Sode Smith, unit 8 post 1

New German Ghetto Show

(!) It’s interesting how Meinhof draws the connection between Jewish ghettos (prior to deportation and murder) and anti-nuclear campaigners. Were these new activists treated similarly to Jews?

(?) Even with a regime change, it appears as though the German government was still acting in oppressive manners. How were these new protestors and outsiders treated in unfair or unjust ways? Did they have the resources to speak out and combat unfair treatments without fear of harm?

Hitler within you

(!) I find it interesting that this column was written during the Eichmann trial. In a country that is trying to understand their own identity politics, the Eichmann trial was an incredibly formative event about reconciling with their recent past as a country. As a part of ‘Germany’s new Jews’, who oppose contemporary politics, Meinhof speaks of eliminating political terror against those who think and act differently than the mainstream. 

(?) Even the title of the column is very bold. Did people react negatively to this title? I’m also curious about what type pf inspiration the Eichmann trial gave Meinhof? 

Human Dignity is Violable

(!) This piece states that the new constitution of Germany was based on the principals of democracy being the foundation for human dignity and war no longer being an option. However, with the government shifting power, principals changed. Meinhof states that nuclear rearmament and democracy cannot co-exist. I think this statement is powerful because it links democracy to peace and the dignity of human life.

(?) How would dictatorship be an option with the ability to declare a state of emergency? Would the people not posses the power to fight against the formation of a new dictatorship?

Women in the SDS

(!) Meinhof noted how these women were not fighting for the collective and recognized their own demands/desires as legitimate. 

(?) Did this movement pursue similar goals as second-wave feminism in the US? Did these women in the SDS exclude certain groups of women in order to become more likely to reach their goals?


(!) This piece talks about the freedoms and also the constraints of newspapers. All articles are edited and appear to have some sort of slant bias. In a certain way, editing shows fear and wanting to appeal to a more broad group of people, which is a powerful idea. If papers were truly unedited and columnists wrote exactly what they wanted, Meinhof states this would lead to a better discussion.

(?) in my opinion, this appears to be opposed to general logic: wouldn’t the editor have more freedom than the columnist? 

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

(!) I felt as thought this film was a critique of being able to have dignity and uphold the truth about events. Because she struggled with maintaining the truth about her own character and that of her lover, this was extremely difficult with a ‘free press’.

(?) So, this constitutes an interesting question: should there be restraints on the press if they are misleading or untruthful? Will restraints on the press limit democracy? Even if there is free press, how do you prevent innocent people being harmed?

Baader-Meinhof Komplex

(!) This film brings to light the violence of postwar Germany. Starting with the death of an unarmed protestor, things turn ugly and end with repeated bombings of state buildings and the continuing deaths of innocent civilians. I thought this film did a good job bringing the light not only the violence of the government but also the RAF.

(?) One question I had was about the use of violence: how do you justify these bombings and are they necessary? Meinhof initially justifies violence against a police-like state, but as events develop it appears as though the RAF if equally as violent. How do you reconcile this?

AKHMATOVA POST- sode smith

Our AT liked the Thomas translation of Akhmatova for a couple of reasons.

  1. We thought that it was the more poetic of the two versions — it aims to remain true to the pieces original intent (poetic value)
  2. This translation was more complex and beautiful
  3. Although Thomas’s version was harder to understand in general, it tried to be more poetic
  4. It was less of a word for word translation, which is what we believed the Anderson translation to be
  5. We realized that all translations lose some of the intrinsic value of the original writing, but we felt as though Thomas tried to use his translation to bring the same artistic value
  6. Although word for word translations might be deemed more accurate, many times they can’t be exactly the same as the original or inspire the audience in the same ways
  7. It is impossible for a translation to have the same meaning — there are no direct translations for some words

Unit 4, assignment 2 sode smith

This panel helps to portray a more accurate vision of the March on Washington because it accounts for the events from a different perspective than it is usually recounted from. Usually, we associate the March on Washington with only Martin Luther King Jr. and the “I Have a Dream” speech, but here, Lewis allows the audience to see it from his perspective, as another activist who gave a speech and participated in the movement. This series of panels helps illustrate the effects of the march and how it was able to influence a large amount of people in the United States. This series of panels influences me because it shows the magnitude of the different events of the civil rights movement. It also serves to humanize Lewis and show how even these heros were just regular people who managed to do amazing things. One of the interesting graphic techniques that is employed is the use of three different perspectives in each of the different panels. The first panel depicts a broader third person perspective, which presents John Lewis going up to speak during the march on washington. This particular panel is the only one that uses the normal speech bubbles. Another interesting aspect of this panel is how the figures behind John Lewis are blurred out and indistinct, thus putting the focus on himself before going to speak. Here, there is a clear contrast between black, white, and gray, which makes the three individuals standout. The second panel is from the first person perspective, which helps the audience see from Lewis’s perspective. This panel was intriguing to me because it helped humanize lewis. As a person who has studied the march on washington, this helps to lessen the idealization of those who spoke. By showing the text of his speech and the microphone in front of him, this highlights how he was just a normal person just like those he is trying to reach out to. The last panel is also from the observers’ perspective, but it focuses on Lewis’s eyes, which show his inner anguish and pain at the horrific violence against leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. Also, an aesthetic aspect that stands out in this third panel is the man in the background with an NAACP cap on. 

