Storytime: The Past & The Present
Tentative Digital Story: The Digital Divide Across Borders
“StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.”
I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the StoryCorps and reading numerous synopses of the stories they had to share. Their mission statement is seen in most of the stories that I viewed; the overarching aura of compassion is a predominate feature, especially in the stories that speak of war and racism. In my view, if a digital story – in all its elements, components, and dimensions – appeals to and evokes its viewers’ emotions, then it would be a good and successful one. The story that I loved the most was The Nature of War. In the article, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling, I read about the seven elements of digital storytelling and the story that I viewed contained most of these elements that were incorporated and blended together to create an overall successful digital story:
The Nature of War:
This animated story was of Specialist Justin Cliburn, who, while serving in north Baghdad, met and befriended two young boys (Ali and Ahmed) living close to his compound. As the story progressed, the melancholic background music alluded to the cruel and sad end: Ahmed and his mother were killed by a suicide bomber and though Ali survived, Cliburn does not know what has become of him. This particular story is a story of many veterans who served in countries where suicide bombers are aplenty but I had never viewed an animated version. Cliburn said something that is a very harsh truth: the nature of war is not only two opposing armies facing off on a battlefield but it is also what he experienced with Ali and Ahmed. Ahmed and his mother, innocent bystanders to the war in their country, were killed in the name of the war in their country; Ali, yet another innocent one, will (if he is still alive and living in Baghdad) will eventually mature into a man and he will either join the terrorists or suffer because of the terrorists. Furthermore, Cliburn will now have to live with the fact that he, as a soldier, could have done little to prevent the inevitability of a mother and her young son being blown to bits by a suicide bomber. War is horrifying, cruel and unforgettable. In just three and a half minutes, I was able to empathize with Cliburn and Ali; as their animated selves sat on the curb and lamented the loss of a dear friend (Ahmed), I envisioned that scene when it did occur in a gunpowder-strewn and blood-splattered country and my eyes filled with the tears that they had shed.
“That’s the nature of war, I suppose.” (Cliburn)
If I were to change or add to the story, I would add another few minutes where the viewers were able to see the compound and the surrounding area where Cliburn befriended Ali and Ahmed. Doing so would add a tinge of reality and tangibility to this story and enhance the story’s elements in its entirety.
About StoryCorps. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from StoryCorps: https://storycorps.org/about/
The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. (2006). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from Digital Storytelling: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/articles/Educ-Uses-DS.pdf
The Nature of War. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from StoryCorps: https://storycorps.org/animation/the-nature-of-war/
“I can’t connect…my hands are itching for connection.”
Growing up in Guyana, I have experienced countless and unexpected blackouts (power outages). Just last year, during my last visit there, I was subject to many blackouts: prolonged, sometimes unbearable, stretches of hours being disconnected from the cooling mechanisms of our fans and from the infinitely intriguing realm that is the World Wide Web. The mobile data service in Guyana is of no service: in addition to be exorbitantly overpriced, the service is specific to particular locations and even then, the data is limited. Below are memes that speak thousands of words about blackouts and mobile data service in Guyana:
Image Source: Facebook
Image Source: Meme Center
Towards the end of Super Sad True Love Story, when America finally buckled under the insurmountable pressure of their Credit Market Debt (100 Trillion!), the entire country fell into a state of virtual blackout where they were not able to connect their äppärät to the global digital world. Even Lenny became distressed because he was unable to know if his parents and friends are safe, amidst the tumultuous fall of the American Restoration Authority. While Lenny tried to use that time to further connect with Eunice, she betrayed him by starting an affair with Joshie.
My question to you, my fellow classmates, how would you react if the entire Digital World was to collapse? No internet, no data service, no electricity and the like: your phones useless creations of sapphire, glass, metal and chemistry? In my younger days, blackout sessions were spent either outside, exploring the vastness of nature that was the countryside, or inside, reading from the plethora of novels at my disposal. Last year, I spent those days in quality conversational time with my parents or reading novels or indulging in a spontaneous outdoor activity.
