Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Can eyes deceive?
Do mirrors distort?
Shattering glass is absorbed by the unexpecting floor,
Streams of ice cold liquid cover your seemingly hideous complexion.
The transformation to a monster is complete,
Descending limply unto the sharp edges of despair
Rejoicing at the striking blades of truth
Sensing blood trickling on your bare legs
Feeling satisfaction at the welcomed pain
Crouching in a reflecting pool of lava and ice
The blood boiling with fury,
At war with the ultimate crucifier,
The mirror began your final judgment,
But the true destroyer,
The true sabotager,
The True Killer,
The True Lucifer,
Monday, May 10, 2010
Globalization is a term that is on the minds and on the tongues of the majority of individuals today. Everybody uses this term loosely, but do people really know what it means? Some might say that globalization is the path of the future, while others just think it’s a new trend that will be replaced by something else soon. However, could globalization just be another way of saying “westernization”? Is globalization just a term masking the reality of Western culture spreading its traditions and values to the rest of the world? The popular movie Slumdog Millionaire depicts an Indian society that has started to assimilate Western culture into their daily lives. The film provides evidence how countries, like India, who in the midst of globalization are accepting “Westernization” into their society.
Even before watching the actual movie Western influence can be seen because the director Danny Bolye is a British native. Therefore Indian culture is already filmed and written, screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy, through the eyes of Westerners. The amount of popularity this movie received in the states was astounding, even winning this film the greatest film recognition by capturing the Best Picture award at the Academy Awards. At the surface this might be viewed as Americans embracing the differences of a foreign culture, but in reality it is a Westernized version of Indian culture that the American industry was supporting. If Slumdog Millionaire would have been an authentic foreign film it would have belonged to the best foreign film category rather than being compared to the rest of the mainstream American movies. There were numerous reactions concerning the film’s success on behalf of the Indian citizens; “The unexpected international success of Slumdog Millionaire has pleased some Indians while provoking unusually strong protests from others. The critical and commercial success of the film, contrasted with sharp criticism and a lackluster run in Indian theaters, captures the inherent contradictions of an increasingly globalized country. India basks in the glow of international recognition, but resents the critical scrutiny that global exposure brings” (Dhume). The movie industry and politics have an intertwined relationship and this movie is a great example of the effects of globalization on the world outside of the United States.
Focusing on the end of the movie allows the viewer to truly notice the influence that Western culture has on Indian society. The movie is supposed to depict Indian culture, but throughout the entire film the traditional Indian singing and dancing is excluded until after the credits. It is as if the authentic Indian culture is inferior to the Westernized version of their society, and even when a sense of Bollywood comes forth in the film the actors are wearing Western style clothes instead of the traditional Indian garments. The dance does not even steal the focus of the film at the end because it is constantly interrupted by credits taking over the screen. Even the star Amitabah Bachman, in the film, is portrayed as acting in mainly action flicks and Jamal’s prized picture has the actor wearing anything but traditional Indian attire. Having an actor being the “most popular” man in India also parallels the Western value of Hollywood stars admiration. The lack of emphasis on actual Indian culture underlines the fact that the Westernized version of India is more appealing to the general public of the Western world.
The entire premises of the film focuses around the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” which is an American invention and tradition. The host, stage appearance, rules, and mannerisms of the Indian version of the show completely mimic the American game, which once again demonstrates Western influence in India. Having the game show in India brings to surface the idea that “there no longer seems to be a clear relationship between cultural practices and localities” (Gikandi 638). Customs are not trapped within geographical boundaries, but that does not mean that all cultural traditions are valued similarly in significance. The movie depicts Jamal answering eight questions on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” but all questions that concerned Indian culture where presented at the beginning not being attached to high values. The top questions which were worth the most amount of money concerned facts about Western culture. Who was on the 100 US dollar bill, who invented the revolver, who was the greatest cricketer, and finally about the French written novel The Three Musketeers. Having those questions be considered difficult and worth so much money, places a huge emphasis on the importance of Western culture. Theoretically only educated people could get those answers right, which means that knowing the details of Western culture places one in the higher class of society. The fact that the Indian version of the American show was conducted in English, also shows the superiority of Western culture within the walls of Indian society. Does globalization mean that everybody needs to learn and accept English into their daily lives?
