Interstellar Overdrive

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Struggle between Feudalism and Bourgouise and Shakespeare’s Involvement to it with King Lear

 

            It is vital to make a Marxist reading of King Lear to get a full grasp of the struggle between feudalism and bourgouise, but it also helps reader to understand to what extend and how Shakespeare is involved in it.

            First of all, the social text and the ideologies diffused in it must be understood properly. Understanding what was Shakespeare’s involvement is important to figure out what was the struggle really about and how close Shakespeare was to any of this ideologies or maybe if he is not close at all.

            In King Lear, neither of the discourses were dominant, in fact, with the use of literary word Shakespeare tried to blur the lines between the two sides of the play. We see the rise of a new class and the old one is really concerned about it, but what makes it interesting is that they are two systems of value existing in one another. They value their status and nobility, but the next scene we see them selling titles. So basicly, in a marxist reading we see how Shakespeare shows us that two sides are pretty much the same, after all, in King Lear, the defining concept of the play is greed.

            Ideology of the text is sympathetic to the order and well being of it. There are small flaws with system, and they are shown, but at the end of the day, they are not a big deal. In the end of play, all characters talk in according to the wellness of the order, even the evil admit its glory. But of course, in history direct opposite has happened. So, if this whole thing was inevitable, was Shakespeare foreshadowing it in his work? The answer is most likely yes. In the Marxist reading we see how system’s chaotic qualities causes the new one to emerge. Nobles of feudal class tries to critisize newly rich bourgouise and their excessive spending, though they can’t see how ridicilous it sounds when they mention such a thing. God-send powers of King also indicates that there surely will be a rise against it. And last, even though play depicted them evil, bourgouise’s ideas were futurist and was for the good of people.

            So after analyzing King Lear like this, we see the true involvement of Shakespeare according to this struggle. His text is both subversive and questioning, making it an intersection of ideologies. So yes, maybe we can’t be one hundred percent sure about if Shakespeare completely and purely intentionally foreshadowed the eventual demise of feudalism in due time, but in a Marxist reading it is quite clear that he hints about it, or maybe even tries to give the implication that it he believes this is what is going to happen.

Mi Familia: Nava’s “double-edged sword” Depicting Mexicans in a New World

                The reason why I choose to call the film “a double-edged sword” is because of Nava’s over-simplifying of Mexican people and the struggle they had. Even though the film represents a misguided and idealized search for a cultural identity, underlying themes such as migration, exile and cultural displacements are never thoroughly adressed, Nava preferred to portray a more typical family household who is trying to achieve American Dream. Nava’s acknowledgement about his purpose, that in making Mi Familia he didn’t mean to teach or provide a history of the Chicano experience. Rather the main purpose, he argues, was to make people feel proud about being a Chicano. Well, in my opinion he failed on that aspect.

                The story is narrated by Jose’s eldest son, Paco, as he chronicles his familiy’s life described by a rich tapestry of character and culture along with visual metaphors. The film attempts to combat the racial construction of Latino people typically seen in Hollywood films – the stereotypical hot-blooded lover, gang member, the greaser or lazy guy wearing a sombrero. But still, we have Chucho the gang leader, though his stereotypical character is connected to the identity crisis he is in. Eventually it leads to his tragic death which shows the ultimate result waiting for those who does not accept assimilation into American culture.

                The difference of mindsets immigrant Jose and his children (especially Chucho) had, creates the identity crisis which is the result of cultural displacement. They find their father’s ideal impossible. They feel like they are faced with the choice of either being Mexican or being American. The reason why Chucho ends up being a stereotype is to get rid of the pressure and gain respect, sadly it brings him his early demise.

                A major problem with the film is that none of the characters are fully developped expect for an attempt to show Jimmy’s troubled life. As a spectator, we learn very little about Memo and Paco, or how they achieved their success. Particularly, in regard to Memo, the film hints at internalized racism shown through Memo’s Americanization (he’s known as Bill) and his desire to embrace white culture. His embarrassment about Mexican culture can be seen clearly when he brings his white girlfriend and her family to meet his family.

