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Business is Booming

Okay, so I’m going back to the ELS Blog, so that’s where I am, that’s where I’ll be.

Hopefully it can become a music/movie idea swap, so stay tuned there & we can work it out work it out:

Judges 5:27 Blog is here when you click this link.  New post today! 

Job 12:11

“Does not the ear test words, as the palate tastes its food?”

Unfortunately, I’m not as techno-savvy as I would like to be sometimes, & the ability to transfer my ELS Blog from a year anon (is this the correct usage of “anon”? I would guess not) is beyond me. Thus, I’m put in a situation wherein I have no other option but to rejuvenate the whole situation anew, this time with a different “theme” (blingo [blog-lingo; just made that up] for background color) & all new seemingly-chosen-at-random Bible references. Who’s excited?
Currently this is all procrastination, a simple tool of deference from the work I need to begin in order to present myself for the first time outside of the classroom to my peers (what little there may be) & elders (what age they may be!) at the “Forum on Undergraduate Research in Women’s Studies” – or as I call it, “That forum thing about women” – next week in Combs (or as I call it, my home away from my home away from home). I found out about this from Dr. Stone, who forced the bulletin into my hand a few weeks ago & “requested” I submit any of last semester’s postcolonial analyses; unfortunately I’m not certain how much of any of these papers were “undergraduate research” or affiliated with “women’s studies,” so I guess that just means I have a lot of editing, re-writing, & Wikipedia-ing to do (just kidding [maybe]). Also, my fifth-grade stuttering problem has boldly returned, refusing to be ignored as of late, so I hope everyone loves a bumbling witless presenter (I know I do!)!
Okay, wrapping up with a Youtube clip & I promise more coherency next time:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/qVaEPx_VyXs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Ruggero Deodato

Ruggero Deodato è la mia regista italiana favorita perché lui fa i film con uno stile dei documentari, ma loro sono finzioni. Il suo film famoso è Olocausto di Cannibale, che è considerato per essere molto polemico per i scene dei assassini che appariscono molto reale. Quando il film era rilasciato, Deodato era arrestato perché i assassini erano pensate essere reale, ma era rilasciato quando ha provato erano falsi. Alcuni dicono questo film è proibito in cinquante paesi.

Deodato

“Our West Coast Became A Potential Combat Zone”

Here’s the US propaganda video detailing the “Japanese Relocation.” Think of it what you may, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Sometimes the truth is truly the best fiction (or so we wish…)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/_OiPldKsM5w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

“My Answer is Yes, but My Judgment is No.”

“We saw Vietnam as an element of the Cold War, not as they saw it: a Civil War.”

I mentioned this briefly to Prof. Scanlon last class, & it’s something that struck me as wholly fascinating concerning the Vietnam War & nationalist tendencies in countries separated by thousands & thousands of miles. I was lucky to find the actual clip from The Fog of War – Errol Morris’ incredible (really, really incredible) documentary on former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara – I was thinking of, in which McNamara describes meeting with the former Prime Minister of N. Korea 20 years after the U.S. pulled troops from Vietnam. Basically, McNamara says that because the U.S. was not able to empathize with its enemy during the Vietnam War (which he goes into much more detail on if you watch the whole movie – & you should; I have it with me at school if you want to borrow it. Seriously.), the war escalated beyond our purpose. Our enemy – the Vietnamese (the “Communists”) – were fighting because their view of the war was that the United States were working to replace the French as a colonial power, whereas we were fighting for the “nobler cause” of stomping out Communism. It’s a pretty long clip (a little less than 10 minutes) & it’s worth watching, but if you haven’t got the time or patience, the part I’m actually talking about starts at minute 6:35 & goes to the end (I guess if you watch it on this page it goes backwards, so it would be from 2:44 to the end). Wait for it to load if you want, & then fast forward. Sometimes the actual videos don’t show up on the class blog, so here’s a direct link (or just watch it below):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/W5j0r4QyZeo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Brad.

Roma in nero e bianco

Questo fotografia è del Palazzo Braschi, in Roma.

Amo il stile della fotografia perché vedo che il terreno è gli spirali, e cosi, la fotografia sembra “3D,” o con tre dimensioni!

Brad E.

Par. Canto XXIII, 130-132.

“Oh, in those richest coffers, what abundance
is garnered up for those who, while below,
on earth, were faithful workers when they sowed!”