sode smith, unit 4 post 1

Ida B. Wells was a member of the First Baptist Church, which roots itself in baptizing only professing believers of Christ as the savior. They believe strongly that every person is accountable to God for their actions. Because of her strong baptist beliefs, Wells wrties about physical violence (lynching) and also the mob mentality. In her article, Wells desricbes how lynching became widley accpeted in White, Southern communties, and how this form of violence has become “unwritten law,” with no punishments for those involved. This type of violence is attributed to the social norms / culture of the southern states, and how over time these unjust forms of action were “legalized” since these people who preformed lynchings never received any type of justice. This is extremely dehumanizing to the black community, because the law doesn’t serve them, and they aren’t allowed to have a trial: no person is safe from this unjust crime. However, Terrell describes a different type of violence, one ingrained in the law, which made all of the actions she describes completely legal. For example, Terrell discusses legal segregation, and how there is a form of violence in which colored people couldn’t entertain basic human rights (employment, education, accommodations).  This is violence because the colored community faces legal obstacles to their potential success. Because of this legal repression, Terrell states that there are no incentives for black individuals to get an education, because they will be demeaned and forced to work in menial jobs For both of these women, the root cause of these types of violence is society’s norms and culture. Lycnhing evolved as a type of “legal” violence because society allowed these crimes to pass and the legal structures didn’t allow for justification. Jim Crow is also an example of how society can be a root cause of violence, since legal segregation is promoted in the laws of the land. Women constitute the focus of both Wells and Terrell because they face slightly different types of violence than men do. For example, there is a certain type of intersectionality that both of these female authors address. Not only do women have to deal with the factor of their race, they also have to deal with the discrimantion that comes with their gender. Wells describes instances in which females were lynched because they refused to say where their male relatives were hiding, and this can serve as an example of gender discrimantion because even though the woman was clearly inconcent, she was still killed because she refused to open up. Terrell more clearly addresses intersectionality in her article because she describes the many instances in which females were prohibited or had their jobs retracted due to their race. Not only did these women have to deal with gender dircimantion, but racial discrimination as well. Both of these authors have strong reactions to the types of violence they are describing. Wells is disgusted by what she is describing because how do we as a society allow innocent people to be killed for no reason. Why are some individuals only acting based off their emotions? Terrell is also furious when writing about Jim Crow. Even when blacka and white people have the same credentials, the law prohibits black people from being able to succeed. Since they can barely secure low paying jobs, the colored community will never be able to escape this cycle of legal repression. 

unit 3 assignment 3, sode smith

As Sontag puts it, the camera has an increasing ability to be able to capture history’s gruesome moments and today’s media is able to spread these shocking images with increasing speed. Because of this, we, the audience, are able to take into account the atrocities of war with a certain easiness since these images are so readily available. However, sometimes people are unable to empathize since these ungodly atrocities are happening so far away. Sontag also writes about how the media likes to exhibit the horrors of violence and pain happening in third world countries (mostly about thos with “darker complexions in exocitic countires”). For some reason, the audience is more drawn to these exocitic images and they inspire a sense of compassion and connection with those who are different from us — in a way this allows us to see the humanity in everyone. However, photography also allows the audience to see themselves as superior to those who the photos are being taken of because these pictures cannot help but “nourish belief in the inevitability of tragedy in the benighted or backwards — that is, poor — parts of the world (71). So, when Gourevitch is discussing how the media spread images of dogs eating the corpses on the sides of the road, this is just a highlight of how the media spreads these images and tries to create a sense of empathy between use and those being photographed. Also, Gourevitch relates to the Sontag reading because it shows that the phrase “if it bleeds, it leads” is correct. Sontag and Gourevitch both emphasize this point that photographers and the media is mostly concerned with drawing people’s attention and doesn’t necessarily have the victims interests in heart. So, people will take these gruesome images and present them to the public, solely to get attention. However, the press does do some good things with these images since it calls attention to the atrocities at hand. But, as always, the media makes things come across in “two ways” and its up to the general perception of the public to use the images at hand and press to make their own views on the issue.

