The Homeless

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I tend to agree more with the article from John Derbyshire called “Throw the the bums out: But Do So With Compassion-Coolidge-Style Compassion. Right off the the bat he tells a personal story about going to a library in San Fransico. It hit home with me because I, like probably most people have encountered similar situations. It is extremely uncomfortable especially when I get asked for money for the simple fact that I don’t EVER carry any cash on my person. If I had some cash on me, then I would probably not have a problem with giving.

I can recall on one occasion in Austin, TX. I was at a stop light when a homeless person came to my window. He asked me for some change to spare. I didn’t have any on me or in my car, but I did have my lunch that I packed for myself. I pulled out an apple and a bag of chips and tried handing it to the man. He angrily refused the food and yelled, “I asked for money not food.” “I don’t want your damn Apple!” Now, I understand that not all homeless are this way. I like how John Derbyshire puts it at the end of his article. “As you cross Civic Center Plaza they leer at you, yell at you, sometimes harass you. If you are a woman, they make lewd remarks at you. All this we are supposed to put up with in the name of “compassion” and “rights.” And put up with it we do! Why?”

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All a Mindset

The desire to be politically correct in our modern era is almost surprisingly insane. Then again everybody seems to blame anybody and everybody else but the devil will have his due. In the case the stigma that is associated with that type of shirt a “Wife-Beater”. Personally I really don’t see the issue with name while I realize what else is brought to mind when those words are used but they are just words. It all depends on how the individual person takes it, when someone calls the shirt a wife beater they are simply using the name that they have heard it been called many times before.

What really needs to happen is people need to develop thicker skin; people these days are so worried about offend people they take it to an extreme. People aren’t trying to single out one group or another when they say they just call it with what they’ve grown up with. In my child hood whenever I would wake up and walk to the kitchen dad would always be sitting in the chair with his yes wife beater. That’s what he called it that what mom called it, what everybody called it.

Whatever the perceived meaning of the slang name of the shirt what still is true is, it is just a shirt nothing more nothing less. People think what they want to think if they want something to offend them they let it.

To be fair I do understand her argument her view may come how she was raised and what she has been through. Been it seems that she wants much more change than will occur when people get set in their ways it is difficult to make a change. Especially when the real name of the shirt has rarely been heard.

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You Get the Best of Both Worlds

What do Hannah Montana and MarJane, from Persepolis, have in common? At first glance nothing, but if you look closer you will see that that they are both great masters of disguise, seriously. With the change of a wig, Miley Cyrus became Hannah Montana instantly. Her true image and identity was hidden with the positioning of the hair piece. Though MarJane didn’t physically transform from one person to another, she can relate the to losing her identity to a headdress; no not to a wig, but a hijab.

In Persepolis, because of the Iran Revolution women were obligated to wear veils. The purpose of this new law was to get women to cover their hair, so that men would no longer get aroused, or as MarJane put it “to protect woman from all the potential rapists.” With the veil, MarJane’s family was forced to conceal their modern ways or else they would be repercussions. Though, the hijab changed her outer appearance, unlike Hannah Montana, MarJane refused to let it repress her rebellious spirit. She never missed an opportunity to express how felt about the veil and the Iran Revolution.

“Is religion defending our physical integrity or is it just opposed to fashion,” is what MarJane rhetorically asked as she stood in front of her class. Interestingly enough, the book emphasized on the social impact of the hijab, but only touched on it’s religious importance twice. It leaves me to believe that for a while not, the religious meaning to the hijab has been overshadowed by its cultural shake up. As a power country, we possess all of the freedoms to do more with this issue. We play the role of being the globe’s celebrity, but what are we doing to help the oppressed. Comfortably, we have the best of both worlds, but our wig is being to lose its impact.

Texans and Persians: They’re more alike than you think.

Considering three people have already posted about the “wife-beater” article, I decided against subjecting you all to my long, dramatic, feminist rant. (You’re welcome.) And onto my main topic of discussion; Persepolis. (Yeah, I know a boat load of people have written about Persepolis, too, but I thought a 342 page graphic narrative allowed for a little more attention than some article on misogynistic slang for a t-shirt)

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America is not known for it’s awareness of foreign events. Furthermore, American citizens are not typically well-educated when it comes to anything foreign, whether it be countries, events, or just basic facts. We know foreign policy, but that’s only because it has more to do with us than any other country. We know foreign exports, but we can chalk that up to a “made in china” label on everything we own. We are known for our arrogance more than anything else. Everything revolves around us, our initials are “U.S.” after all. And when you care about no one but yourself, everybody else seems less human.

