About meganlow


Do the right thing response

After watching an hour so of Do the Right Thing, I got the notion that cultural identities and cultural clashes were things the director really wanted to bash into your head. The multitude of racial stereotyping and discrimination sit as proof: every ten minutes either Koreans speak with heavy accents, blacks prance around as loud-talking hoodlums with scarcely the money for pizza, or white people drive by in vintage automobiles as mean, holier-than-thou beings.

Not only that, I found the “black power” sentiments and self pity absolutely annoying. Especially infuriating are the three old black men, one of which blames a Korean family’s successful business as the sole reason that his own do not succeed. Perhaps his failure spawns from too much time placing blame on others and not enough effort spent actively pursuing his goal. Furthermore, Mookie’s friend who got kicked out of the pizzeria really had it coming. He was rude and arrogant and spiteful, spouting racist language and prancing about like a self-proclaimed celebrity. His statements about a lack of black star athletes on the pizzeria’s wall of fame had a understandable point, yet the way in which he tried to get his point across was unnecessary and ridiculous.

-Megan Low


If there is one theme in fiction that I keep seeing, it is the fact that women are the catalyzers of bold actions, such as homicide. In Richard II Act 1 Scene 2, the Duchess of Gloucester wishes her nephew luck in slaying Thomas Mowbray, the Duke of Norfolk, for her husband and brother had been slayed. And in the opera Don Giovanni, Donna Anna seduces her husband into agreeing to avenge her father’s death. Both women use their grief to manipulate the men around them.


I find this both intriguing and slightly insulting. That women are portrayed as such devious creatures strikes hard on my feminist button. Not only that, the playwright William Shakespeare seems to love sculpting scheming female characters, such as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Tatiana of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.



Like sweet venom sits

The spider waits for its mate

Only to eat him


-Megan P. Low

The Hedonist

“Oh !, let us not trouble ourselves with thinking of the ill that may happen to us ; let us think only of what may give us pleasure.”

Don Juan, the man, the hedonist

surrounds himself with utter bliss

but with this bliss he does much wrong

to maidens’ hearts; he breaks their song


For marriage is but wedded lock

for which the key hides in the smock

of other maids Don Juan persists

he snares them with his love palm kiss


Sganarelle, such the loyal serf

warns the master of his great nerve

Yet Don Juan insists on his quest

to love not one but in excess


His lustful heart brings many foes

all of which crave to slit his throat

Through twist of fate the master Juan

Saves an enemy from deathly harm

And earns one life so in return

Yet from this Don Juan does not learn


The statue speaks and nods its head

Sganarelle applauds the dead

The serf speaks true, Don Juan must see

The wrongs he did in ecstasy

Or face the fate of wicked flames

swallowed by an earthly grave

-Megan P. Low

Fire of Unknown Origin

Her voice is a funny old thing, holding a slight rasp to it yet still sounding smooth and calm like a beach pebble.  That is Patti Smith, punk artist and poet extraordinaire.  Her presence in the radio interview was that of a free-spirit. Her ideas were a work of art.

The interview pertained to her career and her relationship with her soul mate Robert Mapplethorpe. Both had a love for art, but it was Smith who touched fame first with the help of a photo taken by him.  Proof of their natural affinity was abundant – Smith’s first words of the man were of his rescue of her.  This particular rescue dated back to the first months of their relationship, where Mapplethorpe pretended to be Smith’s boyfriend to help her ward off the advances from her then-boss.

Smith wrote a song about death with a reference to Hotel Chelsea.  In the song, there is a plea from an individual for something of value back, for a rescue, almost. The title is called “Fire of Unknown Origin”, and it is unknown in that it is unpredictable because the prose of the lyrics are not typical and do not fit in the verse-verse-chorus-repeat model.

Interestingly, the Hotel Chelsea experienced cycles of death and life. Its first purpose was as a co-opt building. Then the H.C went bankrupt because the theatres around it relocated. In 1905 it reopened as a hotel, but quickly went back into bankruptcy. The Hotel Chelsea was finally repurchased by a group of wealthy men and managed as a hotel until the 1970s.

Hotel Chelsea

While listening to “Fire of Unknown Origin” I found it difficult to understand what Smith was saying during her songs, if only for the incoherence in her pronunciation of consonants. Nevertheless, it was stimulating to hear a hybrid of poetry and music. After all, it was her mission to “merge poetry and rock and roll, and to reach out to other disenfranchised people.”

-Megan P. Low

Appreciation of Architectural Beauty

Shaun Tan’s The Arrival is a beautiful tale yet also a familiar one – who hasn’t heard or read about an immigrant who traveled to a foreign land and assimilated? Perhaps what is so gorgeous about the story is the way in which it was told, with stunning paintings and strange creatures lurking in the background.

Part one deals with the protagonist of the story, a young husband and father, leaving his country to another land.  Strange dragon tail-like shadows snake alongside the buildings and enshroud the city, perhaps symbolizing the fumes and pollution of the industrial revolution.

What caught my eye about this picture book were the bizarre white animals that seemed to pop up wherever the protagonist went. The fact that the first of these creatures appeared after the man wrote and folded a letter to his family into an origami crane suggests that we are looking at the story from the man’s point of view, where his imagination brought these creatures to life. These animals are able to walk around because the man spilled so much of his soul into his writing, in a sense breathing life into words.

While looking through the pictures I started to wonder if they pertained to an industrialized city or a fantasyland. The images were presented in a right brain point of view; what were obviously buildings did not occur in the rectangular shape that we usually associate with edifices. Instead, they are molded into round tower-like structures that influence our emotions and creative eye.

Unrelatedly, perhaps this strange way the city was drawn alludes to  what the immigrants wished they saw instead of what they had actually seen, as in the way of a coping mechanism. Either way, the architecture was stunning.

Page 35


With Fear Comes Irrationality


I have no clear memory of the 9/11 attacks; not anything personal, anyway. Mine was the story of surprisingly many young New Yorkers at the time – one where we were thrust into a hushed and hyped world, called in one by one to our school’s main office to be picked up by our parents. I cannot claim that I have witnessed the towers crumble or the blankets of dust swallow the city whole. Nor can I say that I sprinted down several flights of stairs for my life. I can only pull out inspiration from fake memories, which I will not do. As such, this blog entry won’t be as tear-jerking or heartstring-puling as the others.

When I think back to it, there was no real reason for us to be taken home if our school was nowhere near ground zero. It was irrationality brought by fear that won over. This same irrationality plagues the protagonist of Jonathan Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Oskar Schells.

The novel starts off perhaps a year after the 9/11 attacks, which young Oskar’s father unfortunately does not get out of alive. Then comes a string of events: the boy finds a key within an envelope addressed to “Black”, takes it as his responsibility to return said key to said “Black”, and plans to do all this by walking through the streets of New York alone and ringing every door bell belonging to a family with last name Black. This quest might as well have been impossible to complete, yet the boy perseveres because he is afraid. He is afraid of forgetting about his father, that somehow all of the love and wonderful memories between them would just disappear if he did not return the key. To us the readers this seems very much an act of impracticality, but in Oskar’s mind, it’s absolutely necessary.

And the boy continues his journey with the solemnity of a widow at her deceased husband’s funeral. Never in his thoughts is the reality that there are many dangers in the city, including and not limited to muggings and abductions. He treks on, almost in a trance-like obsession to return the key. Luckily in the end, this romanticism does not cost Oskar anything other than the realization that a single action can be the difference between life or death.