Archives pour la catégorie Myths and heroes

NOTIONS – TOPICS – PROBLEMATIQUES

Welcome to the new school year 2017-2018!

This blog is going to focus on the 4 notions and their definition. First by looking at the notions, you will notice that they all include 2 terms which are linked together by “and” or “of”. (Spaces AND exchanges, seats AND forms of power, the IDEA of PROGRESS, myths AND heroes)

  • Interroger la mise en relation des termes – cette relation est-elle de complémentarité? d’ opposition? de corrélation? de causes ou d’effets? Ainsi vous éviterez de ne traiter qu’un terme ou les traiter l’un après l’autre alors qu’ils sont liés entre eux. Posez vous la question : “quel enjeu puis-je dégager de cette confrontation des termes ?”

Idea of progress : il s’agit bien de l’idee de progres- donc de la représentation que nos sociétés se font du progrès – et pas seulement du progrès  en lui-même. Viewed from this angle, progress becomes a double-edged sword.

I am going to give you very simple definitions of the notions, but I will advise you to come up with your own definition. A list of topics will also be given but it is the key question (la problematique) which will determine the choice of your documents.

FORMULER UNE PROBLEMATIQUE

CONCRETEMENT UNE PROBLEMATIQUE C’ EST:

  • Une question ouverte à laquelle on ne répond pas par oui ou par non
  • Elle est introduite par : How, to what extent, why, etc..

Myths and Heroes

Myths exist in every society, as they are basic elements of human culture. We can understand a culture more deeply and in a much better way by knowing and appreciating its stories, dreams and myths.There are many types of myths such as classic myths, religious myths, and modern myths etc.  

A Hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon. Therefore heroes, just like myths, can be real or fictitious. Heroes are people we can look up to, people who inspire like sport personalities, political figures, entrepreneurs, artists, etc..  Heroes lead, inspire, and entertain the masses.

A few examples in the English speaking world:

  • rags to riches stories : Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, JK Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Carnegie, Charlie Chaplin,Anita Roddick
  • Historical figures or National leaders who can be considered as heroes: Queen Victoria, Elisabeth I and II, Obama, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzi, Ghandi …..
  • Founding myths of the United States (Pilgrim Fathers, The myth of the frontier, the myth of the Road, the Gold Rush, the American dream, witch hunts)
  • Unsung Heroes or fallen heroes of the Vietnam War that are portrayed in American films (Platoon, Born on the 4th July, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket)
  • Pop stars or sports heroes (and fallen idols)
  • American movies and comics: superheroes such as Superman or Captain America and their role in society/world
  • British heroes or heroines: Churchill, Florence Nightingale, the Suffragettes, Stephen Hawking…..
  • British myths and legends: Robin Hood, King Arthur, etc.

In our class, we will focus on the topic of  Witch Hunting in the USA by asking the following questions : Are witches a myth of the past ? From Witch-hunts and Communist-hunts to Terrorist-hunts Why have witch hunts been a recurrent element in modern American history?

The Idea of Progress

The idea of progress is the idea that advances in technology, science and social organisation can bring about a positive change to our society. These advances help improve our daily lives and give us a better quality of life. Social progress, scientific progress and economic development are usually considered as having a positive effect on our society. However the idea of progress is not progress since there are some cases where this change can have a negative effect too. Very often progress is also accompanied by opposition because society isn’t comfortable with the changes being made (same sex marriage, women’s rights, minority rights). We can ask ourselves whether progress is always positive?

There are many kinds of progress and they can be divided in diverse areas.

  1. Technological progress

The technological advances of the last decades have totally changed our world. For example, the arrival of internet has changed the way we communicate. On the one hand we have access to far more information than before, we can easily communicate across borders, buy new products, be informed about the latest news events, share our opinions about different topics but on the other hand, many people have become addicted to social media and this creates new problems such as depression, isolation, bullying, cyber criminality…..

  1. Scientific progress

Scientific progress has had a direct impact on the improvement of human life. Thanks to advances in medicine we can cure illnesses that could never have been cured in the past. Vaccinations,Antibiotics, painkillers and other medical treatments have helped to improve our general state of health and survival rates. But could there be a point where progress come too far? What should be the importance given to ethics? What about scientific progress in the area of cures for illnesses, cloning, performance enhancing drugs,   genetically modified organisms etc?

  1. Social progress

Social progress most often comes about when members of a population feel oppressed,  or second-class citizens (women’s rights, civil rights, etc).

