The Shoes

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When I visited the museum I was very eager to look at the works of famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, and of course many others. An idol that I greatly admire once mentioned he really liked Vincent van Gogh’s painting, so I, as any other fan would get curious as of what in those paintings made my idol interested. It took me a while to find this gallery with various  Vincent van Gogh paintings, and in my final project I’ve used a couple too. This time I want to talk about the still life that was painted in the 1888’s. As we all know it, still life was considered one of the lowest ranked arts which was practiced mainly by the newbies. However, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne, proved otherwise. Paul Cezanne painted a couple of still lifes that were very different from anyone else, his were painting with the use of perspective.  As he himself explained, when artists paint, they don’t stay in one position- they constantly move. Hence, the point of view always changes and he thought he should stay consistent with that- and he did. In his painting “The Basket of Apples” you may notice many things that seem off. Such as the cookies. In one stack of cookies he showed us two different points of view, cookies closer to the plate are shown as if we are looking at them from below or just straight at them from maybe a sitting position, where as the top cookies are shown from the above point of view. I find this very interesting and his reasoning behind it very interesting too. Van Gogh on the other hand, painted the shoes from a singular prespective and to many this painting may not be as appealing. What I find interesting about it however, is the fact that he gave us background. He painted the tiles and we can even identify the place and the house the shoes are in! Additionally, if we knew Vincent personally, we might have been able to identify to owner of the shoes as well. This painting does not only relate to the way Cezanne shone light upon still lifes and how beautiful they could be, but also in a way that it can be related to an ordinary person. Usually, painters and artists of other kind, would have painted mythical creatures such as gods, sirens and such. However, with the modernization and Renaissance artists are now incorporating more of a daily life. We’ve seen a nude painting of a prostitute, a painting of an artist in his work room, and now a painting of someone’s shoes. These weren’t normal and those who painted such painting were considered as low class artists. I was always wondering why do some artists become famous, and yet some talents are underappreciated, I think I know now. Mainly, I believe it is due to the fact that those who are able to make it to the top are very innovative. The are able to express themselves in a ways that have never been seen before. They can make everything simple to our eyes seem very artistic and meaningful. Its hard to explain, but I think if you can do something that no one esle did before and explain why that piece should be considered art, you will succeed. Thankfully, things changed and artists now are able to express themselves in various ways, be it through painting gods, shoes, or music.

Diana, Team Mercury

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Dying happens!

Dear Name Withheld,

The one thing in life holding you back from moving forward seems to be this accident. Notice that you are accepting the fact that it was an accident and not something planned. It is only reasonable for someone mature who had part in a death has to feel some kind of sympathy for their loved ones. The parents of this teen have denied your apologies and it can be reasonable for them because they see you as a murderer. “You shame yourself, my soul, you shame yourself, and you will have no further opportunity to respect yourself; the life of every man is short and yours is almost finished while you do not respect yourself but allow your happiness to depend upon the souls of others”. You made your point when you asked for their acceptance of your apology. Your apology was acknowledged. They cannot say that you were guilty and you were in complete denial of having anything to do with this.”If it is within your power, why do you do it? If within the power of another, whom do you blame-atoms or gods? ” To do either is folly. No one is to blame.So what exactly should you be worried about? The self image of yourself should reflect your morales. Your sympathy builds your character and shows the pride and righteousness you believe in. This accident 30 years ago is a minor setback to the life you were given. You are so little compared to the universe. Nothing will matter in the end. Even if the teen hasn’t fulfilled his life to the fullest, make up for it yourself and live to the furthest extent you can. Avoid looking back.

Sincerely,

Mr. Aurelius

Citation:

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “I Accidentally Killed a Child. May I Get in Touch With the Family?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 May 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/magazine/i-accidentally-killed-a-child-may-i-get-in-touch-with-the-family.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-ethicist&action=click&contentCollection=magazine®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=18&pgtype=collection.