But today is neither last year nor ten years ago: we are in a technological time that will only keep advancing. As such, it is difficult to imagine a day without technology. I have already mentioned my cousin’s tantrum and anger when his iPad died and he was forced to live outside of the virtual world for less than three hours.
What would you do? How would you react if our world was plunged into a virtual breakdown, as Lenny’s had, sans the violence and bloodshed?
This article touched on the ongoing and indefinite Internet Ban in Anglophone Cameroon, an attempt to decrease and prevent riots. The hashtag #BringBackOurInternet has been created as outraged Anglophone Cameroonians demand the ban to be lifted so that their digital story can, once again, continue its narration. How do you feel about the Cameroonian Government, using the internet as a form of violence prevention but with it, an accompanying and unavoidable form of suppression arises?
Blackout In Guyana. (2012). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from Meme Center: http://www.memecenter.com/fun/184223/blackout-in-guyana
GT Troll. (2015, August 25). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GTTROLL/photos/a.261464997266037.62935.261453177267219/870426523036545/?type=3&theater
Sahara Reporters. (2017, March 8). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from Anglophone Cameroon Enters 50th Day Without Internet: http://saharareporters.com/2017/03/08/anglophone-cameroon-enters-50th-day-without-internet
Shteyngart, G. (2010). Super Sad True Love Story. New York, New York, United States of America: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Retrieved March 8, 2017
“She placed a drop of her tears into the deep, dark sea and oceans of water flooded his soul: Chaos. His fingers traced the faults on her continent of a body and her soul tremored like an earthquake: Theory.” (Abiesha Smith)
Last night, I was watching Jurassic Park with my grandparents and Jeff Goldblum’s character (Ian Malcolm) explained a mathematical concept that is of vast interest to me: Chaos Theory. In very concise words, Chaos Theory states that a small change can have a large outcome in what has been termed the butterfly effect: a minute cause (a butterfly flapping its wings in Guyana) resulting in a gigantic effect (hurricane winds in Canada).
When Malcolm made mention of Chaos Theory, he, in a very intricate way, foreshadowed the cretaceous chaos that we all squealed and shrieked at throughout the Jurassic Park film. Chaos Theory can account for Henry Wu’s character (B.D. Wong) and his team trying to genetically recreate dinosaurs and control their genetic code: such a small (in the geneticists’ eyes) desire to recreate that which never dwelled with man so that it can dwell with man for monetary gain resulted in largely disastrous outcomes. Wong thought that he had the dinosaurs’ chromosomes under control and that unpredictability will not come to their scientific party so long as they, the humans, tenaciously held on their control: or the illusion thereof.
In a very practical, real way, Chaos Theory accounts for so much of this unpredictable life that we live. When I was younger, this phrase used to be drilled into me (by my parents) so that I could be acutely aware of the detriments of lying: a liar becomes a thief, a thief becomes a murderer and every murderer has his part in hell. This is Chaos Theory exemplified ago, no? A small, harmless, white lie can result in us becoming the ugliest versions of ourselves, yes? Especially if we carelessly and flippantly tell lie after lie after lie: while some might disagree and say that every individual has their own unique path to trek in this life, there is still a general consensus in the global population of radical liars becoming radical murderers.
Why I am mentioning all this?
“I wish I were stronger and more secure in myself so that I could really spend my life with a guy like Lenny. Because he has a different kind of strength than Joshie. He has the strength of his sweet tuna arms. He has the strength of putting his nose in my hair and calling it home… Who will ever open up to me like that again? No one. Because it’s too dangerous. Lenny is a dangerous man. Joshie is more powerful, but Lenny is much more dangerous.”
From the moment that I read the above quote from Shteyngart’s novel, I thought about Chaos Theory and Lenny being a butterfly effect of his own: while Lenny’s existence might seem small and insignificant, I am of the belief that his actions will greatly affect the world around him. I am yet to finish the novel so I wait in anxious anticipation to see if my theory holds sway.