Examples can be:

  • Scientific Progress – Medical advances, cures for illnesses, cloning, performance, enhancing drugs,   genetically modified organisms.
  • Technological Progress-  technologies to slow down climate change such as hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel…..
  • Advances in communication:  the internet, social media, mobile phones, video games – how  they have changed our lives and the dangers of these modern ways of communication
  • Robots, automated production
  • Nuclear Power – for and against
  • Social Progress: changes in the quality of life – how does progress affect our/a society?
  • Education, employment, equality, family life, Women’s rights, human rights, minority rights The idea of liberty, freedom, democracy

We will focus on 2 topics

Scientific Progress :  Science and fiction : Does fiction draw inspiration from science or is it the other way round?

Social progress : Why is India said to be a country of contradiction?

Places and Forms of Power (also called Seats and Forms of Power)

In politics and social science, power is the ability to influence people’s behaviour. In order to live together members of a community accept rules, regulations, laws. This helps to create social cohesion but can also lead to conflicts and tensions. Even when authority seems absolute, there are always counter-powers which question it, aim at limiting its excesses and resist it. Power is also associated with authority and influence and certain places can be associated with the authority – for example the White House and the President of the USA, 10 Downing Street and the British Prime Minister etc..

Examples to illustrate the notion can be:

  • the power of the media (reality tv, internet v written press)
  • Financial power (the power of money)
  • Inequalities between blacks and whites – the fight against oppression and segregation (South Africa, USA)
  • The Civil Rights movement and political recognition : Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X (can also be linked to the notion of Myths and Heroes)
  • The power of Art (The Harlem Renaissance – Banksy..)
  • Cinema and power: how do films influence society? Movie stars using their fame to influence public opinion on certain topics (Leonardo Dicaprio, Schwarzenegger)
  • The power of education: improving knowledge and education across the world and enabling access to education for all (Malala)
  • The power of music and the music industry: songs used to change people’s opinions on political subjects (vietnam war, US President, poverty, climate change), pop stars who use their fame to bring about changes in the world (Bono, Bob Geldof, Madonna)
  • People’s empowerment

We will focus on

Protest songs : How have protest songs fought political power? How have they contributed to social progress?  (also to be linked with Myths and heroes because some of these protest songs have become myths – also to be linked with the notion of Idea of progress – how have these songs contributed to social progress?)

Civil Rights: To what extent have African Americans achieved equal civil rights? Are African Americans still second-class citizens? (also to be linked with Myths and Heroes and Idea of Progress) : MLK, Rosa Parks etc… Heroes who have inspired others and contributed to social progress

ART as a form of power : How has the Harlem Renaissance contributed to forge a black identity? (also to be linked to Spaces and Exchanges : The Great Migration to Northern cities – Migration for a better life)

Spaces and Exchanges

This notion deals with the geographical and symbolic areas (spaces) that all societies occupy and the interactions (exchanges) between men and different societies. Our world is built on the exploration and conquest of new spaces. The different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have shaped and characterised our modern-day world.

Examples can be:

  • India : Progress and traditions –
  • Working conditions (telecommuting, internet)
  • Globalization (the world has become a small village) – global cities
  • School and education (social diversity / knowledge)  comparison of the different educational systems – the brain drain
  • The Internet / social networks… a new virtual space ….the advantages and disadvantages of increased access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter -Cyber criminality, identity theft, cyber bullying, internet scams..
  • the movement of people: Immigration  to the UK, to the US, the Brexit
  • movement across borders (Gap Year) – student exchanges

We will focus on 2 topics :

Global cities: To what extent do migrants contribute to population and economic growth in global cities?  why are migrants attracted to global cities?

Migration: The migration of African Americans to Northern cities – In search of a new identity – Reason to migrate – Attraction to urban life.

 

Publicités

Black Protest Song : Strange Fruit

strange-fruit

ANALYSIS – POETIC DEVICES IN STRANGE FRUIT

Metaphor

 

 

 

‘Strange Fruit’ Unusual Imagery, so grabs your attention. Also dehumanising.
Irony

 

 

 

 

 

‘gallant’ Gallant means brave and honourable, so using it in this context is sarcastic – the poet means the opposite of this.
Alliteration

 

 

 

‘Black bodies’

 

“sudden smell”

Makes you pay attention to those words
Rhyme

 

 

 

Throughout poems Helps when reading it out loud, gives it structure, makes it flow. Memorable.
Adjectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘strange’

 

 

‘bitter’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘black’

Means different – see connotations(fruit)

 

Two meanings: 1. People looking at hem might look like they had a bitter taste in their mouths, 2. The bitterness that it caused in the family and friends of those who were lynched.

 

Only reference to race in the poem. Followed by ‘bodies’, showing that the people had no individuality or identity as such apart from their race.

Repetition

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Strange Fruit’ Gets it into your head – at beginning and end of poem to give it structure
Connotation

 

 

Blood

 

 

Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

Bulging, Twisted

We associate with death and pain

 

We think of fruit being positive, but in this poem we are made aware that this fruit is ‘strange’ – so negative.

