What stuck out to me most in this week’s podcast was the sentence: “There is leadership in simply surviving.” Both Bezio in the podcast and Danusha Veronica Goska in the reading discuss this idea. As the podcast talked about the importance of using leadership to push for change, this reminded me of the idea that individual’s survival can in-and-of itself be an act of resistance and a mechanism for change. I think this directly connects to the stories Goska shares from everyday life and their navigation of the world. Living in a world not designed with the needs of everyone in mind, that prioritizes the needs and wants of very specific groups such as white able-bodied men, means that any other individuals acts of survival act as resistance to the norms of the social system in place. Like the metaphor of the teacup Dr. Bezio used, the collective of the efforts of many individuals can be really powerful, so that one individual act of resistance is never truly alone, which while I don’t think will immediately solve all of the systemic issues our school/country/world faces, it definitely provides an opportunity for change and helps create a sense of community and support.
On the other hand, in both the podcast and Goska’s writing, the message that these efforts have to come from individuals, especially individuals who experience violence and oppression daily, is incredibly frustrating. I think the phrasing of survival as an act of resistance is incredibly powerful in our world, but it also should not have to be. Surviving should not be resistance.
I think these ideas: hope in collective action and frustration at the state of the world, can both exist at the same time, they can just be very conflicting. One quote from Tony Kushner in the reading the I appreciated was “Maintain the world by changing the world.” I think this is an example of both those ideas existing together at the same time, or surviving, pushing for changing, and leading, and disagreeing with the current state of the world. It’s a very simple statement, and the actual practice and implementation is far more complicated, but I appreciate how it makes both of these sentiments and stances possible, allowing them to coexist, and possibly even connect.
In both of the articles and the podcast, I noticed that while the discussion centered the role of music and songs, these were closely linked to the visuals attached to the music, making it about more than just the song itself. Tanish C. Fords article mentions how Beyonce coined the term “visual album.” While “This is America” is only one song, and each of the songs mentioned in the podcast are primarily individual songs, this term demonstrates how music moves beyond just audio to a greater sensory experience that provides even more context than the music alone. Even before music videos existed, the way Dr. Bezio discusses the prominence of jazz music in speak-easys—create a visual and then providing an example of the music—demonstrates how strongly tied music is to the experiences it references or spaces it exists in. This is particularly true about the relationship between music and protest.
The use of song as protest is something that I have always found particularly interesting, especially in relation to dance the discussion in both articles of how Beyonce and Childish Gambino incorporate dance in their music video to create an even more powerful message. Ladan Osman describes the beginning of the music video for “This is America” as “annihilating a root in black music. [Then] Moments later, Gambino slays the heart of a black optimism. And he keeps dancing, assuring us there’s no sanctuary.” Meanwhile, Tanisha C. Ford discusses how Beyonce’s performance of the “signature shoulder shrug choreography to “Run the World” on tour are an example of the image the Beyonce has created as she has developed her brand, moving away from working under her father to owning her own production company. Gambino’s use of dance further promotes the specific message of the music video surrounding the way racial violence has become normalized in American society, specifically related to the shooting in Charleston. Beyonce’s use of dance in her performance engages a broader message surrounding Beyonce’s overall image and identity as a black female artist. Both of these uses engage music and dance as a means of bringing a conscious and intentional message, which is crucial to any protest or movement, which I think is part of why music is such a powerful medium for protests and movements.
I read “The Yellow Wallpaper” in a class in my junior year of high school, so it was interesting to read again three years later, and I enjoyed getting to close read it again and see how my perspective has changed and what stands out to me now. One part of “The Yellow Wallpaper” that I found really interesting was the following quote as Gilman talks about the bedroom in the story: “If we had not used it, that blessed child would have! What a fortunate escape! Why, I wouldn’t have a child of mine, an impressionable little thing, live in such a room for worlds” (652). After learning about Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s postpartum, this context provides a powerful insight into her experience. In this quote, the woman shows that she cares for her child, as she would not have wanted the child to experience the wallpaper the way she is, however, at the same time, is very detached in how she speaks about her child. The context becomes important to close reading Gilman’s work.
This passage is a prime example of Dr. Bezio’s discussion of close reading, in particular Step 4 and looking at context. Much of the story has a universal context related to themes of first wave feminism and the treatment of women, specifically white women, in the early eighteenth century, and this piece is no exception. This quote provides some insight into the experience of postpartum depression, especially when it goes undiagnosed or even considered real. However, it also a very specific context related to Gilman’s personal experience. Knowing this context allows for a deeper understanding of the story and the role of external information in how close reading requires the reader to put together an array of signs, symbols, and words to create a narrative that requires complex thinking and interpretation. Context demonstrates how this element of postpartum depression is both applicable to a more universal experience of white women and mothers in the early 18t century, and to the unique and particular experience of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
One quote that stuck out to me in Harvey’s work was that “A theory of leadership is dependent on a theory of social organization” (214). I think this quote weaves into the messages of both Bezio’s reading and the podcast. All three center how leadership is influences by the social structure, cultural norms, and cultural shifts of a group. Leadership relies on the way a community or group already functions in order to have any form of followership—in order to appeal to anyone to become a follower, it must align with the pre-existing values of the group, or lean into the discontentment of a group and shift its cultural norms and social structure in way that the group agrees with.
