Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Potential College Essay

Rare is a case where someone claims to become a better version of themselves in a moment.  For me, change occurred with the snip of a scissors.  In the summer going into my sophomore year of high school, I cut my extremely long and thick hair into a pixie cut.  It was a drastic change with no warning to any of my friends and family besides my mother and one of my friends.  Prior to cutting my hair, I would get frustrated because I wanted it to look unique but it was too heavy to do anything with it.  I felt insecure about my hair so I established myself as3 an extremely passive person who could never make up my mind.  My “friends” would walk all over me and exploit what I did for them without consideration for me as a person.  Cutting my hair short allowed me to be more assured in who I am, showing my friends and family that I strong individual.  I am able to be both unique and confident. 

When my hair was long, I would hide behind it, hiding also behind my more confident friends.  After I cut it, my peers and family respected me more since it was uncommon that someone my age would make the decision to cut their hair so short.  They saw that I had confidence in myself and was growing from a passive girl to a strong young lady.  My family saw that I was able to think for myself and trusted me to make the right choices.  Many of my friends were impressed that I was able to do something so drastic without asking for the opinions of others first.  Both my family and friends saw that I was finally finding myself.  I no longer hid behind my “friends”, but became my own distinctive person.

When my hair was long, no one took me seriously because I did not take myself seriously.  I would get good grades but I would not put in any extra effort to make my work stand out.  No one expected me to be anything special because I did not want to hold myself to any high standard.  In a way, it was as though my hair was nothing special and neither was I.  After I cut my hair, I saw that I could create a new and better version of myself.  I had my own sense of style and could create my own image.  I saw that standing out is not inherently bad.  My academic performance increased, I became more involved in my school community, and was not afraid to take on leadership roles.  My peers now see me as someone reliable since I try to be a leader as well as considerate of people who feel how I felt prior to cutting my hair.  In my life today, I continue to look for ways to help people find who they are.  Once I was timid and uncommitted, now I am focused and true to myself. 

                My life changed for the better in an instant.  I never believed that cutting my hair would affect the way the way I interact with those around me, nor that it would allow me to be given more responsibilities.  Since I know what it is like to be taken advantage of, I try to encourage others and be a true friend, rather than a friend of convenience.  When I cut my hair I saw that I had the confidence to shape my own life and to be a true and welcoming friend.  One haircut changed my entire outlook on life and friendship.  Now with short hair, I am a young woman who tries to be a positive influence by showing people the power of individuality.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Not A Real Artist

     Creativity and originality go hand in hand when discussing art, but once someone takes inspiration or reinterprets another's work, the piece is viewed as invalid, uncreative, and unoriginal.  However, artists of every medium use inspiration from outside sources in order to create an effective and moving piece.  As time has gone on, it becomes harder and harder to an artist's work to be validated and seen as a masterpiece because some create their own piece by taking the works of others and making it into something new.  With the modern incorporation of technology into art, it is seen as easier to plagiarize or rip off someone else work, and many claim that creativity and originality are dead.
     New forms of art and technology are always doubted and dismissed at first, especially when used together.  In the TED Talk given by Lawrence Lessig, he provides three examples as to this being true thought society.  Lessig discusses the invention of the "Talking Machine," to which John Phillips Sousa had responded by saying that, "These talking machines are going to ruin artistic development of music in this country."  This shows that even the past, something new and modern was seen as corruptive of art because it takes away its authenticity.  The outlook on "talking machines" has greatly changed over time, and it seems that in todays society music and other art forms are solely distributed and shared through them.  People being scared of new developments and change in ways of life has become a growing trend throughout the history of a growing world.
     Another trend throughout history has been that phenomenal artists hate themselves and their work because it is looked down upon by other people.  Artists such as Vincent Van Gogh were only truly respected and recognized as masters of art years later.  Over time, the standards and interpretations of art change and develop with new discoveries and events.  These new progressions in the world can act as a stream of inspiration for the artist to create in an entirely new style.  In early America, artists and writers were rejected because their art did not follow the traditional European style and standard of art.  Throughout his TED Talk, Lessig was able to vocalize that creativity thrives with freedom but unnecessary laws and standards limit the acceptance of art.
     Technology and art have the ability to grow and work hand in hand, as shown in modern society.  Modern generations can be called remix generations, or animating generations; both of which are modern forms of art created through the medium of technology.  However, some people claim that remixing and remaking other peoples works make these new forms of art created through piracy.  This can be true if the context is not changed enough, but society thrives off of growing and expanding off of the ideas of others, so the same can be said for art and technology combinations.  Originality and creativity comes form interpreting the works of others; taking the work of someone else and combining it with something else or something new makes it one's one, making it original.  Everything in this world is based off of something else, especially in art.  Saying that interpreting or creating something based on someone else's work is piracy is almost the same as saying that artists who paint landscape are not real or original artists because the landscape was created by the earth, not by the artist; the same goes for the art of photography.
     Remixing and remaking works of art through the combination of both art and technology gives a reason for the standard definitions of creativity and originality to be reevaluated.  Thoughts, emotions, and other creations are original, even if one draws on outside sources in order to form them because more research and more outside sources can allow a person to create the something to the strongest capacity.

