Saturday, December 7, 2013



This week in class we had a group presenting on Facebook. It's astounding to me how much Facebook has and continues to effect our daily lives, even if we do not realize it. Facebook has allowed us to have relationships with people solely online in the comfort of our own homes. I deleted my Facebook two years ago. I chose to do this for a number of reasons, but the main reason was because I realized how unhappy it was making me. I would frequently be checking my Facebook and comparing my life to the lives of my friends who I saw online. As happy as I was for them, I would honestly feel down about myself if I saw people frequently doing adventurous things or posting perfect photos. I realized though that ultimately, a lot of the stuff that people post on Facebook is just so they can maintain their online image or persona. I would see a photo of my cousin with her boyfriend, only to find out a day later that she was utterly unhappy in the relationship. This all made me view Facebook as being a sort of "false reality." People will tell you their interests and post statuses and pictures, but only those that make them look good or seem like they are living the perfect life. I didn't want to partake in something like that anymore, especially since it was negatively affecting my attitude. I deleted my account and I don't regret it. Sometimes I do feel a little out of the loop when my friends ask me if I saw what so and so posted on Facebook last night. The other annoying thing about not having a Facebook is how it is frequently used everywhere. There are many contests or campaigns that require you to have a Facebook account in order to partake in the particular event. For example, I recently bought tickets for my sister to go see the popular boy band One Direction. In order to get good seats, I had to try to buy tickets during the "Facebook pre-sale." Since I didn't have a Facebook, I couldn't see what the code was to buy the tickets. Luckily my brother was able to look up the code through his Facebook account, but it just shows how society already assumes that we view Facebook as a necessity.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Cyborg Manifesto

This week in class we discussed Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto. According to Haraway, "A  cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction." In her piece of work, Haraway discusses many boundaries relating to the formation of the cyborg. Some of the most prominent ones were human/animal, organic/inorganic, organism/machine, physical/non-physical, etc. This whole idea of a cyborg led to an interesting class discussion. Wexler asked us if we would knowingly date a cyborg. Surprisingly, a lot of the class said yes. Considering how much we rely on technology in our everyday lives though, this sort of response should not necessarily come as a surprise. A concern was whether or not the cyborg had freedom of choice. Many in our class said that if the cyborg was programmed to fall in love with them, as opposed to having the freedom to choose their lover, they would not date the cyborg. The discussion then led to a questioning of what truly defines whether something is human or not. People have all sorts of views on this matter. Many will say that in order for anything to be considered "human," they must be able to reproduce. This is a tricky topic to tackle, considering all the options that fertility clinics have to offer. Ultimately, Donna Haraway's cyborg is a representation of "lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints."

Monday, November 25, 2013


Slavoj Zizek is an extremely intelligent individual with plenty of thought-provoking ideas to share. The film we watched in class exposed me to his opinions, many of which coincide with those of Marx and Lacan. Zizek's eccentric personality kept me engaged and interested in what he had to say. He made statements that are debatable, such as "the universe is one big void" and "love is evil." One of the topics that he mentioned that really stood out to me though was his take on post-modernism. He claimed that post-modernism is almost like a secret message. An example of this would be a child visiting their grandmother's house on a Sunday. The totalitarian-esque father would force their child to go, saying that it is the right thing to do, even if they do not want to. However, the postmodern approach is a bit different. The postmodern father would say something along the lines of, "your grandmother loves you very much, but it is ultimately up to you if you want to go see her." Zizek states that "this apparent free choice secretly contains an even stronger authority...Not only do you have to visit your grandmother, but you have to like it." He claims that this is more dishonest than the former. I definitely agree with Zizek's take on this scenario. It leads me to think about our idea of freedom. In the United States, we claim to be "free," but are we really? Yes we are free, but that doesn't mean that society's version of what's "right" is not constantly being shoved down our throats to influence our behavior and opinions, sometimes without us even realizing it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Where Did The Future Go?

It seems like these days, we as a society are always anticipating the future rather than living in the moment. Preparation is always great in theory, but how often do our plans go exactly as we imagined them to go in our heads? Randy Martin's Where Did The Future Go? discusses the idea of risk management. Just by dissecting the title, we can see that Martin is trying to show us how we are all taking the idea of the future and bringing it to the present. One quote that stuck out to me is when Martin says "As a social force, capital not only dispossesses people of old habits of life but also attaches them otherwise." He is explaining how capitalism enables a change in lifestyle based on the certain demands that it is evoking. An example of risk management that I can relate to in particular is college itself. I am going to school to learn and to hopefully secure a job in the future. The irony is that I am taking out student loans while going through school in order to obtain a job that will hopefully pay well enough to help me pay off those student loans. Risk management is a controlling ideology of late capitalism.
In class, we also looked at scenes from the film Minority Report.  The characters in his movie see a crime before it happens and take preventative measures to stop it from occurring. This is another great example of risk management.
In relation to risk management is this idea of a "false reality." Mainstreet USA in Disneyland is the epitome of a wholesome and perfect way of living. This illustrates how easy it is for us to look back with such an idealized view of the past, when in fact, it is really just a false reality of the past that never was. It always easy to look back and think that things were better than they are now, which is why it is vital to consciously remember to take a breath and just be in the moment.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cultural Space and Urban Place

This week in class, we watched the classic film Rebel Without A Cause.  In relation to the topics we've discussed in class, this film takes place during a time that is sort of in between the movement from old world order to new world disorder. The war had just ended, which partly contributes to the teenagers being enabled to live this “rebellious” lifestyle. This film also emphasizes on the importance of a father figure, or lack thereof. All of the teens can empathize with each other through the shared feelings of having parents who just “don’t get it,” whether its Plato dealing with the fact that his father abandoned his family, Jim feeling anger towards his father for not standing up to his mother, or Judy who feels like her father does not love her. I think this film also does a good job of emphasizing how highly these teenagers value the idea of “fitting in.” Jim feels that if he doesn’t fight Buzz, everyone will make fun of him and he will be seen as weak. We can relate this to teens today. It is so easy to follow the crowd and do something we may not necessarily believe in just because everyone else is doing it. There is a fear of not being accepted and being an outcast. In my opinion, the title Rebel Without a Cause can be related to the Post-modern idea of the ever-evolving self. The teens are rebels, but it is not clear what their exact cause for rebellion is because it can frequently be changing.