! : There seems to be a bit of a shift in Meinhof’s tone after the shooting of Rudy Dutschke, especially in “Everybody Talks About the Weather.” Her writings seem to shift from polite social critiques to demands for change.
? : Before she started actively participating in the RAF’s terrorism, I know that she was a highly respected journalist, but how much of the country agreed with her writings outside of the RAF?
The Baader-Meinhof Complex:
! : In the prison scenes, I was appalled to see the difference between German and American federal prisons. The RAF members, even before the government started fulfilling their demands for better treatment, had shockingly luxurious conditions compared to those in American prisons. This speaks to the inhumanity and institutionalized racism in our American prison system.
? : I have spent extensive time living in Southwestern Germany, and have many family friends who were in their teens and twenties during this time. Gudrun Ensslin even attended the university in Tübingen, the town where I spent several years of my childhood – and yet I have never heard anyone speak about the RAF, even when I visited as a teenager. Could this merely be because I lived a sheltered life as an American visitor? Was I just not listening when my parents spoke to other adults? Is it possible that Germans prefer to avoid this topic out of shame, as they do with the Holocaust?
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum:
! : Throughout the entire film, even as I came to realize that Katharina was not entirely innocent, I was horrified at the amount of lies, slandering, and harassment that she received. It seemed almost like a ridiculously unrealistic dystopian tale, which made it strange to imagine that this kind of treatment of people by the press actually happened.
? : Where can you draw the line when the freedom of the press conflicts with a person’s life and wellbeing, whether they are innocent or not?
In my AT group with Kade, Carson, and Lilly, we all agreed that Anderson wrote the better translation of “Requiem.” My reason for choosing it was that it had more of a poetic rhythm than the Thomas translation. To me Thomas’s translation felt more awkward, especially when I read it aloud. The other members of my AT group also noted that the rhyming scheme in Anderson’s translation caused it to flow better. After taking a look at the handout that Dr. Ewington sent us, we were able to conclude that the form, style, and technique of Anderson’s translation caused it to portray more emotion, which is why we found it more impactful. Kade looked back through his notes from the translation panel last semester and found a quote from Dr. Denham saying that the purpose of translation is more about carrying meaning than sticking to the exact wording of the original. For this reason, even though Thomas’s translation was more faithful to the literal meaning of the words, Anderson wrote a better translation by using words and phrases that communicated the emotions expressed in the original.
In reference to Dr. Ewington’s 3/26 lecture:
! : In my notes, I came to the conclusion that there were basically five options for writers who opposed the regime: 1) go into exile, 2) go to prison and hope to survive, 3) commit suicide, 4) stay in Russia and conform, or 5) refuse to do any of these and live in fear. There is no good option in this situation. Even the choice to conform can be dangerous, because suspicion killed even the supporters of the regime.
? : Is there a possibility of this kind of restriction of the press happening in America sometime in the near future? Has it happened in the past here?
! : Snow himself makes his writing non-inclusive by dropping the names of people he assumes the reader has heard of – mentioning, for example, the possibility of there being “a new Kyd or a new Greene” without clarifying who the original Kyd and Greene are (Snow 4). He thereby still limits the conversation to elitist academics, even in his mission to erase stigma and open up communication, both between the two polarized groups and with the general public.
? : This argument was made in 1959. Would it still be valid today? Has any progress been made in the enhancement of interdisciplinary relationships, or are Western intellectuals just as “split between two polar groups” as they were sixty years ago? (Snow 3).
Out of the Top 10 scientific experiments, I have heard of those performed by Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Ivan Pavlov, and Robert Paine. A solid five out ten. Out of the Top 10 scientific theories, I have heard of six out of the ten: game theory, plate tectonics, general relativity, quantum theory, and evolution by natural selection, and heliocentrism.
While watching “Black Girl Linguistic Play,”I finally got a full grasp of what this dance theory that we have been reading means. Being able to be present during the performance, to witness the expressions of pain, joy, frustration, and confusion on the performers’ faces, and to see the intricacies of their movements produced an entirely different effect for me than watching a video recording of a dance. Only then did I understand the themes explored in our readings for this unit, such as the importance of context and the ability of performance to be political and meaningful rather than merely beautiful.
This piece clearly created a different experience for those who have childhood memories similar to those represented. How is this significant to those audience members, and how do those who cannot relate as deeply benefit or learn from viewing this performance?
! – In the Schneider reading, what struck me the most was the way Schneider challenged the idea that parts of history have been lost because they were orally transmitted, pointing out that this is a limiting, largely Western perspective that silences the stories of non-Western cultures (103). I realized that my conception of disappearance is part of a Western conceptual scheme, and that written records are far from the only way of keeping a memory.
? – As I was reading Schneider’s argument, I began to apply these concepts to my own experience in music performance, and wondered if music performance could produce the same effect of disappearance as dance or theatrical performance, since it is not physical. Could its intangibility render it even more difficult to understand in non-archival terms?
! – In the second reading, when Nicholas Birns notes how Ralph Lemon “seeks to ritualize the past, but not to monumentalize it” (22), it reminded me of one of the lectures Bory gave in Montgomery in which she said that creating a monument or physical memorial of a tragedy allows one to walk away from it feeling as if one has done enough. Perhaps the reason why Lemon’s ritualistic memorials are more emotionally powerful is that, through its repetition, it forces both the performer and the viewer to reckon with the event.
? – When I read the sentence on page 19 that mentioned that Lemon’s performances frequently had no audience, I thought back to our discussion of “Strange Fruit” and how it challenged our preconceived notions of what performance is. Does a performance need to have an audience to be a performance?
