Friday, October 18, 2013

Will Facebook ever die? I thought Sconex never would, but it did.

               My chosen reading is, Is Facebook a Fad?, written by Farhad Manjoo via Reading Pop Culture. Manjoo is stating that Facebook isn't going anywhere anytime soon. He speaks on the advancement of technology and where he believes it's headed. He makes his statements and assumptions off of what has happened in the past with technology and what is happening currently in this day and age. Although many believe Facebook is just a fad that will one day soon blow over, he argues why he believes they're wrong.

               Besides the initial argument of whether Facebook is a fad or not, Manjoo is also responding to other arguments as well; complaints that social networking isn't an important tech trend as well as social networking detracting from real life relationships. The writer is agreeing that Facebook is here to stay and that it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. He uses many examples to back up his argument, one being that many people connect their activity on a host of sites such as Amazon, Yelp, and Twitter thus making it easier on themselves because maintaining separate networks on different sites would be "too much work". Farhad Manjoo writes technology columns for Slate, so his knowledge of technology for his work may be cause for his motivation. We can also state the fact that Facebook has "600 million active users" (more than any previous social network has ever gotten) as motivation for his belief as well. His belief being that Facebook won't die out, at least not anytime soon; it will only get stronger as a website, and as a social networking system.

               An applicable idea that I have encountered in the past would be; this was a website for high school students. Just as Facebook started out as a website for college students, Sconex catered to high school students; every high school in NY, NJ, and CT was on there. I wouldn't doubt if it had schools outside the Tri-state as well but whenever I ask someone who went to high school outside the Tri-state they tell me that they never heard of the website. Mostly New Yorkers were on there I would assume given when brought up in discussion groups mostly New Yorkers would recall the site. However, Sconex was a social network that I thought would never go away, only get bigger and bigger. Myspace came along shortly after, and we all migrated. Then Facebook! Myspace died. Manjoo said that this is what a popular argument is with Facebook as well, that something new will come along and Facebook will no longer have so many active users and will surely fade away as everyone will be occupying the new sensation of social networking. All these other websites that have came and gone are pertinent to the discussion of whether Facebook will stay or go,  but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Or we can graduate with a degree in Computer Sciences and do something about it. For one of us could create the next big social networking website and take Facebook off the map. Hey, anythings possible. =]

They Say/King Says

In chapter 12 of "They Say/I Say" Graff and Birkenstein talk about the ways to read an article. The authors say not just to read it and take everything at face value but to look deeper into it and find out what the writer is trying to say. It's even suggested to go further then that and to not just find out what the writer is trying to convey but to understand the piece so clearly you are able to think about it critically and write it in your own words.

I picked to write about one of the first article we read,  Why We Crave Horror Movies by Stephen King. King relays his thesis statement in the first paragraph of the piece, “I think that we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better- and maybe not all that much better, after all." He certainly agrees with his thesis statement since he is a horror writer by trade and uses this experience (ethos) to make his argument very believable. I do not really think he is responding  to an argument, rather, stating his view on the subject and using his ethos and pathos the further inform his audience and let them shape their own opinions on the subject. As I just stated, King's motivation for writing this article in order to educate people and help them gain a wider view of a already interesting and often time controversial subject matter, horror movies. In class, we've went over many different pieces that can relate to the main points seen in this article: Why Vampires Never Die and Vampires And Why We Love Them just to name a few.

Deadly food

My close reading is Don't Blame The Eater by David Zinczenko. They are arguing who fault is it that people are becoming obese and are putting on a few extra pounds. There are people who would rather choose a fast food meal rather than to cook on their own. Zinczenko is arguing that fast food can not take the whole 100% of people's diabetes and obesity because it's the person who it is happening to, he or she made the decision on what they wanted to eat. Zinczenko was also one of them people when he was younger before he reached college and joined the Navy Reserves and got involved in health magazines, which helped him turn his life around. People are not getting enough information on the things that they are eating, the commercials now in days catch their attention and make them think its good for you or what not but never tells you how its good for you as ingredients and e.t.c.

We haven't talked about fast food restaurants or what we should or should not eat in class but I eat fast food once in a while but i know what I should or should not eat I play football and I've worked in a gym. I only eat fast food only if its in the area and I am hungry. I do eat a lot but I am also athletic so i can eat bad and still look like i am eating good.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's the point

Pinpointing the Claim,  evidence,  and analysis of a reading can be very tricky. Getting through a reading without fully understanding it is even trickier. Usually when a person cannot figure out what they have just read, they reread the passage. Even thought this is an effective way of understanding something, it is time consuming. In chapter 12 of their book "They Say I Say", Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein came up with a solution to "decipher the conversation." Ironically the answer to answering the question of how is to ask another question. Four questions to be exact:

  1.  What other argument(s) is the writer responding to? 
  2. Is the writer disagreeing or agreeing with something, and if so what?
  3. What is motivating the writer's argument? 
  4. Are there other ideas that you have encountered in this class or elsewhere that might be pertinent?
Let us use Gerald Graff's Hidden Intellectualism as an example. A substantial amount of people believe that having street smarts means a person cant be academically intellectual. Graff clearly disagrees with that statement. In his article, Graff argues that students can benefit from non scholastic subjects such as sports or fashion. The art of intellect isn't so much about  what the person is learning, but how that person can turn that subject into an intelligent debate. Gerald Graff's motivation for writing this was his experience growing. He claimed the only reading he would willingly do is of sports magazine. Because of the numerous arguments with his friends, he learned "the rudiments of the intellectual life: how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence, summarize the views of others..."  My psychology class is a DRAG.  The professor just talk, talk, talk, asks a question, and talks some more. I find it hard to concentrate because i'm literally dying of boredom. My class following this is civil rights and liberties which is awesome. Because the topics are interesting, i pay attention and participate in class discussions. I also always show up to class.

