Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is Public becoming Private?

Public etiquette has been part of the public life for a very long time. In this day and age, there is an even stronger calling for it. With people yelling on cell phones and typing away on laptops, it's hard to find a moment without technology. Outcries have been heard about this.

I know that I cannot stand talking on my cell phone at all, much less in public places. My phone constantly stays on vibrate because I can't stand loud, annoying ringtones. Other people, however, have different views. How many times have you heard a phone go off loudly during a play or a movie and watch someone rush out to answer it? How about someone yelling loudly into their phones where people hang out? Someone blaring music while driving down the strip or around campus? All of these things are going against public etiquette, and people are getting more and more annoyed at other people, even when they do it themselves.

We may think that public places can be places of protest or where we can go to just sit. However, most public places hold the right to either not serve you or kick you out for loitering. They can tell groups that they cannot hold events there, and they can call police if the groups do not comply.

Is our public really public anymore?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nobody reads these anyways...

So I feel safe posting a blog that I can't post anywhere else.

Something horrible has entered my life. Something that's never going to back down out of my face or go away.

One of my really good friends committed suicide last week. 

And do you want to know the first thing that I thought when my dad told me?

This is all my fault. 

And there is a strong part of me that will always believe this. He claimed that he loved me since he first saw me. The boy always had bad timing with me. He never got the courage to say that he liked me until I was dating David. I had liked him, which is what hurt the most. If I hadn't been so wrapped up in David, he might have had a chance. 

Then, once David and I were on the way out, he got his second chance. But that went wrong too. (I won't go into that one since there is a chance that someone might read this.) I thought he hated me, and he thought I hated him. I thought he had lied when he said that he loved me and had just wanted to use me. We didn't talk for a very long time. 

But suddenly, he was back in my life. Unfortunately, he now had a girlfriend that he was happy with. Then I met Josh, and things took off for me. Again, unfortunately, that's when he apparently realized that he loved me again.

Almost a year into mine and Josh's relationship, he finally asked me if I missed him, if I still loved him. I could answer truthfully that I did not love him anymore. How I wish I had commented on how I still cared...

It was after a fight with his girlfriend at the end of February. We hadn't talked since Vagina Monologues. I had invited him, and he never came. I never text him asking why. I should have. 

I'm angry at him for doing it. I'm crushed that he felt that he had to. I'm distraught that I was only a phone call away, and he didn't think I cared enough to call me. I would have helped him. 

But I just couldn't be the saving grace that he needed. 

I want him to see what he left behind. Not out of spite, but in hopes that he sees it and learns. If there is an afterlife, whatever that may be, I hope he's in some type of peace now that he couldn't get here.

I'm already making myself cry again. I just want to tell him that I'm sorry for how I acted towards him. I didn't want him to think that I was leading him on in any way, but I just made him think that I didn't want him around. 

My dad and Josh made me promise to not think that this was my fault. I know that you cannot blame someone else's actions on yourself, and I don't. I just wish that I had been there to tell him, "What are you thinking? Do you not see these people that care about you? Life is hard, but you're only twenty. Somewhere along this road it has to get better, and I know that you're strong enough to make it."

But he didn't have anyone there to tell him that. He felt all alone, and I'll take some of the blame for that. I let him feel like I didn't care because I'm stupid. Life is rough, but I'll persevere and keep him in my memory. All of the wonderful things he taught me. Like the word douchebag. He was the first person that I drove to see in the dark, in the fog, in a shitty car, got lost for. I'll remember him every time I hear FallOut Boy, every time I think of his beautiful writing, every time I watch Donnie Darko. I'll remember him every time I read his Eragon books that I stole. He's with me, I just can't see him.

This is my goodbye. 

Goodbye Devin, you were a wonderful friend who I will never forget as long as I live. Maybe one day you can explain to me what you didn't get to that night you left. Maybe even now, you know how much I hurt for not being to tell you how much you meant to me. 

Goodbye, Devin, goodbye. <3

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

White Privilege or More Racism?

