ever expect to know, for certain, how we change, why we change. But I know that we all change. Because we need to. The person we are now isn’t always up to the challenge of the person you are tomorrow. Just one thing… I think you should remember all the people that you used to be. Perhaps what I’m writing right now will not settle well with the person I am tomorrow. But as long as I remember that person I was, I can perhaps change in ways that aren’t arbitrary, in ways that I actually want to change. So… I’ll try to remember this. This person, I am, right now, the moody sarcastic condescending teenager who doesn’t know what the hell he is typing right now or why. I’ll always try to remember when Quinn Grzywinski was me. Because maybe as I change, inevitably, I’ll learn why I was the way I was. Then perhaps I’ll figure out who I am right now. Who I’ll be tomorrow. Who I’ll be for the rest of my life.
My experience with art is very vague. I usually don’t have a particular reason to draw what I draw. So with that in mind, as an expression of myself, I like to keep things simple most of the time.
Everything you will see in this slide-show was drawn either with simply a pencil or a brush. There’s no special techniques that need to be known, my artist-progress if very much just drawing whatever comes to mind, and if that usually doesn’t require anything too complex.
None of this means I don’t think much of my art. The problem is simply that I’m not very good at it, which means my ability to bring what I draw to life is severely limited. Everything you will see in this slideshow is best, more sincere effort, and even if it doesn’t look like it, I put a lot of myself into almost all of these works, one way or another. It’s why many of them are so vague, they only mean something to me. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I haven’t decided yet.
The emergence of the Internet brought upon a digital revolution of how information is both created and stored. As a result, the landscape of media consumption, is shifting quicker than anybody could have possibly anticipated. In fact, many are singing the swan song of corporeal books and printed information, as the world marches towards an increasingly digitized age. But in truth, it may not be all that simple, because for a variety of reasons that stretch from the practical to the psychological, paper may in fact be around for quite awhile yet.
Based on the current beleaguered state of of newspapers, this claim seems almost absurd. Print newspapers seem to have taken the full brunt of the rise of digital media, as numbers around the world are showing the rapid decline of newspaper sales. Statistics from stateofthemedia.org shows the shocking data: from 2003 to 2012, American newspapers sales from advertisements plummeted from over 46,000$ to just a little over 22,000$. In response, many newspapers and magazines have seen it fit to make the transition to become strictly online news providers. One of the world’s oldest newspapers: Lloyd’s List newspaper printed its last material copy of the news outlet in December of 2013, declaring that from now they would operate solely on the inter-webs to bring people crucial information. it seems all the more likely many more newspapers and magazines will follow suit, especially the UK’s Guardian, which has openly admitted in the face of declining sales, that they are working towards the paper strictly existing online. But what’s important to remember is that newspapers are just one facet of media that is distributed on a wide-range scale, and depending from what angle is being perceived, the landscape looks very, very different. Newspapers are simple there to carry crisp and concise information, something that obviously a digital alternative would do better, at least in terms of distribution and speediness of updates. When the needs of the readers become much more complex, that’s when simply reading words from a screen simply doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.
Take the second piece of media formally associated with paper: books. According to Statista.com, book sales have remained relatively stable for the last few years, while The Kindle, Amazon’s digital alternative for printed novels, has done abysmal in sales, at least in comparison to expected numbers. Investment website Forbes.com estimates an annual revenue of 265$ million to 530$ million a year for Amazon every year from e-books, which may seem like a lot, except when you compare that to the net worth of Amazon’s CEO: Jeff Bezos, who Forb.com estimated at about 29.9 billion dollars.
All of this information points a deeper, more ingrained psychological aspect to why paper may not be circling the metaphorical drain quite yet. While reading has shown to improve comprehension and concentration, e-books are plagued by many minor annoyances that material copies simply do not have. The brain isn’t able to process information as thoroughly through a digital format, getting more easily distracted from processing, reading e-books for long periods can cause eye-sores and headaches, and needless to say, you never need to worry about a paper book running out of batteries. The Washington Post recently published an article in February that showed a staggering majority of college students polled prefer traditional paper books to their electronic counterparts, for many of these exact reasons.
