Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spaces and Exchanges : Outsourcing and Offshoring: Two Cartoons

In this cartoon, we see a man, who looks like of the grandfather of the two children seated on the edge of a boat, giving them a lecture on the difference between Outsourcing and Off shoring. The kids seem amazed by their grandpa's talk and even push him into becoming a president, and if the hint of his name was not enough already, we quickly understand by looking at the man's face that the political figure humored in this cartoon is Mitt Romney, a republican candidate for the presidential in the United States back in 2012. Mitt Romney is standing on the Cayman Islands and we can see how he is trying to dig his money on haven islands in order to gain more benefits, and it does sound like a low blow because all these acts help him to not pay his taxes. In the background of the cartoon we can also see Switzerland and the Bermuda island, two places also known for their off shoring and outsourcing history.
Finally, the boat on the far left of the cartoon is obviously American because "belivin' in America" is writing on its side. All this little hints show us how much of a satirical critic this cartoon really is about off shoring and especially, on Mitt Romney. Sarcasm is really present in the message the artist tried to give us. We can relate this cartoon to Spaces and Exchanges because of how money can travel from different places and affect the world that surrounds it.

In this cartoon, we see two men having a conversation, and judging by what they are saying, we can assume that both of them are business men. The cartoon was made by Geek and Poke and these two men are talking about how they want to relocate their companies because of some issues going on in the country they are already settled in. The man wearing a tie tells him the reason behind his action : apparently his workers wanted to get paid and that's why they need to relocate so they can deal with more reasonable persons. Usually businessmen place their companies in less fortunate countries so they can earn less expensive workers than the ones in their home countries, but in this cartoon, they sound outraged and amazed by how their workers want to get paid for their hard work. Finally, the relation this document got with the notion Spaces and Exchanges is the idea of how people are ready to relocate their companies from a country to the other just for the sake of saving up more money and paying less.

Monday, February 3, 2014

REVIEW : R.E.M : Every Day is Yours to Win

.: R.E.M :. 

R.E.M : "Who are they ?" - Biography : 
  • Formed in : 1980
  • Disbanded in : 2011
  • Members : Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Bill Berry.

"The name R.E.M. would imply music that is dreamy (or sleepy), but during the Bill Berry era this band's music was always vibrant and alive, even at its most self-consciously mysterious. During the early years it was the jangle of Peter Buck's guitar and the alleged non-enunciation of Michael Stipe that got most of the attention. As the years passed, critics started noticing Berry's propulsive drumming and Mike Mills' instrumental versatility (not to mention distinctively nasal backing vocals). More than anything else, though, it was their willingness to explore new sounds that turned them from cult darlings to superstars. They've gone from Murmur's murkiness to Document's crystal clarity, from the orchestral pop of Out of Time and Automatic for the People to the hard rocking glam of Monster and the grunginess of New Adventure in Hi-Fi. Through all of these changes, the thing that stayed constant was their unerring ear for good old fashioned pop hooks, developed during adolescences spent listening to the Velvet Underground, the Beach Boys, the Monkees and various 60s garage bands (and, at least in Stipe's case, 70s bubblegum). They've definitely lost a certain spirit since Berry retired, but any new R.E.M. offering is at least worth a listen or two. They are, after all, one of the very best bands that America has ever produced."

(Source : rateyourmusic )

R.E.M : Every Day is Yours to Win : Album Review :

Righting themselves via their long-awaited return to rock Accelerate, R.E.M. regrouped and rediscovered their core strengths as a band, strengths they build upon on its 2011 sequel, Collapse into Now. Cautiously moving forward from Accelerate’s Life's Rich Pageant blueprint, R.E.M. steer themselves toward the pastoral, acoustic moments of Out of Time and Automatic for the People without quite leaving behind the tight, punchy rockers that fueled Accelerate’s race to the end zone. This broadening of the palette is as deliberate as Accelerate’s reduction of R.E.M. to ringing Rickenbackers, and while it occasionally feels as if the bandmembers sifted through their past to find appropriate blueprints for new songs, there is merit to their madness. R.E.M. embrace their past to the extent that they disdain the modern, reveling in their comfortable middle age even if they sometimes slip into geezerhood, with Michael Stipe spending more than one song wondering about kids these days. He’s not griping; he’s merely accepting his age, which is kind of what R.E.M. do as a band here, too. Over a tight 41 minutes, they touch upon all the hallmarks from when Bill Berry still anchored the band, perhaps easing up on the jangle but devoting plenty of space to rough-hewn acoustics and mandolin, rushing rock & roll, and wide-open, eerie mood pieces that sound like rewrites of “E-Bow the Letter.” Any slight element of recycling is offset by craft so skilled it almost seems casual. This may impart a lack of urgency to Collapse into Now but it also means that it delivers R.E.M. sounding like R.E.M., something that has been in short supply since the departure of Berry. Every Day is Yours to Win is the 6th track of this album.