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I may be speaking for myself here, but growing up, I never really thought about people in other countries. I had a very egocentric way of seeing things, and other countries were just a blob on a map and nothing more. For some reason, I thought that all the people in those countries were different from me; they didn’t think the same way, they didn’t have the same feelings. Yes, that was very close-minded of me, but what can you expect when your raised in the most prideful state of the most prideful country of the world? Texans love Texas, and Americans love America, and I am both. As far as I knew, if you weren’t an American, you weren’t anybody; and if you weren’t a Texan, you were a “crazy liberal hippie”, as my Grandfather liked to say (unfortunately for him, you could be a Texan and a crazy liberal hippie, as I would later prove). I didn’t understand people outside of the people I knew, much less people outside of my country. For some reason I believed that any human qualities I had were lost in translation in people from other countries , but Marjane proved me wrong.

Marjane describes her life from young girl to adult, and in many ways it related to my own. The cultural differences I expected to be there were not as prevalent. She liked Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd, well, so do I. She had punk friends and trippy, meditating friends, I have those, too. She dated a jerk, I think everyone can relate to that one. Marjane and I had all these things in common; they were superficial, but we shared them nonetheless. But then I delved deeper; all the way into her outlook on life, and her emotions. She felt revolutionary, angry, prideful, scared, lost, confused, happy, and hopeful. She felt all these things that I have felt before, too. And suddenly the wall that divided cultures in my mind shattered. I understood that a language barrier, or a difference in culture does not change how human we are. We are all cut from the same cloth, even though sometimes it seems like we are worlds apart. 

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Persepolis taught me that we are a world full of humans. And most importantly, I can now see it that way.

Just beat it…

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First off, I’m going to entirely ignore Gayle Rosenwald Smith’s article entitled “The Wife-Beater” to geek out about the picture left at the end depicting Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Being a self-proclaimed classic movie buff, I can’t help but love it when I see a masterpiece like “A Streetcar Named Desire” referenced, regardless of whether it is in a good or bad way, in an unrelated topic.

Now, moving on to the real topic at hand, I had a big problem with the foundation of her article. Yes, while I do concede that it is commonplace to call the particular type of shirt a “Wife-beater”, the actual name is called and “A-shirt”, feel free to open up an adjacent tab and Google that. If she really had that big of a problem with its title, you would think she make this a persuasive paper with a call to action for its reform in name.

Finally, now that all that is off my chest I can actually bring up what I enjoyed about the article. Smith had some very good points in her article. To bring up the fact that the term “Wife-beater” has become so well used that it has found its way into the lexicon that is The Oxford Dictionary is beyond me. I am aware that language is a very plastic, malleable object, but to here that an objectified, slang phrase has become a regular part of speech is abhorrent. It makes me fear for the moment when our language takes a turn towards the purely phonetic; something that has only ever been publicly discussed in H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” So much for me enjoying it, huh?

Dang Gina, calm down.

In the article The Wife-Beater by Gayle Rosenwald Smith, she expresses her concerns for the piece of clothing known as “Wife-beaters”

Beating Women…in a Wife Beater 😉

I feel as if she took this term and completely made it dramatic. Yes, the reason behind the term “wife-beater” did first come from actual men who treated their wives with less respect. Most men wearing wife actually were featured on shows such as “Cops” for getting arrested for domestic violence toward their wives. It’s a silly stereotype that has just stuck around in society. There isn’t a reason or purpose to get all angry over it.  I mean would you rather say wife-beater or a ribbed tank top? Personally being a female, the term wife-beater has no negative meaning to me. I know that it’s just used a term to name a specific type of clothing.

I wasn’t aware either that shoulder pads and studded clothing was a sign of promoting physical abuse/violence to women. Am I missing something about the 90’s that made people think that all men were abusive to their wives?  It is an old stereotype that has been carried around today. I feel this argument just went overboard, it’s just a term used to call clothing.

Since when did an article of clothing represent a male dominant environment or gang affiliated violence towards women? I never really payed much thought for the reasoning behind a wife-beater, honestly I never even questioned it. So after reading this article, it kind of just made me chuckle.

After doing a little research, ribbed tank tops for females are sometimes called “Boybeaters”. Which actually became popular due to Avril Lavigne’s style. So should I be expecting another article from a male point of view on how this promotes violence towards males?

