Orientalism: There are No Limitations

Nicole Wood
Prof. Wexler
English 313
August 15, 2014
                                                                Orientalism: There are No Limitations
When one first crosses paths with the term orientalism, assuming there have not been any prior experiences, one’s initial response may be that it is an offensive term that should not be spoken let alone repeated. Arguably that initial response may also be fairly accurate according to Google’s definition which defines orientalism as “the representation of Asia, especially the Middle East, in a stereotyped way that is regarded as embodying a colonialist attitude.” Such representations, for example, may include religion, culture, language, history, texts, etc. The vital point to be remembered is that these representations are said to be the interpretational views of those, more specifically Westerners, looking in through a window from the outside, so to speak, who go on to write and/or talk about their views only leading others hearing and/or reading the views to assume just accuracy. It is this process that warrants the interpretations to be regarded as stereotypical and racial thinking.
Edward Said, a Palestinian American literary theorist who wrote the book Orientalism (1978), was of the opinion that orientalism “is a general group of ideas impregnated with European superiority, racism, and imperialism” (Barker, 273). In comparison, Said’s 1978 definition and Google’s 2014 definition of orientalism do not appear to be all that different despite the difference in years. It is clear that the concept of orientalism is simply not limited to geographical differences and restricted only to the constructions of East and West.
To choose one primary text as reference and evidence of orientalism having no limitations is rather a challenging task due to there being so many to choose from. One could use the Disney movie, Dumbo, which displays orientalism as White verse Black by Walt Disney displaying the crows in the movie as being, what Donald Bogle (1973) argues to be one of “five distinct stereotypes which derive from plantation and slave images”, Coons, “slapstick entertainers, gamblers, ‘no-account’ ‘niggers’” (Barker, 272). One could also use the music video ‘Dark Horse’ by artist Katy Perry featuring rapper Juicy J or the music video ‘Check it Out’ by Nicki Minaj featuring Will.i.Am, from the Black Eyed Peas. Perry’s video portrays, what appears to be, an Egyptian or Middle Eastern theme, which displays orientalism in the traditional West verse East manner. Upon looking up this video on YouTube to watch, one can just scroll down the page to see controversial comments left by fans and those offended by inaccuracies in the video. Minaj’s video “was intended by her to be ‘an ode to Japanese culture and Japanese Afro-Samurai: techno-Orientalism and contemporary hip hop 269 anime’ (MTV 2010). This is contradicted, however, by both the spoken introduction and the words that pop up during the video which are actually in Korean Hangul” (McLeod, 260–270). This contradiction clearly shows the traditional essence of orientalism. Hence, this essay will use the movie, Good Will Hunting, as the primary text as reference and evidence of the concept of orientalism having no limitations, not even geographically.

In a nut shell, Good Will Hunting is about Will Hunting, a working-class genius caught up in his deep rooted fears and insecurities caused by his childhood, and his last shot of saving himself from self-destruction with the help of a psychology professor. On the surface there may not appear to be any connection with orientalism, however, one only need to dig a little bit deeper in their analysis to really see the connection. This movie isn’t about race and ethnicity. It is about social class and status. It is about what it means to ‘judge a book by its cover’. The latter is what orientalism is truly all about. Orientalism is looking at someone or something and making interpretations based only off of face value. The movie provides evidence of this in several scenes, but perhaps the most powerful example is Will’s first encounter with Sean, the psychology professor, where Will does nothing but judge Sean based off of Sean’s office. In doing so, Will does extreme damage to Sean and his persona. In a later scene Sean addresses Will’s hurtful rant by telling him that he himself could not possibly know what it is like to be an orphan by comparing Will’s story to that of Charles Dickens’s, Oliver Twist. One can interpret this scene as Sean’s character subliminally taking a stance against orientalism.

