On The Jungle

Well! I have just read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Not the most relaxing subject matter for the first book of summer break, but I was eager to read it after studying the Gilded Age and Progressive Era in America in my latest history class. During the semester, we read Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams and looked at some photographs by Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, and all of the above piqued my interest in urbanization, industrialization and immigration in the early 1900s. Read the rest of this entry »

No 40 acres and no mule for you.

This semester I am enjoying a class on US history between 1877 and 1916. One of the first discussions we had in the class was about the boundary dates of the period.  Even the professor isn’t completely sure why the class ends at 1916. World War I or America’s shift toward world power, we posit. But 1877 is definitely significant — it marks the end of Reconstruction. Read the rest of this entry »

A Whiter Shade of Rainbow: a Rhetorical Criticism of Genre, Symbol and Ideology in San Francisco’s Castro District

A huge rainbow flag flutters overhead. Cool fog rolls down over two Twin Peaks that rise in the west, sending a chilly breeze between brightly painted Victorian row houses and down a wide boulevard toward a modern skyline of glass and steel. A streetcar bell clangs as two young men walk by holding hands; you’re in San Francisco’s Castro District. Read the rest of this entry »

grenade in your soy latte: an analysis of metaphor and narrative in Madonna’s “American Life” video

Watch the video here.

Madonna. Just the word has the power to instill awe and fear. Not only does this word point us toward the gentle but powerful Christian concept of the Madonna, but it is also the one-word signifier for the incisive, controversial, wildly successful, powerhouse pop-star Madonna of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who, very early in her career, stated that her goal was “to take over the world.” She has certainly succeeded in that goal in many regards. But she has also made some missteps. Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking about thinking

I have been thinking about thinking lately.  I know, I know, if I’m not careful, I’ll hurt myself!

But seriously FYI you guys*, I have been thinking about critical thinking.

You know those paranoiac facebook status memes that people are cutting and pasting into your life with ever-increasing frequency?  Read the rest of this entry »

The Meat of the Matter: A Neo-Aristotelian Analysis of Lady Gaga’s “The Prime Rib of America” Address

Watch the address here.

Michael J. Fox wants you to think about stem cells. Scarlett Johansson is all about Obama. Pam Anderson gets naked for PETA. If there is a malady or an injustice, Bono has spoken to someone somewhere about it – and posed for a picture to prove it. Just by looking at a list of celebrities who engage in activism, it might seem that a prerequisite for celebrity is a burning passion for a pressing issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Better Living Through Acting

Who drew me?

So, as my acting class progresses, the work I’m doing is affecting me in ways that I didn’t anticipate.

I knew my heart would nearly jump out of my chest before performing in front of the class.  I knew that my fear of making a fool of myself in front of (sober) people would give me moderate anxiety before, during and long after class had adjourned.

What I didn’t expect was that I would end up evaluating the very way that I view and relate to people. Read the rest of this entry »