                Even though we praise Mi Familia for fighting against the stereotypical Mexican image, it surprisingly discounts gender politics and instead reinforces patriarchal values of Chicana and Latina. We see this during the Irene’s wedding when Jose advises his son-in-law that “a good wife is the best thing that can happen to a man in his life.” The denotation of “good wife” inevitably means the chaste, subservient, obedient virgin and mother image. So the notion of “good wife” is a linguistic remnant of an archaic history predicated on the subservient mothering of the macho, whose sexual power is constructed on the powerlessness and chastity of women. Only way female characters can exist as a strong one is to keep their contextualized mother image. Maria and Toni are good examples of it. What makes Maria important in her family is how she completely adopte to mother and protector of chastity notions. There’s no other way she can assert herself a place in macho-dominated Mexican culture. Toni, on the other hand, show the different side of Chicana problem in the film. Even though Nava tries to show her as a dominant character, she is not much different than Maria as a woman in macho culture. Toni’s lack of sexuality is seen “unnatural” by the male characters. Her sexual image causes her objectification and it is verbalised by one of Chucho’s friend who tells him, “I would give my let nut for a moment with her in the back seat of my Chevy.” The silence of Chucho’s might surprise spectator but explains the big problem. After Toni’s removal from the film, Paco’s comment reinforces sexist discourse; “We all thought it was a little strange that Toni wanted to become a nun but then she was the bossy type and that is the type that usually becomes a nun.” This message shows to the spectator that Chiacas have no place in family unless they bow to the male authority, which is symbolized by Catholic church on that occasion.

                At this point, the other major problem of the film overlaps with this one. Toni, Irene and to some extend Maria function more as adornments than as Chicana subjects. The choice to portrat these female characters as two dimensional appears intentional on the part of Nava insofar as he provides male characters with a space to frolic in patriarchal banding and the histronics of wounded macho. So basicly, Nava who decided not to develop any character properly gives even lesser importance to presence of strong Chicana individuals.

                In the end, while Mi Familia can be considered as a successful fim which deconstructs common Mexican stereotypes, it is clear that Nava did not really give any thought on underlying realities of their society and decided not to develop any proper characters, ignore Chicana as individuals and instead, depicted a Mexican family who are trying to assert their place in American Dream in their own way.

               

The Lego Movie, Anti-capitalism and The Lego Company

Well, I never thought I could see such a movie for “kids” when I was done watching The Lego Movie. It was great fun (as expected) but what I was surprised about was the references and the multi-layered scenario.

Before I go on further, I would like to eliminate any possible misunderstandings if I may call it that way, because it would not be correct to take this as a serious critic of the movie since I do not possess such extensive knowledge on subjects mentioned below.

From my childhood to become a 24 year old young man, I have almost all the time kept in touch with Lego. But I was not thoroughly convinced that there could be a proper movie made about Lego in a good way. It would either be boring or animation (which means no Lego) or a seriously weak plot which makes it practically a cartoon for kids. To my and many people’s surprise, It was not the case.

So what was it like then? It was a layered film in my opinion. Perfect and super fun for the kids who both knows and does not know about Lego and a film for grown ups who are concerned about our world today.

As you might know, Legos usually come in sets with instruction manuals. In the movie we had a world where “Everything was awesome” as it is quoted in a song in the movie. But what was on the table is a model of capitalist world like ours today, where people think they have choices but frankly they don’t really have and the few choices they do have are dictated by capitalist enterpreneur Mr. President. So as we see here, main villain of the movie is a CEO. That is a very bold move to make in a movie like this but as I mentioned before it was highly appreciated by adults who are concerned with topic. The setting of the movie was a hybrid of Nineteen-Eightyfour and Panopticon. There was a dictation on people to follow the rules and who tries to ignore instructions given to them and rebel was taken away by police. Oh and there was an open Big Brother reference on a billboard where Mr. President says; “I’m watching you!” So as you can see while there is not a clear indication of surveillance like in panopticon but there surely is enough to take this setting as a 1984-panopticon hybrid.