More evidence of orientalism can be seen in the difference in social class between Will and Skyler. Will is a working-class genius, as stated before, who also repeatedly gambles with his run-ins with the law by using his intelligence to his advantage by, usually, dodging a hard sentence. Skyler, on the other hand, seems to come from some kind of background of wealth due to her inheriting, seemingly, a large amount of money after her father’s passing. Once again Will uses orientalism in the way he hangs onto his interpretations of the differences between he and Skyler. Throughout the movie Will makes comments here and there about their differences in social class and hangs on them as a defense mechanism to, ironically, protect himself from getting hurt. His harshest reference is after Skyler asks him to come to California with her and Will accuses Skyler of being a rich girl from Harvard whose only interest was to have a fling with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Will is not the only character to use orientalism in all its glory. Prof. Gerald Lambeau is also guilty of doing so, and once again Sean’s character comes to the rescue to correct it. In a confrontation that breaks out between Sean and Gerald, who happen to be old friends, over what is best for Will, Gerald uses orientalism by seeing Will’s genius in mathematics as only Will’s face value and a gift that Will is not only misusing, but also throwing it away. Sean, again, comes to the defense arguing with Gerald that Will is more than a genius and needs stability and help because of his traumatizing childhood. Although Gerald seems to really want the best of opportunities for Will, he expresses so inaccurately, thus presenting himself in a selfish manner. Between the two characters, Sean seems to be the only one that sees all of who Will really is. It can be argued that Sean is a representation of anti-orientalism in the way he battles the orientalism spewed by Will and Gerald.

It is of the opinion of this writer that the movie, Good Will Hunting, proves that orientalism is not geographically limited nor is it limited to the constructions of East verse West. Orientalism can be refer to homosexuality verse heterosexuality, to women verse men, to birth children verse adopted children, to Catholic verse Muslim, and so on and so forth. The concept is not limited to people verse people but can also be used for ideology verse ideology because the key to remember is how it is misinterpretations that are taken at only face value by an outsider looking in through a window. Anyone and anything can take the place of the outsider just as easily as the place of the person or thing being misinterpreted. It is these misinterpretations, and often unwarranted fears, that seem to fuel the fire of prejudices and racism. The real, and arguably, more important question should be how orientalism can be stopped and prevented, not where or not it has limitations.

References
Barker, Chris. “Ethnicity, Race, and Nation.” Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. 4th ed. London: SAGE, 2012. 273-274. Print.
“Google.” Google. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.
Good Will Hunting. Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård, and Minnie Driver. Miramax Home Entertainment, 1997. DVD.
Mcleod, Ken. “Afro-Samurai: Techno-Orientalism and Contemporary Hip Hop.” Popular Music 32/2 (2013): 259-75. ProQuest. 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.csun.edu/docview/1437185569?pq-origsite=summon&gt;.
“YouTube.” YouTube. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.

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Good Will Hunting: Long live Robin Williams

The Tuesday that the world found out about Robin Williams passing was a indeed a sad one. Not just in how the world lost him, but in losing such a uniquely talented and dynamic individual. I’ve enjoyed Robin Williams since the first time I ever saw the Disney movie, Aladdin. Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies. My dad gave me a DVD of the movie for Christmas one year with an explanation that he thought of me and saw me when he watched the movie and that he thought that I would not only enjoy it, but that it would also help me. You see, I have some experience, along with my two younger sisters, of being in the foster care system, I believe I mentioned that in one of my first posts. I share a lot of the same fears and insecurities as Matt Damon’s character, Will. I have deep rooted trust issues and it has greatly affected me over the years. I’ve been in and out of therapy basically all of my life. It was only within the last five years that I began going more seriously. It started out as something I was just doing to quiet my parents, but ended up being something I did and do for myself because I managed to find a good fit with a good psychologist. Our first year sessions were not too far off from the first sessions between Robin Williams and Matt Damon’s characters in the movie. Of course, I am not nearly as brilliant as Will, unfortunately. I do think, however, that I am a hell of a writer when I really put my heart into it. Three of my favorite scenes from the movie, which I will display in this post in order mentioned, are the bar scene where Matt Damon steps in and schools the pretentious grad student, the park scene where Robin Williams tell Matt Damon of what it really means to have really loved and lost, and the scene where Ben Affleck tells Matt Damon how he hopes everyday that when he stops in front of his house that Matt Damon will be gone without a word. These scenes and this movie as a whole are so powerful in so many ways. I think it is also some of Robin Williams, Matt Damon’s, and Ben Affleck’s best work.