On November 3, I went to the matinee performance of Macbeth. I had neither seen nor read the play before, so it was interesting to see it for the first time as a modern adaptation. I was particularly intrigued by the glossy masks that the witches wore. The facial expressions formed by the masks made the actors appear almost human, but slightly distant, as if they could see into other realms of life. However, a conversation with a friend made me realize the significance of the witches appearing human in the first place. The way the light hit the clear, shiny masks made the witches look as if they were fluctuating between being human and otherworldly, which draws attention to the fact that, in the story, it does not matter whether they actually have psychic powers or not. Macbeth put all of his faith in what he thought were supernatural beings who gave him “prophecies,” thereby bringing a world of pain and chaos upon himself and his kingdom. In his search for power, he dehumanizes himself by putting faith in these witches. Therefore, from my limited understanding, the ambiguity created by the masks in this adaptation is an appropriate reflection of the ambiguity of the witches’ powers.
I attended the Microaggressions Panel on September 25. It was an eye-opening experience for me and the group of similarly privileged students with whom I went. While it is important for people to learn about more explicit forms of aggression and discrimination, only learning about those forms can cause those in positions of privilege to mentally separate themselves from those who commit these acts. They tell themselves that since, for example, they would never do such a thing as murder someone because of their race, they are therefore not racist and the advice of activists do not apply to them. This mindset is harmful, because everyone who is in a position of privilege is likely to exhibit forms of racism, even when they are unaware of it. Most of my white friends have never heard of microaggressions before, but commit them regularly. The more aware we become of the effects of our everyday actions and language, the further we can progress in making Davidson, and the world, a safer and more welcoming place for everyone.
On September 24, I performed in the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra’s Fall Concert. I have played the violin, both solo and in ensembles, since I was five years old. In high school, orchestra took up much of my time, and I regularly performed in competitions and at events. I have always considered music to be a major part of my identity. This has changed in college. There is no competitive aspect to the DCSO, which is much better for my well-being, but that also means that I have had difficulty getting to know and bonding with my fellow players. I do not know the names of more than half of the people around me, and that has somewhat reduced the emotional intensity I feel when performing with the whole group. While I still enjoy playing, and while I connect with the music, there is something about performing with a group of people by whom you feel loved and accepted that sparks an even deeper feeling of pure joy. I have not been able to access this feeling yet in a performance, but I hope that playing in the group longer will allow me to.
The depiction of Aretha Franklin singing at President Obama’s inauguration alongside smaller panels depicting past racial violence was, for me, the most powerful image in March. The page, inserted into the middle of Lewis’s telling of the particularly bloody encounters in Montgomery, juxtaposes the suffering that demonstrators of the Civil Rights Movement endured with what they were suffering for – a future in which a black man could be named president and a black woman could perform at the inauguration. In the middle of a story of the long, bloody fight against oppression, it provides a hopeful reminder of who won the fight. Still, it does not lose grip on memory and the scars left by racial brutality. Another important contrast exists between the words Aretha Franklin is singing and the sentiments expressed by the police officers and the violent protesters in the smaller panels. She sings about the US as a “land of liberty” and “freedom,” concepts which the men holding bats and Confederate flags clearly thought only applied to their own lives.
Not only does the main juxtaposition serve to highlight the progress that the country has made since the Civil Rights Movement, but it also reveals to me the multidimensionality of racial violence. For example, the image of the white child staring in horror at his bloody hands while an adult hand reassuringly places itself on his shoulder is indicative of an unnatural violation of conscience, reminding the reader that hatred is taught. Attached to this image, another image of two badly beaten demonstrators, one black and one white, holding each other up is a reminder of the involvement of white Americans on both sides of the segregational conflict. Furthermore, the pairing of the six smaller images together creates a deeper level of contrast – between the presence and practice of law enforcement, between the emotions of the perpetrator and the victims, and between the perpetrator’s actions and self-concepts (as shown in the panels on the bottom left).
It is also important to note the large size of Aretha Franklin on the page and her words that flow across the entire space, as well as the smaller size of the violent memories. The sizing places the reader in the moment in time on which the narrative briefly focuses, while keeping the reader’s mind on how that moment relates to what is happening in the story as a whole. Only a graphic novel could present this many contrasting images at the same time in such a coherent way.
While the Jim Crow discrimination that Mary Church Terrell describes is far less physical than the lynchings that Ida B. Wells writes about, both women bring up issues that devastate the African-American population. The distinctions, as well as the commonalities, between these two forms of violence remind unaffected readers that violence is not always skin-deep. In cities such as Washington, where it may be harder to get away with or justify physical violence, white people would feel the need to express their racism-fueled frustrations towards marginalized populations through exclusion and discrimination under legal guise. The same motive of inherited hatred is at the root of both lynchings and Jim Crow laws.
Terrell focuses her examples of racial exclusion on the stories of women of color, making sure to refer to herself as a colored woman rather than simply a person of color. She does this perhaps in order to emphasize the unique position of black women, who receive two-fold discrimination. In Wells’s descriptions of lynching, she refers to black and white womens’ true and false accusations of rape, pointing out that white womens’ accusations are much more likely to be acted upon without investigation. While both Wells and Terrell acknowledge that both white and black women experience violence, they also draw attention to the significant privileges that white women still hold over black women when they are violated.
Both writers put racial issues in the United States in a worldly perspective, saying that we should be ashamed for the atrocities committed within our borders and that we have no right to judge the actions of other racist nations without addressing our own. Additionally, they advocate for the elimination of white ignorance and, as a result, legislative hypocrisy. They say that the rights promised in our laws and Constitution should apply to everyone and be followed through in the courts.