7 May 2012
In the End
Coming to CSUN last August was the start to my first year of college. I thought this class was going to be just another English class that I dreaded going to and did not get much out of. As a couple of weeks passed I realized that this wasn’t anything like a high school English class. This class gave you freedom to discus topics that we actually were interested in rather then having a professor give us a specific topic and specific guidelines. For the first time in my life I felt like I could actually write the way I wanted and not the way Jane Schaffer wanted me to write.
This semester was overall a great semester when it comes to 114B. I enjoyed that we did many different types of things to research and gain topics and ideas to write about. I feel like this class wasn’t even so much about how you write but what you write. The style of writing we used in this class helps us sound personal. In high school we were forced to write in a robotic manner and it seemed that everyone’s writings sounded the same. In this class we do not follow a specific guideline on how to write. I feel that this was what made us individuals. Because in reality writing is just expressing your thoughts, feeling, or speech but putting it on paper. Emotion and tone is so important when communicating with others and this is where I feel it is hard to write because when I talk I use a lot of tone and when writing you cannot hear tone, you can only interpret it.
We explored many different forms of research to get ideas to write about. We read books and articles, watched movies, and read/looked at graphic novels. Before this class I had never read a graphic novel. I read the graphic novel Persepolis and could not put it down, and this is
the first time I can actually say that I haven’t been able to put down a book. The graphic novel was right up my ally because I am a visual learner and I was able to follow along very well. Watching Gamer was a interesting movie. It could sort of be a spoof of what life is going to be like in the future. It was really easy to write on Gamer because of the crisis of identity it provides. Then, although we were not required to, I watched the BBC documentaries on Iran and the West. Watching this documentary really changed my views on the United States’ stance in the middle east. It also taught me that I need to look at outside sources and sources from both sides of a specific conflict. If you look at source such as the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) which is a neutral source between Iran and the US you see why both parties did what they did and not just a one sided story.
This year in English 114 has been great! I am so happy I now love a class that I expected to hate. Professor Dinsmore had done a great job of instructing the class and giving us valuable productive criticism on how to make our papers stronger. The course has really showed me how to make a good creative paper with strong points and proof.
9 May 2012
A Good Life?
Identity is not only the single hardest question that one attempts to find out about themselves, but it was a very interesting topic of discussion within our class. By learning about the theme of identity we watched the bazar movie Gamer. Gamer took place in the future of present time and was based upon the idea of being able to rent out ones mind and functions of life to another human who would control them. There were three main groups within the movie: the players who would rent people to play them, the free people who would rent themselves to be played and used in “Society”, and the death row inmates who would be played in the game Slayer. There was quite a significant class structure formed between these two groups; in which way you may be able to sort of compare to todays class structure. What one may also notice what is quite interesting is how no one person is acting as themselves. Nearly everybody is not expressing themselves in either a physical or mental sense because everyone is either being played or playing someone else.
I will explain how the world of Gamer works to help further clarify everyone. The players can rent someone’s mind and functions for a specific dollar cost. There are two groups of people who can be played. There are the prisoners as well as people in the free world can be played. Prisoners are played and will get a reduced sentence or will be released if the survive through the game named Slayer where the prisoners are played by players. The prisoners can
actually be killed in the combat scenario game that Slayer is. The free citizens who can be played are played in a game called “Society.” It is a game that seem to be much like a big rave and orgy.
They are basically whoring themselves out for other people to play as them. It is almost as if all of real life has turned into one big virtually reality role playing game.
The class structure within gamer is quite interesting. The players in their world are looked at as the upper-class, they are the ones with the money to be able to afford to play the costly game. The “Actors”, or the ones being played, are looked down upon quite a bit. There is a stereotype that they cannot do what the players can do. For example when Kable’s wife Angie goes into the child services office to apply to get her daughter back from foster parents the department agent told her that she probably was not fit to be a mother or capable of taking of her child since she was a “Actor” in “Society.” But this can somewhat be related to todays world if a prostitute try to get her child back from Child Protective Services. The prostitutes claim most likely would not go over that well. Although it is a bit different in the day and age of Gamer because this act of prostitution by the Actors is completely legal where as today prostitution is illegal and look down upon. The comparison of these claims is a bit exaggerated but there are very big similarities between the two. Then that leads us to the prisoners, which are obviously have a even lower status then that of the Actors. The prisoners sort of face a double whamming of being prisoners and actors. In todays life there is nothing that you can relate these types of prisoners too. Possibly you can compare them to the prisoners of todays age that work while serving their sentence in jail. The prisoners work for about $0.50 a hour, the state minimum wage rate it $8.00. That is sixteen times more then that paid by the prisoners. The pay rate that they work for can almost be comparable to what the prisoners in Gamer go through.
