Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tame Impala's Poetry

Poetry: literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm, and by that definition Elephant by Tame Impala is truly poetry.

Elephant is about a man who tries to be the coolest guy ever, but it is all a charade. The band uses a lot of colorful language and metaphors in order to express this point, much like a poem would. The song starts with a metaphor that gives the song its name. "Bet he feels like an elephant, Shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it'" The metaphor of him being an elephant gives the listener the visual of his confident strut and his giant personality. The lyrics go on to further express how cool this "elephant man" thinks he is. " You know that you're dreaming about being loved by him, Too bad your chances are slim." Women are constantly attracted to him, but he has no time for all of them. In those first two lines Kevin Parker, the band's writer, recorder, producer, musician, and lead singer, has used his poetic lyrics to beautifully paint the scene. "He's got friends but they got the feeling, Wouldn't care too much if he just disappeared, Oh, look, see there he is now coming down the stairs,(Here he comes)." This is where the man's facade starts to show itself. He has friends, but they don't really care about him, they are just sort of there, and they to put on a facade when he comes. The final lyrics of the song truly are poetic. "Somebody grabbed his collar, He cried the whole way home,He won't remember a thing 'til it starts again,That's how it is 'til the end (yeah)." This is the climax of the song and probably its most poem like moment. The man's facade is shown to the world, yet he keeps it alive, losing his redemption as a character. Followed by the music you feel like the whole song is ready to start again.Finally the most assuring piece of evidence that Elephant is poetry are these lyrics. "He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac (yeah), 'Cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back, He talks like his opinion is a simple fact." That is one of the most striking lines is any form poetry, so it would only make sense it it came from a poem.

Another element of this song that cements it as poetry is the use of music. The performance of poetry is just as important as the actual written words of a poem and Parker keeps that in mind. The song has a lack of lyrics for a majority of the song. That is so that the song can reflect the man they are describing. The man is full of himself and thinks he is so cool, but there is no real substance to him. Filling the song with mostly instrumental bits shows how something can sound nice but really be thin on substance, like the the man described in the song.

Elephant is filled with striking lines, figurative and elegant language, and masterful performing. Therefore poetry is the only word able to describe it

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Trump on "Closing that Internet Up"

It seems as if Trump has no concept of what the Internet actually is. Trump says he "sure as hell doesn't want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet." Does Trump not understand that the Internet is quite literally the World Wide Web? He surely has to understand that the Internet does not belong solely to the United States, but due to his past ignorance that can't simply be assumed. When asked about his statement of "closing that Internet up," Trump responded, "I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody." Trump's responses do not make any logical sense, and can do no more than leave audiences more confused than they started. Trump has zero accurate logos, and "facts" that come out of his mouth are no longer assumed to be reputable. Until Trump can learn to form logical, rhetorical sentences that answer the prompted question, he cannot be taken seriously as a candidate.

Fact Check for Trump?

Trump has made it very clear recently that he wants to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country. When questioned on his statement Trump replied, "We're not talking about religion, we're talking about security." I'm not so sure about Trump, but to the rest of the world Muslims are the followers of the Islamic religion - and therefore "we" are talking about religion when Trump wants to ban a certain group of religious followers from entering the country. Trump needs to get his facts straight. In the past if a candidate's logos was proven false, their followers would turn away from a dishonest candidate. It's disconcerting that Trump's followers don't seem to care whether his logos is accurate or not.

Chris Christie's Sexist Intro

Republican candidate Chris Christie made a shockingly sexist comment regarding a recent LA school closing. Christie attempted to use the rhetoric appeal of pathos, to tug the heart strings of the American people. He began by saying he pities the innocent children who will return to school tomorrow riddled with anxiety, wondering if they are even safe in their own schools. Then Christie goes on to say, "think about the mothers who will take their children to the bus stop wondering whether their children will arrive back on that bus safe and sound." Which is followed by, "think about the fathers of Las Angeles who tomorrow will head off to work and wonder about the safety of their wives and their children." Christie's stereotype that all mothers stay home and tend to the house all day long while men go to work as the sole provider of the family is absurdly false. The blatant sexism in his statement seems to go unnoticed by the crowd, as he received an applause immediately afterwards.

The United States of... Tuck?

Within George Saunders' "The United States of Huck," Sanders outlines two principle models of the 'American Character.' One being that of Tom, and one of Huck. The 'Tom' model is the more negative assertion about American people. Toms are often self-centered, narcissistic, and ignorant of other's problems. They have the mindset that if they aren't suffering from, or at fault for a problem, they have no type of obligation to help correct it. They don't question their privilege, and they believe that they are superior to all those less fortunate than they are. On the other hand, Hucks are fair, level headed, and kind. They are hopeful and imaginative, and learn things for themselves, rather than assume that what they are told is correct. According to Saunders, these two models coexist within American culture, and America will forever be undecided about whether it is the United States of Tom, or the United States of Huck. In my opinion, however, America is neither of these; it is rather a combination of Hucks and Toms. There will continue be those who think that they are superior to those of different social classes or races, and there will continue to be those who are narrow minded and stubbornly conventional. One example of this can be seen in the presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Trump frequently mentions the amount of money he has, and it is clear that he believes he is superior because of his wealth. He also doesn't seem to have the ability to empathize with people who differ form him. He is intolerant, harsh, and hateful of Muslims and South American immigrants because of mere stereotypes. Trump is a prime example of the Tom persona. On a smaller scale, there are people all over America who have self-elevating and discriminatory opinions that they have no intention of seeing past. However, despite the Toms of America, there are many examples of Hucks in every day society. Back on the presidential scale, Bernie Sanders offers an example of the Huck character. Sanders empathizes with others and is open to new ideas. Furthermore, he doesn't perpetuate stereotypes of members of other groups, but rather breaks them down. Again, on a communal scale, there is a very large amount of people who are open minded, who are willing to help, and who see the difference between right and wrong. America as a whole is a nation composed of Toms and Hucks, but hopefully with time, we will become the United States of Huck.

Brad Paisley's "Accidental Racist" is Just Plain Racist

The new duet between country singer Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J, "Accidental Racist," has been in the spotlight recently due to it's (almost satirically absurd) racial controversy. Although Paisley's intention of taking on self proclaimed "progressive" ideas was not designed to offensive, the message didn't come across quite so clearly. The song was meant to be an exploration of race, with Brad Paisley and LL Cool J offering different perspectives.

The hybrid country-pop song begins by Paisley trying to explain his affinity for Confederate flag apparel to a black man. He claims he's "no racist," and wants to leave America's history in the past. The country singer goes on to say that he is "caught between southern pride and southern blame." All of this is states in a casual conversation with a black man, and comes across highly insensitive. A conservative, southern, white male randomly striking up a conversation with a black man and defending his Confederate pride is extremely inappropriate.

