Sunday, April 29, 2012

My post modern family experience

I can’t help but think of what a post modern world really means in life or in my life in particular. The modern interpretation of my life was the life I had with my live in girl friend and our son. At the age of two we split and I have been existing in a post modern world since - much to my detriment. WHile I like the freedom which comes with being single - I miss the modern feel that our relationship gave me. Now, I exist in a personal new world order where  things not only feel different but actually are so. I pay my bills now. Before, I was the bread winner but she paid our bills. Now I find myself in school, working and paying my own bills, cooking my own meals and spending the majority of my week alone. The nuclear family which I was accustomed to is gone and a new type of family exists in it’s place - representing a new world order. My son lives with his mother for the majority of the week. He learns at school. I have little to no say in his daily life and deal with his temper tantrums on the weekends. I do not blame him. I blame myself and his mother for being unwilling or unable to work through our problems. Now, she is dating a Harley Davidson riding, double timing piece of trash. that too is a new world order of a sorts. My son has contact with this pot smoking, philandering, uneducated ape and that about just sets me off. I wish for my son to have a role model in his life who is not biker trash. I hope that my son will surpass me in every way, in particular I hope he transcends my inability to tolerate trashy people. He will grow up in  a new world order home - much like I did. It was my hope to avert such a fate for him as I know first hand what such a childhood brings. I grew up with my mother and step-father who was a very interesting person. He would preach one thing and do another. The contradiction was difficult to understand.

New world order relationships are nothing new. They are less frowned upon in our new world order world. It is better accepted to be alone in a relationship. I suppose that I long for the days f the old world  when it comes to relationships. I long for the nuclear family. Perhaps it is such a strong feeling due to the fact that I myself was deprived of it as a child. Perhaps I still love the mother of my child. One thing is certain - new world order relationships make for a stronger individual because you are often on your own.  Perhaps I speak only for myself. Many men say to hell with their women and move on. I regret to say that I am unable to do so. I have not found a way to move on from my hopes of returning to a nuclear family. Sad, I know.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Transition to post modern journalism

Mike Wallace passed away at nearly a week ago. He was a pioneer in the news interview business. He was arrogant, egomaniacal, aggressive, intelligent, assertive, and didn’t take no for an answer during his interviews. I bring Mike Wallace up because he represents a post modernist approach to the telling of the news. Wallace pioneered 60 Minutes in the nineteen sixties and it continues even today. Why is he post modernist? It is not really his doing. The fault lies within a predecessor’s actions - Edward R. Morrow. Morrow broke with the tradition of telling the news when he challenged the junior Senator from Wisconsin - Joe McCarthy. McCarthy accused many American of being communist infiltrators into the American government. This destroyed lives. Families. To even be accused of being a communist left a stigma which even the highest economic level of American in ruins. Murrow took the opportunity to break away from his colleagues and used his show to publicly challenge McCarthy and his accusations. Before this action, the news served as served solely as a reporting function for our society. Murrow’s challenge of McCarthy was the breaking moment where the news agencies transcended into the post modernist era of journalism. You have only to look at the current news agencies to find whether this has become the truth. Granted, there is still Frontline and other sorts of agencies conducting news in a reporter style fashion. However, Ted Koppel is a prime example of Murrow’s legacy. Nightline which Koppel helmed for over two decades was a forum used to interview people of the day. Mike Brown - the head of F.E.M.A. was considered a punching bag by pundits including Brian WIlliams of N.B.C. news. Brown didn’t have a reasonable answer as to why FEMA responded so poorly during the events directly after Hurricane Katrina passed through the gulf region. Koppel went to work. Relentless questions. Not taking “no” or “I don’t know” for a answer propelled the fact that Mike Brown was incompetent and more important - a crony in the Bush administration. Brown was subsequently “replaced.”

Was the transition a bad one? Interesting question. Yes and no. Is the news being told? Yes. However, It is being told from a subjective perspective. Fox News is the conservative view. MSNBC is the liberal view. Pundits have made a career out of stating their opinion (some of which lack quality and or education - see Tea Party). The news has become entertainment - with corporate sponsors. They still tell the truth but more than likely refrain from doing in depth stories of said sponsors due to the obvious conflict of interest.

