Dream and Disaster

We learned last time that the American Dream was never as great as in the movies. Many who moved to America did not have the success they dreamed of. We talked about how many Swedes who migrated in the mid 1800s ended up in shanty towns like Swede Hollow.

Swede Hollow

But on the silver screen stories of success, of courage, and of the great boundless wealth of America was commonplace.

Paradise Lost

The first crisis in confidence in the American Dream can, arguably, be seen in the 1960s. The dream was perhaps a nightmare? This was shown on television, in the news. News of civil unrest due to racial tensions, pictures from the war in Vietnam, and perhaps most importantly the live television murder of John F. Kennedy, the president of the United States.

Hope, youth, and Camelot

The hope and energy of the post-war years was embodied in the youth and intelligence of John F Kennedy who is well known for his speech on liberty and hope. The image of his family is very special. They were a kind of fashionable nobility in the United states.


Fashionable, young, and smart

Kennedy’s Inaugural address

[Full text]

Death of JFK reported by Walter Cronkite

The Zapruder film in the motion picture film JFK

How the assassination of Kennedy influenced the US

”During the day of the assassination and the next three days, the nation would be bound together by television not only in shock but in mourning. From shortly after the shots in Dallas on Friday to the conclusion of the funeral services in Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, America’s three television networks canceled all regular programs and all advertising, and carried only news related to the assassination and the events that followed, in coverage uninterrupted by commercials. As the day of the assassination and the three days of memorial pageantry for John Fitzgerald Kennedy unfolded in Washington, America sat before its television sets watching it as if the country was gathered in one vast living room: a nation that was, for those four days, a single audience—in a way that had never happened before in history. A survey by the A. C. Nielsen Company, the leading commercial firm conducting television surveys, showed that during these four days approximately 166 million Americans in fifty-one million homes were tuned in at some time to the Kennedy coverage—and surveys by Nielsen and social science organizations showed that in most homes the time was substantial: during the four days, according to these surveys, the average American family watched the ceremonies for an almost incredible total of 31.6 hours, almost eight hours per day. The pervasiveness well the immediacy of television coverage made the assassination and the events following it an event “probably without parallel in the past,” the Social Science Research Council said. Not only was “President Kennedy’s loss the first loss of a national leader reported in any such detail on the picture tubes of a nation,” but ”For all practical purposes there was no other news story in America during those four days,” a study by the National Opinion Research Center concluded. “There were times during those days when a majority of all Americans were apparently looking at the same events and hearing the same words from their television sets – participating together … in a great national event. Nothing like this on such a scale had ever occurred before.”

Robert Caro, The Passage of Power (2013)

Task

  1. Look up the words in bold face.
  2. How was the assassination of Kennedy special in the history of the United States, according to Robert Caro?
  3. After the murder, people came to talk about what they did when Kennedy was assassinated. Why do you think that is?
  4. How do you explain the popularity of the Kennedys? Even today there is a chain of stores named ”Jackie”, after Jackie Kennedy. Why do you think the store chose that name? Look at the store’s line of clothing and do a picture search on Jackie Kennedy on Google. What do you think?

Art of Persuasion 1

Today you will be working in groups to analyse a short speech or extract.

Each group will give a presentation to the class, covering the following points:

  1. What is the speaker’s aim or objective?
  2. What techniques does the speaker use?
  3. What ideals or principles does the speaker appeal to?
  4. In what ways is the speech similar or different to others we have seen.

Malcolm X, speech about police brutality

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Message to the people of America on the partition of India, 1947.

John F. Kennedy 1961, Inaugural address, Washington, D.C. (Full text)

Martin Luther King’s , 1943 speech 28 augusti 1963 at Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Full text)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vDWWy4CMhE

The American Story

It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs. The hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores. The hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta. The hope of a mill worker’s son who dares to defy the odds. The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too. Hope! Hope in the face of difficulty! Hope in the face of uncertainty! The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.

A City upon a Hill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_upon_a_Hill

Manifest Destiny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny

Opening scene

Convenience store, second scene

The Poem

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

by Langston Hughes

The roots of a nation

To properly understand the US you have to study its history and the conditions under which Americans have developed. The people that came to colonize northern America were typically very daring and enterprising people. They had dared to cross the Atlantic in order to reach the New World. Many of them were very religious people who had fled the religious repression of many of the European states.