In the film they depict Jamal as a young man in the slums of India and he does not begin speaking English until he starts pretending to be a tour guide and doing business. Throughout the movie whenever there jobs are being discussed or they are working English is the dominant language that they converse in. Lower class slums speak Hindi and are associated with poverty, while any income being accumulated, like working in a restaurant kitchen already requires the knowledge of English. In the movie the slums is also rebuilt into a business center with tall buildings and company headquarters. British and American companies outsource their work to India, like when Jamal had to pretend to be from London while taking a customer service call for a telephone company. Globalization opens the world market for all countries, but only certain countries dominate the corporate world. Having business conducted in English undermines the ability of the India companies surviving on their own without Western support. There is a vision that “globalization offers the promise of a unified humanity no longer divided by East and West, North and South, Europe and its others, the rich and poor” (Coronil 351). That is an idealized version of what globalization should represent, but the reality is the domination of Western culture in other parts of the globe. If Western culture did not have such a great influence in places like India, one would not have to speak English in order to sound professional and make money. Also to look professional the dress attire mimics the Western conception of professionalism, not incorporating traditional Indian garments into the mix.
Globalization is truly “not [an] extension of market in geographical space, [but a] concentration in social space” (Coronil 365). The market does open up, but the cultural traditions of the viewed “superior” culture extend much further beyond invisible country borders. Influences of western culture are apparent around the world and the film Slumdog Millionaire is no exception to the reach of Westernization.
Coronil, Fernando. "Towards a Critique of Globalcentrism: Speculations on Capitalism's Nature." Public Culture 12.2 (2000): 351-74. Project Muse. Web. 7 May 2010.
Dhume, Sadanand. "Slumdog Paradox." YaleGlobe (2009). Policy Innovations. Web. 7 May 2010.
Gikandi, Simon. "Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality." The South Atlantic Quarterly 100.3 (2001): 627-58. Project Muse. Web. 7 May 2010.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Globalization is a term that has spread like wild fire in our society, but what does it actually mean? How does globalization affect an individual’s everyday life? As with any other life issue there is controversy surrounding the impact of globalization. Some people argue that is it the best thing that could have ever happened, while others are more skeptical and see the shortcomings of globalization. According to Fernando Coronil there are people who think that the “image of globalization offers the promise of a unified humanity no longer divided by East and West, North and South, Europe and its Others, the rich and poor” (“Towards a Critique of Globalcentrism: Speculations on Capitalism’s Nature” 351). This is a very positive spin on globalization and brings up the freedom that can ideally occur with globalization. Territorial and cultural boundaries will still exist, but they will not prevent people from participating in the open market that sees through those invisible lines. It can “bring cultures together” and prevent the isolation of civilizations from the rest of the world. Globalization, however, has it negatives and Coronil expresses that when he states that it is “not an extension of market in geographical space but a concentration in social space” (365). Globalization provides certain cultures and countries to dominate the world market, which places all the power into the hands of a few. Coronil labels globalization as “fourth World War” that “claims the lives of vast numbers of people subjected to increasing poverty and marginalization” (360). In theory and on paper globalization should open doors for struggling individuals, but in practice that is not always the case. Many people are experiencing extraneous hardships due to globalization and it is devastating. An open world market would be ideal if every country actually had equal access and freedom to use its advantages. There is a concentration of wealth in certain countries and then the poorer countries become very dependent on either aid or trade with those countries in power. Simon Gikandi actually makes a statement in his article on globalization that the “world [is becoming] increasingly interdependent with the passing of time” (“Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality” 627). Globalization makes boundaries disappear and it could almost be seen as though different countries do not exist, it has returned to the stage of Pangea in a sense. Gikandi states that with globalization “there no longer seems to be a clear relationship between cultural practices and localities” (638). That could be viewed as both negative and positive. From an optimistic perspective this gives people more freedom to make individual life choices and follow the cultural beliefs that they see best fits their own desires. However, this also allows for certain cultures to dominate and make their customs appear superior to traditions of cultures that are not mainstream. This “freedom” can both underline individuality while at the same time promoting collectivism and conformity.