Fame from Caravaggio

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I have this piece of clothing from the brand Off-White by Virgil Abloh. Found it very relatable because his brand rose to fame because of the shirts and hoodies he made with the caravaggio in the middle. I had only one piece with the design which is this shirt. It is a brand thats been trending everywhere and the piece actually is named  Caravaggio Tee. I thought it was his own design and seemed really cool but realized after the lesson that he isn’t actually the original creator of this type of art. It is unclear if this is actual Caravaggio paintings or if its inspired by his works of art. Either way I find it to be a really nice piece of clothing. It is different and shows much correlation within the aspects of his actual paintings. The colors are very realistic and show over dramatization.

Baroque style plates at home.

Upon visiting the museum this week, I’ve ran into several Baroque decorations, and some with just Baroque elements. Then I saw this very interesting piece- Barber’s Bowl with Baroque decorations. After seeing that, I thought that I have whole bunch of such pieces. Growing up in Asian country I’ve had many plates that look like this

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I believe that design of these plates closely resembles those with the Baroque element plates and bowls I’ve found in the museum. Here’s one that I liked

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Both of these have those curved lines along the edges, as well as bright and vivid colors. The ones I had weren’t as rich and explicit, they were very common. However, if anyone ever wanted an expensive plate they could find something just as decorative as the one from the museum.

-Diana, Team Mercury

Puzzling Art

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Peter Paul Rubens. Romulus and Remus. Pinacoteca capitolina (Rome, Italy). http://library.artstor.org.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/asset/LESSING_ART_10310119992. Web. 12 Dec 2017.

This is a painting named Romulus and Remus. The painting itself is very realistic and shows exposes nature all over. The animal isn’t human yet the baby is feeding off it like if it was. Also I assume their parents are there just overmatching them as someone behind the tree seems to be hunting. He might be hunting the babies or the animal. Whichever it is the entire painting revolves around the two human babies. Very realistic and does not have a centered light. The babies are definitely the center of the piece. Similar to Peter Paul Ruben’s artwork, there is a dramatic effect around the entire picture. Centered in the middle would be the main thing to pay attention to. There is dynamic tension where and gives off the viewer the feeling of anxiety. You have two innocent tiny humans vulnerable to anything which just screams for trouble.

“As soon as the boys, thus born and thus brought up, grew to be young men they did not neglect their pastoral duties, but their special delight was roaming through the woods on hunting expeditions.”

The similarity is the boy or man going for a hunting expedition. Instead of finding a vicious animal, they find a animal feeding babies. A twist of expectation. It creates irony where as the animal should be attacking these babies but instead its not rather being the parent image to them. Then we have a hunter. Who is he hunting the wolf or the babies? Will the babies grow up to be big and vicious or friendly and joyful?

💗Aphrodite & Etude House💗

It is that time of the year when nearly all of us look tired, worn out and dull. Yes, winter is approaching and our skin needs more care than usual as the dry coldness with harsh winds blows the moisture out of it. Have you seen people who look radiant and bright even during winter? I personally, have not, and if I ever did pardon my French but they must be blessed by Aphrodite herself 😉

Aphrodite was known to be extremely beautiful, her beauty was extraordinary. Her looks charmed everyone, and with that she could make anyone do as she pleased. “-And beauty shone from her cheeks – an immortal beauty, the kind that marks the one with the beautiful garlands, the goddess from Kythera” (Hymn to Aphrodite.) Although there is nothing we can do to become gods, we can try to make our skin look fresh and bright. “Why skin?”- you may be wondering. Well that is because everything starts with skin, skin is an indicator of your health, and you can tell a lot by the person’s skin condition. When you apply make up, it most certainly lays smoothly if your skin is moisturized and plump compared to it being dry and flaky~

Additionally, Aphrodite seems soft, gentle as she refers to her as the virgin. So the colors I envision when I think of her are shades of pink. Hence, here is my small pink collection from Etude House that can provide some care for your skin and finish your look!

