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Here’s the gist:

Warning: cussing ahead

There’s a lot of things on my mind at this time of year as I end a 13 year long trek and approach a much scarier yet hopefully fulfilling one (i.e: joining the corps and pursuing a degree in genetics and biochemistry at A&M), but I’ll try to sum all of these thoughts into one sentiment: stop being an asshole. I know I’m guilty of being one too so this isn’t me talking down to everyone reading this, but some people really need to listen.

While scrolling on facebook everyday, there’s a discomfortingly large number of family members, current consol students, and my fellow consol alumni  (wow, that’s the first time I’ve said that…weird) that share memes or post their own statuses that either 1) condone discrimination against women, LGBTQ people, people of other political parties, people of other races/ethnicities and people of religions other than Christianity or 2) condone violence against those people or 3) use some sort of bible quote to hypocritically justify their violence, bias, or discrimination towards these people. Although that’s distressing in itself, what is startling is that many of these people don’t even recognize that what they’re partaking in is downright nasty, ignorant, and often times, ironically unchristian; in fact, some think they’re doing a public service by informing people that they deserve to be deprived of rights or beaten up, or killed.

I’d love to sit here and write out a solution to each one of these forms of discrimination and/or harm, but that would take way too long. What I will do is say this: recognize your privilege and recognize the privileges or lack thereof of those around you. Recognize that not everybody is as blessed as you are. Recognize that each one of us deals with different problems in life and assuming that someone is lazy because they’re on welfare, or assuming they’re a child molester because they support transgender people choosing the right place for them to fucking urinate, or assuming that someone is a terrorist because they’re Muslim, or assuming that someone just doesn’t deserve the same human rights you do is unbelievably obtuse and alarmingly egotistical.

I know it’s not possible to change people’s minds about some things, but I hope that more people from Consol and more people from every walk of life choose to make the world a better place each and every day as they move on to college and new phases in life instead of indulging in behavior that only degrades our fellow humans. Help the old lady walk across the street; tip your waiter more than usually would; write a letter to someone that has changed your life; thank your parents/guardians; just do anything positive. If you were to die today, would you want to be remembered as the asshole kid who made life worse for others or would you want to be remembered as the kid who made the world a better place with each and every one of their actions? I know it’s cliché, but just keep it in mind. Just say no to assholery.

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English is (s)lacking.

The word that I think the English language needs but lacks is one that describes the feeling of being stressed out in efforts to please someone. For anybody who has ever been in a relationship or anybody who is very anxious (like me) and always worries about pleasing people, you’ll know the feeling I’m talking about. The word I propose is simple: plessed (pleasing+stressed). In the current English language, one can say that they’re stressed or that they’re pleasing or catering to someone, or that they’re stressed because they’re trying to please someone but that all takes too much work and too many words.

Example: Man, last week I was so plessed trying to figure out how to ask Kara to prom. I knew she would say yes no matter what but I couldn’t decide how to make her the happiest. Being plessed is pretty bittersweet.

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sorry.

Here’s the scene: You’re in a train station. A train arrives, but it’s not the one you’re waiting for. As you watch a few people come and go, you notice a strange scene in the last car of the train. Only two people are inside–a young man and an older woman. They appear to be having a very animated discussion. The young man is clutching a large box to his chest. The woman is wearing a bizarre hat and holding a large map, which she continues to turn this way and that

I see a young man and an old lady frantically discussing something in a train car. The year is 2056. Somehow, trains are still a well used mode of transportation. I walk up to the old man and ask who he is. Frantically, he responds “my name is Donald Trump. You better get out of here fast; something is wrong with this train car! Me and Hillary were told to walk into a room to take a photo of the republican and democratic nominees and all of a sudden we ended up as this young stud and old hag trapped in a train car! The only clue we have is this piece of paper that says ‘figure out a way to make America great again’.”

What the hell are they talking about? America hasn’t existed since Ted Cruz became president with Rick Perry as his vice president in 2016 and Rick accidentally told ISIS the US military plans. Who knew ISIS had atomic bombs lol? I’ve read papers about Donald Trump but he appears to be the complete opposite of what I’ve read. All the papers said he was a fascist, racist, orange, ugly man, but right now he looks kind of cute and he even warned me to keep out of the train. I mean, I guess maybe not all things have changed; he did bring a large box of money as his tool to make America great again. What’s that supposed to do?

