American History X – Final Thoughts

Even though I did not watch the last 30 minutes of the film, as I was holding a presentation at that time, I have seen the movie 4 or 5 times before, so I have a relatively good memory of what happened. The movie stirs up a lot of controversy, it questions the average Americans perception one black and white peoples’ history. The main goal of the film would be to convince you that there is more to a person than what you see. Just because someone is black does not mean that they have come from a poor family, just as not every white person comes from a rich, privileged family. The movie shows you how you could easily relate to someone you think you hate more than anything in the world. It is an eye-opening film for a lot of people, although I do not think I fit into the target audience for the movie. I believe in an equal world, where everyone is given the same opportunities despite their skin-color, sexuality, and so on.

American History X, does not really come with any solutions, it addresses and sheds light on an issue. It offers a common ground for those the film is trying to impact. I think the target audience is extremists on both the black and white sides of things. It is trying to show them that although their history is different, they are not so different from each other. Personally, I know people with racist views, I can definitely recognize their arguments, but I can also recognize the flaws in their understanding of the “other side”.

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The Tragic Life of Fatou

Fatou was a young girl and a domestic migrant working in London. Originally it seems she came from the Ivory Coast, she travelled through different places like Ghana and Italy, all to end up working as a domestic migrant in the UK. As she is both a female and a domestic migrant worker, she is definitely a minority, but there are people like her all over Europe. Being a domestic worker, she never found herself at home at any place, neither did she manage to establish connections, friends or respect from those around her in any places. The majority of migrant workers are surprisingly women. Which obviously adds up with Fatou and her situation.

Personal Statement

I want to be an inventor. I’ve always been someone who’s had a negative look on different inventions and how the world has been developing. I don’t see myself as an outsider who fails to accept for example technological development, but as someone who questions both the efficiency and ethics relating to it. I know for sure that I want to study a subject where I could benefit from my best features and maybe not do the job traditionally, but more creatively. I hate inventions, but I want to be inventive. I feel like I have matured immensely throughout the last few years, I used to be a shy, nervous, unsure kid who only wanted to spend time with himself and his videogames, although I have changed a lot recently, the videogames will always have a special place in my heart as an outlet to express yourself through creative thinking. I feel like I have gained enormous amounts of experience through my life, anything from doing my homework on my own since I was 6 years old, or my parents getting a divorce when I was 12 and me being the oldest of 4 brothers at that time, has affected me tremendously. I feel like for my life there was a very thin line between succeeding and disaster. There could have been so many different outcomes from my experiences, but I manged to become independent and understanding at a very young age, which has given me a big advantage in recognizing situations way quicker. My biggest strengths are being a critical thinker, who has it very easy to understand different people’s different situations. Whether I become an economic, journalist or teacher, I want to think outside the box, and focus less on “getting my job done”, but more on performing the job in the best possible way. I want my work to be understanding for everyone and a developing way of thinking more critically and diplomatic.

Liberal vs. Conservative; ISIS

I chose to look at liberals and conservatives views on ISIS. The reason i chose this topic instead of any other, was because both liberals and conservatives are against ISIS, but on a most other topics such as guns or Donald Trump, they have totally different views. I was interested in seeing how the issue is presented and tackled by both sides. From looking at (http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/#/isis) The Wall Street Journals’ page showing Facebook posts about the same issue from both a liberal and conservative perspective, we can see some minor differences between the two sides, especially in how they present the issue.

We can see that on the Liberal side, they are comparing conservatives to ISIS. This shows how much hatred the liberals can have for the other side, and this is something we saw through the entirety of Hillary’s campaign for the presidency. She tried to tackle Trump as a person, not his policies. This might be because of how different this election was for America, and how Trump made everything so much more understandable for every single American, so if Hillary would try to tackle his opinions, she would seem too “politician” like to win the argument.

On the conservative side, we can see that they put a lot of focus on guns. I think the main purpose of this is to show how dangerous ISIS, it is about scaring people into feeling like they need guns themselves, in my opinion. There were not too many good points made on the issue for either side, but it was mostly the way i was presented. I normally support  the liberal side of things, but comparing ISIS to christian conservatives was kind of crossing the line for me. The liberal side also says that the NRA is the bigger issue, and that they are way more threatening than ISIS. This is quite a bold statement in my opinion. I do not think the NRA is a bigger threat than ISIS, but i do agree that it is a more relevant issue, that we should try to come to a conclusion on.

Spotlight (Movie)

This movie changed not only my perspective on the church and their system, but it changed my overall way of criticizing systems that are way above us. Throughout my life I have been taught to be critical of our society and look for changes every day that goes by, but in a way, I have kind of learn to accept things as they are, sadly. After watching this film, I realized that I have reached a mind-set where I trust everything around me, I trust the police, I trust companies and I trust the law-system. I have now come to the conclusion that because of how many flaws there are in every “system” in our society, I have learned to unconsciously overlook many of these problems. I can recall reading about police brutality, so much that I am almost giving police the right to act out in situations where they should not. Police brutality has become such a big problem that I have begun accepting it, even though it is not a big concern in Norway, it is still a global issue in my mind. This movie has kind of been a wake-up call for me in this matter, and I hope it is for you too. We cannot improve unless we question the systems around us.