When asked, people might say that paper is falling out of the eye of public media as the Internet becomes increasingly relevant to society. But on closer inspection, they might realize that that paper in truth adds psychological and practical advantages to the reading experience, advantages that aren’t likely to be implemented into a digital format any time soon. It’s difficult to imagine in our modern world that a better alternative to paper for storing information won’t eventually be perfected, but as it stands currently, paper doesn’t seem to be on the way out, at least in the foreseeable future. The simple truth is that the world of the Internet is still one that is being built, one still in its adolescence, and in the kaleidoscope of the new possibilities available, we’re still figuring what works currently. In some areas, like how we get our news, the digital revolution seems undoubtedly the future, but as shown, not all areas of media or the human experience is going to translate immediately and smoothly into this new era. Like everything, an adjustment period will be needed, and that adjustment period will likely last longer for paper than we will see in the rest of lifetimes.
Lawler, Ryan. "The Death Of Paper." TechCrunch. Techcrunch, 2 Dec. 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
"» Newspapers: By the Numbers." » Newspapers: By the Numbers. Stateofthemedia.org, 7 May 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
Musil, Steven. "World's Oldest Newspaper to End Print Edition." CNET. CNET Magazine, 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
Wallop, Harry. "The Kindle Is Dead, the Book Is Back. Or Is It?" The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
"Revenue of the U.S. Book Publishing Industry 2014 | Statistic." Statista. Google, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
Trefis, Team. "Estimating Kindle E-Book Sales For Amazon." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
Rosenwald, Michael S. "Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading in Print. Yes, You Read That Right." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
First Impact -The London Smog
Perhaps asking how you are doing might be a little horribly ironic under the present circumstances, but I it is necessary to ask, because I need to know that everyone is OK. I have already sent a letter to Daniel, with no response, so I need to ask, so once you get this letter, please send me a response immediately. Please let me know that you’re fine, because right now not only am I scared for you, and Daniel, and Mama and Pop, I’m scared for myself, and this entire city.
I’m not entirely sure when this smog rolled in. I awoke on the 5th like any other day, and how I reacted to what I saw outside the window, I imagine was similar to yours. Do you remember that smog in 1892 when the three of us were boys, the one that blanketed the streets so completely that you could hardly see the other side of the street? You remember, Mom boarded up the windows and we nearly lost Daniel on the way to school? We had to give on that though, it was too hard to see, and we couldn’t even stop for sweets on the way home because “Donielli’s” was closed.
This isn’t like that smog though. This is so much more thick and choking, when I stepped outside to go to work this morning I couldn't even see the street in front me, and I nearly got run over by a damn cab. I didn't try much after that to go to work, not like I’m that eager anyway, especially after the recent lay-offs….
You hear what the people on the radio are saying? This smog is killing people, they’re just lying in the streets. Not that I’d be able to see them until I tripped over them in the streets, but when you see these shapes in the fog, you aren’t able to tell whether it’s a bench or body... I’ve been coughing up blood since I went outside on the 5th, and my lungs feel like gravel, so if you’re thinking of going outside, just don’t, and don’t let Mary or little Emily move either. Just stay inside, please, and reply when you get this letter, if you d assuming I can find the mailbox in this damn fog.