A great many of the settlers who came to America actually thought of themselves as God’s emissaries. They saw themselves as establishing His kingdom on the new continent. To these people America was the Promised Land, a New Canaan.Some of the colonists came to speak of themselves as citizens of the City upon a Hill. A phrase they had got from Matthew 5:14 ”Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”. The colonist thought that they were chosen to build a new nation which was to set an example to all others.

These beliefs – that the Americans are the chosen people living in a country reserved for them by God and that they have been set there to be an example to others – have continued to live through American history and are still, in a secularized form, very much alive. In actions and in words, in foreign and domestic policy Americans have often looked upon themselves as a model for the world and as both savior and police with divine sanction

An expression of this belief is the fact that many Americans shared the conviction in the nineteenth century that it was the manifest destiny of the United States to expand all the way to the Pacific Ocean. One of the many literary expressions of this is this passage from Herman Melville’s White-Jacket: ”[a]nd we Americans are the peculiar chosen people— the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of liberties of the world”.

Progress and problems

The first colonists’ dream of a blessed land, a land of plenty, was soon discovered to be something quite different. The hardships of these first Americans were many: they died of all sorts of diseases, the land was wild and they had a hard time to survive.

The overall economic success of America, however, has many reasons: the rich natural resources that could be simply taken from the indigenous population (as they were virtually annihilated), and the vastness of the country, people were allowed to compete on their own merits (in Europe the feudal system was very rigid and did not let people go into business for themselves). In some ways the mentality of the people had something to do with it as well: the colonists were very ambitious and optimistic. They truly believed in the dream of social and material success. They thought that everything was possible.

The firm belief in progress and development met with many problems. Many colonists did not succeed, others lost heart and became pessimistic and bitter. Throughout the years more and more people have come to America with their visions and dreams, some have succeeded others have not. America is in this sense a country of extremes a land of the rich as well as of the poor. The progress in some fields (space travel or entertainment industry) do not overshadow problems such as segregation, racism and ecrime.

Manifest destiny in our century

As previously stated the ideas of the City upon a Hill and Manifest Destiny still live, although in a slightly altered form.

The Apollo program in itself represents, in a sense, a continuation of the pioneering spirit of the US; it represents the will to expand, to go forward, to claim, to manifest destiny – to continue, in a metaphorical sense, the journey Westward.

Questions

The US sees itself as special. The Americans feel they have a special role to play in the world.

How do we see this in Obama’s speech, and elsewhere?

Sweden has perhaps a different self-image? What would you say is typically Swedish

The Gaze

Some critics see power as working through ”the gaze”. The ones who watch are those who have the power. Those who are being watched are those who are controlled. It is described this in Focault’s book The Birth of the Clinic, but also Focault’s book about the history of the prison.

Here Foucault shows us the panopticon by Jeremy Bentham, the all-seeing prison.

800px-panopticon

800px-presidio-modelo2

The concept of the gaze have become very important to feminist thinkers, and to queer criticism (who both study how concepts of the body and gender are constructed as systems of power in society). The gaze is a process of objectification and pacification. In movies there is a portrayal of women that essentially makes them subordinated to male ideas of women’s bodies. The movies construct an ideal body and an ideal gender. Women are rendered objects to watch in the dark anonymity of the cinema.

In art there has been a reaction against the ”politics of the body” and the ”genderization” of the female and the construction of the female identity. (Through the gaze and the processes of objectification in for instance cinema).

In post-colonial criticism the concept of the gaze has also become important. Most news about the Middle-east is written in the west, bys so-called experts and journalists. Often the east is described as violent, filled with terrorism, and victims. The peoples in the Middle-east rarely have the power to tell their stories.

Abou naddara, an anonymous art collective, tries to give a dignified image of human life in Syria. Not the bleeding and dirty body of the war reports, not the victim, not ”the other”. Here the woman as presented as human, as us, as ”the same”.

The Danger of a single story

Questions

1. What is the main point that Adichie makes in her TED talk when she describes her experience of reading Western children’s books?

2. At the end of her TED talk, what is Adichie urging us (her audience members) to do?

3. What is the relevance of Adichie’s message to everyday life

Homework

Bring two quotes for next Tuesday and their justifications.

Reading practice: by any means necessary

malcolm-x-carbine-ebony

Read the text below carefully and answer the questions below.

Salaam Alaikum, Mr. Moderator, our distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, our friends and our enemies, everybody who’s here.