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Items: 1) Play Color Eyes #Cherry Blossom ; 2) [BERRY DELICIOUS] Color in Liquid Lips_Juicy #37 OR210 3)[SET] Bubble Tea Sleeping Pack 3-in-1 Kit [Strawberry]

Using this Bubble Tea Sleeping pack will make your skin look and feel very moisturized the next morning, it is a great solution for dry skin. Additionally, as it is a strawberry pack, it helps to brighten your skin as well.. So if you, like me, look very dull in winter time, this mask will be your savior. Now, the lipstick included is honestly one of my favorites, the shade is really pretty and it feels good on your lips. It does not transfer as much, and lasts pretty long too. Also, the packaging is extremely cute. The eye-shadow pallet has a variety of colors, with which you can complete your look and make yourself look really fresh. The colors are Spring themed, however, I personally think it is really nice to wear something like that to brighten your dull days in winter time. Bless Etude House for these wonderful products that let us look, maybe not exactly like Aphrodite but relatively close 😉 . “On her lovely face, ever smiling, an alluring bloom shimmers” (Hymn to Aphrodite(The Cyprian). Gotta brighten our days with colorful make up, and bright smiles. #winteriscoming.

-Diana, Team Mercury.

BTS, old made new.

BTS- Blood Sweat and Tears

Everyone has been saying my obsession with this Korean boy band is unhealthy, but I can prove otherwise. While its true that especially American singers don’t have much meaning to their songs, I could argue that BTS (방탄소년단) is different. The more songs they release the more I realize there is a connected story between all of them and that they are trying to tell us something other than just the song. In this blog I will be discussing their hit song of 2016- Blood, Sweat, and Tears (피 땀 눈물) While its true that it is aesthetically pleasing to look at, we shall focus and dig deeper.

To begin with, they are in a museum. Aside the fact that there are several sculptures that were inspired by Hellenistic and Classical periods, there is a big painting that caught my attention.This painting is ‘The Fall of the Rebel Angels’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. There is a certain theme of Fallen angels and temptations throughout the Music Video.

The painting this person (Jin) is looking at is very intense. The way I see it is a battle of hell and heaven. Its intensity and emotion reminded me of a painting by Giulio Quaglio, located in Ljubljana Cathedral in Slovenia.

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Both of these paintings give a feeling of darkness, as if there is a battle. They are both very intense. Furthermore, this painting by Guilio Quaglio is painted on the ceiling, just like what? You guessed it. Just like the painting in Sistine Chapel, by Michelangelo.

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We are not only a minute into the video, but I already found so many things that come from early Renaissance period that started in Florence. This is all about revival, old things made new. I really appreciate how they [BTS] are able to incorporate so many complex things into their music video.

Additionally, fast forward to 3:46, the music video shows someone blindfolding one of the members, and the lyrics go:

Kill me gently,

Close my eyes with your hands,

Cant resist it anyway

Cant even run away anymore

You just too sweet too sweet too sweet

As I previously mentioned the painting of Sistine Chapel, I think there is one fragment about the painting that can be applied here. It would be the fragment of temptation of Eve wanting to bite on the forbidden fruit.

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Also, the very beginning of the music video, to tie into the theme of temptations we encounter this fragment:

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Behind the neon lights, we see the painting which shows ‘The lament for Icarus’ by H. J. Draper. As we know, Icarus was warned by his father to not fly neither too low, because the humidity of the sea will melt the wax, neither too high as the hot sun will do the same. However, he disobeyed and listened to his temptations and did as he pleased which caused his death as his wings melted and he crashed into the sea. Similarly, both Adam and Eve knew they shall not eat this apple, as it was prohibited by God. Again, they just like Icarus disobeyed and followed their temptations and ate the fruit of knowledge.

Later in the music video, we see one of the members uncovering his eyes, and he walks to a giant statue.. And kisses it. I believe that is him making a pact with the fallen angel, from that point he was able to see everything as it is. Similarly, after Adam and Eve ate the forbiden fruit, they were able to see truly, they recognized their nudity and felt ashamed. Not to sound too cliche, but they were finally able to truly see.

I would like to use this great opportunity and tie in my classics post here. As we learned, ancient Greek theater was always religious, and they would tell stories already known by everyone. As you can see, this music video contains many religious aspects. Just like the ancient Greeks, the producers of this music video in a way retold a story that many of us read in a Bible. They presented it to us in a new way, yet were able to deliver same meaning. Another very interesting scene that I would like to mention is the “Last Supper” scene. 

Here we see them gathered by the table, with all sitting but one. That one that was contemplating through out the entire music video. He has been seen looking at the painting in the beginning, he is also the one to start seeing things as they are, and now he is the one looking into distance. Why is looking into distance significant you may think, well it is significant because he seem to either know or anticipate something. Similar to the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci.

