Enlightening, not entertaining!

From the moment I saw the beginning of the movie, I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t like it very much. However, as the movie progressed, I realized that although the movie wasn’t particularly entertaining, it was bearable (which is more than I can say for many other movies). As the movie went on, I have to say, I did get a little bored, as the majority of the scenes were in the one pizzeria. However, at the conclusion of the day, I realized that although the movie did not entertain me, it taught me some thing. It taught me how people in these neighborhoods live and what they do for survival. It taught me their means of entertainment (some of which, like the water hydrant, were quite humorous indeed) and the types of jobs they both do. For this reason, my respect for the movie increased dramatically, and I found myself wanting to finish the movie.

Confusing yet entertaining


The first thing I have to mention is that it was very difficult to get through the first two acts, but I believe that is what made reading the play all the more enjoyable. I have a penchant for books that are related to wars and coups and things of such nature. As such, although the book was difficult to get through, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

It is quite obvious from the play that Richard is neither a competent nor a wise leader. He is rash, impatient, and quick, and generally does things he pleases. In addition, he also does not have much care for his subjects or for those who have been loyal to him. For example, when Richard heard the news that his uncle, John of Gaunt, was lying in his deathbed, he had a sense of joy and happiness rush through him, as he realized that he could now seize John’s estates once he is dead, considering Bolingbroke is now in exile. Act II concludes with Richard’s large Welsh army dispersing, as they believe Richard to be dead. As such, the audience now knows that Richard is left without an army to fight Bolingbroke, who has seized the entire northern half of Richard’s kingdom. I am looking forward to finishing the play and would like to see what is to become of both Richard and Bolingbroke if they are to meet in battle.



When I think of Don Juan, the name that comes into my mind is Cassanova. Cassanova was famed for being a seducer. He was a romantic fool who’s sole desires were women and adventure. However, Don Juan seems to be a radical version of Cassanova, as he not only seems to take pleasure in seducing and marrying every other girl, but he doesn’t seem to heed anyone else’s warnings. For example, when Don Juan’s valet cautions him of his way of life, he doesn’t heed it; when Don Luis cautions him, he neglects it. He becomes so arrogant that he challenges the Heavens by calling statues over for dinner and not find it perplexing when they actually show up. He sealed his fate when he used the idea of being religious and pious as a disguise to cover his true intentions. At this moment, his hubris and his arrogance were explicitly shown, and this is what led to his inevitable doom.


A walkway so vast and large

yet so elegant and profound.

A walkway that’s filled with a green garden

but one that overlooks a concrete haven.

The Highline,

A perfect blend of nature’s beauty

and the towering buildings of the city,

A paradox so overwhelming,

a juxtaposition so awe-inspiring,

the union of two contradicting forces,

The Highline.

By James Thomas

Overly Passionate!

I have to say; when I picked up the novel, I did not think this would be a book that I might enjoy. However, I was thoroughly surprised by the fact that not only wasn’t the book half bad, but I also found it to be quite interesting. What captured my interest the most was the rather inexplicable obsession both Patti and Robert had for art. All they did was art: they spent hours together drawing things, they debated whether or not to spend their extra money on food or art, and they solely dedicated their lives to art. I believe I found this interesting because such a vivid portrayal of passion was new to me.

I have never really been an aesthetic person, and therefore, I have never really taken the time to understand what it is about art that captivates certain people. I have had friends who were superb and spectacular artists, but I always believed they were born with a natural inclination for drawing and painting. I never grasped the fact that many of them spent hours everyday perfecting this talent. Any raw talent has to be refined and sculpted so it looks appealing to everyone else.

When I got up to the part where it was quite obvious Robert had a social disorder, a small smile crept upon my face, as I knew, sooner or later, either Patti or Robert would show some signs of a disorder. Extreme and obsessive passion over anything can lead to a person dedicating all of his/her time to that passion. This results in the breakdown of the social harmony that is necessary for living a healthy life. Patti got back some of her social life when she ceased being overly obsessive about art. She started going to her friends’ houses an started doing things besides art. As such, every time she came back home, she could see the provincial and parochial world that was Robert’s. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I would like to see where the memoir takes me.

The Land of Opportunity?

What is the United States? To those living in the U.S., it is our home: a place where we go about with our prosaic and mundane lives. To those living outside the U.S., however, this is a dream world, a land of opportunity. Streets paved of gold, cash overflowing from pockets, and faucets which pour out beer instead of water are among the few conceptions that most foreigners have of America. As such, people will do virtually anything to come to this heaven.

However, Shaun Tan brings into light a different kind of America: an America that torments you if you don’t work hard, an America that destroys you if you don’t have the right papers, and an America that murders you if you don’t grab every opportunity you see. Such a cynical America is non-existent in the minds of anyone living outside of America. This America is a brutal, cold-blooded, and blood–thirsty monster that will suck the life-blood out of you if you cease to work hard. After witnessing this reality, most immigrants are often placed in a state of utter confusion. They can’t go back to wherever they came from, but neither can they rest and relax, for if they do, they’ll lead lives worse than those they lead back home. When a situation like this presents itself, one can do nothing but blankly stare and attempt to choose the choice that might be better in the long-run.

The previous paragraphs are my justification to why all the pictures in the book appear gloomy, monotonous, and depressing. When I first opened the book, the first thing that came to my mind was that this is a very depressing theme. After looking at a few images, especially the one with the woman crying after giving a hug to a man, I realized that this book’s theme acquiesced completely with the way immigrants felt after they came into the U.S – gloomy, monotonous, and depressed.

To forget does not necessitate to let go!

One must understand that to forget is natural and a necessary part of life. If we did not have the ability to forget, then humans would not survive this largely harsh and brutal world. It is our ability to forget events, no matter how traumatic they may be, that allows us to reign over this planet as the dominating species. However, Rieff makes a rather clear and explicit point when he says it’s been ten years since 9/11 and many of us still have not even begun to forget this. This is, in my opinion, dangerous and potentially problematic, as not allowing ourselves to let go of the thoughts could lead us to harboring unwanted and unnecessary thoughts.

We must understand that when we force ourselves to remember 9/11 every single day of our life, and we forcefully try not to forget it, we are also inviting unwanted thoughts into our minds. For example, after 9/11, a concept I’d like to call “religionism” erupted. While racism is discrimination based on the race, religionism is discrimination based on religion. Many of us started inviting hostile thoughts about Muslims throughout the world and started acting strangely and suspiciously around Muslims. Such shameful thoughts could potentially lead us to act in a manner that is not only inappropriate, but ultimately illegal. It is when not being able to forget gets to this point that one must finally have the volition to forget.

In addition, it is important to understand that when we forget about an event, particularly something as traumatizing as 9/11, we are not letting go of the importance of that date, nor are we letting go of the people who died that day. Rather, we are training our mind in such a way that this day does not hinder us from our daily activities and does not impede us from successfully completing our lives. This is one reason why memorials are so important – they remind us that 9/11 happened and that we will not dare let go of all the people who died that day. By enacting memorials, we are able to live our lives normally and remember the tragedy of the day and mourn for those who died that day.