The most absurd part of the song begins with LL Cool J's first verse:

"Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good."

These blatant stereotypes of Paisley's idea of a typical black man are unbelievably racist. Paisley claims his lyrics were written with intentions of rejecting racism, yet by enforcing these racial stereotypes he is doing exactly the opposite.

But wait for it - the chorus gets even more politically incorrect:

"I'm just a white man
(If you don't judge my do-rag)
Comin' to you from the southland
(I won't judge your red flag)
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be..."

If you couldn't already guess from Paisley's absurd "standards" of a typical black or white man, let it be know that LL Cool J sings the lyrics in the parenthesis. It's shocking how in this day in age a song was allowed to be produced as offensively racist as Paisley's "Accidental Racist."

"I'm sure there are people who would criticize it for its naiveté," Paisley said. "But honestly I prefer to be naive if it means hopeful. The most naive of us might actually achieve something because they're too naive to know that that's not possible." No, Mr. Paisley, you don't occasionally come across as an "accidental racist," you are just plain racist.

I guess the rest of us will have to accept Paisley's "naive" perspective on racism for now, as we search for a more politically correct song that might actually have some intelligent ideas about race in America.

The United States of Tuck(Tom and Huck)

Tom Sawyer, in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, would be described as quite the mischievous deceiver. Huckleberry Finn, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, on the other hand would be described as a witty, thoughtful outcast. Both characters come to be responsible, intelligent, and morally stable boys. Today's America, in my perspective, is the United States of Huck and of Tom in a sense. 
I believe that America's society today could be viewed as the United States of Tom in multiple ways. Until one comes to terms with their self identity, essentially, one is lying to his or herself. The reflects the falsifying side of Tom that is portrayed in our culture. The government is also a source of this reflection. While we always seem to know that our country is in financial debt, it never seems to be something that is a topic of conversation within our politicians. Even though America is facing plenty of other issues that need to be handled, our economic struggle is always present. 
In another respect, our community could also be visualized as the United States of Huck. Huck is an introspective boy, which I tend to believe that more of our youth is coming to be. I think that our generation of kids is more conscious of what is going on in the world around us. We may fall victim to certain stereotypes of the "technology era", but as some would see this as a disadvantage (creating distraction from reality as well as increasing the diagnoses of ADHD), I would view it as an advantage. I also believe that our society is more like Huck in the sense that we have come to accept and appreciate outcasts, rather separate them. We, today, live in both the United States of Huck and of Tom while our nation embodies hiding the truth along with reflecting on our inner thoughts.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Debate: Who is winning?

During the democratic debate many of them used each other's ideas to spark up the crowd. As soon as one saw someone do something successful that made the crowd raw he/she followed them as soon as they could. During the gun issue they talked about, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made tough arguments about who to give the rights own a gun to. But from that they were both attacked from it and had to battle their way out. Many of the candidates talk about what they need to worry about now but Bernie and Clinton, talk about the future and the crowd seems very applied, they also use tone as a good speaking technique. I also have mixed feels about Clinton, as they asked her in the first 10-15 minutes, about issues they double sided with. They claimed that she was two-faced about issues like same sex marriage. Scares me a bit.

Friday, December 11, 2015

From Clown to Candidate: The Satire of Trump's Political Cartoons

As the campaign progressed, the humor of cartoons shifted from a making fun of Trump or mocking his effect on the Republican Party to ridiculing him for his bombastic rhetoric. To many observers–both left and right - Trump has become less humorous as his supporters have shown more serious support. At the first republican debate, Fox News moderators tried to expose Trump as a joke, yet it failed. At the next debate, moderators tried to show he was not serious. It didn't matter - by this time Trump has a significant enough following that his candidacy is now more than comic relief.

Trump has now spent more than 100 days as the Republican front runner, meaning he has stayed at the top more than any previous fad candidate. Trump's long lasting claim as the top Republican candidate proves extremely worrisome to the rest of the nation who assumed Trump's candidacy to be a satirical joke.

In the beginning of Trump's campaign, the abundance of political cartoons mocked his validity as a candidate. Many cartoonists portrayed him as a clown, mocking his image by suggesting that his campaign is a joke. Certainly his description of Mexican immigrants as "rapists" didn't help his image of political legitimacy.

When asked if he has a political plan or if voters should elect him just because his name is Trump, he responded, "Well, I think they should." Even George W. Bush has made negative comments on Trump. Bush recently said, "...that is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that." Democratic strategists have also commented on Trump's campaign, saying that it has made it easier for the democratic party to win, because of the satire that Trump represents for his party.

Trump has made many other ignorant comments, all of which have become the laughing stock of the campaign. In the following political cartoon titled "All the world loves a clown," the satirical device of caricature is used. Most political cartoons are caricatures, used to exaggerate physical features or traits.

As more people are registering the idea that Trump could actually become the next Republican nominee, Trump's political cartoons have begun to mock his legitimacy less and less. Nonetheless, the cartoons now mock his absurd political statements, and the public isn't clear which is worse. Satirical exaggeration can be seen in this image with the labeled shirts. In the following political cartoon, exaggeration is used to enlarge the two stereotypes beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen. The comic below can also represents situational irony because the "Make America Great Again" man does not understand that he would be deported with the political statement he is supporting.

 Thanks to Trump, political cartoonists now have a plethora of his statements, none of which are challenging to satirize. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Mitch-Match United States

In an article written by George Saunders, he divides America either into the United States of Tom or the United States of Huck. Tom representing a selfish, privileged, materialistic America and Huck is the one that represents equality. To other countries we are seen as superior, but on the inside are we really? In a society where Donald Trump is one of the leading candidates for president, you have to wonder where our morals lie.

In my opinion, we live in a mixture between The United States of Huck and Tom. While the majority of the country is focused on things like wealth, fame and materialistic things, there are still lots of people who have the kindheartedness of Tom and his loyalty to those loyal to him.

People like Donald Trump, who believes in white superiority, has an extreme sense of entitlement, is aiming towards the ultimate division of all races, and the standard of the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor are the Tom-like mentality that lives here in the United States. The corrupt police officers that don't value black lives as much as they should, and get away with murder represent it as well.

But there are lots of people that represent the Huck-like mentality. Barack Obama, the peaceful police protesters, people who stand for equality and against mistreatment of anyone, feminists. All of these people cancel out all of the corruptness in the world and give us all a sense of hope.

Close-Minded America

George Saunders wrote a reflection on Mark Twain's novel, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", classifying America as either the "United States of Tom" or the "United States of Huck". Huck, Saunders explains, is the curious and open-minded one of the two. The ideal characterization of America would be the "United States of Huck", though that is not necessarily true.

