Monday, March 29, 2010
I'm currently watching The Office when Jim and Pam have their baby and it's quite distracting and very funny. I really should get up, take a shower, clean house, do some more homework but first blogging.
Things at school has been going really well. In Spanish I had a 96% at midterm, but then a couple students asked if I turned in our first quiz from our prior professor and I said no, so I turned it in and received an additional 10 bonus points! I am so excited as I really work hard in all my classes and of course am minoring in Spanish!
March 23 was my parents 20th anniversary. April 3 we are having a lunch at their house. It was Mandi's idea, and a brilliant one at that!
Saturday was Mandy's 30th birthday and party. It was a lot of fun! We went to Cowboy Up in Mendon. I've never been there before. We ate at the Smokehouse portion and then went into the bar. There were so many people there, couldn't believe it... and the line dancing was amazing.... I felt photogenic for once so that was nice and got some great pictures of David and myself.
Yesterday morning we had breakfast with my parents at Ryan's, then we went to Redamak's for dinner (with David, Debbie and Blythe). It was my first time at Redamak's and my friend, fellow student, Shariann waited on us. We relaxed last night and watched Old Dogs, Hachi and Time Traveler's Wife. Old Dogs was just okay, definitely corny at times and very few laughable moments. Hachi was the best of the night and I cried at least the entire last half. The devotion of the dog was amazing. The Time Traveler's Wife was a way better book than a movie. The movie was good and the actress playing Claire (who also played the lead in Notebook) is awesome. The movie was like a fast forward version of the movie, it wasn't terrible but I'd rather read the book. The book was by far better!
Well I'm off to write stuff down for my oral exam in Spanish tomorrow, then have Algebra today and the twins come home tonight!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I would say the easiest part of writing in English 101, for me, so far has been the Process Journal. I tend to think as if I'm writing a letter to my brother, or perhaps an e-mail to my sister; lamenting on the woes, trials and tribulations I've been through with each essay, and superbly thankful yet another assignment is behind me. I am a perfectionist by trait and expect it from myself as well as others. I become frustrated with the lackadaisical work of others.
This essay has been no different than the others in regards to the laughable what is supposed to be a second draft. I suppose that I must re-write and re-think a paper at least a million times to get it "just so." This essay was the same, although I found it even more difficult to begin as the reading was incredibly dry. I am an avid reader, by nature or birth, and enjoy reading for pleasure as well as knowledge. I really had to force myself to read Paul Goodman's essays. I would spend time heavily highlighting words and phrases that I did not understand. I respect the man from what I read about him on Wikipedia and other sites, however I strongly feel he would've reached many more people if he was just a tad less wordy. Of course he may think that would be a form of "selling out."
My first choice regarding his essays to write on was "Banning Cars from Manhattan." I really liked the essay until we were in class and I obviously had gleaned only what I wanted to from the essay. What fascinated me about the essay was the runaway thoughts of cities or burroughs like Manhattan, downtown Chicago and other densely populated cities without cars. It's a wonderful thing to imagine. I dread driving into Chicago; the horrendous traffic jammed along the highways and extremely aggressive, and in my opinion, dangerous, drivers. I contemplated how many more people would be alive on September 11, 2001, if emergency vehicles didn't have to concern themselves with traffic woes. But alas, I missed Paul Goodman's idea of creating Superblocks and creating individual authority in each. All I could think of after that was, "What a mess that would be!" We have too many people in power as of now; most of them corrupted, either by the money or the power.
I was quite stumped and discouraged with this essay. I asked my writing support to read the essay and maybe give me some ideas that would get the blood flowing and the fingers typing. No such luck. It was the weekend before first draft was due and I determinedly sat in front of my computer and wrote. My first draft was complete crap. Even the friends that I have had reading my drafts and suggesting changes thought so. My lovely boyfriend found an amazing website regarding actual 1940's history and I was delighted. It pushed me in the right direction.
