Monday, December 1, 2008


I really enjoyed all of these essays. All of these stories deal with losing people in your life. My favorite two were the Sedaris and Strayed stories. I like both of these because they were very realistic and I could picture these situations really happening. I liked how Sedaris’ story was comical at times, but shows how families are dysfunctional and rarely perfect. I felt bad for this family, but realized that this was how they were and no family is perfect, by far. I really felt bad for the mother, I couldn’t picture a mother not wanting to tell her son that she loves him too after Sedaris said he loved her. Coming from an affectionate family it seemed strange to me, but other families operate differently. I just wanted the mother to reach out and show some emotion, but I think it was important in this story to show that people deal with difficult situations in their own way. Many times in this story I found myself laughing out loud, but also wishing the family could have a moment of affection.

Strayed’s story shows us that sometimes people may never be the same after losing a loved one. The five steps of grieving may not help everyone to overcome a tragedy in their life. The question Strayed raises about choosing four people on a boat really made me think of the most important people in my life. Who would I choose in my life if I could only choose four and the rest would disappear? That’s a difficult question and I’m still not positive who would fill those four spots. Strayed’s husband loved her and wanted to help her, but that wasn’t enough and she slept around with random men. I think this is important because their marriage was great and she still dealt with her grieving by being unfaithful. At first I question why she would do that to her loving husband? Then I thought about it and it made perfect sense, humans are irrational and do not make sense. She felt the need to sleep with many men that she didn’t have feelings for in order to cope with her mother’s death. Maybe she was afraid to get close to another person fearing something may happen to her husband, she chose to take comfort in people she didn’t care about. In any case, both of these stories intrigued me because of the realistic components that show how humans really do act, even if it’s not right. I like how at the end she says this isn’t fiction and the story isn’t going to have a perfect ending; this is so true no one has a story with a perfect fairytale ending. I liked being able to visualize the characters in both of these stories and the plots unfolding.

The Beards story was interesting, but seemed not as realistic as some of the other stories. When reading this story it seemed as though the author was dreaming or something. But maybe the author wanted it to be told in that manner. I thought it was sad when she could tell that her husband didn’t love her anymore while he was trying to console her. At the end it seemed like everyone important in her life was fading away: the collie, her husband, Chris and her co-workers. I like at the end how she says we are in the plasmapause and a place of equilibrium, and gives the visual of a place of stillness where she is currently in her life.

The Richards story was beautifully written and I loved the descriptive language. This made me think about people in my life that are getting older and how I would deal with situations like these. Fortunately, my grandparents are all with it for the most part so I cannot identify with this, but it must be awfully sad. Also, I cannot imagine in the future having to take care of my parents with this type of illness. My parents are very young looking and they do not age to me. Seeing small signs of them aging freaks me out, so I cannot imagine having to experience their memory totally disappearing. This story is very realistic in the fact that people are either experiencing this or experiencing a loved one going through this type of illness.

I enjoyed all of these readings. They all had similar subject matters dealing with loss of people and important things in these people’s lives. None of these stories have happy endings which I like because real life rarely ends happily ever after.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Push by Sapphire

This book is ridiculously disturbing, but for some reason I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading the entire thing in one evening. This book was really really a good book, but filled with such bad things. It really kept me interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. This book was eye opening in the fact that I tend to complain about little things in my life that bother me: too much homework, fights with boyfriends, etc. and this poor girl can’t seem to catch a break in life. Everyday seems to be a struggle and then once things are looking up her life just crumbles again. Precious was an inspiring character, because no matter how bad things got she did not take the easy way out. She could have easily ended her life, stopped furthering her education or turned to drugs. I couldn’t help but to feel terrible for her and how nothing seemed to go in her favor. I cannot imagine ever having to deal with half of the things that haunted her on a daily basis.

I think the most inspiring part of this book is that at the end Precious seems to be finding herself and that she is worthwhile. I find it great how someone that has been through so much turmoil can turn it around and make a future for themselves. It was also amazing to me how people seemed to dismiss Precious’ problems and never tried to help her. Ms Rain at the end was a mentor for Precious and helped her express herself, but throughout the book people who found out what was happening never bothered to intervene or help. One example is the nurses and doctors at the hospital were aware that Precious was 12 years old and delivering her father’s child. I cannot fathom how people could dismiss hearing a child say something like that; they are having a child by her father and no one caring at all.