Motivation Behind the Myths

           “What’s Motivating This Writer?” written by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein in the book They Say, I Say is all about accessing readings with different viewpoints. They state that the discussions are livelier and attract a greater number of students. They felt that by changing the opening questions it would change the people students approach and understand academic readings. “Creating the Myth” written by Linda Seger is about myths in story lines and the universal pattern we continually see in films. Seger explains that all of us have similar experiences and we are following a universal story, the same stories successful films follow.

         The argument Seger poses is that many movies follow a certain guideline and it makes them predictable. According to Seger “Whatever our culture, there are universal stories that form the basis for all our particular stories” (Seger 334), these stories come from different cultures but they are known everywhere and they are the basic plots that most successful films are based on. The motivation behind her article is to explain the universal storyline and the myths that come from true experiences. Seger uses Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi as examples of myths about people that are larger than life and seem to live their life more intensely than others. This idea is motivation for filmmakers as well and is the point Seger is making in her article.  Filmmakers use these myths as their storyline and it becomes familiar to us because it is something we could relate to or predict in some way. The same ideas are present in another article by Susan Sontag “The Imagination of Disaster” in which Sontag discusses the predictability amongst sci-fi films. She uses the same method Seger uses and lists the events that we continually see happen in these types of films.

hicCups Food

bvvnvnMy close reading is the article Dont blame the eater by David Zinczenko he tells us in his article that the booming of fast food resturants is not helping our health many us are becoming obese and becoming dependent on these foods instead of making our own foods we tend to go for the fastfood .David also tells us that there are more fast food resturants than nutrional food businesses . He gives us personal experience as an obese child  he says there were limited choices of nutrional food its not like now that kids have a variety to choose from .He says people turn to fast food because its cheap and fast .

Sci-fi film addicts

   Chapter 12 "What's Motivating This Writer?" in the book They Say/I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein is about "reading for the conversation." Authors explain to us how to find writer's arguments and how to use it in our own writing. To find "they say" and author's response "I say" as well as reading the text as a conversation the author may have with the opponents/readers and to become more engaged with the reading itself. The chapter also teaches us how to identify the hidden "they say" by "constructing it ourselves based on the clues the text provides" (150). Furthermore, author gave us more examples on why readers can struggle in identifying the "they say, I say" because the "language and the concepts they are dealing with are particularly challenging" (152). There authors suggest that we, the readers, should translate it into our own words in order to better understand it.
    Susan Sontag's "Imagination of Disaster" illustrates how sci-fi films are basically about disasters than they are about science. Author also argues that all the sic-fis' are similar to one another and too predictable "A typical science fiction film has a form as predictable as a Western, and is made as classic as the saloon brawl..." (317). Sontag states that sic-fi movies are popular art works and can be very addictive "Science fiction films are one of the most accomplished of the popular art forms, and can give a great deal of pleasure to sophisticated film addicts" (317). I agree, especially that the author writes about this matter in mid 1960's comparing with what we have nowadays. The science films are still very much predictable, but we keep going to see those films. The question to the writer would be "what's motivating her to write about sci-fi movies for so many pages?" Does she likes this genre of films or dislike it?" In my opinion, as i mentioned in my previous blog, I think the author has a big interest in the genre of science fiction, but remains neutral about her statements. The motivation to write on this subject was probably that for so many years the film and scenario of it has changed much and she just wants to see something new, something different unlike those regular scripts.  

Beneath the letters

(They say I say)Graff and Birkenstein authors  "What's motivating this writer?" bring different forms of taking in a reading to the public attention. For a long time by now, educators have been implementing the same technics of reading,  to define the authors main point. On the contrary, These speakers think out side the box when it comes to reading any passage. Assume "writing as an art of entering conversations," they respond so that would compose feelings of curiosity that one perhaps tries to fill it. Once one has established that model, one will not just put out arguments on the paper rather one will commence to identify what fueled it. Nonetheless, one should be conscious that somebody would just backup the authors respond to the issue, while others would feel energize by the way the writers test the problem, addressing to. Even more, passages often do not screen the matter in question as clearly as one may expect to be. In this cases, it is best to sit and imagine the author explaining his point of view as vivid is possible; consequently, one could be part of the conversation. Sometimes, when one has trouble underlining what the speaker answers or challenges, one can break long sentences into small ones that then one could drag diverse approaches. During complex readings, one either could dispute previous papers or take those even further to be listened. Finally, some pieces require extra work, for the topic are difficult to push into the argument and contain extraneous works that could mislead the reader. In those circumstance, one may opt to translate part of the passage into one's own words and perhaps find the means of the works, too. All these small- but- valuable tips are meant to help in understanding what the writing presents and what else could be printed beside that.

  (Reading Pop Culture) Linda Seger writer of Creating Myth argues that films are more or less a copy of events, which people and society did in the past or are recent instances that underline a commoner as the hero of the event. It gives the impression that Seger gets inducement from the surface belief that myths are an unreal creations. What she presents in the paper looks as though it is a neutral position since she marks the why? audience senses a deep connection with particular movies. In addition to it, one could drag diverse discussions from the writing, for instance, that one simple action has the potency to alter something elsewhere so that would control one from performing decisions without accounting consequences. Also, cultural beliefs, traditions and customs have made up what society is today with its obstacles, fears, desires , and successes. Shortly, the life of each one counts, for one could become the hero of its own world.      


