Wednesday, April 20, 2011

“The soundtrack to my life”

by Peter Langeness

                This seems to be the immortal question within the academic world. It is hard to say what songs would define my life. With every human having some sort of albatross to carry we can assume this list is going to go: angst, angst, Beatles, and latest pop song. Instead of connecting songs to events in my life or relate music to my psyche I simply want to point and say this has great artistic value and it doesn’t hurt that this song rocks. I feel more inclined to enjoy the game changers and pioneers in music but I have an unexplained loathing of today’s auto-tuned bimbos. First I will start at “Icky Thump” by The White Stripes. I enjoy this song because it has this unpolished dirty feel and suggests that this two person band has this feeling of a handful of artists throwing their ideas at each other and watching the carnage unfold. They have a feel of a big band and sound like they just woke up and threw this at you. To me they feel as a blank canvas framed in gold with the small words printed in 16pt Impact dead center in the frame: This is Art. I am going to hit the generic throwback right now, just as everyone else will, with The Beatles. But here is when I will be different, I am not pointing to any one song but rather them as a whole. They captivated the world, made great music, and lost their rights to Michael Jackson but despite their level of publicity they maintained a dedication to their art. I am going to reference one event of their career, their rooftop concert. Next I just want to lay this one on the table and see if anyone objects; “Island in the Sun” by Weezer is a timeless classic. It will be hard to find someone that hates Weezer. I think it is law to enjoy Weezer; that and Sublime. I do enjoy my concerts and so far there is only one band that I have seen more than once in concert which is Skillet. It’s likely you haven’t heard of them but in the Christen rock scene they are top dog. I enjoy how they have been able to maintain their heavy rock sound yet adapt some contemporary song styles and keeping it PG for God. I am going to cite one of their newer songs that does sound a little more modern and pop-ish but I still feel it’s a good place to start with them. I’m going to end with The Foo Fighters. There are so many great bands but I know they would be on any short list I make. They have proved to last the test of time by having this beautiful career play itself out just as you could say about U2 or Modanna but unlike those two I think they still have souls. To keep things angst and teenaged inspired I would use “Pretender” but I am going with one that has this weird train-wreck/awesome music video: “Learn to Fly.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


For my advertisement I went with a Coca-Cola ad that uses the cast of The Simpsons. It stars with Mr. Burns, a wealthy millionaire, becomes broke forcing him to sell all his belongings. The viewer whiteness people taking away all his cherished items as Mr. Burns’ heart breaks. After losing everything he goes for a walk. He stumbles upon a park filled with happy people. Everyone in the park appears to be happy while most are drinking Coca-Cola. The music changes to a somber song as we see Apu, a gas station employee, sees Mr. Burns sulking. As a gesture of friendship Apu offers Mr. Burns a Coka-Cola. When he accepts the drink the music becomes cheerful again and people from all over the park come and embrace Mr. Burns as a friend.                     

I believe this commercial adheres to the appeal of a need for affiliation. The main character becomes depressed due to economic hardship which automatically relates it to a vast majority of Americans. When we see the other people enjoying each other it becomes apparent that Mr. Burns feels alone. This portrays a strong feeling of loneliness. Because most people have experienced something to that extent, it appeals to a very large audience if not the entire planet. By having such a broad audience the advertisement is extremely effective. By having the commercial animated helps to pull younger viewers, who relate it to their kind of entertainment, into the ad. By using a television show that has lasted for over twenty years attracts older viewers because they are already familiar with the characters. Once Mr. Burns drinks the coke he is accepted by the people and is carried off on peoples’ shoulders. From losing everything to gaining friendship and admiration the viewer feels a greater feeling of affiliation. I believe this advertisement does a great job considering the product in no way could every produce a result like that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


            Roberts’s piece echoed many ideas I use when writing. When given freedom to use any topic I prefer to abuse this freedom. I never worry about if the teacher would agree with my statement. I prefer to have them disagree in the grandest factor. No one was recognized for tip toeing around to avoid stepping on people’s toes. I don’t want to be the small homely paper. I want my paper to be a 4.6 ton origami elephant within the overcrowded class room crushing everyone’s toes.

            My research question comes from my first method of finding a subject; take a small observation in to a full blow problem and exaggerate it till Rush Limbaugh would say you went too far.
How do umbrellas cause more harm than good?