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This is a painting of Jesus eating his last supper before crucifixion. Jesus was aware of his fate, upcoming betrayals and what is awaiting him. Just like this member he knew something was going to happen.

So, this is the end of my analysis. This video contains a lot of symbolism, and it is just impossible for me to thoroughly go over all of them. I gave brief points that I found interesting and similar to our both art and classics classes. It is very complicated, and I advise all of you to watch the video and make your own conclusions. Do you see the similarities I see? You have different theories and analysis? Whether we share similar opinion on this topic or not, the truth. I tried my best explaining, and I hope you’re not confused. 

  • Diana, Team Mercury.

Union Square Savings Bank.

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While I was hanging out with my friend I noticed a very breath-taking building. The building I’m talking about is the Union Square Savings Bank which is located on Union Square East and East 15th. It was built in 1905 by an architect Henry Bacon. (Henry is also famous for designing Lincoln Memorial). This building was inspired by Greek architecture with Roman influence. Greeks did not like mixing certain styles with another. However, Romans thought mixing styles creates a unique and renewed feeling to the creation. In other words, they saw no problem in mixing patterns of say Doric order with Corinthian.

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As we can see, the column is a Corinthian column, however the shaft seems to be of those from Doric order. Horizontal lines that we observe on this shaft are unusual for Corinthian columns as those are normally done without stacking those pieces. These horizontal lines, on the other hand, are normal for the Doric columns.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this building was the Roman Basilica due to its outstanding front columns. The Union Square Savings Bank is very enormous in size and has very impressive entrance, just like those of Roman Basilicas. One in particular would be the Basilica of Santa Sabina. You might think they are complete different, and I would have to agree, the exterior of the Santa Sabina is nothing like the Union Square Savings Bank. However, the inside of the Basilica of Santa Sabina is very rich and contains many interesting pieces. What reminded me about Santa Sabina would have to be the columns, they are just as enormous and just as beautiful.

To conclude, NYC is full of wonderful places I haven’t been to prior to this class. I’m very thankful that I live in such a big and diverse city as NY with many wonderful landmarks that derive their origins from Greek and Roman arts.

Diana, Team Mercury.

 

Demagogues and the United States.

 

– The primary audience of “Finally getting their recession, demagogues want a return to ’70s.,” are people interested in politics and economic status of the United States in the 90’s.


– The Author does not use the search term “Gracchi” at all, however Gracchi brothers wanted to bring some serious change back in Rome, and this article is about change that happened in the 1990’s. Additionally, he does not specifically mention the United States in relations to the word “demagogues,” however it is clear that he can relate them. The author says that the leaders and important figures want to return US economy to the state at which it was during the 1970’s. The bottom line on all this is that a directionless White House has encouraged the demagogues to propose the failed remedies of the 1960’s and 1970’s – ‘soak the rich,’ castigate business ‘greed,’ pile regulation upon regulation, tax and spend – as if they had slept through the stunning revival of jobs and industry in the 1980’s.” and “Finally getting their recession, demagogues want a return to ’70s.”

 In the “The early Republic and the ‘Struggle of the orders,” I found a quote that relates to the article above.  “During the early republic an aristocratic clique known as the patricians retained power. During military and economic difficulties, the poorer citizens suffered most, esp. without the protection of the kings who had relied on their support.” This quote relates to the article “Finally getting their recession, demagogues want a return to ’70s.” This quote can relate because here it says that poor citizens suffered the most as they had no support from the kings and higher authority. Similarly, poor people in the US had very little to no aid, which then resulted in some reforms where the higher authorities chose to increase taxes for rich people and use those money to provide help to the less fortunate.  


Citation:

Rukeyser, Louis. “Finally getting their recession, demagogues want a return to ’70s.” Caribbean Business, 5 Dec. 1991, p. 48. General OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&sw=w&u=cuny_broo39667&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA11705103&it=r&asid=92cd6b384bd6e7ce709a0c7f526c95df. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

 

 

Diana, Team Mercury

Ancient landmark?

