When I first read Great Rock and Roll Pauses, I have to admit that similar to Drew, I thought that Lincoln adored these pauses maybe a little too much. After all, silence is nothing. What is there to focus on, right? However, after reflecting on it a little, I found that some of my favorite songs have pauses in them. A couple examples are A Day in the Life by the Beatles and Helter Skelter by the Beatles. In A Day in the Life, there are a few pauses, but in my opinion the most impactful one occurs right at the end.
An entire orchestra starts by playing its lowest note and then takes several bars to ascend to the very highest one. There is a brief pause when they reach the climax, and then one final piano chord concludes the song. It completely changes the tone of the ending. The pause shifts the song from an exhilirating finale to one that's calm and soothing. Similarly in life, pauses in action can completely change the dynamic of a situation.
In Helter Skelter, the song slowly fades out as the band continues to play. There is silence for a brief moment, and then the band fades back in, rocking out just like before. While there is a pause in the audio, the musicians never actually stop playing. In the non-musical world, at some times it may appear as if the world is at a standstill when in reality there is still a lot going on under the surface. I guess pauses do deserve more attention than they are often granted. The artists may not even intend it, but often times they carry a significance that goes beyond music.
Inspired by Allie Blake's "A Pause While We Stand on Our Deck."
Had I submitted a pause as my complete Blog post, it is likely that I would not have gotten complete credit. An important pause to me is a nothing pause to somebody else.
My musical ineptness makes me feel as though I would have sided with Drew in regards to Lincoln's thurough analysis of musical pauses. I simply would not have had the ear to understand them as he does.
I do, however, understand pauses in writing. Periods are pauses. Commas are pauses. Elipsis are pauses. I use them all the time. When Caroline read a portion of my narrative to the class on Firday a huge smile slid across my face. She made all of the right pauses. In that moment, I realized the significance of small rhetorical pauses to me. The pauses Caroline inserted were the ones that I had intended to be there. Without them, my story would not have felt the same. To other classmates, though, I'm sure it would have sounded the same no matter how it was read.
It is impossible for one pause to mean the same thing to everyone. Each of us decides which pauses are important, and which pauses we take the time to enjoy. . . pauses in music, pauses in game play, pauses in writing.
Not many things in the world today are left for us to interpret however we like pauses are eternally impossible to define universally.
I'm pretty upset that we're done reading A Visit from the Goon Squad. What a fantastic book. THere are so many things to discuss about the final chapter, but I just wanted to point what a great job Egan did in ending the book. A book like that is hard to conclude, since there isn't really one cohesive plot, but she tied up all the strings that should have been tied up. Firstly, it's awesome that the last story is from Alex's perspective. He's only a seemingly insignificant character in the first chapter, but the he ends the entire novel. Furthermore, he has connections to so many of the characters the we watched throughout the book, except Sasha, which is who he met first. I just thought that was interesting. I also found it interesting that the story ends with Bennie and Alex waiting for Sasha, and then realizing that she's no longer there, but a new girl is.
It's so strange to think about who those characters were and how they ended up. It's strange to see Sasha with a family. It's weird that Lulu isn't nine years old, and it's weird that Lou is probably dead. It's also weird that Bennie is on his second marriage with a much younger woman and a baby girl, even though he has a son who must be in his twenties, but what I found to be the most striking change was Scotty. He was the cool kid in high school, and look where he ended up. He was so lonely and isolated for so long, with really nothing going for him. It's great that in the end he was doing what he loved, but it's just strange watching his life play out.
What I found really striking about this chapter, even though maybe it's a little cliche, was that when Alex was pondering how different he his from his former self, Bennie just says, "You grew up. Just like the rest of us".
Reading the last chapter of this book really got me thinking about the future. Are all humans from the age of three really going to be expected to carry arounds "handsets"? Will we be as advanced as Lulu's broad knowledge? Will our modern English fade to a series of shorthands and messaging lingo?
It's honestly terrifying, the picture of the future that Egan has painted for us in the final chapter of "Goon Squad" I hate it. It"s a world of lost morals, and it seems no one has compassion for anything anymore. It's all just a bunch of artificial intelligence and monetary successes. Does anyone like Egan's idea of the future? Or does everyone just automatically hate it because it's different than the world we know and live in currently?