After reading the essay "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack", I realized how ignorant and focused on race the author, Peggy McIntosh really is. She equates "white privilege" with the idea that men in society do not realize that they have privileges over women. She fully believes that just because she is white, she's inadvertantly being racist. Does this mean that she also believes all men in society to be sexist? Racism is a choice that a person makes. White people cannot be held accountable for what their ancestors did and neither can they be held accountable for what other people in society do. Yes, one can make a stand if they, as a white person, gets a raise when another co-worker who is African American deserved the role more. However, getting that raise does not make that white worker a racist or more privileged. It merely shows that racism is still alive in today's society. How can one person's decision to not give someone of another race a loan yet give a loan for the same thing to a white person make that white person who received the loan a bad person? It just doesn't make sense. I am not fully disagreeing with McIntosh in the fact that white people are more privileged, but I competely disagree with her in the fact that she claims it is all of white people's faults.

The other essay, "Defining Racism" also made me quite angry. It is true that there are many communities in the United States that are segregated, and this needs to be changed. I'm happy that teachers are bringing up the subject of race more and more to students because they do need to learn about differences in race. They do not need to be going off of just what they've heard or seen about other races through media. For example, in the essay "Defining Racism", the story of the girl who was surprised to hear that Cleopatra was actually a black woman and proceeded to say, "That can't be true. Cleopatra was beautiful!" I'm not sure where this student was or what time period this was, but she obviously had never thought of black women as beautiful. This is horrible!!! You can't decide whether or not someone is beautiful based on race. I've seen tons of black women who are ten times more gorgeous than I could ever hope to be. Students should be presented the differences from a young age and taught to accept them.

There is racism in society, but we cannot place the blame on the entire white population. These essays are just pushing the idea that we are all guilty when one person or a group of people do wrong. It seems to me that these two authors are turning the racism around onto their own race in order to be "politically correct" and not in any way helping to correct racism in this country.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Say it with me now...

Vagina. 

When did this word become a dirty word in society? Yes, it's something not often used in "polite company", but when did it become something to protest?

Tonight, at the opening show of "The Vagina Mnologues" collected by Eve Ensler, protestors appeared across the street in full force. Their main fight being that this was degrading to women, sinful, vulgar, and supporting abortion. 

WHAT!?!?!?! 

Someone please explain this to me. These monologues are about women speaking out against violence against women. The message of this play is not "Pussies unite against men and destroy the dominiant social order!". While there may be the funny monologues like "My Vagina is Angry", there are also the monologues like "Say It". This piece is a very compelling monologue about the women stolen from countries surrounding Japan during World War II in order to be used as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. Many of these women were beaten, mutilated, and systematically raped for most of WWII. These "Comfort Women", as they were referred to, were returned to their countries after the war as dead, lifeless, infertile, broken shells. At least, those that survived were returned. 

People don't understand that this play isn't just about women getting to flaunt words like "vagina" and "cunt" and "coochie snorcher". This is about helping people to see and understand that there is violence against women out there and that we have to do something about it. 

If you haven't read or seen this play, then do so. You might not agree with it, you might absolutely despise it, but still give it a shot. Try to understand what this play is trying to achieve. If you still don't agree with it, then, by all means, stand outside and protest against us. I may not be comfortable with everything in the play, but I understand what it is that it is fighting against, and I stand beside that. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I will no longer be an Iron Maiden.

What thoughts does the term Iron Maiden raise in your mind? A torture device? Pain? Struggle? Hopelessness? All of the above?

That's what women are being subjected to by the media. Yes, it sounds oh so very feminist, but it's true. So many women today hate their bodies because of the images that they see on TV, in magazines, in movies. It's ridiculous. I know that, growing up, I hated my body. Everything about it needed to be changed. I had thighs that were too big, my nose was too crooked, one of my eyes was bigger than the other one, my breasts were too small, the zit on my forehead was visible from space and would ultimately banish me forever. The list goes on and on. I had fallen to what advertisements that had been airbrushed and "prettied up" were telling me was wrong with myself. I had non-existant self-esteem going into high school and never found any until at least my sophomore year when I realized that not everyone was this perfect beauty that the media was shoving down our throats. Looking back at it now, I'm so disgusted by what I thought of myself back then. I thought I had fat on me. Today, I weigh around 96 pounds. I've never reached 100 in my life. AND I THOUGHT I WAS FAT! I bought into the lie that I'm not supposed to have even one percent of fat count on my body. This was the ideal of beauty. 

