For some quick context regarding Distant Star, screen the following clip by Ken Loach:
Monthly Archives: October 2010
Ideology Critique and The Girl (VIAL)
I think that the class is familiar enough with the critical tools we’ve amassed in the last ten weeks to bring them to bear on The Girl. We need to consider two things with regard to this novel. First, its ideological content– specifically Le Sueur’s critique of Depression Era society and her sense of what it would take (what values would be necessary) to change that situation. Second, we should focus on the methods by which Le Sueur establishes that content. Using all of the familiar terms of literary analysis– plot, character, diction, etc.– we should be able to assess how the formal aesthetic choices of The Girl work to assert a definite vision of society.
Heart of Glass (acoustic)
Iran and the West (ContCult)
For those interested in accruing further film knowledge of Iran and its recent history, go to the following link, a website which– imagine!– provides free streaming documentary films:
Eponymous Blog Post (VIAL)
One or two things:
First, I didn’t explain eponymous correctly because of a brain malfunction. The character The Girl is eponymous because the novel The Girl is named after her. She is the title character.
But what I was looking to establish was that she functions as a kind of collective protagonist– not exactly an archetype, not strictly speaking an allegorical figure, but a character who stands in for an entire class of people. The Girl could be any girl from the same social stratum. This is why she has no name.
The $2 Billion Midterm
This midterm election will be the most expensive in American history due to the landmark Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC which essentially equates campaign spending with political speech, protecting it under the 1st amendment.
Here are extracts from Justice Stevens dissenting opinion:
In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure, and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races
Taiping Rebellion (Americas)
Today I mis-identified a passage in China Men as referring to the Boxer Rebellion when in fact the Kington’s reference is to the Taiping Rebellion.
“What changed the political conditions, the ruling circles, the economy and fiscal system and the intellectual life of China so perceptibly between 1850 and 1870 was not the activities of the Western powers but the great social and political crisis of the T’ai P’ing War” (Gernet 544)
Structures of Feeling (ContCult)
Structures of feeling: “The term is difficult, but ‘feeling’ is chosen to emphasize a distinction from more formal concepts of ‘world-view’ or ‘ideology’…. We are concerned with meanings and values as they are actively lived and felt, and the relations between these and formal or systematic beliefs are in practice variable…. An alternative definition would be structures of experience…. We are talking about characteristic elements of impulse, restraint, and tone; specifically affective elements of consciousness and relationships: not feeling against thought, but thought as felt and feeling as thought: practical consciousness of a present kind, in a living and interrelating continuity. We are then defining these elements as a ‘structure’: as a set, with specific internal relations, at once interlocking and in tension. Yet we are also defining a social experience which is still in process, often indeed not yet recognized as social but taken to be private, idiosyncratic, and even isolating, but which in analysis… has its emergent, connecting, and dominant characteristics….” (Williams 132)
“Methodologically, then, a ‘structure of feeling’ is a cultural hypothesis, actually derived from attempts to understand such elements and their connections in a generation or a period…. The hypothesis has special relevance to art and literature” (133).
“Structures of feeling can be defined as social experiences in solution, as distinct from other social semantic formations which have been precipitated and are more evidently and more immediately available…. Yet this specific solution is never mere flux. It is a structured formation….” (134).