The players are definitely look up at in the movie, they are the masters and the leaders, but there is a class within the players as well. The kid who was playing Kable was a very rich boy living in a huge technologically advanced mansion while the guy who was playing Angie was a fat, smelly, and ugly man with huge sausage fingers who lived in a dark poor looking apartment. While Angie who is portrayed as to be not as fit as the sausage fingered man it appears that she has a nicer place and she has more composure then he does. Now this is where the class structure does not really make sense compared to todays world. The kid could be compared to the spoiled child of a important CEO while the fat man could be compared to that of a trust fund baby who has no skills in life. Looking at the situation within the eyes of today world the fat man should be in a lower class but he is thought of as upper class just because he is not the one who is being played.
In gamer no one acts as themselves as an individual. People either express their mental personality in someone else’s physical body or they express they are being used as a physical puppet for someone else’s personality. Everyone is portraying someone else’s identity in either the physical or mental sense. Instead of people trying to find their own identity within themselves they hire actors to be who they really want to be. This is a big difference between today’s life and the life portrayed in the future through gamer because you have to express who you are through your body in the present day. The struggle in gamer to find your identity is near impossible in Gamer compared to the difficulties it is hard to find today.
Who really has the better so called life though? The Fat man in isolation or Annie who is controlled by him as her day job. Both seem to have a poor quality of life but I think I would actually rather be the lower class girl being used, even though she does not live her specific life
all the time she does live in a world outside of a dark living room. No one wants to live either life, it is sad that it appears that in Gamer you cannot portray your own self. And that is why at
the end of the movie when the game system is shut down everyone feels better in a ironic sort of way.
Looking into the future seems scary if you look at from the way Gamer portrays it. There is a lack of identity within people today because of the judgment of our culture but it seems like games such as “Society” and “Slayer” in Gamer would make things much more complicated then they already are today. The social classes are quite apparent when watching gamer but are not justifiable in the lifestyle of those in Gamer. Everyone needs to learn to be themselves and portray life through their eyes, hands, and thoughts rather then anyone else whether it is in this lifetime of the future.
5 May 2012
The Domain of One’s Identity
Todays overly vast and complicated world is filled with bodies of people and those peoples identities. The nature of one’s self is to find an environment that suites their lifestyle, customs, beliefs, personalities, and so on. We are born and raised in a specific environment that is different from other environments. Most of us grow up here and form our lives around where we live because we know it is conferrable to do so here. But just as some species of animals do, some of us will migrate to other environments to find a space that suites their lifestyle better. But is there necessarily a place for everyone in this complex world filled with complex humans? Sadly, there isn’t a place for all of us. A few groups of people to mention that have these difficulties are returning soldiers from the Vietnam war, people with western customs living in some strict places of the Middle East, and Middle Eastern Americans. There are plenty of spaces on this world for one to live but not necessarily for one to be happy of live their desired lifestyle.
In 1965 US marine troops landed on China Beach in Vietnam and this the first US to Vietnamese combat that had taken place in the Vietnam war(When). In response to the war the US held a draft where thousands of young men we forced to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. This started a complex problem of space and identity for those young American draftees. Most of the men obviously didn’t want to be fighting in this war and had to change their identities from regular men to practically fierce killers. They had to change their identity’s in order to survive.
Not that they wanted to do this but they were forced to, “Many of us were drafted into the Army against our will – nearly all of us are kept in its grasp against our will – all in order to carry out this illegal, immoral, and unjust war. We are forced to fight and die in a war we did not create and in which we don’t believe.”(Walpole). The men were not happy fighting this war. They were so frustrated they started doing unjust acts.
Such as the case in 1968 where Jamie Henry murdered 19 Vietnamese civilians, “He reported that he had rounded up 19 civilians, and wanted to know what to do with them. Henry later recalled the company commander's response: Kill anything that moves. Henry stepped outside the hut and saw a small crowd of women and children. Then the shooting began. Moments later, the 19 villagers lay dead or dying”(Turse). Henry’s murder isn’t completely unjust, the space he was in forced him to be a murderer.