I also really appreciate how real this book is. Sapphire tells it like it is, even the most vulgar things imaginable were said bluntly in this book. I think this was important in this story because the reader could really feel the intensity of what was happening. When I read some parts of this book I was like “Wow, did she really just say that.” Also, it helps to connect with the reader on an emotional level. Everyone can understand because the story is told simply and truthfully, nothing is sugar coated. I think anyone reading this book would feel tremendously sorry for what Precious has to go through her entire life. Reading all these awful things made me question, how far can people be pushed to the edge? What is the breaking point where Precious would give up? She was a very strong character and by the end she still wanted to raise her children that were born in incest.

I know that this is just a story, but it is horrible that children do have to go through these types of experiences. I cannot imagine ever having to deal with anything like that; my heart really goes out to these people. And something else that totally confuses me is how can parents ever treat children so poorly. Parents are supposed to be loving and nurturing. I cannot see how they can bring children into the world and abuse them. Some people should never be allowed to have children-I know this is a bold statement. But with all the bullshit we hear about in the world and sad stories involving innocent children it really makes you wonder about people’s mental state and whether they are fit or not to be parents and my guess is NO.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pain Songs

Songs, along with any form of artistic expression, are always much better when the artist is inspired by something dark and painful. Like we’ve discussed, no one wants to read a book about sunshine and butterflies. I think the same applies to music; no one wants to hear songs about happy fairy tales. People are inspired and can create betters things when they put their emotions into it, usually the emotions are dealing with hurt and sorrow. Also, listeners want to identify with songs. I think that it’s easy for people to identify with songs dealing with pain. Everyone experiences some type of pain in their life and barely anyone is always happy go lucky. When someone hears a song like Alanis Morissette’s “You oughta know” it may bring them back to a time when someone in a relationship has cheated on them or done something wrong; relationship trouble is a subject that is relatable to many. I think in this song she sounds passionate and realistic. Songs that make you want to say “screw you” to someone are quite often the best songs to listen to and also to cope with your own hurt.

Although we may think that the radio is filled with far too many whiney songs it would be far more annoying to hear too many happy songs, which would be nauseating. I think that people like to hear songs that they can identify with. Hearing painful songs makes you feel better when you know that other people have gone through the same feelings. There is a sense of a collective feeling; you know that you’re not alone. I always feel better when someone understand where I’m coming from and what I’m feeling.

I think some artists have tried to capitalize on the fact that people love to hear songs filled with pain and sorrow. These songs may have catchy lyrics and may be fun to listen to, but are not believable. For example I think the Eamon and Frankee songs are funny and catchy, but you can’t feel their emotion. On the contrary, I think songs by Nirvana and Alanis are filled with emotion and you can feel the artists’ pain through their voices. We’ve discussed how we love horror movies, being scared and seeing gory things. The same thing goes for music we love to listen to other’s people pain. Maybe we’re glad that it isn’t us or maybe we are glad that someone is feeling similar feelings to us?

I think that it’s interesting that no matter what genre of music there are primarily songs about pain, sorrow and the negative things in life. These lists of songs are so different in so many ways, yet they all deal with the same core subject matter. Artists know that pain is life. It wouldn’t be realistic to have “happy songs.” Even songs that are just for dancing and partying have in some aspect to do with leaving your significant other that didn’t treat you right and going out to have a fun time with your friends. Even songs that are supposed to be for fun deal with the aspect of pain and hurt. It is very difficult to find music that is not about pain. As much as pain may suck, it is inspiring. All of the greatest artwork, literature and music have all been inspired by trauma and the artists carry over their pain into their work. I guess the good aspect of pain is that it can inspire people to create great things. Whether the songs are believable or not I think pain definitely does achieve popularity. The song may be absolutely unbelievable, but have catchy lyrics that people like to sing. Or on the other hand the song may be filled with emotion and touch us so much that we love the song. Either way, pain is prevalent in these songs and it attracts us just like the horror movies and gore that we all love.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tweak by Nic Sheff

Wow this was a really great book. I enjoyed reading it because it was so raw and real. I like how he tells the reader how being addicted to these drugs really feels. He emphasizes the incredible highs, but also how these drugs can take over and ruin someone’s life. Nic Sheff’s life was filled with experiences that were eye opening. I like how he writes very nonchalantly about very intense, painful and sometimes odd experiences. At certain points in the book Nic would discuss blood squirting out of the needle or prostituting as if they were everyday normal experiences; these were his everyday experiences. I liked how he gave us insight into a lifestyle filled with these experiences in which I cannot relate to. Nic throughout the book seems like a genuinely good guy. He cares about everyone around him and just wants acceptance. Throughout the book I was rooting for him to stay clean and change his life around. As I continued reading I saw this less and less probable as he continued relapsing each time. I felt the same way as Nic’s father, I wanted to believe that he had changed, but it was something we heard all too often and he never stuck to his word completely.

