Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor II
It's a trend that can't be ignored. Yoga's popularity is undeniable across America. It's more than just a new, hip form...
Anneka Dec 19, 2014
Walt Whitman and Emerson are both fabulous. However, Emerson wasn’t speaking of Walt Whitman. Perhaps Walt Whitman does fulfill some of the qualities of “the poet” that Emerson speaks of, and Emerson does eventually befriend Whitman, but I believe that Emerson was writing to Walt Whitman rather sarcastically in response to him sending a copy of “Leaves of Grass.” Emerson wrote him a letter on July 21, 1855 and if not read correctly it can seem praising of Whitman, but I think it more leans to the side of an underlying tone of amusement at Whitman’s claim to being “the poet” Emerson is looking for. However, if we don’t consider Emerson’s letter to Whitman, or try to guess as to whether or not Emerson was calling upon a person as “the poet” or an ideal, than your article is correct. Whitman does fill in many of the characteristics Emerson lists. But so do many others, as Emerson writes of, when he says, “Is it only poets, and men of leisure and cultivation, who live with her? No; but also hunters, farmers, grooms, and butchers…His worship is sympathetic; he has no definitions, but he is commanded in nature, by the living power which he feels to be there present” (Emerson, The Norton Anthology: American Literature, p.1185).
Good insight on the male characters, but I think you skipped out on the female characters, whom I definitely think are as developed as the male characters. The four girls have to remain relatively consistent over the seasons, so viewers still feel they are relatable and easy to keep up with, they still develop throughout the seasons. I think rather than character development, what you’re actually recognizing is the way the characters are revealed, which is different. From the beginning, most of the main four girls’ characters are revealed, so that as viewers, we relate to them, whereas the male characters’ personalities are revealed more slowly throughout the seasons. This way, it’s like we are getting to know them just like the girls are. Both sexes go through character development as well. Take for example Hannah. We feel like we know Hannah from the beginning, at least a little, because she is the main character of the show (much of her character is revealed from the get-go). There has to be an initial sort of understanding felt between her and the viewers. Then when it comes to her relationship with Adam, he is first presented as fairly mysterious and then more of his character is revealed, though the development of his and Hannah’s relationship. To find the way Hannah’s character develops, we simply see the way her opinion of their relationship changes. She goes from wanting him as her boyfriend, to realizing that their relationship isn’t the best. It’s painful to watch her ditch her friends, because you can see her beginning to realize that she really shouldn’t. She knows the relationship is unhealthy and we can see her struggle with this. Then, when she breaks it off, we see that she’s developed more of a sense of what she does want when she tries again with someone new, but she still flounders in making it work. Her development comes in the form of realizing that what she thinks she wants–a label for her relationship with Adam–turns out to not be what she wants. The unhealthy parts of the relationship aren’t fixed or changed by what she thought would help. After all, a large part of personal development is realizing what’s good for one’s self and learning what one really wants, and each female character struggles with this in a different way. There are plenty of examples if one takes the time to look. I think another reason you might have liked Girls over Sex in the City, is because in Girls, the men are actually given characters, whereas in Sex in the City, they are given absolutely no voice or persona other than through what the women tell us or how they respond to various situations. Sadly, in Sex in the City, the males encountered are only one dimensional plot tools.
I agree with almost every part of the comment ctirri gives us above, and especially about Lorde’s use of ‘you,’ as not ambiguous in nature. The first song I heard by Lorde was her “Love Club,” before her album was released. I must admit, the only reason I first listened to it was because of the attraction of an artist who’d chosen such a name as Lorde for herself, but as soon as I listened to the track, I was hooked. It spoke to ideas I had about growing up at the time, and it also seemed relevant to some of the issues I felt I was facing within my group of friends. The lyrics express mixed sentiments. At first, the speaker tells us her mother’s love is choking her, that she needs out. Then, in the next chorus, the dynamics of the club are discussed, in which people fight to be the speakers best friend, and she doesn’t deny the attraction she feels towards hanging out with “the wicked kids.” She also tells us that she’s had success in the club–she’s popular amongst the club, and she’s even gained the club’s “throne” or a position of admiration and attraction. However, she also admits to dissatisfaction, saying all she wants is to be alone, despite her popularity. There’s a kind of superficialty or shallowness to the club. That though she was attracted initially to what the club represented for her, now it means little. The last part of the song relects her realized feelings about the club–that maybe being popular with ones peers means feeling far from ones childhood expectations or that finding selfhood and building identity comes at a price. Cutting ties with parental guidance is the only way to feel most free to find ones own values and our peers can heavily influence what we ‘should’ or ‘should not’ value when no longer relying on our parents’ opinions. However, there’s loneliness in this if we try different things or belonging with different people and don’t find what we thought we would. In trying to reinvent ourselves, splitting from “the people who watched you grow up” is necessary, but it can also be disappointin, and maybe not worth it. Certainly, Lorde has given us a very interesting topic for discussion, true and relatable to so many, but rarely if ever discussed by people in pop music.
What an excellent article! Truly awesome. I’ve never been one to dive into fan fiction, though I’d certainly have enjoyed writing it in my teens years if I’d known more about it. This is such an enlightening article for me. I agree completely with the author–diagnoses such as autism are fair too frequently misrepresented, and often by people who don’t have real knowledge on the subject. Sadly, this invites people to assume it’s all right to also make diagnoses on others as well, or tell others what they think they have. Instead, the fan fiction the author speaks of can allow a platform for people with autism to address and represent autism in the manner they experience of it or wish to show it. Fiction then becomes an incredibly important tool.
It’s too bad that such a wonderful, beloved director has retired. His art certainly captures the imagination of everyone who encounters it. Though I agree very much with this argument, I also think that globalization is perhaps the wrong word to use, since it has been happening since ancient times. Whenever people encountered new cultures and groups, globalization was in progress. Therefore, the argument would progress in a very interesting manner if the threats of globalization now were examined in relation to the movie. What, in particular, might relate in present times to the creation of a movie that addresses the complications of holding onto a national Japanese identity? Also, it strikes me as interesting that the girl turns hero in the movie by remembering the name of her friend, and by recognizing her parents. Perhaps movie is also addressing something else: Japan is not only needing to recreate an identity that allows for change and globalization, but in order to thrive, it should also remember and be proud of, as well as respect, the past that made it what it was.