The political decisions that America and its people make are very Tom-oriented, despite the fact that they are thought to be otherwise. Recently, a law was passed allowing all non-traditional marriages to occur. Even though the thought behind this law is very open-minded, in the sense that equality is available for all sexualities, the reality is that it took a very long time to get to that point. In addition, while the law is still passed, many homosexual individuals still experience discrimination by those who don't think that a man can marry anyone other than a man.

Another circumstance that labels our country as being the "United States of Tom" is the political campaign that is currently taking place. The different parties competing to claim the role of President can be, and usually are, very stubborn when it comes to changing their views. The Republicans and Democrats tend to have opposing viewpoints which results in only one select group of people being satisfied.

In Mark Twain's book, Huck is shown to re-teach himself many valuable lessons and opinions on how to treat the people around him. Nowadays, Americans tend to follow the lead of generations before them, defending stances on topics that they are ignorant about. Huck was ahead of his time and definitely matured for his age when he saw Jim as a friend, as opposed to a slave. He was able to disregard all that he had been taught about slaves which is something that Americans today would struggle with.

The United States of Huck: A Transformation from Trump to Sanders

For the sake of the argument that Saunders presents in "The Unite States of Huck," let the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders represent Huck, and let the laughing stock of the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump, represent Tom. The difference between Huck and Tom in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is that Huck believes in the good of humanity, fair play, and equality (or as much as it was possible to believe in equality for one raised in a conservative, slave-owning hometown). On the other hand, Tom does not understand compassion. As Saunders states, "Tom looks at misery and says: Hey, I didn't do it. [He] looks at inequality and says: All my life I have busted my butt to get to where I am, so don't come crying to me." This conceited attitude is well represented by Trump's presence in the 2016 campaign. 

The time has come where the people are ready and waiting for The United States of Huck. The people have suffered too long under The United States of Tom. With unemployment rising, and minimum wage dropping, the US has never needed a "Huck" as badly. This is what the democratic candidate Bernie Sanders can bring to our nation. Unlike Trump, Bernie recognizes the unequal distribution of wealth, and is fighting for change. 

In a recent campaign speech Bernie said, "There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent." This quote is this epitome of what this nation needs by a United States of Huck. If Trump was allowed to go forth with his "United States of Tom" mentality, the nation would crumble. We cannot continue to live with this unfair, unequal distribution of wealth. The people at the bottom working minimum wage jobs with as many hours as they can scrape together are working as hard - and arguably harder - than the top 1%. 

Until the United States can come together and elect a leader who will the United States of Huck mentality, our nation will not flourish with the selfish mentality of our past leaders. 

It is time for change - it is time to become the United States of Huck.

The Huck States of Tom

Today, the United States is in an odd spot. Some people look at the humanity and logic of our situations and build off of that towards solutions, while others find comfort in the Mother Goose books read to us as kids. I believe that, looking at it as objectively as possible, the United States is in a Tom state right now. People typically like to think that when something that would bring punishment or ridicule onto them, it was never their fault. They try to pin the blame on someone else. Sadly, this is the majority of the U.S. where it is now, and despite there being a large portion of the U.S. with a Huck mindset, people with a Tom mindset will forever be stuck in that mindset. The way it goes is that something goes wrong, and a Tom blames it on a Huck who takes the blame and finds a solution. If it were all Hucks, there wouldn't be problems that don't have solutions. If it were all Toms, we'd have too many problems with solutions that create an infinite amount of other problems. I'd say that we live in a Tom/Huck mix of a U.S., but after all, that's just my opinion.

Huck Finn for President

George Saunders separates America into either The United States of Huckleberry Finn or The United States of Tom Sawyer based of the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The war between the two has last for quite sometimes but without a doubt America is The United States of Tom Sawyer. America is looked upon as one of the strongest, smartest, wealthiest countries in the world. Of course every American, and possibly some non-Americans could argue that it is the best country in the world, but we American's, are not perfect. With being "the best" their are flaws that come with it. The majority of American's would wish we could be, The United States of Huckleberry Finn. A country filled with people of moral values, who aren't afraid to question what's around them, and believe in the humanity of everyone. It would be a beautiful world if that was the case. For millions of people it is the case, but every Huck has a Tom in hidden inside them and vice versa. When society comes together as a whole, Tom shines through much harsher than Huck ever will.
The United States of Tom Sawyer is a society that assumes, looks out for themselves first (if not only), and the privileged will always be on top because they "deserve it". Donald Trump is a representation of a Tom Sawyer character in our modern world. Donald Trump has been shifting between the number one and number two spot in the Republican Polls for the 2016 Presidential Election. Someone who mimics a handful, if not all of Tom Sawyer characteristics is our possible President. It would be impossible for us to ever reach a country of Huck Finn with Tom Sawyer himself as our leader. Donald Trump claimed that he built what he now has from a "small" loan of one million dollars from his father. That is someone who does not question their advantage against others in life. Trump expresses that if he was in power, that no Syrians and/or Muslims would be allowed in our country because he assumes that a whole race is the same as one group. He has called Mexicans "rapists" from another race assumption. Tom Sawyer and Donald Trump look out for themselves, they assume the worst, are violent and arrogant people, but sadly our society as a whole resembles this as well.

America would truly be the best country if we were The United States of Huck Finn. A fair, likeable, hopeful country is a great country, but to make any progress towards that we need Huck Finn as our President.

The United States of Tom

In 2016 we are currently living in the United States of Tom. The United States of Tom is one that consists of people who praise wealth and fame and believe that they are the true tickets to and definition of success. People living in the United States of Tom also have a “It says so, so it must be true” mentality, where individuals are blindly believing statements with no truth behind them. Finally, individuals living in the United States of Tom will not take the blame for their mistakes, and are not willing to help people that are different than them.

The Kardashian family is a perfect example of individuals who are praised solely for their wealth. The Kardashian family has become extremely famous because people ravenously follow their lavish lifestyles on television and media. The Kardashians did not become famous because they positively impacted the world through talent, the effective use of money, or by assisting others. No, their fame is fueled by Prada dresses and millions of dollars spent solely for aesthetic and personally beneficial purposes and not for ethical or helpful reasons. But, one cannot totally blame the Kardashians for their strange success. The Kardashian’s popularity is fueled by our society and the strange obsession and emphasis on this family strongly displays the immense value our society places on money and fame.

Another issue society has that shows we are living the United States of Tom is the constant manipulation of information and facts that shines through in our media and on the internet. People are often too content with information they first receive and go through little to no effort to find evidence to either prove or disprove the supposed facts they were told. This manipulation is especially prominent in our media; celebrity magazines constantly photoshop images and alter information given to them so that they can make stories more eye catching and dramatic and therefore, sell more copies. (Which also goes back to the wealth and fame mentality, people are willing to manipulate the truth in order to get a few extra bucks). Again, the sad part of manipulation is that magazine companies know this manipulation will sell because too often people believe the information is true because it is printed in a magazine or published on the internet. Society has this “It says so, so it must be true” mentality that is often deadly when real facts are attempting to shine through.

