When discussing the two translations of Akhmatova, my AT group referenced back to unit 2’s translation panel to help decide which text we liked better. The conclusion that I feel we came to was that Anderson’s translation was more emotional and was intended to translate meaning more than acting as a direct translation. We then took Thomas’s translation as the opposite of that and saw it as more of a direct translation to show the actual words that were intended in the original text. In general we like Anderson’s translation more because we felt as though it was worded more smoothly, which made it easier to read, and it also felt more poetic than Thomas’s which was more rigid and novel-like than poetic. Anderson’s of course was also better because it rhymed more.
!: I didn’t realize that poets (or writers in general) were so restricted and not really allowed to write under the rule of Stalin’s terror.
?: Why wasn’t suicide an option taken by more poets/writers if they were being persecuted for what they were doing?
For my final campus event, I attend one of the “Being Human” lectures. This one was titled “Being Human in the Anthropocene,” which deals with the Earth in its current geological age dominated by human influence. This lecture focused mainly on what humans have seen change in our environment and if we can do anything to change it. Right away, the speaker brought up the people of Peru and the climate change that they have seen right before their own eyes. They see the mountains as personified with white ponchos represented by the snow on the mountain tops. However, the “ponchos” have now been spotted with brown or gone all together. It was also stated that there could be many people displaced and forced to become refugees due to the land becoming uninhabitable. The conclusion was that society needs to work together as a whole to fix the damage we have been causing to the Earth, and we need to do it fast. The speaker said that if people only want to help themselves then they will never get anywhere. The world requires enormous change which requires everyone to cooperate. We need nature for us to survive, so nature needs us to take care of it. Our attention needs to turn from profit maximization to taking care of our home if we want to make any serious impact for the good of our environment.
For this campus event, I attended the play Back the Night at the Barber Theatre. The theme of this play was to make people aware of sexual assault that occurs and how different people handle their situations in different ways. Not only was I interested in the topic covered in this play, but my good friend Thomas Baker was a stage manager in the play. The play began with one of the main characters yelling and running with her injuries from the assault. I found this to be a very interesting view on the incident because it gave the audience no build up to it. We were never told who exactly assaulted her or how, but that was an effective tactic to show how not all the details are always available. It left the audience trying to put all the pieces together instead of being told straight to their faces. Her sexual assault also brought to light her mother’s assault back in college and her best friend’s assault which also happened at college by the same frat. I thought the play was very uncomfortable in the best way possible. It kept me on edge the whole time and really grabbed my attention. Back the Night showed the presence of sexual assault on college campuses and how it needs to be addressed. If the play is ever performed again I would definitely go to it and recommend it to others to attend as well.
Back the Night performed at Davidson College. Photo by Chris Record.
Pictured here is the arrest of almost one thousand black children in the city of Birmingham, Alabama on May 2, 1963. The visual representation of this event brings it to life better than a worded description could. The upper left panel shows actual people marching on the streets who knew that they would probably be arrested, and yet they marched anyway. That picture helps us begin to understand how many people were actually taken into police custody that day. Our brains become numb to the true value of a number when it becomes too great, simply because we don’t have the understanding of how much that number truly represents. To put 1,000 people into perspective, that would be similar to arresting half of all students at Davidson College. As seen in the second panel, an officer even asked how many more people and children were marching after the police had already taken a large amount out of the crowd. There were even more protesters that the police weren’t able to arrest, simply due to capacity. We can see the perspective from inside a full police vehicle at the bottom of the left page. On the right page, we are also shown the remorse of some officers who do not want to arrest children because they can feel that what they are doing to the kids is wrong. The statement “It was an embarrassment to the city,” does not match the embarrassment the picture shows on the officer’s face.
This picture on the right is what impacted me the most when reading. The moment my eyes hit the word “embarrassment,” I felt embarrassed myself. I felt what the officer was feeling. To look a little girl in the eyes and see her innocence makes a person feel bad for harming others like her. I think that is why this singular image takes up a whole page. It is so powerful that it requires a full page so readers can truly take in its impact. Upon closer inspection we can also see that the sign the little girl is holding reads “Can a man love God and hate his brother.” That statement had a big impact on me because it showed me that there is so much hatred for all blacks, even the little kids. Overall, this image with its layout over an entire page made the biggest impact on my reading of March.
Ida B. Wells saw lynchings as a national issue which had blacks in danger at all times. There was also very little that courts and local law enforcement could do or tried to do to protect blacks. She saw this as more of a national issue that the federal government must supply protection to blacks against these lynchings. Mary Church Terrell saw the mistreatment and violence against blacks as a result of the conditions they lived in and the economics that separated them. She was more focused on women’s rights and the empowerment of blacks to deter the violence. Both women were largely fighting for not only justice for blacks, but also for the rights of women. Women’s suffrage and empowerment was a big problem at the time so many women both white and black looked up to Wells and Terrell. Terrell was also a founder of the National Association of Colored Women which established nurseries and kindergartens for black children. Her response to violence was very focused on empowerment. Wells however, was more focused on a direct response to violence and challenged the institutions that allowed such violence.
