I really enjoyed this class with you all, I feel like we created some good media and had some good class discussions. Even though we also made some bad media and had some horrible horrible discussion silences, overall I thought this class was a success. I learned some valuable things, especially about my computer, and had a good time looking at some awesome pieces of fiction. I feel like most of the works we explored were catered to my own taste regarding bizarre and disturbing literature. My only regret is that I didn't ask Maria out on a date, because I thought she was way cute all semester. Thanks everyone for listening to and looking at my nonsense, and thanks Professor, for making this class a memorable experience.
David Moore's blog
This image is after I made some minor edits...
This video took me an ungodly amount of time to complete. It started as a powerpoint presentation for the last night that a performance arts group I was involved with met in my house. A relatively large (about 20-50 on average) group of students regularly met in the house in which I currently reside, every Wednesday at 10 to read poems, showcase art, act out skits, play group games, sing songs, or in some way express ourselves to one another. Kenton, the organizer of this gathering we dubbed as "Salon", bought beer for everyone (who performed, even though everyone drank it anyway), and these gatherings usually lasted far into the night... long after everyone had finished whatever it was they had chosen to share with this group of peers. I met this eclectic circle of friends early on in my Freshmen year, and I like to think that I became a part of the group. Wednesday night Salon came to mean a great deal to me by the time it came to a close (when Salon's chief coordinator, Kenton, moved to New York) and this video is a dubbed (and heavily edited) presentation I created for the very last meeting of Salon. I moved into 112 North Graham Street, the home of Salon, after moving out of the dorms. I mention this because I didn't want to give the false impression that I merely turned in a project that I had completed for an alternative purpose. This class has tenderly reminded me of Salon as we have covered such stories as "A Rose For Emily" and "The Yellow Wallpaper". It is primarily the idea of a group of young peers engaging itself in a shared exposure to alternative forms of literature, while keeping open minds in an attempt to expand their horizons. In my mind, Salon has served as a strong representation of what I have come to understand about "being in college", and it only seemed appropriate to me that my video project be an edited version of my final tribute to the group of friends I found through Salon. Originally, this video was meant as a spoof on the old NBC "commercials" for family values, often narrated by celebrities you might recognize from E.R. of something, which ended with a shooting star surrounded by the words "the more you know..." These clips always seemed so corny to me, offering advice about life that was so obvious and stupid that I often wondered if the clips themselves were spoofs. That's the format behind which I started this project, though as you will probably guess if you watch it, I strayed a bit from "The more you know..." The one lesson I learned from Salon about these kinds of performances, specifically from the douchebags who would read something that they hadn't even written for AN HOUR (I timed it one time, no joke), is that if you want to keep an audience, the performance has to be funny... at least it has to try to be funny. At the same time though, I wanted to give a serious message on some level, and so I attempted to teach that which I have learned from college. For one to be a balanced person, they must find a balance between being studious and being a party animal. A balance between being a shy nerd and being a cocky jerk, between the responsible prude and the promiscuous pervert. It's important for us young college students to shelve the books every once and a while, and remember to have some fun! At the same time, however, if we let our wilder sides control us too much, it'll lead to trouble.
I know this video seems weird, but it is my attempt at conveying a message about moderation as well as an attempt at some outlandish humor. This is frighteningly similar to how I actually converse with myself when reasoning out situations in my head. Although, however, I am not such a chauvinist... nor have any of my known kin sported German accents for several generations. Please let me know if you think this is at all funny... or dumb... or utterly insane. If I had realized that the file was too big for me to upload, and that I needed to route it through youtube, I would have had it posted much earlier. Sorry about that, and I hope you still watch it.
P.S. The moral of the story is "It's alright to cut loose from time to time, but if you lose control to passion and impulse, you'll only end up screwing yourself!"
II. Playlist Revision
III. Playlist Reflection
I spent that vast majority of time I worked on this playlist changing songs over and over, so that by the end I felt I had a solid mix. My layout of that “solid list” was, upon reflection, terrible. All of the song lyrics are not necessary, and it just seemed to me like I was trying to go for quantity instead of quality (which was absolutely not the case). The vast majority of my revision, therefore, focused on layout rather than content. For the record, I put Pat Benetar in there as a equalizer to the image I felt I was giving. I am by no means a “death-rocker”, and I realized that I was making Lex look like some Emo Goth chump. He is not. Besides, if you’ve ever watched the show Smallville, you’d know that Lex can be soft too. Usually when I make a playlist it tends to jump from genre to genre. This can make it kind of hard to narrow a list down to a subject like Lex Luthor. I like to either listen to an entire album, or listen to a playlist that goes from something off of the White Album to Radiohead. Therefore, I found this project somewhat difficult, yet intriguing.