Donald Trump is the king of passive blaming, and this is a man some people believe should be our president, and if he were to become president, he would definitely represent the United States of Tom. Trump believes that we should ban all Muslims from entering into the United States, this created outrage all over the world because Trump is blindly perceiving a whole population of people as a threat to our country. Trump also is not willing to help or understand people who are different than him, like Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and women. Trump is advocating a pretentious and closed mindset that easily directs us to a life in the United States of Tom.

Our current society has proved through things like media and politics that we are in the United States of Tom. The United States of Tom only leads to regression as people will continue to stop looking for facts, become money-obsessed, and have very close-minded mentalities. As a society, we must make a change. We must become a United States of Huck, one where ethics and morals reside, and humanity is truly embraced. There is a Huck in us all, one that embraces diversity, empathy, and love, and if we search deep enough, we can find those principles and make a change for the better.

The United States of Huck and Tom

George Saunders creates two different Americas through his analysis of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The first America is that of Tom where society is one where a person focuses on themselves how to advance themselves rather than taking the time to help others. In the "United States of Tom" privilege is the driving factor of life and if you are not privileged than it is your own fault because you did not work hard enough. In contrast the "United States of Huck" is one where fair play and hope drive everyday life. There is opportunity for everyone and people care about each other.

America today can be described as both  the "United States of Huck" and the "United States of Tom".
In American culture the "season of giving" is a time in which Huck's America shines through. People try to help others instead of only themselves. There is hope that everyone can experience joy during the holidays and it does not matter who you are or where you are from. The United States itself proposes the image of Huck's America. There is the belief that America is where there are equal opportunities and there is fair play in everyday life. This is to some extent true but Tom's America also shines through.

Tom's America paints the idea that if you are not privileged than it is because you did not work hard enough and inequality is seen through everyday life. Today in America  the ideals of Tom's are seen through the debates over immigration and police violence and brutality. Immigrants are coming in to America believing that they are going to the "United States of Huck" but instead are met with the injustice of Tom's. Immigrants face poverty and the ridicule that if they worked harder than they would not be in poverty. The controversial situation of police brutality and violence in America today is a clear representation of the United States of Tom. Inequality is seen as countless male black teenagers are shot by police officers on a suspicion that was amplified because of their race. It is seen through this that the idea of self-preservation can plague even those who are meant to protect all and not just who they think should have the privilege of their protection. America today is a mixture of the "United State of Huck" and the "United States of Tom" but their is a continuing fight over which one is dominant.

The United States of Tuck Sinn

Although America now slightly leans to The United States of Tom, its origins are rooted in The United States of Huck. In The United States of Huck, George Saunders connects the characteristics of Huck and Tom to the characteristics of America. Huck grew up with a drunk and abusive man for a father. Similarly, the United States grew up with an abusive parent (i.e. Britain). America struggled through its early years fighting off Britain just like Huck fought off his father. Very often, children are a product of their environment. Their experiences when they are young influence their thinking and ideologies when they grow up. Huck struggled with his racist ideas about slaves because of how he was raised. America struggled with the same ideas while it was a growing nation. America also struggles with these problems today. Children often agree with their parents political views even though they are completely ignorant of what those views are. As kids grow up, they learn more about the views their were once ignorant of. At that point, they either change their beliefs or they continue to follow their parents belief.

In today's culture we tend to lean more towards the United States of Tom. America's lavish lifestyle and style are similar to those Tom reads about in books. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom has a very self-centered attitude. He sacrifices the comfort of others for his own fantasies. Instead of simply helping Jim escape from a window, which would take less than 5 minutes, he creates an elaborate plan that takes weeks to execute. Many politicians and businessmen in America sacrifice the needs of others for their own personal gain. Tom finds it necessary to fulfill his own desires at the expense of Jim. There is not definite "winner" to this Huck vs. Tom controversy. Each of their ideologies can be seen in America past and present.

The United States of...

George Saunders explains that the American Character can be captured from two point of views, the United States of Huck or the United States of Tom. America falls in these two categories because the United States of Huck can be described as curious while the United States of Tom can be described as simple minded.

America favors the curious United States of Huck because of its sense of hope and wonder, but it is more similar to the simple minded United States of Tom. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Tom was very naive. He believed the things he read in books or saw in movies. America is similar to the United States of Tom but in today's society, Americans generalize people or situations based off of things they have read or seen. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The United States of Huck and Tom

In The United States Of Huck, George Saunders interprets Huck and Tom's personality traits into two different representations of the American Character. Tom represents America's large ego and close-mindedness, while Huck represents the hopeful, free-minded America. There are many figures in American society who represent both Tom and Huck. With the campaign for the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election in full swing, Bernie Sanders immediately pops into my head when thinking of someone to fulfill the image of the United States of Huck. In particular, Bernie Sanders' view on immigrants highlights his receptiveness.

Saunders' states in The United States of Huck, "Because Huck believes that other people are real, he also believes in the reality of their suffering..." (202). Similar to Huck, Bernie Sanders has compassion for immigrants and believes they all deserve to pursue their interests and live out "The American Dream." Sanders' quotes "We are a nation of immigrants. I am the son of an immigrant myself. Their story, my story, our story is a story of America: hard-working families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their children. The story of immigrants is the story of America, a story rooted in family and fueled by hope. It continues today in families all across the United States." Sanders' view on immigrants reflects his hopefulness for the future in America. Unlike other relevant politicians who are more concerned about how immigrants will impact their lives, Bernie Sanders instead thinks of how immigrating to the U.S. will positively impact many immigrants' lives. America is a nation of immigrants, and having open arms will only strengthen the country. If Bernie Sanders is elected as President in 2016, America will hopefully turn into The United States of Huck.

The US of T

America, what happened to you?

There was a time where the stereotype of America was one of beauty and liberty. The "American Dream" sprung from old-school ideals of equality and acceptance, and aimed to show the world the power of a country founded upon immigration and religious freedom. Sure, we always had our enemies, but I truly believe that once upon a time the eyes of the world looked at America with respect.

In 2015, this is no longer the image I see. The culture we have cultivated does not deserve any respect from our neighbors. Everyone from our politicians to our religious leaders seem to be competing with each other, in some overarching rat race to earn the most twitter followers. Much like Tom, the modern American is less concerned with truth and more with the theatrics- they are more fascinated by the political drama than by the politics themselves.