I’ll admit it, I cried at the end of the book. I thought it was very touching how Nic and his parents were able to dig deeper to the root of their problems. Nic’s mother admits that they have done a lot to hurt Nic; this was the first time in the book that Nic’s parents took some responsibility for how their parenting may have effected Nic and his problems. Since Nic is known for relapsing, it is possible that he would in the future but the epilogue discusses how he has moved to Savannah and has been happy there. After reading the book I feel that Nic’s seems like such a kind hearted person that I only wish the best for him in the future. He has had many struggles and he’s the type of character that you want something to go right in their life for once.

Another point that stood out to me was Nic’s belief in God. At first he was vocal about saying that he did not believe in God and that he was a militant atheist. We see a progression throughout the book of him trying to find his spirituality through his hardships. The book discusses the first time he prayed to God for serenity, but wasn’t sure if he believed in God. Then when Nic was first in recovery and relying on Spencer, he would pray everyday to clear his mind. It was interesting to see Nic going from believing there was no God or supernatural being to praying to God everyday.

It was interesting reading the book from Nic’s perspective, but I’m also curious to see how his father’s perspective differed. Nic’s father has been very skeptical throughout the book due to Nic’s cycling of relapses. Even at the end of the book his father is not sure if it was the right thing for him to visit Nic at the Safe Passage Center. I understand his frustration with Nic’s relapsing, but the father comes off to me as a little harsh in the book. On the other hand, I do understand that Nic has stolen and pretty much given up his family in order to support his drug habit. I think getting better insight into his father’s thinking will help me to even better understand their relationship. Does his father, like his mother, believe that the way that he raised Nic had something to do with his problems?

In this book we can see many of the frameworks that Arthur Frank creates in his book. One of the body types that I saw a lot was the mirroring body. Nic discusses that he has always tried to keep a nice physical appearance because he can’t change the darkness inside of him. So by dressing and looking nice on the outside, he thought it would fix the inside. Nic shifts between all the types of narratives. When Nic is content being clean and things are looking good in his life he is in the restitution narrative. When Nic relapses or has intense urges to relapse he is in the chaos narrative. He doesn’t know what is going on and his life is not making sense to him. He even says he doesn’t want to live anymore. At the end of the book mostly and in small parts throughout the book we see the quest narrative. At the end Nic wants to make amends with his hardships and grow from them. At the Safe Passage Center Nic works to re-experience his trauma so he can grieve with it in a healthy manner and learn from the past.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Torture Porn"

I really enjoyed reading both of these articles. It is definitely true that people are infatuated with viewing these “torture porn” films. I think this is because like Murray says, we want to feel intensity and fear. We want to be scared and it gives us a feeling of ecstasy and a sensual experience. This is true, watching a scary movie you have such intense fears and your entire body is involved in the process. We have discussed the “dark side of human nature” and I think wanting to view these types of movies goes along with that idea. Although no one likes to admit it, there is a dark side that humans posses and I think that watching these movies is a release. We (most of us) don’t go out and kill people, but we get a weird “pleasure” when we watch a scary movie. I think it goes back to our animalistic qualities, but we are expected to be civilized. As we have seen in our discussions many times what happens in this world is anything but humane. These movies are a way to live out our animalistic instincts that are unacceptable in everyday activity. Movies are a way of escape.

I also found it interesting in this article when Murray discusses how the world views the U.S. as not educated on world events and us thinking that money makes us invincible. She discusses the Hostel movies in showing this perception of Americans. She uses this theme to show how horror movies might at time seem cheesy, but actually include themes that are relevant to the world. Also the question arises, does it take more to shock people our age because we were subjected to the 9/11 tragedy at a young age? Are we numb to viewing these horror movies? I don’t think that this is necessarily the answer, but I do think that violence real and fake being portrayed everywhere in the media has something to do with this. We see violence as an everyday occurrence and it takes more to shock us. My parents always talk about how when they were kids there was far less crime than nowadays. I think people our age are used to hearing, seeing and living with violence so it takes a lot to scare us.