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Well it’s no doubt the New York state is home of some of the most historic landmarks. One of which is the New York State Supreme Court Building. It’s structure correlates with some structures of the ancient greek. It has similar vertical columns with 5 on each side. Although it doesn’t go all around, it does include sculptures engraved on the pediment. This isn’t the only building in the area that share these aspects. Some such as the New York City Comptroller has similar front. Rather this building shows roman numerals and has Manhattan engraved at the top. The Supreme Court does reminisce the great buildings built by romans and greek and the pillars live up to the buildings name as it brings great intimacy and shows dominion as this landmark is also a civil court.

Joseph Rosendo – Mercury

Is it that hard to stand for the Anthem?

Based on the text by Macur, an ideal society has to allow you to have freedom of choice. In the text “Protest Leaves N.F.L. Necessarily Uneasy”, he talks about a conflict between two people, one that argues that you have to go by country’s rules, and one that believes otherwise. The author’s position is that whether or not the person’s doings are unethical( not standing up for the National Anthem), we shouldn’t judge him, he has to have the freedom of choice to stand or not to stand. I too live in this society as the people in the article. We are all in the United States, and I agree with the author that you should in fact have that freedom of choice to choose whatever you want to do with your life without being judged for it. However, I think its wrong not to stand for the National Anthem, because by doing so you’re just being disrespectful.  Millions of people gave their lives for the sake of this country, no matter how bad YOU think it is, those people gave their lives to make it better, and yet you can’t even get up and show respect. I believe that Xenophon would have agreed with me here, in terms of despite your country or state not being the best of them all, people have put effort to build it from pretty much nothing.”Lycurgus, who gave them the laws that they obey, and to which they owe their prosperity, I do regard with wonder; and I think that he reached the utmost limit of wisdom. For it was not by imitating other states, but by devising a system utterly different from that of most others, that he made his country pre-eminently prosperous.”(Xenophon and Aristotle). To conclude, perfect society will never exist because there will always be people who disagree and have a different view of a perfect society.

-Diana Dubitskaya, Team Mercury.

Citation:

Macur, Juliet. “Protest Leaves N.F.L. Necessarily Uneasy.” New York Times, 8 Sept. 2016, p. B10(L). New York State Newspaperslogin.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA462768533&it=r&asid=1181ff22fc4dad61ac09244a14c3160d. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.

We need to see situations from different perspectives! Really!

 

In the article There’s no such thing as Islamophobia , the author discusses various topics regarding Islam and people involved in it. He discusses double standards we have in today’s world and gives us possible reasons as of what have brought us to where we are today. “Religion of the Koran, a “practical and indulgent” religion, better adapted to indigenous people’s, while Christianity is “too complicated, too abstract, too austere for the rudimentary and materialist mentality of the Negro.” Seeing Islam as a civilizing force that “removes peoples from fetishism and its degrading practices” and thus facilitates European penetration, the author calls for an end to prejudices that equate this confession with barbarism and fanaticism, castigating the “Islamophobia” prevalent among colonial personnel.”(Pascal Bruckner) In this quote, word barbarian is used to speak of Christianity and the way they colonized and reinforced their beliefs and religion upon people in Africa. However, means of the word here has nothing to do with the rest of the article. I highly urge all of you to read the original text and draw your own conclusions as of what’s written and what is being told. The way I understood it is that this article is directed towards the millennials and such, it’s directed towards us – for us to be informed. The author wants us to know about the double standards everyone is closing their eyes on. In today’s society anything said against ISIS or other terrorists is being compared to saying those negative things against the entire Muslim society.. Why? Those who compare actual Muslims to terrorists are the ones assuming that they share the same beliefs. Like what happened with the guy who posted something about ISIS, everyone started attacking him for comparing Muslims to Isis terrorist, when he really wasn’t. People have to stop thinking what others are thinking, because that way they are themselves setting certain stereotypes and boundaries for certain people without acknowledging it. The way this term – barbarian is used, is pretty much different to the way they use the term in Herodotus Excerpts. “. For Asia, with all the various tribes of Barbarians that inhabit it, is regarded by Persians as their own; but Europe and the Greek race they look on as a distinct and separate.” (Herodotus Excerpts) Here they talk about the different kind of people inhabiting those areas, and they are called Barbarians just based off of their difference to the common people of Greece. The term has now been given a different feeling to it. One is talking about people being different, and one is talking about people acting ‘wrong’ I’d say. However, it could be considered similar in a way that both of the terms are made to indicate something unusual – those people in Asia practice things unusual and different to those in Greece, and it’s understandable why one wouldn’t be able to understand another. For those ‘Barbarians’, people of Greece might have been also considered ‘Barbarian’. The ‘barbaric’ practice was something considered unusual and different for people of Africa, so I see how those two things be different yet so similar at the same time.

