I felt like this reading gave me an array of emotions to deal with. On one side, I appreciated the reflections of feeling emotionally “paralyzed” by all the negativity in the world. Especially this semester, I have lost the ability to be empathetic towards so many things. There has been so much violence, death and injustice in the world, and the university has done so so so little to support the communities that are suffering the most. I think the fact many POC communities had to protest for basic services from the university on a wellness day sums up the school’s support pretty well. Anywhooo, I feel as though this sensation of emotional apathy can also come from the perception one has over the work they are doing. A lot of the times, service is seen as an action that helps others, but more often than not, service is performative and helps make the provider “feel better” more than it helps the one receiving service. There is definitely a “pressure of virtue” in our society that makes people believe they have to help other people in order to be a good person. Although this can objectively be a good thing, it can also create a great deal of apathy, and even a false sense of accomplishment for doing the bare minimum for another human being.
The part of this essay I didn’t quite like, and I feel is very common in our society, is the rhetoric used throughout the essay. The author mentioned having a chronic illness and framed his idea of service around the small acts of kindness others would do for him that made his life a little bit easier. Instead of focusing on the fact that in one of the most highly developed countries in the world a man with a chronic illness was walking home over a mile in the snow, that “capitalistic” mentality makes us all go “wow what a resilient guy! Oh and his neighbor’s a saint for driving him home!” Maybe it’s just me, but my first reaction was “Uhh what? This man becomes literally paralyzed at random, and he doesn’t have some reliable form of transportation paid for by his insurance/ government??” Idk, just food for thought. I do not believe service should be interpreted as providing basic human needs that the state, or employers, should already be providing. I feel that maintaining this mentality only perpetuates this exploitation of the working class.
I really liked this weeks material and topic. I have never fully recognized the power of music, as I had always kind of viewed it as another form of speech. Oddly enough, I believed that singing was just a product of the written and spoken word- just another way for people to talk. When in reality, Bezio’s podcast and the works of both Beyonce and Childish Gambino both prove that songs have a unique capability of expressing ideas. In a lot of ways, it seems as though there are some messages that will carry the most weight as a song. I think about what is said in This is America, and if you look at the content of the song, it is no different than what Malcom X, MLK, and countless other civil rights activists have been saying for a long time. However, I guarantee you that for a lot of people, This is America is the first time they really recognized their own privilege and the systemic forms of racism that Black Americans have to experience every single day. There also seems to be a great irony in the fact that the US is not willing to acknowledge systemic racism as a whole, but This is America has over 770 MILLION views. If even HALF of those people demanded justice for the murder of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, or the countless other victims of police brutality, maybe their families/ communities would know justice.
In all honesty, I had to read the Yellow Wallpaper a few times to truly understand the meaning and how it related to our class. I was extremely confused by the wallpaper and the ways in which the main character was interacting with it. However, after reading over my notes and recalling conversations from previous classes, I determined the wallpaper to represent the oppressive nature of marriage and domesticity for women. In many ways, the house the woman was staying at can symbolize society as a whole for women. Windows are barred, and the main character is not allowed to access certain parts of the house when her husband says so. In many ways, that is exactly how it feels like to be a woman in society, especially ours. Yes, technically we are a part of this society, and so in a sense this “house” is as much ours as it is anyone else’s. However, women cannot go out late at night alone without risk of violence. Women cannot enter certain academic spaces without a myriad of backlash. Women are punished when they do not conform to the ideal set out by the patriarchy. I believe Gilman tried to personify this construct through the house. More specifically, the wallpaper represented the way the main character felt in her marriage. No matter where she would go, the smell and color would follow her, not allowing her to focus on her life, or heal from the illnesses she was suffering. No matter where women go, we are followed by the patriarchy and all its oppression in one way or another. Before anything else, we are women. For POC women, we are black/brown women. No matter where we go in our patriarchal society, the label of female walks in before we do.
I think it’s important to recognize the cultural context of the stories we read before trying to analyze them. The main character was living during a time of great female oppression, and I believe that, along with her mental illness, aided in my own interpretation of the story. Our culture influences the literary works we produce, and in a sense I do not believe that Gilman would have written this if the oppression she was feeling was not as intense as it was.
I was very interested in both the podcast and readings provided for this subject. I have never truly reflected on the power of storytelling, but more particularly the power of pop culture and the societal norms we take for granted every day.
