Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How Fairy Tales REALLY End

People around the world have been dying to get out of communism, while at the same time people around the world are dying to get into capitalistic America. Using the movie China Cry: A True Story set in the 1950s, I intend to elaborate the antimony of Marx’s inadequate ideology with several contradictions that it generated in the life of Nora Lam. The movie beautifully amplifies the duality of socialism and capitalism as Nora Lam is forced to give up her God, her family and her identity never achieving anything close to Marx's ideal.

Initially, Sung Neng Yee, referred to in the rest of this piece by her American name, Nora Lam, is a young girl eager to become part of Mao Tze Tung's “new society,” but it doesn't take long until she is disenchanted by the changes communism brings. When the authorities become aware of her change of heart she is taken to a labor camp. Although they take her from her husband, two of her children and her mother all their attempts to take away her individuality and her God are thwarted.

“War stole my privileged childhood,” says Nora as the Koreans forced her family from their home, took the jewelry her mother was wearing and brutally killed the chauffer opening the door for the family of the car that was no longer theirs. About ten years later, after what Nora calls “mind defying violence,” like many she was grateful to be free, ripe for the salvation the red flag seemed to bring. “They’re returning our country to us,” she told her mother, “we must show respect.”

Conversely, in their attempts to break Nora of her bourgeois tendencies, the communist officials showed her no respect. Her supernatural God disturbed the dialectic thread of Marx’s theory that refuses to acknowledge anything that cannot be perceived by the five senses. In their attempt to persuade the people that all religion was merely a drug to be rejected by reasonable people, they became unreasonable. Work camps and torture chambers were the consequences for what the leaders considered fundamental theological errors. However, instead of undermining Nora’s childhood faith, it became real as she suffered under Communist persecution. She refused to deny Christ even while enduring physical abuse late in her pregnancy courage strength to survive all odds.

In the movie churches were turned into factories “to better serve the great revolution.” Nora looked in wonder as Christian Chinese women mouthed songs of praise to God in silence, which brings me to a convincing secondary source to support Nora Lam’s confidence in her King . . . the Bible.

Psalm 45
For the choir director: A love song to be sung to the tune “Lilies.”
A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Beautiful words stir my heart.
I will recite a lovely poem about the king,
for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.
2 You are the most handsome of all.
Gracious words stream from your lips.
God himself has blessed you forever.
3 Put on your sword, O mighty warrior!
You are so glorious, so majestic!
4 In your majesty, ride out to victory,
defending truth, humility, and justice.
Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!
5 Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemy’s hearts.
The nations fall beneath your feet.
6 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
You rule with a scepter of justice. . . (Psalm 45).

When Communism failed to convince everyone of its ideology, its supporters imposed their ideology by force. As does much religious persecution in the last century, if one would not remove themselves from their religion, they would be forcefully removed from it. Under repressive atheistic Communism in China, party leaders became the new god, the new bourgeois, the new oppressors.

The dictionary defines ‘manifesto’ as a “public declaration explaining past actions and announcing the motive for forthcoming ones,” originally “proof” from Latin manifestus(manifesto). Relating to communism's religious beliefs, the Communist Manifesto would be their creed . . . a draft of the Communist Confession of Faith. The duality of the Communist Manifesto went beyond the obvious communism / socialism, nonowning worker and nonworking owner, bourgeois and proletarians. Marx says:
The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms . . .assum[ing] different forms at different epochs . . . The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relation; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism . . . Political power . . . is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another.

The antimony: as the Communist Manifesto condemns government, religion and traditional culture as tools of a repressive capitalist class, Mao Tze Tung's “new society” represses the people brutally. Communist commander continue to try and break her even to the point of putting her before a firing squad. But even a that supernatural event does not bring her ordeal to an end.