  • Diana, team Mercury.

Pascal Bruckner is a French writer and philosopher. His article was translated by Alexis Cornel. “There’s No Such Thing as Islamophobia.” City Journal, 10 Sept. 2017, http://www.city-journal.org/html/theres-no-such-thing-islamophobia-15324.html. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

Barbaric God

PHmWZWUoKpBSrp_1_l.jpgThe article “Thor Gets Barbaric in Colorful New Ragnarok Character Posters” by Alan Orange explicitly says that Thor looks barbaric.

Game of Thrones has done a good job keeping that fire alive on the small screen. But now Thor has arrived to give us all his best Barbarian impression with a brand new character poster. And it’s jaw-dropping.”

A newly released poster shows Thor in what seems to be a fierce bloody scene. Thor is being treated as other by use of this term. He is the center of attention in the movie and is supposed to have a heroic display of himself. The target audience are the fans of Thor as well as everyone to promote the movie itself. The social value being affirmed as a shared value is the poster acting as a form of advertisement which tells people this guy is badass and gives an impulse to watch the movie. This is different from the word barbarian in our readings because it doesn’t refer to someone who can’t speak Greek. Instead the word evolved into someone or something that could be described as savage. Thor is described as barbarian because of his fearless and vicious image. This quote from Herodotus gives an example of the word that could be explained in different meanings.

“112. Such was the imagination of the barbarianers; but the Athenians, closing all together with the Persians, fought in memorable fashion; for they were first Greeks, within my knowledge who charged their enemies at a run.”

Even though this quote refers to barbarians as people who didn’t speak the native language, they are doing actions that we would consider barbaric today.

Side note: Barbarian reminds me of the barbarian troop from the game clash of clans.

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Citation:

Orange, B. Alan. “Thor Gets Barbaric in Colorful New Ragnarok Character Posters.” 7 Sept. 2017, movieweb.com/thor-ragnarok-movie-character-posters/.

Alternate past in the future

The show “The Man in the High Castle” depicts many images of the nazi regime as they win world war 2 along with the Japanese. Being allies during the war meant they shared territory and often got into conflicts. The show is taken place in what is modern day America, however it is split into 3 parts. The Japanese own the west coast, The Nazis own the east coast, and the neutral zone which was in the middle. The setting of the America split into 3 creates the issue of each territory being overly proud of their nationality, making them prejudice. The Germans wanted for their nation to be the dominant and thus only acknowledged the Japanese as an ally. The Japanese already knew of this and were prepared to attack if any problems arose. Similar to the modern day problems with Korea, the United States is ready to defend against any attacks.

Another contemporary social issue were the nazi flags, which symbolize a period of suffering for the Jews along other categories of people. This scene shows the children, only white, who had the nazi party symbols all around them. The nationalism portrayed with the pledge of allegiance shows how these children are blind and being drowned in these messages that represent hatred. There is an uprising problem regarding freedom of speech in modern America. Many see wrong with the nazi flag in 2017 but some don’t. An unintended form of advertising had occurred when there were advertisements of the show on the NYC MTA. Of course, many saw the wrong of having that since it wasn’t something respectable to be put up. So, it was requested to be taken down due to the advertisement showing the german army symbol and being reported as indecent. Instead of having people see the advertisements in the train, the issue of whether or not having these kinds of ads were appropriate made people want to watch the show. In the play “Antigone”, Ismene has her sister who thinks the right thing to do is give her dead brother a proper burial. She would risk going against Creons orders and potentially getting killed. At the end of the book Antigone dies as well as Creons son and wife. He is left to be miserable just like Oedipus. Instead of giving them both the proper burial he ends up with a lost life. In the modern day there would’ve been more involvement  from the people. Just like the advertisements being taken down, people would’ve been quick to speak on something that they believe is wrong.

