As I have been discussing this topic in my Civics blog, I would want to focus my Advocacy project on bringing back relevance to the field of Liberal Arts. I was someone who chose this topic, with the idea of condemning of this kind of education, until I realised that the condemnation of this kind of an education gave a message with a hidden meaning. Not only are we condemning a certain form of art, but also all that contains in it, teaching students that critical thinking, writing abilities or history is not as important as the STEM subjects. This is a matter of reviving a dying cause, a culture that will soon meet its end due to evolution in people’s priorities.
Perhaps, one of the first steps is for the government funds, for such colleges, to be increased upon and developed upon and to promote effective career choices. Without an effective liberal arts understanding, one may not be able to develop skills that pertain to one’s own understanding of the world they live in . Such a policy should be directed towards the US department of Education. Perhaps, pure liberal arts college should be changed into something that can help a student secure an effective job, so as to not end up in a life of debt.
The statistics I’m looking at is the dying number of employment for liberal art majors and how the education department can work towards increasing endowment to such fields or work towards making liberal art majors more technical and hands on. The liberal arts concept arises from the hippie ideology of doing one’s own thing and as this idea is being torn down, we’re losing out on this sense of individuality and expanding one’s thinking and perception of the world.
Flashback to when I was ten years old and wanted for it to rain after school, so I could dance in the slow, pitter-patter of the raindrops. I would sit next to the enormous window; look up at the dark and heavy clouds as I would clap my hands slowly, trying to imitate a form of beckoner for the rain. Of course, it didn’t happen immediately, but then I would see a drop lightly jump off a leaf, that had bent due to the inevitably hot tropical sun, a smile would light my face up as the rain would get harder and the fragrance of petrichor, as a new life is instilled into nature.
Skip a little forward, it’s photograph day, my hair has been blow dried to perfection and their subtle hint of blush on my cheeks and an intense hope that the weather would cooperate; it doesn’t though. The wind blows right through my hair and the drizzle of rain turns my hair into a frizzy mess. I sigh in acceptance because there are some things in life that are inevitable. However, it’s moments of clarity, like these, which make me understand just how irrelevant my worries are. How the universe is infinite and that rain didn’t pour to sabotage my day but, maybe, to provide some relief to the farmer who woefully stares at his dying crops. The vastness of the universe makes one realize that the bad things which happen to you are probably misled.
This was only a minute aspect of my belief that what is meant to be, will be; it is such an abstract and vast belief that I have often been waved off. I, often, ponder about the paradoxical nature of my cynicism along with this, seemingly, aloof thought process. However, how I look at my belief, is that it’s only about external factors and not yourself. It’s about pushing yourself beyond measure to keep a burnt out relationship alive and then finding someone, completely unexpected, offering you a steady hand. I used to find the inevitability of certain things to be fearful yet as I got older, I realized that it was beautiful in its own way. It’s not necessary for things to work out the way you want them to, things fall into place in their own sweet way.
For my civic blog, I would like to explore the aspect of the values of gen eds in terms of our education system. I have often heard many of my sciencee-oriented friends complain about their lack of use of certain writing or cultural-foundation courses they are compelled to take, so as to attain the requirements for their major. I also think it would be interesting to express how essential the liberal arts, in all fields of study and why it is considered essential to a wholesome college education. I would also like to look into issues of same sex marriage views in America versus other countries. Having grown up in India, I think I have quite an objective point of view of this subject and the manner is which children, there, grow up thinking of homosexuilaty and the rights they deserve. It’s quite vital to understand the manner is which homosexuals portray themselves in other cultures and how this portrayal shapes a certain kind of impression of them.
For my passion blog, I will explore songs by some of my favorite artists. As I had talked about in my paradigm shift essay, punk rock has managed to diverge into various sub-genres and I am hoping to explore more of those, through each song that I bring forward. I have always found it to
be quite intriguing, how some songs manage to become greater than the sum of their parts. Punk rock is something I am incredibly passionate about, due to its ability to be incredibly open ended. I am hoping to improve the blog by trying to make my perspective more understandable to the layman and, maybe, even to make people understand the true nature of punk rock, apart from the general idea of lack of discipline and respect for authority.
What I want to explore in my ‘This I Believe’ essay/ podcast is still quite uncertain since I have always been a kind of person who focuses more on my disbeliefs rather than my beliefs. Perhaps, I would like to say I believe in the spiritual world, i,e. the existence of this other world, a parallel universe, if you may. It does not necessarily have to be an after life but more of a life beyond the physical manifestation of a human being. Another belief that I may want to explore is one related to the idea of feminism, I believe that a lot of the general public is misinterpreting feminism as a ‘female’ oriented subject. I’ve had countless arguments with male chauvinists who shoot down my opinions as ‘irrelevant’. Exploring either of these subjects would be of very high relevance to me, since I find both to be incredibly essential to my belief system.