To take a step away from the complex and chaotic sense of the quote above us, I’d mention about my concordance with the thought: “Joshie is more powerful, but Lenny is much more dangerous.” Many persons call themselves an “open book”, yet we are never able to read a page out of their stories. Lenny was the complete opposite: he laid bare his emotions for the world to see: in Noah’s livestream show, in his emails to Eunice, in his diary and in his behavior towards her. In the world that they (Lenny and Eunice) dwelled, to lay bare oneself in such a sensitive and thought-provoking way was rare because the rest of the world lived for the superficial and that illusion of control. Most everyone cared not about saying how they felt but about what they had: their possessions, their credit scores, their age, the ratings, their health scores, their beauties. In most of the above, Lenny was lacking and Joshie was advancing yet Eunice saw beyond all that finite wealth and saw an infinite wealth within Lenny: his ability to emote like a normal person, his tendency to say and act how he truly felt at a moment in time. For Eunice (and for me), that made Lenny more the man that Joshie was because of what use is a powerful man if he cannot truly communicate with you?
Another dimension of the quote that was profound was the beginning: “I wish I were stronger and more secure in myself so that I could really spend my life with a guy like Lenny.” How many times have I heard these words uttered by my friends? Too many times: I have a friend who turned down the marriage proposal of a secure man to live a life with another man who cannot even keep his day job. She turned down a strong, secure, dependable man for a seemingly strong, insecure, undependable one. Why? Because she had not the strength or the confidence to marry a man who was the better version of she or whose attributes ironed hers out and complimented them oh so perfectly. Now, I listen to her distressing cries about her husband not providing for her and their daughter, his infidelities, his indifferences, his immaturities and the like. Yes, the other man, in all his shining attributes, could have caused her the same amount of heartache but the probability of her experiencing heartache on such an extreme scale would have been far less. Far less. Like Eunice, my friend wished that she had the strength to stay with the stronger man but she chose the one who appealed to her superficial desires: beauty and charisma. I forgot to mention that the man that my friend married was more handsome and charismatic than the other man. But he was that and only that and the two do not pay the bills in their home.
My friend, and Eunice, is also partaking in Chaos Theory: my friend sought after small matters and neglected the fundamental and now she is reaping the seeds of her desires. Eunice is constantly disgusted by Lenny’s imperfections and she sees herself as not strong enough to stay with a guy like Lenny and as I read on, I will hope that her Chaos Theory is not as chaotic as my friends.
One can hope…
Shteyngart, G. (2010). Super Sad True Love Story. New York, New York, United States of America: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Retrieved March 12, 2017
“Then he wakes and he’s in a place where there’s just wind and waves and light, and the intricate machinery that keeps the flame burning and the lantern turning. Always turning, always looking over its shoulder.” (Stedman, 2012)
I have several former high school classmates who document their entire lives on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. From detailed images of their morning routines, their midday renditions and their nighttime rituals, I, and their other friends are never not informed about the vast mechanisms of their lives.
In 2008, when I first joined a social media platform, the profiles were simple and filled with updates about the various online games we were all playing together. I remember the first time that Facebook updated: gone was the simplicity that I was just beginning to love and the chain reaction of updates and changes and changes and updates that followed reminded me of Apple’s iPhones and the seeming inability to enjoy one’s new iPhone fully before another newer, more “sophisticated” one unveils itself and glides into our consumeristic global market. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with technology’s rapid pace and advancement: a new smartphone application is created every day – possibly every twelve hours – social media platforms are continuously evolving to make their users’ experiences more “alive”, more streamlined, more interactive, just more.