Mike Wallace was the poster boy for this idea. He did tell the news through interviews. He also made himself part of the story with his candor and temper. In the modern age of  journalism - broadcasters would speak into a micro phone and relay facts to the public. Things have changed to the point where the news can be interpreted on the air by pundits with differing prospectives. You only need to watch to understand this process. It occurs daily. Murrow and Wallace were pioneers. They told the news, then became part of the news. That is the where the transition to post modernist journalism occurred. Was it a good one? Yes, and no.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Moment of pause...

Oh what shall I discuss today? Perhaps the fact that I watched Annie Hall last night is why I am flustered. Perhaps it is the fact that there was a scene where an adult school teacher was called out for being a ego centric fool who feels that he is master of his micro cosmic universe from which he rarely deviates. Perhaps it is the fact that I am irritated with the fact that there is no clear thesis in this class. Perhaps I am irritated with the fact that terms are rarely defined in this class. Terms are introduced and students are asked to define them. This classroom situation could be likened to an episode of the Twilight Zone. I find myself waiting for Rod Serling to appear and tell me that I have been partaking in an episode where the students run the class and the Teacher asks questions in a buffoon like manner. There are no clear answers. Only questions. No defined parameters. Only loose stated interpretations. “Don’t worry about sticking to the primary text. Show me that you understand the theories.” Then when papers are turned in - another perspective rears its ugly head. “This is not what I wanted.”  Of course it is not what you wanted. You don’t know what you want. That much seems clear. Perhaps the truth can be found in the works of Derrida? Maybe truth is so relative that nothing actually matters? Right? This is the theory which you introduced to the class, right? Maybe a student were to take this idea and approach his midterm with this perspective? Or maybe, they gave enough thought to the midterm to think outside the box Yes, Jerry Maguire does not work in a factory. I get it. You made a great point. But he does package deals. He does work his clients like a factory machine with the same bull shit and smile with slight variations as needed for each. Correlations could be made in the factory using Jerry as a prime example. I was thinking outside the box. Practice it sometime. It is nice. And another thing. Why do you think that only five to six people actually participate in the class? The rest of the class is silent. Waiting for the class to end. Hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second. What does that say about the class itself? Is it interested in the material provided? Does the teacher share the material in a clear and concise manner? I do not have the slightest clue. Perhaps this should be explored before the next semester starts? Just a thought.
Perhaps you feel that you are being disrespected with this blog? Maybe those thoughts are justified. But no more than the disrespect I felt when you accused me and another student of being high in your class. Why? Because I laugh in class? Because I am a jovial person? Are you that suspicious of another person’s happiness that you feel the need to accuse them of such an outlandish act? I am a father. For that reason alone, I do not do drugs. I am explaining myself not for your information but because you took it upon yourself to attack my integrity. I allowed this to go as I understand that bringing a dean into the situation would have been stupid and could have caused you to be reprimanded. I chalked it up to you having a bad moment. But then you wrote on my mid term exam “have you written a paper before?” That is the second time I feel that you have singled me out to make what I deem a personal attack. I didn’t ask for a take home exam. You changed the rules the day of the exam. Were I in class - I would not be able to use citations. Granted, I could have used citations. I chose not to do so for the afore mentioned reason. Is that a justifiable reason on my part, probably not. But I don’t even what I have earned in this class so in a post structuralist sense - it doesn’t matter.
 Not very cool. Respect is not given and maintained through reciprocation. Ask yourself, why is most of the class silent throughout the class? Have you actually asked your students if they understand what you are teaching ? I have. In short, attitude reflects leadership. So far, leadership is lacking. But like Derrida would say, truth is relative, right?
Citations will be available upon request, sir.