The Politician Piggy Bank

     It is not a surprise that the United States government has never had the most genuine and trustworthy reputation.  Even before they get into office, politicians begin their manipulation process while in the process of campaigning and raising funds.  They will spend hours a day calling their constitutes to ask for donations and invite them to fundraisers.  However, politicians find this process both torturous and humiliating.  The people who donate are hardly appreciated though, the politicians take their money and move on.  Those who do donate are approached every year for the same purpose, feeding the politician piggy bank.
     In one of his recent episodes, John Oliver addresses the truth of congressional fundraising.  He is able to bring light to a subject that many do not think about and will even try to ignore.  Not only is the fundraising process, with obnoxious phone calls and long fundraisers, stressful and bothersome to the people, but also to the candidates.  Oliver brought up the valid point that, "people in Congress are the ones constantly complaining about the time they waste on fundraising," but they are the ones with the power to change the entire fundraising process.  These Congressmen will complain so much about the fundraising process and speak freely as to how torturous it is, even if the fundraising centers locations are kept under-wraps with no one from outside the campaign going in.  However, one would think that if something was so bothersome to such a large amount of people, some attempt at change would be made.  Congress is meant to help and protect the people, but instead they are taking their money in a way that is not enjoyable for either party.      
     As politicians become more accustomed to the fundraising process with years of experience, they tend to open up as to how the process makes them feel and how it can have an affect on the people.  After announcing his retirement, Representative Steve Israel met with John Oliver to diascuss what really happens during congressional fundraising.  He admitted to pushing people to call for donations and forcing them to meet a certain quota.  However, Israel recognized that "the real victims of this torture have become American people."  They have to give their money to a fundraiser where the funds themselves are not even being used for the campaign process.
     Majority of the funds raised end up going to the Congress-persons political party to help other's campaigns. Even if the position is secure, a certain minimum of funds must be raised.  These funds that are to be given range from $125,000 to $800,000.  If this is the amount for a typical Congressional campaign, one can only imagine how much money is being raised in the presidential elections this year.  If politicians are willing to take such large sums of money for a cause that does not make a single group happy, then politicians should initiate change to the system.  This system of "paying dues" also can create a large debt, and if Congress is already okay with doing that on a personal level, then there is a likely chance to do the same thing while in office.  Our nation has a large sum of debt that we constantly struggle to keep under control.  Paying dues can quickly get out of hand and become a habit.  Habits such as these, on a national level, have a negative affect on the people most of all.  These funds are coming from the people, and yet they are not being used to their benefit.
     The politician piggy bank is always growing at the expense of the American people, even though it exists to benefit them.  Congressional funding is not bad if it is done in moderation and the funds are used for their intended purpose, rather than paying dues.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Credible Comics

     McCloud breaks the stereotype of comics begin completely childish and goofy be establishing ethos.  In comics, there is not much room to establish credibility, so it is incredible feat that he is able to do so.  McCloud is able to do this by not only using words, but by using pictures and events as key points to hint at ethos.  He is able to establish ethos in both words and text, even if these are not the main focus of the comic.
     He first establishes his ethos by depicting himself as an outside narrator.  A narrator is typically a well educated person on the subject who is waiting to inform others of their message.  He goes on to explain his point, but the presence of the narrator figure adds to the credibility of the words he is saying.  While addressing the reader, the narrator is depicted separating words from pictures.  The titles on the books are famous writings and the pictures are famous works of art.  This shows that he is credible since he is educated in other fields besides comics.  In addition to ethos established through pictures, McCloud establishes his credibility through words as well.  On words that he wishes to stick with the reader and to be emphasized, he uses bold and italicized words.  This shows that he has confidence in what he is saying and is ready to point out the key points in his arguments.  
     McCloud also subtly includes the definition of comics.  Ethos is established through this inclusion since it shows that he took time to research exact definitions, making him seem more intelligent.  In one of the pictures, he also depicts the constitution, and the word box above it includes a specific summary of the constitution along with the year that it was created.  Including the specifics of the constitutions allows McCloud to seem much more credible in other respects instead of just comics.  At the very end of the comic, the last frame includes a reference back to the very beginning.  It states that comics are a story of show and tell, just like the young boy from the start of the comic.  The boy is showing and telling the class how is toy can change into different things, must like a comic does. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dreaming of Stars