Fuel To Our Bodies

Don’t Blame the Eater written by David Zinczenko is an article in “They Say, I Say” about the dangers of fast food eating. The author says he was a latchkey kid, divorced parents and fast food joints as options for a meal. Not exactly the healthiest for a growing child. The argument in this reading is that poor eating habits and unhealthy decisions don’t just affect the individual it affects the entire population. The author knows that fast food restaurants are going to continue to survive in the economy if they place their establishments in the right location. These locations are targeted towards those of lower income and poverty, but it is our lack of knowledge that puts US at risk. The author is using statistics and evidence from the Center for Disease Control to back up his argument. Type 2 diabetes will be a growing issue on the person and on health insurance companies, or public dollars depending on that person’s social class. However some of this information is outdated, judging by the fact that he mentions that food packages do not have calorie count (196) because that’s all we see today. The motivator for Zinczenko’s argument is his own life experience. Having fast food as an only option to then joining the Navy Reserves in college and being able to educate himself on better choices helped him to notice how we kill our bodies with the crap we consume. This particular topic was actually spoken about this week in my Sociology class. From my own experience I was sort of the opposite. I had a stay at home parent that made three meals a day, we are Hispanic so they weren’t the best choices but it wasn’t all saturated fat. When I went into college that became the issue. Juggling a full time Army career with full time college, there wasn’t exactly any time in the day to make healthy choices. But as the weight started packing on, and I noticed how tired my body felt and after having a blood panel at my doctors appointment with a cholesterol level of over 350, I knew I needed to make some changes. In the end, it is up to the individual to take a stand and make a change. We could have all the information in the world about why a particular meal is harmful for us, but in life we have choices. Diet is the most important factor in living a long, healthy life and exercise is a contributing factor. We all love food, and the urge to say no is difficult however we do not eat to love food, we eat to fuel our bodies. This is the close reading I will be using for essay #2.

The Depths of Fast Food.

My close reading is Don't Blame the Eater by David Zinczenko. By the title, it is evident that the argument that Zinczenko is representing is that the eater or the consumer of the fast food products cannot take the entire blame for their obesity and diabetes. Zinczenko is also refers to a conter argument. In his introduction, he talks about how many people believe that they should take responsibility for their own eating habits. Later on in the passage, he mentions how they say people should have common sense not to eat at a fast food restaurant twice a day. However, Zinczenko s disagreeing with the idea that is is the consumer fault. He believes that because of the lack of information of what people are eating i.e. nutritional facts and FDA labels, consumers are not aware of the harm that they may be causing to their own body or children. Also he argues that the in many neighborhoods (most poor communities) are not privileged to have affordable restaurants that serve more balanced meals.

We haven't encountered any arguments in class about fast food, however outside of classroom, I have had my own argument about eating out. Actually I myself eat out at fast food restaurants very often. When I do eat out, I try to eat the good alternative instead. For example, at Wendy's, I'll the Asiago Chicken Sandwich. But instead of crispy, I'll get grilled because grilled chicken has less oil and fat compered to it's fried alternative. Because of my active schedule, I usually have to eat out, And if I do, I know that certain foods are a better option & moderation also lead to healthy results.

Screw what they say it's all about me

chapter 12 of our book They Say/I Say is called "What's Motivating this Writer?" Basically they explain to you the importance of not only saying what you think or voicing your opinion but to also include what "They say". By talking about what they say you present to the reader what you are arguing against or with. By doing this we can help readers to better understand our side or our argument. It also can help readers to pick a side because it's better to see both sides of the argument. 
In the article "Don't Blame the Eater" by David Zinczenko he talks about fast food restaurants and how bad they can be for you. He starts off by implying why should mcdonalds get used by kids who are complain that they're getting fat from it. He says "isn't that like middle-aged men suing Porsche for making them get speeding tickets?"(195). If you read further on he talks about how fast food restaurants do not have calorie information charts on them and how a chicken salad winds up being about 1490 calories. From reading the article you would get the feeling he is opposing fast food restaurants but if you closely read the beginning he writes " I tend to sympathize with these portly fast food patrons,though."(195) Here you see that he never agrees with what he stated about suing Mcdonalds or other fast food restaurants. If you read closely he believe it's our fault for choosing to eat at these places. However he does bring up te idea that these restaurants SHOULD have the proper nutrition information in order to help keep coustemers a little more happier. If you knew that Big Mac was a dinners worth of calories would you stil eat it?...Probably. 
I believe Zinczenko was motivated to write this because he was a victim of these fast food horrors. He knows what it's like to have to eat Fast food all the time and become fat off of these delicious oo so daminging foods. To say the least he is talking from experience an although he may not agree that we can blame fast food restaurants for our choosing to eat there he does believe that we should at least be informed on what we are eating and how bad it is. Personally I don't think it matters I've gotten into many arguments with different people about this particular topic. Everyone talks about how bad Mcdonalds is or Burer King or whatever yet we still eat it. These company's are STILL making millions and millions of dollars. Even now we get the calorie information and all the nutrients yet we will still go there and order 4 Mcdoubles a six piece chicken nugget and a large diet coke cause we're "watching the waist line". 