In some ways, the modern America hearkens back to the classic idiom of "kill or be killed", but instead, it's "follow or be followed". The goal in a society such as ours is to be the Tom and not the Huck- to be the leader, and not trail in someone else's wake. The fact that Huck was a kinder and more mature soul than Tom didn't even make a difference in the end. And even today, what you say doesn't really matter as long as people are willing to listen.

A Little Bit of Huck and Tom Inside Each of Us

The United States of Huck and The United States of Tom are two styles of thinking named by Saunders, a fan of the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Huck is interested in others more than himself. Through his loneliness he finds pleasure in meeting people and has a desire to connect that is so powerful that it overrides the beliefs he's been taught since he was born. Tom, on the other hand, thinks only for himself. In the beginning of the prequel to Huck's story, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom fantasizes on how people would act if he were dead, and how much they would all care for him then. Tom is obsessed with everything he has the privelege, or as he would call it, the right, to do. He never thinks of others as being more than two-dimensional.

Saunders proposes that all of the United States can be divided into either of these lines of thought, which parallels the political parties; Tom is a demonized characature of republicans who are unaware of their privelge and believe in a system where good lives are only acheived through hard work pertaining to the American system, and Huck is an angelic portrayal of democrats who care for the well-being of others, no matter what their class is. Assuming that people can be so easily divided into black and white is old-fashioned and modernist. People have multiple personalities, moods and beliefs and one can be Huck one day and Tom the next.

At their core, Huck wants to connect and Tom wants to disconnect. Connecting and disconnecting are the constant forces that drive human interaction. No one can be Huck all the time or people will disconnect from them, leaving Huck with nothing to do but become Tom. No one can be Tom all the time because very few people possess the ability to look at suffering and be completely apathetic every single time.

Huck and Tom represent the internal struggle to love others and love oneself more than the decision to choose a side. In this postmodern world, it is much more accurate to say that we are living in the United States of Huck and Tom, or Tom and Huck.

The Eternal Struggle Between Huck and Tom

Americans are constantly trying to redefine the "American Psyche". This is an ever-changing idea of what Americans should believe in and support. Although it is ever-changing, there are generally two extremes to the spectrum of American ideology. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, these two extremities are perfectly captured by the characters Huck and Tom.

George Saunders explains the stark contrast between the two and calls them "The United States of Huck" and "The United States of Tom". He details some of the differences between the two when he says, "Whereas Tom knows, Huck wonders. Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes. Whereas Huck cares, Tom denies". Huck is obviously the favorable version of America, but, unfortunately, America is more Tom than Huck.

The United States of Huck looks at an obstacle and sees the positives. He finds the solutions and is always optimistic in doing so. On the contrary, the United States of Tom sees a predicament, and instead of looking for solutions, can only comment on the problem itself. Tom is more confident than Huck, but often times, this confidence leads to indifference for those around him and an overall air of self-centeredness.

The real America is predominantly Tom with faint undertones of Huck. America likes to present these undertones to the rest of the world, so that it is viewed as a model nation that wants the best for everyone. Lots of people who come to America from other countries think of it this way, and are forced to deal with the reality that this is not in fact the driving force behind America. This deception and trickery is exactly what Tom would do; if the best way to gain power is by telling people you're not trying to gain power, Tom will sell that ideology without hesitation.

While most Americans would like to believe that they live in the United States of Huck, the reality of it is that the battle between Huck and Tom is unlikely to cease, and Tom has been winning the fight since America's beginnings.

The United States of Huck

"The United States of Huck" and "The United States of Tom" are the two different ideals of American character conceived by Saunders, the man who wrote the United States of Huck essay. The United States of Huck is the idea that America likes people, fair play, sharing, hope, and caring. The United States of Tom is the idea that America denies the misery of others and looks out for themselves, prioritizing their own privilege, and assuming said privileges are always sound. You could look at America in 2016 in both ways, depending on what/who you look at.

On the side of Huck, America is becoming more and more equal in regards to acceptance, jobs/salaries, and all that. Plenty of support groups for the LGBT community have sprung up, along with support groups for blacks, Hispanics, etc. all striving towards the goal of equality between everyone. A large majority of the population belongs to these communities, therefore it is definitely justified in viewing America to be represented by these people and those that work with them. And because of these people being considered a "minority," it has become easier for them to share and expect equality from each other.

For the side of Tom, America is corrupt in the top 1%. The stereotype for the rich and swank is that they get what they want, whenever they want it, because they have money. They expect everything to go their way, because that was the way they were raised or the way of life that they're used to. A big topic that backs this argument is the phrase "white privilege," which means that white people are treated better than everyone else, just because they are white. Those who are privileged whites are those that ignore wage gaps, the inequality to minorities, and will actively put their rights down in efforts of conserving their own privilege. Trump is a huge poster-child for this, as he blatantly expresses racism towards Hispanics and Muslims, all in order to "make America great again!" By that he means "make America white again," and if that doesn't just scream the selfish intentions of the United States of Tom, I don't know what does.

The United States of Tom

George Saunders analysis of Mark Twain's,  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, claim two distinct models of American character: The United States of Tom or The United States of Huck. He argues that each American resembles one, but as a whole, America has struggled to decide which it"ll be since the beginning of time in the world.

The two different distinctions classify the United States of Tom as knowing and presuming. Tom is too caught up in the thrill of adventure and from what he has read in books or seen in movies. We see Twain depict this in his novel when Tom wants to stall his efforts to help Jim escape by making sure nothing in the escape plan is simple. Saunders further explains that the United States of Tom includes denial and not treating the real things in life, real. For example, he treats Jim as a prop to his adventures rather than the person he is. On the other hand, the United States of Huck includes believing in reality, what he sees and feels. Also, it includes: hope, wonder, people, care,and fair play. Twain does a good job of showing this American character in his novel through Huck when we see the emotions Huck experiences. His feeling guilty for going against Miss. Watson in helping Jim escape and his feeling bad for Jim because he is a human being seeking freedom, all are good examples of the United States of Huck.

In current 2015-2016, I think it is generally accepted as a taboo to stereotype people based of race, social class, gender, etc. Of course, it still happens everyday. I think for this reason that America could be considered the United States of Tom. A prominent place we see it in today's society is in "politics." I say it like that because in the 2016 political campaign, candidates (cough cough Trump) have tendencies to bash each other's profiles rather than actually policies and/or issues raised. In a recent debate, Trump said to an opponent, "I've built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don't have to hear from this man, believe me. I don't have to hear from him." He also tried to appeal like the common man when saying, "I started with a small loan of 1 million dollars."  Donald's complete ignorance here in both of his quotes, reminded me of Saunders analysis of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He stated, " The United States looks at misery and says: Hey I didn't do it. It looks at inequity and says: All my life I have busted my butt to get to where I am so, don't come crying to me...Tom likes unquestioned privilege." Donald Trump is a public figure that embraces the Tom-ness of the American character. A million dollar loan isn't something small like Donald is making it seem. He wants to appeal to the common man like he started from nothing and hard work paid off, yet thinks because he is financially privileged, that excuses him from having to deal with reality.

