Identity found in Stickers

Something that I have seen all over campus, and all throughout my high school career, are stickers found on student’s laptops or on their cases. At American University, many of the stickers seen are political statements, but others seem reference TV shows, music, hometowns or states, Greek Life, or any extra-curricular or club that a student may be involved in.

The stickers work to create identity for the laptop user. Placing stickers on your laptop, not only decorates it, but shows to other people what you are interested in, where you are from, or what you like to do. From this, others can make connections from what they see, as they may relate to one or find one particularly interesting. I, personally, have gotten many comments from my political stickers decorating my laptop.

When you see another with stickers from your favorite show or another mutual interest, it creates a connection. In a society that many argue is being divided and altered by technology, like being distracted by your smart phone, simple things like stickers bring us back to mutual interests in the present (which are ironically found on pieces of technology).

Woostah, MA

I am from a fairly large city in Massachusetts called Worcester, located an hour outside of Boston in central Mass. A common rhetoric found, not only in Massachusetts but in Worcester, is the emphasis on language, pronunciation, and accent. What’s known as the Boston accent is found in my city as well. Many people from Worcester called the city “the Woo” or “the Dirty Woo,” depending on where you are from or what the context of the conversation is.

Below are two photos of a sticker and a wall decal that I have from home that emphasize the accent. My friends and I don’t carry the accent like our parents do or others of the older generations but we adopt it because it means home, even when we are only making jokes of it, like when I reassure my friend that she is “wicked smaht.” With the nicknames, the reputation, and the accent comes great pride for “the Woo” and for Massachusetts.

GW Community Spreads Through Foggy Bottom

“Foggy Bottom is conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C., close to three major airports, including Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International and Baltimore Washington International, as well as to Union Station where you can take the bus or train.” – https://www.gwu.edu/foggy-bottom-campus

One of the greatest aspects of the Foggy Bottom area is that it holds connections to all parts of the city, it has become an attraction for students and regular people who look for common attractions such as an abundance of restaurants and even places to live or attend school. Where GW University and all that it encompasses is located in DC is in Foggy Bottom, which has turned into college student filled area because of the GW buildings that are located all over the area, in addition to the attractions like the metro, and many restaurants. Foggy Bottom boasts locations to all places and the name itself refers to connects. When George Washington is researched, either as a school or as the hospital, they both draw attention to the connections. One thing that is noticed all over Foggy Bottom due to the draw of the area are the GW logos on all the buildings and being repped by all students walking around the city. Thus, the GW logos are what make the community within the area.

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

After being stuck in line for an hour and thirty minutes too many, my friend and I ended up discussing the connotations of the phrase “Do you have a boyfriend?” One that is used by a lot men when they are hitting on women. This statement is one that many girls hear far too often.

When men receive the answer from women, that “yes, I do have a boyfriend,” they receive it as a message that some man already has possession of this women and he need not continue with whatever speil he was about to propose. In order to curb the situation, my friend lied about having a boyfriend so that men would not continue to berate her with questions. Another friend stated that they were gay, but even that did not subdue the man’s efforts. And in this case, he kept referring back to the point that she was missing out on a man… um no.

Many men see women as objects. And when another man is already in that territory the other will back off.

And of course “not all men” do this and that is true but what is “all men” is what is translated through jokes and through culture and how relationships are examined, formed, and expected to be. Far too often, I have found myself whining about something that causes me no harm, typically homework, but everyone else is doing it so I continue to do so as well. In the similar sense, this translates into how men treat women. A man might see his friend treat a girlfriend one way and say “well, I would never do that,” but this man also never interferes to interrupt the cycle.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” may seem like an innocent question, but don’t ask me if I belong someone else’s first before you decide to corner me into a conversation.

A lot of artists use music to make a statement on these types of advances. The beginning Alessia Cara’s song speaks more along the lines of being disinterested in male advances and I just like Hey Violet’s tunes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKp2CrfmVfw

Trump knows nothing about history… why is that shocking?

““It’s not overly surprising that he would say nice things about Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage and say nice things about Henry Clay in Louisville,” Daniel Feller, a professor at the University of Tennessee and an expert on Jackson, said. “In fact, you might say that it’s par for the course.” – Politico, about Donald Trump

This was taken from an article, titled “Trump’s loose grip on history is biting him” (written by Aiden Quigley), about Donald Trump’s lack of basic historical knowledge and its political effect on America. The last line is a jab at Trump, slightly mocking him because all he seems to be doing recently, instead of his job as leader of the free world, is play golf.

So Trump may be “par for the course” in that situation regarding Jackson and Clay, but his most recent acts in Congress and all his first efforts at legislature have failed, with repealing Obamacare and implementing a new health care plan, and with the Muslim ban.