This idea of the connection between leadership and followership through social organization and popular culture relates back to the idea of invisible leadership that we previously discussed. Without common beliefs goals and interests, any form of collective event, work, or following would not be possible, and therefore there would not be any following possible for any leadership structure, hierarchical or not. Leadership depends on the community’s unity and engagement. Bezio depicts a similar sentiment to what Harvey stated above: “put simply, through the practice of leadership, popular culture helps to both reinforce and question our understanding of who “we”—both as individuals and as members of a civilization—are and what we should strive to become or accomplish as citizens, leaders and followers” (Bezio 2). Popular culture impacts our community identity, and therefore our understanding of our social structure and who/what we want to follow. While we often dismiss popular culture, as mentioned in the podcast, its underlying messages can have profound impacts on our identity.
I think this also connects to what is happening on our campus right now. The collective values and desires of the UR community have been pushed to center stage by the work of the Black Student Coalition and the many other students supporting them, both now and before. Much of what we know about the racist histories of those whose names are on the buildings of our campus can be found online, but many of us likely first heard about them as stories through word of mouth. Both the recognizable and invisible leadership happening on campus has pushed for a shift in our social organization, our local popular culture (although this idea can also be applied to our larger scale popular culture in the United States in the past year), and as a result, our leadership.
I deeply appreciated this podcast’s discussion of Invisible Leadership. After learning about it last year, I have remained very interested in the concept. I think it tied in well with Dr. Bezio’s statement that leaders are not necessarily any different from other individuals in attributes. This two ideas seem to suggest that even the leaders that we see as prominent and well-known are actually a product of the invisible leadership of many different people or groups. This idea is reflected in Hayter’s work, discussing how the Black voter population of Richmond, VA organized and were able effectively outvote and oppose those attempting to suppress their right to vote. This was not a result of one or a few select, “special” leaders, but a collective effort by numerous individuals gathering and collaborating to unite under a common goal. This is not meant to minimize or diminish the work of those who initiated and primarily organized these efforts, but these individuals were still not the leaders who we remember most commonly from the Civil Rights Movements, such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks as Dr. Bezio mentions in the podcast, but rather leaders that helped guide other to all participate in this common goal under invisible leadership.
One thing I am curious about is the role of invisible leadership in determining who specifically become the face of a given movement. Dr. Bezio describes the reasons that both Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks became the public-facing leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. However, I am interested in understanding how those individuals were chosen. The podcast discusses how these individuals were chosen in part to appeal to white people, but how did these individuals come to the forefront of a movement fueled by invisible leadership? Did many people collectively agree to support these individuals, or were they chosen by a select number of individuals? This is one area of invisible leadership that I would like to better understand, because I think to an extent it relates to the power structures that exist in our society. Many of our common goals in society require collective effort and invisible leadership, however, in the United States, our focus tends to be on the actions of Congress people, the President, and other individuals in the highest positions of power. We seem to lose sight of the power invisible leadership in our communities throughout the country. How does invisible leadership connect, or potentially not connect, to the ways we select public-facing leaders and influencers in our society?
It was really interesting to learn about the evolution of media exposure, especially between radio and television. I had never heard about the divide that occurred about the debate between Kennedy and Nixon regarding those who watched the debate on television and those who listened on the radio. I’d be curious to know how this trend looked in relation to party lines, because I’d want to consider the impact of implicit bias, however, based on the podcast, it sounded like a division regardless of party, which shows how much our “lizard brain” makes judgements based on physical appearance, behaviors, and mannerisms. This reminds me of what Dr. Bezio was saying class on Monday about how humans’ brains and characteristics are not actually adapted to much of the society we live in, and so many of our instincts contradict what we consciously want to do in the systems we function within. While for survival purposes it makes sense to focus on behaviors and physical traits, this does not translate to our societal values, or to use a debate to determine our perspectives on two individuals.
One of the ads that I found most interesting of the 2016 Democratic campaign ads called barbershop. While it was clear the ad was trying to demonstrate that Hillary Clinton had a diverse group of supports, primarily depicting Black voters supporting Hillary, beyond that, that ad did not really seem to check any of the other categories on the survey we filled out for homework. I found it to stand out compared to the others as most of the other ads clearly were promoting multiple of the points on the survey. I’m not sure if this was to really emphasize this one component or if the add was made in response to a comment or something else, but it was interesting to see this ad focused on just one component of her campaign compared to the other “multi-tasking” ads.