Although the idea of a United States of Huck seems nice, it in reality isn't the dominating ideal in today's American society. Even though Saunders says America has struggled to decide which character it is, doesn't mean we can't progress as a society to a United States of Huck.

Trump Represents the United States of Tom

     George Saunders describes how American can be described as two parts; The United States of Tom or The United States of Huck. Overall, Americans fall into these two categories. One can either be in the close minded United States of Tom, or the curious and open minded United States of Huck. In present day, the 2016 Presidential Election is currently in the running, with many candidates who fall into both categories. However, one person who is the epitome of The United States of Tom is Republican candidate Donald Trump. His many ridiculous actions have earned him this position, but one recent statement of Trump really portrays his mind of inequality and his overall close mindedness.
     Saunders said that "The United States of Tom looks at misery and says: Hey I didn't do it. It looks at inequality and says: All my life I have busted my butt to get where I am, so don't come crying to me" (203). Recently, Trump released a statement "calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Trump clearly believes that we should all be living in the United States of Tom. Many Muslims are fleeing Syria, and the Syrian refugee crisis is now an issue being mended by many countries all over the world. The refugees are fleeing because they are in danger and have faced oppression, but all Trump can say is "that's not my problem." Trump is close minded and does not care about inequalities that people are facing all over the world. According to the presidential polls, Trump is leading the Republican candidates, which means that we all could be living in the United States of Tom if Trump is elected.

United States of Tom

In 2016, we all hopefully know that it is inappropriate to generalize an entire group of people, who only have a few things in common, under one category. Knowing this, however, we can analyze the United States as it is viewed as a whole, through media and varying stereotypes, to condemn it as a United States of Tom.

All readers of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn know it is much preferable to be classified as a Huck than a Tom; the two boys are foil characters that seem to represent reason and ignorance. The United States strives to be a nation of Huck in its principles, but deviates towards a nation of Tom due to various forces. One may cite the fact that abortion or gun control is even an issue as evidence of the United States' Tom-ness, but that just seems like one is criticizing an entire ideology and declaring theirs superior. This fact is why we are a United States of Tom: Americans are so intolerant of different ideas that in Chicago, calling someone a Republican is an insult, and somewhere in the South, being a liberal can be synonymous with "heretic."

Saunders distinguishes between the American Psyches by writing, "Whereas Tom knows, Huck wonders. Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes. Whereas Huck cares, Tom denies." My interpretation of the characterization of Tom and how it pertains to American culture is how we, as a nation, give labels to everyone that "define" their entire being (gay, Muslim, liberal, conservative, Southern, Northern, feminist, pro-life, pro-choice) and then we make these huge assumptions about things that do not have anything to do with these labels (terrorist, rapist, sexist, racist, pervert).

In addition, Americans are so set on their own labels, we ostracize ourselves from associating with anyone outside of our group. The polarization of politics is the most prominent example of this American phenomenon; the animosity between Democrats and Republicans is no longer political, but social. The Tom-like presumption of someone's personality, goals or desires just based on if they are a Republican or Democrat proves that the United States of Tom does exist.

Nevertheless, making a one-sided argument does not give the United States enough credit as a nation. Our country was founded on principles of rights and equality before law that were not fully implemented in 1787 and sometimes not enforced today. Our fear of "outsiders" throughout history has come in bouts of paranoia, like with the KKK, the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans and the fear of communism, but there is always a Huck-like counter-reaction. As Saunders stated, the United States of Huck and the United States of Tom are always in conflict but, unfortunately, Tom is winning.

Huck or Tom?

In the passage we read today in class and after asking a few of my teachers the pin falls in the middle for if the this is The United States of Huck and The United States of Tom. Both of the traits talked about with both  sides show up in many topics including politics and daily life. Donald Trump is a good example to start with. He himself leans more towards being a part of The United States of Tom due to him saying, "I started with a small loan of 1 million dollars." He himself is running for President as we all know, but he is doing it by being a demagogue. In the passage it says, "All my life I have busted my butt to get where I am, so don't come crying to me."(203). Donald Trump uses a phrase just like that to get down to a level of, I started on the bottom like everyone. Him being a demagogue helps him with Presidency and he is also leading The United States of Tom theory.

On the other hand, many people fall into The United States of Huck theory. Many people including my Advanced Algebra teacher, Mr. Weisman, believe America it's self is a country that has "fair play" and is "spreading the truck around."(203). Barack Obama is a great example of someone who is helping lead The United States of Huck. He is a man that cares for the nation and hopes to make it better than it was before. As a great leader, He has made many strides to make The United States and safe and welcoming environment for all. He also loves the people and does many things for the people making him a democratic leader.

In the end both of them end up clashing heads and there can't exactly be a winner within all this. Both are leading a separate "nation" and clearly clash heads many times. Also while Trump thinks he "knows" everything just like the Tom theory, Obama "hopes" that he is doing the right thing for the nation.

The United States of Tom

In today’s world, one may question whether as a whole the country is the “United States of Huck,” or the “United States of Tom.” In George Saunder's analysis of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Saunders concludes the distinct difference between the two ideals.

The first model, the "United States of Huck," is expressed as mainly a system of 'fair play,' and a place where more generosity and kindness are exhibited on others (shown through Huck's character in the novel). This individual model displays what Americans strive to be, but fail to do so because of outer influence. Furthermore, the second model, the "United States of Tom," is defined as a system promoting 'unquestioned privilege' and often is associated with involvement of wealth, appearance, and class status.This specific ideal represents the appearance for the majority of America -- unrelenting towards those who may prefer balanced opportunities for all.

Although the "United States of Huck" may be seen as more favorable towards others, the "United States of Tom" emerges as the dominant ideal in America. For example, in campaigns/elections (especially for the upcoming 2016 presidential election), citizens try to sort through each candidate's image to find if the candidate is truly suitable. Many of the candidates, both on opposite parties, are concerned of the views of the American people, and will do whatever at any cost to guide them into the candidate's favor. The potential leaders of America may then set precedent for a monetary-greed obsessed 'American Character.' These types of authoritative actions are what Americans perceive as legitimate, and adopt them as their own.

United States of Tom or Huck?

As described by author, George Saunders, the American Character can be explained in two parts, either United States of Huck or United States of Tom. The question is, which of the two is a more accurate description?