They say I say

Chapter twelve "What's Motivating This Writer?" In the book They Say I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, both authors explain and show us readers  the conversation means and how we should not just looking for the thesis of a text.  It says how writers use different strategies to engage the views that are motivating them and even gave examples from different novels.   This chapter shows what writers do wrong, but also how well they have the ability to capture out attention with words. Graff and Berkenstein tell us when reading, we should figure out what the authors argument is and what it is responding to.  Rather than have one argument, have two.  The authors argument and your own response, this is the "they say" and "I say".  The chapter shows us how we as readers can become better by analyzing the main points and reading more closely then we normally should and when it is to difficult to figure it out because they use challenging language, we should translate difficult words into our own and break it up into little parts and understand each part before making it a whole, and then we would have a clear reading.  This way, we can detect the conversation in what we read, even when they aren't clear.
          In the reading "The Imagination of Disaster" by Susan Sontag, Sontag writes about how science fiction films and disaster films are alike and gives away the reasons behind the meaning.  She says how  basically science fiction films, well suck, and are very much predictable.  From the 1900's to modern day, sci-fi movies have had very similar outlines, or exactly the same ones, and I must say I agree with her on that one.  But we keep going to the movies and watching these films even though we know the outcome.  Sontag must feel very strongly about this argument she is writing about because she has a lot to say in these 15 pages and even gives a step by step play out of how a science fiction movie would be filmed, that's how predictable they are.  I thought for a while that Sontag has disliked these films but why have so much knowledge and write about something you don't like?  I think like Graff and Berkenstein spoke about writers and how they know just how to capture our attention, Sontag is saying about these films and how they also capture our attention and keep us coming back to the movies. I believe Sontag was motivated to write about this because of how much she actually LIKES science fiction films! She's bored of watching the same thing over and over and she wants something new, something exciting.

Extraterrestrial New World Order

The faculty is one of many remakes of the 1950's classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Set in a small town in Ohio, aliens have taken over the faculty-staff at Herrington High and are slowly working their way towards the students and the rest of the town. Casey, the school nerd (who is actually quite adorable,) played by Elijah Wood, suspects something weird is going on. It is when he finds a small unknown species, that sets off a chain of events that eventually confirms his suspicions and that of his peers; which consist of the prototypical school jock, the cheerleader, the slacker the outcast/ goth chick and of course there is the "sweeter than apple pie" new girl in town. So now just like every other science fiction horror movie, it now becomes a race against time as Casey and his crew set out to kill the queen bee in order to free their infected little town.

A few of the themes presented in the Faculty are similar to the ones presented in Dracula. The most obvious of course, is fear of foreigners. When the Marybeth character in The Faculty first arrived at Herrington High, no one was really receptive to her, but once it was established that aliens were trying to take over, she became highly suspect. We then see the fear of empowered women in the Stokely character; she was an outcast and a goth chick which basically meant she marched to the beat of her own drum and did not get caught up in female gender roles and because of this, she was labeled a dyke by some of her peers.

Question four, in Reading Pop Culture, regarding Susan Sontag's article, The Imagination of Disaster was interesting because I noticed that Sontag described the alien "takeover" as something that reduced humans to emotionless beings. She states "in these societies reasonableness had achieved an unbreakable supremacy over the emotions. Since no disagreement or social conflict was intellectually plausible, none was possible. As in Melville's Typee "they all think the same." I did not see it that way. I saw the alien takeover as a liberating experience. Most of the female facility were stuffy and uptight but when they became infected, they were more uninhibited. They styled their hair, wore makeup, and wore clothes that were appealing. I also think that the takeover allowed humans to reach their full brain potential as noted in one of the last scenes between Casey and the queen, the queen mentioned that in the new world, so to speak, the jock could be smart and there would be no anger, fear, or attitude. A world without fear, anger, or attitude may seem emotionless to some but I think that if you were to reach your full brain potential, there would be no need to exert such negative emotions. Life would be far from boring because there would be so many intellectual, spiritual, physical and positive emotional experiences available to you. The world will literally be your oyster.

The Motivational Speaker

I did not quite fully understand the assignment and was a little perplexed by Graff and Birkenstein taking credit for the class discussion methods used in the book and then there is the subtitle alone, Reading for the Conversation. Is this not what people in book clubs have been doing for years? Nevertheless, the information was really helpful and I answered the questions in the book using Stephen King's article, Why We Crave Horror Movies.

 In the article, King may have been responding to those that question the appeal of horror movies, hence the title, as well as those who question the mental stability of those who love watching horror movies. The first sentence of his article states " I thing we're all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylum only hide it a little better". I think King is in agreement with the assertion that those who love horror are unstable - to a certain extent; and the point he goes on to make is that those of us who know how to hide our insanity use horror movies as an outlet to release some of that psychotic aggression as opposed to the loonies in the asylum.

 I also feel that King is acknowledging the insanity by acknowledging the fact that no matter how civilized we think we are, we will always be primal beings by nature, when he state "anti-civilization emotions don't go away and they demand periodic exercise..." Of course one of the ways to exercise those emotions are through horror movies. The motivating factor in King's arguments are the preconceived notions and stereotypes people may have towards horror lovers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dissolve the Intellectual Iorn Curtain: Use "They Say; I Say"

 They Say I Say "What's Motivating the Writer"

Hey fellow students! Did you ever wish you could find a magic statement to make all that obscure and complex academic writing easy to understand? Did you ever wish you could utter some phrase akin to abracadabra to make all those complex sentences and three syllable words just disappear? How can you translate all that stuffy intellectual mumbo jumbo into plain old English? Well, Graff and Birkenstein have the solution for you: “They say; I say!” That’s right! After reading the text, if you use the words “they say” to pinpoint the argument the author is responding to and use “I say” to summarize the author’s response to that argument, voila! You can actually understand what you are reading! Let’s use Sontag’s “The Imagination of Disaster” as a case study to see this genius idea in action.

“It is fantasy served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these two specters…unremitting banality and inconceivable terror.” (316)

Say what?! Relax, breathe, repeat. Let’s re-interpret that sentence using “They say; I say!”

They say: “Hey Sontag! Did you see that new sci-fi movie this weekend? Everyone is raving about it! Sci-fi is so awesome!”