Well, the question which strikes into my mind is, why? Why exactly? The Lego Company is a capitalist big company even as a toy company. I mean, they even move their factories to China and Mexico for cheaper labour.

On the situation of answering this main question I must admit that I was kind of inefficient. The Lego Company might be taking Batman as role model, like a dark knight and trying to end capitalist world from within? Just kidding do not worry. But really, their intention was really unclear. Maybe they decided to critisize capitalist system while making a movie which would unlock the imagination of children but I strongly believe that the other layer of scenario was too strong to be something this insignificant.

Whether The Lego Company dislikes capitalist world and wanted to give a striking message or just felt like critisizing for the sake of criticism, it was a good thing they had as end product and it was a child movie I wish I had seen when I was a kid.

Womanism: Past and Today

First of all we have to explain what womanism is. A black feminist or feminist of color; someone who is committed to the wholeness and well-being of all of humanity, male and female. Main point here is that it is “someone who is committed to the wholeness and well-being of all of humanity, male and female”. Black and white.
Alice Walker introduced the word “womanist” into feminist parlance in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. She cited the phrase “acting womanish,” which was said to a child who acted serious, courageous and grown-up rather than girlish. Many women of color in the 1970s had sought to expand the feminism of the Women’s Liberation Movement beyond its concern for the problems of white middle-class women. The adoption of “womanist” signified an inclusion of race and class issues in feminism. Alice Walker also used “womanist” to refer to a woman who loves other women, whether platonically or sexually.
In past, in the aftermath of abolition of slavery, womanism was a necessity for sure in America. It may sound odd to someone who is new to the notion but it is easier to understand in truth. As we know, human being is not good at leaving bad habits behind that fast. Maybe blacks were not slaves but they were almost as badly treated as in slavery. And thankfully, after efforts like Civil Rights Movements this situation did also get better but one thing kept same. Women of color. Yeah, blacks were now almost fully blended into society but then again they started to cause problems to their own people. First of all, most of the blacks had internalized black hate. We could see that in Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” where Jody chooses Janie as a wife because she’s brown with straight hair, which are white qualities. He thought white qualities are what makes a woman look good. They did stop loving themselves. Their heritage. They wanted to be white. This internalized black hatred also remind me Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”, where Huck commented about Jim; “He’s a good human, I think he’s white inside”. While it is childish, it still shows another kind of internalized hatred.
Besides the internalized black hatred black women were heavily burdened under patriarchal society. I find it unnecessary to point out “white” or “black” patriarchal society because victimization or victimizer has no color. They were submissed, victimized and almost seized to be exist by patriarchal society. And in my case, it was hard to believe but the same case were available in Africa too. In Alice Walker’s “Color Purple”, we see that African men treated their women just like these victimizers did. In her talk with an Olinka man, Nettie asked as if she wasn’t considered as a woman, she was a missionary after all. Man’s answer was shocking to Nettie, and me too. “If you are not a mother, you are not much.”
So that was why the womanism was necessary. There were no white human right activists at that time who are so eager to be united and willing to defend black women’s rights. They had to speak up, they had to shape up and they had to defend themselves, their rights. Double burden they had was too hard to carry on oneself alone. As Pink Floyd says in one of their songs, “Hey You”, together they stand, divided they fall.
Last thing was something I needed to collect information about. Is womanism still necessary, is there still a need for womanism? Well, of course not in the way of it was when it came into existance but yes.
“Though racism in the feminist movement may no longer be as blatant as in the past, mainstream feminism still often focuses only on the experiences of middle-class white women while neglecting other viewpoints. Whether this is due to racism, ignorance, or other reasons, it marginalizes women who are not part of this demographic.