London, December 6th, 1952
Second Impact -Nyos “Volcano”
Journal Entry 12#
Lake Nyos Disaster Investigation
Dr. Geitnier Armistead
September 3, 1987
Arriving on the scene now about a year ago, as I may have made the prominent focus view of my last entry, was a day that rendered me perturbed and perhaps, for the first time in my scientific career, positively dumbfounded. But that day was rather exciting as well, because I had a chance as a scientist to discover the secrets behind one of the strangest disasters of recent memory, one that will be warning sign for the future, and a a sort of foreboding landmark when looked back on decades from now. As you can imagine, every country aware of the impending situation has sent their “best” scientists, and during those first few days, as I recapped in my first journal ,we needed to find out what mysterious anomaly had killed nearly 1,800 people in the village of Nyos, Cameroon, practically overnight, and vanished without a trace. There wasn’t much to go on, the victims had all apparently fell and over and died for all intensive purposes, with no head trauma or bleeding found, but our major clue was that the number of fatalities seemed to be larger around Lake Nyos, a lake that the inhabitants of the surrounding area seem to think holds some, supernatural power of spirits or ghosts(which is of course is porposterous) . Now, over the course of this past year, we have finally solved this mystery, and in this journal, I wil take all the data we have found and form a hypothesis. The first clue to go on was upon testing the waters of this lake, we found some interesting discoveries. It appears the lake holds an abnormal amount of CO2, levels that only climbed steadily higher, only to quite literally off the charts and burst our test tubes once the depth of the lake reached 600ft. Now of course, all lakes contain some amounts of CO2, that is unavoidable considering the amount now in the atmosphere, but water is usually able to churn out the gas due to constant movement of waves, but in Lake Nyos’s case, it is almost the stillest in the entire world, due to several variables like the hills surrounding it and Cameroon’s consistently painfully hot weather. This allows the CO2 to accumulate and when triggered with a catalyst which could be as something as small as a tree falling into the lake or a landslide, releases all that decade-worth of CO2 in one moment, and, well, you can imagine the rest… Some of the other French scientists are discussing with the Americans whether we can harness this CO2 for other purposes, but I’m personally going to be moving out soon enough. Let them do what they will with all this extra gas.
Third Impact - The Disaster
“Hello world leaders of this summit, I am Hamza Jensen, representative from His Majesty of Belgium, who hasn’t had any dealing with the issue of climate change in the past but in light of… recent events, has sent me in his place. His Majesty firmly believes that any world leader available to attend this summit with knowledge of how this past week has come to pass, absolutely should, if nothing but for sending their deepest, most sincere condolences for the people of Australia, Chile, and Finland and the other countries who have been affected. With this in mind, His Majesty would like to thank President Gavino Acciaio of Italy for volunteering his country at such short notice for the location of this summit, and I would personally like to thank President Johnson for that powerful speech only moments ago. I won’t be talking too long, since I know the president of Ireland wishes to speak about a potential disaster relief plan that could start to undo the damage of something this global and grave, but His Majesty… and I, have a few things we must talk about. Nothing will be held back, if the last week as taught us anything, the time of civil and polite little conversation around a table is truly over, and action is the only course to take in order to now potentially save our countries and planet. I will be as critical as I need to be....
What must be talked about first is our own blindness. Climate change has been a world issue for many, many decades, not even discreetly so. The signs have been there for a long time, the London Smog of 1952, the Lake Nyos disaster in 1987, the several hurricanes in the Philippines and other countries from 2014 to 2016. Yet despite all this, no real action has been taken by any of us. Perhaps it was always a distant threat, a thing that would happen in the future, not important when compared with what ever present problems our countries were facing, whether it be petty war, a faulty economy, or recovering from natural disaster that were usually a direct byproduct of climate change. Well, I hope we can agree it isn’t anywhere close to being distant anymore. The death tolls of this disaster are still being calculated around the world, but currently we are close to passing the seven and a half million mark, but no, that’s not all, since the number are still coming in, I’ve been told we might be adding a third of that number by the end of the month… Excuse me… It’s important to remember that I… His Majesty isn’t going to blame any particular person, or even faction or country. The responsibility of causing this disaster is on all of our shoulders, whether it be because you were directly responsible for polluting and taking the planet for granted, or simply yelling from across the planet for them to stop but not actually doing anything…
I remember back in 2019 when we held a similar summit about addressing the increasingly dire problems caused by climate change. You were there President Acciaio, and you Emperor Jinjo, and I’m sure you remember that we sat around the same table for two days, but without the motivation of millions of people’s lives on the line, we agreed on absolutely nothing. We were all focusing on our own selfish goals, and not concentrating on the very real threats, that we ultimately overlook.