I. Character Collage
II. Character Collage Revision
III. Poem Collage
IV. Poem Collage Revision
V. Collage Reflection
The character and poem collages were surprisingly difficult for me to do. When I first thought about it, it seemed as if it would be no problem. However, the more time I invested into both of the projects, and the more I experimented with the image editing programs (because admitedly, I used both Gimp and Macromedia Fireworks 8) the more I became intrigued. Nay, intrigued is not the word, rather perpetually dissatisfied as I continued. Regardless of this, however, I really enjoyed it. I only hope that my wordk inspired others to investigate that which my collages were inspired by; The Olivia Tremor Control, and the Harry Potter series!
I. Yellow Wallpaper Annotations
So far this class has been entirely unique to my college career. I registered for it with the intention of fulfilling a perspective, but I honestly believe that even at this point I will have come away with something more than just credits so that I can graduate. It has affected me in a way in which I did not expect. Before this semester, I knew how to make a playlist. I knew how to make photo collages with digital pictures (check out my facebook picture). I even already know how to do some digital editing for videos and such. I did not, however, know anything about blogs whatsoever. That seems ludicrous, but I swear it's true. The thing that truly value about this course work is attitude shift it has given me, regarding the internet community. Now, I'm still scared of the internet. I think it is going to be the downfall of mankind! I did not realize the aspect of community that the class has striven to promote, and that has changed my entire outlook on an aspect of my generation which is most profound. I look forward to improving upon what I have done so far, and I also look forward to a heavier interaction with online communities.
I felt like my first collage caught the idea of my poem as much as I could have in my own mind. It is exactly what I imagine when I listen to the song (most times). The first and most obvious problem I ran into was simplicity. I spent a long time (and I mean a LONG time) trying to meld those two pictures together, but it still looked like I had not done too much. So for the revision, I attempted to make it look a little more active. First, I wanted to include some angels, since I lacked those on the first collage. Now, if you'll look closely, you'll notice I used Archangel from the X-Men, but I couldn't help myself! Besides, you'd be surprised how few pictures there are of vengeful angels on the internet, so I didn't have much to work with. Another thing I felt I needed to change was the background. The first background was from the movie Apocalypse Now, thus technically it should have been Vietnamese Demise Pt. 3, not California Demise Pt. 3. Anyway, the post apocalyptic background I used the second time, I felt, was better suited for the collage. Other than the minor changes, I really liked the job I did visualizing one of my all time favorite songs.
(California Demise Pt.3)
"home of the saints burn down the walls
between spaces between friends
archaic angels pose in rows
and in my garden angels grow
they come inside only at night
interstatic sunbeams are the angels only storybook
they come inside only at night
interstatic sunbeams are the angels only storybook
everybody sees everyone
they don't bother wearing seat belts
to protect them from the wreck
they've already died in the california demise"
First I must comment on the punctuation. I know mine is terrible, but I hate it when people leave out capitals, it just drives me crazy (especially with “I”). This poem is actually a song by The Olivia Tremor Control, one of my all time favorite bands. They posted the lyrics to this song on their website, so I felt if they wanted the words in lower cases, then so be it. This is one of those songs that the lyrics fit into perfectly, because they both elicit the same feelings. My collage somewhat betrays what I think was meant by the band. I feel like “Home of the Saints burn down the walls between spaces, between friends.” is probably the key line to the tone of the song. I would translate this line as a plea to the heavens to mend a broken friendship, if I were reading it as a poem without the emotions they convey. I really must insist that you listen to the song for a moment and decide whether the lyrics alone betray the tone of the poem with music behind it.
