Breitling Akhmatova Post

In our group we discussed the stylistic differences brought about by the translation of Akhmatova’s poem. Most of the group said that they enjoyed reading Anderson’s translation better because it rhymed, flowed better, and was more poetic. However, Alec and Nick said that they enjoyed Thomas’s translation better because it wasn’t as literal as Anderson’s and contained more metaphors and veiled language. Alec said that he liked it better because it challenged him more and gave him a better representation of Stalin’s Terror. I have to agree with Alec and Nick on this one. While I thought that Andersons’s translation was easier to read and flowed better, I thought that Thomas’s translation was more descriptive and had more interesting vocabulary that made the poem feel more representative of the time. 

Prescott Breitling Unit 6 Post 1

! “Talk to schoolmasters, and they say that our intense specialisation, like nothing else on earth, is dictated by the Oxford and Cambridge scholarship examinations” (Snow 19). I found this to be a very interesting claim. I would have figured that specialization would come from our economy, not from a long standing academic institution.

? How has specialization in academia changed and stayed the same since this lecture was given given the fact that major scientific discoveries have been made in the last sixty years?

Top 10 Theories

General Relativity

Quantum Theory

Evolution

Heliocentrism

Top Ten Experiments

Gregor Mendel

Isaac Newton

Marie Curie

Ivan Pavlov

Unit 5 Post 1-Prescott Breitling

Schneider

I found the example of the Civil War reenactor that she brought up on page 103 very interesting because it shows how performance can relive a certain part of history in the place where it happened. It is sort of similar to what Ralph Lemon was doing in his work. 

How does the idea of performance as something that disappears and remains relate to our culture as one of materialism.

Birns

I found it interesting that Lemon crafts a trilogy of work around three very different locations: West Africa, Asia, and The American South. 

Is the archive of Lemon’s performances different than the actual performance itself? Did the performance itself disappear after it happened or does it live o

Back the Night Commentary-Prescott Breitling

Back the Night, written by Melina Lopez and directed for the stage at Davidson College by Sharon Green, is a play that tackles the tough subject of campus sexual assault. Taking its name from the phrase “Take Back the Night” used by many groups fighting against violence against women, the play tells the story of Em and her internal struggle after her friend Cassie is assualted walking home one night. The core of the play is found in the relationship between these two characters. Both characters are complicated with their own set of contradictions, however together their complexity seems to give a mixed message to the audience. The play slowly peels back the layers of the situation like an onion creating for a murky, cold soup of an ending. By the end of the play, more questions seemed to have been raised, rather than answered. The play tries to explore the idea that “sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reason” (Lopez has that in her description of the play on her website). However, at first glance it seems that the play may contribute to the pervasive and problematic idea that many women who come forward about sexual assault are lying. Maybe the play is trying to comment on the failure of universities to report and successfully handle cases of sexual assault and how that creates an atmosphere of distrust and unsafety. Whatever the case is, the play still may carry along negative undertones with messages it sends. Even still, the play is a call to action for everyone because the problem of sexual assault on college campuses still exists and schools are still failing to do survivors justice by trying to cover up assaults. Whatever problems the play may have it still makes one thing clear: there needs to be a widespread change in colleges across the United States in how they prevent and handle cases of sexual violence. 

Macbeth Commentary-Prescott Breitling

I saw the Davidson College production of Macbeth on its last performance after hearing rave reviews about it the week before. I knew I couldn’t miss it, so I walked in on the last Sunday of its run already intrigued by a set that extended halfway into the audience. As I would come to find out this set design would have a major role in how the Davidson College Theatre Department presented to the audience Shakespeare’s classic tale of precarious politics and paranoia. The extension of the stage gave the production depth without confusing the audience. Multiple planes of action could be established so that the audience understood that two different things were happening during the same scene. The set also had convenient trapdoors to allow for cast members to come and go from a scene very fast. Not only was the set fantastic, the performances were all incredible. All of the actors embodied their roles perfectly and were truly believable as the characters they played. The fact that they were able to still convey great performances through thick Shakespearean dialogue makes the actors’ work even more impressive. 