Hillary Clinton kind of seems exactly how  I read she would be. She’s kind of old and she doesn’t totally seem to know what she’s doing. She keeps turning this way and that as if changing directions every three seconds and changing her mind would convince Donald that she actually knew what she was doing. They seem to be yelling at each other, but it’s not about politics as it was 40 years ago. Who knows what they’re thinking, yelling at each other. I think they might be on psychedelics. Well, there they go on their train. I’m confused.

 

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A Semester in Review

Check out some of my classmate’s blogs that I found interesting enough to comment on:

https://theoddhope.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/outlining-the-side-by-side-ap-monster/comment-page-1/#comment-78

They show how they would attack an AP comparative poetry prompt.

https://radiantandreceptive.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/women-in-hamlet/comment-page-1/#comment-50

They discuss the role of women in Hamlet.

https://eatpraycatz.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/jackson-pollock/comment-page-1/#comment-53

They discuss Jackson Pollock’s work.

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Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope.

-sigh-

big question: What are their particular situations? This is pretty much summed up by first line of each poem.

Devices: rhyme scheme, imagery, allusion, assonance

Organization: One body paragraph about the rhyme scheme/structure, one about imagery

Intro: talk about life

Thesis: Both authors use their poems to express their growing insecurity about growing older, and the associated consequences.

Body Paragraph 1: While both authors are attempting to prove the same point, each one uses slightly different methods. While Keats uses a regular ABAB rhyme scheme, Longfellow uses an irregular, unpredictable rhyme scheme. This shows how the speaker in Keat’s poem may have a more stable mentality than that of Longfellow’s.  (cite a few lines containing rhyme scheme from each poem)….blah blah blah….blah blah

Body Paragraph 2: While both authors seem to be in despair, neither are short of energy to describe their despair in the most extravagant of ways. While Keats uses less potent imagery (“Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain”), Longfellow uses more obvious imagery to describe his disdain ( “A city in the twilight dim and vast, With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,—And hear above me on the autumnal blast”)….blah blah blah…blah blah.

Conclusion: blah blah blah…imagery/structure good….authors sad….ta dah! Done.

 

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Hamletttttt (again)

Suicide is an important motif in Hamlet. We encounter the contemplation of suicide, and even the act itself (maybe). What does this play say about suicide?

 

I picked this question, not because it seems most central to my schema of Hamlet (although that does play part), but because I never even considered the Queen’s death a suicide until someone mentioned it during the panel discussions, and never considered Ophelia’s death not a suicide until we talked about it during the panel discussions. It’s kind of weird how different people can read the same exact text, and can vehemently argue against one another a completely different meaning to that same text.

While I really did consider the fact that the Queen’s death could be a suicide and that Ophelia’s death could have been an accident, I think that the play frames suicide as being a reward of sorts to those who deserve an escape. It’s more or less Shakespeare playing God and determining who seems the most innocent yet troubled to readers before giving the troubled character what would traditionally be considered a tragic death by suicide, but really ends up being a saving grace for them. Suicide isn’t always tragic, essentially.

The first instance of suicidal thoughts is actually pretty close to the beginning of the play, setting up suicide as a theme throughout the play. After Uncle-Daddy essentially tells Hamlet to get over his father’s death, Hamlet says “O, that this too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!” (I.ii.131-134). At this point in the play, we don’t know a whole lot about Hamlet but most readers kind of feel bad for him and understand his craving for suicide. His noble father has been killed; his uncle is marrying his mom not much after his father’s death and everything is seemingly falling apart. Shakespeare is setting up the notion of suicide as a more or less acceptable escape rewarded to those who are being imposed upon with troubles. The only thing stopping Hamlet is his faith, and most of us readers at this point are rooting for Hamlet at this point in the novel (which is a little weird because we were kind of cheering him on to commit suicide…?), although that is soon to change.

Not long after we start to feel bad for Hamlet, we start to see that maybe he’s a little creepier and demented that we initially anticipated. He starts rebelliously talking to ghosts and then Ophelia claims that Hamlet “took me by the wrist and held me hard; Then goes he to the length of all his arm, And, with his other hand thus o’er his brow, he falls to such perusal of my face As he would draw it. Long stay’d he so” (II.i.98-102). We then later see that Hamlet wants to frame the new King for his father’s death in a very convoluted way. Hamlet says that “I’ll have these players Play something like the murder of my father Before mine uncle. I”ll observe his looks; I’ll tent him to the quick. If he but blench, I know my course” (II.ii.575-579). He starts getting a little creepier and little less innocent with each line.

Again, Hamlet considers suicide, proclaiming “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (III.i.64), shortly before cutting off ties with Ophelia abruptly and pursuing his odd plan. I, at least, no longer felt bad for Hamlet anymore once reaching this point in the play and could not deem that he deserved a suicide to take away all his troubles, as he was creating more troubles left and right.