All of these scenes teach you a lesson of some kind to value and remember. At least, that’s what I like to think. The bar scene teaches you to not be pretentious and cocky, period, let alone to show off to some girls and try to embarrass someone else. This scene shows true loyalty, displayed by Will, in defending his friend with his intelligence first. I think that violence and confrontation should always be avoided, however, if it becomes inevitable, it will be because the other person made the first move and I simply reacted to it, that’s my opinion alone and how I would handle things. The park scene teaches us one of the oldest rules in the book, don’t judge a book by its cover. In short, that is essentially what Robin Williams is communicating to Matt Damon along with addressing his deep rooted fears and insecurities. The last scene, the construction scene, teaches us that true friends will always want the absolute best for us even if it means you leaving to go on a road away from them on your own. True friends will always see your utmost potential and not let you waste it by not using it. It also teaches us that we should never settle for things in life and should always strive for the things we want and what’s truly best for us. These are, of course, all of my interpretations. I do not expect anyone to agree nor do I mean to offend anyone. This goes for not just this post, but in regards to all my posts and the entirety of this blog. I’m just a girl, writing a blog, and doing the best of my abilities to do well in my last undergraduate class.

 

West Side Story: A Dedication to my Grandma

After watching a clip in class from the movie, West Side Story, I decided I had to write a blog about it and dedicate it to my grandma. I lost my grandma two years ago. It was really hard on me because I  was so close to her and she was the first close loved one I have ever lost. Even to this day it is still hard, but I do my best to manage. One of the things that my grandma gave to me that I will always be grateful for is her sharing the actors/actresses of her day that were in movies like this. I learned so much from the movies and from her. I’ve seen so many of the movies that we consider classics in this day and age because of her. When we watched this movies together, she would always hum or sing along to the songs. This movie is a classic, of course, and was one of my grandma’s favorite movies. Cheers to my grandma! West Side Story, as most of us know, is a tragic love story musical, similar to that of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Because it also came out in a time when the concept of “teen” began taking shape, it is also about what it means to be a teen and what teens go through. There are two famous scenes from the movie that stand out to me at this time. The first is when Tony and Maria sneak to see one another on what looks like a fire escape and sing to one another.

The second is the scene our professor showed to the class which shows the Jets interaction with Sergeant Krupke and their burst into song about how authority figures view them.

I think the scene with Tony and Maria shows that from Shakespeare’s time, to the time of West Side Story, to now, that there has been no changes and some changes in the portrayal of love in movies. No changes in the sense that the overall concept of “boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back”. However, some of the changes show transformation from boy meeting girl to girl meeting boy, or girl meeting girl, or boy meeting boy. The plots have become more complex in romantic comedies and are no longer limited to just the relationship of  two people, but the relationship between two people and, more often, several other couples as well. The class session where we discussed the scene with the Jets and Sergeant Krupke was really interesting to me because I was not aware that there was a time where the concept “teen” and what it means to be one did not exist. Now knowing about it, it makes sense that there was a time without the concept “teen”. It’s clear that as the times changed and children became required to be in school and not work to help their families that this was the beginning of what eventually became what it meant to be to an angst adolescent.

V for Vendetta

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Upon reading parts of chapter 4 in David Harvey’s, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, I couldn’t help but see resemblances between what Neoliberalism represents and the movie, V for Vendetta. According to David Harvey, “Neoliberal theorists are… profoundly suspicious of democracy. Governance by majority rule is seen as a potential threat to individual rights and constitutional liberties. Democracy is viewed as a luxury, only possible under conditions of relative affluence coupled with a strong middle-class presence to guarantee political stability. Neoliberals therefore tend to favour governance by experts and elites.” This quote just makes me envision certain parts of the movie that show and represent the infamous “big brother” presence. When it comes to Neoliberalism, governance by experts and elites may be favored, but that poses the question of what makes one expert. I think it is safe to assume that the elites include those that are quite wealthy and have connections. To me, the only difference between Neoliberalism and a dictatorship seems to be the number of people in charge and commanding. The concepts seems to be very similar. Harvey’s definition of Neoliberalism seems to mirror that of the saying, “Strength through Unity, Unity through Faith”, which is presented in V for Vendetta as a slogan of the chancellors. The following video clip is a taste of what I am trying to say.

