Keeping Korean Pop PG?

Recently, a friend of mine has introduced me to a new genre of music that I had been previously been unaware of. The genre, Korean pop, often referred to as K-Pop, often features groups of Korean singers and dancers. These groups contain anywhere from three to thirteen members and have completely taken over the music scene of Korea and hold a significant international presence.

Something interesting in the various K-pop music videos I had viewed, is the homogeneity of the beauty standards seen in the video. All of the women seen had similar features that were not particularly Korean. For example, many had visible matching nose jobs, double eyelids and extremely lightened skin. While most Koreans are not born with these features, it became apparent to me that these celebrities had undergone procedures to attain the beauty standards assigned to them. Another common trend I had noticed in the videos, in particular the videos featuring females, was the juvenile trends and tones that the women picked up while performing. This child-like sense of beauty that is considered desirable in the Korean culture was extremely visible in the songs and actions of the females.

Tied To the Environment

In this chapter of David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, Fleming exposes the negative environmental underbelly of the American ideal that every man is responsible for the level of success they achieve in their lifetime. Fleming counters this in a way, noting the environmental advantages and disadvantages of those raised in drastically different environments. Fleming uses low and high income neighborhoods to further his claim. In this segment of the chapter, Fleming adds another layer to the idealistic idea of pure self-sufficiency equating to success. Fleming eludes to the fact that while the individual does act in accordance to their own free will, they are caged by their environment immensely, which limits many.

Fleming also addresses the separation between the person and their environment and how this separation has become further defined in the last few years. Fleming Supports stratification with, “We have therefore learned to treat our ties to the physical world as superficial” (185). In this, Fleming describes the weakened ties between one and their environment and how these weakened ties affect the behavior of an individual. Fleming goes on further this theory regarding behavioral pattern and environment, stating that behaviors no longer hinge on environments for many, and that the actions of an individual in many cases would not differ based on the “background” of their environment.

 

Annotated Bibliography Sources 3 & 4

 

The source, Why ‘Lafayette’? Exists as an explanation for the naming of a town in Oregon, called Lafayette, on the town’s official website. While the majority of this site revolves around the happenings and citizens of the town Lafayette, Oregon, the page of the sight that I found useful was the page detailing the reasons for the town’s name, and the importance of Lafayette as a historical figure. The page remembers Lafayette as a “Celebrity” of the 1800’s, having played a large part in the revolutionary war in America as well as several revolutions in France. The source notes his elevated status in the decades after the Revolutionary War time and time again, also listing various other landmarks, towns and cities across the country that share the same name as their little town, in honor of the soldier and revolutionary.

This larger body of work that this piece is attached to serves to differentiate this source from other sources I have collected thus far. The fact that this page belongs to a bigger body of work that is not dedicated to the man lafayette himself provides more external information regarding lafayette’s life to be incorporated into the piece. This covert difference will most likely be helpful in providing my essay and the readers of my work with a more well rounded image of who the lafayette was and what he did in his life. This source also informed me of other sights and landmarks that were named after the Frenchman. While I am not writing about or analyzing these other sites, understanding why they were named for him and their possible relevance to his life or achievements will be helpful in my writing.

 

“Why ‘Lafayette’?” New Lafayette.org, 13 Aug. 2010,

www.newlafayette.org/lafayette-history/why-lafayette/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

 

This source, found on usbiography.org, serves not only as a factual biography of Lafayette’s life, including his birthday, parents, the year he began his revolutionary career, but also delves into his personal life, and childhood. The piece especially notes the way in which Lafayette became exposed to the revolutionary happenings in the colonies of what would later be The United States of America. The piece takes a less factual approach on this, stating, “Lafayette’s real introduction to America came at a dinner on August 8, 1775, when the young Marquis came into contact with the Duke of Gloucester who spoke with sympathy of the struggle going on in the colonies. With thoughts of the “romantic” American cause” (The Marquis de Lafayette). Along with painting a more colorful picture of lafayette’s life than most other sources, this source also explains the accomplishments of Lafayette before and after his work on the Revolutionary War, as a French Revolutionary.