More is a prominent want in today’s global culture: everyone is seeking for more of something: more food, more money, more love, more power. Just more. Mind you, wanting more is not to be frowned upon, not in the least: it is the way in which someone acquires that more, and how he/she utilizes that more, that is the basis for frowns and disapprovals
In the novel Super Sad True Love Story, most every character is in search of more of something: Lenny wants more of a youthful appearance; he wants more of Eunice, more of her love. Eunice wants more money, more clothes, more security, more love. As they pursue (or attempt to) their more, they are constantly being bombarded by the technological temerities of their time and culture: each of their äppärät screaming all there is to know about their lives. Like us, Lenny or Eunice have not a choice on what personal information is laid bare for the world to see; if they do have a choice, it is in very minute proportions. Lenny’s health history is there for the world to ridicule, if they so desire: Eunice’s extravagant expenditures aren’t confidential information and that is just a small shard of the glass globes of information available to everyone in their world.
“We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.” (Shteyngart, 2010)
Noah, Lenny’s friend, is the embodiment of the above quote. He lived and breathed his Noah Weinberg Show and quickly became frantic whenever his viewer load dipped. He, Noah, was determined to livestream every second of his night out with his friends, while prompting them, to contribute their thoughts and opinions to his viewers. He, Noah, was also keen to partake in FACing and to squeeze every, single personal information from his friends, information that still (for now) remained only in their individual minds. All this is not partial to Lenny’s world but it is very prevalent in our present contemporary culture: many vlog, blog and other social media platform users cut their little slice of the World Wide Web and use it to say all that they have to say, every day.
“Losing hits, losing hits.” (Shteyngart, p. 93)
Losing hits, losing hits is the cry of many in today’s contemporary culture. While I have reduced my visibility on my social media platforms by my infrequent posting, I am still visiting most of them every day, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest being the three Big Ones. I am sometimes ashamed that I see so much of my friends but they see so little of me but that is another story for another day. The most intriguing moments that I see are when some of my friends would go the extra mile to ensure that they do not lose hits: scheduled posts, heavily photo-shopped images, graphic images, etc. My sixteen-year-old cousin schedules her posts and never posts an image where even one strand of hair is displaced. Not a strand out of place, says she.
Here I lay bare my amazement at how far we have come in our usage of this time that we call technological.
I wonder: just how much farther are we to go?
Shteyngart, G. (2010). Super Sad True Love Story. New York, New York, United States of America: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Retrieved March 8, 2017
Stedman, M. (2012). The Light Between Oceans. New York, NY, United States Of America: Simon & Schuster. Retrieved March 8, 2017
“I noticed that some of the first-class people were staring me down for having an open book. “Duder, that thing smells like wet socks,” said the young jock next to me…” (Shteyngart, p. 37)
“I took out my äppärät and began to thump it loudly with my finger to show how much I loved all things digital…” (Shteyngart, p. 37)
Was it only a few hours ago that I was conversing with a man – seventy-one years my senior –about the detriments of this technological time in which we dwell, live, and exist?
Let’s call said age-old man…Reed.
Reed and I spent what seemed like hours, but was but a single hour or two, talking about our mucho mutual love for physical novels…that tangible touch of bound pages that is being given a backseat ride in our journey onward and forward into the future. Reed spoke to me in vehement, fervent and passionate tones about his dislike for all things digital; he owns not a computer but a typewriter, not a phone but a landline, not electronic books but physical books.
My word, what a collection of physical books! Everywhere I turned in his serenely quiet abode, books bounded in shapes, colors and sizes filled my eyes and enticed my soul: their names intriguing and their synopsizes enrapturing. Though his body suffers from the ailments that accompany one’s senescence stage of life, Reed’s mind is still as alert as it had to be when he was a soldier fighting for his life – and the lives of others – during WWII. How did Reed manage to avoid that awful dulling of the mind? He found a way to keep his sword sharpened by reading; though his fingers are gnarled, he still turns page after page…day after day…
After my visit, with my mind still buzzing with Reed’s entertaining company and two cups of tea, I pondered upon my approach to reading. In many ways, my mind runs parallel to Reed’s; I love physical books; the intoxicating smell of the fresh pages of a new book; the nostalgic smell of the already turned pages of a used book; everything that is a book I love. While insufficient space causes me to mostly purchase electronic books, I still prefer physical books. In Super Sad True Love Story, I was downright outraged at that young jock’s comment about Lenny’s novel! How dare he equate the smell of a book to wet socks?? It saddened me that Lenny had to tuck who he was – a book reader/lover – into an unseen place and pretend to be who he wasn’t – an all-consumed digital lover. In many of today’s societies and peer circles, this is not unheard of. I have many friends who cannot fathom my love for reading and preference for physical books. Nevertheless, I am happy that the scale of my friends’ preferences tips over to the side of those who still love physical books and reading.