Additionally, Andrew Jackson’s current reputation directs him to the Trail of Tears, where he forced out thousands of Native Americans from their homes and many of them died. There is irony where it states, “It’s not overly surprising that [Trump] would say nice things about Andrew Jackson…” Trump is not known to be politically correct or to even care for anyone but himself, so this statement is not “surprising.”

In summary, the article is discussing his lack of historical knowledge, mostly regarding the past presidents but this article is intended to be applied to all other aspects of world history, as his legislature, future actions, and negotiations are all built on the past relations between other nations. (President Trump, U.S. News)         Things do not disappear between presidents and most of the foreign nations do not like Trump in the first place, so his blatant ignorance does not do him any favors.

“Somebody stole my car radio and now I just sit in Silence”

“… Somebody stole/ my car radio/ And now I just sit in silence/ I ponder of something terrifying/ ‘Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind/ I find over the course of our human existence/ One thing consists of consistence/ And it’s that we’re all battling fear.” – Twenty One Pilots, “Car Radio”

Unlike the previous Commonplace assignments that I have completed, the media for this one has changed, from literature to lyrics. The format of the lyrics can be paralleled to poetry. The rhyme is not consistent but the piece creates a rhythm that works well in the rap that Tyler Joseph performs, as seen in the video. But the rhymes that are included (like “existence”/ “consistence,” and “somebody stole”/ “my car radio”) contrast the final statement and make it especially noticeable, from the rhyme above to “we’re all battling fear.” As a result, the change seems to make the statement more profound.

On the content, Twenty One Pilots, made up of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, make a strong statement on fear that is contained in everyone, stating that fear is part of “our human existence.” They present the idea that music or the radio is a way that people hide from their fears by masking the silence where thought is provoked. Silence creates a space for thought and thinking is powerful and can be all consuming, as well as illuminating loneliness or estrangement from others. I find this song interesting in the way that the listener of the song may listen to fill the silence that they experience (like the silence that they are presenting in the lyrics) and I think there is irony in how the band is performing a song to present the idea and the fear behind silence.

But what the lyrics also present is that things can be discovered in the silence, as they sing “I ponder of something terrifying/ ‘Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind/ … And it’s that we’re all battling fear.” Joseph also sings that everyone contains this fear, showing that it is part of the human condition. We, as humans, fear the quiet because it leads to too much thinking but can also lead to discovery.

The video itself, adding to the meaning of these specific lyrics, makes this fear tangible. The video itself is not clear, appearing to be cut and scratched at points. Along with Joseph’s acting, he is alone and restless/uncomfortable until he enters the crowd and they all jump and act together as one, showing the uniformity and the universal fear that is instilled in everyone.

Wise Words from Beckett

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” -Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett tells us that failing is common and that everyone fails at some point. He implies that failing is not bad per say, it just means you start again. “Fail better” means that you have failed in a different way than before, ultimately (and hopefully) getting closer to what you want to achieve. This is an important statement because a lot of people think that once you fail, that is the end of that journey but what is important is that Beckett tells us we just begin again and continue working. He says that you will fail and “fail again” but that does not make the trying any less important. The way he presents this idea, proposes that instead of being inspirational it is factual.

The most significant thing about the simple structure is that is gets the point across and labels it as fact because it does not leave room for argument. By using the simple punctuation, he makes a statement, specifically on the fact that everyone at some point has tried and failed, and that is was life consists of. If he were to change the structure of the sentence the meaning would change. Applying different punctuation to the statement would have the reader questioning their actions. Keeping all the sentences as statements implies that all have tried and failed. Adding an exclamation point would propose that the statement is trying to inspire action, while in actuality is is making a claim.

Additionally, in terms of sentence structure, similar to the punctuation, if Beckett had used DC/ IC form, then the sentence would imply additional action. An example of this could be: “Have you ever tried or ever failed? When you fail, it is no matter, because you can try again! And once you fail again, you will have failed better.” Rather than Beckett telling us what we did, or how it happened, or how to react, he only gives us the basics and we must apply it on our own, which, ultimately, broadens the meaning.

Love

Commonplace 6 (3/2/17)

“‘Why do we breathe air? Because we love air? Because we don’t want to suffocate. Why do do we eat? Because we don’t want to starve. How do I know I love her? Because I can sleep after I talk to her”(262).  -Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King

The fragment implies that Love is as natural as breathing or eating and at the same time it is peaceful, as sleep usually is. “She” calms his mind. To most, sleeping can be a struggle, whether it is insomnia or just a general inability to quiet one’s mind. The way that she is able to do this reflects the importance of her presence and the non-ability of helping him. “Because I can sleep after I talk to her,” shows how individual and significant this love is -not just anyone can do this or be this person.