Succeeding the duality of Marx's ideal and the reality of Nora Lam’s God is her family life in Communist China. She had been adopted by her family in Shanghai in 1941, and was treated like a princess . . . until the bombs dropped literally and figuratively. The movie shows the real horror wasn’t the loss of her bourgeois life and the economic misery to her family. Nora finds her mom gambling and insists on knowing where she got the money. Her mother explained she’d enjoyed haggling for an hour to get a good price for a silk scarf. “Where will I wear it? It’s out of fashion now,” she laughed. She enjoyed. They laughed. Their family unit was nurturing, loving and satisfying.
However, while the Communist party never achieved anything close to Marx’s ideal, over the years they ripped her precious family from her. While she is still in school, her father, a doctor, is persecuted severely. He is shamed, demoted, and once again the family is forced to leave the house they live in. This time it is being papered with propaganda - lies to discredit and humiliate them. One evening when her father doesn’t come home, Nora searches the hospital for him. She finds the hospital in deplorable chaotic conditions and she finds her father under armed guard scrubbing the bathroom floors, while the halls are crowded with needy people. Her father is ultimately used as a guinea pig for medical testing and bleeds to death.
The Communist Manifesto states: “Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another . . . if compelled by force to organize itself as a class . . . by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class . . . sweep[ing] away by force the old conditions of production.” Therefore, sweeping away the conditions, antagonizing and “abolishing its own supremacy as a class” (77). The ideal: putting an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations; the reality: not "abolishing its own supremacy as a class, but the new ruling class opressing those it considers better or a threat to themselves brutally.
During the next few years, Nora marries and has two children. She is continually subjected to excruciating persecution, but bargains for her husband and daughter's release to Hong Kong. Looking to God’s promise to bring her entire family to freedom, she envisions a life wiht her family in America and she holds to this vision as she is sent to hard labor while she is pregnant with her third child. Those who abused her and the China Cry audience watches her pregnant miraculouslytwelve months, until she and her small son are freed.

Finally, the party leaders could not depersonalize Nora Lam as a cog in industrial/social machine - Marx's ideal. The reality in the duality is that Nora Lam could not be forced to give up her identity, anymore than she would surrender her God or her family. Her God, the God of the Bible, says human actions are different than those of a machine. He says we’re a body.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. (1 Corinthians 12).

Although they tried, Nora Lam would not be forced to be someone she wasn’t. She was a voice, a constant compelling voice declaring her truths. She was not contentn to be quiet and merely watch like eyes the abuse and hopelessness. She wasn't a nose to stick into others business, and then tattle and lie for whatever compensation the government was giving.

The fundamental ideology of communism holds that all people are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labour but are prevented from doing so in a capitalist economic system. Nora Lam found and showed her audience that collective ownership stifled dreams, imagination and potential. This is how Fairy Tales REALLY end.

Work Cited
Fredric Bender, ed. Marx, Karl The Communist Manifesto. New York: Norton and Company, Inc., 1988.
"manifesto." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 11 May. 2010. .
Mark R. Norton, ed., Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1996.
Meenan, John-Paul. "Communist manifesto: the abolition of man" The Free Library 01 September 2009. 10 May 2010 .
Mitchinson, Phil. “The Living Ideas of Karl Marx.” March, 2003. Web. April 20, 2010. http://www.marxist.com/150years/living_ideas_marx.html
Walker, Chas. “Marxism 101 - To each according to his Greed? Class 2.” Sep 4, 2009. Web. April 22, 2010. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A_YUUBpKV4

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Long Live This Salesman

With four children and my precious daughter to support my salesman son-in-law has not sold a single machine in six months. After such a long discouraging period and at a time when the nation and even the world is teetering on the brink of depression you would probably expect him to at least consider the science of Marxism for hope. Using my son-in-law’s story, I want to explain why this man remains a poster child for capitalism in light of the relevance of Marx's writings on philosophy and economics in today’s world in these ways: having been on both sides of the society divide - nonowning worker and nonworking owner, understanding ideology and ideological state behind Marx’s theory, and the scientific understanding of the class nature of society.


Beginning as a nonowning worker, at twenty years old my son-in-law convinced his father to open a surf shop in our desert community, an hour from the ocean. It flourished. He wasn’t alienated - to make indifferent or hostile from the workers or the nonworkers, but he enhanced – raised to a higher degree, the lives of his workers, his father and his own.