"Out of Body" has been one of my favorite stories in this novel mainly because it has left me so stumped. I originally thought it was super random, but then the connection with Sasha came through. The lasting impact of this story though has to do with Jennifer Egan's great creativity of voice here. Maybe the voice is Rob's conscience, like a Jimeny Cricket kind of thing. However, I was thinking the story doesn't really offer advice, and so it's more of a reflection on the past couple years of Rob's life. A particular part I found interesting was how different Rob was when he died, from when he first met Sasha. I also caught that Sasha called him Bobby. It was his nickname as a little kid, but Sasha and Rob knew everything about eachother all the way down to their deepest darkest secrects. They were their full 100% open honest selves with eachother (except that Rob never told the truth about being in love with Sasha, although I think she might have loved him too but was afraid of ruining what they had, just like how was Rob was afraid).
Continuing with this idea of Bobby being the true being, and Rob being the image he wants to uphold (grown up? cool? manly? punk?) maybe the voice is Bobby trying to find out how he got from being the shy football player Sasha first met, to the suicidal druggy that ends up drowing in the end. This it totally confusing but I kind of see it as a "Mr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" sort of thing. It's as though he is remembering and regretting the loss of his old self and in the end as Rob is dying, he is trying to have the Bobby part of him survive. Just like when Sasha came to the hospital and said,
"...you can't do that again," she said. "Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Do you promise me, Bobby?" "I promise." And you meant it. You wouldn't break a promise to Sasha.
So while Bobby meant with all his heart to shape up and survive for Sasha, Bobby wasn't the one to break the promise, it was Rob who wouldn't let Bobby keep the promise.
Not quite sure if this is cohesive, but it was something that caught my eye in my annotations and I had to fumble through it to see if it was worth pursuing.
My favorite charecter to follow in this entire novel has been Sasha. She is so interesting and exciting to me because she has been through so many different ways of living throughout her entire life and those experiences have shaped such a unique and strong person. These last two stories especially showed the hard times Sasha has come from, starting from such an early age. Her Uncle Teddy explained his summer living with Sasha and both of her biological parents and how dysfuntional their relationship had been, but it reminded me as myself and similar situations I had faced at such a young age especially when Ted explained how grown up Sasha seemed to be when he could tell that she was purposely ignoring the hectic situations happening in the house.
These rough home situations as a child did not play out well for Sasha orginally though because as most children do when they feel as though their parents have not lived up to the proper parental standards, she rebelled. But Sasha rebelled to an insane extent, running off to Asia with a drummer named Wade and traveling alone all the way to Naples is not a normal teenager's reaction to a complicated childhood. All of these mistakes and reckless living caught up to Sasha though when she came to college and tried to surround herself with people that she thought would keep her out of trouble, which is why she was attracted to Rob on their first day of freshmen orientation.
Sasha's hectic adolescense chastened her to be the responsible college student who would be dissapointed with her friends when they did E at clubs and were irresponsible, these lessons taught her to be a responsible student and person because she didn't want to dissapoint her parents who she was sure were watching her. These responsible decisions brought her to work under Bennie's wing and into her marriage with two children where she lived a responsible life that nobody would have expected of her if they had seen her in Naples.
Last night I read, "Good-bye, My Love." I really liked this chapter because it goes back to the first few chapters when Sasha started off stealing. In this this chapter it goes into the heart of why Sasha steal things and how did she first start. I just felt sad for Sahsa because her father ran out on her and the group of friends she hung out with were not right group of friends. The group of freinds she hung out with did all the bad things and soon those bad things started to influence Sasha. She first started stealing when she was thirteen. SHE WAS THIRTEEN! I was so amazed while i was reading this book because at a young age a girl could be influenced by society into doing bad things. She did not have a father figure to tell her that what she was doing was wrong. While I was reading this I was thinking to myself I know that she hung out with the wrong group of freinds and she did not have a father in her life. Then I asked myself Is she doing this because she thinks it looks cool? Maybe it is the image that she thinks society will accpet her by because it ;loks really cool to do.
I really like the character Ted in this book because he is on a quest to find out where Sasha had gone. she ran away from home and Ted, her uncle, went to find out where she was. ted was also there to vist a museum to study ancient greek history. When Ted found Sasha at first she seemed as if she was not happy to see him. He asked her ourt to lunch and seemed tenative to go with him. Then one night when Ted and Sasha were dancing in this club she excused herself amd then Ted noticed that his wallet was gone. SHE STOLE HER UNCLE'S WALLET. It shocked me that Sasha and her uncle were so close when she was younger and she stole from him. Later on she gave him his wallet back with everything in it. She was mad at him but later she let him in so they could talk about it. I feel like this chapter was really getting at society and if one grows up in society alone and with out authority then one can end up corrupt.