And now I’m tired of disagreements and stupid politicians and lack of action, by everyone, including His Majesty. I fully realize I’m probably going to be fired after this because of my outbursts, but I hope that from this terrible, terrible day, we can all at least learn from this incident. No. We need to learn from this. The world is changed forever, and I don’t think I’ll be able to stand it if the world continues on like nothing has happened. Thank you. You’re up Prime Minister.
Well, hello again. It’s me, Quinn Grzywinski, back for my English project YATW: a journey that began over 5 months ago, when we chose a subject of importance to us, and were to write three blog posts about it to raise awareness. For those not in the know and who haven’t read my previous blog posts, I recommend for you to check those now. My first blog: “Arbitrary Future” detailed the current situation of overpopulation and what it could mean for the possible future, along with statistics and predictions of the coming decades. My second blog: “Why I’m Wrong” focused around survey I sent to get data on how aware people were of overpopulation, and how much they considered it a problem. In spirit of the name, that blog mostly told of how unexpected my results from that blog were, and that people do know of overpopulation, so I consider that survey a failure seeing that it really didn’t pick up how much people knew about it. But it’s time to put those two behind us now, as I turn my weary opinion on overpopulation to here: my third and final blog. I’ll be talking about my Agent of Change project, a little about how the world seems to be taking notice, and making a final statement about, for humanity, what lies ahead.
Let’s begin talking about how overpopulation is being taken from various people and places around the world. And with any study of various options, it depends on who you talk to and who you listen to. If you listen to to Alexandra Paul: an environmental activist, the solution is simple.
According to her TED talk, she’s been interested in overpopulation since a young age, and for her, all you need is to educate woman, something that appears to be running trend for when I try to answer for myself how this issue can be dealt with. Something so simple, so simple perhaps it’s overlooked; that’s a mindset that needs to change.
You needn't even listen to Reuters: a global photography website, for they show you 14 haunting pictures of the overcrowded world, perhaps hoping that the seeing the issue face to face will have a greater effect. Personally, I urge to check out these pictures, they’re truly eye-opening and may really make you realize what overpopulation looks like. I don’t pretend to be an expert on overpopulation, it’s just something I became interested in, but I’d like to make a presumption on how overpopulation is taken by the public. If I may draw a slight parallel to global warming(though I think overpopulation is less widely considered); the problem isn’t that some people aren’t talking about it, it’s that we the media don’t listen to it. Why? Maybe because it’s scary. Scary to think that less than a century from now we could be caught up in a resource war, run out of wheat and bread, and have a planet of shouldering over 10 billion people. I don’t mean to be prophet of doom, but as I said in my first blog, it won’t be a gradual thing, it’ll be more like falling off a cliff. We need to just turn and face this issue, even though it might be frightening to talk or even think about, because no matter how much we deny it, it’s not going away. It’s getting nearer, and alarmingly fast too.
For my Agent of Change project, I wanted something a little more personal something that would get people actually interested in the issue. I couldn't have fundraised even if I wanted to, since I wasn't exactly sure which organization I would benefit, and even if the money I raised would actually be spent helping stop overpopulation. I didn't have anywhere in particular I could volunteer either, so the answer was to grab people’s attention and leave it to them how much they wanted to find out about this issue. I just needed to make sure the message was compelling enough.
The images you see above and below that I've posted onto this blog are snapshots of the posters I made for my Agent of Change project. The posters are hand-drawn, using images taken from the internet, with my own tagline to go with each of them, along with a list of links to check out. I made sure that the images I chose were either uncomforting or surreal enough to grab passer by's attention, and it took a lot more work than you would first think. Why posters? I just like the idea of instead of someone donating to a nameless charity and forgetting about it the next day, they would see these attention-grabbing posters, day after day, until they finally considered the message they were trying to convey.