     Stars are beautiful and bright, yet unreachable and unstable.  They seem perfect and ideal, a source of inspiration and a far off goal.  However, upon further inspection, the star is burning so bright and powerful that it will burn itself out.  Also, if one were to look into the sun, which is a star, their eyes would burn.  Celebrities are called stars for a reason.  They are an what people look up to and stare at pictures of.  Celebrities seem perfect on the outside, but are dying within, and if one looks too closely into their lives, this damage begins to show.
     Celebrity bodies are a great source of controversy.  Their bodies are seen as the perfect specimen of humanity, but at the same time they are criticized and ridiculed for their body.  In the world of celebrities, there is no way to be the ideal weight.  If a celebrity gains a few pounds or does not present themselves runway ready at all times, their career is threatened and they are called countless horrible things.  However, if a person is too skinny, they are mocked for not having the right amount of curves or for caring too much about what they look like.  Society creates these impossible standards for celebrities, but at the same time, society is also the one to criticizes their need to be ideal.  Outwardly, celebrities may seem like the pinnacle of health, but many tear their bodies apart from the inside out by going on extreme diets or "cleanses," eventually developing into eating disorders.  These stars seem perfect but are destroying themselves, all the while being under the constant gaze and judgement of the common people.  The common people themselves would never be able to attain this goal weight or beauty standards, but because the lifestyles of celebrities are to out of reach, the dream life of the stars is pushed even further to the impossible. 
     Common people are also damaged by the "perfection" of celebrities.  By looking to closely into the lives of the stars, they too will try to alter their lifestyle to be the ideal person.  Not only will the celebrity develop an eating disorder, but now an every day person will too while attempting to live up to unrealistic beauty standards.  Sometimes, if the star is observed and idealized for too long, the damage is irreversible, and both the star and the observe will suffer.  In order to better society as a whole, including both the stars and the observers, unrealistic beauty standards must changed to promote a healthy and productive lifestyle that encourages eating right and exercising, rather than skipping meals and starving oneself.  Stars can be seen as beautiful, but they should not be mistaken as invincible.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Attacked By Perfectionism

     Zombies are constantly walking into and out of my life, dragging me down before I am able to push them off completely.  Often times, when one zombie leaves, another takes its place.  Zombies may not be present in this world in the manner that they are typically depicted, but they do walk this earth.  They are out distractions and our bad habits that prevent us from working to our full capacity.  We know how to "shoot" our zombies to get rid of them, but they always return.
     Being a perfectionist is the zombie that is constantly attacking me.  Perfectionism keeps me from ebbing efficient and effective in my work, even though I know that I can fix it.  If i truly applied myself to thing things that I am doing, then this zombie would disappear.  For majority of my school assignments, I will allow it to control me until the very last second.  This temporary elimination of my zombie is not enough to do my work to its full potential.  Lately, I have been watching crime shows in order to distract myself from actually applying myself to my work.  I can stop to just shouting off the TV, but instead I lie to myself saying that it is too interesting to shut off.
     I do not like doing things unless I am completely sure that it will be perfect when I hand it in.  Due to the fear of it not being perfect, along with the lack of effort that I have, I never truly apply myself to anything until the last second.  Often times, because I do things so last minute, it is never the quality that I want it to be.  The lazy perfectionist zombie prohibits me from applying myself, even with topics that I enjoy.  I find that the more I enjoy a topic, the harder it is to get rid of my zombie.  If I love the topic so much, then it should be easy for me to write, but instead I just want it to be even more perfect.  Even right now, I have waited until the last second to write this because I found it interesting, and it is not even close to as good as I want to be.  Instead of motivating me even more, perfectionism completely wipes away any motivation that I could have.
Despite all of the negative consequences for my perfectionism, I enjoy my procrastinating perfectionism since if I do it last second then I have an excuse for it being bad, where as if I use my time wisely and actually try, I do not have anything to blame but myself for it being bad.  This zombie is something this is always attacking, no matter how many times I push it away, it will return.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Modern War Drums

     Throughout history, music has been a means of communication.  Even if there is a language barrier, music can be used to convey a feeling or emotion, so many forms of music are relatable throughout the world.  Different genres and types of music symbolize different things, allowing it to convey messages in a catchy and powerful way.  In modern times, most songs have more meaning than the speeches that political figures give to the crowd.  Music can be created and used in celebration, mourning, and even warning.
     McBride argues that hip hop music is a warning; a warning that addresses different social issues.  In many cultures throughout history, war drums were used as a warning of danger.  These drums would announce the threat so people would be aware that something was wrong.  Hip hop music is extremely similar to this since is announces the issues that younger generations experience.  Younger generations create this form of music to communicate with each other and with older members of society.  In this way, hip hop is used in order for people to communicate with each other as well as to inform other people of coming danger.
     I support McBride for the most part because many issues in society are first addressed in hip hop songs.  From the origins of hip hop until modern times, this form of music has been extremely revealing to the reality of peoples lives.  However, not every hip hop artists follows this method of songwriting.  There are some hip hop artists that sing solely for entertainment purposes in which theirs songs export different scandalous forms of lifestyle.  Despite this, true hip hop has its foundation in sharing a message of warning.  Many different social justice issues are addressed in these songs, along with expressing pride in specific characteristics that are rejected in society.  Hip hop artists warn that they will not tolerate injustice and are aware of things that are in need of change.  Each individual artists can draw from their own personal experience in order to create this music, so for different people the warnings are of different messages.  The song may be create to reveal the truth of being trapped by social standards, but another person who is not trapped in the same way can still find the song relatable in a different light, so the warnings can be adapted to each person.
     Just as McBride stated, this form of music is a means of communicating warning and it has been since its origins.  Hip hop is the equivalent of war drums in the 21st century since both emit a message of warning.