Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Exploration Four: Making sense of the 60's + Black Panthers, Kitties with some sharp claws by Matthew George

From our discussion in class I learned a great deal about the lack of trust that-although is a prevalent aspect of our current country-is also an element of the 1960's as well. The freedom of information act has done a great deal to bring to light the less than stellar report card America keeps hiding from the parental guardian who needs to see it. From this film and discussion I will take away the fact that despite how morally wrong an injustice is: the perspective from which it is viewed determines the reaction people will have to it. As an example plaguing our modern day, some people could say mass shootings are not a bad thing-if they were we would have banned assault rifles by now (I'm going to end up on a watch list for having typed this aren't I?), whereas anyone who looks at a mass shooting through the general perspective is going to be thinking how absolutely horrible and tragic it is and why is no one doing anything to try and quell future shootings by banning the sale of assault weapons. Likewise with the film and Ben West's quote:

"They asked me some pretty soul-searching questions. And one that was addressed to me as a man, and I tried as best I could to answer it frankly and honestly, that I could not agree that it was morally right for someone to sell them merchandise and refuse them service. And I had to answer it just exactly that way.

Of course, I received considerable criticism for it, but had I to answer it again, I would answer it in the same way again because it was a moral question and it was one that a man has to answer and not a politician."

Here we see a prime example of that: If he had been asked that as a politician what would he have said? Something along the lines that was not his own view, rather a view held by an amorphous blob of individuals trying harder to obtain votes than they will to keep the promises they have already made when they enter office. However as a man, Ben West answers the question with his own belief, a belief not directed at whether or not it is morally wrong to sell merchandise or refuse service to people of darker skin specifically, but because it is morally wrong to sell merchandise or refuse service to someone simply by the color of their skin.

Unlike peaceful protesters without anything to defend themselves with, most would probably think twice before trying to assault a guy with a loaded shotgun.
J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI during this era once called a party formed by two American college students "The greatest threat to internal security for the country". Clad in black leather jackets and beret's: The Black Panthers were one of the answers of the time that didn't rely on peaceful protests but instead were a military force who carried live weapons in the name of self-defense. Duties of being a Black Panther included: Patrolling black neighborhoods to defend their black siblings against violence, running community service programs such as free breakfasts, and of course working with activists promoting equality (interesting thing to note is that they worked with activists of any skin color, including groups composed of white individuals.) However the Black Panthers unfortunately suffered in their later years from a wide range of issues, internal, external, and legal, that eventually led to their decline and disbanded in 1981.

"Black Panther Party Founded." Welcome to "Voices that Guide Us" Personal Narratives. Web. 28 Sept 2016.

Baggins, Brian. "Black Panther Party." Black Panther Party. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

Moving onto The Things They Carried, the Stockings chapter demonstrates the belief in the unknown one of the corners of the trifecta revolving around science and nature. The unknown, otherwise known as superstition is a powerful idea in that it can make even a regular everyday object (in this case the Pantyhose) into an object of divine creation, able to spread belief and strength into it's followers even in times of desperation. Superstition of such strength can be the sole reason for people to continue on despite the worst. The more dumb luck an individual experiences the more likely they are to believe the object in question is of such mystical power. In Dobbins case I would say one of the  strongest parts about this tiny chapter is how it gives a reason why he is fighting in the war: to protect his girlfriend-however from how much the pantyhose has seemingly protected him, despite the breakup (Which by the way is one of the greatest jerk moves you could do to your soldier boyfriend risking his very life on enemy territories so YOU as an individual don't have to fight yourself) The history Dobbins has with the pantyhose transcends the belief that it is his girlfriend protecting him, thus he is able to continue fighting on with the blessed talisman despite a loss in reason for fighting.

Parallels, equal halves representing two opposing ideals where neither is necessarily a "wrong" ideal such as chaos and order. A theme often associated with my own written work (referred to as 'The Ideology of Two Fates' in my work), and presents itself as an aspect surrounding main focus of the long chapter "The Man I Killed". Here we have Tim O' Brien, along with the corpse of a Vietnamese man, Both were people who did not wish to fight but were dragged into a war despite their desires. In the end, a person not unlike the character Tim O'Brien was killed as a result of this war. Specifically what makes this such a powerful chapter as a whole is how the Author-Tim  continually repeats the image of the corpse with such detail that it's hard not to picture what he looks like as his history-the history that defines this person not a monster or an enemy in a war, but rather an individual who had a life that was interrupted by a struggle between two countries. In the end what did this man die for, a countries ideology? The warped and changed philosophical teachings of a long dead individual? Words are marks imprinted on a surface, nothing more than that-yet they are but one of many reasons individuals kill each other, taking life that is irreplaceable. You know in hindsight I wrote all this to then only realized that I actually don't know if the assignment was to write about the chapters up to the Song Tra Bong or up to The Man I Killed Chapter...heres hoping it was for the The Man I Killed.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew, the assignment was to pick one short and one long story to respond to, up to "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong" but you did a great job anyway!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.