I really found the Rehling article interesting about male heterosexuals in horror films. I think the irony in this article is that the position of power is traditionally a white male. In this article Rehling argues that these characters have lost their identities and are trying to be individuals. I find it interesting that in real life there have not been many women or minority murderers. I would think that white males, traditionally being the most powerful when minorities and women were once viewed inferior, would be the most comfortable in their position. On the other hand, the author discusses how minorities and women have always had specific identities and groups to which they belonged to. Being male and white is seen as very vague and empty. At the end of the article she refers to the white heterosexual male as ordinary, but also extra-ordinary. I think this is very true. We think of being white, male, and heterosexual as ordinary, but the lack of self identity and group identity seems extra-ordinary.

I also liked how Rehling compared the killers to the detectives that are trying to find them. These parallels were very interesting and even made the detective question, how can I be like him? In one of the movies the killer even says to the detective, “We are a lot alike.” There is an obsessive pursuit, for the detective “to get” the killer and for the killer to continue their mission and get away with it. This obsessive need for each other mirrors the issue of finding an identity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Wounded Storyteller by Arthur W. Frank

This book was difficult to follow. I think Frank had some interesting viewpoints, but it was very hard to see the actual application of these in real life instances. Frank is good about incorporating quotes and attempting to ties people’s experiences into his theories, but nothing hit close to home where I could see his point and definitely agree. Also to make it more difficult, he uses fancy words and makes his points a lot more wordy and spruced up than necessary.

Another thing that I don’t agree with is that this book is precisely what would happen in a perfect world. In a perfect world everyone would tell their experience through their own bodies, effectively communicating with others around us and all understanding one other. Frank emphasizes too much on how people should act, rather than realistically how people have acted and will continue to act. I don’t believe readers of this book are going to have an epiphany and act in different ways than they have been their entire lives. I do not want to be too critical, but I do not see the point of writing a book that does not have any practical purpose, except for entertainment purposes. This book goes on with too many assumptions about human behavior and ignores how humans really act (in dealing with their own illnesses and others). Which is different depending on the individual. Every other book we have read this semester has realistic views that are easily relatable, but this book is a stretch.

I agree with the fact that the medical world needs to take into account people’s personal stories in order to help them, but I thought that Frank was very critical of modern medicine. He seems to undermine its importance in society. One section that caught my attention was when he compared chemotherapy to torture. I understand how going through chemotherapy can seem like torture, but then Frank makes the argument about how useful it really is. He uses an example of a woman that thinks chemotherapy didn’t help her at all. I want to believe that medical treatments such as chemotherapy are necessary with serious illness and that they are somewhat helping to fight the cancer. My grandmother has gone through multiple chemotherapy treatments and has killed all the cancer in her body. She continued to work during her treatments, not that she had to (she is very well off), but out of choice (she said it kept her busy). She never complained and told me that sometimes she was only a little sore. She was extraordinary, her doctors raved about what a miracle patient she was and how she barely had any side effects. This being said, I would hope that the medical treatment and her positive attitude both had to deal with her impressive healing. It just bothered me how Frank seems to denounce modern medicine. As much as I would love to say that people are responsible for healing themselves, I do not think that is entirely true without the help of physicians and medical help.

Also, Frank constantly refers back to stories and terms that he has presented in previous chapters. I found this difficult because sometimes I needed to go back and refresh my memory as to what he was discussing. This became aggravating because it interrupted what I was reading in order to back track. If this was done seldom it wouldn’t be an issue, but I found myself constantly looking back to previous chapters, I don’t think a book should ever make the reader constantly flip back pages.

I might have been a little critical of this book; it’s not a bad book. I just think that it is a book that the reader needs to be highly engaged in to fully understand. Between constantly back tracking and the difficult vocabulary, it is a book that can easily lose the reader. Also, his ideas are very idealistic which conflict with mine that are more realistic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

Wow, I don’t know what else you can say after just watching this movie. During our discussion there was so much to say, but I was speechless at the same time…very weird feeling. I think I was still soaking everything in. I’ve seen most of those pictures before, but seeing it all put together in a documentary with the people involved hits really hard.