I could be way off on my interpretation. I have no intention of misleading anyone or offending anyone. If I am wrong, someone please correct me.

V for Vendetta is one of my favorite movies. I really enjoyed the concept and the action of it. I found it interesting that it originated from a graphic novel published by Vertigo, which is connected to DC Comics. I also found it interesting how Alan Moore, the author, did not like the Warner Bros. movie interpretation. Perhaps that is true. I have not read the graphic novels, so I cannot agree or disagree, all I can say is that I enjoyed the movie and that reading the novel is on my to-do-list!

Crazy, Stupid, Love Group Presentation Reflection

For the primary text group presentation assignment, my group consisted of Anthony, Sara, and myself. Our primary text was the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. Our group was what I like to call “the dream team” of groups because we all made contributions and had good chemistry to work as a team while tossing ideas back and forth between one another. We were able to incorporate almost all of our individual ideas into one master plan. Since we had all already come to the consensus of being in a group together from day one of class, I did my best to make sure we got the privilege of being able to use Crazy, Stupid, Love as our primary text for the presentation. Having decided to sit at the front near the professor was never part of my master plan for the success of this, but it did work out to our benefit. Being an owner of the DVD for this particular movie was also beneficial for our group.

During our group brainstorming meeting, I suggested that we ask questions as our activity to simplify things for all parties involved while ensuring engagement from the class at the same time. I suggested that we ask the class “What is love?” while asking someone to volunteer a personal story of their own or someone they know. I became really interested as to how people would react to the clips we decided to use, so I suggested we ask people if the ideology portrayed in the movie had any premise to it and why or why not the class may think so. I was in charge of asking the questions we all came up with to ask the class and fast forwarding through the movie to find the specific movie clips chosen. I did my best to also make sure to make more contributions of additional information or theory while Anthony and Sara represented their portions just to solidify any concepts or get my own opinion. All in all, one of the best group project experiences I have had. Go team ASN!

I had to had the trailer for Don Jon because we incorporated it in our presentation and I just really like this movie. 

Why the World needs a certain kind of Superhero: Lady Clover

Upon doing research for this paper, I envisioned my superhero to be a combination of Mystique, Black Widow, Wolverine, Poison Ivy, and Lara Croft. Since my drawing does my vision no justice. I am going to show pictures of all those that inspired me for the creation of Lady Clover.

 image

Nicole Wood
Prof. Wexler
English 313
July 17, 2014

Why the World needs a certain kind of Superhero: Lady Clover

Over the course of the years since the creation of the first comic books to the present, there has always been the theme of “good verse evil” with superheroes battling forces of evil that usually share seemingly equal powers of super human strength. This popular theme in comic book story lines has been sufficient enough until the horizons were broadened by the films of Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight, and Sam Raimi, Spiderman. Like Charles Moss stated in his article What the World Needs Now: Society’s Desperate Need for Superheroes, “… Nolan creates a serious exploration of many of the Batman character’s themes… The result is a comic book movie that not only works as entertainment, but also adds an element of philosophy to the fight scenes and the explosions expected from such a film.” Gotham City is brought to life along with the revitalization of Batman giving him humanistic qualities that all who watch can relate to just like with Spiderman’s internal struggle between living a “normal” life, the life of a none superhero, and being a superhero. This rebirth added more dimensions not just to the personas of these two, but to all superheroes. More progress is still to be made, however. The next step is for dimensions to be added on to the side of evil. For this to occur, real life human evils need to be incorporated within comic books and brought even more to life in comic book movies. Sex slavery, a true man made evil, needs to be incorporated and made multidimensional in the worlds of comic book superheroes.