But it's garbage.

That was my personal experience with the media, but women and young girls aren't the only ones subjected to this type of thing. Men are, also. They have to be handsome, charming, rich, popular, smart, and well-bred in order to be deemed successful in today's culture. They have to leap through hoops because that's what they think will get them a girl that's also the culture norm. 

In all, the essay "The Iron Maiden:  How Advertising Portrays Women", hit this nail on the head and drove it home in one fell swoop. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not going to go burn all of my clothes, makeup, and hair supplies then don a burlap sack. I like those things. The idea that this essay is trying to get people to understand is that these things should not be what cause our self-worth. Men shouldn't feel that they need a six pack and a six digit salary to get a woman, and women shouldn't feel that they need the drop-dead gorgeous body of a model and great hair to get a man. The amount of clothes we own, the amount of makeup we wear, the way we style our hair; all of this should be done because we want to better ourselves or have fun, not because we feel that these things are what make us. 

What I know, is that I will no longer be an Iron Maiden to fit myself into a society whose ads are built on lies.

The Beloved French Thespian Girl (a.k.a. Ielense)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Search Nobody Ever Truly Finishes.

I have been in search of music, as most people do at points throughout their life, but not just music. Good music. Amazingly, I was blessed enough to fall in with the "artistic" people at Tech and be told about everything that happens in the BackDoor Playhouse. 
The Runaways just so happened to be playing this past Thursday for their first CD release. There were two opening acts before the main event. Both of those acts were also pretty amazing. The first act was a boy and a girl. The boy played guitar and sang, and the girl hardcore rocked a fiddle. For meeting within the past week or so of classes, they did suberbly. The second act was a solo guitarist/singer chick who as the band stated "had the voice of an angel". Very true. She had a really awesome mix of an alto and soprano voice that you find in very few singers. 
Now onto the main event. TheRunaways took the stage to racous cheers. They played everything they knew from eight thirty to around ten thirty, and then they received a standing ovation accompanied with calls and shouts of "Encore!". 
I bought their CD before they were finished hearing rock angels sing in the background because I had finally found some really sweet music. After the band had finished and the Playhouse had most cleared out, I went to tell the guys how great of a job they had done. Talk about some chill, really cool guys. They all obliged my inner fan girl and signed my CD "resleeve", recycled paper made into a CD sleeve (Even cooler that they care about the enviroment!), which I'm sure will be worth a ton of money someday because they'll be so very famous. Better yet, I just got to talk to them. They're a bunch of laid-back guys just wanting to play their music, and I feel that makes their music better in some way because they don't just search for that fame. There's real heart in it for them. 
In conclusion, everybody who missed this concert really missed out on something amazing, and I reccommend finding a CD. To The Runaways, I hope you guys succeed in whatever you decide to do. You guys rock!


On another sidenote of my search, Ryan Brown gave me access to his CD collection. There are perks to having DJ friends. =)

Beloved French Thespian Girl (a.k.a. Ielense)

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Let Teenagers Try Adulthood" Leon Botstein: My Response

“The American high school is obsolete and should be abolished.”


   This quote is taken from an essay written by Leon Botstein over the uselessness of high schools in this day and age. I am sure that many high school students would whole-heartedly agree with this idea as stated. Botstein mentions the Columbine shootings in his essay to point out that high schools create a type of alternate reality for the students by having cliques and age separations, but the recent attack on Virginia Tech must be taken into account also. That was an institution of higher education and shows that anyone can be just as unstable.

