Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Assignment Due 5/9: Choose a passage from "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," write out the passage; explain what it means and why you chose it.
An analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction must do justice to these relationships, for they lead us to an all-important insight: for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual. To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility. From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the “authentic” print makes no sense. But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice – politics.

     My interpretation of this passage is that Benjamin expressed the importance of art and its reproduction. In the same way, the essay and his intention were related with the era that the world was living at that time. It was the mechanical era, where the process of doing things was evolving. I think Benjamin was trying to include art in that process of evolution, expansion and productivity. In other words, the art was and is important enough and deserved to evolve as the rest of the world was doing. I chose this passage because I agree with it. I believe in equality and balance in all aspects and subjects of life. It is fair enough that if the world is evolving, all areas also evolve in equal manner.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Assignment Due 5/2: Choose a passage from Jünger, write it out, explain the meaning of it, and why you chose this passage.

Passage: As a rule one will not have to go far to uncover the pain. Indeed, even the individual is not fully free from pain in this joyful state of security. The artificial check on the elementary forces might be able to prevent violent clashes and to ward off shadows, but it cannot stop the dispersed light with which pain permeates life. The vessel, sealed off from pain’s full flow, is filled drop by drop. Boredom is nothing other than the dissolution of pain in time (p. 13).

      In terms of the meaning, I think Jünger refers to the fact that people did not have to do anything in order to be victims of the situation. In other words, the situation was painful and terrible for the entire population in general without exceptions. He went even deeper when he mentioned that even in a secure society, the pain was palpable. Similarly, society was feeling pain and suffering more every second. At the end, think that it does not matter how secure or not society, political party or idealism can be, if there is any kind of pain involving humans being, it is not worth it.
            I chose that passage because even today, idealism or political decisions go over humans' pain. For example, if a country has to declare a war to another country, the last thing to take into consideration is the people.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Max Weber: Politics as a Vocation
Assignment Due 4/18 Choose a passage from Weber, write out the passage. Then explain the meaning of it, and then explain why you chose this passage.
The leadership of a state or of a party by men who (in the economic sense of the word) live exclusively for politics and not off politics means necessarily a ‘plutocratic’ [rule of the wealthy, after the Roman god of wealth and the underworld, Pluto—Prof.] recruitment of the leading political strata. To be sure, this does not mean that such plutocratic leadership signifies at the same time that the politically dominant strata will not also seek to live ‘off’ politics, and hence that the dominant stratum will not usually exploit their political domination in their own economic interest (pp. 85-6)
In my personal opinion, I think that Weber is expressing in this passage his ideology of an ideal economic leader's status. In other words, he pulls out the fear that people like him have when somebody is running for a political position just looking for his/her economic well-being and not the society well-being. In the same path, it is less probable that somebody with a well-known economic status looks for getting rich from a public position that somebody that has almost nothing looking for a social and wealthy position.

I chose this passage because I was born and raised in a society where the leaders look for their own progress. Where they go out to the communities only during elections’ time. And the most important of all, before they represent a community they have nothing in their pockets and by surprise after election they became one of wealthiest part of the country. I recognize that even when somebody has a great economic position, he/she may go for more, but it is less probably.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Assignment (Due 3/28): Please choose TWO sections from the Weimar Constitution one from the first part on the structure of government, (Art. 1-108) and a second from the section on rights (Art 109-181). Write out the passages, interpret the meaning of them, then explain why you chose these passages.

First part: First Chapter: the Reich and the States
Article 17
Every state must have the constitution of a free state. State parliament must be elected in a general, equal, immediate and secret ballot, in which all Reich German men and women participate, according to the principles of representative election. The state government requires the confidence of state parliament.
The principles for the election of state parliament also apply for local elections. State law may determine if those who lived in the community for one year or less may participate in the election or not.

Interpretation: I think this article refers to the freedom that the states had in order to create their own laws. Even though the federal government governed all states, each state was able to create and elect their representatives and local laws.
I chose this article because I think it is very similar to the political system here in US. The only exception is that here it does not matter for how long you have lived in a state. If you have all requirements to vote and registered to a party, you can vote. In other words, no party or political representative can tell you that you cannot vote because you moved 3 months ago from other states.