 

Violent

Imagery

 

 

…the whole poem… This whole poem uses Imagery to get its message across. In particular, a lot of disturbing and violent imagery is used. Also, at times, unusual imagery is used for dramatic effect.
Listing

 

 

For… Time passing, reiterates the point
Contrast

 

 

‘scent of magnolias’ vs ‘burning flesh’ Imagery for the nose J Shocks you because it is so disturbing, especially when juxtaposed with the sweetness of a magnolia.
Allusions To seasons:

Rain: Winter

Wind:Spring

Sun: Summer

To drop: Autumn

 

Shows it is all year round – ever present. And cyclical.

 

CONTEXT, MEANING AND IMPACT

 First recorded by the famous jazz singer Billie Holiday, ‘Strange Fruit’ is a song about the lynching of black people in Southern America in the first half of the 20th Century. It was first written as a poem by teacher Abel Meerpol and was then was published in 1937. Abel Meerpol was a white Jewish man who belonged to the American Communist Party, and he wrote the song after seeing a gruesome picture of a lynching of black men. In the 1930s, lynching had reached a high peak in the South of US. By conservative estimates there were around 4,000 lynchings in the half century before 1940, the vast majority in the South, with most of the victims black.

The song has simple lyrics, that carry a huge strength, and haunt you even when the song is over.  The song exposes the brutality of racism in America, and doesn’t leave any room for more words. When the meaning of the song is fully grasped, one remains shocked, angry and disgusted by the imagery portrayed.

When Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939 she said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation but, because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing the piece, making it a regular part of her live performances. The song was so powerful that a rule was set that she could only close a show with it; the barmen would have to close off service and darken the room. The show would end with Billie Holiday, with her powerful voice, singing in the dark with a light shining on her. Even the way it was performed reflected the compelling origin of the song and its lyrics.

It was not easy to record the song, as most recording companies were afraid of gaining a bad reputation with the anti-communists and southern racists in America, which at the time dominated the political scene. However, when it was finally recorded by Commodore in 1939, it quickly became famous. It attracted the attention of the more politically aware park of society; intellectuals, artists, teachers and journalists. In October of that year, a journalist of the New York Post described the song as the anthem and the anger of the exploited people of the south, if they ever got to voice it.

At a time when political protest was not often expressed in musical form, the song was revolutionary. It was seldom played on the radio. This was a period in which the segregationist Southern Dixiecrats played a leading role in the Democratic Party as well as the Roosevelt administration. It would take a mass movement to finally dismantle the apartheid system that played a key role in setting the stage for lynching.

The song, is said to be the original protest song.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,

Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,

And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,

For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

sources : http://wordsinthebucket.com/meaning-behind-strange-fruit-billie-holiday

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE SONG

It was the first time a black artist had sung such controversial lyrics. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun called the song « a declaration of war… the beginning of the civil rights movement ».

It has endured and become a symbol of the racism, cruelty, pain and suffering endured by so many in the United States. Other major artists, including Nina Simone, John Martyn, Sting and Robert Wyatt, went on to record it.

Billie Holiday’s version eventually sold more than a million copies. In 1999, Time magazine voted Strange Fruit the Song of the Century.

Bob Dylan cites the song as a personal inspiration. It has inspired books, an opera and continues to be recorded today.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN ANALYSING THE SONG :

Why were most lynching victims hung from trees?

How do we know from the lyrics that the « strange » fruit here means the bodies of lynching victims?

What contrast is made between the « gallant South » and the South which bears strange fruit? What is ironic about this contrast?

Why do you think the word « lynching » never appears in the song?

Do you think the song is more powerful, or less powerful, because its topic [lynching] is implied instead of stated?

To what extent can a song be an effective form of protest ?

Why is this song so relevant today ?

Donald Trump inauguration: Rebecca Ferguson says she will perform ceremony if she can sing ‘Strange Fruit’ !!!!

 

 

 

 

 

THE COMPLEX HERO WHO BECAME A LEGEND

Malcolm X, the activist and outspoken public voice of the Black Muslim faith, challenged the mainstream civil rights movement and the nonviolent pursuit of integration championed by Martin Luther King Jr.He urged followers to defend themselves against white aggression “by any means necessary.” Born Malcolm Little, he changed his last name to X to signify his rejection of his “slave” name. Charismatic and eloquent, Malcolm became an influential leader of the Nation of Islam, which combined Islam with black nationalism and sought to encourageand enfranchise disadvantaged young blacks searching for confidence in segregated America. After Malcolm X’s death in 1965, his bestselling book The Autobiography of Malcolm X popularized his ideas, particularly among black youth, and laid the foundation for the Black Power movement of the late 1960s and 1970s.