Ophelia, on the other hand, has a pretty sad life. She’s told what to do (and what not to do) constantly by her insane and nosey dad and dumb brother. She also thinks Hamlet is in love with her until one day he cuts all ties and acts like nut-job (whether that’s intentional or not is a different question so I won’t get into that). She literally has nothing to live for, even before her once lover kills her father. After some psychosis that was almost completely ignored after Polonius’ death because everybody was too busy worrying about dumb ol’ Hamlet, the Queen announces to Laertes that Ophelia drowned. The Queen says that “there is a willow grows aslant a brook, That shows his hoary leaves in the glassy stream. Therewith fantastic garlands did she make Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples that liberal shepherds give a grosser name, But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them. There on the pendant boughs her crownet weeds Clambering to hang, and envious sliver broke, When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up; Which time she chaunted snatches of old lauds, As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a creature native and indued Unto that element; but long it could not be Till her garments, heavy with their drink, Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodius lay To muddy death” (IV.vii.184-201). Yes, that was a really long quote but it proves my point: there’s a whole lot of speculation about her death and not a whole lot of facts. Regardless of whether we think it was an intentional suicide or one caused by her psychotic state, the notion of suicide being an escape for characters framed as most disadvantaged is furthered by Ophelia’s death.

Last but not least: the Queen. While some speculate that she did commit suicide by denying the King’s advice to not drink the poisoned cup, I really don’t think that it was intentional. She was just thirsty, and I see her action more of a feminist notion than anything by Shakespeare. If she did know it was poisoned and was drinking it intentionally in an effort to commit suicide, I don’t think she would have announced “No, no! the drink, the drink!—O my dear Hamlet!—The drink, the drink! I am poison’d” (V.ii.308-309). Not only does it not make logical sense for that to be an act of suicide, it also lines up with what my thoughts are on what the play says about suicide. The Queen isn’t really viewed as a selfless or disadvantaged or innocent character by most people. In fact, most readers I talked to thought she was pretty rotten for marrying her late husband’s brother so shortly after death. The idea that she didn’t commit suicide and that idea that she was a pretty rotten character reinforce the notion that suicide in this play is only reserved for the disadvantaged or innocent characters.

While one could argue that the Queen’s death was a suicide and that Ophelia’s death was not, it just doesn’t sit well with me to go with that. While it’s a little backwards to think that Shakespeare is saying that the most innocent and disadvantaged of characters deserve suicide, if you put yourself in their shoes, you’d probably want that too. This is a weird form of martyrdom on Shakespeare’s part, but it works well in Hamlet.

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Pollock.

Honestly, I don’t know a lot about Jackson Pollock but based off of my first impression, this painting–in a rather cathartic way–represents Pollock’s deeply rooted internal chaos. I suppose that’s what every one of his paintings represents in a way, given that they are all more or less in the same drip style and given that he had a very volatile personality fueled by alcohol and likely depression (thanks Wikipedia). Being someone that maybe doesn’t appreciate artwork like this as much as I probably should, I would imagine that his works such as this one, became so famous because they were able to capture the human experience in one large piece of canvas. This painting, much like life, is messy and dirty and sad and maybe a little bit ugly, but it’s perfect chaos. Everything is so messy that it all ends up fitting together in the best way possible. While the size of this painting is impressive, it doesn’t change what it represents for me; however, in person, I would probably end up focusing on a smaller chunk of the canvas because of it’s huge size and while I would probably still focus on this concept of perfect chaos, I would see it in a different light.

In a way, I think Nancy Sullivan and I are on the same page. I think what she’s saying through this poem is that works like this one by Pollock are cut and dry, but have the capability to mean something completely different to every person. There’s no BS with Pollock: what you see is what you see; what you think was going through Pollock’s head is what you think but there’s no telling what this painting means in the scope of the world, only in a personal scope. I feel like Sullivan really focuses on how disclosed Pollock’s work is. The “no name but a number” line, on top of the “no similes here” line on top of the “nothing but paint, such purity” notion all point to the same thing: don’t look to give this painting too much general meaning that’s not there. Don’t put ideas in other people’s heads about exactly what this painting must mean and don’t put words in Pollock’s mouth. The last two lines of Sullivan’s poem really enforce that notion of avoiding putting a definite meaning on an indefinite work; how could we know what this painting really means if we don’t know the reasoning behind it or what any single paint stroke means to Pollock?

Man, art is complicated.