Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Project 4: Classification

So, I want to classify humanitarian causes to make people realize that it's better to be more passionate about one unjust cause than to feel overwhelmed by them all and do nothing.

Classifying international humanitarian causes
The principle: Classify by cause/crisis
  • Genocide/mass murder - Darfur,
  • Famine/Hunger (would vegetarian/vegan issues fit under this?)
  • Disease - AIDS, bird flus, STDs, doctors without borders
  • Environmental - stopping climate change, government regulation, areas impacted by natural disasters
  • War - Iraq, Afhganistan (should this be under genocide?)
  • Domestic Issues - US-specific causes
  • Civil Liberties - slave trade/racism, sexual slave trade/sexism, rights to all people regardless of class, creed, age, sex etc.
The categories are fairly broad--which I think is ok?--but the "classes" aren't parallel exactly, does that matter? Wondering what you all think, if some might work better than others and if I left anything major out? I'd like to cover a wide spectrum.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week 5 Reading

Here are a few gems from this week's reading in McQuade & McQuade, Chapter 5: Tip, don't skip the reading pieces this week.
  • "How to Live" by Annie Dillard, p. 426-428
  • "Coming into the Country" by Gish Jen, p. 434-436
  • "Cool like Me" by Donnell Alexander, p. 440-443. I really fell for this one, when I read, cool is "about making a dollar out of a 15 cents." I think this could be a starting point for a discussion on the connection between the current "hipster" cool that steals from low-class culture--trucker hats, flannel/plaid shirts and mohawks/mullets. Originally I thought an article on cool was going to be, well, lame. But Alexander really does understand cool. The synthesis of difference and living by it, not just wearing it or speaking it, but being it.
  • "24 People for whom I haven been mistaken" by Roger Shimomura, p.474-475
  • "National Museum of the Middle Class Opens in Schaumburg, Il." by The Onion. p. 488-89. What was greatest about this piece is their decsribing the middle class workers work week--eight hours a day, five days a week, and weekends off, and it makes it so clear that this is NOT the way we, people, have to live their lives. It's how we choose to or are made to choose to. The work week is just a construct and I think everyone's lives would be a lot better if the system would reevaluate what is best for the people and the economy regarding the balance of work and life. (I strongly support afternoon siestas and shutting down for the month of August. Ohhh France!)
Pick of the Week: Nikki Lee's collection from p. 407-419. The images were fairly intersting in their own right, but when I was reading her bio and realized that it was her in every image, that she had worked her way into each of the different subcultures, I was blown away. Mostly, I'm curious about how she infiltrated these cultures. She altered her "hair, makeup, clothing, body language, and even weight to fit in." It seems and makes me question the level of deception. Did her new friends know nothing about her project, did they know anything of her when the make-up and clothes were off? If so, how did they feel? If not, how did they feel when she was suddenly no longer a part of their lives? (I'm making the assumption that if she didn't tell them, she must have removed herself from them, because how could she maintain so many facades simultaneously.) The photos ask who are you and what makes you you? But they also seem to be answering that you are shaped wholly by your environment. Perhaps, if we were provided with her personal feelings regarding her experience, we could see the role that nature (ie genetics, ethnicity etc) played and/or intertwined with environment.