Friday, January 21, 2011

Quick Blog #6

Age Diversity

Write a paragraph in which you respond to the following questions:

1. Is your social sphere (family, work, school, friends, hobbies, etc.) comprised of people of diverse ages?  How often do you regularly encounter young people and elders? Do you wish you had more interactions with youth or elderly people?

There are a lot of people that work behind the scene in the theater and film communities, people that look like normal (relatively kept and other days not so kept) human beings. As an actor, the amount of people between 15 and twenty make up the sea of individuals I find myself around. I’ll come across a middle aged person during an audition, but these are usually the people I see behind the doors, after encountering the sea of youngins like myself.

2. In many ways, our society is segregated on the basis of age.  Why do you think that is?  How are young people and old people often socially marginalized?  How and why are young adults and middle-age adults often advantaged and privileged due to their age?

I feel like youth tend to be more out going. I heard in a television show “New York City is for those who are in their twenties.” I think that was the real house wives of Atlanta. I’m probably more likely to find a community of elders up in Vermont. The privilege the young and middle age have is the amunt of social groups to be with. I find that my grandparents are really relying on family to keep them company. Maybe because they don’t want to get out. I always think about how wonderful it is to call up a friend and hang out while on the flip side those who are up in age my not have that luxury “Ethan, my friends are all gone.” A high school teacher of mine, probably in her 70’s, once told me as I was getting clarification of one of her assignments before the school day began. It’s a scary thought that most people don’t want to think about: the day we have out lived all our friends. Don’t want to think about that type of competing.

3. What are some possible ways to promote greater integration of all ages/generations and to challenge age-based segregation?  How can we as a culture work to promote respect for people of all ages, especially greater respect for old people?

            Watching old movies, listening to old songs. I prefer to call them classic, I feel their timeless. It’s fun when I’m watching a documentary about Shirley temple and my grandma comes and sits down, because that never happens.  Then I ask her a question about where she was during the 1930’s and she takes me back. For those who don’t have grandparents, they might be able to strike up a conversation with an elderly person at a local church. Those are areas I’ve found I could strike up conversation. I actually got to shake the hands and look into the eyes of a ninety-year-old women. I felt like a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of experiences she must have had. but in all honesty it is very difficult to see a community of old people outside of an old person’s home. Why that is would be a question to raise.

Quick Blog # 5

View or read one of the items in my diary on feminist anti-pornography. Do you agree with the message in the article/video?  Why or why not?  Do you believe pornography is contributing to the way men see women sexually?  Does pornography further the problems of sexism and misogyny? Why does so much pornography present women in a degrading manner and how might this impact young men who are consuming these images? Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the feminist critique of pornography...

I mostly agree with what the video had to say. I don’t think child pornography is okay, the portrayal of people of color in porn is sketchy, and I don’t think it’s okay for men to see women as objects for their sexual dominance. I think there is legit porn that is done by professionals and is marketed.
That being said, more dialogues need to be made public about sex, about porn, because it seems to have this taboo in our society. And I shake my head at this. Why is it a taboo? It was mentioned how porn is a billion dollar industry. Yet in our society, driven by gratuitously violent media, we allow the topic of pleasure (a natural body function) to go under the radar to the point where it gets out of control. I think not talking about it is more a reason why young and older men become sexual predators.  
            I don’t think all pornography is misogynistic, but allot of it can be. There are couples that actually enjoy watching porn together. So there is porn being made that caters toward both male and female viewers. Then there is a plethora of pornography that really is offensive and should have stricter monitoring.  
            The type of porn I look at, the women are generally taking an assertive role during the sex. So grappling the question of why women are presented in a degrading manner is not coming easily. The producers of porn are men. Women might get paid a lot for their contributions, but men run the show and thus are paid more. That’s a sneaky fact I didn’t know before watching the movie. That is probably a primary reason why so much porn has women in less dominant positions.
            I disagree with porn that is oppressive, which is most porn. However I’ve watched porn that does not fall into those categories. I don’t think all porn is bad and misogynistic, but I do feel more conversations and rules need to be raised to separate fact from fiction in our society.  

Quick Blog # 4

The Willow Smith video gave off this subliminal child pornography message that really bothered me. The argument is that kids flaunt themselves in kids pageants and dance competitions, but I think when this, for lack of a better word, sexing up of children is put on mass media a line is crossed.
            I might be speaking out of ignorance, but generally I fell there is a line that the dance community and pageant community have to not let sex appeal over shadow a craft. Mass media tends to take sex appeal to such gratuitous levels I become cautious to the creative process and the people behind the scenes. I felt Jodi Foster (with the help of Robert De Niro) gave an honest performance in Taxi Driver, and Natalie Portman (with the help of Jean Reno) gave an honest performance in Leon the Professional. The handling of the theme, the robbing of a child’s innocence, was carefully handled and respectfully performed. There’s something about the ideal innocence of youth that I fell many, including myself, aspire to protect.
            Watching Willow Smith and seeing how her career unfolds will ultimately shape my opinion of her. But at first glance, I feel like the there’s an abuse at play.