I say [Sontag]: "Well, the only reason sci-fi is so popular is because it helps us escape from the boredom of our daily lives and calms our fears about the world around us.”

So, Sontag is making an argument for why sci-fi is such a popular film genre. It's exciting and helps us deal with realities in the world we do not want to face. That’s easy to get. Let’s continue.

“Science fiction films are one of the most accomplished of popular art forms and can give a great deal of pleasure to sophisticated film addicts. Part of the pleasure…comes from…complicity with the abhorrent…the films perpetuate clich├ęs about identity, volition, power, knowledge, happiness, social consensus, guilt [and] responsibility.” (317)

Wait, what is she saying now?! Let’s try “They say; I say!” again!

They say:  "Sontag, are you calling me stupid just because I like sci-fi films? I have a double degree in biochemistry and nuclear physics, was captain of the chess team in high school and was almost smart enough to get into Mensa! How dare you question my intelligence?!"

I say [Sontag]: "Relax, I wasn’t calling you stupid! I know smart, sophisticated people like you can love sci-fi and that doesn’t make them dumb.  I mean, I like sci-fi too. What I meant was, morally they are bad for society. Before you disagree with me, just think of all the horrible stereotypes sci-films embrace just to give us a good time. We should be breaking stereotypes not eating popcorn while applauding them."

Now I get it. Sontag is saying loving sci-fi does not mean you have a limited intelligence or that you have poor taste in films. Even she likes some sci-fi films. It’s just that by loving sci-fi we may be unconsciously agreeing with the stereotypes repeated in these films, even if we would consciously disagree with those same stereotypes in our everyday lives. It's kind of how I never realized how sexist sci-fi films can be until after I watched the video, "Evil Demon Seductress."

Wow! That only took a few minutes to do! Now I am going to use “They say; I say,” to summarize the entire article! I wonder how people understood Shakespeare before “They say, I say” came along…

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Close Reading

Now that we've discussed the Close Reading essay, pick which reading you're going to analyze for Friday's class in the library (L-218). Also, read Chapter 12 "What's Motivating This Writer?" in They Say / I Say. On the blog, answer Graff and Birkenstein's questions on interrogating readings about your chosen reading:
What other argument(s) is the writer responding to? Is the writer disagreeing or agreeing with something, and if so what? What is motivating the writer's argument? Are there other ideas that you have encountered in this class or elsewhere that might be pertinent? (145-146)
You should also choose which reference you're going to be researching, as we'll begin this research in the library (L-218) on Friday!

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Myths as seen via cheesy 90s movies

The Faculty was a late 90s movie about aliens trying to take over a sleepy Ohio town starting with the high school students. The movies follows our main cast of characters: Casey Connor ( the geek), Delilah Profitt (the cheerleader), Stokely 'Stokes' Mitchell (the outcast), Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (the exchange student), Zeke Tyler (the "bad' boy), and Stan Rosado (jock turned nerd); and how they come together despite their differences to defeat the alien takeover. Think Breakfast Club with aliens instead of detention.
The movie really picks up when Casey finds a mysterious new species of cephalopod and then brings it to the science teacher. After being revived in water, it bites the teacher and goes on to infect most of the faculty. After much convincing, the rest of our main crew ban together in efforts to formulate a plan to stop the alien takeover from spreading any further. It's almost too late when they realize that the “queen bee” of the aliens was really the new student, Marybeth. Casey steps up to the plate and becomes the hero when he kills Marybeth, therefore releasing everyone from the alien's control.
Linda Seger's article Creating the Myth is a very interesting piece. It by giving us a general overview of why the myth is important to us on both a personal and universal level. She says that myths call upon something in all of us, a story that we can relate to one some level. She then lists the different types os myths and provides some explanations and examples of each. Getting into even more detail and dividing the article into sections she talks extensively about the hero myth, the healing myth, combination myths, archetypes within myths, “mythic” problems and solutions and lastly the application.

I think The Faculity was a hero myth there are elements that follow Seger's steps quite closely but not to the tee.
1. There is the hero (or even heros), Casey being the most obvious but Stokely can also be seen as a hero (it can be said that Stan follows this pattern as well.)Casey doesn't outwardly express his unhappiness but you can tell he is not content with his place in the school. Stokely however, is more outwardly unhappy but doesn't seem to want a change. (Stan follows this pattern closely he is a jock, popular and a star in school yet he in very unhappy and seeks to make a change by focusing on his school work.)Almost no one, especially his girlfriend Delilah. 2.The “something new” part would obviously be when Casey discovers that alien on the football field. For Stokely this could also be true since she is in Caseys science class but meeting Marybeth can also work for her.
3.As stated before, Casey doesn't seem to have any motivation to change while Stokely is even more reluctant.
4. Casey receives help from the rest of the gang, including Stokely who is really the key to taking down the aliens.
5. They are ready to move forward when everyone is finally convinced of the alien takeover plan and realize something has to be done.6. The tests would be when they brainstorm as to what could put an end to all of this and find out Zeke drug cocktail destroys the aliens.
7. When Casey is trying to explain to his parents and the police what he and Delilah witness in the teachers lounge and they do not believe him. His parents even punish him for it

8.Casey takes charge when he decides to take matters into his own hands no matter what the cost.
9. The famous chase scene can be seen as when Zeke uses Casey as a diversion while he goes and gets more drugs from his car.
10. Lastly, the transformation is clearly seen by the end of the movie. Casey is now included...even popular. Stokely is accepted by the crew and even finds a love interest (even though she had to chance herself in the process.) And everybody is happy and content.