unit 3 assignment 2, sode smith

Sontag Ch 1 summary

  • Virginia Woolf published an extremely influential photography book in 1938 called Three Guineas which documents the horrors of war and aims to answer the question of how to prevent the atrocities of war. In many ways, those in power don’t have to experience the hardships of war; they make the decisions and watch the destruction that follows. Many believe that war can’t be prevented, but that photographs can lead to justice and people will be less willing to fight. Pictures can show all the aspects of war and they can be manipulated to inspire certain emotions in the onlooker. These shocking pictures can also have the power to unite people against war. War can be dehumanizing: victims are nameless, faceless, but they also allow us to see from a new perspective. But, pictures can be misleading and can even be manipulated through the captions. Like many things, people can see photographs in different ways, so a person might think a picture highlights why we shouldn’t go to war and someone else can see the opposite — this is the idea of contradictory  responses to pain. Many believed that if people could just see how terrible war was that it wouldn’t happen again but that’s not what happened after this book was published.
  • One sentence summary: People believed that by photographing the atrocities of war, this would help bring attention to the pain and suffering that ensued, and that these pictures might prevent another war, but another war followed, even with these horrific visual representations of what happened. 

Ch 6: 

  • People are drawn to gruesome images especially because of curiosity. Its normal for people to be drawn to these images and we oftentimes appreciate these images of pain and destruction. However, even though we are able to view these pictures, we cannot understand the sufferings nearer to us — we’ve become indignant to suffering. We can’t associate our own sufferings with those in the pictures. 
  • One sentence summary: it’s a normal human reaction to be drawn to gruesome images depicting pain — but pictures also create a sense of distance between us and those depicted suffering which makes the viewers somewhat indifferent. 

Ch 8: 

  • There is so much suffering in the world and sadly it’s caused mainly by the intrinsic evilness of humans. Because of how easy it is to circulate images capturing the wicked nature of humans, hardly anyone is innocent to the evils of the world. In fact, we must let these images make an impression on us. In many ways, images help us remember the horrors of both the past and present. However, too much of this act of remembrance can make it so that peace is difficult to achieve since we are so caught up in what’s already happened. Because photography is a personal lense, we tend to care more about some people’s suffering than others. But, pictures make us pay attention to some suffering, reflect on what’s occurring, and rationalize why these sufferings are happening. However, there’s very little we can do about other people’s pain and this causes frustration. Pictures are also a means to distance ourselves from suffering and they allow us to see these pains from afar.
  • One sentence: pictures allow viewers to see the wicked nature of humans and also help us to remember the horrors of the past and present, which can make it difficult to maintain a peaceful world since sometimes we only care about specific suffering.

Unit 3, assignment 1 Sode Smith

-evilness is normalized in the banality of evil (

-evil sometimes cannot be recognized (

-Hannah Arendt was a Jew who had to report on the trial of Eichmann who was a chief architect of the Holocaust — she reflected on the evil nature of humankind (

-she says that Eichmann embodied the banality of evil — the dilemma between the horror of the deeds and the people who did it (

-she wrote about how the nazi’s used “holes of oblivion” = alternative facts ( of the outcome of evil (

-Arendt dealt with the question of: can one do evil without being evil? (

-Eichmann organized the transportation of Jews to concentration camps (

-Arendt found that Eichmann was a bland bureaucrat — he didn’t seem evil (

-Eichmann wasn’t a monster she concluded in her study of the trail called Eichman in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil  (

-he preformed evil deeds without evil intentions (

-he never realized what he was doing (

-banality of evil: Eichman not inherently evil, shallow and clueless, a follower, found his purpose through the nazi’s (

-Eichmann said in court he always tried to abide by Immanuel Kant’s Categorical imperative  (

-Arendt argues that Eichmann misinterpreted Kant’s golden rule-she argued that Eichmann couldn’t think for himself (

-she argued that Eichmann was a joiner since he always looked to join organizations to give him an identity (

Campus events commentary

I found the microaggressions panel extremely interesting for many different reasons. Firstly, I was unaware of the fact that microaggressions are meant as compliments. One of the students of color told a story about a time in which someone called him articulate. Even though this was technically seen as a compliment, he said he felt it as a microaggression because the comment was based off the underlying stereotypes of people of color in the US. Another part of this panel I found intriguing was how these students experienced many microaggressions from close friends, which makes the ordeal worse because they feel like they can’t address the issue due to hurting a friend’s feelings. Even though they experienced an aggression, they value friendships, so sometimes they will let a comment go. Another aspect of microaggressions i was unaware of was exactly how common they are. When the panelists asked how many people in the room had experienced a microaggression in the last week, about ¾ people in the room raised their hands which surprised me (but I guess that’s because I don’t experience microaggressions due to my privilege). Coming from this privileged place in society, it’s hard for me to even conceptualize what a microaggression is and how it affects someone, but I feel like this panel, made up of my peers, really helped me learn about and visualize the negative effects of microaggressions.