malcolm-x-images-malcolmx-13

Une émission de France Culture sur Malcolm X

7 Things You May Not Know About Malcolm X

Get the facts on the outspoken black nationalist.
His father may have been killed by white supremacists.
As vocal supporters of pan-African leader Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X’s parents faced constant threats from white supremacists. Just before Malcolm’s birth, for example, armed Ku Klux Klansmen rode out to their house in Omaha, Nebraska, and shattered all their windows. Another of their homes burned down a few years later, apparently at the hands of the Black Legion, a Klan splinter group. Even worse, when Malcolm was 6 years old, his father went out one evening to collect a debt, only to be hit by a streetcar and mortally wounded. Though the authorities ruled his death an accident, African-Americans in town believed the Black Legion had beat him and placed him on the tracks to be run over. To this day, no one knows for sure. Malcolm also lost other relatives to violence, including an uncle he said was lynched by whites.

He moved around constantly as a youth.

Despite being born in Omaha, Malcolm Little (as he was known then) spent very little time there before his family uprooted, first to Milwaukee, then to East Chicago, Indiana, and finally to Lansing, Michigan, where his father would be killed. Not long afterwards, Malcolm’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was shipped off to a mental institution, prompting welfare officials to split Malcolm and his now-parentless siblings apart. At first, Malcolm stayed with neighbors. He was then sent to a juvenile detention home in Mason, Michigan, about 10 miles south of Lansing, where he attended a nearly all-white junior high. Though academically near the top of his class, an English teacher purportedly told him that being a lawyer was “no realistic goal for a nigger.” Fed up, he went at age 15 to live with his half-sister in Boston, never to attend school again. A railroad job instilled in him a fondness for travel, and by age 17 he was residing in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem.

He spent six-and-a-half years in jail.

As early as age 9, with his family in dire economic straits, Malcolm began robbing food from stores in Lansing. Later on, in Boston and New York, he got involved in drug dealing, gambling and prostitution rackets, spending much of his time in seedy nightclubs. At age 19, he was arrested for the first time for allegedly stealing and pawning his half-sister’s fur coat. A second arrest followed for allegedly mugging an acquaintance at gunpoint, and a third arrest came after he burglarized a series of Boston-area homes. Sentenced to state prison in 1946, his cellblock mates called him “Satan” for his habit of pacing around and muttering curses at God and the Bible. Soon after, however, he settled down and began voraciously devouring works of history—the horrors of slavery made a particular impression on him—as well as virtually all other nonfiction he could get his hands on. He even tried memorizing the dictionary. “In every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading on my bunk,” Malcolm wrote in his autobiography. “You couldn’t have gotten me out of books with a wedge.” Meanwhile, following the example of his siblings, he joined the Nation of Islam and struck up a correspondence with its leader, Elijah Muhammad. Like Garvey, the Nation of Islam preached black self-reliance and empowerment. In a far cry from traditional Islam, it also taught that whites were a race of “blue-eyed devils” created millenniums ago by an evil scientist.

With his help, the Nation of Islam took off in popularity.

Upon leaving prison in 1952, Malcolm moved to his brother’s house near Detroit, where he attended the local Nation of Islam mosque and actively sought out new converts. Dropping his surname Little, which he considered a “slave” name, in favor of the letter X, he quickly became a favorite of Elijah Muhammad, who promoted him to minister prior to dispatching him to Boston and Philadelphia to establish new mosques there. Malcolm then spent a decade as head of the Harlem mosque, in addition to launching a Nation of Islam newspaper, giving speeches at dozens of universities around the country, participating in debates with mainstream civil-rights leaders and occasionally meeting with foreign heads of state. Everywhere, he railed against white racism, saying such things as, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, my brothers and sisters—Plymouth Rock landed on us!” Largely as a result of his efforts, membership in the Nation of Islam grew from only a few hundred at the time of his conversion to about 6,000 in 1955 and then to an estimated 75,000 in the early 1960s. Non-Muslims also took note of his fiery oratory, including author Alex Haley, with whom he would collaborate on his autobiography.

He opposed integration.

While in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm routinely referred to mainstream civil-rights leaders as “Uncle Toms,” considering them fools for thinking white America would ever willingly give them equality. When Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington, Malcolm called it the “Farce on Washington.” “Who ever heard of angry revolutionists all harmonizing ‘We Shall Overcome’ … while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against?” he wrote in his autobiography. A believer in strict separation of the races, he once even entered into secret negotiations with the KKK. Yet after making a religious pilgrimage to Mecca in April 1964, he began, in his own words, to “reappraise the ‘white man.’” From that point forward, Malcolm moved away from black separatism and wholesale denunciations of whites, and instead embraced a more humanistic approach to fighting oppression.