There are a few archtypes that can be seen in this movie:
The wise old man = Stokley
The good mother = Zeke (who can obviously also been seen as the shadow figure) 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Invasion

    The "Faculty" is a science fiction horror film that was directed by Robert Rodrigues in 1998. The movie is about an invasion of the aliens that wanted to take over the planet Earth by starting at the Herrington High School in Ohio; where a group of teenagers/pupils of that school have realized what's going on and were able to stop it at the end. It all started with the faculty turning into the aliens and spreading the infection to the students and the city, except Casey, Delilah, Stan, Stokey, Zeke and Marybeth. Those six kids managed to stay untouched and came up with the plan on how to stop the aliens, they just needed to kill the main one. However, the new student, Marybeth, was actually the one responsible for the invasion. She was the "queen" and wanted to take over Earth because her planet was dying. At the end the hero, Casey, was the hero, and the city and it's habitants were safe, and the "queen" of the aliens, Marybeth, was destroyed.
     As Susan Sontag wrote in "Imagination of Disaster" the sci-fi films are more about the disasters than they are about science. Author stated that most of the science fiction movies are similar to one another and can be classified by three scenarios that she provided in her article. Analyzing the movie "Faculty" and Sontag's article, I could see the connection or maybe explanation of the plot and structure of this film. Some of the scenes in the movie were possible to see in one or the other scenario. The film had a common disaster - invasion of the aliens, it obviously had a hero, Casey in this case, who saved the city and the planet. The movie itself was predictable and easy to understand and see the path of there it is going and what's going to happen. Maybe because we've seen tons of similar plots, movies before or because Sontag says they are all the same.

How to make a sci-fi movie

The Faculty is a sci-fi/ horror movie directed by Robert Rodriguez. The movie is about a group of high schoolers trying to stop an alien invasion. In the opening scene of the movie, everything seemed normal. The nerd was being bullied, the freak was being made fun of, and the abusive couple were hitting and cursing at each other. The crazy began to happen when Coach Willis stabbed the principal in the hand. Principal Drake tried defending herself but failed. She became a zombie of the alien. The audience is introduced to the main characters in the following scene. We have Casey Conner, the passive geek who's used to getting punched in the face and crying about it in the bathroom. Next we have Deliah Proffit, the hot slutty superficial head of the cheerleading squad. Following is Deliah's boyfriend, Stan Rosado. Of course he's the star player of the football team. Only thing is, he wants to quit sports to focus on his education. Next up is intelligent bad boy Zeke. The freak of this adventure was goth chick Stokely Michelle. And what school wouldn't be complete without the new girl. Southern belle Marybeth Hutchingson played this part. Casey ,he geek, finds some new type of species. He takes it to Prof Furlong to be examined. After realizing that water brings the creature back to life, they decide it should be bought to the university. After witnessing more weird things, Casey shares his theory about alien invasion. No one believes him until Prof Furlong tries to kill them. After escaping for the school, the group of unlikely friends try to come up with a plan to save everyone. Zeke discovers that a drug called diuretic can kill the monster. During the meeting everyone began questioning each other. In order to prove that they weren't aliens, each person had to sniff the drug. Turns out the cheerleader was an alien. She managed to escape the group after she destroyed Zeke's lab. Luckily Zeke had some more drugs in his car. The group decides to take the battle back to school. During the football game they attempt to find the "Queen Bee' and kill it. Eventually Marybeth showed her true colors and turned into a huge alien. Casey defeated her by trapping her in the benches and sticking three syringes full of diuretic in her eye.

The faculty followed the strict line of Susan Sontag's second model scenario. The first step of making a sci-fi horror film is to have a character suddenly behave strangely.In The Faculty Coach Willis had to be the crazy person. After the meeting about budget, Principal Drake went back to the office to retrieve her keys. In the office she was stabbed with a pencil by Coach Willis, It seems that discussing the school's budget is stressful but assaulting someone over it is a little crazy. By accidentally knocking over a glass, they learn water resuscitates the creature. The second part to this step is to have the main character try to warn the authority without any effect. After discovering Mrs. Brummel's body in the closet, Casey tried to tell the police and his parents. None would listen. His parents blamed drugs and told him to see a shrink. The third step is to have the rest of the characters be skeptical of the truth and try to rationalize the events going on. And be sure that the monster is claiming people. When Casey shared his theory to the group, they criticized him. Meanwhile students and teachers were still being turned. The final step in making a sci-fi is to have the hero discover the monster's vulnerability and prepare for battle. Be sure to include a bunch of setback. In the movie the teens discovered that diuretic dehydrates the parasite and kills it. After gaining this knowledge, the imposter in the group destroys the lab thus making it impossible to create more of the drug. Darn it!!

New Imposter

In the film we have watched "The Faculty" there was a creature that spreads around by a person opening their mouth and the creature has teeth, duplicates and one goes in the next person ear. They have said that this was a new creature they have not seen before, and it only duplicates by being in a moist area. The creature came from the new girl in the school who wanted to be cool with Casey, Zeke, Stan, Delilah. The film took place in Ohio at a High School where nothing goes wrong but hey there's first time for everything. The first person to receive the new creature was the football coach, when he got it he gave it to one of the teachers then started chasing the principle Ms.Drake around the whole school after they had a faculty meeting late at night.The whole football team was forced to go to the nurse office to get an ear check to make sure they don't have an ear infection was the excuse to get them in the room. When that happened the team tried to get Stan back on the team so he can join everyone else on the team and get it also, he eventually gets it at the end of the movie when they thought everything was over and he checks on the football field to see if everyone was finallly acting normal again. For Casey to become the Hero he did a very smart thing and that was go under the bleachers and notice that it would squish the head creature leader, that was when he used his street smart.

