Archive for January, 2012

Not so honest Abe…

By Erin Holberg

My friend Erin painted this for her art class last semester.  I thought he seemed appropriate for our class.

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To do this i had to separate conversational America from my personal working meaning. In conversation, America is the state, policy and history. Racial tension, political repression, military and economic atrocities, a cynical trend. But America is one of those places where the devil is in the details: if you don’t look too closely you don’t see how rough the edges are. But for my working meaning, I can only look at what’s in front of me. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had. I live America every day, and know that America is subconsciously ingrained within all of my associations of memory and who I am. I’m a local boy at heart, and Philadelphia will always be my home more than America, but I know it’s there, like the grandparents that made your parents everything they are. The same country that was involved in the Philippines also gave birth to George Carlin and Miles Davis, as well an unending list of figures that have affected the country and world in major ways. I believe in the American experience, in all of its dynamic glory; that abstract thing that guides people who grow up here through life and lead them to end up in a million different places. That’s why I’ll say, while I’m not proud to be American (as Carlin would scold against), I sure have enjoyed it.

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Homeland Security

From Chris Martin

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When I was asked to create a project that represented my thoughts about America, I was stumped. I toyed with the idea of lamenting all of the atrocities this country has done,  things that people often ignore. I also thought of criticizing America for its hypocrisy and its people for their ignorance. Although it is important to analyze and criticize America’s actions, my initial approach felt too cynical to me and I knew that deep down there were admirable aspects of American history and culture. As I pondered about this topic I thought of the raised fist; a prominent symbol that has been used by many different movements.   I included it in the beginning of my video as well as the phrase “We shall overcome.”  America to me is revolution. It is people organizing themselves and fighting oppression. When you examine America’s history you can discuss so many different political and social movements that inspired the world.  Of course we still have issues with class, gender, sex, racism, etc but it is still important to note the many strides that have been made. It gives citizens like me hope that we can always change our position in this country and world.

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Katie G
What America Means to Me:
.Metaphors of a Non-homologous Average American Joe

I just wanted to add a note because I cannot get the program I’m using to properly compress the file without cutting off the end.  There were a few more songs (the radio was really cooperating with me) such as Lean On Me by The Temptations and some Weezer and then at the very end there was this nice mix that radio stations tend to have between songs where the announcer is saying anything…anything…anything…anything you feel like as a blend of excerpts of songs from every genre of music is played as I pulled up to my final destination in a suburban setting.  I felt it was a really nice end to the idea I was trying to get across, but I’ll leave the rest for you to decide.

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A Caricature of America

I found this clip from the HBO series “Eastbound and Down” to be a hilarious caricature of how I see America in today’s world.

The clip begins with a pregame conversation between player and coach in which the coach implores the player to make a statement on the field. This conversation reflects my view of American politicians. It seems as if politicians are concerned with giving the people a show rather than doing much of anything. With all the time they spend campaigning one is left to wonder when they are able to work on the laws.

Also, the conversation sounds like something that would be said between George W. Bush and Dick Cheney just before the beginning of the War in Iraq. Just as the coach implores the player to make some noise, Cheney was in Bush’s ear regarding the situation in Iraq.

Next the player makes his way onto the field in dramatic fashion complete with balloons, fireworks and lewd gestures. The team’s owner gets a real kick out of the whole charade while everyone else in the stadium is surprised and annoyed. I found this part of the clip representative of American foreign policy post-9/11, especially with regard to Iraq. Like the team owner backing the player, Bush really only had support from Tony Blair when he decided to invade Iraq. Also, just as the fans in the stadium and the coach were annoyed with the player’s antics, many nations condemned America’s invasion of Iraq.

Finally the clip ends with the player shakily posing on the pitcher’s mound and making the bat-boy bring his glove to the mound for him. This reminds me of some America’s latest conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq, and others. After invading and futile fighting, America is apt to leave a country worse off than it was before with unstable “democracy” and crumbled infrastructure. Just as the player needed the bat-boy to cover for his mistakes, America often leaves fledgling governments to take care countries in turmoil.

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