But reading is becoming increasingly difficult in our contemporary and digital culture:
“Reading is difficult. People just aren’t meant to read anymore. We’re in a post-literate age. You know, a visual age.” (Shteyngart, 2010)
I have many younger cousins who would agree with the above quote…that is if they took the time to actually read it! My cousins, young, vibrant digital natives are operating iPads, iPhones, Macs, Laptops, tablets years before they can read written words: my two-year-old cousin fully operates her iPad; my ten-year-old brother creams me in video games; my one-year-old cousin said Xbox before book. Their minds are overflowing with all-things-visual and barely-anything-literate; yes, they are also academically learning and excelling but the love of reading is lacking in a fundamentally substantive presence. My brother knows not those age-old tales that I grew up reading: The Three Musketeers, Heidi, Wuthering Heights, all the fairy tales, all the Enid Blyton novels, all the Nancy Drew’s, all the Hardy Boys, all the Great Illustrated Classics but he knows Legos and YouTube. Yes, he is still an excellent student in school but I fear for him when he reaches high school and faces those reading-on-the-heavy-side classes, his indifference towards reading can turn into hatred. I will hope that at least a sliver of my love for reading was genetically passed on to brother dearest…
My brother and my cousins are just three examples amongst the multitude of young children who are growing up with the absence of reading: their birthday lists would be too stuffed with tablets, cellphones, video games and video consoles to find room for a book or two. Though we live in this rapidly advancing technological time, we must not forget to remember the parts of our past that helped to bring us to this present: the art of reading, of reasoning, of realizing all help us to continuously carve a better tomorrow.
What more, reading enables us to travel all around Earth, all the Universe, and even all around the metaphysical right from that warm, snug place where we read; for those of us who cannot yet afford the luxuries of Travelling The World, a good read or two can show us the world in its diverse splendor with just ink and inspiration.
Jojen, in George Martin’s A Dance With Dragons said that “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.”
How about infinite lives?
Very astutely said, George Martin…
George Martin Quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2017, from Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/405787-my-brother-has-his-sword-king-robert-has-his-warhammerhttps://www.goodreads.com/quotes/405787-my-brother-has-his-sword-king-robert-has-his-warhammer
George Martin Quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2017, from Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/408441-a-reader-lives-a-thousand-lives-before-he-dies-said
Shteyngart, G. (2010). Super Sad True Love Story. New York, New York, United States of America: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Retrieved March 2017
Though an avid user of the World Wide Web, I am not a strict follower of a specific media personality. When on the internet, I view a multitude of media personalities, their works, etc. As a devout fan of cricket, I find myself frequently perusing the Instagram accounts of my favorite cricketers to keep myself in the know of their lives inside of and aside from cricket. But their accounts would not be useful examples for media personalities because though they are regular media outlet users, for me, they are not media personalities. A media personality, for me, is one that uses the internet primarily as an outlet for their work and letting others view their work. And one such media outlet that I do follow and check quite regularly is Quite Perry.
Quite Perry is the social media outlet of Rohan Perry, a Jamaican comedian who creates comical videos usually starring himself in multiple roles: he stars himself, and his alter-ego: Patricia Brown. His works interest me because, despite him being Jamaican, he reenacts life situations that are common to every West Indian country: Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, etc. I can be having a bad day and any one of his videos would have me in fits of laughter.
One particular video that I can look at over and over again is one where Patricia Brown reenacts the behavior of Jamaica drivers in the video entitled “Fast-food restaurants be like..”. This video is so very quintessentially true for fast-food restaurants worldwide but only would someone as brazen and shameless as Patricia Brown would attack the restaurant employee in such a manner!
