Mar 20 2017

Class on 3/20/17?

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Is there going to be class tomorrow?

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Mar 17 2017

Blog Post on Lacan’s Theory with Blade Runner

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Lacan’s theory and the movie “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott can be thought as peculiar to say the least. With “Blade Runner” being revolved around a future like earth with societies that use robots that can barely be distinguished from humans and then Lacan’s theory that states “the unconscious is structured as a language.”  You tend to think about the limitations us humans really have.

When watching the movie “Blade Runner” I used the theory Lacan stated in the introduction as a different way to interpret the movie. What I reflected on after watching the movie was that the replicants could be different in their unconscious state of mind, which led me to these questions. Are the replicants just like humans in the unconscious state of mind? Do they think differently from us at all? Are the replicants connected to each other in the unconscious state of mind? If the society and the Blade Runner Unit in the movie “Blade runner” tried to learn about the replicants in a different way then just put them into slavery or just hunt them down, what would the society in the movie be like then?

I thought it was interesting to take in the movie in such a different way since the unconscious state of mind could be so vast with thoughts. If you do what I did above with the same theory or with something else, do so with an open mind and try not to stray from what you are looking for. I say that because each scene of the movie can be interpreted differently each time you watch it. 

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Mar 15 2017

Audience, Revision, and Film

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Today, I’d like you to read Melissa Phruksachart’s short article on the Asian character in Get Out

In many ways, she’s doing the kind of thing you’re preparing to do for your final essays. She chooses an interpretive problem and develops a thesis using close reading (scene analysis) along with some historical context to use as a lens for her analysis. Let’s diagram it a bit. Read through all of the question, below. Answer the question with a paragraph-long comment to this post.

Question:

Who do you think is her audience? This seems like a simple question, and as long as it seems so it will receive only a simple answer. Experienced writers don’t think of audience in the general, simplistic sense of “people interested in film.” Experienced writers anticipate and compose audience. They anticipate the background knowledge, values, and reading habits of those they wish to read their work. The knowledge might include historical awareness in key areas, or a working understanding of relevant specialized terms. They might even have a specific way of decoding texts that outsiders would have difficulty deciphering. For example, new knitters have trouble interpreting patterns because they lack background knowledge. The values might involve various positions within a dialogue and public debate over culture, ethics, and politics in art. In another text, the values might rest on a completely different rubric for public engagement, one that attempts to completely exclude reference to such a debate, etc. Audience reading habits might be like yours–which texts do you read slowly, which do you read while annotating, and which hyperlinks do you follow, etc? How much time or re-reading do you intend to give the text? Much of this depends on the genre, platform, and context of the text. The same can be said for the text itself–much of it depends on the writer’s anticipation of these elements of audience.

But writers also compose audience, in a number of ways. They make arguments for the relevance of their concerns, and invite readers to develop the knowledge, values, and habits that go into reading their text–and their kind of text–well.

Given these considerations, what “moves” does Phruksachart make to show that she has anticipated and composed her audience? What background knowledge, values, and habits does she assume? What does she provide? What else?

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Mar 15 2017

Class Cancelled

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Hi Class,

I apologize for the late notice cancellation. I’m stuck in Jackson Heights behind loads of ice-hard-snow. Silly me–I thought I could dig myself out! Not possible.

It’s really important that we get some things taken care of today, so I’m composing another post to cover those details. They will include: guidelines for your revision, information about a couple of concepts (audience, tropes, etc.), and a discussion of a link to a short text that I want you to read. Please stay tuned.

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Mar 11 2017

Blog Post about How to Read Lacan Zizek

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Zizek’s work How to Read Lacan was brings up interesting points. One interesting thing that Zizek wrote that interested me was the part when he first started to write about The Big Other and language. He states that “It is as if we, are subjects of language, talk and interact like puppets, our speech and gestures dictated by some nameless all-pervasive agency.”  I never thought of human beings in this way and after reading that it really made me think. Are human beings really puppets to something? He goes on to talk about humans being like shadows with no real power. This got me thinking about is this true? What do you think is this true or is it something else?

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Mar 09 2017

what time is the paper due tomorrow?

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Mar 08 2017

Agenda for Wednesday

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Dialogic Notebook and In-Class Explication

  1. A dialogic notebook is a method of spacing out the process of reading a challenging text and thereby approaching meaning and insight from an advantageous angle. Begin by folding a landscape-oriented blank paper into thirds. These are your columns. In column one, write out a brief quote, or a short part of a brief passage, including the page number. In column two, write out what you take it to mean in your own words. You may later use this paraphrase in your essay drafts. In column three, respond to what you take it to mean. You may discuss something else that can be explained using the quotation, or you may discuss its references or the reasoning behind it, or you may come up with another approach. Steer clear of statements of “I like” or “I dislike.” These statements generally shut down conversation, and are therefore not highly regarded in the university.
  2. In groups, discuss a section of the chapter—likely one chosen for you in advance—and figure out how to teach it. How can you help your fellow students make sense of this? How would they apply this to other texts/situations?
  3. Each group will present their section. It can be tempting to “zone out” when another group is presenting. Please resist this. To assist your resistance, I will call members of each group in the audience to come up with a question about the section presented.
  4. Next week, as it is posted in the schedule, students will hand in a “Dialogic Journal” with 500 additional words of analysis. I suggest you use the Dialogic Journal to think through an element of the text on Lacan, and use the 500 words to discuss a scene in either Blade Runner or Repo Man using (or experimenting with) the theory as a lens.