John Kasich Talk Commentary-Prescott Breitling

The other day my friend and I sat down for lunch after not seeing each other for months and caught up. We shared stories from college and told each other how our classes were going but it did not take long until we reached the topics of our usual discussions: art, culture, society, and politics. While my friend and I do not share very many similar political viewpoints, we do share a sense of realistic cynicism about American politics at large. As we touched upon the upcoming Democratic primary, my friend reminded me that many of the candidates did not begin a candidacy for the sole reason of becoming President of the United States. Some want to emphasize a certain issue; some want a position in another candidate’s cabinet if said candidate were to become elected, and some just want the recognition that comes with running for president. Recognition can get you television spots, speaking gigs, and book deals or in the case of John Kasich and many of his other 2016 election veterans, all of the above. Now I am uncertain of Kasich’s motivations when coming to Davidson in November but his 40,000 dollar price tag is not doing him any favors. To me, his opening speech was not very impressive. It hit a point that I had heard a million times over, that change starts from the bottom up and little good things you do help create a better society. It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not something that I would pay 40,000 dollars to hear from a politician. The panel sparked my interest more but it slowly lost it as Kasich kept trying to force his accomplishments as Ohio governor on the audience, who probably knew so little about his governance that they had no choice as to accept that what he was claiming was true. The only part of the panel that actually stuck with me was Professor Bailey’s comment about the open wound that the election of Donald Trump will leave with minority communities. I was hoping that idea would have been explored more, but I expected too much from a panel with a politician on it.

Prescott Breitling, Unit 2 Assignment 3

Option 2: The way to reduce bullshit in public discourse is for everyone to prioritize what is right over what they want. People who bullshit do not care about what is right, they care about fooling people into getting what they want. One must always be vigilant and know who is on the other end of information that is being presented. Why is the informer giving this information? What could they gain by trying to get someone to believe it? Vigilance and the will to think critically and reflectively about the information that one is consuming is one of the most important ways to stop bullshit. 

Option 3: My question is one of existential dread honestly. If all truth is subjective and we determine what our reality is, how can I really know what the truth is? If one person sees the duck and one person sees the rabbit, who is right? What if I see both? How can I know what reality is? Does it really matter? I left the discussion group Thursday with these questions in my head and it really bothered me. Can I go on enjoying my life without knowing what the truth is? Is there truth? Or is the search for truth more important than what it actually is? Maybe we should just live life constantly searching for the truth rather than claiming to actually know it. 

Prescott Breitling, Unit 2 Assignment 2

Option 2: During the lecture, I thought the relation of radical translation to Louise Banks’s job in Arrival was very interesting. The description of the process of radical translation indicated the painstakingly long time it would take to translate a language from scratch, which makes Banks’s accomplishment even more impressive. What I find so interesting about Arrival is how the translation serves to introduce the science fiction aspect of the film in which the thematic significance is derived from. The way that Dr. Banks’s translation of the alien language rewires her brain to think about time non-linearly makes some profound statements about the way we live our lives and whether we really appreciate our present moment, regardless of how it relates to what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. 

Option 3: I saw a parallel between Plato’s cave allegory and an idea we discussed in Unit 1. Plato describes that once the prisoner is freed from the cave, he slowly begins to accept reality. This transition can be likened to being “enlightened,” for the prisoner begins to slowly emerge out from his own ignorance. He then proceeds to return to the cave and attempt to tell his fellow prisoners that what they see is an illusion, but they resist. The ending of Plato’s allegory reminded me of the questions we raised in Unit 1 when we discussed what enlightenment is and how it relates to being human. The return of the freed prisoner, in radical terms, could signify “enlightenment imperialism” in which those who have determined that they have reached enlightenment attempt to impose it on others.