Nostalgia Ruined by Hatred

Being born and raised in Brooklyn, Do the Right Thing offers me a nostalgic yet sad view of the place I call home. All the various cultures are what defines Brooklyn as one of the most unique and interesting boroughs in NYC, but the hatred and prejudices between these cultures is the dark shadow that used to predominantly haunt Brooklyn. Now, although racism and prejudice is not completely extinct, it is less profound and rarely results in such strong strong hatred and violence. The most interesting relationship to me in Do the Right Thing, is the relationship between Mookie and Vito. Although they are culturally different, Mookie and Vito are friends and accept each other without prejudice. Mookie and Vito’s friendship to me, stands for the possibility of cultures mixing and growing in “love” instead of opposing each other in “hate.” On the other hand Pino and Buggin Out stand for extremes from both cultures, where they like certain parts about the others culture, but can never fully accept each other due to prejudices. Do the Right Thing seems to be an exposition of the biggest cultural problem in the world at that time, and is simply calling for people to give up their unfounded prejudices and accept each other as equals.

Richard II An Unfit King?

Richard II first shows his power as King, when he banishes both Mowbray and Bolingbroke. His actions were not even of his own will, but from advice and a “party verdict.” How powerful is the King if he can be persuaded into banishing his own cousin from his country for six years? Not only does Richard II banish his cousin, he does so to avoid solving the actual conflict at hand between Bolingbroke and Mowbray. If this wasn’t cowardly enough, we later find out that Bolingbroke’s father, and Richard’s uncle is dieing, and after berating Richard II with his last words, Richard II decides to seize all his property (the rightful inheritance of Bolingbroke) and sell the property to fund his wars in Ireland.

Gaunt and Edward, Richard’s father, were claimed to have proved themselves as men of their country from their efforts in wars, while Richard II is said to have seen more peace, indicating his inexperience with war, as well as questioning his qualifications as King. It seems ironic that at the end of Act II King Richard is thought to have died in his wars in Ireland, just as Bolingbroke returns to reclaim what is rightfully his. There seems to be a power shift toward Bolingbroke, where he is feared by some of the characters more than they fear the King.

Don Juan, The Eight Deadly Sin

Don Juan is a very interesting character. He does not refute God as an atheist, but at the same time he feels that religion is somehow not all its hyped up to be. His attitude can be described as feeling above religion, as if it doesn’t apply to him because he is more important than other people(Pride). What we see in Don Juan is the collection of several of the “Deadly sins” being consistently repeated throughout the play. Don Juan’s numerous marriages, divorces, and mistresses exhibit his extreme lust for women, and especially beautiful women. He reasons that he has the right to pursue any beautiful women, due to the fact that their beauty should be enjoyed by man, and what right does man have to keep that beauty from the rest of the world. His argument, although extremely flawed, makes sense to him. It also shows that Don Juan is addicted to the chase. He loves the beginnings of a relationship, where one has to work and use romance to charm a woman, but once he has become the master of that woman he loses passion for her and needs to find a new woman to entice him.

Don Juan’s character is extremely immoral to say the least. He is lustful, proud of his lifestyle, and even seems to boast of this lifestyle to his servant Sganarelle. He is the perfect example of an “addict,” someone who can’t live without romance, but this does not make him a hopeless romantic. His actions do not benefit women, he only breaks their hearts. Instead he only cares for himself, and this narcissistic attitude is what leads him to his eventual doom. Don Juan’s narcissism and lust for women, along with repeatedly breaking the hearts of these women, ironically become his fate when Karma eventually catches up to him.

Serenity in NYC


The Highline gives a new perspective of NYC, where usually we see the city from the street level, or sky view from the viewing decks of skyscrapers and video images from helicopters, the Highline allows us to see from a mixture of both perspectives. The serene atmosphere is one that is rarely known in NYC, with the exception of Central Park. I took many pictures on my journey through the Highline, and these pictures truly convey the various forms of beauty and art that can be found along the Highline. Enjoy the collage!the-highline-old-nyc-vs-modern-nyc


Follow Your Heart

From reading and listening to the NPR interview, Patti Smith struck me as an extremely inspiring person. Although I am not familiar with her work, her attitude and lifestyle influenced a movement in culture during the late ’60s and ’70s. What inspired me most about Patti Smith was that she followed her heart, through difficult times of poverty, adversity, until she became known and appreciated for her work.