(By : Stephen Thomas Erlewine ; Source : allmusic )

Personal Review by Me :

I'm no specialist regarding music reviews or this particular song, but from what I've heard so far, this song by R.E.M actually deals about self-esteem and how we should trust ourselves no matter what. It is a physiological song and even the chorus and title say "Every Day is Yours to win". I think that the global meaning is that life has its ups and downs but even when we mess up and we're positive that we can't do something, we should always look on the bright side and continue to do the things that we love because we have the potential to achieve whatever we want if we put enough efforts. 
The other message that this song provides is also about how there's always someone who got your back during tough times, that you're not alone even if you think you are. This is definitely the type of songs you would like to listen to when you're feeling down and hopeless... and talking about hope, this song eventually tries to give hope to the lost souls out there, so they'd cheer up and stand up for what they love. They have a "bridge" ahead of them, and they just have to cross it to make their dreams come true.

Personal interpretation : The Music Video :

The music video was obviously homemade thanks to the webcams used. At first I was wondering if this was a fanmade video but apparently R.E.M did it for a reason. These clips of different people, show us some individuals doing really weird things by themselves in their rooms or living rooms and if we look at this video from an external point of view (without the song) we'd be seriously confused and we'd wonder "what did I just watch ?" but actually, behind all these weird people, there's a deep meaning to it all. 
These people we see are actually doing things they like. One of them likes to dress like a drag queen and have fun in his living room while another one finds contentment by doing magic tricks with some carts. 

The whole thing is that the people showed in this video are regular persons, just like you and me, but we can see the personal and more intimate side of their lives. We all have something that we enjoy doing, and this songs wants us to do the things we love with the best of our abilities so we can "win". In this video, no one is judging these people because they're doing it alone in their houses, and that's how we should all react : no matter what you like doing, you should do it with the best of your abilities and no one should judge you. And you shouldn't think of how others would react : That's how heroes are made.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Movie Trailer - INTO THE WILD (2007)

From what I understood so far, I think that Sean Penn's movie (based on real life events and a book) "Into the Wild" is about a young man who's tired of his everyday life in his cozy house but apparently, the life he is leading with his family, who seem to be the rich and pretentious type (?), isn't the one he wants to live and after fetching himself a car, he finally starts his adventure in a new world he wants to discover. This story seem to be about finding ourselves and thanks to the trailer, I understood that maybe the man's goal is to go to Alaska and finally find the answers to the question that had been bugging his whole existence. Of course, during his travels he meets different people and experiences a lot of breath taking experiences that makes his life worth living.

If I had to relate this movie to 2 notions, I'll pick "Myths and Heroes" first because the main character seems to be the brave type of guy who wont hesitate to make his dreams come true. He's like a role model to us because he looks like he's trying to tell us to follow our dreams no matter what chains us behind and, to reach our limits by doing so; The second notion would be the "Notion of Progress" but in my opinion, instead of progressing forward the main character takes a few steps back because after starting his travels, he burns his money and rips his credit cards which means that he is separating himself from our society. Of course, he ends up in the category of the good salvage because he won't be influenced by materialistic thoughts and concentrate himself on true values. This way of thinking can also be related to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's book about the good willed salvage.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Free Post : My Own Art

Free Post : My Art :

