What Even is Power???

One of the biggest themes that stood out to me is the concept of power. Power is a weird idea and one that I honestly understand even less after analyzing this story. My biggest question is what does having power even mean in reality because in this story everyone that feels like they have power doesn’t really. The power shifted among many of the characters but nobody even had the power that they thought they had.

People have a natural craving for power that whether or not you know it, is deeply inside every person in my opinion. I think that while everyone seeks some amount of power, nobody ever knows what to do with it once it’s in their possession. Power is something that can control the actions of people and that is seen throughout all the best movies, books, and shows. There is almost always a power that is being sought after or controlled in every good story. But I don’t know if I can think of a single story where the original person with power retains it from start to finish. This holds true in King Lear as we see power get tossed around like a bag of rocks throughout the story. I don’t think anyone knows how to truly the power they have during the novel.

Furthermore, I’m not sure if I know what power means. I think the people considered to not have the “power” in stories are oftentimes the most powerful characters. Power is truly just a social construct that has held to form throughout all of humanity but for reasons I do not understand. Honestly, I think power is pretty overrated.

“Everybody’s something” in the eyes of Chance the Rapper

The song I’m gonna write about is “Everybody’s something” by Chance the Rapper on his album Acid Rap. This album was Chance’s second album and the album that blew him up around the Chicago area. However, his national popularity didn’t spike until his eventually Grammy winning breakout third album Coloring book.

Everybody’s Something is a deep commentary on the world where Chance dives into many topics including god and religion, government, models, and and substance usage. Throughout the varied topics, the central message of this song is that everybody means something to somebody out there. Chance is trying to make sure everyone knows that they mean something in this world, whether they know it or not. More than ever, this year shows just how important this message is to remember for everyone. These days, the people closest to us are the only thing keeping us sane. And while this song was written in 2013 well before any of this, the message remains the same.

This song is about as poetic as it gets in the rap world in my opinion. First and foremost, the ability to say more than the words are actually saying is one of the pillars of poetry and something Chance does exceptionally in this song. The line “Why god phone die every time that I call on him. If his had a Twitter, wonder if I would follow him” is an amazing line that fully questions the validity of his religion while stating it in a modern metaphorical style. This is one of many lines that uses this metaphorical references to enhance the powerful messages throughout. The chorus of the song is the same brief 4 lines repeated, but for such a simple chorus is super impactful. A really cool paradox is used in the chorus between the lines “Everybody’s somebody’s everything” and “nobody’s nothing”. These lines are further the message that all people matter, but the artist style and paradox makes it more thoughtful and poetic. The bridge of the song features what might be favorite line: “Nice to see you, Father New Year. Middle Finger Uncle Samuel”. This is a super multidimensional use of words as he’s seemingly excited for the New Year, but calling out the country and/or government. A lot of great poetry ties into social or societal commentary and this is another example of such. I’m not sure if that’s technically a poetic criteria, but I think it’s a very common and valuable element of poetry. These are all many reasons that this song is PURE AND AWESOME poetry.

I’m gonna include a bit of a side note as long as I’m already on the subject somewhat. For everyone that believes Chance isn’t that good and hates on his music, take a look at more of his lyrics. His songs are more lyrically meaningful than pretty much any other rappers, and that’s why he’ll always be one of my favorites. Everyone go listen to some Chance.

America: The Land of the Free?

This country prides itself on being a free and democratic country. You can argue whether that’s true or not as it honestly depends on who you are, what your values are, and what you stand for most. However, I don’t believe that this country really is what many think of it to be in the eyes of immigrants. The way we talk about, write about, and act about immigration does not in any way show us as such a great place. There is land on land on land that is unused in this country while MILLIONS of refugees seek safe places to live without the pain and troubles of their current homes. So what are we doing??? Not helping much. This nation often views worldwide issues as ‘not our problem’ because we think other countries should be able to deal with things on their own. But my view stands as if we can help why aren’t we doing absolutely everything in our power to do that. While I am not comparing or saying these are the same level issues, the U.S. has refrained from getting involved in global issues previously. We waited years to step in during WWII which wiped out millions of people before we even attempted to help. Sometimes it’s not about what’s best for our country, but rather what is best for humanity. If given the opportunity to help those in need, no matter who they are we should try to take that chance. Because at the end of the day, we’re all migrants.

Life Doesn’t Matter If You Don’t Live It

So I was a bit groggy after just barely waking up for advisory and then laying in bed until English started. I was hoping for a relaxing start to my day as I didn’t get much sleep, but instead here comes Mr. Heidkamp wearing a crazy hat and talking about the meaning of life. That was definitely not how I expected to start my Wednesday. Throughout my time reading the stranger so far, I’ve been frustrated by lack of plot, the attitude of Meursault, and the general social commentary style of the book. I knew this was coming though and I expected discussions going forward to be more about the meaning of the book than the book itself. When listening to the lecture, I began drifting a bit into my own thoughts about the true purpose of life. That was until I basically heard Mr. Heidkamp say life doesn’t matter after spending 20 minutes discussing the many various meanings. This is when I got upset. I simply just don’t agree with that lecture or the meaning of this book. In my perspective, life is what you make it. If you spend time thinking about life and what it means, you’re wasting time you can spend figuring out what it means to YOU. Life is not the same for everyone. Every single person will have a slightly varied meaning of life. But why spend time trying to think of that meaning when you can just live. I believe that thinking about what life means is a complete and utter waste of time. You’re never going to truly understand life. So why not just live it instead?

A happy society?

The idea of mutual recognition is pretty much a dream if we’re being honest. Can anyone actually imagine a world where we avoid conflict and there’s no fighting for power? Because I definitely can’t. Jessica Benjamin’s ideas are incredible. They are truly valuable ideas that would help our society immensely. Everyone would be happier and there would be a focus on truly learning about people and taking them for who they are and what they stand for. But could that ever happen? Our society is centered around power and the dynamics of war, fighting, and conflict when we should be focusing on things like mutual recognition. Thinking about this reminded me of a practice AP test last year about the business of war and violence. The backbone of the United States is conflict, and while it would be nice to move away from conflict, I don’t see it happening. The ideas Jessica Benjamin conveys are awesome, but for change to occur they have to taken in small doses. Moving towards a less conflict focused society will take a long time, but could ultimately contribute to making the world a happier place.

The complexity of Escape from Spiderhead

At first, the story was really disturbing and confusing. There was no set up context, so the story just jumped in without explaining anything about where they were, what was happening, and why it was that way. The nature of the story was like understand as you go and it connected the dots as you continued to read it. One of the most powerful sections to me was the comparison to the head of spider, which connected the name to the story. The line was, “Control being like the head of a spider. With its various legs being our Workrooms” (55). The story evolves over time and becomes more understandable as it goes.