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Mar 08 2017

Follow up to Monday’s class–including future due dates and details.

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  1. On Monday, I passed out this text for students to read. Those who were absent: read this.
  2. New theme! I’m hoping it will be easier to navigate this version of the blog. Some students have been having a tough time with the blog-based info, and I’m working on making this manageable for all. Also, I added material thinking that we’re reading Hegel next week, but it isn’t until the next week that we’re reading it. If you see references to Hegel for next week, please ignore them. We’re going to spend next week talking about writing about what we’ve read so far.
  3. In class, we talked about the generic items in Repo Man and considered how the generic-ness applied to characters in the film as well. We examined the generic Asian grocer selling  generic cans of “Drink” in the scene with Harry Dean Stanton’s character (Bud). Here is a link to Elaine Kim’s definition of the “model minority,” in our shared Dropbox folder.
  4. FOR NEXT MONDAY, March 13. Watch one of the course films a second time, this time keeping copious notes about details that might be significant. What things do you notice? How many things can you notice that you might overlook if you weren’t searching for them? More is better than less here. Here is an example using my “detail notes” for the first part of Repo Man (also in Dropbox). I typed mine so that you could read them clearly, but the handwritten version is fine to bring on Monday. Please aim for legibility with your penmanship!
  5. I’ve added a section to the Syllabus called “How Do I Get an A?” It is found in the grading area of the syllabus.
  6. Final essays are due by Friday, 3/10. No time specified–I’ll start looking through them on Saturday.
  7. I assumed that everyone, like me, considers Sunday as the first day of the week. Therefore,  I confused many of you into thinking that final drafts of Essay 1 are due this coming Sunday, March 12. That is not the case. They are due this Friday. March 10. If you can’t get it in by then, don’t hide from me. Write me an email explaining what you need. I’m a human being! I will try to tidy up the schedule this week. This is my first time relying on a blog for so much of the class, and I’m learning a lot via various disasters. As much as you can be forgiving and flexible with me I can reciprocate for you.

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Mar 06 2017

Class in Keily 315 on Mondays

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Remember to come to Keily 426 today for class. We’ll be revisiting and discussing scenes from Repo Man.

 

 

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Mar 04 2017

“Repo Man” Analysis

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“Repo Man” is definitely a confounding movie, one which does not hand you the lesson of the story right away, but leaves it up to the watcher to ponder it.  I can see why it may be considered a cult classic, as it may take a re-watch or two to finally have it sit well.  One elements of the movie that intrigued me the most was the man who was driving the Chevy Malibu, the car itself, and the contents of the truck.  I believe this movie was an allegory to society and social class, and I believe the elements aforementioned reveal a specific aspect of social class.  The Chevy Malibu represents the means to a ‘desirable goal’ of which everyone strives to achieve.  More specifically, this goal is to achieve the ‘American Dream’; to live a vague notion of what a contented life might be like.  Bud saw it as a means to getting out of the Repossession business, to get out of the grind of a difficult life, and live a contented life owning a scrap yard with a few pit bulls.  The folks clad in suits or radiation gear wished to take it for the mere reason of keeping it from everyone else.  I get this impression because they are always in pursuit of it, without giving a perceivable reason why.  And finally, Otto wished to obtain it in his personal search for meaning.

This ‘desirable goal’ and the means in achieving it, however, is not what it cracks up to be.  In reality, the means toward obtaining the goal gradually drains the life out of you.  My guess is that with the ‘desirable goal’ of the American Dream, there comes a trade-off that is essentially a selling of the soul.  The man driving the Chevy Malibu is the symbol of the person who has obtained the ‘desirable goal’, and the results are not pretty.  He drifts aimlessly to and fro as he drives the car, symbolizing one’s meaningless and aimless journey through life in pursuit of happiness.  The affects of this are not immediately apparent, as the fellow driving the car, when approached, is not even conscious of his gradual self-destruction.  This gradual self-destruction adds up in the decades-pursuit of meaning and happiness, and I believe the sadness and frustration in obtaining this ‘desirable goal’ is symbolized in the trunk.  The trunk is the pent-up destruction of one’s life in pursuit of the American Dream, and thus when it is opened, it is a burst of extreme frustration that, if taken in one moment rather than decades, kills the man.  Thus, when the trunk is opened by either the punk or policeman, both in their own ways in pursuit of happiness, are obliterated by the pent-up frustration of a lifetime’s worth of grievances.

(Posted on March 3, 2017 at 8:03PM)

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