Because I know we’ve spoken in class about the options an Asian American writer has when writing concerning the language of choice – write in my native tongue to prove a point or write in English to reach the audience that needs to hear the message? – I thought it was interesting to note Jessica Hagedorn’s own choices of creativity in Dogeaters. There are times in the novel where the characters, plotlines, & relationships become so jumbled & interwoven that the purpose behind it all seems on the verge of becoming lost. Rather than worry about what connections Hagedorn herself has to the book, or what purpose each action holds in the context of a Filipino woman, I find myself poring over which Alacran is which & who the speaker is this time & which characters might maybe possibly not be addicted to something.

Which brings me quickly to another point: how necessary are all the “shocks” of Hagedorn’s novel? It’s hard for me to tell what’s excessive for the purpose of being excessive & what actually reflects modern life in the Philippines, & whichever is true, the fact that it’s hard to discern between the two is where Hagedorn loses a lot of her steam. The snippets of non-fictional narrative – or fictionally non-fiction, as in the news articles – are what I see as the main pieces of the book, woven delicately & very purposefully throughout the book at the most opportune times. While much of Dogeaters is scattered, jumpy, or shocking to be shocking, something like President McKinley’s speech (depicted brilliantly in the cartoon above) really keeps the book rooted in time & history. After all, there has to be a point to it all, hasn’t there?

Par. Canto XI, 58-61

 “for even as a youth, he ran to war
against his father, on behalf of her –
the lady unto whom, just as to death,
none willingly unlocks the door…”

Kingston’s Woman Warrior holds more weight for me as a piece of literature than A Japanese Nightingale, if I may make a quick comparison, because the way it uses its own poetic language to make its point is not only wonderful to read, but leaves no questions about where it’s headed. Whereas Watanna seemed unsure, unprofessional, & downright unfair when it came to her subjects, Kingston writes from both personal experience & personal grievances. She knows trouble, even if she has not lived through every minute of it personally, & her willingness to write without barriers about the trials is just further proof of her courage as a writer, as a woman, & as an Asian American. She seems to me to be THE voice of her audience, so much so that what she writes is written from inside Asian American Women as a unified, cataloged group, & could be related to many, if not all, of the tales of its past & future ancestors (truly, both exist).

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/jLtmm6skYV4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Here’s a quick something I found interesting to pass the time. It’s a short video of Maxine Hong Kingston (Fa Mu Lan?) explaining the different histories & origins of Asian Americans & the effect they have had on the “new generation” of Asian Americans living here. The video’s got weird perspective problems visually, maybe it’s better to just watch it with the monitor off. It’s interesting especially to note the mention of the Gold Rush, which we heard about in Monday’s class.

Par. Canto XXIII, 70-72

“Why are you so enraptured by my face
as to deny your eyes of the sight of that
fair garden blossoming beneath Christ’s rays?”

A Japanese Nightingale is, in essence, a fraud of a fraud of a fraud, every little piece of it wrapped in some package of its own accord, formed from predispositions or assumptions or counterfeit ideologies – fraud. The author is a Chinese-Canadian woman living as a Japanese-American, writing of a culture which she has never been exposed to in a voice of falsified colloquialisms & minuscule antiquities of which she has no part. The story follows a romance structured on guessing games & physical infatuation &, more than anything else, money, money, & more money. This is essentially just an example of shallow writing creating inept plot lines, nothing completely true because nothing is completely experienced (& in certain cases, not experienced even a little bit). I strongly believe that enough knowledge can make you an expert of that which you are not, but it works both ways, & ignorance only breeds cultural idiocy. It’s possible that this language is a bit harsh, but in the case of Winnifred Eaton, it’s only appropriate.

 

 

The question, then, becomes one of whether the author here is hurting or helping her “cause” (that of the Asian American Woman Writer). Here are the facts (& arguable facts are still facts):

  • She masks her natural heredity by feeding off of the stereotype that “they all look alike to Americans.”
  • The Japanese characters in her book are highly Orientalized by language alone (in other words, they are “mysterious” women & “weak” men).
  • The main female character in her book is mocked by her own voice as a character; she is not only flat from a literary standpoint, but is framed as unintelligent, greedy, & unattractively deceptive.
  • The American male in her book is written as an ignorant, lovesick, unaware “barbarian.”

 

 

This last fact, I think, is the most interesting, as it showcases a point concerning her portrayal of non-Asian characters in her writing, & still it is not a positive. This makes one wonder whether Eaton writes poorly of all of her characters, playing off stereotypes & preconceived notions for every race & gender simply to gather more rewards from her fanbase. If this is the case, perhaps her only crime, then, is that she is a poor writer & not just an offense to the Asian American authorial community. Either way, though, examples should only be taken concerning what not to do as a member of this rather exclusive community when reading Eaton’s work.