Womanism focuses not just on fighting sexism, but racism, classism, and ableism as well. Unlike much of mainstream feminism, the womanist movement is also welcoming of LGBT and transwomen and acknowledges their struggles. Women who feel mistrustful due to the history of betrayal and silencing in the feminism are embraced by the womanist community, which creates a safe space for women of color to express their shared struggles and be recognized without having to choose between their identities.”
In her article Kerilynn Engel briefly explains the situation as it is today. There is still a neglection at some degree, which I think is related to the internalized black hatred white people still have deep down inside them. But mostly they are now like civil right activists which is a good thing. It shows the gradual progress in the equality of humanity, the harmony all the good people are yearning and working for.

Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved Letters

So today I’d change the topic from politics to literature. These letters are really touching, just read it and you’ll see what I mean.

July 6, in the morning

 

My angel, my all, my very self – Only a few words today and at that with pencil (with yours) – Not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon – what a useless waste of time – Why this deep sorrow when necessity speaks – can our love endure except through sacrifices, through not demanding everything from one another; can you change the fact that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine – Oh God, look out into the beauties of nature and comfort your heart with that which must be – Love demands everything and that very justly – thus it is to me with you, and to your with me. But you forget so easily that I must live for me and for you; if we were wholly united you would feel the pain of it as little as I – My journey was a fearful one; I did not reach here until 4 o’clock yesterday morning. Lacking horses the post-coach chose another route, but what an awful one; at the stage before the last I was warned not to travel at night; I was made fearful of a forest, but that only made me the more eager – and I was wrong. The coach must needs break down on the wretched road, a bottomless mud road. Without such postilions as I had with me I should have remained stuck in the road. Esterhazy, traveling the usual road here, had the same fate with eight horses that I had with four – Yet I got some pleasure out of it, as I always do when I successfully overcome difficulties – Now a quick change to things internal from things external. We shall surely see each other soon; moreover, today I cannot share with you the thoughts I have had during these last few days touching my own life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have none of these. My heart is full of so many things to say to you – ah – there are moments when I feel that speech amounts to nothing at all – Cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all as I am yours. The gods must send us the rest, what for us must and shall be –

Your faithful LUDWIG

 

Evening, Monday, July 6

 

You are suffering, my dearest creature – only now have I learned that letters must be posted very early in the morning on Mondays to Thursdays – the only days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K. – You are suffering – Ah, wherever I am, there you are also – I will arrange it with you and me that I can live with you. What a life!!! thus!!! without you – pursued by the goodness of mankind hither and thither – which I as little want to deserve as I deserve it – Humility of man towards man – it pains me – and when I consider myself in relation to the universe, what am I and what is He – whom we call the greatest – and yet – herein lies the divine in man – I weep when I reflect that you will probably not receive the first report from me until Saturday – Much as you love me – I love you more – But do not ever conceal yourself from me – good night – As I am taking the baths I must go to bed – Oh God – so near! so far! Is not our love truly a heavenly structure, and also as firm as the vault of heaven?

 

Good morning, on July 7

 

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I nedd a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a clam consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

 

ever thine 

ever mine

ever ours.

 

“I should like to help everyone, if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that.”

a great speech from the movie “The Dictator”.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness — not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another.

In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world — millions of despairing men, women and little children — victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say — do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed — the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes — men who despise you — enslave you — who regiment your lives — tell you what to do — what to think or what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men — machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate — the unloved and the unnatural!

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the 17th Chapter of St. Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” — not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power — the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!

What is terrorism? US don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.

It is actually an essay I’ve written for my final assignment for a class.

Definition of terror or terrorism in both international or local scale is very hard to define. US army or British government takes it as a calculated use of violance to attain goals that are political, religious or ideological in nature.

For quite some time, definition of terror for US and Israel is mostly based on finding a way to start a war that will work for their benefits. For US, declaring a war on terror had become centerpiece of their foreign policy. But the thing is, US’ real policy is counterterrorism and in accordance to this they have the chance to be able to say that US is not officially committed to terrorism. If we want to look at example of it in the history, we see Nazi Germany.