Another video that would have me cracking up is the “That one friend who has everything in her purse..” where Patricia and Rohan are at a restaurant and when Patricia tastes the food, she declares that the food has not enough flavor and proceeds to rummage around in her purse for the necessary items to make the meal more appetizing. This video is a worldwide relatable one because we can all attest to having that one friend who can have just about everything in his/her bag, right? I am guilty of having such a bag; while I don’t have hot sauce, mustard, tomatoes and ketchup in my bag, I have just about everything else!
All in all, I like to, most times, view media works that are funny, uplifting and relatable. Life is challenging enough in real life and I use the internet as one way of alleviating and making light those challenges, trials and tribulations that I can face when not facing a technological screen…
“The term Dox or Doxxing is derived from the word “Document.” It originates from the practice of researching information about an individual. Doxxing is often defined as an Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information (such as names, addresses, phone numbers, spouse, children, relatives, financial history and much more) about an individual.” (Doxxing: The New Threat To Your Online Safety, 2016)
Before reading the three articles, I hadn’t knowledge on the heightened transformation of online harassment: it has, over the years, become a study of its own with continuous statistical analysis. Being a seasoned user of the digital world that we call the World Wide Web/Internet/virtual reality/and all the other names, I have seen online harassment in multitudinous forms; while I have never been victim to doxxing or online harassment, I have had friends who were and they were, most times, innocent victims of malicious minds.
For The New Yorker article, I was a tad bit sad for it to have ended: I had wanted to read more about the story: no doubt, if Teacher Fei and the girl continued with their malevolent mentalities, the story would have escalated further on the negative/violent spectrum. It was very interesting, the dynamic between Teacher Fei and the girl: she was doxxing her father and he, Fei, began doxxing her. Below are excerpts from the article that resonated within me and are at the core of doxxing:
“It’s the innocent ones who are often preyed upon by life’s cruelty, Teacher Fei replied, and when his mother did not speak he recounted the girl’s story from the magazine.”
“He did not know if she had heard him, but when he tucked her in she looked up from the pillow. “You should not feel upset by the girl,” she said.”
““The weak-minded choose to hate,” she said. “It’s the least painful thing to do, isn’t it?””
“He hastily composed another post, and then spent twenty minutes rephrasing it in a calmer tone, but a day later, when that message had also been deleted, his rage erupted. He called her a “scorpion girl” in a new message, saying that he hoped no man would make the mistake of his life by marrying her and succumbing to her poison; he took great pity on her father, since an evil daughter like her would make any father live in a hell.”
I was happy that despite Teacher Fei’s attempts to rile the girl up on her blog, she did not react to him. Rather, she calmly flung his comments into cyberspace’s trashcan and did not respond. She, Miss Doxxer-of-her-father, embodied the words of Darius M. Fisher in Sally Kohn’s article: “But if you are hacked or doxxed or such, rule No. 1 is stay calm. “They want you to panic and overreact,” says Fisher. “That’s their goal.” So don’t let them win by freaking out and potentially drawing even more attention to their bad acts.” (I Got Doxxed So You Don’t Have To, 2015).
This above article highlights just how serious and dangerous doxxing is becoming. Alan-Michael Weatherford, a graduate student at the University Of Washington, was doxxed to the point of having to change his social media names and having to have his student profile removed from his University’s website. Weatherford’s life has been eternally altered: not only is his personal information now permanently circulating through the virtual atmosphere, he is at risk of someone finding his information, tracking him down, finding him and carrying out radical acts of violence towards him and others. Weatherford, in his effort to prevent the faces of others being splashed onto the internet, has had his face splattered there and it is still uncertain whether his life will ever be the same again.