I had a hard time picking a subject for this post but after talking with my classmates and hearing their opinions, I decided to do something about a theme which i hold dear to me : drawing.
I'm not the greatest artist out there but I'm not half bad either I guess. I started drawing when I was 3 or 4 years old I think... since I never got to go to kindergarten and make friends my age, I was bored and lonely by myself at home. One day though, my older sister gave me a book full of drawings and told me to try to copy them all (if could)  just to spend the time. After that, I spent my whole days drawings and wasting a hundred of papers (who could have been used for a better cause instead of some kid's doodles) and I improved a little over the years. 
My teachers used to tell me that I was pretty talented so I continued to draw everyday and now, here I am. I came a long way I supposed ? Well, I like what I do and I like drawing so everything is well.
I usually draw on my tablet or on my copybooks but I mostly do them on my Bamboo tablet. It looks rather easy but drawing is so hard I almost destroyed my computer when I first got it. Now things are, fortunately, going smoothly. I've been drawing on a tablet for 2 years anyways !

Well, to finish my post, I would like to say that I take art seriously even though I can't draw landscapes or realistic stuff but its fun to draw cute little people even though they don't look like real people. Everything is about having fun and if you think that you're enjoying yourself, everything is good !

Some drawings: 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Locations and Forms of Power - 71 Into The Fire (MOVIE):

The 71 student-soldiers in front 
of P'ohang-dong Girl's Middle School.

Oh Jang-Beom, one of the student-soldiers 
(the protagonist).

71 Into the Fire is a Korean War Drama Movie filmed in 2010 and directed by the movie director Lee Jae-han in Korea. The movie was based on real-life events and was made as a commemoration for the student-soldiers that fought during the Korean War between South Korea and North Korea in order to raise awareness and show how important the sacrifices of those young people brought to the country.

 P'ohang-dong Girl's Middle School.

The movie is shown through the eyes of a South Korean student-soldier called Oh Jang-Beom who had to deliver supplies and bullets during the battle inside Yeondeok (North Gyeonsang Province) and since he was an under-trained and clueless soldier, he was terrified and completely lost, not knowing what to do or where to stand.  During that battle, the North Korean soldiers outnumbered the South Korean ones which meant that the South Korean side had to retreat from the battle, that’s how Oh Jang-Beom, the protagonist, was saved by one of his superiors.
Unfortunately, while everyone tried to save themselves from the enemy, said superior was harshly hurt protecting Jang-Beom from a North Korean soldier. Feeling guilty for not being brave enough to save him, Jang-Beom stays by his superior side until the end and holds his hand until said man lets out his last breath. Deciding to keep the bullet who was supposed to save his superior from that north Korean soldier as a memento, Jang-Beom was chosen as the leader of the troop of student-soldier in the era of Pohang and their mission was to protect P’ohang-dong Girls’s middle school because it was a strategic point for safeguarding the Nakdong River from an North Korean assault. Nakdong River was an important battle because if the South Korean army loses against the enemy there, the war is over for them; that’s why the student-soldiers were used as a shield made of human flesh in order to slow down the approach of the North Korean backups towards Nakdong River.

To sum up the whole movie, the story is about how Oh Jang-Beom tries to lead the group of student soldiers but most of them (everyone) didn’t know how to use weapons and they never fought in a war. They thought that they could crush the enemy easily because the US army was on their side, but they were just a group of young people who never held a gun. 
A trio of thugs who aren't soldiers joined the battle because they wanted to “kick some communist behind” and because of the arrogance of those three (whose leader is a man called Gu Kap-Jo), Jang Beom has a hard time leading the student soldiers.


I decided to pick this movie for the “Notion of Power” because its one of my favorite movies and I also think that the Korean war is pretty important in our lives because it’s still an actual conflict nowadays and we can also see how the army can be desperate and irresponsible to the point of sending out a group of teenagers and students, who were supposed to be the country’s future, fight against a group of brutes ready to die for their countries. We can also see the power of brainwashing in the South Korean troops because they told them that the North Korean were monsters that had to die, but once they met them in real life, they were normal people just like them; the only difference was the reason they were fighting for. 
In other words, the war controlled its people and wasted the lives of hundreds of them because of different ideals. Everyone had a future but all their capacities and dreams were shattered because of different influences that touched both sides of Korea. The North Korean who were communist and wanted to unify Korea as a communist country; and the South Korean soldiers who were against such ideas and who were supported by the US army.