Over Spring Break I took a break. It's well deserved and felt almost not right to work on school work on my Spring Break. I worked on the essay briefly Wednesday and it was Sunday before I really gave it the attention it deserves again. I have moved a couple paragraphs around, and around again; corrected grammatical errors found by myself and my crack reviewing team of wonderful friends, family and peers. I am very happy with what will be considered my "2nd Draft." It may take me hours upon hours to write a paper it may take others an hour or two to do, but we all have our processes and this is mine. I am comfortable with that. I really enjoy writing. I have always thought of myself as a quick-witted and funny conversationalist and I want that to come through in my writing.
In Paul Goodman's "The Chance for Popular Culture", he claims that culture and art are mass-produced and media-induced attractions, never quite filling and leaving people with an empty feeling inside which creates a desire for even more unfulfilling art. He suggests, "People are excessively hungry for feeling, for stimulation of torpid routine, for entertainment in boredom, for cathartic release of dammed-up emotional tensions etc." (Goodman). He writes of an endless cycle of attaining a sliver of enjoyment out of an "art" and then craving more as it does not fill the emptiness inside.
According to Paul Goodman, "An art-hungry public is not unfeeling; in fact the Americans are too vulnerable because of their passivity (and ignorance), so that small novelties effect crazes and fads" (Goodman). Fads are the absolute best. It's amazing how quickly they circle; I remember the 80's being, well the 80's; high heels and skinny jeans, big hair and flashy make-up, plaid shirts and leggings. I would grow frustrated with french-rolling my pants just right and trying to control my wayward hair and achieve full hair height with teasing. It's made its return in 2010 and I laugh out loud seeing kids looking just as I looked in my formative years. I look at the prior decade fondly and am decidedly thrilled to hear an 80's song I was desperately tired of after playing it until my cassette warped.
Paul Goodman also states that there is too much "art", and despite that, Americans are still hungry for more. I agree that art in most aspects is mass-produced. Magazines that tell us what to read, watch, do and look like spill-over racks at every grocery store. Radio stations play the popular songs over and over until it's burned into the audiences' brains. Movies with the same theme over-populate our theatres. Millions of dollars are spent at the theatres. Trailers shown in thirty-second increments become the biggest inducement to the American public to see the newest and best. Many times I have walked out at the end of a movie thinking I must have seen a thousand movies just like it. I now take that into consideration before I go to the theatres, routinely waiting for the DVD release.
Television with its reality shows, talk shows, Hollywood gossip news giving fifteen minutes of fame for people like the Octo-mom confirms Paul Goodman's statement, "he cannot fail to see that the stupid and preposterous are rewarded" (Goodman). It amazes me that people with no talent and no self-worth become famous and are on the same level next to hard-working and dedicated artists. Media-induced "news" of celebrity scandals, hook-ups and break-ups have created an obsessive fascination by many of the American public.
In this, the twenty-first century, the United States is overcome with excess. Anything can be found with the power of internet. The available opportunities can be overwhelming. With so much available to everyone, sometimes appreciation can be lost for simple as well as extravagant things. Many become contented with life and move along in that path never seeking outside of the realm of their comfort. And there are those who are daredevils, adrenaline rush junkies always looking for the next inspiration.
As I researched the era in which the essay was first published I became continually more puzzled as to the cause of Paul Goodman's dissatisfaction. I recognize names, famous television and radio shows, music, dances and movies. It looks to me that the 1940's may have been the start of the "greats." Movies like Casablanca and Fantasia were made; dances emerged such as the jitterbug, a lively toe-tapping dance; patriotism rang through America and pregnant women proudly showed off their protruded stomachs with drawings of "Kilroy was here" (Goodwin). Rhythm and blues were introduced with names that ring through to this decade such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. In the 1940s, radio was what television is to us today. It was a lifeline of the American public, broadcasting news, music and entertainment. Television became more popular after the war ended and by 1951, 17 million television sets had been sold (Goodwin).
The article's tone conveys an embittered Paul Goodman who seems to feel his good work is going to waste as no one appreciates it, other than a small following of like-minded folks. He apparently does not understand that while he may have his pleasures, others may not be of the same taste. I believe that everyone has their own taste. I don't think he's fair to the culture in passing judgment on everyone with his generalizations. There are always going to be "Stepford" wives or drones of some kind, followers and not leaders. However I do not agree that our chance of having culture is based on whether or not we agree with Paul Goodman.