Marx describes society as being separated into "oppressor and oppressed" or in his time, the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat (35).

The Glengarry Glen Ross clip we saw in class depicts greed fueling “progress,” inequality and poverty. In the scene, Blake (Alec Baldwin) is confronting the employees, “I would have them fire your fucken ass because a loser is a loser.” Blake is taking a business opportunity to brow beat workers who one would expect should be formulating and demanding another system where exploitation would be abolished.

• The price of labor in a free-market society is determined by the demand and competence of the individual worker.
• Even a scientific understanding of the class nature of society and the ideals of socialism on a scientific basis are not enough to dissuade this young family from the opportunities abounding in capitalism.
• many of his "radical" ideas are commonplace in our society today
• Although he gives praise where it is due, he sees capitalism only as an absolute step of society. Despite their merits, the bourgeoisie have failed to "[do] away with class antagonisms" and have only created "two great hostile camps" (37).

Consider the truths that Phil Mitchinson presents in his article The Living Ideas of Karl Marx. He says, and I believe this poster child would agree: (historical perspective of society)
"The bourgeoisie and its academic experts are at a loss to explain what is happening in the world. One would look in vain in the pages of the economic journals for a rational explanation of the world crisis of their system . . . But if you read the Manifesto, you will find an accurate description of the world, not as it was in 1848, but as it is now. Phenomena such as globalization, the concentration of capital, and the exploitation of labour under the guise of modern technology – all these things were not only predicted by Marx but explained scientifically. . . How contemporary Marx's words appear. Not just the growth and interdependence of the world market is predicted here, "In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations." But also the domination of that market by a handful of monopolies and the centralization and concentration of capital that this represents: "It has agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands.". . . The reduction of the workforce to the role of slaves to the machine, "in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time, or by increased speed of machinery."

Finally, The Marxist theory that class struggle is history’s driving force but capitalist opportunity is the place for the productive capacities of society
Where collective ownership would stifle dreams, imagination and potential
The fundamental ideology of communism, it holds that all people are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labour but are prevented from doing so in a capitalist economic system
a social revolution isn’t needed to seize political power internationally through talent, dreams are

Marx argues that in capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisie) dominate and exploit the working class (proletariat) majority. Marx attempted to argue that capitalism was exploitative, specifically the way in which unpaid labor (surplus value) is extracted from the working class (the labor theory of value), extending and critiquing the work of earlier political economists on value. He argued that while the production process is socialized, ownership remains in the hands of the bourgeoisie. This forms the fundamental contradiction of capitalist society. Without the elimination of the fetter of the private ownership of the means of production, human society is unable to achieve further development.
property, power relations, wage labor and class. fruits of their labour . . . Expropriate to take possession of, esp. for public use by the right of eminent domain
Marx gave to the labor movement and Socialism a theoretical foundation. His social theory showed that social systems were in a continuous flow wherein capitalism was only a temporary form. His studies of capitalism showed that owing to the continuous development of perfection of technique, capitalism must necessarily develop to Socialism. This new system of production can only be established by the proletarians struggling against the capitalists, whose interest it is to maintain the old system of production. Socialism is therefore the fruit and aim of the proletarian class struggle

Marxism has done away with the old utopian views that Socialism would be brought about by the intelligence and good will of some judicious men; as if Socialism were a demand for justice and morality; as if the object were to establish an infallible and perfect society. Justice and morality change with the productive system, and every class has different conceptions of them. Socialism can only be gained by the class whose interest lies in Socialism, and it is not a question about a perfect social system, but a change in the methods of production leading to a higher step, i. e., to social production. . . part of their inner self; it dominates their thoughts, their feelings, their entire conception of the world. Because Marxism is the theory of social development, in the midst of which we stand, therefore Marxism itself stands at the central point of the great mental struggles that accompany our economic revolution.(Walker)