This source provides for me much of what I was lacking when it comes to the credibility of Lafayette and his resume before his time fighting for American freedom. By using information gathered from this source, I will be able to relay Lafayette’s political and revolutionary resume before he came to America to the reader. This source will also be useful as it focuses less on lafayette’s biography in regards to the American Revolutionary War, and takes a look at the Frenchman from birth until death in full.

 

“Biography of the Marquis De Lafayette.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association,

www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/lafayette.html. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

 

The New Urbanism

In section two, chapter six of David Fleming’s, City of Rhetoric, Fleming focuses on the concept of ‘New Urbanism”. Fleming describes the concept of mixed urbanism as the implementation of  “socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods” (123). These socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods where introduced through the construction of townhouses with the intention of a mixed buyer market from different socioeconomic levels. Fleming also notes how the emergence of the “mixed-income urban village”(125), creating the first wave of movement towards the city since world war two.

Fleming analyzes a specific example of New Urbanism on the north side of Chicago within the public housing project, Cabrini Green. While this area had been known for its lower socioeconomic population and high level of unemployment, the creeping development of Cabrini Green’s surroundings prompted the city to initiate a project to redevelop the area in a safer, higher socioeconomic image. With the plans of redevelopment for the Cabrini Green, came the massive loss of low-income and public housing in order to make room for the middle-income housing. These forced gentrification and implementation of different socioeconomic housing levels into already low income areas, fleming states, forced many of the low-income residents out, hurting the lower socioeconomic class in the attempts to further bring classes together.

Lafayette Square Location Analysis

While most do not see the green square of Lafayette Park as much more than another monument in an area saturated with similar memorials, the space holds a rich history and speaks leagues of the areas disposition. The space, now called Lafayette Square, has not always technically been utilized as government property, the square has always been a staple of its surrounding community. Originally used as a cemetery, a racetrack, and even a slave market, Lafayette square was a public space used until it was purchased by the government in the 1700’s (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). The space’s first official governmental purpose was to serve as the original construction site for the White House and then again for repairs after the British destruction during the War of 1812 (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). Since then, the square has seen numerous changes, undergoing its latest update in 1970, when the square became an official historic landmark.

Lafayette Square, often referred to as Lafayette Park, originally went by the name of ‘President’s Park’ in the 1800’s, when it first became a landmark of significant use to it’s community (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). Likely, the locations original name was a result of the proximity of what is now Lafayette Square to the white house and the National Mall. Marquis de Lafayette, for which the square was named, was a French revolutionary, holding a large role in the American Revolutionary war as well as revolutions in France, particularly, the revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830 (The Marquis de Lafayette). Lafayette, often referred to as “The hero of two worlds”, helped shape not only American as a country, the patriotism and attitude that has lived inside American citizens since the revolution. The square in his honor is home to five statues, one in each corner of the Square commemorating a significant European figure in the revolution and Andrew Jackson in the center on Horseback (Monuments to the American Revolution in Lafayette Park). One statue, situated at the corner of the square farthest from the White House, shows Lafayette standing above three other men in a position of triumph. This statue aligns clearly with his image of a successful revolutionary and greets you as you enter into the Square. The second statue is erected precisely in the middle of the square. This statue shows President Andrew Jackson sitting on his horse, his stance and positioning connoting less a sense of victory and more a sense of honor and patriotism and pride.