He bitterly broke with Elijah Muhammad.

Though he once revered Muhammad, Malcolm began having second thoughts after discovering that his mentor had fathered several illegitimate children in direct violation of the Nation of Islam’s teachings. Their relationship then further soured in late 1963, when Muhammad suspended him for asserting that President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was a case of the “chickens coming home to roost.” At loose ends, Malcolm announced his split from the Nation of Islam early the next year, converted to traditional Islam and took on the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. In speeches, he now criticized Muhammad for his infidelities and for “religious fakery,” prompting the Nation of Islam to take retaliatory measures. On February 14, 1965, someone threw Molotov cocktails at his New York City home, forcing him, his pregnant wife and his four daughters to take refuge in the backyard. Exactly a week later, Nation of Islam members shot him dead at the Audubon Ballroom.

The FBI followed his every move.

As a prisoner in 1950, Malcolm wrote a letter to President Harry Truman in which he declared himself a Communist opposed to the Korean War. This brought him to the attention of the FBI, which began surveillance that would last until his death. In one document that has since come to light, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover told the agency’s New York office to “do something about Malcolm X.” Another time, the agency explored whether he had violated the little-known Logan Act, which bans citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments. It had a hard time discrediting him, however, because of the law-abiding way in which he lived his post-prison life. In 1958, an FBI informant called him a man “of high moral character” who “neither smokes nor drinks.” Apparently, he was seldom even late for an appointment. Some scholars speculate that the FBI, with so many informants inside the Nation of Islam, knew about the plot to assassinate Malcolm and intentionally turned a blind eye to it.

Sources: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/malcolm-x

PROBLEMATIQUES:

How does a man/a woman become a legend ?

What makes a man/a woman  a legend?

Malcom X was a complex hero but he remains one of America’s most influential civil rights leaders and  his legacy of black empowerment continues to resonate half a century after his assassination.

People who get remembered for such long periods of times are the legends who have done things that inspired generations and generations after their death.

How have they inspired generations ?

You can illustrate this statement with other black leaders and artists who have indeed become legends : MLK, Rosa Parks, Louis Amstrong, Duke Ellington etc..

You may ask yourself why such leaders as Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela who died more recently are already legendary heroes.

Make sure you know the difference between myths and legends although these two terms are often interchangeable.

A legend is presumed to have some basis in historical fact and tends to mention real people or events.  In contrast, a myth is a type of symbolic storytelling that was never based on fact. Throughout time, myths have sought to explain difficult concepts (e.g., the origin of the universe) with the help of common story devices, such as personification and allegories.

These words are commonly used interchangeably to refer to the fictitious nature of something. Historically and academically, however, there is a difference.

Comparison chart

Legend versus Myth comparison chart
Legend Myth
Evidence that events occurred / people existed? Yes, but evidence may be insubstantial. No
When and where did it happen? Typically in more recent historical past. Usually from a specific culture. Usually the ancient past from a specific culture.
Is it fact or fiction? Facts are distorted or exaggerated. Some fiction. No evidence to prove it as fact. Fictional stories explaining how « the world was created » or some type of natural situation that occurred on Earth.
Who are they about? Notable people from history. Gods, supernatural realm.
What are they about? Often about heroic deeds, overcoming obstacles, but may also be about evildoing. Traditional narrative that explains natural phenomena through symbolism and metaphor — often involves the gods of ancient cultures.

 

 

 

 

The American Dream :Myth or reality?

Here is a link which explains the American Dream in simple terms. It will also give you key questions for the exam.

 

The American dream

A myth or a reality?

What are the main values that the American Dream stands on? Are they still shared today?

Now watch a video of the recently elected Donald Trump and his intention to renew the American Dream. ¨Trump pledges to renew the American Dream¨ : For Trump, the dream is obviously  a reality which is no longer true but can be brought back. The dream can become reality if you vote for him!

To what extent was the American dream of the settlers  fulfilled in the XX century? What about today?

Another video on the American Dream : Requiem for the American Dream. An interview of one of the most prominent intellectual of the XX century : Noam Chomsky. For Chomsky the American Dream has always been a make belief. Chomsky explains how concentrated wealth creates concentrated power, which legislates further concentration of wealth, which then concentrates more power in a vicious cycle. He lists and elaborates on ten principles of the concentration of wealth and power — principles that the wealthy of the United States have acted intensely on for 40 years or more.

The video can be seen on youtube –

Great document to illustrate the notion of power.

The film concludes with a call to build mass movements for change. The United States still has a very free society, Chomsky advises. A lot can be done, he tells us, if people will only choose to do it.