“Walls and spaces that are between friends” makes me think about the kind of fight you have with someone you care about, which permanently alters the friendship. So “Heaven, please burn down the nasty history between me and [my friend]” leads me to believe that they really want to be friends again, but are not yet. The angel references make me think that he only feels peace when “…they come inside…” which is “…only at night…” I think this means they are tormented all the time, except when sleeping, or reflecting on nature’s beauty. The most important part of the whole song to my interpretation of it is the word “friends”. It is dramatic musically, very emotional and long winded, but it also has lyrical significance, because it is repeated several times. I think, even though the written words alone lead me to believe otherwise, that this is not a sad poem about regret. I think it a bittersweet remembrance of a love in the past. At the very least it makes me think about my own bittersweet remembrances of past loves. I admit “not wearing seatbelts because one is already dead from the destruction of California” may sound similar to my argument crashing through a window, but I disagree. “Everyone sees everyone” makes me think they are using death as a metaphor, something that puts all people on the same footing. If everyone is on the same playing field, and we’re all dead, then that sounds like the Christian idea of Heaven (depending on your interpretation) to me. In my opinion, if there were a Heaven, it would be a very cool place full of friendly people. That reiterates the “Friends” theme in my mind. When I hear this song, I just imagine that the idea of friendship such a powerful force that one could watch the destruction of all of California, sitting on a cliff with a friend, and still feel thankful to be alive.
Lex Luthor's Gettin' Down (revised)
The character of Lex Luthor, foil of the modern mythic hero Superman, represents a force of evil that if often recognized by millions of people. Lex Luthor has followed Superman across the evolving forms of media from the radio, to comics, to television, and onto the silver screen all over the globe. Superman, who symbolizes “truth, justice, and the American Way”, provides a model for basic moral standards for being “a good guy” that can be translated across culture and language barriers. Lex Luthor, Superman’s foil, is conversely recognized as “a bad guy”, or a representation of the threat of evil. The graphic novel “Lex Luthor, Man of Steel” (which I was lucky enough to find left in my bathroom by my roommate last week) offers a surprising twist on the standard archetypal evil that we geeks have come to expect from Mr. Luthor.
The first song that came to my mind as I began to read Lex Luthor’s philosophical narration about perspective was “Fan Song” by Dethklok. This song is from a television show by the same writers as Home Movies, and I would describe it as a ditty if I were talking to my mother (which I wouldn’t because she would not like the song). To me, it is the kind of song where the simple chorus line gets stuck in your head for days, slowly driving you mad:
I feel like if Lex is going to be a representation of supreme evil, then somewhere inside his head he is just screaming “Hate” all the time. The repetition of the word is the crucial part of its inclusion in the list. Lex Luthor is an evil genius that appears to society as an upstanding business entrepreneur. They know he’s a genius, but they don’t know he’s evil. “Fan Song” is just a quick glance at how he feels, truly, when he smiles at regular people.
The standard nefarious plot for the downfall of Superman is not narrated by Lex himself, who is a cunning linguist. Lex is a very logical thinker, using his cultural and scientific understanding to reason against the mythos of his alien enemy. To describe this, I chose Modest Mouse’s “Never Ending Math Equation”, because if he can make you believe that Superman is bad, then I think he could sit around reciting pi forever.
“The universe works on a math equation
that never even ever really ends in the end
Infinity spirals out creation
We're on the tip of its tongue, and it is saying
We aint sure where you stand
You aint machines and you aint land
And the plants and the animals, they are linked…”
To me this highlights Lex’s personal justification for why Superman must be destroyed. If “…the plants and the animals, they are linked. And the plants and the animals eat each other”, then an alien Superman could be a hazard to our ecosystems, not to mention a potentially major biological hazard to humans.
Lex’s ultimate goal in this plot is to discredit Superman, ultimately to turn the human population against him. I have to admit personally, though I have always loved Clark Kent, Lex Luthor provides a very compelling argument as to why he believes Superman must be killed. His presence on the planet is a great potential threat towards humanity.
Radiohead always pops in my head when I start thinking about survival.
“Bodysnatchers” creates an image in my head of someone desperately pleading with a mass of people, like Harry Potter trying to tell Cornelius Fudge that Sirius Black was innocent before he was wrongly sentenced to a Dementor’s Kiss. Images such as Lex gazing out across the city, desperately wishing people would understand his necessary rivalry with the savior Kryptonian comes to mind during this song. Lex has been “brought to his knees” while the public fears him.
The desperation of his struggle, whether his reasoning is mere self-justification or whether he actually believes it sounds like an epic struggle. This kind of epic struggle can only be scored by an opera such as “O Fortuna”, composed by Carl Orff.