Where Huck believes in equal chances and fair play, Tom supposes that a person gets what they deserve and have worked to achieve. The two parts of the American Psyche have never coincided with the other, always going at each other. The Huck personality is generous, concerned about others, and easy-going, while the Tom personality is concerned with appearance, favors privilege, and assuming. Although Americans like to claim the country is the United States of Huck, in reality, the United States of Tom is more accurate.

While individuals can take either personality, the country as a whole personify the United States of Tom. For example, in the presidential elections, the people tend to vote for the candidate whom they believe generally favors the Huck personality: generous, supportive, and believes in equality. However when facing an issue, everyone resorts to their true self: the selfish, immature Tom personality. During rough times, one only thinks of themselves and how to benefit themselves.

Many politicians fall under the Tom personality. In their attempts to assume the generous and realistic identity, they fall short. Like Tom, they favor privilege instead of equality and opportunity. As much as one would like to partake in being the United States of Huck, unfortunately, the American Character is far too conceited and hesitant to change the inequality in the country.

United States of Tom

Today, the United States of America is held at an imbalance. Are we more like Tom, conceited and idealistic? Or are we more like Huck, realistic and understanding? While it cannot be said that one the country is 100% Tom or 100% Huck, its seems that Tom is winning, and one only has to look at the ongoing political battle raging in the US today.

One candidate that represents America as Tom is Donald Trump, who is seemingly disillusioned by his power and wealth. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has been totally uninhibited in what he says. For example his plan to build a wall, or most recently his plan to bar all Muslims from entering the country. Not only are these plans immoral, Trump’s lack of strategies to achieve many of his plans makes him look like he is just spitting out foolish ideas on a whim, just like when Tom in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn creates an elaborate plan to help Jim escape. In the end Tom creates more trouble than good, just like what Trump’s policies would do.

The fact that many of Trumps supporters are not deterred by Trump’s outbursts is also discouraging. While many of Republican candidates have reprimanded Trump’s plan to forbid Muslims to enter the country, Trump continues to remain in the lead on the Republican side, thus showing that many of his supporters are promoting and supporting his insane ideas.

Donald Trump is not the only presidential candidate that has embodied the spirit of Tom. On both sides, Republican and Democrat, the campaign has been about promoting egos and demonstrating superiority without focusing on solving the pressing issues at hand. Instead of addressing these issues, a lot of time has been spent discussing superficial questions, such as Hillary Clinton’s emails. While there may be some ideals in America that demonstrate that we are more like Huck, the campaign as shown so far that Tom has been dominating.

Candidates for President of The United States of Tom

I think that by looking to our current presidential candidates, we can create a relatively accurate portrayal of what our country thinks and wants (or at least what the candidates think our country needs and wants).

Saunders defines the United States of Tom as seeing suffering “simply [as] an opportunity for [one]’s ego and cleverness to exert themselves”. Hillary Clinton seemingly did just that in one of the Democratic presidential debates. When questioned on the gigantic donations Wall Street has made to her campaign, Hillary responded:

“So I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

In this situation at least, Hillary made use of a terrible event for both our country and the world to try to defend Wall Street’s contributions to her campaign. While it is the candidate’s job to make themselves look good, trying to benefit off the pain of thousands upon thousands of people takes it a bit too far.

Saunders also specifies that “Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes.” Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate seems very guilty of presuming. In his speech at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 10, 2011, Trump told his audience that

“I can tell you this, if I run and if I win, this country will be respected again. If I decided to run, I will not be raising taxes, we'll be taking back hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries that are screwing us, we'll be creating vast numbers of productive jobs, and we'll rebuild our country so that we can be proud. Our country will be great again.”

Trump doesn’t actually put forward a plan to do any of this, he just presumes that he can make it happen. This kind of thinking- that there doesn’t need to be an actual plan, he’ll just “make it happen”- is distinctly well suited for the United States of Tom.

Left Hand Free by Alt-J Analysis

In analyzing Left Hand Free by Alt-J, I depicted the song as being about a boy who has feelings for a girl who has a boyfriend. The speaker of the poem is Joe Newman, but to put things into perspective, the speaker would be the boy who desires the occupied girl. The boy does not think that the girl's boyfriend is adequate for her, and he views her as single (despite the fact that she is in a relationship) because she is not married to the boy; considering her left hand(her hand with her ring finger) is free. He points out that she has a boy in the third line of the fifth stanza singing, "Though your man's bigger than I am". Using diction the speaker also makes it clear that he does not take it to heart that she is "not" available by starting the line with the word "though".

The audience of the poem is the girl that the boy is singing to. He directs the song towards the girl in the same line that the singer acknowledges the girl having a boyfriend. The second and third line of the fifth stanza state, "Girl you're the one for me/ Though your man's bigger than I am". The you that the singer is speaking to is the girl which you can tell by the pronouns he uses in these two lines.

The occasion of the song is the conflict of liking somebody who is taken, but still fighting for your place in the person's heart due to your doubts in that person's choice of boyfriend/girlfriend. The poem reveals the boy's interest in the girl at several different points. In the third line of the first stanza the song reads, "And, flower, you're the chosen one". Here the speaker compares the girl to a flower and even states that he chooses her. In the first line of the second stanza the song says, "Well, your left hand's free" which let's us know that the speaker keeps in mind that, in his point of view, she is still single. This also motivates him by knowing that he still has a chance since she isn't married yet.

The first two lines of the eighth stanza are, "Well, your left hand's free/ Well, my left hand's free". In each chorus, prior to the end of the song, the lines that talk about one's left hands only reference the girl's, but at this point he states that he considers both of them single. Even though the speaker is confident in fighting for the girl and he doubts the girl's boyfriend, he also doubts himself for a moment in the third line of the fifth stanza by comparing the size of her boyfriend to himself. In researching what the song's message is getting across, Joe Newman had shared at an interview in Salt Lake that through the song he illustrates a 40's speakeasy and a bar fight between two boys over a "dame". After acknowledging this, the third through the fifth lines of the fourth stanza stating "With another left hand/ Watch his right hand slip/ Towards his gun, oh, no" begins to make more sense as well as the first and second line of the third stanza when the song says, "I tackle weed just so the moon buggers nibble/ A right hand grip on his Colt single-action army, oh no". These lines support the illustration of the duel between the two men creatively.

Listen to the full song by clicking on the link below:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Same Love

In the album The Heist, by Macklemore, the song "Same Love" is about equal rights for gays/lesbians/bisexuals/transsexuals in America and how they are treated wrongly by society.  In the lyrics Macklemore sites many things that are wrong with society and their beliefs on sexuality, for example, The lines "The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision/and you can be cured with some treatment and religion/Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition, playing god". These lines really stand out when I read them because it really bring his argument to life about the problems in society we still have today. The fact that being gay in society these days just makes my heart sink and disappointed in what we had to grow up with. When I listen to this song, it also makes me think of the huge steps we have also made as a society such as making gay marriage legal in every state within the United States. Also the new Pope of Rome, came out saying that he excepts them and won't judge them as long as except the lord and have good will. That makes me have hope in society and also that an up and coming artist, such as Macklemore, included this song on an album.