I like to think that through both my survey that was done for blog #2 and these posters that I have created, a small faction of people are more aware of overpopulation. I explained thoroughly in blog #2 how my survey was a failure; which also leads back to the presumption I stated above. I may have made people be reminded that overpopulation was, you know, a “thing”, but that was it, and it would soon leave their minds without the grim facts to keep them focused on it. So all in all, even as I made these posters, I felt like whatever I did, it simply wouldn't make an impact, and be in the end, purposeless. Maybe I shouldn't be over-thinking this, but even these blogs I doubt will make an impact on anything. I guess I really can’t get out of this somewhat depressing mindset, fortifying my final opinion on this project.
So what would have kept people wary of overpopulation for my Agent of Change? I don’t know. I wanted posters, something personal and attentive, but if I were to do this project over, I would want something with a bit more impact. Yes, seeing the posters day after day may have attracted a few curious peers, but seeing the short amount of time they were actually up on the wall, I doubt it. A redo would put the “Rueter theory” into effect, remember those photo guys which I mentioned? They showed without telling, letting the reality of overpopulation sink in through just a few photos. Surrealism is good, but I feel like using real life photos of the problem may have been better, and also, a longer duration of how long the posters were on the wall would have helped too.
Now I feel kind of bad. I’ve let this final blog post turn into some sort of grim rant on how nobody takes this issue seriously, the reality that the world will be extremely different in the next 60-80 years, and my own uncertainty on the impact of this YATW as a whole. Sort of a downer of a finale.
But maybe that’s for the best. I don’t want to act like this whole thing is no big deal. I don’t want to sugarcoat the facts, to leave readers with a “yeah, everything’s fine” attitude. Because it isn’t fine. These are the facts. I’m not going to hold back as I say this. Overpopulation is currently one of the greatest threats to mankind, and needs to be dealt with immediately. Not leave it to the next generation. Not wait 50 years. Now. This isn't going away. This isn't some distant horizon to look upon. The future, our future, is in our hands, and if we all act like it doesn't exist, it will tear our society and our planet apart.
So please, tell your friends. Tell your friend’s friends. Tell your grandparents. Tell your crazy uncle, your 7-yr old niece, your gym instructor. I can’t promise anything. I can’t say everything will be OK. I can’t decide for you what you will do about it. All I can do is leave you with some words of warning and a choice about how you’ll take them.
This next decision is yours.
Hello, me again, Quinn Grzywinski back for my English assignment YATW, a project which we get three blog posts out of a subject of importance to us and make a difference! It’s been, you know, quite awhile since my first blog on overpopulation, which by the you can find here if you’re not caught up to speed on what I’ve been researching and studying. So, this time around, I wanted to launch my own original research on overpopulation, not just leech information off of sources in order to make my own summary on the subject. What I wanted to learn about for this blog post was how much a problem people in my school and community actually considered overpopulation to be; I was under the notion that people in general didn't considered it seriously enough. It was pretty much the reason I chose this as my YATW project, so I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of awareness people seemed to show. But I’m getting ahead of myself aren't I? Yes I think I am; let me provide some background information on what I did for this post.
So my first step to conducting my own original research was to decide what type of research I wanted to explore. I settled on the survey option, and got to work making the questions, that asked directly how much of a problem people thought overpopulation was, and what they thought was the actual population of the world was, which country they thought had the highest population is the world and various other questions. My “hypothesis” as it were, was that people would be not aware on knowledge of overpopulation and its effects on the world, but as you can see below on my survey's results, that just simply wasn't the case.
What you see above you is graph of the results of people answers to the question “Do you know what the current population of the world is?”. Now my theory that the answers would revolve around 6,900,000,000, but as you can see, a vast majority actually got the correct answer of 7,215,000,000,000. This kinds of shakes up my opinion that this subject wasn’t very well known as a potential world-defining event in our future, seeing that nearly everybody got the correct answers for my questions. For example, one of the questions of the survey was which country had the biggest population in the world, and for the 26 or 27 people who took the survey, 23 of them guessed the correct answer of China, a country which holds about 1,390,000,000 people. Same with the other questions really, majority ruled correctly, and I find that I’m really bad at making hypotheses.