In Bezio’s podcast, the idea of storyteller leadership explains essential moments of human development. For example, Bezio brings up Robin hood as a storytelling character that reflected societal ideologies regarding class disparities, which aided in the social revolution necessary for the success of the economic revolution in England. Examples such as these narrate the power that storytelling, and eventually pop culture, has the capability of having. Author Michael Harvey described another key component of the storytelling leadership by describing the concept of leadership itself. In Harvey’s eyes, leadership is the “Process of influencing the activities of an organized group in efforts towards goal-setting and achieving,” which I view as being personified in the example of Robin hood. The character, who stole from the rich to give to the poor, influenced (or at least aided in the influencing) the actions of the English working-class. Those actions lead to the economic revolution necessary, or the “goal-setting and achieving,” mentioned by Harvey.
Bezio’s article sums up the intersecting works of these theories by explaining that storytelling can be a way for us to accept/ grasp emotional concepts that may be harder for us to learn in real life. This connection ties well into Harvey’s extended definition of leadership, in that storytelling allows for a society to identify their own morality and issues they wish to better. Storytelling allows for the transparent social analysis necessary for a society to be truly and justly lead. Leaders must work for the people, and provide them with the tools necessary to be able to understand the version of themselves they want to become.
In a sense, I feel as though leaders are equally as responsible for helping society gain a sense of independence as they are responsible for protecting that independence. The more powerful a piece of storytelling work is, the greater power it has to lead people into a greater sense of social self-awareness. Very interesting take on leadership that I had never considered before.
I was assigned the year 1996 for both political parties. This really felt like I was looking into a time capsule of all the things that were important to Americans in the 90’s. For example, I had no idea the issue of immigration was so bipartisan at the time! Democrats are now so adamant on running a platform of inclusivity, that it really threw me off hearing such racist things coming from the Democratic party. I mean now I’m not as naive as I used to be, and realize that BOTH parties are pretty problematic when it comes to immigration, but I think those ads really confirmed to me the fact that the democratic party has only recently aligned with a more ethical approach to immigration in order to secure the Liberal/ minority vote. Super sad.
However, overall I think my favorite ads all came from, surprisingly, the Republican candidate. Maybe my overall distain for Clinton swayed me in that direction, but I found that the ethos Bob Dole brought to his advertisements were extremely effective. Although I believe personal stories like the ones he used are more effective in local elections than national ones, it felt like a breath of fresh air to see political ads that weren’t so slanderous. Now a days I feel like political ads are just a bunch of literal BS that do not even hold the candidate accountable to their policy plans or financial plans- Just a space for old white guys to say how much they hate each other.
My absolute favorite ad of the whole thing would have to have been the drug related one from Bob Dole- Not because I believe it to have been the most effective, but because it was 1. Hilarious to see a video of Clinton saying that he “inhaled but did not hold”, and 2. See the beginning of this kind of yellow journalism in political campaigns that we have grown so accustomed to. Candidates have shifted their attention away from their policies (Probably because if they didn’t we’d all start to notice that Democrats and Republicans are one in the same in every way but name) and instead focus on destroying the character of their opponent. Overall as a poly-sci major I was kind of geeking out through the whole thing- super cool website and activity as a whole!
This was actually a super challenging simulation! I felt as though there were far too many different elements that lead to the success of a village that I had simply not considered before. Specifically, I realized that there were a lot of infrastructural luxuries that we, as members of a highly developed society, have grown accustomed to. For example, our society has a pretty traditional schedule that most working people follow every day. We get up, eat breakfast, go to work for a government regulated amount of time (i.e. minimum wage jobs can’t make you work for more than x amount of hours before having to pay you overtime), and then expect to have time to go home and rest before repeating this again. This schedule may seem bland and irrelevant to most people, but in reality it is one of the reasons we are as financially productive as we are. We, as a society, accept that making money is a huge part of our day to day lives, and as a result we have agreed to give everyone time to do that. In a rural village such as the one being represented in our simulation, has no such infrastructure. In fact, it was because of this lack of infrastructure that my village did not survive for very long.
