Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who's tellin the truth?

     In periods of civil unrest and displeasure, the most effective vehicle to inflict an indentation among society is propaganda, an observation corroborated  historically. Propaganda acts as an appeasement, as a rallier or as a brain-washer. Wars and crises are where propaganda is used most efficaciously due to the people's support for their nation and their fellow citizens. However, since propaganda denotes a twisting of truth or in short, a lie, it can cause people to be led erroneously to commit immoral actions. Such has been the cause with every single war in the 20th century on both sides. Now all instances may not entail lies but still vicariously attempt to push people's favor to the group's ideas or ideals as is evident in the specimen above where the United States of America insinuate that Communism which was slowly taking hold around the world would be the ultimate demise of the country. It promotes a feeling of contempt for the Soviet Union and its influences deterring Americans from looking into Communism and causing it to become a taboo subject.
     Propaganda can also be applied locally especially with race. In the United States, racial propaganda was used to unfavorably cast light on African-Americans following their Emancipation. However, it was also used by America during World War II to isolate Japanese citizens because of the country's involvement against the Allies and it was also used against Native Americans to suppress sympathy for their plights. The America of yesterday wrongfully published stereotypical material to aid in its complete control and "safety" of white citizens. With all of the acts committed following the distribution, it is evident that the messages in the propaganda took hold and the pain these races endured stemmed from the brain-washed ignorance of those unethical people. Ironically, lies can resonate louder than the truth can in places where the truth is fostered like America.        

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hip-Hop nowadays...

     Hip-Hop or urban culture is in crisis. The problem is that these artists make music or art only to please others. In return, they are award a large sum of money and continue producing mediocre and sometimes ridiculous works which at first glance or at first note already seem uninspired and mainstream. For physical art just as graffiti and paintings, artists aren't in such of a dilemma as music "artists" are. Rappers write about partying in clubs, drinking and having twenty women in the back of the limo on their way to the hotel where they will  party some more. Hip-Hop stars will sing about ANYTHING to become famous such as catching grenades and sound like broken records when the majority of their songs are syllables or vowels repeated ad infinitum. In short, they are generally sell-outs that need the money to keep up their mansions' taxes.
     Hip-Hop culture showcased in the movie Beat Street is on the whole other end of this spectrum. The characters in it create music and art as a form of expression where they don't need compensation for their work. They do it for their own inner gratification and also for the pleasure of others. Making music, break-dancing, graffiti and singing all are their passions and they continue to make art even when they aren't recognized or reimbursed. They are original and true to themselves and it resonates with the quality of their work. A look back at earlier times of Hip-Hop culture would benefit this suffering society.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"It's time to get beat"

     Richard Wright has countless issues with "hunger" in his autobiography, Black Boy. His childhood family is incredibly dysfunctional and every adult he meets he gets abused by. Richard develops a hunger for attention which stems from his experiences of being mistreated and disregarded. If he asks a question, he will get shot down by his mother and eventually beat which becomes a commonplace happening in his day because of his countless "transgressions." If he reaches out to someone, as he did with the teacher, Ella, he will be called a devil worshiper by his grandmother and the beatings will commence. Since Wright has no social outlet within his family who all but dismiss him with threats of a whipping, young Richard attempts to connect to with total strangers at the local bar. There he is the center of attention; drinks are bought for him, jokes are told to him and he is carted around the room in his innocent drunkard state. However, after his stint as the bar messenger, he is back in the same predicament. In the initial chapters of the book, Richard Wright focuses on his mother's outward relationship with him and this section is riddled with hostility. He disobeys his superiors because they anger him with their hurtful actions such as when Richard killed the kitten after his father scolded him. He misbehaved just to spite them because they didn't provide the attention he needed. A normal person cannot live a life of isolation and neglect before turning bitter and deranged. It traumatizes and disables trust to exist in that person. Wright becomes mentally scarred from the lack of attention and retreats to his thoughts and to his misbehavior.