proletarian revolution — In order to overcome the fetters of private property the working class and Upon this, material foundation classes would be abolished and the material basis for all forms of inequality between humankind would dissolve.
Expropriation is politically motivated and forceful confiscation and redistribution of private property outside the common law, allegedly to establish social justice
encouraging economic growth.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Ana Mejia’s blog
Heigh-Ho Marx!
The seven dwarfs spend their days mining for diamonds, rubies and other expensive stones. These stones can be seen as a commodity, which according to Karl Marx is "an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another" (Marx 665). Although it is not shown in the movie, it is safe to assume that these men then give the commodities produced to a person in a higher position who gives them some sort of wage. Judging by their patched clothes and the tiny cottage they live in, the dwarfs make just enough money to survive. The diamonds they dig up, however, are sold for incredibly high prices, none of which they receive. This is exactly what Marx declares makes a capitalist economic system: "the appropriation from workers of more value than they are paid for" (Marx 665).
production is no longer the interest of capital (capitalism) or the state (socialism) but rather in the hands of the vast community whereupon the nature of social relations have lost their commodified forms and taken on production of a new system. This new system is characterized by producing not for profit, but for need. Need can be understood in a number of ways, but what we have here is the theoretical transformation of human labor into a new social role. No longer does the worker go to work to produce commodities for profit of his employer; rather, workers collectively produce for the expanding needs of a continuously developing people in the most efficient means.
Marxism 101: What is Communism?
Adjust font-size: + – Published February 12, 2008 by: Brian Rice http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/586829/marxism_101_what_is_communism.html

oppressors and the Oppressed. Marx sees this gulf as being about the same as lord and serf, prince and peasant, emperor and slave. "The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms" (Marx 66).
The forces that the bourgeoisie strived to create, the empires of industry and the struggling class of the common man, are to be their very "grave diggers" (50).

Work Cited

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto.
Mitchinson, Phil. “The Living Ideas of Karl Marx.” March, 2003. Web. April 20, 2010. http://www.marxist.com/150years/living_ideas_marx.html
Walker, Chas. “Marxism 101 - To each according to his Greed? Class 2.” Sep 4, 2009. Web. April 22, 2010. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A_YUUBpKV4

Analysis #4 Does NCIS - Foucault Force

Where a Panoptical structure is normally in a circle with an observation tower in the center surrounded by an outer wall of cells for the incarceration of mental patients or convicts, for seven seasons at the center of NCIS is Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his agents and their team that seem incarcerated, as they seem to be confined to their jobs 24/7 as they investigate crimes involving Navy and Marine Corps personnel. If the central idea to Foucault’s Panopticism is the systematic ordering and controlling of humans through subtle and often unseen forces then Agent Jethro Gibbs is a picture of Foucault Force when in his "office" - acubicle with his team at hand, surrounded "cells” consisting of labs, offices, a morgue . . . there is one notable exception.

NCIS - 'Hit The Head' Montage
I spent VERY MUCH time trying to embed this video to prove my exception, but have given up :(

While the purpose of the panoptic design is to increase the security through the effectiveness of outward surveillance and not only do the story lines revolve around Gibbs and his team like Foucault’s Panopticism, everything is visible to their audiences (which revolve around them as well). It’s from this core that all the surrounding cells are visible, each valuable member is kept under observation and all the ensuing action is generated from the core as well. While Gibbs and a part of his team have freedom to come and go just as a guard would in a panoptic prison, many of the team is confined to “cells” consisting of labs, offices, a morgue . . . The inmates are not convicts, and there is no danger of a plot or an attempt at collective escape, but there is at times the danger of contagion, risk of their committing violence on one another these “prisoners” seem to like it there. I like them there too :)

Although they are not always a model of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon of a self-disciplined society, the NCIS core often behaves like schoolchildren, with copying, noise, play and pranks. However, advances in technology and surveillance techniques have made Foucault’s theories all the more pertinent to NCIS and its population – millions of fan.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010