Sometimes, people take terms way to literal. Just relax, not everything means what is sounds like. That’s what English is all about, interpretation.

 

Wife-Beater?

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How can the name of an article of clothing stir up so much controversy?  I would understand a piece of clothing revealing too much on someone’s body being controversial, but not its name.  A wife-beater is an undershirt that has recently become popular to both men and woman in our nation.  Many athletes and celebrities have promoted the wife-beater because it’s attractive and shows off the body well.  “The name is the issue” (Smith 322).  To many people the name “wife-beater” is inappropriate.  Parents don’t want their children supporting a name of the undershirt by wearing it.  Many have been pushing for years to change the name of this undershirt because it’s unacceptable to most people and the stereotype that comes along with it.

 When I was in middle school I first was introduced to the wife-beater on our school basketball team.  I thought the wife-beater was a weird name at first but I liked wearing it as an undershirt during games.  Personally I don’t think anything is wrong with the name and don’t think the name needs to be changed.  I wore the undershirt because of its purpose not because I beat women or support women abuse.  The stereotype that has come with the undershirt is unfortunate but there isn’t much we can do about how people think when they see someone wearing it. 

 Changing the name of the undershirt isn’t necessary because to almost every person who wears it, the stereotype doesn’t apply to.  The stereotype has been outdated from “only trailer trash wears it” to almost every social class wearing it because of its purpose.  It’s a great way to prevent sweat from forming on your outer shirt and popular among athletes playing in a game and even businessman walking in a suit on a warm day.  I believe people are taking the wrong approach and really isn’t an issue.  We need to accept the name of the undershirt because in the end, it’s only an undershirt.  

Is College For Everyone?

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According to Pharinet, “not every person should attend college”. I definitely agree with this, but only to a certain extent. Indeed, college is not for everyone. Some people simply have no desire to go to college. The majority of these people I feel, are the ones who choose not to go to college and just stay home. In this case, that unfortunate decision likely will make them unsuccessful. When the time comes to decide on whether or not to go to college, people are considered adults. As an adult, you are free to make your own decisions, so choosing not to go to college and the possible consequences that come with it will be on your hands.

However, certain factors that can keep someone from going to college are understandable. Some people merely cannot afford college. Universities are raising their tuition rates every year, making it harder for some lower income students to even apply. Although, I feel that having an issue with money shouldn’t be an excuse to not work towards getting an education. Many schools offer thousands of dollars in financial aid and scholarships, which provide many opportunities for students struggling financially.

I don’t agree with Pharinet’s comment criticizing that “now, college is a place you go when you want to get a good job, or appease your parents, or because you are ‘finding yourself’”. In today’s society, most high paying and successful jobs require 4 year college degrees, and schooling beyond undergraduate. Even if college was once “a place you went when you wished to learn” (Pharinet), nowadays if people want a good job in the future, regardless of if they like school; they will need a college degree. It’s just the reality of it. It’s just evidently more likely for someone to become successful in this world with a college degree, than without one. Sure, some people say “well Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of college, so I can be just as successful without school too” but honestly, think about how many “Bill Gates” and “Steve Jobs” there are in this world. And their reasons for dropping out were not just because they hated school; they were already making money and successful beforehand. The number of successful people with higher education completely outnumbers those who gained success without it.   

Who Needs College?

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When someone talks about school, they almost always take about elementary school, then middle school, then on up to high school and without skipping a beat, mentioning college.  As I read Pharinet’s article in our textbook titled, “Is College for Everyone?” I found out that in reality, college is not completely necessary or really even appropriate for everyone. College is a daunting task in and of itself. It is at least a four year commitment to the rest of your life. For many it is unnecessary due to the fact that there are people who do not need a four year degree to do what they want to and to be successful. For example, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both dropped out of school and ended up being some of the most successful men in the history of the United States.

 College really is aimed at the students who know what they want to do after school, and to challenge them in difficult classes pertaining to their major. It is sad to see the kids that go to college, that just do not belong there. They are either there because their parents are making them, or because they feel like that is just the next step in life, yet really don’t want to be there, or do not know why they are even there at all. As Pharinet says, “There are too many students enrolled in school who simply don’t belong there.” That statement by the author really hits the nail on the head. There are countless amounts of people that lack a college degree that are mighty successful in their own right.

With the way today’s society is set up, almost every high school graduate feels the pressure to go to college, get a degree and do what that degree pertains to for the rest of their life, but in reality, that sequence of life in not for everyone. Yes everyone is entitled to their education, but you do not need college to live a happy successful life.