Official definitions are no good in most of the cases. For example, terror and resistance. We are seeing it in our very own country at the moment. Only thing that is required to call resistance a terrorist act (or marginal groups, chapulliers in our case) is dominance over country’s main powers. Once a government has media, armed forces (both police and army) and law under control, chance are high that they’ll try to make you look like terrorists rather than resisters against authority and its unfair policies.

So when we get back to topic, let’s explain how and why US and Israel oppose the decision that has been made in UN. Because for long years up until now, there “colonial and racist regimes” have been their playground. Chomsky notes that by no means he’s taking the terrorist acts as if they were justifiable but the way two countries act is usually (or almost all the time) had been considerably bigger terrorist acts in the name of “fixing things” or “changing regimes” or “protecting world and our country” . Most of these reasonings were utter bullshit, world would have gone bonkers if any other country had done such a thing but US and his best buddy Israel can get away with this.

As oppposed to what everyone think, in my opinion US always had the power to go and terrorize some underdevelopped country for whatever “redemptive” reason, I said as opposed to everyone thinks because  of 9/11 and America using it as an excuse to become aggressive. After 9/11 what President Bush said sums up US government’s foreign policy pretty much; “We are in the state of war now.” They are exactly doing that ever since.

They started with this horrible campaign right away; with the bombing of Afghanistan. 8 months later we’ve learnt that they knew the responsibles of 9/11. But they bombed the lifes out of Afghan territory. They turned major urban concentrations to ghost towns in hours. It was clearly an act of war crime but it wasn’t even mentioned in the global scale. On this case what the former director of Human Rights Watch Africa said pretty much sums up this wickedness; “I am unable to appreciate any moral, political or legal difference between this jihad by the US against those it deems to be its enemies and the jihad by Islamic groups against those  they deem to be their enemies.”

But as I said, it is not just about 9/11 and afterwards. We can see Gulf War, invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan or in Israel’s case what happened in Jenin refuge camp. Boaz Evron, an Israeli write wrote something about this policy of theirs; “Israel should “keep them on a short leash” he wrote, so that they recognize “whip is held over their head.” As long as not too many people are being visibly killed, then Western humanists will “accept it all peacefully” and will ask “what is so terrible?”

Seriously, think about a change of role on that events. What if it was Syria or Palestine that were hunting jews one by one not in hundreds. Would world media and US and Israel be okay with that? Absolutely not. They would have flattened those countries in hours. That’s the big difference in between that we have to notice.

An interesting and for me quite accurate analysis is that the way against terrorism that US is doing do dearly is just inspiring more people to join terrorist ranks. After invasion of Iraq, there had been a spike on recruitment all over the world for terrorist groups. The war has created a new terrorist haven. And their goal is quite simple; drive infidels out of Muslim lands, overthrown corrupted governments and institude an extremist version of Islam.

As opposed to what many people think, Muslims do not hate Americans or United States. For example, rich muslim population in US supports their policies in general but they are bitter about recent issues concerning Israel – Palestine and Iraq. And also US citizens are not happy with these policies either. They believe their money should not be wasted of west instead of serving domestic needs.

So if we try to sum all of it up; we see a picture of global manipulation with the help of global media and with the power from it there comes dominance over underdevelopped countries with excuse of terrorism. What US and Israel basically doing is supporting and training anti-democratic groups and governments but when it is time they crush them with the excuse of being their “salvation” and salvage what’s left for their own good.

ImageSo it begins.
Not sure how would it turn out to be, I don’t have specifics or some high and mighty ideas on my mind. I guess I just want to write, not about myself but literature and music. Together and seperately.

Oh well, I guess that’s about it for now. I’m writing something at the moment, so when the real deal is up you’ll be able to have a better judgement about my humble try about starting this blog.