We discussed in class about the dark side of human nature and if people can transform in certain situations. I have a hard time sympathizing with the guards because it is difficult for me to kill a fly in my house let alone torture a person until they are practically on the verge of death. I know I haven’t been in the military, but I’m sure I couldn’t “suck it up” and do the job that they were doing. Everything about it just seemed horrible. I was really appalled when the woman would take pictures of the prisoners being tortured or the guy that died with a big smile on her face and thumbs up, it’s like are you serious? Her excuse was they believed he had already died of a heart attack…ok, well whatever she thought he died from, the point is that he is dead and she is smiling; I thought it was absolutely disgusting and disrespectful. Even though all of the prisoners were thought to be enemies (but without any real evidence), I still have a problem with someone being happy and taking pictures of someone dead. Also, one of her excuses was that she smiles and does a thumbs up in all of her pictures…I do not even think I need to comment on that statement, you are probably thinking the same thing as I am… ridiculous.

Anyways, the guards were under the impression that their work would have global implications. But at the end of the day, none of the prisoners were charged and all were released…that makes the whole situation that much worse. I understand the government wanted to find information and the people responsible, I just wonder how could the U.S. have gone about this in such a poor manner?? We are known for treating people humanely and claiming equal rights for everyone. All of the people were released with no charges, that means all of the people in the prison may have been innocent civilians and have been tortured for nothing. That boggles my mind.

I do not think that I would be able to live with myself after treating so many innocent people terribly and also being responsible for some of their deaths. Isn’t it convenient how the number of deceased was never released?? It’s hard to put myself in the shoes of the guards. They are being told to do this by their superiors and believe to be doing a good thing…I just do not understand how no one drew the line and said “this has gone too far”, especially when people were seriously injured and dying. I can never imagine going numb to viewing those types of things and if that is true, if humans are able to go completely numb, I am frightened for humanities sake. Can we as humans become so numb that we are comfortable with anything??? After watching the documentary about Abu Ghraib I would have to say that it seems as if humans can be numb to pretty much anything. I’m not trying to judge because it is a difficult situation, but when I saw those pictures and people smiling as those men were suffering I couldn’t help but to think that everything going on there was just wrong, plain old wrong.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The 9/11 Report Graphic Adaptation

This version of the 9/11 report really kept me interested and I enjoyed it very much. I thought it was organized in a way in which it wasn’t very difficult too understand what was happening and the order of events. At first I was really uncomfortable with the cartoons. I flipped through the pages before I began to read and thought that it was almost disrespectful in a way to portray this in cartoon form. When I saw one of the planes striking with the caption “baaammmm” I was really shocked, taken back and unsure as of what to make of it. After reading the entire book my view has changed. The book states that the goal of the cartoon version is to get more people of different ages and background to read this report. I do believe that more people would rather read a simplified cartoon version than lengthy text that is hard to understand. The pictures and simple captions did make it easier to understand and solved the problem of looking at enormous volumes of text and just thinking to myself “when is this over.” The reading was pretty easy to understand and also went by faster than a traditional book. I understand that the purpose of this was to get more people to read the report; to help people get educated. This is important during these times when many people are not informed as to what is going on in our country and in the world. I won’t be cynical because I along with many other people become too involved in my everyday life and need to take time to see what’s happening around me or “the bigger picture.” Although I have become more comfortable with the use of cartoons, because I know there is a positive purpose behind it, I’m still not sure about other people’s reactions. Someone that has lost a family member or friend in the tragedy may be offended by this depiction of the event. Would I be offended if I lost someone dear to me and then saw it in cartoon form? Quite possibly, the cartoons come off sometimes comical with witty captions, this may be difficult for some to see (and I totally understand). So, although the cartoons make it easier for some to read, I don’t know if everyone would appreciate how the cartoons make the issue seem “light”. My feelings are still mixed on the issue.

I thought I was well educated on the events surrounding 9/11, but this report has taught me a lot to which I was unaware. I was really astonished by all the red alerts that the government had and there was no action taken. Certain lines stood out to me…”The growing threat and capabilities of Bin Ladin were not understood in Congress”…And when Clarke says, “When these attacks occur, as they likely will, we will wonder what more we could have done to stop them.” Quotes like these really send chills down my spine because it raises the question about “What if” Obviously, no one can tell the future, but there were definite signs that should have been addressed. It is mind boggling when we think of such a small organization with not a lot of technology doing this to a super power as the U.S. The extremists had the organization, funding, planning and execution that should be the characteristics of a super power, but in reality was a small terrorist organization. It should be flipped! We, as hard it is to admit, were not prepared for anything like this. We weren’t as invincible as we thought and we still aren’t…