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Using media in the classroom is a great way to not only attract student attention, but is a great reinforcer for topics that you are teaching in the classroom. Students use media daily and many of them are visual learners, therefore they benefit with interacting with media images. Buckingham states that "media education therefore aims to develop a broad-based competence, not just in relation to print, but also in these other symbolic systems of images and sounds" (4). Using the youtube clip of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" would work on the students ability to decifer images and work with symbolism. I would actually show the clip muting the volume before reading the short story because that would make the students focus more on the images. The students would have to analyze the symbolism of the imgaes, critique the colors and animation, and also write a summary of the story solely based on what they witnessed without sound during the video clip. This use of media really underlines the importance of symbolism and how powerful images can be to a central theme or message of a text.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A few things that James Paul Gee wrote truly interested me and left me pondering about my own identity and existence. He mentioned that when creating a gaming character there exist three separate identities: "the virtual, real, and projective." "All three operate together, at once, as a larger whole" (49). So much of an individual actually gets projected unto a virtual character. Creating a new person makes one question their own values, morals, beliefs, and priorities. Actually it could be like sitting in a psychologist office from the safety and comfort of your own home. Evaluating yourself can help put life into perspective and also thinking strategy can help a person develop critical thinking skills. Many students in classrooms today would much rather spend hours thinking of a game plan for their virtual character rather than analyzing Romeo and Juliet inside an English classroom. Video games can be used to teach valuable lessons, however, it can never replace the true value of literature. Students need an escape from the realm of the canonized educational curriculum and within a proportional time frame playing strategy video games might not be such a pointless escape.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Myths have been around for centuries and people have viewed them differently depending on the era and the society. Mythology has even been used as propaganda, like the Nazi’s, which truly underlines the significance that myths could play in a community. In the 20th Century Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Freud and Jung, created his own theory about mythology. He states that “ mythology is ultimately and always the vehicle through which the individual finds a sense of identity and place in the world” (17). Campbell underlines that myths hold “universal human truths” (17) which can guide individuals to learn morals and virtues. No society is perfect; therefore we need to have myths that model an individual’s struggle to change for the better in the face of danger and temptations. Myths underline that people can change regardless of age and it is never too late to venture on a personal journey to create a better version of you. Myths typically focus on an average individual, who in the end comes back to the place they started but as a changed person, which makes it easier for the common citizen to identify with the main character. Myths are stories that are meant to inspire people to change and should not be used for propaganda, but instead should be viewed as life lessons that model positive changes.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Death is something that is never wanted
Somepeople even think that that word is haunted
When a close person to you dies your life is a mess
Many people go to religious places and confess.
They don't know what to do now that they're gone
They are trying to figure out how to move on.
For some relief never comes and their lives go to hell
It makes them so mad they just want to yell.
Soon they start blaming themselves for that terrible event,
It's like that's the reason they were sent.
They really go crazy and lose their mind,
But they are not one of a kind.
Sadly, that happens more than we think
Your life could change like that in one single blink.
To prevent these terrble fates to happen to you.
Somehow you have to learnn how to deal with death too.
It will never be a pleasant event in your life,
But you can get through with hep from your husband or wife.
The wounds death made will take time to heal,
Though if you don't go crazy think how much better you will feel.
Death is something that is apart of living on this earth today,
You can't make it ever go away,
Don't love it but learn to accept it
Because then when it happens the road ahead to your bright future will still be lite.