"Holiday" is a single straight off of Green Day's wildly successful 2004 album, American Idiot. The entire album can be seen as a deconstruction and criticism of the modern age, and that can be seen in its 2009 spiritual sequel 21st Century Breakdown. "Holiday" specifically was written as a response to the Iraq war, and Bush's presidency in general. The lyrics juxtapose images of the comfortable American lifestyle with the horrors of the war.

Take the second stanza: "Hear the dogs howling out of key/To a hymn called 'Faith and Misery' (Hey!)/And bleed, the company lost the war today". Here, Green Day looks first at Iraq, and how in this time of war they can do nothing but scream and pray. Then it cuts to corporate America, and shows that they're more concerned about losing profits than they are about losing lives. "Bleed" also has a double meaning here, referring to both corporations losing money and literal people bleeding in the streets.

For the hook, Green Day parodies American politicians, using a persona of the Representative of California. "Sieg Heil to the president Gasman/ Bombs away is your punishment/ Pulverize the Eiffel towers/ Who criticize your government/ Bang bang goes the broken glass and/ Kill all the fags that don't agree/Trials by fire, setting fire/ Is not a way that's meant for me" These lines reference the scare tactics used by politicians to get government support for war. Terms like "Sieg Heil" and "Gasman" compare Bush to Hitler. Here, the motif of fire is used both to represent a struggle, as well as soldiers literally setting Iraq on fire.

"Holiday" is poetic because it uses analogies and imagery to criticize a massive and well-established system. It focuses on its use of language to express the frustration felt by millions of Americans during and after the war. The last line sums it up best: "this is our lives on holiday." Us Americans don't have to worry about our own destruction because our lives are so comfortable. Being able to communicate something like that in such a short line shows true mastery of language.

Yellow Light - Music Poetry

Of Monsters and Men, a five member indie folk band, gained popularity in 2010 when the group won an annual battle of the bands competition in Iceland. Recently, the band has become a worldwide hit and has performed in numerous popular music festivals across the United States. The band's debut album My Head is an Animal reached the number one album in Australia, Iceland, and Ireland. "Yellow Light," one of the lesser known songs from the My Head is an Animal album tells a twisted love story through the perspective of a man and a woman using various poetic devices. Due to the abstract nature of the song, it can be interpreted differently by each listener. I understand the song as a story of a manipulative man leading a confused girl astray in her life. He drowns her thoughts and she feels powerless. He causes her to ignore the warning signs of her own well being and convinces her she is just blinded by love.

The woman in "Yellow Light" uses personification to express how lost and alone she feels. In the final line of the song she says, "The light is blinding my eyes, As the soft walls eat us alive." The woman is being led by the man to believe that everything is okay, and she is being blinded by her love. This manipulative statement is followed by an example of personification. Soft walls are usually found in an asylum, where the woman suggests people go crazy. She is being driven mad by an unhealthy relationship that she is unable to escape. The personification of the walls eating her alive represent how this toxic relationship is consuming her life, and eating her alive.

The poetic device of a hyperbole is used in the line, "Running into the night, The earth is shaking and I see a light." This exaggeration of the earth shaking is used to describe how the woman feels that her life is out of control. This manipulative man has figuratively shaken her world upside down, leaving her feeling confused and helpless. He has twisted her thoughts into thinking that he is the light of her life, the only thing that matters.

Of Monsters and Men often use symbolism in their songs. In “Yellow Light” the woman sings, “Water up to my knees but sharks are swimming in the sea.” The shark represents the man in her life, lurking underneath the water which represents her life. Other people in her life may not realize the fear he is causing, because the water is only “up to her knees,” and doesn’t seem very dangerous.

“Yellow Light” by Of Monsters and Men perfectly exemplifies music poetry. The indie folk song is full of poetic devices, accompanied by a slow tune that perfectly sets the mood for the lyrics.

The Good Left Undone- An analysis

"The Good Left Undone" by Chicagoan band Rise Against is a gold mine of imagery, multidimensional language, and metaphors. Before I go into detail, take a listen to the song here:

I think my favorite lyric from this song goes as this: "So I tell myself, tell myself, it's wrong.
There's a point we pass from which we can't return.
I felt the cold rain of the coming storm." Rise Against is a band known for it's advocacy of being eco-friendly and trying to stop us from destroying the only world we have. This is evidenced perfectly in these lines because they're saying that we don't have forever to save the planet from the destruction we're forcing upon it and if we don't stop soon it could be the end. Imagery also runs rampant in this song. There's so much that it's hard to pick just one example of this, but I decided on the following lines:
"In fields where nothing grew but weeds,
I found a flower at my feet,
bending there in my direction.
I wrapped a hand around its stem,
pulled until the roots gave in,
finding there what I've been missing."
Whenever I hear this line, I can't help but imagine the desolate fields and the distressing image of only a small sign of hope being found in  it. To me, at least, this piece of music can easily be described as poetry because of the large amount of imagery found in it as well as the real topics and meaning behind it.

Car Radio

"Car Radio" is a self explanatory song written and song by Twenty One Pilots which is featured on their 2011 album, Regional at Best. The song came from the idea when one of the band mates, Tyler Joseph came back to his car one day and his car radio was stolen. At the time he couldn't replace it due to no money and no time. It describes each time he's in his car he is forced to sit in his car and the only thing he has to listen to are his own thoughts. I find this song to be a great poem, not only because of it's meaning and effortless flow, but it forces the listener to think through the metaphors, personification, and similes to understand the literal and also the complex meaning behind it.

In the third verse Twenty One Pilots expresses the personification "sometimes quiet is violent" to understand where the mind goes when all their is to listen to is himself. It can be lonely and torturous at times when it feels forced to think about all the thoughts that people try to avoid on a daily basis.
One of the more blunt verses has the power to be straightforward but to also make the listener feel and understand how his transportation has changed him,
"I ponder of something terrifying
'Cause this time there's no sound to hide behind
I find over the course of our human existence
One thing consists of consistence
And it's that we're all battling fear
Oh dear, I don't know if we know why we're here
Oh my,
Too deep
Please stop thinking
I liked it better when my car had sound"

Twenty One Pilots takes something so simple, that almost every adult does multiple times a day and to exaggerate the point that when left alone, in silence our own minds is what can be the most fearful part of our world. Every fear is in the mind and can be overcome by how it's perceived, but what's questioned is if the cure to all fears is an adjustment in the mind then the question is can a fear of your own mind be cured the same way.