Purpose-To present to the audience how the evolution of emotions has led to the change in definition, distribution and production of punk rock.
Thesis Statement-“The change in definition of punk is because of the change in emotions of the people”
Start off an excerpt from ‘Now I wanna sniff some glue” by the Ramones, to grab attention.
Criterion for punk-
-DIY form of music production and distributions
-Musicians who do their own thing and are authentic
-Songs with fast paced guitar riffs and singing
Continue onto presentation with pictures of punk bands of the 70s till today. while speaking about the transition in terms of sound composition, lyricism and production.
70s and 80s was a time for punk, when the definition of it was DIY, fast paced guitar riffs and nonsensical lyrics. Then came the 90s. when the working class was full of rage due to the lack of a certain purpose in their lives, when punk evolved into something more angry. Bands like Green day and Blink 182 emerged as part of the mainstream genre, signing up with major labels and causing upheaval among punk rockers who started labelling them as ‘pop punk. Then came bands like “Fall Out Boy” or “Bring Me The Horizon”, who’s lyricism is more romantic and the sound is less distorted.
People feel differently about music, listen to primarily dance music or romantic because the generation today. People listen to music because they want the bands to be relatable and empathizing. Thus, old punk isn’t appealing due to the random nature of the lyricism and sound, which is distorted and raw. Example, you have Ramones song named ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, which is fun and random but it would have no appeal in today’s time because 1)you can’t dance to it 2)the lyrics are not very relatable, emotionally
The age of distortion is gone, despite being one of the major aspects of punk/garage rock. Bands like Greenday and Foo Fighters are all working towards a more finished and smoother sound. Bands such as Fall out boy are borderline pop due to the nature of their catchy lyricism and music, not focusing on their actual sound being innovative or relevant to the tone of the lyricism.
People have begun accepting their sense of mediocrity and adolescent priorities have shifted. Newer generation children don’t feel trapped or misunderstood, as parents are becoming more aware of adolescent issues and are giving it importance. Primary issues pertain to romance or drug/alcohol use, thus most punk bands, now, are leaning towards emo, to appeal pre-adolescent children.
Statistics regarding lack of popularity of new age bands that stick to the original punk styles, due to lack of relevance. Old bands have certain significance due to their legacy. Punk rock was always about singing about what you feel and as times change, so do issues. Now, punk bands either sing about serial shooters or being bored to death or how their songs know what you did in the dark.
I have always been intrigued by how the definition of punk rock has begun to change , as I delve deeper into the culture. In today’s generation, band such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Bring Me the Horizon, My Chemical Romance etc are considered to punk rock. If you fall back to the 80s and 90s, the punk bands were Green day, Blink 182,The Ramones, Talking Heads or The Sex Pistols . However, as a music enthusiast, I have found absolutely nothing in common between these bands and therefore decided to dig deeper into the idea of how the definition of punk has evolved into something exceedingly divergent.
I believe this change in definition arose with the commercial success of ounk bands such as Green day or Blink 182, who signed up with major record labels and had sold out concerts in huge stadiums. This commercial success caused a lot of old age bands and punk lovers to feel betrayed because the whole essence of punk was being independent and performing low-key shows and having a sense of freedom. The punk rock movement developed in the UK and Australia yet one of the first bands to ever break through were the Ramones. Punk bands in that time had this do-it-yourself way of recording music and enjoyed the raw lyrics with fast paced guitar riffs. However, as the 90’s approached, punk rock soon became mainstream, due to it’s nature of being truthful and acting as a method for people to let go of frustrations that were arising, politically and socially. However it still remained quite individualistic and influential.
Until the 2000’s, when the definition of punk took a complete side turn. It became more about the emo/goth aspect, songs about social dissatisfaction and lack of romance, the music becoming exceedingly polished and losing it’s inherent DIY nature. This led to the formation of a phrase ‘pop punk’, which has caused IMMENSE distress among all punk rockers. I mean, the whole idea of punk was that it was not popular, it’s subversive and an acquired taste. It was a cry against the mediocrity we were all being pushed into and a fight against authority that wanted us to be the same.
It’s quite evident why this change has occurred.