Monday, March 19, 2012


The discussion of Blake Edwards “10” is not a topic which I wish to join in due to the over saturation of the rest of the class’ interest and therefore I choose to discuss the topic of reading which you have assigned for this week’s required reading: The History of Sexuality.  From what I have gathered the three main factors in enforcing the evolution of sexuality have been cannon law, christian pastoral law and civil law. Each in it’s own way has defined what is reasonable or legal and what is not. Given the fact that we are discussing the evolution of sexuality it is a taboo subject to say the least even in 2012. Granted that there is an obvious difference between what is termed cannon law, christian pastoral law and civil law there is a similar correlation between them.  There are two major staples of the west when governing sexuality - the law of marriage and the order of desires. I think of present day thinkers on the subject and the first name which comes to my mind is Rick Santorum. The man clearly exemplifies this way of thinking. What is more frightening is his stance on homo sexuality. He discriminates against anyone who does not fit what he considers to be a norm - namely hetero sexually married couples. I must add that I am a Catholic man who finds his not mere inability but his desire to exclude a person from their rights based solely on their sexual preference is quite scary. I think one pundit put it into perspective - Rick Santorum, I keen mind for the thirteenth century. It should be noted that this way of thinking is by no means an act of originality on the part of Santorums.’ Quite the contrary - this has been in effect in either a direct or passive way since the inception of the bible. While I read the bible - I do not prescribe a literal translation into my life and take even greater care as to not prescribe upon an other person’s life for I find that it is highly offensive behavior. I suppose that Ron Paul was on to something when he stated that we should practice the golden rule found in that holy of holy books - do on to others as you would like to have done to you. Perhaps it is the act of sexuality itself which people like Santorum fear. Bill Maher refers to it as “pleasure fucking” - a sport which he refuses to do away with. It is not illeagal to have sex. It is frowned upon by cannon law and pastoral christian law and therefore becomes taboo. I do not seek to present answers but what if we as a society did away completely with marriage. No one can get married. We as a society seek to take this right away from homosexual people. perhaps it would be frowned upon to take a right away from a person when you face the same possible fate. Just a thought.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bond Presentation

This presentation has been a hoot to prepare for. I have selected James Bond’s progression through the decades and have selected a structuralist versus a post structuralist perspective to apply to the main four men who played Bond. Connery, Moore, Brosnan, and Craig. Our group met quite a few times in the weeks before class and had two meetings the weekend of our presentation. I was unable to make the two meetings due to work and my obligation to my son (sorry). I do think that we will have a great presentation Monday night. I chose several clips from the Connery era (Dr. No and You Only Live Twice) and a youtube documentary which depicts the evolution of the Cold War. 
For Roger Moore, I used the examples of Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Moonraker. The corresponding film footage chosen was Richard Roundtree’s Shaft, Smokey and the Bandit and Star Wars: A New Hope. Moore represents a structuralist Bond in a new era. It would be a post structuralist or post modernist era. Done to make money. A mimic of the times. 
Brosnan is a structuralist character stuck in a post structuralist world. He is constantly called a dinosaur by his peers and his enemies alike. there are several clips which I selected from the movie and it’s teaser trailer which depict this opinion. 
Craig is the post structuralist Bond trying to find his way in a post structuralist world. He is newly commissioned and trying to find his way int the world. He makes mistakes and is gaining his footing as a 007. that being said, I may want to change my clips that I selected. There are many many more examples of this transition. 
All in all, this group adventure has been a trying one at times. I struggle to work in groups and find that I do better alone. That is not to say that there is anyone in my group who is not doing a great job. I just like to go it alone. Granted, that is the maverick way and can lead to failure being placed on a single person as opposed to spreading it throughout the group but I just have an affinity for it. 
On a separate note, these blogs are frustrating at times. I find myself trying to find things to say. I can only discuss structuralism and post structuralism so much. I never thought of James Bond in this manner. I merely watched his movies to engage in a degree of escapism. This process of deconstructing James Bond has diminished by enjoyment of pure escapism. Thanks for that, by the way. While I recogonize that I am whining - there is some truth to this. I like the fact that I no longer look at things at face value but there is a sad truth to deconstructing an icon like this beloved one. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fordism in the film industry.

Fordism and Taylorism is the term which we're going to talk about today. I chose this topic because I mistakenly wrote about James Bond and orientalism and all that lovely stuff. I chose Fordism on Oscar weekend because I wish to discuss how the movie industry has changed into a new world order or disorder of you will indulge me. The original structure included the writers, editors, actors, and directors being under contract to the studio. This allowed for complete studio control which also was creative constraining. This changed in the nineteen seventies and more independent studios formed and changed the layout of the industry.  Most employees became independent contractors and only studio facilities were owned by the studios. This changed the layout of the industry where no one had a lifetime job and securing job security was y. increasingly. As these changes occurred most employees seeking work have had to attain more tools of the trade. Versatility has become more than a trend in the industry. It means you will get hired. Writer and director and actor etc. that is the new world order in the industry.