In her play The Waiting Room sand-up comic Lisa Loomer takes a darkly funny look at the dangers encountered on the path to beauty and perfection. Loomer writes in a very different voice than a man would as she presents three women in a doctor’s waiting room from different historical periods killing themselves to look beautiful. Victoria is a prim Nineteenth Century English woman trussed up in a whalebone corset wearing a bustle who is prone to "hysterical" fits. Her husband believes she has "had too much education" so he has arranged for her to have her ovaries removed. Forgiveness from Heaven is a Chinese woman from the 1700s who believes her tiny bound feet make her desirable in the eyes of men. One of her toes has just fallen off. The third woman is Wanda, thoroughly modern. She has had a lot of cosmetic surgery done and is now suffering serious complications from her three breast augmentations. Loomer cleverly uses literature, a book by Freud that one of her characters is reading, to encourage her audience to psychoanalyze her characters and themselves as they find Freud in the waiting room.

First, Victoria's husband, who wants her ovaries removed, denounces the Chinese as barbaric, while the husband of the Chinese woman who adores his wife's bound feet, denounces the English as barbaric. By juxtaposing time periods and using earthy humor Loomer both comically and tragically shows how little has changed over time. Victoria hides her book by Freud from her husband because her husband believes her desire to educate herself has caused her ovaries to atrophy and has given her hysteria. It doesn’t seem to matter to him that her corset is forcing her uterus out of her vagina. Loomer amplifies the serious nature and accentuates the help psychoanalysis would be with comedy – she gives Victoria a tic whenever she says the word “husband.”

In Scene 2 Wanda is absorbed in a Glamour Magazine and Victoria comes into the waiting room distraught wanting Wanda to run downstairs to Barnes and Nobel to get her another copy of Freud because, “while she and her husband were discussing Freud’s theories . . . her husband quite accidentally, of course . . . dropped Freud. . . into the fire” (48). She asks Wanda to hurry, because she “wants to finish Freud by [her] appointment” (49). When Wanda is curious Victoria admits she bit her husband’s nose and now he’s wondering if “a few teeth might not be removed as well” (49). Like Freud, Victoria is willing to believe her problems are in her mind, but that she thinks she’ll have all the answers before her doctor’s appointment intensifies the comedic drama. Although desperate for freedom, Victoria is still wearing the corset that the doctor told her is, “compressing [her] stomach, dislocating the kidneys, crushing [her] liver, and constricting [her] heart.” But, she says, about her outfit, “it is pretty isn’t it” (49).

The dramatic impact is also intense with Loomer’s unique blend of love, despair, and reality in the characters Forgiveness from Heaven and Wanda. Although these characters don’t consider Freud, they are prime examples of his theories. For instance, Forgiveness is actually proud that the stench in the office comes from her rotting feet. She says, “I would wash them but my husband, he’s crazy for the smell. Likes to eat watermelon seeds from the toes. Almonds. (Delighted.) Dirt” (12). Forgiveness and her husband sound like two year olds to me. I can only imagine the psycho-sexual life or childhood memories awakened in this couples relationship, but they are thought provoking. Tiny feet . . . desirable in her father’s eyes . . . hmmmm.
Loomer describes Wanda as, “A modern gal from Jersey. Forty. Enormous breasts and perfected everything else . . . ballsy . . . but as vulnerable as she appears streetwise, and smarter than she’s gone out of her way to look” (7). As the play is ending in an emotionally charged scene (By now I’m glad the play is almost over because the scenes are emotionally exhausting as well.) Wanda is considering which of the terrible options available to her she should chose to treat her breast cancer. She realizes her whole family has died of cancer. She says, “My dad never got to see me. . . pretty. (Forces a smile.) Well, hey I wouldn’t want him to see me like this now would I?” (69,70).


Aha what?

I’m not sure, but I’m meeting Freud in The Waiting Room again.