The 80s and 90s was a time for a lot of dissatisfaction among the baby boomer generation, who were slowly being pulled into a world of pragmatism. Their anger led to the formation of a genre that caused them all to accept their individulaity and not allow anyone to crush their dreams. However, now people are less worried about leaving a mark on the world and are quite contended with their ordinary lifestyles. The economy is going through an inflation, everyone is doing well so how will anyone relate to the angst in the punk songs? So, these bands are now aiming towards the adolescents and a different kind of rage-societal. We have people with eyeliner on and their hir colored,just to establish their individuality.
I believe this change in definition of punk has to do hugely with the change in expectations and mindset of people. Although, it might be hard to pin point an exact event or group that caused this change in thought, I have managed to narrow it to the early 2000s. I am quite cynical of the phrase ‘pop punk’ and of the new age bands that label themselves as punk because, as Mark Hoppus rightly said, “Real punk bleeds on the inside.”; it’s not only about the crazy hair and liner. It’s about having the freedom to be who you want,
Social Media is perhaps the greatest boon and bane of our lives. It helps us in portraying ourselves in a positive manner to the entire world, however, the image we are portraying may not be entirely true. Apps like facebook, instagram etc is making us very aware of our status on the supposed ‘social ladder’ and is therefore instilling the need to climb it. When Mercer talks about “a new neediness”, he refers to the need for appreciation that comes along with a rise in our openness with our lives.
Social media puts us on a platform where the world is viable to giving us their own appreciation or criticism. Regardless of our views, we consciously yearn for more ‘followers’,’likes’ or ‘comments” on the posts we share with the world. As we see in the circle, Mae is instructed that she must always look for a perfect 100 in her surveys, showcasing one of first instances of ‘greed’ in one’s job. With an accomplishment in terms of having a score of 98, Mae’s victory is posted by Annie and we see Mae deriving a certain happiness from the validation. This can be directly compared to the concept of the number of ‘likes’ that we see commercial companies get on social media and how it seemingly impacts their sales. The advertising through social media aspect has become a huge part of today’s culture. AN example of this would be ratings given on food websites, such as zomato, that help consumers give comments regarding their experience, However, these ratings can work adversely and create the business to gain a bad reputation due to the complaint from one over-exaggerated customer.
We see another case of the implication of social media when Mae puts a picture of Mercer’s chandelier online and constantly talks about how popular it has become and how she could try and make even more people appreciate it. Despite sitting at dinner, with her parents and Mercer, she is focused on the fame the picture was receiving. When I read about this, I immediately thought about so many people in my lives, who are constantly eating fancy looking food or buying expensive clothes, just so they can instagram it and make their feeds look more ‘enthralling’.
So many people live their lives through snapchat, whilst forgetting to actually live in the moment. We live, not for our own contentment but to prove to the world that we are doing something worthwhile. It’s one thing to want to document a memory, but to constantly live life through a lens? What Mercer has brought out, in perhaps a moment of clarity, is that as social media is becoming rampant, our need to document every instance, just for the sake of showing off, is also getting worse. I have found myself, after spending an incredible amount on food, telling myself,”If I don’t snapchat it, I won’t get my money’s worth.” I suppose it’s all in good humour but this incessant need to put ourselves out there, is not only making us less social but also more vulnerable. The pop-icons of today are mostly reality stars or musicians, who shower us with unattainable lifestyle expectations and maybe that’s why out lives are getting harder and our greed is unending.
Romance has been diminished to something so much less beautiful than what it used to be, before the onset of social media. What has been presented to us is three kinds of romantic figures-one of the past, Mercer, one who is exceedingly open and, Francis, and another who is a mystery, Kalden. Now what really adds to the essence of the novel is how divergent the three figures and how they manage to impact the life of Mae. It is quite interesting to see the implications of such varied beliefs on Mae.
One character that really helps brings out the negative element of The Circle. As Mae views him as quite an antagonist, she turns a deaf ear to his warnings and advice regarding her new employers. He presents to the readers a more layman and third person view of the implications of social media. The fact that Mae absolutely detested him might have been one of the reasons behind her making the decision regarding becoming transparent. His warnings as merely a result of a middle-class thinking, as he is aware of the effects of a monopoly gaining complete access to someone’s life. They also act as a very strong foreshadowing element, however, due to her lack of respect for him, Mae is repulsed by his advice. Mercer also lacks in credibility and rhetoric skills, as he is incredibly brash with his advice. He plays an integral role as a character, presenting to the readers with the view of a civilian, whose life didn’t really depend on the monopoly but was afraid of being dragged into something that might cause his downfall.