Seger says that hero stories always start out in an ordinary place, where the hero starts out as a non-hero. From the film we have seen this happen from the High school being an ordinary place  and Casey saving everyone, he is a very big hero that no one would have thought would of happened. When I first saw the movie I thought Zeke would of been the Hero, well he actually was the Co-Hero becasue he found out that his famous drug he makes himself can kill the creature/alien by the human sniffing it or putting it in their mouth or getting stabbed by the pen which it was in.

eww aliens

In class we began by viewing the classic film  the faculty .The movie starts out in a teachers meeting were discussions about which school programs will get funded and which one will not . All the other programs such as drama ,computers will not receive any money for new materials except for the football team which will recieve new knee pads and uniforms . When the principal is asked why cant they get funding but the drama or new computers for the school or even a educational trip to New york .The principal basically says that this state is a football state .Which she kinda meant to say with that comment that foot ball is a much important sport than any other academic program . Besides that we learn about the high school and how its students are kinda in there own social group like the nerds are with the nerds the jocks with the jocks .Also there are alot of sterotypes like the fact that a jock has to date a cheerleader. And Stan is not expected to succeed within his studies so teachers let him slide  .He breezes through his classes because professors allow him to cheat and change his grade from a d to a . Also that the organization of the school is completely disorganized ,and that the faculty little by little have been changed into the leechy aliens .They plan to take over the school and town .Cassey is a nerdy boy who is the schools newspaper and is in love with the editor .Delilah who use to date stan until she found out he quit the football team to focus on his studies . She tells stan she cant be with him because cheerleaders only date the captain on the foot ball team .Stokes is a emo girl who uses her sexual orientation to isolate her self from the rest of the student body .She leads every one to think she is a lesbian ,while that is until she discovers she has athing for stan so her cover is blown she is not popular she's a social outcast. Zeke is a drug dealer who doesnt get attention from his parents who are constantly traveling . He is not popular ,but defends cassey a couple of times .

Cassey in science class discovers a live organism which he found on the field  after having a small confrentation . He takes the organism to the science teacher who later on discovers the organsims  reaction to water .The science teacher puts  the new found species in the fish tank and later on puts his hand in the  tank and gets bitten by the organism    and then discovers that the species and replicate . Mrs .Brummel is killed and the casey ,zeke,delilah,Marybeth,Stokes.Come together after discovering the school is being taken over by aliens .Each one of the students play a role one a jock an outcast a nerd a sexually confused girl .They soon discover that the only thing that is going to help them is Zekes drugs which they have a limited supply of they become suspicious of each other and take each a diosage of drugs to prove if they are infected they discover delilah is one .She leaves and joins the other aliens .Zekes house is destroyed and so are the rest of the drugs ,There is a limited supply left the gang decides to go after Coach         .The hide and run away .Trap themselves in the school to learn that all along the Queen is Mary beth and she infects stokes .Cassey traps stocks in a cage.And he and marybeth get confrentational  and he runs away from her sees her true self and then gives her a shot of drugs ,lateron she dies . Noone ever thought it was her because she seemed so innocent and sweet .

Within the film the faculty the Kevin Williamson uses the myth of aliens to show that humans can be controlled .He uses the fear we have towards them to show us that anyone can be a hero like cassey the nerd who everyone thought was going to be killed untill mary beth flashed her true colors and told us she was the queen .Myths happen to be found in all cultures they are considered to be universal .

The Hero

            “Creating the Myth” written by Linda Seger is about myths in story lines and the universal pattern we continually see in films. Seger explains that all of us have similar experiences and we are following a universal story, the same stories successful films follow. She explains that the term myth means “more than true.” Myths are stories that are lived by all of us, a story that connects and speaks to us all. Seger explains the different types of myths there are in movies. The hero myth is about the journey of the hero, and the transformation from ordinary to hero. The healing myth is about a character that is “broken” and the process they go through to become whole again. Seger says that the best way to work with myths is to let them appear naturally in your writing, if it is forced your work will become rigid and uncreative.
         The movie The Faculty came out in the 90’s. It is a sci-fi movie about a high school that gets taken over by an alien parasite. A group of six unlikely students band together to try and stop the invasion from spreading: Casey, Stan, Zeke, Stokely, Delilah, and Marybeth. Since these aliens thrive in water, they found a drug that acted as a diuretic, which would dry out the aliens and kill them. Along the process they found the members of their little group being turned one by one and eventually it all came to rest on Casey’s shoulders. The leader of all the aliens taking over the school happened to be the new student Marybeth, but Casey managed to lure her into a trap and kill her. In doing this it killed all the other aliens and brought everyone back to normal. Casey became their hero.