Works Cited
Loomer, Lisa. The Waiting Room. Dramatists Play Service Inc: New York, N.Y. 1998.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hamlet’s Oedipus Complex

Hamlet’s Oedipus Complex
Writing of a character who has been powerfully effecting audiences for centuries Ernest Jones asks in his essay “The Oedipus-Complex as An Explanation of Hamlet's Mystery: A Study in Motive,” "Who has ever seen Hamlet and not felt the fearful conflict that moves the soul of the hero?" Jones believes as I do, “the hero’s conflict finds its echo in a similar inner conflict in the mind of the hearer, and the more intense is this already present conflict the greater is the effect of the drama . . . outer manifestations of it”(85).
A Freudian take on the character Hamlet would be that the audiences are “profoundly moved by feelings due to a conflict of the source of which they are unaware” (85), as Hamlet was unaware. That Hamlet was unaware, I’m certain, however, Freud’s genius has been assimilating powerfully for nearly a hundred years so it is easy to see several reasons Hamlet’s audiences are consistently moved. Not only are Freud’s Psychosexual Stages of Development evident in Hamlet, but I for one can relate.
First, consider Hamlet speaking passionately to his mother comparing his wonderful father to the uncle he abhorred. Hamlet signifies his disdain with the analogy comparing himself to Hercules in Act I, Sc. 2.
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!

The audience is profoundly made aware that he idolized his father. In the movie version we saw in class, as Freud suggests, Hamlet also wanted what his father was, and what his father had. Hamlet seems to be stuck in and early childhood stage and it now dominated his adult personality.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ANALYSIS #2 EGGS - actly!


I haven't flipped. I just thought the egg pix would inspire Amy to have fun with the words for the game Alex inspired for our presentation on Structuralism .

I liked how abstract and subjective the thinking could get with a mere egg – the inside and outside; to incite or urge, egg on one's face, humiliation or embarrassment, walk on eggs, or a good old goose egg.

I also liked how abstract, interchangeable, associative words and images got with the word bill. There’s Bill Clinton, the Bill of Rights, the invoice, statement, bulletin, handbill, poster and the beak.

I believe I was most helpful by emailing the key points along with the work cited information that I found most interesting concerning the theory’s historical context, cultural importance and practical uses . That way the one who orchestrated our power point could simply cut and paste what she needed. I then emboldened what I felt was the bottom-line so our coordinator didn’t need to spend too much time wading through the information.

Ferdinand de Saussure, Swiss, early 20th Century linguist argued:
Study language as if frozen in time and cut transversely (in a cross direction; road that cuts through a park or other area of light traffic; shortcut) like a leaf.
The result: vision of entire language system – implied or unconscious in any utterance. Utterances are merely manifestation of rules of the system that lend order to the heterogeneity (composition from dissimilar parts) of language. (IMPLIED ORDER central to Stucturalist; derives historically and logically from Formalism; adducing the internal system or order of linguistic, cultural and literary phenomena - a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed)

Other favorite facts were:

“During the early and middle sixties, structuralism so dominated the French Intelectual life that Bernard Pinguad could write in a 1966 issue of L’Arc devoted to Sartre: ‘1945 1960: In order to measure the distance covered between these two dates, it is enough to open a newspaper or periodical and to read a few book reviews. Not only are the same names no longer quoted and the same references no longer invoked but the same words are no longer pronounced. The language of reflection has changed. Philosophy, which was triumphant fifteen years age, today gives way to the human sciences, and this is accompanied by the appearance of a new vocabulary. One no longer speaks of “consciousness” or “subject” but of “rules,” “codes,” “systems”; one no longer is an existentialist but a structuralist” [L’arc, PP 30-31]. In his elegant and entertaining Structuralism in Literature, Robert Scholes defines structuralism as a movement of mind and as a method.”
One of the many reasons why a typology of forms might have more impact on practice in architecture than in the other arts is the inherent reproducibility of architecture and its dependence on prototype. In the past, all the arts depended, to a greater or a lesser extent, on the faithful reproduction of prototypical elements. In classical artistic theory this use of prototypes was, so to speak, sublimated into the theory of mimesis, insofar as this applied to the imitation of models of classical art. The romantic movement condemned this concept as a denial of the absolute originality of each artwork; though the process was not destroyed, after romanticism it ceased to be a de jure practice and went underground. But in architecture the concept of reproducibility persisted . . .Once and idea has been established in architecture it tends to be repeated in countless examples . . . humble buildings like houses are often identical . . . partly because such buildings are intended to satisfy basic and continuing human needs, and partly because to translate an idea into material form requires the mediation of a number of agents, which in turn demands a certain degree of standardization.
In architecture and urban planning evolved around the middle of the 20th century. It was a reaction to CIAM-Functionalism which had led to a lifeless expression of urban planning that ignored the identity of the inhabitants and urban forms. . . The organization was hugely influential. It was not only engaged in formalizing the architectural principles of the Modern Movement, but also saw architecture as an economic and political tool that could be used to improve the world through the design of buildings and through urban planning.
CIAM's conferences consisted of:
• 1928, CIAM I, La Sarraz, Switzerland, Foundation of CIAM
• 1929, CIAM II, Frankfurt, Germany, on The Minimum Dwelling
• 1930, CIAM III, Brussels, Belgium, on Rational Land Development (Rationelle Bebauungsweisen)
• 1937, CIAM V, Paris, France, on Dwelling and Recovery
[Note the Swiss and French influence, as with literary thinkers]