-Joseph #CLAS2 # TeamMercury

How to win the Game of Thrones..?

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Game of Thrones, a very popular TV series by HBO has just released new season which absolutely rocks! The series take place mainly in the continent known to us as- Westeros. Westeros is the home for several major houses in the series, as well as home for King’s Landing. As the name suggests, King’s Landing is the place where the king and the royal family is located. As you can see on the map below, King’s landing is fairy small compared to the other kingdoms, and yet has control over all of them… Right? Well, that was the case before Cersei Lannister got the power. First of all, only Kings were the true rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, but many dramatic events have made her one and only Queen of Westeros.

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Long Before Cersei sat on the iron throne, she already have played her Game of Thrones, How? Well after king Robert tragically passed away, their son – Joffrey had been crowned and therefore announced to be the king. Due to the fact that he was still young and unknowing of the crown matters, his mother – Cersei was technically ruling instead of him. However, not long after he was associated. That was very heartbreaking for Cersei, but she still had another son that could take a place of Joffrey. And he did, Tommen- youngest of Cersei’s kids became the new king. He was way too young however, thus making his mother the undercover ruler of seven kingdoms. After sometime, Cersei has destroyed something that he dearly valued, which led him into taking his life. Left with no other descendants, she became one and only ruler of seven kingdoms. Now that you know a brief description of events led to Cersei’s reign, I can take you to my next point.

Throughout the history, humankind have faced several dictators, most of which have been eliminated. Most of the time, dictatorships are practiced in the closed societies. What do I mean by that? I mean societies are that not welcoming new ideas, and new people; Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler are the few of the dicatoators that practiced their reigns in such societies. What both of them have in common other than living in a closest world away from everytone? Well, people under their dictatorship feared and despised them (although couldn’t really show it due to the fear factor.) Another common trait? They did not concern themselves with the opinions, suggestions and such of the common people, or anyone else really. Sooner or later this kind of behavior leaves people no other choice but to bring them down, which ultimately stops their reigns. Why am I saying all this? Well, although some world-class dictators have been eliminated, some still remain. For example – Kim Jong-Un. North Korea is one of the undeveloped , closed to everyone countries. He is arguably one of the worst dictators yet to exist. People in North Korea are suffering, dying of hunger and other aspects while he lives perfectly fine. Sounds similar… similar to Cersei Lannister! She, just like Kim Jong-Un, does not care of the well-being of her common people, making herself a perfect dictator. History repeats itself, and as long as people won’t find courage to rebel, the dictators will live their life as selfishly as ever before, and people will continue suffering.

In the play given to us – Antigone, Creon, arguably is the dictator. He demands that one of the son’s body mustn’t be buried, which goes against God’s will, and anyone’s moral standard. Antigone, certainly felt that it was wrong to left dead body unburied, and she did what she had to do – burry him. “I urge no more; nay, wert thou willing still, I would not welcome such a fellowship. Go thine own way; myself will bury him.”(Antigone, 69-72)As things progress, he realized that if only he did not command that, everything could have been fine. But, what happened – happened, and let to awful outcomes. Chances are that people would still do something they believe is the right thing to do, even if it was said not to do so.  Everything he cherished and valued has shattered right in front of his nose, and they happened faster than anyone would predict. The point being- If you do not concern yourself with concerns of commoners, (or anyone actually), you WILL lose everything you love. Cersei never considered anyone has ever suggested to her, not even her two brothers, the result? Both brothers turned away from her, all three kids dead, and she lost her rule over half of the kingdoms in Westeros. Moral of the story- be open-minded, see different approaches to situations, and most importantly, consider suggestions of others. None of the personas mentioned above will ever succeed, their reigns will only continue while people fear them. Cersei is not an exception, her Game of Thrones just might be over on a near future.