    However, parts of high schools would seem that some change could be extremely helpful. There are cliques upon cliques in high school with outcasts along the fringes. The main unspoken rule of high school being that if you don't fit in there, you will never fit in anywhere, which is a complete lie. Each day, high schoolers are being told that if they do not succeed in athletics or popularity contests then they will fail at everything once they have graduated.This is what causes students in these schools to succumb to the artificiality of this institution. As Botstein explains in his essay, more of the outcast students who grind their teeth through this mind-numbing maze of dances and sports events go on to be very successful once they graduate.

    The credibility of high school teachers is also brought up in this essay. Botstein believes that most high school teachers could care less about what they are teaching and most of the politics that go on behind office doors also greatly depend on popularity contests. He questions whether or not most teachers are even able to teach the subjects that they are assigned when they neither care about nor have studied them. This is agreeable in most eyes because it seems only reasonable to allow a person to teach something that they fully understand and have a passion for other people to understand also. Most teachers in the American high schools today are simply put in a position because no other person is there to do so.

    Botstein also focuses on the aspects of twentieth century high schools as compared to the first high schools of our time. Such as the sexual development of adolescents of this century. With girls beginning menstruation earlier, most students are beginning to develop faster intimately. Besides from a quickening sexual development, younger and younger adolescents are acquiring more and more technological advances. The high school, when it was developed, was developed for a younger-minded, less complex, and more na├»ve group of adolescents. In other words, changing teenagers have far surpassed the levels of the learning institution that was initially designed for them.

    The question now asked is what Botstein proposes to do about this problem of American high schools. The idea that has been introduced is to begin elementary school years earlier, do away with middle school and junior high years, and have students graduate at what would be a normal eleventh grade year. After which, they would go on to either college or what Botstein describes as what seems to be technical schools of a sort from science to dance. He claims that the adolescents would be able to better put their energies into the subject being studied and also be able to work with qualified professionals in that field of study. He considers sixteen year olds of today to be able to perfectly adapt to the workforce alongside older adults.

    This is a very debatable subject. This is the age when teenagers are learning to drive, pay for things themselves, and some even still deciding what they want to do with their lives. Sixteen year olds are not thinking of whether or not they can make this month's payment on their rent or about how well, or not so well, the economy is doing. They are focused on finding themselves and understanding others. The picture for them is not as big as it may be for an eighteen or nineteen year old. While those couple of years may not seem that much of a difference, it really is. While it may teach more responsibility and future thinking to adolescents, it may also take away from parts of their adolescence that are key in defining themselves once they are thinking about things such as rent and how the economy affects them. Another facet might be that changing this one thing might also have to include changing other aspects of a society. The job market would be overwhelmed because more sixteen and seventeen year olds would be trying to find ways to pay for these new higher education institutions and other responsibilities of being an adult in today's world. American high schools and their errors cannot be the only affair that is involved in this change.

    In theory, this could in turn be a brilliant idea, but twentieth century sixteen years olds are not ready to be out on their own. They still need those remaining years to develop. Although high schools may be rough in America today, they also help an adolescent to clearly learn what they believe, both about themselves and other adolescents around them. High school is a hard time, and there is no denying that it is getting harder with all of the developments of today's society, but taking that away would be taking away crucial developmental stages in an adolescent's life.   


[ Reading Culture: Schooling "Let Teenagers Try Adulthood" Leon Botstein


Beloved French Thespian Girl (a.k.a. Ielense)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Introductions are something I'm really not good at...

Oh my dear readers,

Yes, because you are all dear followers. Right. This is my introduction to me. I've blogged for years. Still have most of those blogs up from when I was the ripe old age of fifteen and knew everything about life. Don't go read those.
So, yes, introductions then, I suppose. I'm Simone, better known by most as my alias Ielense. If you see a novel with that name one day, c'est moi! I'm a foreign language major who secretly wants to major in Theatre. I came from a small town where sports dominated everything. I now live on the outskirts of Cookeville and have yet to grow weary of my new hometown of cultural abundance. I enjoy lots of things, and I detest some other things. I suppose if you want anymore information, you must seek me out. I rather like retaining a bit of a mysterious air.

Beloved French Thespian Girl (a.k.a. Ielense)