Quick Blog #3

Quick Blog # 3: Experiencing Class and Classism

Please answer the following three questions about class. You need only write a brief paragraph for each question.

1. Describe an experience where you were privileged or advantaged due to your class/socio-economic status.

New York is a very claustrophobic space to live and being raised in rural New England, that claustrophobia hits me ten fold. The apartment I live in with my Dad has this hall way where you have to side step around a person if they happen to be passing through. In bathroom (I’ll keep it clean) the toilet paper is literally hugging my elbow as I’m sitting down. That’s one of the many adjustments I have to make living here.

2. Describe an experience where your  were oppressed or disadvantaged due to your class/socio-economic status.

I came across a group of actors that got a kick out of telling racist jokes. They asked me first if it was okay to use them and, curious as I was, I told them to go right ahead. They were funny, so I went back to my Dad’s apartment to see what other types of racist jokes were out there. The ones I found were a lot more uncensored then what my buddies were saying, something I could see fueling a white supremacists desire to lynch a person. So I eventually went up to my acting buddies and told them I’d appreciate them not using anymore racist jokes when I’m around. They were glad that I told them this, it actually took me a bit of time to tell them not to use these jokes, so I remember one woman telling me how she wished I could have said something sooner. 

3. Write about an experience where you witnessed an incident of classism (remark, behavior, and attitude) and your reaction to it.

I went over to a friends house, this was when I was living in Vermont, and I could tell by the unkempt rooms and how cramped the living space was, this guy didn’t have the financial wealth my family had. He had a Game Cube Nintendo, which at the time I didn’t. Material qualities aside, I could tell from being around him and his parents, despite his families economical short comings, they still wanted to do what they could to provide loving parental support and a good education.
            When way I cope is by heading up to my father’s church. There’s so much space up there it’s criminal. This isn’t a church, it’s more like a castle and I can just go onto my dad’s computer, check to see if rooms for classes, or gatherings are empty and go to them to juggle, rehearse lines, or just read. If I were not my father’s son I wouldn’t even be able to pass the front entrances.

Quick Blog #2

 This is an article from Time about a woman named Aung San Suu Kyi (aka the Lady). She is a Nobel peace prize laureate and leader of a movement the National League for Democracy (NLD) whose goal is to democratize the existing Burmese dictators’ and provide a more humane conditions for the Burmese people.
            The article deals with themes of classism and violations of human rights. The Burmese dictatorship is hauntingly cruel toward its people and the lengths to which the interviewer goes to meet with Suu Kyi exemplifies how controlling the government is. 
Below is the site where this article can be found. You can also to and type Burma’s First Lady of Freedom in the search engine at the top of the site. Or just cut and paste this URL,8599,2039939,00.html

Post #15

For me, having an affect on a community is taking a stance for an idea, and being self aware with why that idea is meaningful to me. Once that selfawareness is defined then I have the ability to share or challenge my friends, my family, my community with it. The reason I need to know what I want from myself first is so that when other opinions and ideas come my way, I can listen to them, take them in, and decide if their opinion is what I stand for or if it crosses a line that I will not support.
            Regardless of how I use my idea to effect others, how it affects me, how it will shape my life, has to be the foundation. I want to take into account what Angela Davis said about celebrating whatever accomplishments come even if they are a slight deviation from what the original intent. There are so many people in this competitive society that refuse to step back and pat themselves on the back for their accomplishments. I don’t want to be one of those many people.
            bell hooks was talking about how people should aspire, not to blame others, but to take accountability for their actions. If I can take this idea with me into conversations with family, friends, and my peer group, those difficult conversations may have the potential of running more smoothly.
            With this in mind, I have to remember that opportunities present themselves at the most random moments. I’ll have to use those moments to see how ready I am to be true to an idea of change, or if I’m going to cave into societal pressures, which could really leave a bad vibe: self regret or self satisfaction?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Post #14

I feel like being an activist takes courage, it takes having an out going personality, and a willingness to learn and share thoughts with others. bell hooks talks of a movie, The Proposal,  she watched that gave a negative portrayal of being  femenist: that the word “feminist” was used in a negative connotation and in a humerous way. She also talks about how the target audience for this film is between 12 and 16. And she used this to illustrate her point of the media’s backlash toward the feminist movement.
            Living in a competitive, consumer based society, the idea of sharing knowledge is costly. Getting a liberal arts education is costly as our student loans are constantly reminding us. Realizing this only empowers a person to challenge that system. It also allows us to see how thoroughly we are implanted into the system and that changing it will not be an over night fix
            I think my favorite activist is my father, though don’t tell him I said that. There was a time in Vermont when he was head of the United Church of Christ (UCC) . He began a movement to advocate churches to be Open and Affirming, to accept any type of member regardless of their sexual orientation, religious back round, race, or ethnicity. It was a courageous stand to make because there was a lot of back lashing that he had to personally address.
            I remember one night he came home, not a surprise considering his hours, and he told me, “I was just at a meeting where no one agreed with my point of view.” He told me recently, that he would go to meetings to hear the opinions of the few congregations that were resilient to having an open church. I think about how he must have struggled to keep his cool while all the fingers were pointing at him. That’s roughing it.