I think the idea of postmodernism is hard to understand because of all the complex views and ideas. When one starts to believe that they live in a postmoderism society then one cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is not real. I think it is an interesting idea that can altar ones mind to start adapting to the idea that everything that one thought was true is no longer true. A great example of postmodernism is this amazing but complex book A Vist From The Goon Squad which brings together all the complex ideas of postmodernism. The as a whole is a little challenging to understand but as one starts to understand a deeper meaning of postmodernism. This book challenges us to move our understanding from what we think is right and makes us start thinking that maybde what we think is right really is not right.
I have a confession to make. Although I have always tried to avoid celebrity obsession, I used to watch a significant amount of late night talk shows, Conan and Chelsea Lately in particular, on a regular basis. (I sometimes even recorded them and watched them later...) Now, a main reason I watched both of these shows is because I liked that Chelsea Lately features a lot of standup comedians, and Conan sometimes features cool bands, and Chelsea Lately in particular is directed at mocking celebrity culture - however, I knew that I could have been doing other, more worthwhile things with my time. Having watched many celebrity interviews on these shows, I became aware of a basic, disgusting formula, one that I was reminded of when I read the superb story "Kitty Jackson Opens Up About Love, Fame and Nixon!" In Jennifer Egan's novel A Visit From The Goon Squad: talk show hosts (the hour-long late night ones are all men, by the way) sit down with actors, most often young, white females, and they spend a creepily long amount of time complimenting these women on how amazing they look, before they ask them generic questions about their lives. First these actresses will express how grateful and honored and surprised they are by their fame and success, and how unreal it feels, and how lucky they are, and blah blah blah. The celebrities will attempt to sound unique and individual as they tell personal anecdotes that make them seem relatable and human, such as how they're also going to college (always prestegious ones), or how they're terrible drivers, etc. Then they'll promote their most recent film or tv show, and show a clip of a scene. All the while, the hosts pretend to sound surprised and interested, and I wonder how many more interviews these hosts can sit through before they pull their hair out, strand by strand. I guess it depends on the size of their paychecks. (hopefully Conan doesn't do this, his hair is beautiful.)
However, David Letterman's been doing late night shows for decades, and he's still as creepy and faux-surprised at celebrity anecdotes as ever, and he's still got a fair amount of hair on his head. But how is this possible? It's because of the same reasons that I used to watch a lot of late night talk shows, sometimes on DVR, and sometimes on YouTube, as a pathetic and unhealthy means of procrastination from homework and studying for finals (talk about a shame memory).
Only occasionally will I get genuinely excited about the actors being interviewed, such as Ellen Page, one of my few celebrity girl crushes, whose film work, while interesting and high quality, is far less important to me than her environmental activism. I don't care much for her late night show interviews, in which David Letterman apparently forgets that he's already spent several other interviews asking her about her childhood in Nova Scotia and her house that used to be a brothel, and so he repeats the same dialogue all over again, to an audience that hopefully hasn't watched as many late night interviews as I have. What draws me to her is her passion for environmental activism. I could listen to her talk for hours on Bill Maher about her efforts in bee preservation, and observe her apparently orange-tinted hands, which I found out about in the YouTube comments under basically all of her interviews, which she got from eating so many orange vegetables.
However, we don't get to hear about these things in late night talk show interviews or on standard celebrity news websites. Instead, we get tricked into thinking that we care bout the boring annecdotes and gratefulnes of these actresses and actors, young, beautiful, white ones in particular, such as Anne Hathaway, who, yes, is talented, beautiful, and seemingly very kind and polite. Some of them, such as Anne, admit to the ridiculousness of it all. George Lopez pointed out to her a few years ago in an episode of his now-cancelled talk show that hundreds of news stories were written about Anne's "geek-chic" style after one public outing in which she donned a pair of black rimmed hipster glasses. After she claimed that the glasses were worn purely out of necessity after her contacts broke, Anne criticized all the media attention, sarcastically saying "Libya-shmibya, I'm wearing spectacles!" This moment, while small, held for me a bit of hope - hey, here's one celebrity who understands. Maybe I can count on her for intelligent interviews? But I can't. In a later interview, on Chelsea Lately, she mentioned her vegetarianism, and I thought, oh, hey, maybe she'll talk about animal rights? But then she just complained about how all she'd been eating lately was "kale and dust" to fit into her "terrorizing" catsuit for The Dark Night Rises, and then did an interview with Allure magazine, in which she complained some more about how her extreme diet of hummus and radishes led to, wait for it, A PIMPLE!
