My First Album

It must have been over four years ago. My father had already been taking me into Half Price Books to look at CDs for years before when I finally bought my first one. It’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure the first CD I bought was the “Hello Nasty” album by the Beastie Boys. I just had to buy it because one of my favorite songs as a youngster (so long ago I have to rely on tales from my father) was by them. It was called “Brass Monkey”, which now I am aware is about alcohol. I purchased this CD in the hopes that it had this song as I had been wanting to own the song for years. To my chagrin, the song wasn’t on the CD, but I discovered several other songs to my liking. The CD is still in my possession, among one of the stacks of CDs dispersed throughout the house. I have grown away from the Beastie Boys, listening mostly to a collection of rock and alternative dating from the 60s-90s. I am not embarrassed by my purchase, as it was something I cherished, and still do as an album from one of my past favorite bands. I would hope my parents approved of the purchase considering they were there when I made it.

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Wealth Inequality

I remember seeing this video years ago. It still has the same effect viewing it another time: utter disgust. The fact that the bottom 20% of this nation only holds 0.5% of the nation’s investments is frightening. They are living day to day barely scraping by compared to the wealthy.

I don’t find the facts detailed in this video surprising. I have been told repeatedly that the system is not in the regular man’s favor, and have seen considerable evidence for this statement. Homeless living on the streets and orphans in a land who’s rich spend $300,000 for a dog house and $1 million for their hair.

The video uses pathos to make an argument. He talks about the poor not even registering on his scale. He uses this information along with the fact that the 1% make 100 times more than the impoverished to evoke emotion in his viewers. The video also uses logos throughout the entire video. Using figures and percentages to quantify the inequality of wealth distribution. The video also uses ethos by citing information collected from a study, which immediately gives the information credibility. Each of these arguments are effective to fit the creator’s purpose: to inform people of this social injustice.

The video reinforces the idea in The Grapes of Wrath that the rich are in control of everything. They set wages while the poor are scrambling to get substandard wages for an entire days work.

The video also recalls the idea of social inequality due to wealth present in The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is devoted to building an immense wealth only to win back a lost love.

The Hollow Men

The two beginning lines reminded me vaguely of quotes. So after a quick search, I found that that is indeed what they were. The first epigraph is from Heart of Darkness. It describes the death of a man who’s sole purpose was to gain money anyway possible. His death is symbolic in that death awaits all, no matter how much money we have. The second epigraph is “A penny for the Old Guy.” Apparently this is a phrase kids say when begging for money to purchase fireworks in celebration of Guy Fawkes’s failed attempt to blow up Parliament. I don’t quite understand the purpose of this epigraph, but I believe it to stress the insincerity of younger generations. To celebrate the attempt to wreak havoc upon a country’s political system, youth in effect, recreate the bombings with their fireworks without considering the implications if the attempt were successful.

The imagery of “headpieces filled with straw” reminded me of a scarecrow, a fake man full of stuffing to ward off birds. This fake person represents modern people, the hollow men, and adds to the general gloom of the poem. The imagery of a “dead land”, a “cactus land” brings the memory, the dirty and bleak valley of ashes in The Great Gatsby. Both writers appear to be emphasizing the hollowness of modern day people, forgetting their heritage and their humanity while in search for wealth.