Again this can illustrate the notion of power and the topic of counter power : See my post on Power and counter power –

To finish let´s remember John Lennon´s song :

JOHN LENNON LYRICS

« Power To The People »

Power to the people

Power to the people

Power to the people, right on

Say you want a revolution
We better get on right away
Well you get on your feet
And out on the street

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

A million workers working for nothing
You better give ’em what they really own
We got to put you down
When we come into town

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

I gotta ask you comrades and brothers
How do you treat you own woman back home
She got to be herself
So she can free herself

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on
Now, now, now, now

Oh well, power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Yeah, power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIDEL CASTRO : A HERO OR A VILLAIN?

castro1

SOME ARE GRIEVING….

castro2

WHILE OTHERS ARE CELEBRATING…..

He was a figure of both lights and shadows, beloved as well as hated by millions of Cubans and others around the world.

Here are 2 articles to help you forge your own opinion on this ambivalent leader.

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

Definition of heroes

  • A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal
  • A person who has braved death, who has risked or sacrified his or her life

In the light of this definition, can Fidel Castro be called a hero?

 

 

 

 

MYTHS AND HEROES -Quelle problematique?

us-myths

How to present the notion Myths and heroes ?

In the title Myths and heroes, we have two terms MYTHS and HEROES, so you´ll have to explain both. Both terms are intrinsically linked since a myth is a fiction or half-truth in which the hero (fictious or real) is the central character.

What you need to know to understand the notion

– The hero embodies (incarnates) universal values such as courage, honesty, justice, generosity, selflessness,  etc..

-These values are part of a country´s culture and are important for its people. (ie: the US dream)

-There are many ways of representing a myth (legends, media, cinema, statues, symbols..)

Think of the documents you have studied in class and enrich your presentation with a personal document to show your personal knowledge.

How to formulate your key question?

Problématiser, c’est se poser une question dont la réponse prête à discussion, une question à laquelle on ne peut pas répondre par oui ou par non, une question qui nous interpelle ; c’est une question qui pousse à la réflexion, qui nous invite à définir  les liens avec la notion et les documents choisis ; c’est une question qui suscite un raisonnement et ouvre sur  d’autres questions.

Therefore, your question should start with :

Why ? To what extent ? How ?

Ask yourself whether/why/how

A given person (a historical figure, a celebrity, an everyday person..) can be considered as a hero ? if not why? Does he/she is part of a myth?

 In order to find a key question (problematique) in relation to the notion of Myths and Heroes  ask yourself the following questions ?

To what extent can the characters studied in class be seen as heroes?

What values do they incarnate/embody/represent?

In which context have they emerged?

Is this the original myth or a parody, a modern interpretation?

How to illustrate the notion Myths and Heroes ?

San Francisco/ New York – How does a city become  a myth/a legend? (Also to link with Spaces and Exchanges)

Famous leaders/artists in UK/US: –

Why do  people need a leader to organize their fight? (Also to be related to Power and seats of power)

To what extent are iconic symbols necessary to lead people? (Also to be related to Power and seats of power)

To what extend have engaged artists helped improve the situation for …… ? (Also to be related to Power and seats of power)

Fiction

What can explain the popularity of the fantasy genre?

The American Dream

To what extent is the myth still alive ? (Immigration – Spaces and exchanges)

 

You will find more key questions in my post ¨Myths and Heroes published a few months ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEROES – HEROINES

heroes-ex-poster

  • A man/woman distingued by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude…
  • Someone who is idealized for possessing superior qualities (
  • A being who is endowed with extraordinary strength and courage, often of divine ancestry, who is celebrated for his bold exploits
  • The protagonist character in a novel, film, play..
  • A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal
  • A person who has braved death, who has risked or sacrified his or her life

heroes  – vocabulary to help you define a hero

types-of-heroes

 

Les 4 notions – Tips for your oral presentation

For the oral test, you´ll have 5 minutes to present the notion, your key question (problématique) and the 3 documents to illustrate your argumentation.

The other 5 minutes will be dedicated to an interaction with the teacher. In another post, I will give you a set of questions you may want to practice before the exam.

Spaces and Exchanges

Spaces and Exchanges – useful expressions –

Idea of Progress

Idea of Progress – Useful expressions

Power and Seats of Power

Power and Seats of Power – Useful expressions

Myths and Heroes

Myths and heroes – Useful expressions

 

 

How have the media influenced protest movements ?

The Civil Rights Movement and Television  –  E-Notes  Website – 

During the 1950s the struggle for civil rights came to a head at the same time television began to appear in most Americans’ homes.  At the beginning of the decade, television was a novelty owned by very few people. By 1960 ninety percent of American homes had television. Television became a catalyst for change on a massive scale. People in the northern states could see what was happening in Selma, Birmingham, and Memphis and vice versa. In addition, television helped Southern blacks unify, for while local Southern media rarely covered news involving racial issues, they now had access to national newscasts that were witnessing and documenting this revolution.