I don't know if our culture's obsession with celebrity life will change. They mean different things for all of us. For many of us, it's not really about the celebrities themselves at all. For some, they're a temporary escape, a fantasy, a glimpse in to lives often much more glamorous than our own, a chance to pretend that we're not at home in our sweatshirts and fat pants, balancing chemical equations, making dinner for ungrateful husbands, or cleaning up baby spit-up, but on red carpets, receiving prestigious awards in tight, expensive dresses. For others, when we hear of bad celebrity behavior, it assures us, whether all that accurately or not, that we don't regret our decisions and our life choices, and that although we may have made mistakes, we're not as fucked up as those guys. I am proud that I have and continue to eliminate unhealthy and unimportant media sources, such as many websites and tv shows, from my life. Someday, hopefully, maybe, I can help or inspire someone else to do the same. But I will allow myself to watch an occasional episode of a late night talk show. And when I do, I'm reminded of Anne Hathaway, and I imagine her saying "Gaddafi-shmaddafi, I had that cat suit".
The song "Time To Pretend" by MGMT seems to really portray postmodernism well, and as I was listening to it, and reading the lyrics, I was shocked by how much it relates to both "Goon Squad" and the conversations we have in class. Look it up on YouTube if you can, I'll post the lyrics. It really captures the "What if all there is to do is pretend?" question posed by Mr. Heidkamp.
I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.
Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.
I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and f*** with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars.
This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.
Forget about our mothers and our friends
We're fated to pretend
We're fated to pretend
I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I'll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.
There's really nothing, nothing we can do
Love must be forgotten, life can always start up anew.
The models will have children, we'll get a divorce
We'll find some more models, everything must run it's course.
We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend
We're fated to pretend
Do you know why I love punk music so much? Why anyone who loves punk music, loves punk music so much? It's because its pure, it's simple, it's fast. It's loud, anyone can do it, and it's so blurred by distortion that you can't tell there's any mistakes?
You get these people asking you why anyone would like something so dirty, untalented, and extreme. And my answer to them is always that it makes you feel alive, and that you feel true to the music. Like nothing is disguised. It also makes you feel like you could hop up on the stage and do it right there with the Sex Pistols or the Clash.
I wanna relate this to post modernism through this, you know how when you were a kid you had these awesome dreams of what you were gonna be, it was always something extravagant like a astronaut, or a pro baseball player, a fireman, a musician. Let's face it, no 5 year old wants to grow up and work for a marketing firm. They wanna be a star. But as you grow up, you realize that not everyone can be a star, and that some people just end up in a marketing firm, or an accounting office, and while theres nothing wrong with it, punk gives these people the release they need, the release that lets them go back to those post modern idea's that 5 year olds have from watching all those TV and movies, that they can do anything, that they will do anything, because it will make them feel good, and feeling good is what it's all about.
I think a big part of both chapters "Ask me if I care" and "Safari" both play on the idea of innocence. As we discussed in class today, the reoccuring idea of the school uniforms and the younger sisters is a way to express that all of the charecters believe they are growing up. The younger sisters of Alice always seem so care free and completely innocent, while their lives unknowingly clash with the post-crazy punk rock nights that always seem to end at Alice's house. Rhea is very intrigued by the uniforms and I think it's because she isn't as ready to grow up and start her "adult life" as she thought she was.
In "Safari" innocence is played forth through Lou's son Rolph. Rolph is very naive and optomistic for an eleven year old boy and I love it. His sister Charlie explained at one point about how Lou and Mindy would have sex in the neighboring tent, but Rolph was too niave to be able to identify what the sound was. Also throughout the chapter, Rolph leans on his parents and even Mindy for a lot of things. Rolph's moods completely reflect his fathers, when he is angry, Rolph is angry and etc. He loves the materal feelings he gets from Mindy and mentions multiple times throughout the chapter old memories with his mom prior to the divorce, or how he wished his mom was on the trip in Africa as well. It's sad that the flash forward Charlie presents to us shows how Rolph's innocence completely diminishes.
Have you ever caught yourself drifting off into space? Remembering a time when you felt alive, or maybe even just had a memorable expierience? On the other hand you also remember the bad things, those moments where you messed something up, where you were hurt, where something horrible happened. You remember these things because you can't escape the past, but why is that? Scientists aren't completely sure why we have nostalgia for our younger days, but heavy nostalgia has been linked to depression/refusal to move on-which you can view in Bennie.
A picked a stale Cheerio off the bottom of my foot and followed Mason into his bedroom. "What do you want to do?" I asked, in between breaths. "Let's play in here", he decided. After two straight hours of running around the appartment, I was grateful for a stationary activity. He pointed to a plastic structure on a shelf. "Let's play farm." I held my breath for a moment before I forced myself to get up and grab the Little Tikes farm. He opened it up and pulled out a male farmer, two cows, a pig, a sheep, and a hen. As I watched him play, I plastered a smile on my face, one eerily similar to the plastic farmer's. No, no, no! I wanted to shout. This is't right! This isn't what farms today look like! He smiled up at me, and I melted at the sight of his soft, shiny, golden hair, his large brown eyes, his tiny teeth. "Dana, you be a cow," he said. "What sound does the cow make?" "Mooo!" I murmured. "Now make him run over here, across the field, to his friend." I bit my lip. He can't, I thought. He's in a cage.