Once the war was over and the US sent it’s troops home they were not treated well by the public. Many people were quite angry about the war and took their anger out on the returning soldiers even though it wasn’t the soldiers choice to fight. It was American diplomacy that forced them to fight. This is another example of people not being able to find a space that is appropriate for them to live in. In this case the soldiers didn’t want to be on the battle field and were not happy in the hostile space, and they had to adapt to that space which makes an person uneasy when they are forced to adapt. Then when they came home, the very place they would like to be, to be reunited with friends, family, and loved ones they are bashed and harassed by protesters, “the strong passions ignited by anti-war activists, “Because of the wide spread opposition to the war, and the strong passions ignited by anti-war activists, our veterans were grossly mistreated when they returned home.(Bryan)” Their home has now been filled with fellow countrymen who
despise them for being forced to serve their country. People often get confused that just because you don’t support a war doesn’t mean you have to also not support the troops. This is a perfect example of people who are unable to find a place to live or be that satisfies themselves for their life.
The Middle East has had a history of being the most unstable region of the world. The Middle East contains land that is sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The worlds demand on oil has also added tension in this already tense region(Percy). Many people who live in the Middle East are unhappy with the strict ways of their governments. The minority of the people who live in the Middle East who want to act as westerners are in danger of doing so because they are in danger of being beaten, imprisoned, or even executed(Satrapi). A lot of these people migrate to places that are more excepting to their identities. They move to places such as America and Europe. Just like Marjane did in the book Persepolis(Satrapi). Margie was harassed by her government for having the identity of an American while her home country of Iran was fighting against the Western Influences that the United States was putting upon Iranians. When it came time, Margie’s parents sent her off to boarding school in Europe. But although these people were the exact people she dreamed of becoming like she struggled to find friends. She could not make friends easily because no one accepted her because of her background and where she came from. Most of the Europeans she was with thought of her as a terrorist or an evil person just because of where she came from. All of these people judged her based on the country that she came from rather than the person she actually was. She was both rejected by the people of her own county and the people of the place she dreamed of living. Margie was unsuccessful at this time of her life finding a space that matched her identity.
Although this is really sad we need to tackle the issue at hand. Many people of Middle Eastern descent who live in America are persecuted and harassed from time to time for just being who they were born. They may look different than the stereotyped white American family but underneath their skin most of them are no different than any other American person or family. My best friend is named Nibal and his father are from Lebanon(Elias). Nibal told me that out of the last five times his Dad has flown back to Lebanon his father has been pulled aside and checked by security. The TSA (travel security administration) officers claim that this is only a random check but I believe that their claim is a lie. My father, a “normal” looking white man, travels quite frequently for his business and he has never been pulled aside and had one of these random inspections. Americans are scared of people of middle eastern descent, although these people they are scared of may be just as American and patriotic as they are. The fears that people face most likely come from the acts of terror that took place on 9/11. This is why it is common for Middle Eastern Americans to be stereotyped or feared to be terrorists. This is far from the truth because most of these Middle Eastern Americans are good and hard working people. The airport seems to be quite a difficult space for middle easterners to be conferrable in when everyone wonders if they are going to be the one who blows of the plane they are on.
Most of us whether we believe it or not look at people’s appearance instead of looking at their identities. The space in which we view these people determines how we look at these people. Unfortunately many people cannot find a place in this world that is right for them. The examples that I have shown are just a few of many groups of people who cannot live the way they wish just because the people in the space they try to live reject their identities. Everyone in this world deserves to live in peace, in a place where he or she does not have to worry about
changing themselves just so that they can be accepted and not looked down upon by the others around them. From the troops sent to Vietnam, Margie who explored Europe, and the Americans of Middle eastern dissent they all have in common the lack of a space to be accepting of their identities weather they were born with that identity of not.
29 April 2012
Turse, Nick, et al. Civilian Killings Went Unpunished. Los Angels Times, 2006. Web. 27 April 2012
When did the Vietnam War start and end? Wiki.Answers, 2012. Web. 27 April 2012
Percy, Norma, et al. BBC Documentary: Iran and the West. Iran Press Watch, 2009. Web Film. 26 April 2012
Elias, Nibal. Personal Interview. 28 April 2012
Strapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003. Print.
Walpole, Andy. This War is Not Our War. ARNet, 2011, Web, 10 May 2012
Bryan. Vietnam Veterans Facts. Military Money Maters, 2012, 10 May 2012