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND TELEVISION  – CBS Reports: Who Speaks for Birmingham

Who Speaks for Birmingham, broadcast during the tumultuous rise in visibility of the civil rights movement in the media, reported on the racial divide between the white and black communities of Birmingham, Alabama. Residents testify to their conflicted feelings about how racial integration will affect their lives, with very differing portraits offered from both the white and black community. Although Howard K. Smith reports for this program, an uncredited Edward R. Murrow developed the topic and got it approved by CBS management. (1961; 55 minutes)

Mrs. George Bridges, a cultural leader in the highly segregated South, discusses her feelings about the role prejudice plays in the lives of the white Birmingham elite.

Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, civil rights activist, describes the 1957 attempt on his life by a mob of Klansmen, which occurred when he and his wife attempted to enroll their children in a previously all-white public school in Birmingham.

How did the media influence the civil rights movement?  

Television gave a lot of coverage to the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the media covered events ranging from the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. When 15 year Emmitt Till was murdered there was also a lot of media coverage. All of these events were occurring while the number of American families that had television sets jumped from 56% to 92%. Television gave Americans a visual of what was occurring in our country.

Here are some other events that television covered:

1955-shots of numerous boycotted buses driving down deserted Alabama streets; 1957-angry white mobs of segregationists squaring-off against black students escorted by a phalanx of Federal Troops in front of Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi; 1965-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leads a mass of black protesters across a bridge in Selma, Alabama; 1963 attack on young civil rights protesters by the Birmingham, Alabama, police and their dogs, and the fire department’s decision to turn on fire hydrants to disperse the young black demonstrators, most of whom were children.

The media influenced the civil rights movement in key ways, and it is important to understand that the leaders of the movement understood this fact very clearly. First, the media tended to anoint leaders of the movement, particularly Martin Luther King. This had the effect of portraying King’s vision of the movement, which was non-violent and essentially political (the media for a time tended to efface his statements about economic equality) as if it represented a consensus.

The other influence the media had on the movement was to televise its key events to a nationwide, and even worldwide audience. The entire nation was shocked by the shocking scenes from places like Birmingham and Selma. Not only did this lead to popular support for civil rights legislation everywhere but the South, but in a Cold War context, it created a major propaganda opportunity for the Soviet Union to portray US rhetoric about freedom as hollow and meaningless.

The media played a vital role in being able to galvanize more Americans into witnessing for themselves the atrocious violations of individual rights that were taking place in the South. The media showing the horrendous conditions, or the pain that protesters had to endure from others helped to bring more people into the movement.  This galvanizing of emotion into action was facilitated by the media.  Individuals in the North who might not have been moved to action were done so through the media.  When Dr. King gives his « I have a dream » speech, the broadcasts of this moment helps to give voice to the movement.  It was the media that would have preempted its own programming to show the atrocities happening in America.  For example, interrupting its own broadcast of « Judgment at Nuremberg, » ABC News showed protesters being beaten in the South.

Without the media, the civil rights movement would not have been possible in my opinion.  The whole strategy of the movement was based on getting media coverage.

The movement was really trying to persuade whites outside the South to support the cause of civil rights.  These whites would not have been able to hear much about the movement without the media.

In addition, they would have been less likely to support blacks even if they had heard about it.  The media coverage made support more likely because it showed things like protestors getting attacked by police dogs.  This made the Southern whites look bad and got a lot of support for the movement.

On protest movements

There are many types of demonstrations, including a variety of elements. These may include:

  • Marches, in which a paradedemonstrate while moving along a set route.
  • Rallies, in which people gather to listen to speakers or musicians.
  • Picketing, in which people surround an area (normally an employer).
  • Sit-ins, in which demonstrators occupy an area, sometimes for a stated period but sometimes indefinitely, until they feel their issue has been addressed, or they are otherwise convinced or forced to leave.
  • Nudity, in which they protest naked – here the antagonist may give in before the demonstration happens to avoid embarrassment.

The protest movements, inspired by the so-called Arab Spring and the initial protests in Spain earlier in 2011, have spread globally. Many have been nicknamed as “Occupy” movements such as Occupy Wall Street, in reference to how Egyptians occupied the famous Tahrir Square during their uprising.

QUESTIONS:

How have the media contributed to empower people ?

Would the Civil Rights movement have been possible without the media?

(see my previous post ¨Power and Counter Power¨ to find more documents to illustrate the role of the media in shaping public opinion ie: Greenpeace, Wikileaks, We are the 99 percent)

 

 

POWER AND COUNTER POWER

What is power?