Diana Dubitskaya, Team Mercury

#Elsewhere #TeamMercury #GameofThrones #Antigone #CLAS2 #Dictators

“Out of the Foam”

 

seashell

Aphrodite literally means “out of the foam”, and the sea shells are one of her symbol that tells the story of her birth. These are the seashells I picked up from the beach this summer and it perfectly shows how we can find Greek mythology, especially Aphrodite in our daily lives. The story of Aphrodite’s birth gives her the seashell symbol as she was said to be born from the foam of the sea. More specifically she was said to be born from the foam from Uranus’s genitals which was severed by his son Cronus and thrown into the sea, according to Hesiod in his Theogony, hence her role as goddess of love and fertility. When she was born “out of the foam”, the sweet East Wind carried her to the island of Cythera, where she arrived at the shore by floating on a scallop shell. Thus scallop shells became the symbol of her birth.

Because she rose from the sea at Cythera, Aphrodite is also referred to as the Lady of Cytheria.  In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite translated by William Blake Tyrell, Aphrodite is addressed as “I will sing to Cyprian Cytheria, who gives kind gifts to mortals; on her lovely face, ever smiling, an alluring bloom shimmers. Hail, Goddess, ruling well-built Salamis and Cyprus in the sea: give me an alluring song” (Tyrell. B. William, 10 .1–5). The quote characterizes Aphrodite, as it addresses her as “Cytheria” and “Cyprus in the sea”, which refers to the story of her birth. It also characterized her as a sea goddess, as Aphrodite literally rose out of the sea, riding a scallop shell.

F10.1Aphrodite

This is an image from the Greco-Roman fresco from Pompeii C1st A.D called “The Birth of Aphrodite“. The formal analysis of the painting is very straight forward. The subject of this piece is the myth related to Aphrodite’s birth as it shows the scallop shell by which she rode to the shore of Cytheria and is now being attended by other minor goddesses. It also depicts the goddess in nudity which was very controversial in ancient Greek as women were rarely shown so boldly. Also, we discussed in art class the Statue of Aphrodite in Knidos, which also shows her nudity, but does so more modestly, unlike this picture. As we discussed in art class, the scale of Aphrodite in relation to other objects, as well as her being placed in the center clearly identifies her as the main subject. The way the artist adorns her with pieces of jewelry, the cloak, and intricately woven hair as she luxuriously lies in her shell shows how the painter chose it carefully in a way that befits the goddess of beauty.

Masuma, Team Mercury

#CLAS1, #Aphrodite, #SeeninNYC, #artandclassics,

Antigone is Still Relevant

THEATER; An Ancient Drama Whose Wisdom Is Always Modern

The themes of Sophocles Antigone is still relevant today as it was 2500 years ago. The NYTimes review of, “An Ancient Drama Whose Wisdom Is Always Modern” describes how the themes of Antigone is relevant to a contemporary audience. Lydia Koniordou, who plays the title role in this modern staging of Antigone says, “’the audience knows what the play is about…but they’re not just here for the story. They’re here for the poetry that comes out and for the depth of the thought as regards ideas and problems and dilemmas that are part of our civilization today.” This might be similar to the matters Ancient Athenians thought about because, in both civilizations, theater tackles issues that reflected the society at large. And these issues were able to link the audience to the story of the play. The review also emphasizes how artistic elements such as costumes, masks, the poetry and the songs presented in the play attracts both audiences and transcend time through its elaborate and unique aesthetic.

Another theme of Antigone that is relevant to the contemporary audience is that the play “doesn’t divide the world into black and white” as said by Ms. Koniordou. In modern-day where there is such diversity in our culture, religion and personal perspective, the line between rights from wrong is often blurred. What is right in one culture, might be revolting in another, thus the play inspires the audience to not divide one perspective as being right and the other wrong. The Ancient Athenian audience might have had similar thoughts while watching Sophocles Antigone which performed in 438 BCE, right after the Samos Revolt. The Ancient Athenians punished the Samians brutally, and the theme and plot of Antigone as she rebels against Creon to perform her duty to her brother and God might have reminded the audience of their action. The play transcends the barrier of time as it makes both Ancient Athenian and the contemporary audience think of these issues in society.

Wolf, Matt. “THEATER; An Ancient Drama Whose Wisdom Is Always Modern.” The New York Times. 27 Oct. 2002.

Masuma, Team Mercury

#CLAS2, #Onstage #Sophocles, #Antigone