I’ve noticed in other readings Robert Scholes defined “Structuralism is a reaction to ‘modernist’ alienation and despair,” the way the following article does . . .


I enjoyed this project and those I got to work with VERY much :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



"Awe, Mom! Not again! We’ve only been gone a few minutes and look at you," said Squirt, the baby chick. "Dad won't like this. Yesterday, when he said we kids could explore the other side of the coop without you; you cackled so long and loud we had to cut our adventure short. We promised we wouldn’t be long, and the others are right behind me. What are we going to do with you, Mom?”
“Now Squirt, she needed me. She was all alone and so sad. She needed a hug she could rest in.”
“Pah-leez, Mom! I wasn’t born yesterday. She was sound asleep when you saw her. You needed the snuggle. I knew you would, so I hurried back to cuddle, but now there’s no room for me. Awe, Mom!”


Literary Theory: An Analogy says, "Studying myths Levi-Strauss noticed as Russian critic, Vladimir Propp that folk tales myths tell the same 'kernel narratives' tending to work to resolve contradictions in the culture" (P 53). The baby chick standing outside its mother's protection while a puppy enjoys the baby chick's place is a contradiction, and could easily signify a contradiction in our culture.

Roland Barthes, a French literary theorist, philosopher and critic says: "A work of literature [is]. . . nothing but an assemblage of signs that function in certain ways to create meaning. . . films, commodities, events and images are lent meaning by their association with certain signs” (p 54).
An on line article on semiotics from Heriot Watt University’s Black Run titled “Advanced Semiotics” articulates:
Throughout the mid-1950's, Barthes wrote a series of brief articles for a French newspaper on the subject of myth . . . Saussure suggested that signifiers (sounds) and signifieds (concepts) are connected together by the process of signification. Barthes suggested that this process does not necessarily end at this point, as a sign can take part in a new level of signification where it becomes the signifier to a new signified at another level. For example, at the most basic level of signification which Barthes refers to as denotation, a photograph or bodyshell may suggest the sign "car". The sign "car" can in turn become a signifier for a further signified. For example one type of bodyshell can conjure up the sign "Jaguar XJS", another sign "LADA". To Barthes, this second level of meaning at the level of denotation is "mythical". He argues that we tend to see such associations as natural and given (XJS = "luxury", LADA = "basic") when in fact they are arbitrary constructions.

The sign of the plump healthy looking hen could signify contentment but could also conjure up a second level of meaning. Where a hen cuddling a baby chick would be “natural,” mothering the pup would be “weird,” or “humorous". Barthes might argue “natural” and “weird / humorous” are arbitrary constructions. However, with no sign of the pup's mother, the hen looking so comfortable, and the baby chick left out, I doubt that “natural” and “weird / humorous” are all that arbitrary.