What is a counter power?

What are the different types of power?

Power is the ability to exercise authority and influence over others. It can be exerted in different areas such as Economy, Politics, media etc..

In relation to the notion, the topic/theme we are going to deal with/discuss will be the 4th power. The 4th power is usually defined as the power of the press and public opinion-

Problematiques/key questions  we may wonder if/to….

To what extent can the press  be considered as a form of power? why and to what extent?

What should the limits to convey information be?

Should classified elements remain secret? Should Wikileaks be limited?

Should limits be imposed on counter powers?

Do we have the power as citizen to shape public life?

Are empowered citizens truly powerful?

Are counter powers really effective?

Have counter powers acquired more power/influence?

Is the influence of Internet a good influence?

To what extent are counter powers growing in influence?

Can active citizens change the world?

How have social media helped  empower people?

Is the power of the people greater than the people in power?

The press and public opinion are commonly nicknamed the fourth power. By extension the 4th power refers to the various means of communication which can be used as counter powers to limit the 3 other powers (which are the legislative executive and judicial powers). For many years new powers have emerged and have had a great influence on public opinion. Internet is refered to as the fifth power.

Documents to illustrate your topic  :

The power of the press : The Panama papers :

One of the biggest leaks in journalistic history reveals the secretive offshore companies used to hide wealth, evade taxes and commit fraud by the world’s dictators, business tycoons and criminals.Panama Papers are documents obtained from a Panama-based offshore services provider called Mossack Fonseca. The documents were received by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Mossack Fonseca: inside the firm that helps the super-rich hide their money

The Panama papers

The power of the Internet : Wikileaks :

WikiLeaks is an international online not-for-profit media organization founded by Australian activist Julian Assange that has published and made available to the public a huge number of classified, uncensored and highly sensitive documents from various anonymous news sources. Its website, which opened in 2006, collected a database of more than 1.2 million documents in the first year alone. This initiative to reveal and make public state secrets and confidential information received intense media coverage but also prompt state retaliation. Julian Assange is hiding….Some consider him a hero, others a villain. 

How powerful is wikileaks?

The power of public opinion :

Occupy movements around the world

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Public Opinion

We are the 99 percent

occupy wall street

The scene is set in the street before the New York Stock Exchange. In the foreground, a policeman is arresting a demonstrator who is wearing a sweater with Öccupy Wall Street¨written on it and a badge which reads ¨99%¨. The policeman is trampling over a placard with the word ¨GREED¨ barred on it . We can therefore infer that the demonstrators are protesting against greed. In addition, there are masked robbers/thieves in the background standing in front of the Stock Exchange. Each of the men is carrying a bag full of money and yet they are not being arrested. They are watching the scene and seem quite relaxed about the police presence. The cartoonist´s message is clear. The demonstrator is being arrested simply for occupying Wall Street, meanwhile the thieves, obviously representing the world of finance go unpunished.

The power of NGOs:

The NGO Greenpeace has monitered the anti-environmental practices of big business and industry for over 40 years. Every time they find evidence of wrong-doing, they try to alert public opinion any way they can.

Action At Port Lincoln, Australia.
Greenpeace activists in an inflatable intercept the worlds second largest factory fishing trawler, the FV Margiris. Attempting to block the monster ship from entering Port Lincoln in South Australia. A banner reads ‘No Super Trawlers’. Greenpeace is calling on the Australian Government to refuse to grant a fishing license to the FV Margiris and introduce a policy to ban all super trawlers from Australian waters.

 

Comments: Here we have a perfect illustration of powers and counter powers – It also reminds us of the fight of David against Goliath with the small inflatable of Greenpeace challenging the monster ship which represents big business- Obviously the dinghy can´t stop the boat but maybe the photo can.  The power of money and big businesses is being confronted by the Citizen power of an NGO and the media.

HOW TO CONCLUDE

 

In the conclusion, dedicate a sentence or two by summarizing what you have been discussing. It´s a good idea to link your key question to another notion by opening up with a suggestion or a question.

Myths and heroes:

Does being an activist make you a hero?

Can Julian Assange be considered a hero?

Idea of progress

Power is a force connecting people,communities and nations in a constant progress of contestations and change. The growing influence of street movements, of the free press, of the internet, is also a sign of more democracy.

Spaces and exchanges

Exchanging information in a digital age has empowered citizens.

VOCAB:

Power – powerful- powerless- to empower- empowerment-

To exercise/to possess/ to seize/ to enforce/ to grant/ to wield/ to lack…. power

To release information /to shed light on/ to discredit/

Public opinion/reliable sources/misconduct/censorship/classified/