Two of the Squares monuments, while both the same in their message of honoring and patriotism, are entirely different in their structure and in their subliminal, covert messages. The placement of these statues and how they are situated so differently also symbolic in the meaning of the Square as a whole. The statue of Lafayette is situated in the Southwest corner of the park (Monuments to the American Revolution in Lafayette Park). The monument is not fenced off from the public. Tourists and locals alike can go as close to the statue as they would like, many even climbing onto the base of the structure to take photos or sit down. The statue is also incredibly close to the busy street, with strips of sidewalk bordering two of the four sides of the monument. The placement of the statute ensures that it is not the centerpiece of the Square while also creating a less monumental, sacred tone around the space that is so often seen in and around historical monuments. Unlike the placement and construction of the monument of Lafayette on the southwest corner of the square, the monument to President Andrew Jackson sits in the center of the square, eluding a very different message and level of importance. Fenced off and surrounded by a circular, pristine patch of grass, President Andrew Jackson sits on top of his horse. The parks guests are not permitted to pass through the fence that separates this monument for the rest of Washington D.C.. The closed off nature of the monument in comparison to the more open monument at the corner of the park, subliminally relays to the citizen that this central statue is to be viewed as something placed in the park, and the four corner statutes are to be experienced as a part of the park. As the first statue to be placed in the Square, its central location seems only logical. Though, the placement along with the fact that it is the only statue that passersby are not permitted to get close to as well as the fact that not only is it the only American depiction in the park but an American president says something different. While the Square is named for the French revolutionary who helped gain American independence, it is the American President who holds the dominant place in the square. This, matched with the placement of the Square in regards to the white house solidifies national dominance over foreign influence in the area. The few blocks surrounding Lafayette Square, speak of more nationalism, patriotism and American pride than almost any other space in the country. While this Square is named for a foreigner who helped fight for those three things, the foreign influence is far from overshadowing the American influence in the park, as seen through the monuments.

The square, to me, has a layered layout. The innermost layer of the park, The statue of President Andrew Jackson, depicts a core of American emphasis. As the first statue erected in the Square, the monument displayed a sense of dominance over its space, creating a museum in which the spectator viewed. The next layer, which would be installed in the years to come, consisted of four statues, each of foreign influence. This layer, while responsible for the naming of the Square, holds less physical influence over the space. The layer trades in the experience of viewing for a more holistic experience. The third layer, the surrounding area, which holds everything from the White House to Historic Washington DC homes. This layer corresponds with the core of the square, reinstating the American dominance of the space, despite it having been named for a foreign ally. I see this layering effect as a measure of containment. By creating a strong American presence on either side of the international Tribute that is the perimeter of Lafayette Square, the foreign tribute is politely contained to its space. The strength of the American history that resides over the space directly outside of the square as well as at the core keeps the tribute to Lafayette and other foreign dignitaries relatively minimal. This, along with the fact that the square is placed in an area that is so saturated with American monuments, history and symbolism, ensures that the strength of the American Presence in the area will far outheign the strength of the foreign presence.

While I do not see this layering effect of dominance and containment as particularly negative, the effect of it is certainly evident when looking at the Square by itself, and in connection to its surrounding environment. The monuments erected in honor of these men, Lafayette included,  do not extend passed the sidewalks in which the are situated next to. They are not tall enough to see from a great distance away as are other monuments, nor do they demand a great amount of space. All of the elements of the construction and the placement of these figures serves to pay tribute to their subjects, while not overpowering any aspect of American tribute or honor in the nearby area.

This is further emphasized by the fact that each of the foreign honoring statues subjects are being honored due to their service to the United States of America to begin with. This shows not only the containment of the foreign influence in their placement, but in their message as well. In this, not only is the layering effect in full force, but and intrinsic containment is also present. This containment, as I see it, is done to maintain consistency within the area that the park sits. As the very center of our nation’s capitol, the purpose of the area is, at its core, to convey the strength, patriotism and core of The United States of America. This message of strength would be undercut by a such a strong message of international aid. In maintaining this image of American national pride, strength and unity, the introduction of such a strong foreign presence would be contradictory and alter both the consistency of the space and the message of the area as a whole.

 

Works Cited

 

“Biography of the Marquis De Lafayette.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association,

www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/lafayette.html. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

“Lafayette Square, Washington, DC.” GSA Home, www.gsa.gov/portal/content/214547.