Dorner believes that we as humans are using every bit of our brain power to achieve our tasks in the most efficient way we know how. A lack of success, then, can be denoted to the little “mistakes” we make every day that turn into bad habits. For example, I probably will have a lower GPA by the end of my college career solely because I never charge my computer and have to wait a few minutes for it to turn on before I start studying. In a village, however, making these little mistakes can be the difference between life, prosperity, and success, or death. In the case of my village, I just couldn’t get the hang of how much time I should spend collecting combustion fuel versus water. Over time, this lack of societal infrastructure lead to the death of both of my villagers, as they began to lack clean water and started to get diseases. Overall, crazy simulation.
Dr. Bezio mentioned the use of music in advertising and the effects it can have on the general public’s perception of a product. I feel like there is no better example of this practice than Apple. I was recently speaking to a friend of mine who is majoring in Music, and in one of his classes he was actually studying Apple. Apparently, Apple often uses music from very niche artists in their ads that have extremely catchy beats but may not be well known to the public. My friend’s theory is that this marketing strategy in particular is extremely effective, as it makes people not only get excited about hearing a good new song, but now they will forever associate that song with an ad for Apple.
Specifically, this commercial uses the song Loyal by Odesza. Although I knew the song prior to this ad, when I saw it for the first time I was just so excited that Apple was elevating their music. They aren’t a huge band, but I believe they used this song in the most effective way possible. As mentioned in the reading, we are a society of extremes, and are generally attracted to imagery that makes things seem very important or intense. Apple used this song perfectly in this sense, as the beat and drums of the song as a whole were able to provide the viewer with this feeling of a “big event” happening (even though Apple releases a new phone pretty often) which in turn will up the “coolness” of the phone itself. Since Apple’s products probably depend heavily on how society views them, Loyal was the perfect song to get everyone excited for the launch of the iPhone X.
The chart that I picked is from the CDC regarding mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. I find this chart fascinating, specifically because I think a national mental health crisis is going to be one of the biggest issues we face as we try to return to normalcy. Specifically, I appreciate the ways in which this chart is choosing the depict the information necessary. Instead of making the information seem much more intense than it is (These numbers are terrifying, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like other charts that I’ve seen on mental health always try and make it seem like everyone is just miserable all the time), the CDC choose to display their information in a proportionate way. Additionally, in regards to the reading, I feel confident in the bias that this source may have with its data. Luckily, because of the pandemic, I believe it is safe to assume the CDC is a reliable source, whose main concern is public safety. Unlike other charts on mental health that I’ve seen, this one isn’t trying to “sell” you on some sort of action you should take on your mental health. Mainly, I believe its purpose lies in educating and validating the experiences of US citizens.
The chart mentions that the data collected and reflected is not only from a very specific time frame (June 24-30, 2020), but also from a more narrow age pool. Because mental health issues in teenagers can be seen as more complicated (Hormones change the way we perceive things and can have a huge impact on what causes our mental health crises), I find greater validity in this chart because they chose to omit teenagers. Additionally, every section of their data has been distributed into different subsections outside of just 40% of adults feeling like their mental health is worse. They also acknowledge some of the more complicated forms of mental health issues (Like substance abuse) which allows for us to get a more genuine idea of what is happening and what is causing things to happen.
I found the Flanigan reading to be the most fascinating. Specifically in reference to the section regarding normative autonomy and medical prescriptions. I had never considered the moral questionability of forcing a patient to take a certain kind of medication. I think that my own personal normalization to authority makes me more likely to just trust what the doctor says and take what they give me. I tend to fall under the thought process of, well they’re the expert so I’ll just do what they tell me to. Realistically, however, not having the option to take perception medication or not is probably one of the more coercive parts of the medical world. The same kind of argument can be said about abortions, and how banning them can force women to carry out a pregnancy they didn’t want.
I think the counter argument to Flanigan was also equally as interesting, as doctors argue that someone doesn’t have the right to impose upon themselves a substance that inhibits their ability to act freely. I had never thought about drugs in that sense, but believe that similarly to the example of Marijuana mentioned by Dr. Bezio in her podcast, drugs themselves can have societal biases against them that can distort someone’s ability to make a fair judgement on a drug. Continuing on Dr. Bezio’s example, weed was societally seen as a street drug that could possibly act as a gateway to a life of addiction and overall degradation. However now, science is able to prove the plethora of medical benefits to Marijuana, and it’s clear now most (if not all) of the negativity we associate with weed has extremely racist ties to it.