When our class began studying logical fallacies, most students, myself included, declared that we began to see an abundance of them in our everyday lives. For me, this is even more true of Postmodernism. I feel that everywhere I look, reality is skewed or molded into something else, for a variety of purposes.
An example of Postmodernism is romantic comedies, which follow a basic formula of a couple who meets, falls in love, has a major fight or even breaks up, but in the end, always ends up together. I find these movies very boring and unimpressive. They also give people dangerous and unrelistic expectations about love. Facebook is another example of Postmodernism. Part of what I can't stand about Facebook is that it presents people with an altered reality of their "friends". It's ironic, because the main idea of these websites is to "stay more conencted", but on one's Facebook profile, one can choose which pictures of themselves they want their "friends" to see, what interests and facts about thewmselves they want other people to see, etc. So, really, one presents a filtered personality to their "friends", similar to a Photoshopped picture. But when I meet people, I like to slowly get to know their interests and interesting qualities, and love them for their beauty and their flaws, their accomplishments and their failures. However, I don't believe that media is inherently "bad", and that it is impossible to present a closely accurate representation of reality. For instance, a well made film that depicts a time that one did not live in, could potentially help a person better understand that time. I recently watched the incredibly powerful and uncomfortable movie The Master, which helped me better understand the post-WWII period, and the origins and spread of religious cults such as Scientology. I think that if one is careful, one can learn important infromation from select media sources. For instance, I have never been to a factory farm. I have never snuck into the factories of KFC or McDonalds. However, I trust highly credible sources, and do a ton of research before making conclusions. I know not to trust radical organizations such as Peta, but I do believe the words of authors such as Jonathon Safran Foer, who spent years sneaking into factories and doing research on factory farms.
As soon as I heard of Postmodernism, I was reminded of an issue that I have struggled with for a long time: I don't believe that it is right to view the past as this moral, realistic place where everyone had a better understanding of everything. I definitely believe that technology has severely hurt our grasp on reality. We seem to rely on television and the internet as a crutch for understanding ideas and places. However, I believe that in the past, people still did not always have great grasps on reality, and could have relied on other sources of media, such as newspapers and radios for their understanding of reality.
My encounter with Mason and the toy farm was difficult, partly because I am vegan and care deeply for animal rights, but more importantly because I was telling a lie. Yes, there are lies that we tell children all the time, that many agree are harmless, such as the existence of Santa Clause. But it doesn't seem right to create this false representation of our entire food production system, one that isn't even close to accurate, and more accurately resembles the 1950s. No, I'm not advocating that we fill the minds of small children with the world's injustices. I'm not suggesting that we should make toy factory farms with pigs in crates and hens in cages. I'm not that radical. I just believe in the idea that knowing the truth, even a painful truth, is better than staying in the dark. It's the only way that things will change for the better.
In class today, we came up with an extremely provacative statement that I understood as, "There are three truths to every reality. What we portray to the world, what we keep in our minds, and what we hide from even ourselves." This opens up a world of questions. Who are we? What is "real" and what isn't? How do we define "real"?
This picture seems to sum up how this topic makes me feel about the world. It has shattered everything I once thought I knew, including who or what I am. How do we define ourselves? Who are we and what are we actually keeping from ourselves?
I also think there has to be a state of mind where you no longer hide things from yourself anymore. Perhaps it is what we consider insanity or genius. Perhaps it is already in all of us. What do you think we keep from ourselves? Can others see it? If so, who is capable of doing so?
Oskar Schell is a very curious, intelligent, and sometimes rude young boy. He kind of reminds me of Stewie Griffin from "Family Guy". Although Stewie is only one, he is beyond smart for his age, just like Oskar. Both characters are very curious, and could tell you everything about anything. Stewie’s famous catchphrase is “What the Deuce?” Almost similar to Oskar’s “What The…?!”
One thing they also have in common is the order they love their parents. Both view the dad as the best parent. Stewie even goes as far as trying to kill his mom every episode. Although Oskar still loves his mom, she comes third in his list of people he loves, with his dad being first.
They both are also very rude and blunt. Sometimes their jokes and comments can come off a bit as racist or offensive. Some of them may be unintentional, but a lot of them are slightly aware of the offensiveness, but they both still insist they are not racist.