So, you might ask, what does this mean for my research and what overpopulation means for the world. Well, at first, I thought that was that. People are in fact aware that overpopulation exists and is a threat, but after I stepped back, I started to second guess this. Well yes, people have proven that they know what overpopulation is and what the number of people on earth are. Look at chart below for a moment.
This was one of my questions on the survey asking people how much they considered overpopulation a threat, scoring it 1 through 5 on the panic-o-meter. See how most people scored it about a 3. Yes there are a couple 4’s and 5’s, at least for than 1’s and 2’s, but this kind of puts into doubt how dangerous people think overpopulation is. This kind of makes me want to to redo my survey a little, putting in questions that would address the severity of overpopulation, rather than questions just asking for a number or two. Do the people that took the quiz know that we humans are estimated to run out of oil in about 40 years? Do they know that the population nearly doubled during the 20th century? So yes, I may have some regrets, but I’m actually kind of grateful for the shattering of this one-sided window I've been looking, and the awareness of global warming could be something I integrate into blog 3#.
Before I go though, I like to address possibly my biggest point I brought up in my first blog. Remember the big ominous number of 10,000,000,000 people in my first blog, which I fixated quite a bit on? Well I’d like to rectify my comments in blog 1# a little, since I've found out a bit more. I kind of decreed that once the species reached 10,000,000,000 we would all need to become vegetarians or we’d all die due to food shortage, and I said that this event would happen in 3100. In actuality, it could happen well before then, around 2070 to 2080, according to this big ominous clock, so yeah, looking forward to then.
I wouldn't call the survey a success, but I gathered some cool data, and also learned how to properly format my survey’s in the future. But since I don’t want to leave everybody reading terrified for the next couple decades, I think I’m going to refocus in blog 3# on how to actual stop overpopulation in its tracks and work out a solution. And hopefully, it might even end up tying into my Agent Of Change proposal in the end.
Thanks for reading and see you in Blog 3#!
You can look at my Annotated Bibliography here, and also my survey on my subject.
¡Hola! Me llamo Quinn y tengo catorce años. Me asisto a SLA, que es mi escuela. La escuela es pequeño, hoy soló appróximente cien y trienta estudiantes en cada clase. También, hoy tampoco profesores o estudiantes, pero SLA as chevére. SLA es divertido, un simpático edificio, y difícil, pero no mucho difícil. Mi gusta jugar futbol y videojuegos en el otoño, además la escuela tiene mucho diferentes cosas; béisbol, interesante clases, y muchos diferentes cosos los fines de semana.
Yo tengo mucho clases en SLA, appróximente cinco por día. Nosotros estudiantes hacemos inglés, español, teatro, tecnología, matemáticas, historia, bioquímica, arte y ingeniería. Mi favorito clase es inglés. Nosotros leemos buenos libros, hacemos mayoria actividades y escribamos creativos cuentos. Los maestros son La Sra. Dunn y La Sra. Lucy. Ellos son ambos cómicas y trabajadores. La clase es no difícil, aunque es importante estar preparado, tu necesitas tienes lápices, papeles, y cuadernos.
La Sra. Dunn es mi maestro favorito. Ella es divertida, y le gusta enseñar y habla son su estudiantes. Pero ella es no mi soló maestro en SLA.
Hay también La Srta. Manuel es mi maestro de español. Ella cumpeaños es diezesites de mayo, le le gusta cantar y a veces bailer. Su clase es difícil, pero mucho divertido también. ¡Todos los maestros son buenos y trabajadores, pero algunos tienen más difícil clases, como La Sra. Thompson, o El Sr. Reddy!
SLA es un mucho creativo, diferente, y único escula. SLA tiene buenos maestros, trabajadores estudiantes, un simpático ubicación, y mucho aporreadas y deportistas. Lo que más me gusta de SLA es el tolerante naturaleza. Es no fácil, pero caso tú decidir prestar atención, SLA es no mucho estresante o aburrido. ¡Y eso es así chévere!