With that being said, the world needs a superhero like Lady Clover. Lady Clover was born Deirdre Ferguson, in Claddagh, Ireland on June 21, 1990. Little is known of her family because they, her mother, father, grandmother, and two younger sisters, were raped and murdered in front of her by unknown villains who pillaged her village. It is unclear how and why Deidre was the only one in her village to survive. All that she has left of her family is a claddagh ring, a traditional Irish ring used for weddings and engagements with symbols on it representing love (heart), loyalty (crown), and friendship (hands), given to her by her grandmother. The legend goes that she is the last living descendant of Tuatha Dé Danann (Peoples of the Goddess Danu), who are said to have the power of shape shifting, and that she was the sole survivor because she was wearing the ring at the time of the attack and shape shift without realizing it. Names of Lady Clover’s friends are not known, however, she has a renowned reputation for being extremely loyal and protective to those with whom she chooses to call friends/family and that it is wise to not become an enemy of hers. The full extent of her schooling is unrevealed, but it is theorized that she is some kind of government agent; however which specifically is not known since she has been seen working with all different government agencies around the world combating sex slavery. She uses her secret agent position to assist making her goal of having a world free of sex slavery a reality which is fueled by her hate fire towards those that took all her loved ones away from her.

Lady Clover is 5’ 2’’ weighing in at 120 with a bodacious figure, iconic vibrant red hair, and brown eyes. She was born with the powers of accelerated self-healing and super human strength, given to her by her ancestors. It is her claddagh ring that equips her with the ability to shape shift into any person or animal by changing her anatomical structure to match the exact DNA of which ever person or animal she chooses to take the form of. The combination of her powers gives her immunity to drugs and poison and the ability to show no evidence of aging. Lady Clover is a highly trained and skilled combatant because of her occupation as a secret agent. Her limitations include death, for if enough damage is inflicted repeatedly, Lady Clover may not be capable of self-healing fast enough to survive the damages inflicted, although the exact amount of damages needed is unknown. The removal of the claddagh ring takes away her shape shifting powers; however, without the exact DNA of Lady Clover the powers of the ring cannot be activated and is nothing more than fine jewelry. Ultimately, Lady Clover’s purpose in life is to protect all who could potentially be lost, at risk, and put in danger of being victimized by the evils of sex slavery and change the world by eliminating sex slavery all together. The villains are all of those who participate in, assist in sustaining sex slavery, and sex slavery itself.
In the world of Lady Clover, being a superhero means giving a voice to the voiceless and defending the defenseless. Being a superhero means doing the job that either no one else wants to do or simply cannot do. To be an effective superhero, one needs to have some connections within politics to further promise the success of accomplishing change. This can be challenging, however, for there are and always will be those in the opposition who have too much invested in the war at hand and will do whatever it takes to go against a superheroes cause. Public perception can be similar in that the times that it would seem all is lost and there is much destruction, some of the public may back down and feel as though it is best to surrender and give into the evils of the world than to stand and fight any longer, while others in the public would stand by and support superheroes until the very end, no matter what. This split in public perception is always notable in being the pivotal turning point(s) in comic book movies where the superheroes get a second wind to finish the battle or, like in The Dark Knight, sacrifices oneself for the better of good and mankind. Lady Clover could have problems in being accepted largely due to the evil she fights because the sex slavery trade is one of the purest forms of human on human evils there is. Some people may be blissfully unaware that such slavery still in fact exists in this day and age, while others may not know how to go about addressing and rising against such evil.

Charles Moss ended his article, “What the World Needs Now: Society’s Desperate Need for Superheroes”, about superheroes perfectly with “…perhaps they can help us find the hero we as a society are so desperately looking for and, perhaps, find the heroes within ourselves.” Lady Clover, like all superheroes, is necessary to build and maintain morale in humanity as we know it. Superheroes are a necessity for us to obtain and sustain hope that everything that life entails will and does get better and that not all hope is lost. Lady Clover is a necessity for people to learn and remember that, even though it is motivating and inspiring to have someone to look up to, we are all our own superheroes. No matter how bad a day we may have or how broken we may be, we all have the potential to save ourselves and make a difference in the world. One needs to want it badly enough and believe in oneself. For at the end of the day, no one can really save us but ourselves.