I got very invested in this game very quickly. I played three times, and it took me a little while to get the hang of how i worked. I did not set myself up well to succeed because I misunderstand the allocation of hours, and left a large set of time as “idle” to allow for rest, not realizing that the 24 hours was a combined for both individuals, and not 24 hours in a day. As a result, the crop yield, food harvested, and water collected were not enough for the two individuals. While I made it through a few more seasons, this error ultimately led to their deaths. Over the next three rounds, I was able to keep them alive longer, however, as soon as there were three or more poor crop yields in a row, regardless of me buying fertilizer or high yield seeds, I ended up in debt and therefore unable to provide the necessary elements for the family, again resulting in their deaths. I got very attached to this family and the success of the community as a whole. While I was good at determining what limits would be beneficial for the community wood collection and fishing, I never made enough money to buy any infrastructure for the community. While this may be because I don’t have a strong understanding of what an appropriate tax rate is, I found it quite frustrating how expensive infrastructure is. Overall, I think in order to succeed, there is a lot that I would need to learn to successfully help my family and community survive, but I do think I learned from my failures, similar to what was discussed in Dorner. I frequently failed, but was able to quickly learn from my mistakes. However, there are likely many components that I failed to see that were more indirect problems that appeared as a result of solving others. Dorner claims that failure in such a scenario does not occur from one moment or one mistake, but happens gradually overtime. this was very apparent in how I could see my family and community deteriorate slowly, but not until it seemed a little too late to come back from effectively or sustainably.
On the podcast for today, two things that stuck out to me were the idea of the appeal of popularity and that music is one of the most effective ways to remember something, or make the audience for an ad remember something. These two things reminded me of an ad I watched for my movement improvisation class last semester, where two dancers freestyle for 5 minutes for a gap commercial. While there is also I shorter version I found that was more likely to be shown on television (I’ve attached the links for both), as someone who loves dance, the 5 minute video was captivating enough to make me watch the whole thing. Now I know not everyone had the same draw to dance, however, the skill of the dancers is effective depicted as they dance and wear Gap brand clothing, which appeals to the fantasy of skills or talents and subsequent popularity that we often assume to follow these traits. Additionally, the music used, particularly in the one minute version repeats the chorus of the song over and over, making it very catchy and likely to linger in your mind after watching the ad. The music choice itself also appeals to popular cultures and the desire to fit into our culture. While I really enjoy the ad, I also recognize that that is exactly the point of the ad, to present us with something that appeals to us, and then we link that with their product, just how this ad displays their logo at the very end, as the last thing we see in the video.
(The 5 minute version is the first video, the one minute video is the second)
This is currently one of the graphics or charts I find most interesting. I have seen it circulating again recently, a little over a year after it came out. The reason I find it so interesting and that it is one of my favorite charts right now is because of how inaccurate it has proved to be in the past year since the covid-19 pandemic began. It combined a visual map and a bar chart below, and details the level of preparation of some countries on the bar chart, with the map showing all territories and countries. This graphic does not explain the criteria used to determine a country’s preparedness for an epidemic or pandemic, however, just from a glance there are some potential trends visible in what countries were determined to be the most or the least prepared. Many of the countries who were deemed the most prepared are countries that are considered “developed” countries, and countries that are sometimes called “underdeveloped” were deemed the least prepared. This graphic also seems very euro-centric as to which countries were determined to be most prepared. Additionally, although the map attempts to show all territories and countries, only certain countries appear on the bar chart with a numerical value assigned to its preparedness. I think this graph is interesting because it reminds me to question both what factors were considered in making an evaluation, as well as what factors or biases might influences how and what parts of the data are presented in a chart or graphic.
One part of the podcast in particular that resonated with me regarding the impact of assumptions was the mention of the Opioid Crisis in relation to rural Tennessee. I grew up in rural Tennessee and very much saw the impact of this assumption both in my education and in healthcare practices. My mom works as a physical therapist, and when I was younger she worked in home health. While of course she never spoke about her patients due to confidentiality, I would hear about the places she had to drive in order to treat patients who had limited mobility to the point that they couldn’t leave their houses to go to therapy. Dr. Bezio’s discussion of how the crackdown on opiates and other medication limited access to those who genuinely needed it to function. Yet, even in rural Tennessee, where the negative impacts are so prominent and visible, the assumptions and stereotypes that come with them persist. In fifth grade, my school also introduced D.A.R.E, and most of what I remember of it is a police officer telling us horror stories about the influences of drugs. Of what I remember, many of these stories included lots of stereotyping, highlighting people in poverty and people of color as the primary groups who became addicted to drugs, and advising the students to avoid plastic bottles on the side of the road because they might have been used in meth labs or for other drugs.
The podcast’s discussion of the opioid crisis brought up these memories for me, and provided an example of how stereotypes and assumptions harm both those who are being stereotyped, and those who apply the stereotypes to others. Even within a region that, for the most part, have similar resources available regarding healthcare and education, and even experience the harm caused by certain stereotypes and assumptions, still carry these same assumptions as implicit biases. Despite the true impact of the opioid crisis on individuals who genuinely need access to these medications, others in the community still receive the same education that suggests a very different narrative surrounding drugs and the opioid crisis that perpetuates even more harm through racist stereotypes and assumptions related to socioeconomic statuses.