Monday, January 27, 2014

Tourists and Drinking Water

This week was normal as far as weeks go it wasn't exciting but it wasn't dull either. I mean it snowed which is pretty.... normal for winter but still it's snow. Which this late in winter is pretty much just a pain besides the fact that it's pretty and supplies us with drinking water and tourists. Yes, I know it's a weird combination but it's true so whatever argument you are making in your head against it is invalid and futile. Because you will never defeat me MWHAHAHAHA! Where was I? Oh yes, the week, this week in LA (language arts not the city in California) we learned more about the tragic Greek play Oedipus Rex and started learning about the traits of tragic heroes. So that was fun.... and slightly depressing.

On a personal/ partially academic note I'm competing at FBLA districts this Friday which should be fun and insanely terrifying at the same time. The reason being is that I'm competing in a live event for the first time and that event is Client Services. Which is basically where you are given a company that you work for and then you go in front of a group of judges that complain about your "company's" product, services, ethics, etc. Then you are suppose to fix the imaginary problems that your judges created. It's a great competition for some people because all you really have to do is charm the judges into liking you. Unluckily for me I have never really master the whole "charm" thing but luckily the speech/conversation thing is suppose to be over the phone so if worst comes to worst I can always start listing off phone menu language options "Press 1 for Icelandic, press 2 for Latin, press 3 for Piglatin...".  I have to talk for 5 minutes so I bet a could come up/ make up enough languages for 5 minutes. I definitely won't win if I go for the phone menu option but life isn't all about winning. At the very least I and possibly the judges would get a good laugh out of it, it's too bad that they don't award points for creatively. So that's was/ is my week. Here's a funny picture about customer service for enduring my rant.

Monday, January 20, 2014


The problem with writing reflections is that I get the song from Mulan stuck in my head which then leads to more Disney songs. Then finally leads to a huge train wreck of annoying Disney songs (in my mind of course). The second week into a semester is one of the best because you've had a week to get back in the flow of school and in your new classes you have actually began to do work (hopefully). Also a new semester means new beginnings yet you rarely realize that until the second week because you are mostly likely a sleepwalking zombie wishing it was still winter break. Like in LA we have started a new unit on tragic heroes which are always fun because you always know that the main character(s) are going end up dead/maimed/heartbroken so you have a happy ending to look forward to.   If you didn't realize I was being sarcastic in the last sentence then you need to go out and find your sense of humor because it's probably lost, lonely and missing the warm recesses of your brain. Greek tragedies are cool because they are like a time capsule that captures the culture of the society and when you compare today's values and beliefs you can see that they really haven't changed over a thousand years or so. That can either be good or bad depending on how you look at it. All in all the week was good and I'm optimist that the next one will be even better. Oh and just in case you don't know what a train wreck of Disney songs sounds like I have included one for your listening pleasure.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oedipus Rex Inventory

Oedipus Rex

Oedipus the King

Oedipus the person is very interesting because he is the prince of Thebes and becomes the king of Thebes by marrying his mother (the queen) by accident. Granted his parents tried to kill him, so he was adopted by another royal couple and didn't know that the Queen of Thebes was his mother. As a person Oedipus can be very arrogant which can be seen when he tries to cheat fate by running away and also just how he talks to people in the play.

The play Oedipus Rex is an Athenian tragedy written by Sophocles. Though it was written and first performed in 430 B.C.E it is still performed and taught today. Oedipus Rex is one of a three part series of plays that follow Oedipus and his family and they were thought it be first performed at the Dionysian dramatic festival in Athens. Oedipus Rex is Sophocles most famous play.

The myth about Oedipus Rex is trying to teach people that they cannot cheat the fates no matter how hard you try. Once Oedipus' parents receive a disturbing prophecy that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his  mother. They try to kill him as a baby but he is rescued and given to another royal couple. Once Oedipus learns of the prophecy, when he is older, he runs away to avoid harming his adopted parents. While he is on the run he has a corral with a man and ends up killing him unaware that the man is his real father. Then he goes to Thebes and frees the people of the Sphinx and it is suggested that he marries the widow queen who is his mother. Showing that you cannot cheat your fate.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who was originally trained in medicine but then when to Athens to attend Plato's Academy where he was a brilliant student but disagreed with some of Plato's ideas. So after Plato's death he went and tutored Alexander the Great who was a Macedonian prince. After Alexander conquered Athens Aristotle returned to start he own school but had to flee because Athenians were unhappy with Macedonian rule and wanted to kill Aristotle. Aristotle studied and wrote about many topics including biology and philosophy. 
Tragedy in Greek theater are plays that origanally started as religious cermonies to honour the gods. It soon evolved into a form of entertainment that taught the general public to not cross the gods and/or fate. Other Greek tragedies dealt with basic human questions such as "Why are we here" and "What separates humans from animals". No matter what point the tragedy was trying to drive home they never had happy ends and it was common to kill off the main character or all the main characters except for one so then the story can be past on. 