In "The Radical Individualism of Paul Goodman", Richard Wall (referring to Paul Goodman) writes, "he was the prototypical starving artist, discouraged and marginalized, only just making ends meet with his poetry, his fiction and his essays." (Wall) Artists will always suffer for their work. Hence the cliché of the "suffering artist." Some artists will be lost in the shuffle while others will rise to fame as I scratch my head wondering if that's really supposed to be considered "art." How many times have you been in a museum trying to figure out what a painting is? The appreciation of true art; museums, places of interest, historical places, can sometimes lose its allure when instead a family can spend a week at a waterpark, amusement park or other larger-than-life attraction.
For an intellectual well-respected and renowned man in his circles I am surprised by Paul Goodman's generalizations in regards to culture and the arts. Intelligence includes the ability to see and appreciate that people have different tastes. I also think that he could have reached countless more people without being so abrasive and wordy. It is a more effective method of getting the point across directly and in a way people can understand. I attempted to read more of Paul Goodman's work and was as lost as I would be if I was blindfolded and dropped off in the middle of nowhere.
I think Paul Goodman was very narrow-minded and short-sighted. The essay shows a complete lack of appreciation for what America and the rest of the world was recovering from, viewing horrific war images and absorbing terrifying news for years. The entire world was sucked dry for most of the early 1940's from World War II. According to Sue Goodwin in American Culture History 1940-1949, "To show the raw emotions, art became more abstract, was chaotic and shocking in an attempt to maintain humanity in the face of insanity" (Goodwin). Paul Goodman made good points in regards to mass production art, but I feel most of the essay is about his angst of being a starving artist; a written lashing of the culture that did not heartily accept his work.
Goodman, Paul. "The Chance for Popular Culture." Essay (1949): 79-87.
Goodwin, Sue. Lone Star College - Kingwood. 9 7 1999. 3 3 2010 <http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade40.html>.
Wall, Richard. LewRockwell.com. 28 02 2003. 3 3 2010 <http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/wall10.html>.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The last couple weeks have been busy and fun ones. The last weekend of February David, the kids and I traveled to St. Joseph, MI and went to the Children's Museum. What a blast! The kids absolutely loved it and it was a fun day all around!
Saturday March 6 David and I went to BestBuy as I got a reward certificate for $65 and I bought Super Mario Bros. for the Wii as well as some ink and a battery charge pack for the Wii. David and I stayed up super late playing Super Mario Bros.... well super late for us, like 12:30 am..... It is a blast!!! We both suck at it, but it is still a great time!
We've been staying at Grizzly Bear Lodge in Starved Rock, Utica, IL since Sunday this week. It has been so much fun!! Tonight is the last night we are here... tomorrow morning we head for home and the twins are going to Scott and Jessica's through Monday when they will start their regular week with me. Blythe is going to stay at my mom's on Thursday while David and I travel to a surprise location for him!
These last couple days have been wonderful! Sunday evening we got here, unloaded and went into the waterpark and then over to Enchanted Forest, amusement park and rode a lot of rides such as the Tilt A Whirl and a carousel, a snake type child rollercoaster. Monday we went to the waterpark first thing in the morning and then hiked to three waterfalls in Starved Rock. We went to dinner in Peru, IL and came back for more waterpark/amusement park fun. Today (Tuesday) we waterparked in the morning after breakfast, then hiked to a couple more waterfalls, had a quick lunch/dinner in Ottawa, IL then came back for amusement park/waterpark.
My favorite memories of this trip will be the Lazy River races between David and Johnny and me and the girls; after hiking to the first waterfall which was kind of icy and have Gracie start chanting to herself "Stay calm, Gracie"; John dancing in Jalepenos (restaurant) during lunch; Blythe finally going on the Tilt A Whirl; Blythe keeping a journal of everything we did; all of us going on a rollercoaster that I normally wouldn't ride on; sleeping in til 9 am; spending quality time with David and my children.
I'm planning on coming back over Mother's Day weekend so that we can hike while all the waterfalls are flowing.... the kids really enjoyed walking through the forests, sandstone and jumping over creeks. I'm so very happy that we did this!
I'll post soon after David's surprise and definitely intend to be better about writing in this blog twice a week!