Second part:
First Chapter: The Individual

Article 109
All Germans are equal in front of the law.
In principle, men and women have the same rights and obligations.
Legal privileges or disadvantages based on birth or social standing are to be abolished.
Noble titles form part of the name only; noble titles may not be granted any more.
Titles may only be granted, if they indicate an office or occupation; academic degrees are not affected by this regulation.
The state may no more bestow orders and medals.
No German may accept titles or orders from a foreign government.

Interpretation: In this case, the article refers to equality. Everybody is equal in front of the law it does not matter the gender, noble titles or social standing. In order to make everybody equal in from of the law, the constitution abolish nobles titles. Which I strongly believe is wonderful. In the same direction, the abolition gave the sense of fairness because everybody should work and deserve the same respect from and to others. In other words, we are all human being and that says it all. Similarly, I agree with the fact that they cannot accept titles from other countries. They were trying to start from scratch and by themselves. Which I think says a lot in terms of nationalism and German patriotism and that was the reason why I chose this article.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Luxemburg's essay
 “Business thrives in the ruins. Cities become piles of ruins; villages become cemeteries; countries, deserts; populations are beggared; churches, horse stalls. International law, treaties and alliances, the most sacred words and the highest authority have been torn in shreds.”
From my point of view, the meaning of this passage is very clear. I think this passage shows in a few words the consequences and results of any war. In other words, what you can see in a country after a war. The results are: devastation, misery, pain and death. At the end of a war, the scenario is a society trying to start from scratch.
I strongly believe that this passage is closely related to the politics today. Take a look what happened in Afghanistan. Yes, it is true there are some conflicts among different countries but the soil became a cemetery. A cemetery of people that in some cases the war is not their fault.  They did not want it, they did not provoke it.  But they are paying the consequences. At the end, politics argue about what it is convenient for their own interest first, second and third and that’s all.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Assignment: Due 3/14/15

My favorite scene of the movie is when one of the ladies from the audience stands up for the mothers of the killed girls.
My interpretation of that scene: It does not matter if someone has intention of doing something or not. If that person did it, his/her intention does not count for me. The intention won’t change the result or consequences of his/her actions.
I totally agree with her because the murder was trying to defend himself because of his mental issues. But all the pain and hardship that those mothers went through, deserve at least justice.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Blue Angel

Cabaret Songs.

"It's All a Swindle" (Alles Schwindel), by Mischa Spoliansky and Marcellus Schiffer (1931)


Life's a swindle, yes, it's all a swindle
so get what you canfrom your fellow manGirls and boys todaywould rather steal than playand we don't care 


Alles Schwindel, alles schwindel,
überall wohin du guckst
und wohin du spuckst!
Alles ist heut ein Gesindel,
jedes Girl und jeder Boy,
’s wird einem schlecht dabei!

Interpretation: I chose these lyrics because they match pretty well with the concept of nihilism. In other words, there are not values, morals standards, or social rules to follow. Just try to get as much as you can from others and safe yourself. In the same way, I linked the lyrics with the movie "Blue Angel" because I think that Lola and the professor  faced swindle each other. Similarly, the lyrics mention girls and boys in a way that represents feminism. At the end, everybody can do whatever they want and nobody cares. 

"Chuck Out the Men" (Raus mit den Männern), by Friedrich Hollaender (1926)


The battle for emancipation's been raging since history began
Yes, feminists of every nation want to chuck off the chains made by man
Hula girls and housemaids and wives in Maribou
hear all our voices thunder in protest
Anything that men do women can do too
and more that that we women do it best


Es geht durch die ganze Historie
ein Ruf nach Emanzipation
vom Menschen bis zur Infusorie
überall will das Weib auf den Thron.
Vin Hawai-Neger bis zur Berliner Range
braust ein Ruf wie Donnerhall daher:
Was die Männer können, können wir schon lange
und vielleicht ’ne ganze Ecke mehr.

Interpretation: I chose these lyrics because they represent gender equality. In the same way, I took into consideration the time of the lyrics when women were not allow to do basics things without their father or husband consent.  

Summary Paragraph 175

      In general the paragraph 175 talks about the punishment that individuals who had homosexual preferences would receive at that time. In other words, the paragraph explains in details what would happen if a person force or allow to have sex with another person of the same sex. As a conclusion, paragraph 175 shows the society rejection to homosexuality back then.
I think it relates to the lecture because the movie "Blue Angel" shows the sexual restrictions and morals rules of that time. In the same way, the actress of the movie lived a very sexual and open life for her times (she was lesbian) .