Hubris is using violence to humiliate and degrade someone and it can also mean being very prideful and self conceited. To the ancient Greeks hubris was not a good thing and is a fatal flaw that led to the tragic downfall of many Greek heroes in myth. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus thought that he could outsmart the fates but he thought he was all that but in the end his hubris brought his downfall. 

 Dramatic Irony is where the reader or audience know more than the character(s) about their tragic fate(s). Therefore the audience knows that the play is going to have a really unhappy ending sometimes from the first few lines of the play or piece of literature. This forces the audience to watch the tragic downfall of characters a the while feeling guilty that you cannot save they from fate. 

Sophocles is a Athenian playwright who wrote Oedipus Rex and Antigone among others. He competed almost 30 times in the Dionysian dramatic festival and is thought to have written around 120 dramas for the festival. Of all of his works only 7 survived completely intact and 400 lines of another play survived yet the rest is gone. He died in Athens when he was 90 years old.

Tiresias is a blind prophet of Apollo who tells Oedipus that he killed the former king and brought plagues upon the kingdom. According to myth Teiresias was blinding by gods for revealing their secrets and then once while he was walking he came across a pair of snakes and hit them with his stick. Hera didn't like this so he turn him into a women and then seven years later he came across the same pair of snakes and igorned them so he was turned back into a man.


Fate governed all in the Ancient Greek culture. Nobody could change their fates not even the gods and this is reflected in greek tragedies. The Greeks also had monster/god things called the Fates or Moiria who decide how long each person shall live. At the end of a person's life the Fates cut their life string ending their life. 

Greek Theater was more a religious ceremony to honour the god Dionysus then entertainment and was performed in an open air venue. The plays that were performed were almost always tragedies and only had three actors and a chorus. The plays were funded by the polis and was only performed once. Below is a picture of the Theater of Dionysus in Athens, Greece. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Benedictio Orbis

Baraka is a magical journey that takes you around the world and shows you the wonders and ills of the planet we call home. The film relates to world literature because they both share the common goal of making people aware of other people and cultures. Baraka is awesome because it reaches a different audience than world literature because sadly not everyone loves reading but the vast majority of people love watching movies. The film relates to 1st semester because it shows us images of oppression and horror going on in the world around us that you would have to be a Roger to ignore. Also the inspires people to care and not be the apathetic to wonder and sometimes the horror of the world around us. Some of the images that the film uses to stir this compassion and wonderment were the scenes of nature like slow-mos of cloud patterns and cute mediative monkeys in hot springs. Also the scenes showing religious and spiritual ceremonies were strangely touching. Then later in the film they show nature and peoples' ways of life being destroyed and your brain jumps back to the scene of the mediative monkey and the various touching ceremonies. Which in turn makes you feel strangely protective of the nature and ways of life around you and around the world. One of the most impactful images for me was the factory farming of the chicks on the conveyor belt. Just the coldness in which living things are treated in that scene sticks in your mind because to the people run that factory those living chicks are just a product and are just money. The images that I thought were moving differed from Brussat's images because she focused on the people and the contrast between them were as I focused more on the wonder of nature and how humans as a whole are impacting it.

The movement and sound in the film Baraka impact the overall meaning because the music impacts the mood of the images that are shown. Like in the film when the crater that spewing out lava is shown there is really intense music that is suppose to make you feel almost fearful of the earth's power to destroy. Yet if they had paired the lava with Into the Universe with Morgan Freeman-esque music then you would have been more awed by nature's great power than fearful. Also how the city and urban scenes are paired with fast paced music so that you feel the hustle and bustle of the city and the rural or nature scenes are paired with peaceful, zen type music. As for movement it is much the same principal because the nature scenes are sometimes slow-motion or a time-lapse for cloud patterns and the night sky. The city scenes are sometimes also time-lapse yet they give feeling of stress as you see thousands of people moving swiftly from point A to point B as quickly as possible with little notice to their surroundings. The conflicting uses of time-laspe in this film efficiently show the polar opposites of our planet. Also the complete lack of talking in this film makes each image completely objective so that each person can develop their own opinion. Which is rather strange in today's world because it seems that every film, person, newscast and song is forcing it's opinion on you and it trying to sway you one way or another. This film is different though because it is just trying to sway you towards compassion for the world around you. I seriously doubt that they film makers care where you find the moving moment in the film as long is there is one and as long as you are swayed towards empathy. Also in the beginning title there is a almost complete eclipse yet almost at the end the same eclipse is shown ending and revealing the light. Which I believe is the purpose of this film to take people who are in the darkness of apathy and show them the light of empathy.