Patti Smith’s passion was art, and she was amazingly able to share that passion and make it grow through her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. Their relationship did not have a fairy-tale ending, but was filled with their pure emotions, which allowed them to truly grow with each other as artists, lovers, and friends.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was to live life in the moment, and enjoy life one day at a time. This free-spirited idea is personified through the Patti Smith’s book “Just Kids” and her vast accomplishments are proof of this.

A “Unique” Reading Experience

When I first opened Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” I was surprised to find that the book had no words, besides a brief description in the beginning, and a page at the end thanking all the people who helped and sources of information. The last time I read a picture book was so long ago that i can’t even distinctly remember it. But even then the picture book had words, sentences, and a general story line no matter how simple. However, this book was still different than any book i have experienced in my memory. Usually a book can paint a scene in my mind, but this book was the painted scene, and I was the narrator.

This creates a unique feeling when you “read” the book. You could read it multiple times, and each time create a new story to be told by the pictures. I write read in apostrophes because technically you are not reading. Technically you are also not watching as you would television. This adds another unique perspective only found in a radical book such as “The Arrival.” You are not reading, watching, but rather looking at pictures and creating a storyboard in your head.

Although everyone who reads this book perceives it differently, the concept behind the story is still the same. Immigration, is something extremely unique to a big city such as New York. Most inhabitants of New York City come from families who immigrated decades ago, and prospered in a vastly different world. Likewise, my family immigrated to New York searching for opportunities beyond their farming and fishing way of life in the Italian island of Sicily. The hieroglyphic like symbols express the difficulty of learning a new language, and the confusion created by maps and these unknown symbols. Similar to the type of book, the theme of the book, immigration, is a general experience with millions of unique perspectives which can be shown through the different faces that line the insides of the cover of the book.

How do we forgive those who don’t want our forgiveness?

One of the readings that stood out to me was the article “The Limits of Remembrance” by David Rieff. This reading did not stand out to me for the right reasons, but that does not disqualify Rieff’s writing, but only shows that my beliefs and ideas are very different than his. Rieff explains that there are costs as well as benefits to remembrance, basically saying that through remembering the tragedy of 9/11 and the people who fell to the terrorist attacks, we are also remembering our hatred and anger toward these terrorists. I don’t feel this would be the case, but at the same time I do not see the problem with being angry at the terrorist group that caused our country this deep pain. The conflict comes about when we discriminate and spread this hatred upon middle eastern people in general, just because they share the same ethnicity or religion as the terrorist groups.

I strongly disagree with the idea of forgetting about the event, as if it never happened. I feel that Rieff doesn’t agree with the fact that the 9/11 tragedy is still an issue in society. His argument focuses on past events where generations who witnessed these events are now dying off, and all we have left are second-hand accounts of events such as Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust. Although a strong and convincing argument, it makes a very obvious point. Yes our memories of 9/11 will eventually be calmed, but is it truly necessary to state this?

The thing that bothered me the most about Rieff’s article, was when he proposed forgiving as a valid option. I believe this option is completely non-existent, especially for people who lost relatives in the tragedy. The terrorists knew what they were doing and planned the attacks to cause harm to our country. When you hear forgive, you usually think that a mistake has taken place, and the person who committed the mistake is asking for forgiveness. For example, someone spills their water on a table and it splashes onto your lap, they say sorry, and you obligatorily forgive them because it was an accident; as opposed to if someone throws their water in your face purposely. The terrorists understood their actions, got their message across, and meant what they did. They are not asking for our forgiveness, so the question has changed into: why forgive those who don’t want our forgiveness?