September 11, 2007

The Falling Man
The above are some web sites re the falling man. I attended the talk tonight at campus. Tom Junod discussed how his own Catholicism came into play when he wrote this article and comes across in his work. He said that this photograph is how we take another look at what we thought we understood...He refers to Susan Sontag's book "Regarding the pain of others" and said that he had been critisized for describing the photo as beautiful/perfect. He read us a passge from Sontag's book, "looking at images of suffering is a moral obligation." What he meant about describing this photo as "beautiful" though was how this person, was symmetrically lined up right between the north and south towers, and how he looked to be falling so peacefully, when in fact he was not, it was "chaos theory in action." In some ways he says the picture is an illusion, which corresponds to our readings. The photo then seemed to have disappeared from the pages of newspapers and journals for people to review. He was told that there were no "jumpers" just people who were "blown" out of the window by impact. He said that on some level this was a blatant untruth. The images of people were considered taboo. He touched on photographer Richard Drew's philosophy's about how he viewed himself as a historical witness and how anything less is not acceptable (as if he would put his camera down to stop a shot) because the minute he would do that, he would be comprimising his own work. The man in the photo was at first believed to be Roberto Hernandez, a man of great faith from a very Catholic family. The family through interviews made it was clear that they did not believe that this was in fact Hernandez, for jumping would have been seen as suicidal, against the Catholic religion. (the "easy way out.") It was later discovered that this man was someone else, the son of a preacher, a father, a husband. Junod wrote about why this picture made people so uncomfortable. He showed us other photos and discussed the thought that there would be "no war without photos." For the Falling Man, people diverted their eyes on purpose. He discussed how this man was all alone, and how it forces us to think about the question, what would we have done? Could that have been me? "Clearly this was the result of an attack." I interpreted Junod to mean that we too have "a moral obligation" to view such images and that was part of the reason why he was compelled to write his story.

September 9, 2007

Castration complex

This idea is a prominent one in this week's reading and something that I felt was worth a little discussion. What is probably the most interesting is how this idea is portrayed in a rather phallocentric society. Althusser's description of the little girl's transition on page 214 provides a great example of this when he states "when the little girl lives and assumes the tragic and beneficial situation of castration." This passage personally stuck me as it appears to create this horrible picture of the status of women. I understand that we live in a male dominated world, but I find it hard to believe that there exists a time in every kids life where they come to the understanding that their phallus (or lack there of) will dictate their societal roles. Especially by today's standards, even though the idea of separate spheres exists, I feel that they are not as clear cut as past generations. I guess, for the sake of created some discussion, how would Althusser feel about Hilary's run for the white house? Also, is the castration complex something that is a big problem in the US, especially when compared to other countries?