I went to the performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the Duke Family Performance Hall. The play was condensed down to just 90 minutes and was performed excellently. I thought that the plot might have been hard to follow if I had not known the play already, but that is understandable with a live, shortened play. The individual acting in the play was absolutely phenomenal. The actor who played Macbeth showed great emotion in his facial expressions and his voice, and many other actors and actresses did the same. It was by far the most entertaining play I had been to in the last few years. A big contributor to that was the use of the unique stage with the trap door. There were people popping in and out from the stage, and it created a good surprise and kept the audience on its feet. The whole play was very engaging, and I would definitely recommend other people to see Macbeth in person.
I think that the main connection between the two texts is the concept of seeing versus experiencing. In the end of her book, Sontag writes about the people who experience war first hand: the soldiers, aids, independent observers, and journalists that are there witnessing the destruction as it unfolds. They are the ones who understand what is happening, which is exactly the opposite of the events in Gourevitch’s text of the Rwandan genocide. He writes about the decisions that the UN, and specifically the US, had to make about their actions of involvement in Rwanda. The US officials tried to withdraw from involvement with Rwanda as much as possible and wouldn’t admit that a genocide was going on, but that goes back to Sontag’s point of not experiencing what was truly happening. I see the two books as Sontag saying what should have happened and Gourevitch saying what actually happened, and the two do not line up together at all.
I thought making a passport was an interesting way to learn about the relations between different countries. A few of us researched the global passport power of several countries and were surprised at where they fell on the list. I assumed the United States would’ve been a little higher than it was, however it was still among some of the more powerful passports. The concept of someone not having a nationality had never crossed my mind until doing this workshop. I still do not fully understand how that happens, and I will most likely look further into that.
In chapter one, Sontag writes on Virginia Woolf and her efforts to end wars in the 1930s. Woolf speaks about how war is a man’s game, and that the gender of the killing machine is male. She displays photographs to the lawyer she is talking with, photographs of mangled bodies, torn buildings, and all the visual effects of war. Sontag brings up another account of Ernst Friedrich and his book of pictures showing little boys playing and ending with a military cemetery. The whole point of this chapter is to show how war needs to be visualized to feel real to those not directly impacted by the horrors that come with war.
The brutal effects of war, including dismembered bodies and ruins of societies, are hard to associate with for the average person and needs a visual connection for these people to understand the pain and the anti-war movement.
2. The main point that Sontag is making here in chapter six is our human desire to witness morbid events, even if we don’t always want to. It is in our nature to look at a car crash not only out of curiosity, but also out of hope of what we might see. We have a small degree of delight when we see the pain of others. This is why we read about fires and murders, because we “love mischief.” This is also because when we feel safe we feel indifferent about the state of others. We feel sympathy, but that does nothing once we turn our attention to something more important.
Humans are very contradictory to their own wants in the sense that we don’t want to see something but look anyway because our nature overcomes us, or that when we do witness something bad that we feel empathy and then fail to attempt any productive action.
3. The eighth chapter of Regarding the Pain of Others speaks of the distinct difference in seeing and experiencing. It is not a flaw that when we see a gruesome picture we do not have the intense reaction one might think. Whether a picture or in real life, to just see an event causes a distance. There is a physical distance between one and this said event. Sight is also effortless, and we choose what we see by turning our heads or closing our eyes, but we do not have the choice of what we hear. This is why sight is not always as traumatic as our other senses in a horrific event.
Our sight is the most valuable and most used sense as humans which is often why we don’t have as much emotion drawn out from just seeing an event; we must use other senses to truly feel it.
Option 2: I think the best way to get people to care about the truth in their writings and speeches is to eliminate all possible biases that they might have as an author. This is why we see so much bullshit in today’s media coverage. Whether writing about politics, sports, or anything in between, many authors want to convey their beliefs as what is true instead of presenting raw facts and information to give readers their own chance to develop personal beliefs. Many people will say whatever they can to convince others that they are right, no matter how loosely their statements are connected with the truth. That being said, I don’t think it will ever be possible to eliminate this bias bullshit because people will always try to persuade others to what they believe to be true. Especially with the amount of information flowing in today’s world, there is constant bullshit being argued on every side of every argument because there are so many sources with bullshit to backup the bullshit argument.
Option 3: Whether reality is one sole truth of the world or what we perceive our truth of the world to be, why does it matter? Either answer could be correct and it would not change how the world works or how people would live their day-to-day lives. The world will still continue on no matter what the conclusion is to this dilemma, if there is one at all. It would be nice to find an answer to this pressing question, but I don’t believe this answer to be concerning to 99% of the population. I find this question puzzling because I do not know why this matters to our lives, so my current answer to this question is that it does not matter, but I would like to hear a reason as to why it could matter.