The lyrics are good, but it is the intensity of the horns and drums that caused this song to be on Lex’s playlist. Within the epic struggle, I feel the characters need to be equally sized up to one another. While Superman has the obvious advantage of his powers, he is limited by his moral conduct. Lex Luthor provides a challenge to Superman because he lacks Superman’s ethical restrictions, and aims to “serve the greater good” regardless of sacrifice. “Hysteria” by Muse describes this concept in the highlighted verse:
“yeah it's holding me, morphing me
and forcing me to strive
to be endlessly cold within
and dreaming I'm alive”
Lex is willing to resort to whatever means are necessary to complete his goal; manipulation, persuasion, subterfuge, and even “Sabotage”, by the Beastie Boys.
I can’t help but jump back to my usual standing and to compare and contrast a Superman villain to a Lex Luthor villain. So I hear Beck play “Mutherfucker”, because it is what I would imagine Superman would say to a Lex that is trying to rally public support against him with his Socratic reasoning. The song however is unlike a standard Superman criticism of Lex in that it has Lex’s bitter tone towards his enemy. I think it fits because in a comic about “good” Lex and “bad” Superman, both sides should get their say. “Everyone's out to get you motherfucker” [repeat] is Lex Luthor’s attempt to alienate Clark from humanity.
Finally, I think the last song should differ in tone or genre a little more so than the rest of the playlist. “Lex Luthor, Man of Steel” shares one core element to the Superman/Lex Luthor mythos with every other depiction. Just like the yin and yang, Superman and Lex Luthor are intricately connected. Without Lex, Superman has nothing to save, just like without Superman, Lex has no need to do anything that would create a need for Superman to save someone. Black and White cannot exist without one another, the Jedi need the Sith, Harry needs Voldemort, and Batman needs the Joker. (What are we gonna do now that Heath Ledger’s dead!?) The ultimate goals of both forces of “good and evil” can be justified with rhetoric; who is “right” usually just depends on who gets to narrate. That, to me, was the moral of this story in which and old foe was presented as a new ally. The close to the playlist is a comment on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor.
I felt like my first attempt at visualizing the inner turmoil within Severus Snape ended up kind of lame. I think individually that each piece fit very well, but together all the parts looked messy. So, I went back to the drawing boards. This was not too hard, because I had about one thousand images that I had been considering for use on the first one, many of which I had already doctored. Now, the two elements of the collage that were most important to me were, ironically, the two elements that were commented on. The dual serpents represent several things. Snape was Slytherin, so that's obvious. However, dual serpents have always symbolized duality to me... so I reflected an image and then made them contrasting hues. The other element was the eye. Professor Anderson commented on how the eye seemed out of place, and visually he was absolutely right. The eye, however, is the whole point of Snape being a double agent, having dual and conflicting personalities, and ultimately leading a life of misery. It is also the eye (representing his love for Lily Evans) which ultimately leads him to salvation. The arches represent death, (such as in the fifth book) toward which, the path was laid before him by his one and only love.
This story left me with mixed feelings. Of course, I felt like Dee was a selfish prat who didn't really respect her family and was using them as the latest passing fad. She hadn't cared when the first house burned down, she never bothered to learn how to quilt with her aunt or grandmother, she denounced the ways of her family, and yet she felt entitled to the quilt which Maggie had herself made simply because of its historical value. I was positively thrilled when Mamma snatched it out of the meek hands of the younger sister who had always been taken advantage of, because there was no question in my mind that she was entitled to it! The more I thought about it, though, the more the title "everyday use" came to mind. Dee would probably hang it on the wall... and a fine conversation piece it would be! Pieces of cloth from the Civil War, my goodness how interesting that is! And Dee, she would snuggle up in it and ruin it until it was nothing more than tatters. As a historian, I am more inclined to side with the "Indiana Jones outlook" in that it should not belong in a private museum only for the admiration of a few, but that it should belong in a museum where it can be enjoyed by all, in the present and future. Dee's fascination with her background, a artificial as it may seem, is more conducive to preservation that involvement. Now the quilt itself means more to Maggie than it ever could to Dee, but therein lies my point. Maggie will remember the quilt because it will make her remember her family and her heritage directly, Dee will see it only as an artifact. The fact that Dee has missed out on the most important aspect of the concept of heritage in general (in my opinion family and love) makes her the loser in this situation, quilt or no. If, however, the most important aspect of the quilt is family, and holding on to that which has been lost by time (i.e. Grandma Dee and Aunt Dee) then Maggie will do this concept justice whether she keeps the quilt or not.