Click here for my Powtoon!
“Man begets, but land does not beget. ”
― Cecil Rhodes
Hello, my name is Quinn Grzywinski, and I’m a ninth grade student at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA. This is the first blog of three for my English class; for a project that involves us choosing a subject of interest and writing about it, as well as getting our writing into the world, which is in some ways the whole purpose of this project. I choose overpopulation for my subject, and this blog post provides some key statistics and a possible solution. Hope you enjoy.
I want you to picture something. Imagine a pond, somewhere deep in the forest, full of the richest resources for aquatic life you could imagine. So obviously, the fish that live in this pond flourish, living long healthy lives, and reproduce frequently. But after a few years, the amount of fish has become disproportionate to the pond. and the resources that the pond once had has been used up, and without all the resources the fish die.
This is a grim metaphor for what awaits us if overpopulation is not considered a serious issue to the world. Every minute approximately 269 people are born and about 108 die; the population is rising every minute, and by the year 2020, yes only 7 years from
A chart of the world’s current population density (wikipedia.org)
now, the population will reach 8 billion, from its current 6.5 billion. This troubling statistic raises the question. How much people Earth hold while still running high on resources? According livescience.com “Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people”, so by that time will there be enough food to eat? Well from the 2 billion tons of grain that the Earth produces every year, we could actually feed a population of 10 billion. Vegetarians. For a population of 10 billion omnivores, only about 2.5 billion or so could be fed. How long do we have? According to the same article, we will reach a population of 9 billion in 2050, and the fabled 10 billion in 2100. You can view the complete article here.
So what does this mean for all major institutions like medicine and energy? Well thanks to resources like clean water running dangerously low, tensions between nations could well result in wars and conflicts. Another is that unemployment and poverty will become a lot more common, because while the population of any given nation may rise significantly, the total jobs may not. A rise in unemployment levels could result in an increased crime rate, and homelessness. I’ve already mentioned that since food may become a lot more rare than it once was around 2100, things like food shelters may become much more scarce, since they may not even be enough food to go around even more the more privileged ranks of society. Global warming may play a part as well, because since coal and natural gases are already being overused, the polar ice caps will melt, and CO2 will be released in dangerously high levels.
A future coming all too soon… (conserve-energy-future.com)
However, there is ways to combat the problem. According to a pension I found online, the proper way of dealing with this problem is fairly simple: proper sex education and family birth planning. This way, the number of humans joining the planet can decrease to more fairly balance the deaths per minute. But we seem to be on our way there already. United Nation estimates show that the average sizes of families have been getting steadily smaller over time. The article on live.science.com explains, “globally, the fertility rate is falling to the "replacement level" — 2.1 children per woman, the rate at which children replace their parents (and make up for those who die young). If the global fertility rate does indeed reach replacement level by the end of the century, then the human population will stabilize between 9 billion and 10 billion.” This means with the proper education and control, we may be able to control the population at a relatively safe level. It won’t be by any means ideal, but at least, it will be survivable. At this “replacement level” the human races population will come to a halt.
So all in all, overpopulation is a serious problem. It will increase global warning, flare tensions between nations, and even may lead to a global energy crisis. But it is by no means a fixed event. All it takes is to properly educate our children and families, and make them understand the consequences of having a big family. If we can teach the new generation, then by the time we reach 10 billion, we will be in control. However, if the proper steps aren't taken, if families do teach and be taught what to do, by 2100, the world, will be at a point where it may be already too late to reverse the damage. Let me remind you, 2100 isn't some distant future, some made-up number, but a future my generations descendants may well have to face, or even maybe well before that. With it being very hard to predict when our species will reach 10 billion, this scenario may happen even sooner, which only increases the need to start worrying about this issue now. Because once we reach 10 billion, it won’t be a gradual decline, where there’s plenty of time to repair the problem. It’ll be more in fashion to falling off a cliff. What happens next lies in an arbitrary future.
Thanks for reading! See you in Blog #2!
My annotated bibliography is here.