I think that the commission has a lot of good ideas, but it isn’t that simple. These ideas and such need to be implemented in the correct ways, and carried out thoroughly in order to have a chance. Plus, who even knows if they have not overlooked something else crucial, and possibly be just as vulnerable as we were on 9/11. In politics everything is separated by party and seems almost as a popularity contest. In order for anything constructive to be implemented our nation needs to unite together and put differences aside. At this point in time our country is anything but united… The real scary part is that with all the other commotion I do not think that there are adequate measures for if something of this magnitude happened again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag

At first I was not sure if I liked this book. About a quarter into the reading I actually got into it and found some interesting points that Sontag makes. I also like how she weighs both sides of the spectrum. For instance she argues that looking at painful images can touch people, but also desensitize them if looked at these images often enough. I think doing this is important because there is no exact science to how looking at these images may effect one person to another.

At the beginning Sontag makes an interesting point about it being difficult to read the morning newspaper; being bombarded with horrific images. We all have experienced this. But the interesting point she makes is asking the question, “Who’s deaths are not being shown.” Although we may feel at times that we see so much death and destruction, there are many things that we don’t see.

The cliché phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” I think does have some validity to it…When Sontag discusses the difference between a verbal account of war, rape and massacre and showing an actual photograph of what has occurred; it is not even comparable. Words such as war, rape and massacre of the innocent are things that we hear everyday and almost have become accustomed to, isn’t that scary?? Also, images of such things are portrayed in the media, movies and video games. But I do think that even though we see violent things on a day to day basis, a single photograph of a pile of corpses is something that words cannot express. On the other hand the disturbing image may spark an emotion, but seems as though people tend to forget with time. The effect diminishes. This goes along with the example of cancerous lungs and other images on cigarette packages. People were 60% less likely to smoke, but then what about in a few months or years? Would they forget about the images and go back to their old ways?

I love horror movies and Halloween and anything spooky (nothing too gruesome though!). But there is something about seeing real people in agony that does not interest me, but isn’t it like a train wreck or car accident? You do not want to look, but human nature is to take a peek and then you cannot look away from the horrible accident. Sontag does discuss why people like to look at gruesome sites and the curiosity involved; I agree because I think we are all filled with curiosity especially for the unknown. The example of Georges Bataille intrigued with the photograph “the death of a hundred cuts” was interesting. When Sontag discusses the photograph of a military leader kicking an innocent older woman in the head I cringed. As difficult as it may be to view these images, Sontag raises a good point about being obligated to view these pictures and know what is happening in the world. What can be done to stop these things? Looking away may seem like a natural reaction, but I think being educated about what is happening is important in the long run. Maybe I’m being too idealistic. It may be hard to identify with something that does not hit close to home for us. But I think it’s important to think about it in a different way…What if that was my sister? Or my mother? In today’s world this compassion is lacking and as a society we have become immune to violence. As Sontag points out we need to acknowledge what destruction that the U.S. has also done, not always highlighting the wrongs of other countries far around the world.

I like how Sontag ends with the idea that “we” do not know anything. Most of us cannot identify with knowing what it is like to be in war and experience things that are seen in these images. Who are we to say anything?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Response to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I was getting pretty teary during this movie. Especially after going through a recent break up, I wanted to burst out in tears. But on the brighter side, I really enjoyed this movie and I’m really glad that we watched it in class.

As nice as it would be to erase someone or something from your mind, I do not think that it would be best in the long run. At first Joel and Clementine were eager to forget about one another, understandably after a painful break up. But then Joel realized that he regretted this rash decision. I strongly believe in fate and do not think that humans can change a path that has already been chosen for them. Even though both Joel and Clementine had the erasing procedure done, they still happened to find each other and reunite. So I guess my point is that sometimes the idea of erasing a painful memory or person may sound good at the time, but in the long run it will only cause more turmoil and confusion. Joel and Clementine found one another in the end and had no idea why they had tapes of saying bad things about one another. As much as being hurt sucks, the ways we deal with painful situations help to make us who we are today. Everything is a learning experience and we grow from these. I think I have matured in many ways by dealing with painful situations and without these no lessons would have been learned. So even if it were possible to fully erase people, I think this would be detrimental because you wouldn’t learn anything from your past mistakes.