[1]As many of you know, last March when it was announced that I was no longer in the Black Muslim movement, it was pointed out that it was my intention to work among the 22 million non-Muslim Afro-Americans and to try and form some type of organisation[…] And that we would have some kind of meeting and determine at a later date whether to form a black nationalist party or a black nationalist army.

[2] There have been many of our people across the country from all walks of life who have taken it upon themselves to try and pool their ideas and to come up with some kind of solution to the problem that confronts all of our people. And tonight we are here to try and get an understanding of what it is they’ve come up with.

Fortsätt läsa ”Reading practice: by any means necessary”

English 7 – the beginning

311001

Welcome to English 7. This is the last and final course in English in secondary school. The level in this course is fairly advanced.

The course plan can be found here. The course focusses on furthering your command of English. We will read literature, research and discuss various subjects.

We will briefly talk about:

  • Who I am and what I have done
  • Who you are and what you have done
  • What we all can do to make the most of this course

Today we will resolve two tasks, and possibly a third one.

Task 1: Warm-up, What does your name mean?
Using a dictionary, google or any other resource, you are going to find and write down an appropriate adjective that begins with each letter of their first name. For example:
Flirtatious, Relaxed, Extrovert, Desirable

Task 2: Expectations, fears, resources

In pairs. Discuss your expectations, fears and resources, i.e. how you can contribute to the course.

After the talk. Write me a letter where you tell me what you hope we will do, what you hope we won’t do, and what you can bring to the course.

Let’s use the traditional style:

Dear Mr Wernegren,

Best wishes,

Name

Task 3: Learn key concepts

A City upon a Hill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_upon_a_Hill

Manifest Destiny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny

Opening scene

Convenience store, second scene

The Poem

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

by Langston Hughes

The roots of a nation

To properly understand the US you have to study its history and the conditions under which Americans have developed. The people that came to colonize northern America were typically very daring and enterprising people. They had dared to cross the Atlantic in order to reach the New World. Many of them were very religious people who had fled the religious repression of many of the European states.

A great many of the settlers who came to America actually thought of themselves as God’s emissaries. They saw themselves as establishing His kingdom on the new continent. To these people America was the Promised Land, a New Canaan.

Some of the colonists came to speak of themselves as citizens of the City upon a Hill. A phrase they had got from Matthew 5:14 ”Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”. The colonist thought that they were chosen to build a new nation which was to set an example to all others. These beliefs – that the Americans are the chosen people living in a country reserved for them by God and that they have been set there to be an example to others – have continued to live through American history and are still, in a secularized form, very much alive. In actions and in words, in foreign and domestic policy Americans have often looked upon themselves as a model for the world and as both savior and police with divine sanction

An expression of this belief is the fact that many Americans shared the conviction in the nineteenth century that it was the manifest destiny of the United States to expand all the way to the Pacific Ocean. One of the many literary expressions of this is this passage from Herman Melville’s White-Jacket: ”[a]nd we Americans are the peculiar chosen people— the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of liberties of the world”.

Progress and problems

The first colonists’ dream of a blessed land, a land of plenty, was soon discovered to be something quite different. The hardships of these first Americans were many: they died of all sorts of diseases, the land was wild and they had a hard time to survive.

The overall economic success of America, however, has many reasons: the rich natural resources that could be simply taken from the indigenous population (as they were virtually annihilated), and the vastness of the country, people were allowed to compete on their own merits (in Europe the feudal system was very rigid and did not let people go into business for themselves). In some ways the mentality of the people had something to do with it as well: the colonists were very ambitious and optimistic. They truly believed in the dream of social and material success. They thought that everything was possible.

The firm belief in progress and development met with many problems. Many colonists did not succeed, others lost heart and became pessimistic and bitter. Throughout the years more and more people have come to America with their visions and dreams, some have succeeded others have not. America is in this sense a country of extremes a land of the rich as well as of the poor. The progress in some fields (space travel or entertainment industry) do not overshadow problems such as segregation, racism and ecrime.

Manifest destiny in our century

As previously stated the ideas of the City upon a Hill and Manifest Destiny still live, although in a slightly altered form.

The Apollo program in itself represents, in a sense, a continuation of the pioneering spirit of the US; it represents the will to expand, to go forward, to claim, to manifest destiny – to continue, in a metaphorical sense, the journey Westward.

Questions

The US sees itself as special. The Americans feel they have a special role to play in the world.

How do we see this in film, books and in the news?

Sweden has perhaps a different self-image? What would you say is typically Swedish?