Is College Really Worth it?

A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsb...

A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsburgh University Commencement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

College is a very difficult time in most peoples life. For most people, you go straight from high school to college with no room in between to breathe. For most people, that’s fine. But, as Charles Murray mentions in his article “What’s Wrong With Vocational School?”, there are those who simply aren’t smart enough for college. While this may be true in some cases, I believe that college is a very important time period of a young adults life that shouldn’t be missed.

College is supposed to be this magical thing. You can finally go live without your parents supervision. You finally get that freedom you were looking for throughout all of high school and you get to do with other people like you. You get to finally narrow down what you love to do in your life and you can now pursue it as far as you would like to go. However, if don’t you have the skill or desire to go do any post-undergraduate work, there are definite shortfalls for some majors. In certain majors, you just simply can do anything with only an undergrad. The market is becoming too flooded with college grads with not enough jobs for those graduates to fill, so employers now have the option to go past the undergrads and focus on those who have done graduate work. This simple fact can turn your, at times, hundred thousand dollar diploma into a worthless piece of paper. Even if this is true, I still believe that it would have been worth it.

Getting a college degree doesn’t just mean that you can handle the subject matter in that one area, but it shows that you are dedicated enough and smart enough to complete the curriculum. Which not everyone can do. This alone puts you in front of many people in the job search, even if it’s not in the area that you intended. Now that so many people have college degrees, it forces you to learn more than just what the program required you to do. You have to learn to set yourself apart from every single person in the very classes you helped each other get through. You can no longer just get a degree and have people waiting to hand you a job when you graduate. You are now forced to learn a lot more about the job market a lot earlier than you used to. You now must apply everything you’ve learned in those classes to real life in order to show that you are worthy of that job.

“Staying Trippy. A New Experience.”

Reading this graphic novel was a new experience for me. I had never really read a book before, let alone a graphic novel. It sounds like it would be a fun read, and my assumptions didn’t let me down. The war, the revolution, the massacre, and everything related to that are some serious and emotional topics. But reading it from a graphic novel’s perspective made a serious topic much easier to comprehend and digest. And not only that, it was easier to follow with the pictures that were provided. The way she would draw images gave me a sense of what she was feeling or going through at the time.

I personally think Marjane Satrapi did an excellent job in writing this novel. From the start, I was interested in how rebellious she was in relation to where she lived and the land of the law. Coming from parents who are more so traditionalist and stuck to their cultures and ways, I was easily able to relate and understand where she was coming from and why she would do what she did. I liked how she developed her character over time through the events that she experienced. What I liked even more is that she projected her feelings and thoughts in those pictures in ways the words weren’t able to describe. I felt that she rushed the end of the book though. I thought she could have slowed down and expanded on what happened to her lifestyle during those years. Maybe she didn’t write about them as much because they were uneventful, but that’s just a theory. I also didn’t like how she would sometimes talk about the future and spoil it for us instead of just letting us read through to find out. An example of this would be something like when she tells the reader that eventually they would get divorced before the marriage even happened. But overall, it was a very good read and I really enjoyed the book.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis is the first graphic narrative I have ever read. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go until I finally sat down and opened that thing up. The first element that catches my eye are the pictures. Pictures? Yep, for those who do not know what a graphic narrative is, it is basically a story told through comics.

That’s where I would like to turn my focus towards, the images. We have all read, at least I hope so at this point, a novel. We know that, depending on the author, the book can feel like it drags on for weeks even though it might take you 3 days to finish. The Complete Persepolis was the complete opposite for me. As soon as I opened up the book I was entranced by the way the pictures helped to portray the message the author was going for. I’m bold enough to say that you could understand the basic gist of the story without the text because the pictures help so much. You can see the emotion whether it be fear, sadness, anger, or misery; It’s all right there in the comic.

However, there are more to these images. You can tell that each individual frame was well thought out before being drawn in the book. Satrapi alternates between black and white backgrounds depending on the message she is trying to send to the reader. The black background tends to be used the majority of the time because it is easier to pick out the text box, and you can tell that Satrapi feels like the text is more important than the picture it goes with. The white background though, tended to be used on frames that almost took up a whole page. Personally, the text was a little harder to find at first glance so I tended to search the picture for the message. It isn’t very hard to find. These images lean more toward the graphic side and Satrapi makes it abundantly clear the message her image is supposed to portray.

It may take some getting used to, but I can see myself really getting into the cross-discursive nature of graphic narratives.