Lear’s Despotism

In King Lear, one of the protagonists, Lear himself, exhibits many similarities to historical dictators and tyrants. Although Lear has clearly not caused the same societal damage or outright atrocities as many notorious “leaders,” he possesses one trait common among all despots: lust for power.

In the actual play, Lear gives up his power to two of his daughters, Regan and Goneril, as he has gotten old and he no longer wants the duties of being king. To Lear’s surprise, his daughters do not treat him as he thinks he should be treated, which is like a king. Lear has gotten so used to being treated like a king that he believes that is how he should be treated even when he is no longer king. He makes demands that are not fulfilled and becomes angry because of it. He is eventually kicked out of the kingdom that was formerly his. Similar to many dictators, Lear thirsts for his lost power, and will stop at nothing to get it back. He does not want to deal with all of the problems he faced when he was king, but he continues to seek the respect and power he has when he was king. Ultimately, Lear is a power hungry guy who lost his main desire through no one’s fault but his own.

Falling

Free Fallin,” by Tom Petty in his album Full Moon Fever is a ballad about a guy who loses a girl whom he doesn’t realize he misses. Basically, the guy in the song was into a good hearted girl who he treated poorly.

She’s a good girl, loves her mama

Loves Jesus and America too

She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis

Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day, livin’ in Reseda

There’s a freeway, runnin’ through the yard

Petty describes a few traits of the girl he is singing about, and as listeners, we can assume that these are all traits he believes are good. From the beginning of the song, Petty shows interest in the girl, despite continuing by clearly putting her off.

And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her

I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

He creates a difference between himself and the girl by describing himself as a “bad boy” and describing the girl as a “good girl.”

And I’m free, free fallin’

Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

The chorus describes the narrator free falling, which I think is the narrator expressing his regret for treating the girl poorly and disregarding her.

All the vampires, walkin’ through the valley

Move west down Ventura Boulevard

And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows

And the good girls are home with broken hearts

In the next verse, Petty references Ventura Boulevard, which is a road that runs through Los Angeles. The use of allusion creates an image of hungover men, or vampires, walking home on a road. This allusion contributes to the theme of regret that is emphasized throughout the song.

I wanna glide down over Mulholland

I wanna write her name in the sky

I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’

Gonna leave this world for a while

Petty makes another reference to a road in Los Angeles, but instead of Ventura Blvd, he speaks of Mulholland Drive, another street that serves as a border between LA and other parts of the county.

Petty finishes the song with a harmonized repetition of the refrain that repeats a couple times. Overall the acoustic chords combined with Petty’s smooth vocals make this song great, and the overarching theme of regret of mistakes creates a powerful message in the song.

The Media and its Role in Understanding the Other

As technology has become increasingly prevalent in the last few decades, the media has risen to a powerhouse that controls the information that citizens receive. The media plays a crucial role in the portrayal of the “global other” and needs to understand said role in order to accurate represent the underrepresented.

In recent years, the media has begun to include more voices and stories about people who might be considered “others” in America, due to their race, ethnicity, nationality, or birthplace. This inclusion comes with some contingencies however. The media has a job to accurately portray domestic and global situations, and in representing the “global others,” the media must do them justice and reflect the struggles that other people encounter.

If Life Doesn’t Matter, Then Why Try

In Camus’ The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault is portrayed as a carefree, apathetic person who seems to float through life without giving attention to anything, including himself. Meursault is a prime example of an existentialist who finds no meaning in anything.

The first incident of this is in the beginning of the novel when Meursault’s mother passes away, and Meursault shows a severe lack of emotion about his mother, and treats his life as if nothing happened. He continues by getting with one of his former co-workers, Marie, with whom he hooks up with multiple times and shows no care for. She even asks him if he loves her, and he straight up says no. Another example is when he notices Salamano abusing his dog, and he continues to stay friends with him, despite the socially unacceptable actions. Additionally, Meursault is friends with Raymond, who is believed to be a pimp and has beaten his mistress. Meursault even tries to bail Raymond out and eventually kills for him. Finally, when Meursault is in prison, he comes to the realization that it doesn’t really matter if he is executed, because his life will be no different than if he dies of old age. Meursault understands that his life is pointless no matter the outcome or his actions, so he might as well just try to be happy.

Summer Reading – Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis – A Discussion of Michael Lewis and Salomon Brothers.

Since the beginning of high school, I have had an interest in finance and economics, mainly because my parents are both analysts, and as I have taken more classes to explore the field of finance, I have found that I too, am hoping to start a career in finance. As a prospective finance major and hopeful analyst, my father gave me a few books to explore individual careers in finance. The first of which was “Liar’s Poker,” a semi-autobiography detailing Michael Lewis’ rise on Wall Street as an bond trader at Salomon Brothers.

The book begins with the chairman of Salomon Brothers, John Gutfreund, and a bond trader, John Meriwether, playing a mind game called liar’s poker, in which they bet on the serial numbers of a dollar bill. While it may appear that the two men are just playing a game, the very core of Liar’s Poker, reading other people, is central to a career on Wall Street.

Michael Lewis ends up landing a job at Salomon Brothers, and is put into their rigorous, one year training program where he is to learn about bond trading. After the training, Michael becomes a bond trader, and throughout the next ten-ish years, Salomon changes CEOs multiple times, with two of them ending up in jail (they’re kind of like Illinois), and eventually, Salomon becomes the target for a hostile takeover by Drexel Burnham. Further, the economy crashed in 1987, and while Salomon had to cut most of its employees, Lewis was instead rewarded with a large bonus, and Salomon continued to operate. The book finishes with Lewis quitting his job because he feels his pay should reflect the amount of good he does for society, and he doesn’t think he deserves his salary because selling bonds doesn’t do all that much for society.

Science vs. Abuse of Power

In George Saunders’ Escape from Spiderhead, the readers are introduced to the drug experimentation that certain criminals are subjected to. In his story, Saunders creates a justice system in which certain criminals are used as human test subjects for various new drugs. The main two proponents of this experimentation mentioned in the story are Abnesti and Verlaine. Abnesti constantly tries to justify his actions as for the common good and for scientific drug advancement. On page 67, Abnesti speaks regarding the original data from the first Darkenfloxx trial, stating “‘Well, that was good enough for me,’ he said. ‘But apparently not good enough for the Protocol Committee… we’re going to need to do a kind of Confirmation Trial.'” This affirms the notion the Abnesti is concerned with scientific advancement, but the mental torture he inflict upon Heather implies that he is more concerned with keeping his power.