Now, I understand the aspect of sibling rivalry that comes into play. My own brother often (though my parents were far better about equality than it seems these girls' mother was) won out in inheriting the valued items that reminded us of our heritage. My Dad's sister is the same way, she always laid claim to the family heirlooms above my father, such as my Gramps' Grandfather Clock (which I am totally going to steal from my grandparents house when their time passes, before my aunt can, because those midnight chimes remind me of their home in Johnson City Tenn. far more than just a pretty antique). As far as this story goes, when the manipulated sister who gets overlooked because of the older sister's momentary desire, I get angry. I wanted Mamma to snatch the quilt away, and give it to Maggie, after all she helped make it. But Dee misses out on all that Maggie understands about heritage. It isn't about things, it's about love, and memories about associated with that love. When I think about this, I kind of want Dee to have the quilt for two reasons. 1.) Yes, I am a historian, and I want the artifact preserved to that the culture it represents will not die out as fast. Selfishly, I think Dee will take better care of it, and therefore this particular item will be able to mean something to Dee and Maggie's decedents as well, if it is not used to death. But more importantly, 2.) I feel that the whole purpose is to remember the love and the people who were associated with the quilt. Maggie, whether she snuggles with the quilt until it is tattered and destroyed or not, will have those memories forever. Dee, who shunned her lifestyle and ran from it, will never know what the quilt really meant. If the whole point of inheriting these items is to remember to people behind them, and how much love families have for one another, then Dee is the one ultimately loses. Even though she has shunned her past by changing her name, lifestyle, and everything else about her inherited persona nothing will change where she came from. If to honor the sanctity of family ties and love is the whole point of making quilts with elders, and using outdated heirlooms to make butter, then it seems like a sin against that very principle to exclude a member of your own family because they seem different. Dee will never know that which Maggie knows about family, and (past inequities regarding fair treatment between siblings) it seems that Dee has received an unfair understanding about what family is. In my opinion, Dee will never have what Maggie has, a true relationship with her family. If Maggie were to truly be "the bigger person" she would let Dee have the quilt, because she can never give her the memories (which are what matters). By doing so Maggie would be upholding the principles of family and love that the quilt represents, because she would be including Dee, in the most meager way that Dee has allowed for, as a member of the family. By letting Dee have the quilt, Maggie would be including Dee (though only slightly) into the family heritage which Dee so foolishly has alienated herself from.
This image is meant to represent the despised character of Severus Snape, from the Harry Potter series. I chose Snape because to me he represents inner turmoil, or the character's struggle, visually more so than any other character in fiction. [If you haven't read the Harry Potter novels, stop looking at this now, and don't return to this picture or explanation until you have done so!] Snape, Potions Master at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is led to be believed by readers to be a total (for lack of a better term) asshole throughout virtually the entire series. He is a reformed "bad guy", yet no one knows why he reformed, and it is only on the father figure of Albus Dumbledore's word that the community believes him to be truly reformed. As it turns out, as readers find in the final chapters of the final book, Snape turned from the Dark Side out of love for the main protagonist's mother immediately before her murder. No one, (especially the protagonist, Harry Potter) knows this, which allows Snape to act as a double agent between the "good" Dumbledore, and the "evil" Voldemort. Readers are kept in the dark about Snape's true allegiance until the end, owing to grown suspicions about his allegiance, and topped off by his murder of Dumbledore. So, everyone believes Snape to be bad after the 6th book (minus yours truly, who knew that Dumbledore's trust was virtual assurance), and therefore closed to the notion of his help. Snape, who grew up desperately in love with Lily Evans (Harry's mom), and with a strong hatred of James Potter (Harry's father) is tortured by Harry, to whom he has secretly sworn an oath of protection. Harry, who looks just like his father (except for his mother's eyes) represents all that Snape has lost. He is alone, and sad, doomed to a life of bitterness. The dual snakes at the bottom of the picture represent the masks he is obliged to show the world, the reformed teacher and the loyal servant of evil. These masks lie separated from his true self by s shroud of smoke, or haze, because no one has ever been quite sure of his true colors. The eye represents that which torments him, his lost love.... always on his mind, always at the forefront of his true self. Finally, the entire image is wreathed by a background of flames, which to me represent the pain of his everyday life. He is forced to hide himself from everyone, in order to protect the son of the woman he loved, as well as his arch-nemesis from school. Snape is constantly reminded that James Potter won that which Snape desired most, by Harry's resemblance to his father... However, Snape's reaction to the word "mudblood", his true loyalty towards the protection of Lily's son, and his dying request that Harry look him in the eyes suggest that though he may seem bitter and tormented, it is all for the sake of love.