“Monuments to the American Revolution in Lafayette Park.” The White House Historical Association , Library of Congress,

www.whitehousehistory.org/monuments-to-the-american-revolution-in-lafayette-park.

Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

“Why ‘Lafayette’?” New Lafayette.org, 13 Aug. 2010,

www.newlafayette.org/lafayette-history/why-lafayette/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

 

Failure is the Path to Success

Beckett’s take on failure differs from the traditional definition of the word, not treating as the opposite of succeeding, but as something that you are faced with on the road to success. In this, Beckett encourages others to fail, understanding that it is not the worst possible case scenario, nor is it even a negative one. The punctuation in Beckett’s text serve to create a choppy tone to the writing. Along with this choppy tone, is the fact that in just one line, Beckett switches the directions of his writing and his ideas numerous times. To me, this showed the reader what Beckett was truly trying to do: explain that it is ok to try out dozens of different ideas, approaches, etc.

AIDS and Race

You know the best medicine go to people that’s paid

If Magic Johnson got a cure for AIDS

And all the broke motherfuckers passed away

You telling me if my grandma’s in the NBA

Right now she’d be okay?

  • Kanye West

 

In the song, “Roses” by Kanye West, west details his experience in a hospital room with someone he loves and his heartbreak at the fact that they may not survive. In the first verse kanye Chimes in the the inner workings of the healthcare system, simultaneously tying the socioeconomics of health care to the disproportionate treatment of different races. West states that only those with the financial means to stay alive are the ones that do. He uses the AIDS epidemic and Magic Johnson as an example of this. West alludes to the fact that Magic Johnson was one of the few in the black community to contract the virus and have the means to pay for the treatment necessary to keep him alive.

 

Culture Gap

This week I found myself in communication with three Algerian students, currently attending university in Algeria. My contact with them regards a joint project that I will be completing with them, their team working from Algeria and my time (myself and two others) working from America. Our goal once we are finished is to examine the cultural gaps and differences and how those differences affect our work as a team. Upon opening my first email from the Algerian team, I found that the names of these people were completely, for lack of better words, foreign to me. I was unable to decipher which of the Algerian students were male and female. While communicating with the leader of the Algerian team, I found myself automatically assuming them to be male. As we have not video-conferenced with them yet I had absolutely no idea the sex of this person, but in my mind had already assigned to them a major piece of their identity. This struck me immediately. I had knowingly, walked into this relationship with these three Algerians, understanding that they come from a more sexist culture than I had. I weighed the overt sexims that exists in Algeria, over the covert sexism that is experienced in American society, sexism that I found myself contributing to.

Contentless Cover Art

The television show, The Magicians, follows a group of adults with magical powers unknown to the mainstream world in which they have always lived. The cover art for this show depicts a female lying horizontally in the air, almost as if she had been thrown into this position by a strong force. This woman is dressed in an extremely short skirt and shirt. The woman’s outfit and positioning gives this image a slightly sexual undertone, regardless from the fact that the show is not very sexual in its nature. Another reason this coverart does not make much sense, is the fact that the main character of the show is not this female, or any female at all, rather the storyline follow, primarily, a male magician. It seems to be that the placement of the woman in this image, while inconsistent with the context of the television show, was not done accidentally. Beauty and sex are two of the most coveted things in society today. By creating cover art for a product, in this case a television show, that depicts one of these two things, the creators can ensure some sort of traffic surrounding their product. The woman on the cover of this TV show advertisement may have very little to do with the show, but as long as people like the aesthetic presented and click on the photography, then the creators goal is reached.

BED #5

This photo shows the edge of Lafayette Square, where a group of students all sitting in black sat on the front steps of a private building. This group sat on the steps for about thirty minutes before they all got up at once and started walking in the direction of the White House. Whether this was a tour or a protest of some sort, I found the meeting place to be significant. Not only did they all meet directly across from the Square, but they sat and stayed in those positions for quite a while.