In Chapter 7: Issues of Subjectivity and Identity of his book “Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice”, author Chris Barker discusses and defines three kinds of identity. The first being the concept of identity which he describes as “… best understood not as a fixed entity but as an emotionally charged discursive of ourselves that is subject to change.” The semantics of identity appears to be an ideology open for interpretation like Barker’s personal definition of the word since identities have the potentiality for being forever transformational. The second kind is self-identity and is defined as “… the conceptions we hold about ourselves and our emotional identification with those self-descriptions.” (Barker, pg.220) The last form of identity discussed is social identity, “… the expectations and opinions that others have of us.” (Barker, pg.220) Because these variations of identity are so pertinent to what it means to be a person, superheroes must succeed in having all three in such a way so that they can successfully achieve being relatable to any and all peoples.

A superhero like Lady Clover suggests empowerment and strength to identity for women, those of Irish heritage, and the lower classes. There are a few superheroes of Irish heritage at the top of the well-known list, such as Banshee, Captain America, and Daredevil, but none are female. The world needs more female superheroes especially in present day where there are far more women than men in existence and attending college. Unlike Batman, Lady Clover comes from the lower working class. She is a prime example of one starting from the bottom with nothing and pouring their heart into reaching the top striving for change and proving that anything can be possible with enough drive and determination. Lady Clover transforms being a victim into being a survivor.

Works Cited

Barker, Chris. “Chapter 7: “Issues of Subjectivity and Identity”. Cultural studies: theory and practice. London: SAGE, 2000. Print.

“Black Widow (Natasha Romanova) – Marvel Universe Wiki: The definitive online source for Marvel super hero bios”. Marvel Universe Wiki RSS. Marvel. Web. 21 July 2014. http://marvel.com/universe/Black_Widow_(Natasha_Romanova)

Burlingame, Russ . “Top Ten Irish Superheroes.” Comicbook.com. Comicbook.com, 17 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 July 2014. http://comicbook.com/blog/2013/03/17/top-ten-irish-superheroes

“Claddagh ring.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 July 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claddagh_ring

“Mystique – Marvel Universe Wiki: The definitive online source for Marvel super hero bios”. Marvel Universe Wiki RSS. Marvel. Web. 21 July 2014. http://marvel.com/universe/Mystique

Moss, Charles. “What the World Needs Now: Societys Desperate Need for Superheroes.” PopMatters. Popmatters, 4 Sept. 2008. Web. 21 July 2014. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/what-the-world-needs-now-societys-desperate-need-for-superheroes

Spiderman. Dir. Sam Raimi. Columbia Pictures, 2002. DVD.

The Dark Knight. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Warner Home Video, 2008. DVD.

“Tuatha Dé Danann”. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuatha_D%C3%A9_Danan%

“Wolverine (James “Logan” Howlett)”. Marvel Database. Wikia. Web. 21 July 2014. http://marvel.wikia.com/Wolverine_(James_%22Logan%22_Howlett)

“Wonder Woman (Diana Prince)”. DC Database. Wikia. Web. 21 July 2014. http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Wonder_Woman_(Diana_Prince)

Reflection One: Rivkin and Ryan’s “Politics of Culture”

My take on Rivkin and Ryan’s “Politics of Culture” is that the term “culture” is forever changing to fit within the present era. I agree with the definitions they give that differentiate the terms “culture” and “mass culture”. An example they use for the first is the way a person eats, while books are an example for the latter. I do think that in this day and age people usually combine these two terms as one resulting in the use of terms like culture, society, or popular culture. I also agree with their concepts of there being a “culture from above” and a “culture from below” in existence. With the presence of a higher class and lower class in society these concepts were inevitable to come to be and remain. I do not agree with John Fiske’s argument from Television Culture (1987) that “Audiences can “decode” cultural messages in ways that allow them to think resistantly about their lives.” (Rivkin & Ryan) I think that people can obtain the knowledge/education on how to be aware of the presence of cultural messages, but I don’t think we could resist them even if we wanted to. Such things as cultural messages or popular culture has become engraved into our existence. It has become a part of human nature.