      Casey is a perfect example of a hero in a hero myth story.  Seger says that hero stories always start out in an ordinary place, where the hero starts out as a nonhero. In the movie Casey was a loser. He had no friends, and people bullied him. Then she says something will happen to the hero that will set the story in motion. In discovering the new species, he opened up this strange world. He started to notice the change in people all around him. “In any journey, the hero usually receives help, and the help often comes from unusual sources” (337). Casey bands together with a jock, a drug dealer, a popular snob, an outcast pretend lesbian, and the new girl in school. These are the people he comes together with to fix the situation at hand. They go through many challenges, from discovering the alien they were after in their midst, and in trying to maintain their humanity. It came down to Casey being the only one left to finish the mission. Seger mentions a chase scene, which we see when Casey is running from the locker room into the gym where he sets up his trap. In the end he killed the alien and saved the school. Casey went from being a loser to becoming everyone’s hero and in doing so he got the ultimate reward for any outcast loser in high school: he got the girl.
The Faculty Directed by Robert Rodriguez, launched in the football field where the couch apparently was possessed by a strange worm. The mission of this outside world worm was to infect the popular staff and students who then would transfer the worm to the rest. Casey was the unpopular kid who was shy, quiet, kind of smart looking student, and part of the school newspaper for which the so called popular ones bullied him. Stokely, the dark, mysterious who read sci-fi books, kept her personal life under the mask of the belief that she was a lesbian. One of the popular ones Delilah, mean but beauty girls, also captain of the cheerleader squad, dated Stan, the captain of the football team. He also formed  part in the set of the popular group. However, Stan made a sense that everybody in the school spoiled him because of being captain of the team. Zeke neither a popular nor unpopular danced the limbo of both ways, but he was smart enough to own an illegal business of fake IDs and drugs. His knowledge and charm captivated the shy and attracted new girl, Marybeth. She moved from another school  and found herself to be alone without any friends. At lunch time, Cacey discovered a dry worm, which he carried to the science laboratory where the professor thought that he had unfolded a new species of worm-but it seemed to an anbifio species because of reliving in water, in the football field. While Casey and Delilah sought for a new headline for the school journal, they witnessed the couch and other teacher infect the school nurse with the alien worm. Casey brought the accident to the attention of the police, after observing the case scene, disbelieved Casey's accusations. Therefore, Casey chatted with Stokely, who in theory knew about alien invasions. Both follow by Delilah and Stan entered the laboratory where the worm was just to find the species was gone. After Zeke and Marybeth enter too, the laboratory professor tried to infect everybody in the room, but it was controlled when Zeke poked one of the teacher's eyes with one of his drug pens. From then on, the hypothesis the possibility of being the only ones uninfected, and the chances to save the town from the invasion. They came a consensus that if the queen died everything the was infected would turn to normal. So, they hunted the alien queen at school. When it gave the impression all hopes were gone Marybeth revealed her true identity as the queen alien which escaped her world to share a life without worry or divided. Casey at realized the he was the only one left to kill it, he strived courage to do the job. Finally, after the queen died everybody recovered its human body, and a month later everything seemed to be normal. Nonetheless, popular and unpopular ones came together in the end like Casey and Delilah. 

In the above sci-fi movie the director Robert Rodriguez plays with the myth the outsiders usually enter one's city to somehow control native residents. This myth is said to be "common in all cultures" according the argument established by Linda Seger writer of Creating Myth. Beauce of the uneasy feelings the plant with the natives, often parents tell kids not to talk with strangers. If one looked back at the history of the country, one could find the foreigners conquered the land and changed the lifestyle. So, the evidence makes one to fear newcomers. Consider, In Dracula by Bram Stoker also pointed out the that society fear foreigners mostly if they looked like human, for it could not be identified as a monster. The monster itself in the The Faculty has the sense to be an alien, for Marybeth, the outside visitor, doe not fit and have any friends in school. For the reason maybe she uses the outfit of the human mask as the Count Dracula fixed his accent to fit in Longdon. Here, the hero, Casey, does not have physical strenghten or the skills to act alone that would make him depend on the different capacities that the rest has. For example, when the teacher attacks them in the laboratory room, Zeke is who fights and by chance discovered that his drug could kill the alien. When they figure out that they must kill the queen, Stokely is who gives the first hint. In the end, Casey uses the Zeke's weapon and Stokely knowledge. He becomes the hero because he manages not to get infected and applies any ability possible to defeat the creature.            


Sci Fi, Maybe Not So Boring After all...

The Faculty was a science fiction/ maybe horror film created in the late 1990’s. (Usher was in it, but his character was totally irrelevant) The setting of the film takes place in Ohio and mostly on a high school’s grounds. The main characters involve a group of teens who are trying to figure out exactly how to stop the aliens that have invaded the school. It starts when the football coach, Coach Willis harasses the school’s principal, Ms. Drake with the help of the music teacher who stabs Ms. Drake with a PENCIL!  Next scene is where Casey, a science geek finds a sort of organism on the football field and brings it to the biology lab where Professor Furlong has mentioned he had no idea what it was. What they did find was if the specimen was exposed to water it became alive and replicated itself. Well slowly the whole school gets taken over. Casey, Stokely, Mary Louis Hutchinson (from Atlanta), Delilah, Zeke and Stan all work together to find a way to stop it. Come to find out, Atlanta girl was the one to blame. The person who doesn’t end up transforming and killing the creature is Casey by running throughout the gym and having the bleacher stairs close in on it and exposing it to some made up drug draining it of all bodily fluids.  Pretty stupid huh? But still actually kind of catchy because it was hilarious.
Linda Seger wrote the article Creating The Myth. According to Seger, a myth is a search story, a common story at the root of our universal existence. A myth is more then true…(335). She says that in The Hero Myth, it takes place in an ordinary surrounding by an ordinary individual, no one special (336). After watching The Faculty and reading this article it’s apparent that Casey is this ordinary person, or the hero who sets out to complete a task, just like Seger says. Casey won’t gain anything great from following through to find the origin of this alien invasion at his school but he is eager to find it and bring it to a cease. In step 4 of The Hero Myth, Seger states that the hero usually receives help (337). In reference to The Faculty, Casey’s help is 5 of his peers (well minus Atlanta girl since she’s the actual root of the problem) who are all different. A jock, a school newspaper editor, a pretend lesbian, and a drug supplier. They don’t have powers that can help come to a conclusion but they all become engaged after seeing their teachers transform.

Seger’s article was definitely a lot more interesting than Sontags. She isn't dishing out loads of useless information on movies we have never seen or heard of before. She states her point and backs it up. Quick and Easy. And a lot of it applied to the film we watched in class.