Oh Jang-Beom last meeting with his mother.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Notion of Power : REDACTED by Brian de Palma

This movie directed by Brian De Palma in 2007 tries to sum up the events of the war in Iraq by the American soldiers in the Iraqi grounds. It deals with a really hard and strong subject and this movie denounces the gruesome acts of the American government by sending their soldiers to terrorize the Iraqi populations. They try to defend themselves by saying that all they did was right but thanks to this movie, we know what exactly happened and how horrible those soldiers were by behaving in a mortifying way with the population.

The way the movie was filmed makes us think that one of the American soldiers was filming the whole events with his camera which makes the scene look more real and striking to the viewers. It is supposed to be a movie based on real events and the director tried his best to make it look like they were shooting videos and pictures of archives. It is a critic of the US government and it enlightens the world about the events that happened in Iraq at that time. The US soldiers weren't "saviors" but monsters for those people (see video 2). It is a really hard movie because you can't believe such atrocities really happened and the way it was filmed makes it unbearable for the watchers to watch it with a straight face. 

This movie can be put in relation with the notion of power because the US government obviously uses the hard power in Iraq and the soldiers abuse of their power on the population without holding back, which makes them look like the lowest scums ever. Its an abuse of power and they won't stop because they know that their government wont judge them because they are "doing the right thing for America" and "Iraq is the enemy anyways."


Synopsis : Rotten Tomatoes

Director Brian De Palma turns his lens on the Iraq War with this "fictional documentary" about the experience of U.S. soldiers involved in the conflict. Based on a news item about the rape of an Iraqi schoolgirl by wayward grunts assigned to patrol a checkpoint, the film depicts a scenario not unlike the one De Palma covered in Casualties of War. Shot on high-definition video, Redacted also addresses the ever-evolving manner in which war is covered by the media by focusing on such journalisticinnovations as blog coverage and web reporting. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Review by :  MesopotamicA from United Kingdom - IMDb

An IRAQI's Comment (Who witnessed the war) 

I would give this movie 10 stars for the courage that the producers had shown to reveal the truth about was going on there in Iraq.

First of all I am an Iraqi who witnessed everything that happened since the first moment the war took place. I am not an American who is in favour of certain political wing or party. And it is really frustrating to hear those voices picking holes in De Palma's movie and accusing him of being biased or not knowing how the army operates or..or ..or ..etc. You don't need to know anything to be human!! and to stop killing, supporting, or covering for the killing of the innocents.

It is not about elections and politics!! it is about hundreds of people getting killed daily by different groups whether Al-Qaeda, the militias, death squads, or the coalition forces themselves!! The movie was so touching in every single aspect for an Iraqi who had lived there and witnessed the war. The combination of bad and good soldiers is so true. And choosing Sammara rather than any other province or city was so wise since the pressure and threat that the soldiers are under there is not the same for soldiers who are in rather safer areas like the Northern part of Iraq. Also the psychological pressure that most of those soldiers are under has been made clear in this movie; as well as, the negativity, hostility and racism of some soldiers..If you are an Iraqi who understands English, you can understand what the American soldiers mumble or yell about every time an Iraqi approaches them. You can tell from the look whether that soldier is a good or a bad one. Something that has been successfully shown and well presented in that movie.

Like most of the people who support the American army there and consider every Iraqi or Muslim a terrorist or "desert nig**r" or "rag head", most of the Iraqis and Muslims consider every troop a thief, raper, and occupier who is after money, oil and damaging or destroying Islam. But does that mean that they are right? they are both wrong!! All the movie did is that it put the reality of what is going on in Iraq in to cinema cause not all people follow the news or know which media to be trusted; moreover, it didn't say that those stories or characters are true or ever existed. And you don't need De Palma or the Fox news to tell you that!! May be it is true that they might not know a lot about Iraq, but what makes you think that you know better than them about Iraq??!!..

Another true and clever thing about the movie were the videos posted on the internet whether for the insurgents, soldiers' wives, or the people who oppose such disgraceful crimes. Also how, in the end, the innocent soldiers were the ones who pay for the crimes that their teammates commit whether physically (Salazar) or psychologically (McCoy).