One of my favorite TV shows to watch is, House, M.D. I think the show really pushes and tests the boundaries of morality and values. Like any great show, the characters are relatable. I enjoy and relate to House’s cynicism and sarcasm. Quite often the show uses medical terms not commonly known, but are always broken down into laments terms without destroying authenticity. With that being said, I think that this show represents both “culture from above” and “culture from below”. The concept and story line of the show comes from an above culture perspective because it is about a particular doctor and his colleagues. I would place doctors in the above culture. Whereas the characters being so relatable works for above and below cultures. This seems to be the bridge that connects the two. The fact that the show was on basic cable when it was originally being aired makes it easily accessible for below culture. The breakdown of medical terms into laments terms also makes it for below culture. I believe that above and below culture rely heavily on one another to maintain existence, for without one the other would not be, and vice verse.  

Purpose, Exigency, and Objective:

Presently, I am a senior at CSUN enrolled in English 313: Studies in Popular Culture. The creation of this blog is a required assignment within the course vital to my grade. Through this blog all other assignments in the course will be posted to show completion in order to obtain credit. The other assignments to be posted will consist of an individual reflection from a group presentation, midterm paper, final paper, and any additional writing assignments that may be assigned. I am required to make weekly reflection posts that incorporate discussions from class meetings, text material, and my personal thoughts/opinions regarding popular culture. Posts should be read in the context of “thinking out loud” and learned knowledge that is open to other comments and ideology. Posts should not be read in the context of absolution. I am simply a college student trying to get as much enjoyment one can from an assignment. The overall objective of this course and blog is to analyze popular culture itself and all perspectives taken in the analysis of popular culture, in depth, with hope of gaining a greater understanding of how and why it so greatly influences people and transforms.

The professor chose to use films, plays, TV shows, and websites for the methodology in analyzing popular culture in an open class discussion style. The required textbook is Barker. Cultural Studies.

            I think that the exigency of popular culture is a controversial topic open for varying interpretation(s). This blog, however, is really only exigent in regards to the required assignments to be posted on it that will provide evidence of my participation and submission of assignments to ascertain credit towards my final grade. Although I do think the process of analysis and interpretation via typing is exigent towards reaching a clearer break down and understanding of the power of the popular culture cycle. It seems to me that the vast majority of people are oblivious to how deep rooted the influence of popular culture is within cultures and societies. I say vast majority of people because I do think there are those of us keenly aware of the existence of the deep rootedness, but the cycle and influence almost seems to be too complex to come to a definitive truth.

The influence seems so vast and complex that it is safe to compare it to the concept of inception, I think. People like to think that they are unique and that the freedom of making a choice was original. I don’t think so… Whether we like it or not, everything that we do (choices, music, to clothing style, to dating preferences, etc.) is influenced by popular culture and other people. Advertisements are a prime example of this. A person could be at home watching TV and a L’Oreal commercial with Beyoncé comes on. The person could think they like that hair coloring product because they came to that preference on their own that is unique to them, but that’s not the reality of the situation. That so called unique preference probably began with liking to listen to Beyoncé’s music and because she is so beautiful. L’Oreal used Beyoncé in their commercials knowing these two things to help sell their product. The thinking is that if you like Beyoncé and you see her on a L’Oreal commercial, then you’ll want to buy L’Oreal products to be more like or close to Beyoncé and her hair color. Meanwhile, the person is sitting on the couch watching the commercial thinking they came up with this choice of dying their hair a certain color completely on their own never realizing the process of the cycle that actually occurred. This cycle is never ending and always occurring. Advertisements are genius in using this to their advantage by making people think that we need something to obtain a specific ideal. The reality is that more often than not the things that we purchase we don’t really need, we just want them to have them. The only things people really need are oxygen, food, and water. All other things are simply wants and desires to express status and the unique self we think we have.           

Bio…

Hello! My name is Nicole Wood.

I was born in Montebello, CA and was raised in Northridge, CA.

My favorite novel is White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I am a former foster care youth and this book made me feel less alone.

Popular Culture to me is any form of entertainment or media like films, TV shows, books, magazines, social media, etc. It has the power to influence and cause change within cultures and societies whether people are aware of it or not. I think that it is because people have become more and more aware of the powerful impact popular culture has on cultures and societies that it has become a subject of study in the classroom.

Email: nicole.wood.834@my.csun.edu