Along with the idea of painful relationships, these are also the most fun and rewarding relationships. It is really a love hate cliché type of thing. The people that I have dated and really have loved are also the people that I can truly say I hate at times. I think this also applies to families. Nobody has a perfect family life and families often fight because they care so much about one another. The people that you care about the most in life are also the people that you fight with because you are so passionate about that person. Dealing with my ex boyfriend I always questioned how I could love and hate someone so much at the same time? It’s really a strange feeling at times.

As we saw in the movie, I do not think that it would be possible to fully erase someone or something from your memory. Joel and Clementine seemed to remember one another or have experienced strange sensations of which they did not understand. If you want to erase someone from your memory, it would generally be a person that you deeply cared for, and I do not think it would be possible to erase someone that you cared so much about from your life. You may forget about them existing, but find yourself acting strange about certain things. For instance Clementine acted strange when Patrick was acting like Joel, she knew that something was not right. There will always be something missing when you try to get rid of an important part of your life.

If someone offered me the ability to get rid of my ex boyfriend from my memory I probably would seriously consider it. It sounds like a tempting offer, but I know in the long run it would just cause me more problems and hold me back from learning value lessons to help me in the future…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


P.S. I wrote my Introduction under the about me section, so scroll down and on the right is some information about me:)

Response to Pain: The Science of Suffering by Patrick Wall

Wow, this book I found very interesting (confusing medical explanations and all!). I really liked the fact that Wall has successfully steered around many commonly accepted theories, ideas and traditional ways of thinking by proposing new ideas with examples that make very much sense. My favorite example of this is when he discusses “that the brain analyzes the input in terms of what action would be appropriate” rather than “the brain analyzes the sensory input to determine what has happened and presents the answer as a pure sensation.” With all the biological terminology in this book the theories that Wall introduces may seem like gibberish alone, but as he uses many real-like examples I am better able to connect and see the theory as plausible. I am not a science person and some of the medical explanations about pain, although interesting, were not my expertise. This being said, the multiple real-life examples in each chapter were very helpful to show how the ideas come alive. These examples were things that unfortunately, we suffer or have close ones that suffer from. The sad reality is that everyone suffers from pain, whether acute or chronic, small or large.

Also, I found it great how Wall was very blunt about why pain is such a taboo subject, and neglected in our society, even though it is something that everyone has to deal with at some point. I never knew that medical students merely spend 3 hours in lectures about pain, when reading that I was shocked! Most of the time people are going to the doctors in order to relieve their pain and the doctors (with all of their schooling and all) are barely even considered knowledgeable on the subject. Along those same lines, I found it disturbing that charities are responsible for more funding for cancer research than the government. But why is there no charity for pain relief? I honestly do not see why not. I realize that curing diseases are important, but I also think it’s important to help improve a person’s value of life by helping them not to suffer. As with many things in society people do not want to address issues of which they fear or cannot explain, pain being a perfect example of this fear of the unknown. As long as we do not address the problem than it is not important, WRONG! Too many important issues in society are suppressed because of this mindset.

Wall discusses the concept of dualism, which he rejects and I totally agree with him on this issue. I believe the body and mind are interconnected, as the body as a whole interacts together. Also, the medical discussion shows that pain is not always felt in the place of which you would expect it to be felt. Wall shows us how nerve fibers and different parts of the body are interconnected as we feel pain. Along with this idea Wall discusses mental factors such as attention, anxiety, and depression which are also interconnected. My point is, throughout the book a reoccurring theme to me was that there is a fluidity that connects all the parts of the body and all the parts of the mind and also both can have a great effect on one another. Discussing the subject of pain in this reading has gotten me to realize that the whole body is involved in the pain processes and trying to relieve the pain. Before this reading I thought of pain as getting a burn or feeling depressed, not as an entire bodily process.

I thought it was also interesting how Wall discussed pain with unknown causes and how people were looked down upon. I think this is awful and is the worst way to approach a situation. How are doctors supposed to find what’s wrong if they have the cynical view that the person is making up the pain in their head??

Although the book was very interesting and made me look at pain from multiple different angles; I think some of the book gets a little repetitive at points. Also, I wish that Wall discussed more about emotional pain not associated with any physical pain.

Ending on a more humorous note, I liked how Wall added funny facts throughout the reading to keep us alert and awake. For instance Wall states that the Bayer Company discovered heroine as a strong narcotic that was not addictive at all…