A Man Like Him. (2008, May 12). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/12/a-man-like-him
Doxxing: The New Threat To Your Online Safety. (2016, December 7). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/07/doxxing-manageurid-advertorial/
I Got Doxxed So You Don’t Have To. (2015, June 29). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from The Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/29/i-got-doxxed-so-you-don-t-have-to.html
UW Grad Student Faces Torrent of Vile Harassment After Sticking Up for Immigrants. (2017, January 26). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from Seattle Weekly: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/uw-grad-student-faces-torrent-of-vile-harassment-after-sticking-up-for-immigrants/
The World As She Sees It…
From the inception of Broder’s novel, I was intrigued by her writing style and the way her words webbed together: for one to begin a novel with such a controversial statement: Bringing a child into the world without its consent seems unethical” and then to maintain a high level of controversy, ostentation, and explicitness throughout one’s entire novel is an feat that, for me, is very difficult and almost insurmountable. Throughout her novel, Broder tackled aspects of life that I have never seen written in such vivid, brash and raw details. Though I do not see the world through the same microscope as she, Broder, I still appreciated her ability to scribe – and scribe successfully – topics of the mostly-societally unspeakable nature.
Dr. Travis notes that “Broder is crafting a careful persona that hides and reveals.” This persona is seen in many places and spaces in her novel: especially when she writes about someone else. In terms of solely revealing, in her I Want to Be a Whole Person but Really Thin chapter, Broder divulges the way she eats in a plethora of methods: each paragraph begins with “I am an eater” and it reveals the spectrum in its entirety of her food consumption while reminding us of what is at the core of these revelations: the way she eats. In this chapter, I found the highest level of relatability with Broder: statements like “I am an eater of numbers”, “All I’ve ever wanted is peace”, “I want to live in a body that is so far away from being fat that it has room to gain weight and still not even rub elbows with chubbiness,” truly worked for me because I saw me and felt me in them.
Broder hides and reveals in her Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole with Another Person Who Will Suffocate in There chapter. And boy does she reveal aplenty! There was a point in her rendition of the sext game that I had to stop reading, take a step back, breathe, live in the real world, and then resume reading! The overwhelming sexual revelations in this chapter bordered on too much for me but yet I was left lacking. Why? Because Broder was so very careful in her crafting that she never once gave a name to her lover of virtual origin. Broder also did not reveal the name of her husband (or make much mention of him!). The give some keep the rest game that Broder played in this chapter, and in other former and latter chapters, added to her uniquely bizarre writing style and made me appreciate her more for said uniqueness and bizarreness. For me, there is no instance of only hiding in Broder’s novel because she reveals so much in such limited space.
In terms of Broder’s Twitter page, I only perused the bare minimum of her tweets and I can see that they are similar to her novel’s content and chapter titles. The initial anonymity of Broder’s tweets helped to raise the levels of mystery and intrigue in her followers which then, along with the tweets’ content, launched her into success and stardom.
All in all, I enjoyed Broder’s novel in bits and pieces; I don’t see the world as she does but I admired her honesty, her clarity, and her confidence/boldness to write about what she wants to write about. The ultimate good that I can take away from Broder’s novel is the high level of confidence and the ability to channel that confidence into something very real and very tangible…
“Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged” – Jalaluddin Rumi
In this Onion article, How Animals Go Extinct, a humorous account is given about the process of animal extinction. While the entire article can be read for a good laugh, it still highlights a very real and serious issue that we still face. Some persons might read this article, laugh and then continue trekking through their lives without a second thought about it while the curiosity of others might be piqued and they might further research the current and serious news about animal extinction, World Wildlife Fund, etc. All in all, the article works for those who want an easy laugh and for those who want an easy laugh and to learn more about the issue. The downside of this article is that persons not knowledgeable of animal extinction would take this article for its lightness and believe that animal extinction is really something to be flippantly passed off. Which is quite the contrary…
This article, published fifteen years ago, shows just how long ago fake and satirical news has been circulating around the mass media. This short and sweet article was written to show readers just how extreme genetic modification can become: talking vegetables! The article pointed out “that more pleasantly voiced broccoli should hit store shelves by 2003.” Since 2003 has come and gone, I wonder just what our broccoli are saying to us now that we are in 2017…