He proposed questions that seem ridiculous, in a sense, because no one continuously struggles with the answers, or questions why we breathe or why we eat. He proposes the idea that this love is natural and even comparable to the will to live and/or to survive, in regards to the relationship he creates between breathing and eating. He shows that it, that Love, is necessary to survival.

The sentence structure is very “I” centralized. This character is emphasizing what he can do. And with “we,” it makes the sentences universal, applying them to everyone -reader and all. “We” all “breathe,” and “love,” and “eat.”

The most important part of this fragment is that it is never implied if it is romantic or platonic love, love between friends or love between family or love between lovers. All love can be equally important and necessary to live, to survive, happily and  peacefully -complete.

Commonplace 5

Part 1: We often walk around without giving the things around us much thought. For instance, walking to class we ignore our campus and surroundings however we do talk to our friends and communicate with acquaintances. In the same way, people walking to work don’t hyper focus in on their environment despite the dangers that it may entail. As a result, by ignoring what is in front of us, walking around oblivious to our surroundings slows our reactions to threats. Therefore, making it unsafe to walk alone, especially as a female. As this essay will discuss that danger, although many scholars of psychology have addressed the idea that this obliviousness comes from the obsession with technology and with some personal intent to remain ignorant to surroundings and others during this time, these ideas have rarely been discussed in a way that would introduce a way for all people to pay attention to their surroundings for the benefit of those who may be injured or become a victim, working to not to be a bystander in a time of danger.

Part 2: The American University website is not only aimed at future students but at their parents as well. Therefore, the site must work to attract both parents and students because, of course, the majority of parents are going to offer an opinion on the success of the school and their students. The front page of the website shows pictures of campus and videos of the students to make the school appear to be welcoming and friendly. Consequently, the pictures show campus as both academic and fun- with the appearance of students studying and hanging with friends. Below the photos and videos, “Discover Your Future with AU” notifies the audience of their potential if they attended the school. The pie chart shows successes and opportunities available to students. Thus, this section allows people to choose and compare majors and degrees and their past successes with students. Much of the website shows additional links under more pictures to draw the focus. Furthermore, these links expand of different topics that show the diversity of school and provides links to connect with the school in additional ways like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. In short, the website is designed to be appealing to students and parents alike and to provide useful insight into what the university has to offer them.

Part 3: “The sun came up a baleful smear in the sky, not quite shapeless, in fact able to assume the appearance of a device immediately recognizable yet unnameable, so widely familiar that the inability to name it passed from simple frustration to a felt dread, whose intricacy deepened almost moment to moment . . . its name a word of power, not to be spoken aloud, not even to be remembered in silence.”

  • The sentence has both a subject and a verb, the rest is for the description of the sun and what the sun is doing and how the sun is doing it.
  • “The sun came up” could be an entire sentence alone but the added description of the action shows more details and a greater picture of the sun coming up, which ultimately improves the sentence.

Rain

“He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains… It was heavy and dark, and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside… he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the flat grass.. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him” (242-243). – Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King

This section from the text has contradicting elements. One, is the dark, impending storm, and the second is the appearance of water. The former shows to be a growing threat and the latter acts as a purifier. There are three significant interpretations of the rain and the storm. All of these interpretations tie into one another because they all represent an important change relatable to living, such as consequences, or a new, freeing beginning.

  1. Although the storm could be seen as an ending, the water is like rebirth. Rebirth is the traditional interpretation of water. “He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him,” purifies him and saturates him. The approaching storm will cleanse one of their worries.
  2. Another insinuation of the water and the storm could be reviving or waking up the character from a numbness. He interprets the storm with his senses, “He could smell it… And he could see it.” These introduce the first two sentences, building the scene. The description of the sky as “electric, restless smell of ozone” and the “heavy and dark” of the impending rain storm shows the focus on the senses and creates a vivid, very alive reaction to the storm. The rhetoric makes the rain feel real to the reader, you can see the approach of it, the smell, and the feel.
  3. The third insinuation of the section would be that the character knows of the consequences of the storm, or something else that may be descending upon him, and still deciding to stay… “He could smell it… And he could see it” and “he knew.” “Even at the last minute” he chose to stay, he had time to leave and escape but the storm but he did not. The storm could insinuate that sometimes things may seem terrifying or daunting (“[hearing] the rain pounding the flat grass”) but that it may bring something new and it may bring change.

All three insinuations combine and come back to initiate a change approaching, a new start, and having the character embracing and understanding these changes. “He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him” may be a sign or a feeling of relief because of how water acts as a purifier. The “hazy gray sheet of water” shows the vague future that is approaching. Instead of heading inside of the house, the character embraces the future.

This may be a signal of great change or he could just being embracing the rain- perhaps it doesn’t come around very often.