Writers are easier to hire if they can direct a project. Actors, writers and directors are even more easier to hire by the studios. Think of Robert Rodriguez. Th man writes, operates the camera, directs, edits and often scores the films he directs. He has bought his own equipment and needs little from the studio system. There is a degree of autonomy from the system that this has given to the artists. While there have been a few artists of this caliber who have been able to change the way the auteur has been percieved the majority have not prospered nearly as well. Many people in the industry became unemployed or underemployed. The animation field dried up quickly in the nine teen nineties. Many hand drawing artists were forced to find a new means of conducting animation. I met a middle aged man in the junior college I attended and he shared with me that he had been left behind when the old order was swept away. Computer animation had become the new outlet for the industry and he ad to retrain and learn new skills. In the meantime he was divorced by his wife, lost his children and procured a manuel labor job to make ends meet while attending school. I believe that technology has a place in our ever evolving society. However the human element is often swept away in the process. The old world order created stability for those looking for it. The new world does not have this stability. It feels like we are waiting for the next change in evolution and management of companies are hoping to for see the trend so that they can tap into it and make a greater profit off of it. It is not fair or right of this to occur but it seems to take the form of natural selection or survival of the fittest.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bond, James Bond.

Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale was written to make men in the United Kingdom feel better with themselves about the decline of their country’s power across the globe. The sun never sets on the British Empire. That is a phrase which was coined from their rule over the globe for centuries. And yet that ended with the end of World War two. Ian Flemying wrote this novel during the infancy of the Cold War where there was tension between the Soviet Union and The United States and yet there was a great deal of distrust and even dislike between the United States and Great Britain. 
"the central paradox of the classic Bond stories is that, although superficially devoted to the Anglo-American war against communism, they are full of contempt and resentment for America and Americans" - Christopher Hitchens
Why would Hitchens think this? Is it about the emergence of the United States as a world power - a power which Great Britain once held? There is some truth to this. Who really like to give up power? I have yet to meet a human being who has done so willingly. Look at our political system for an example. This leads to British Orientalism. A term which means Great Britian’s dominion over the Orient. Could Casino Royale have been a means to inspire British men to regain their mojo so to speak? I wonder. 
On a different topic. I think it is important to discuss the evolution of James Bond. It has been on my mind and I am wondering how my group which is presenting on Casino Royale will be able to do so. I would love to show his evolution from Sean COnnery to George Lazenby to Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton to Pierce Brosnan to the current James Bond - Daniel Craig. It is an interesting evolution. Each in his own way has mirrored society and met the needs of a particular society whether it be the United States or Great Britain.  
Sean Connery truly encapsulated the image of the British man on a conquest. It is said that he was called a panther when he entered the casting room. He killed without remorse as Bond and tossed women around as though they were accessories.
George Lazenby was around too short a time to judge as a Bond save for one thing. He had to live up to Connery’s image which was hard if not impossible to do. 
Roger Moore took the reigns and added a degree of farcical nature to the franchise. From his car chases which mirrored Smokey and the bandit’s to Moonraker which mirrored Star Wars. Moore brought a tongue and cheek appeal to the beloved character.
Timothy Dalton brought a degree of humanity to the franchise. Around the same time - Lethal Weapon was released which denotes that male characters can cry and have feelings of pain and loss which were typically reserved for female character in traditional circles.
Pierce Brosnan brought the faux sincerity that the nineteen nineties are known for. Fast cars, loose women, false sentiments and MTV to go around. On the exterior, he brought charm, class and sophistication. He was the best idea of Bond for the time. 
Daniel Craig is the current incarnation of Bond and is a man displaced from his time. He represents the Orientalism of the old guard yet lives in a world where Bond is a dinosaur - nearly extinct. This is why he works. If the British Empire were at the height of its power then there would be no need for him. He is the character which young British men aspire to. To make the Crown a world power again if you will. I don’t see that in their future but I am short sighted.