Mae’s other boyfriend figure is the loving and emotionally scarred Francis. He plays an incredibly vital role as a character who has been completely ridden over by the monopoly, which exploits his trauma to their own good by making him think of the all-knowing concept as a way of preventing any kind of child abuse or kidnapping. He is presented as a complete opposite to Mercer and his earnest devotion to the Circle makes Mae incredibly uncomfortable, as she is not used to the openness he shows about their relationship, to the whole world. He doesn’t respect Mae’s privacy and even goes to the extent of filming a sexual experience with her. He stands as a symbol of a character who shows us a different aspect to the acts of the monopoly and how it had certain positive effects, such as increasing security for the people. He was brainwashed using his own weakness and is presented as an incredibly vulnerable character. Mae’s feelings for him are seemingly selfish as she only goes to him when she is dissatisfied with herself or jealous regarding someone else liking him. Despite his weak character, his immense rhetoric capability in terms of ethos, really influences Mae to maintain a romantic relationship with him, despite his sexual and romantic shortcomings.
Kalden, the last romantic figure, stands as everything that goes against the preaching of the Circle, as he is exceedingly reserved and secretive, unlike the organisation he worked for. He is unlike any other character because despite being an employee of the organisation, he has not been brainwashed and therefore can offer an objective view of the implications of the Circle. He warns Mae and we see that she is exceedingly frustrated yet attracted to his mysterious vibe. However,Mae is quite deaf to his advice and therefore his role isn’t of much importance to her except it gives more perspective to the reader. Due to his mysterious demeanor, he lacks all rhetoric, since Mae is neither emotionally attached to him nor does she have a belief in his advice.
Thus, all the romantic figures are presented to us as various perspectives of the monopoly. We are presented with various ways of rhetoric that has been tried to be implemented and whether or not they manage to work. It is quite evident that they have had either negative or positive impacts on Mae’s thought process and acceptance of the Circle’s principles.
As discussed in the earlier, Mae had developed a driving need to have the answer for everything. The fact that her mysterious lover, Kalden, was on none of the portals of the Circle agitated her beyond words. We see that she slowly begins to take her frustration over lack of information by participating in a survey, throughout the day. The fact that she slowly turns into a workaholic in order to get Kalden out of her head is quite relevant with the generation of today. Millions of us use social media to keep us distracted from the billion problems in our life. We don’t face our problems until the time comes and tend to bury ourselves in work, to stop us from thinking about anything that shouldn’t be thought about. We also see forms of social interaction, where Mae is expected to show her support for a rape victim by sending her a ‘smile’ and a ‘frown’ to the ones responsible for her condition. This is a sign of degeneration of empathy because, although, we are becoming more aware of the issues around us, we are not physically demonstrating any kind emotions towards the subject; we’re virtually presenting ourselves, which can lack all kind of validity. This can be related to use of hashtags in times of any kind of global distress such as #prayfor or #blacklivesmatter , which are causing a widespread awareness that may not be entirely genuine.
Another aspect that is also relevant to today’s culture, is the constant need to photograph everything that appeals to us instead of trying to live in the moment. This can be seen as Mae tries to photograph Kalden, after a sexual encounter with him, instead of trying to relish the beauty of the moment. Even when she sees a beautiful chandelier made by her ex, she decides to photograoh it and upload the picture. Although she is enthralled by the appreciation the post receives, her ex isn’t equally excited.by the various ways she cooks up to incerase his business oppurtunities. Mae is so caught up in her virtual world, she barely makes any conversation with her parents of Mercer, who becomes frustrated with her insanity regarding the Circle and its various ways of making life ‘easier’. We see that despite the rationality behind his explanations. Mae is so blinded by the unending adoration for the company that she begins to demean him in multiple ways. It is quite ironic to note that her behaviour is quite similar to the one that Mercer explains, regarding a monopoly. She demeans his principles and begins making schemes on how to ‘accidentally’ destroy his chandelier.
Mercer’s statement regarding Mae is excruciatingly true, not only for her but all those who are so engrossed in their world of technology. In a world where everyone is aware of problems in everyone’s lives and has opinions about everything can destroy the whole aspect of mystery that gets humans living on. Mae’s constant need to get rid of that element of surprise is something that we all yearn in our lives. As soon as we meet someone new, we try and stalk them on all forms of social media instead of trying to get to know them in person. Our lives revolve around the responsiveness of people to our picture in a cute, new dress or that irrelevant debate about something that we try and act as if we have knowledge about. Like Mae, all of us are using social media to escape the real world and are, now, unable to distinguish between the two. One must always remember that everything on the internet is liable to being second guessed but not in the real world; you can’t fake being someone else and you certainly cannot run from your true identity.