            This idea came during class when I failed to come up with a normal topic for our counterargument exercise. As Robert suggests I take the less usual side of an argument although I may invent the argument of umbrellas or enduring the rain. Most importantly to make this work I will need the abstract. I will have very little concrete evidence for my side of this argument. My main concern isn’t if my reasons can be reinforced by facts, rather if I can find reasons. I believe any reason can have facts to support it because in this world there are many sides to every argument and somewhere someone slipped up and said something that can help my case. It may not be directly related but if I claim: “by protecting yourself from rain you avoid the chance of getting sick,” then relate it to; “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” I am quite confident that someone somewhere agreed with each one of those points.  For safe measure I will most likely prepare another reassure question in case this doesn’t work.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Something Borrowed

            In Malcolm Gladwell’s essay, Something Borrowed, he explores the aspects of plagiarism. In doing so he tells the story of Dorothy Lewis’s case with the Broadway show “Frozen.” Throughout the piece the tone of the essay changes from supporting to against copyright laws. After many friends had suggested the show “Frozen” to Lewis the group preforming the play asked her to speak to the actors because of her expertise in the main subject of the play. She asked for a copy to read which shocked and angered her. It appears that the entire premise and multiple lines were taken from her book and other writings which were then turned into the play. She felt violated that her life was taken and put on a stage. She began the process of suing for plagiarism. As her story progresses then reader is given instances where in plagiarism isn’t necessarily bad. As the story continues, Lewis’s opinion changes. She then believes that copy write laws are a strange and in some ways a destructive force on humanity. The essay points to the idea that plagiarism in just a reactionary and natural occurrence; plagiarism is taking inspiration from and expanding ideas from not stealing.
            I strongly agree with this essay. People who, with greed inspired actions, place copyrights on drugs that could potentially save lives. By doing this they can charge more money for their product. Actions like this are only slowing the advancement of humanity. There is a fine line between plagiarism and being influenced. Sometimes this line can disappear when people have alternative motives for their ideas (i.e. money). I personally believe that copyrights interfere with the growth of society and technology. Life is reactionary thus we learn from previous music or ideas, then from that we create new music and ideas that seem similar to the previous but are still new.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Racism – Ayn Rand

                In Ayn Rand’s Racism, she claims that racism is derived by oppressive government and that compensation for previous racism is racist in itself. Ayn’s chapter on racism is heavily fueled by her disapproval of an upcoming act being implemented by the American government. Her first claim is that racism comes from collectivism; a group bound by a common past is racism. She believes that anything that makes judgment based off their ancestry will create discrimination. She then notes that any government that binds people together such as oppressive political systems will harbor if not create a racist country. Nazi Germany and communist Russia were both highly repressive to their people and also were the most racist countries in history. Ayn’s second claim is that people asking for reconciliation for pervious racist actions are in themselves racist. This entire chapter is to bring on fact to light: compensation for what one people did to another is just as bad as what the people did. Her main point is to show that grouping people together for any means is racism and asking for affirmative action and other acts that compensate for pervious injustices are racism.
                Ayn brings to light the fact we are taught as a child, as to take the high road. This piece reminded me of the simple say that to Rand’s disapproval binds all of our childhoods together, that in a petty argument to be the bigger person and just deal with it. Being an individual does not mean asking for repayment it is about owning your individual faults and not the mistakes of others like you. Ayn begins this chapter on more rational grounds to help pull in the writer before she proposes some more radical and to some offensive ideals. I do agree with her logic but regrettably racism is purely fueled by emotion which makes the entire subject hard to deal with on a rational level. I think the strongest point of Ayn’s writing is that the individual should be held accountable for their individual actions and not those of people like them. No one can deny this point but it is this point that demoralizes what we hold as key American values such as “equal” rights.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle – David Sedaris

             In David Sedaris’s Solutions to Saturday’s Puzzle, he explains his thoughts and logic during a plane ride. On this ride he had made an enemy with a woman because he refused to move so the couple could sit together. His story shows the absurd behavior of humans. David and a woman enter a small feud over switching seats with the woman’s husband. He uses the New York Times crossword puzzle to escape the situation and channel his feelings towards the woman who sulks through the entire plane ride. In this piece David recalls his ordeal from his view while explaining his cruel yet Haman thoughts. After he refuses to switch spots the woman begins to act hostile towards David. He pulls out the Saturday crossword puzzle and begins to write in insults, justification, and his general thoughts into the puzzle. Unlike many other writings, this piece starts at the final development in the situation then moving back to the beginning of the entire story. This form grabs an audience’s attention and leaves them searching for a connection throughout the story.
            This piece is a nice monologue that shows the comedy in everyday life and the human thought process. Unlike many other writings David presents all of his thoughts as a story progresses. In showing his thoughts the reader can see a more honest and realistic representation of how humans react to one another. I personally enjoy writings like this that are not inherently comical but through proper delivery can become an entertaining piece of acting. We are given a view of a man’s every though which allows us to see the situation from a rare perspective. This interesting view can be captivating as a simple straightforward storytelling, one without deep meaning or mystery rather it removes the barrier between the audience and the narrator. Without a barrier the two become united and stand together against the problems presented in the story.