Adam’s song had quite the effect on the world of punk-rock, due to it the gravity of the situation being discussed and not only the pathos but also, the ethos attached to the idea of it. Teenage depression is a issue that was not made aware of during the time of the song’s release,2000, due to the influence of the previous baby boomer generation who did not consider depression to be a social issue. This song portrays a different side to suicidal tendencies, perhaps something less complex than diminishing passion or nihilism. It’s about the implications of the lack of having a significant other and the loneliness which tends to ensue.
This song was inspired from a suicide letter written by a teenager named Adam Krieger, who blamed his death on reasons some which were similar to that of Cobain’s, such as lack of appreciation or passion and a growing nihilism due to a disbelief in his religious establishment; yet some issues were more ‘adolescent’ problems of being rejected by women or feeling socially unaccepted. This emotional backstory of a dissatisfied teenage boy is something that a lot of punk-rock loving kids can relate to, due to their dissatisfaction for the role of social stature in one’s life. Thus, this incredible pathos element makes the sound exceedingly appealing and the fact that Blink 182, one of the most commercially successful pop-punk band of all time, is the spokesperson for this social issue, it adds an element of ethos too. The song is from the narrative of a suicide victim who is seemingly speaking from ‘the other world’, reminiscing days when he felt, written not only from the words of the suicide victim but Mark Hoppus’ own depression due to lack of anything to look forward to after the band tours. The song also makes allusions to a Nirvana song ‘Come as you are’, thus alluding further to the theme of suicide.
This song became quite infamous due to being replayed indefinitely while a high school boy hung himself, after which it was firmly established by the band that this song was ‘anti-suicide’ as it ends in present tense, depicting the fact that he had decided to live and waits for tomorrow rather than living in the past. The common place being challenged here is, yet again, that sometimes fame and fortune cannot overcome the loneliness that might be felt in one’s heart; sometimes having someone special in your life, to share your sorrows with, can be more important than having a high-paying job. This song is a relatable story for anyone who feels lonely and sometimes comes back to their room, feeling solace due to a loneliness that is more of a choice. Tomorrow is another day and holds better things and this song reminds us of that,
Intimacy and Privacy are two of the concepts that have been explored in the The Circle, or perhaps to be more specific, the lack of the privacy which causes issues in terms of intimacy. As the genenral motto of the Circle is “All that happens will be known”, we can already see the issue that could arise due to this lack of any kind of seclusion from the world. It is quite evident from the beginning, as Annie’s tells Francis’ stpry to her, that there was no much respect for privacy; however as Francis shakes this off, it is also seen that this lack of privacy had been accepted as part of the Circle, however it seemingly reduces the intimacy between Francis and Mae, as seen on page 87. Instead of having a conversation about themselves, they talk about a new division of the Circle. Thus, the lack of privacy in the community has caused a loss of closeness between them, since they already know mostly about each other from someone else. Francis’ behaviour in general is noted as “strange and unfiltered” by Mae on page 127, thus showing how their intimacy was being impacted by the lack of any kind of personal space. However, we see that there is no lack of intimacy, as Mae kisses him continually, out of sheer adoration.
A vivid example of violation of privacy is the LuvLuv application which helps an iser gain complete information of someone else. As FRAncis goes up and reveals information about Mae, we see her react quite astoundingly a sshe is quite repulsed by the open revelation of her information. We see as the intimacy begins to recede as she is extremely angry at Francis, also fearful of the accuracy of the information and also worried that it wasn’t accurate enough.Later in the novel, the lack of privacy is replaced with a man who appears quite mysterious and in unavailable on any of the Circle records. Here, the intimacy between him and Mae is quite accurately presented since both of them are quite unaware of each other, yet experienced an exceedingly strong attraction. We now see Mae’s dissatisfaction due to the fact that he had such a secretive background as opposed to her dissatisfaction with Francis’s incessant need to overshare.
We see Mae’s growing frustration as she is unable to locate Kalden, as she continues to have sexual fantasies of him while also blaming him for not being available anywhere online. We see on page 197, as she yearns to eliminate the uncertainty, the same which had added intimacy to her life. It is quite astounding how the engigmatic nature of a man drew Maw towards him. She even resorts to looking for him on LuvLUv but is extremely disappointed because she’s unable to do so. Thus, she resorts to forcing herself to think that she needed someone who could be “known” and “located”, ie Francis. Thus, although Mae yearns for knowledge, she doesn’t realise that true intimacy lay in knowing a person physically and not through online sources, Thus, the relationship between inti,cay and privacy is quite inverse, since too much information eradicates the act of being intimate.