After watching the film through, another question comes to mind, “who is really the protagonist in this story?”, because it is hard for me to say that the newspaper, who ignored the case for years, is our hero. They played their role in a flawed system for so many years, it was almost coincidental that they even look into the case. You could call Baron the protagonist since he started the whole project, but this was mainly because he had come from an outer system, he had a fresh view over the situation. I think anyone in his situation would have made the same decisions, even though people stood up against him. He got the job for a reason, he has devoted his life for being a leader and his job is to make these decisions.

The leader of the group called “SNAP” was, in my eyes, the main protagonist. He and all the victims of these priests, the ones that managed to speak up about their terrible past, was the heroes, to me. The SNAP group had the courage to stand up against the system. A lot of people affected by this problem even killed themselves, which leaves a lot of thought as to how the members of this group not only lived with the fact that a priest had molested them, but these priests took little to no punishment for their actions.

Various Media-Outlets on Gun Control in America

After reading about the Florida school shooting from a few different sources I have realized how much it matters to the people how these articles are written. This is obviously a touchy topic, and an emotional article could definitely sway ones’ opinion on gun control. I checked out multiple different media outlets for information on the topic, some of those being: The Guardian, CNN, BBC and Aljazeera. These articles all have different ways of discussing the issue. Some try to show a lot of those affected the most by this events’ emotional outburst and so on, whilst others focus more on the political-stuff, involving gun control and the NRA.

The only news-outlet I found that did not have the whole “gun control” or “school shooting” theme as a headline anywhere on their homepage were The Australian. This is quite obvious I would say. The Australian is going to be more focused on Australian instead of America, and it has already been quite a few days since the actual shooting as well. Australia also does not have any major gun control problems in their country, so the case is less relevant for them.

The different articles I have read, have had different ways of tackling the issue of gun control in America. Some of the articles were based on problems with the American law whilst others focused on the NRA and how they are manipulating our politicians. I definitely see some articles being more positive than others as well. Some of the news-articles even use this event to talk badly on Trump.

The two most interesting articles I found were these two:

The article from BBC really caught me of guard, probably because I read this one after reading many others. Sources like the CNN and Aljazeera paints a picture of an evil Trump being the root of the problem. Whilst BBC tries to put out the changes that are now being made, the positive side. In a way, this article is telling anyone suffering from this school shooting that is was not all for nothing, because now change is coming. BBC News almost puts Trump on a pedestal, which is quite unusual for any American media-outlet. It does not take a mastermind to realize that this author is pro Trump, but even though I do not like articles being subjective instead of objective, in this case, I do not mind it as much. I feel like the media often missuses its power, sometimes it even tries to destroy public figures by shaping people’s opinions of them. In this article from BBC News, we see things getting more balanced out, which is definitely going to help bring the country together. The reason I choose the Aljazeera article as well, was mainly because it does the stick opposite of the BBC article, it blames Trump. We see most articles blame the NRA in this issue, but Aljazeera takes it a step further, connecting the NRA to Trumps policies, which does not make sense after the actions Trump has recently taken.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Chapter 9

These are some of my thoughts regarding the book: “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, after having read the first 9 chapters.

  1. Setting

The story is set for post 2001 as far as we know. The story is based upon a conversation between two characters in a café in Pakistan, Lahore. In this conversation, the main character “Changez”, tells his story from when he moved to New York and what experiences he went through at that time the story he is telling is obviously set in New-York but also different places such as Chile or the Philippines. This is also around the 2001 era, considering we get to read about the 9/11 terror attack and the main character’s reactions to it. In the past-tense story, we get a lot of comparisons between Pakistan and New-York. In this, we get a bit of information about the atmosphere of the two different cities.

  1. Plot

The story is about Changez and his experiences with immigrating to a whole new country, moving from Lahore in Pakistan, to New-York in America. We can tell by the way Changez presents himself to a total stranger in the beginning of the book, telling him that he is not dangerous even though he has a beard. Changez proceeds to tell his story about his few years in New-York and what it had done to his perspective on Americans. In this story, the main point is the reactions of the 9/11 terror attack.

  1. Characterization

The main character, Changez is quite a controversial figure. He has some obvious main traits, he is hard working, confident, very self-aware, but also violent and emotionally driven. In my opinion I see Changez as a static, but round character. I think there are two different ways of looking at him as a character in this story. There is from the point of “Changez sitting in café talking to a total stranger” or you could also look at his behaviour in the story he tells. I think that this story is sort of misleading, and if that story Changez is telling is more and more revealing, it might be because of how this is an conversation with a total stranger, it is more psychologically correct for me to assume that he would not be throwing out information about his deepest feelings in the first chapter of this “conversation”. Because of how amazingly self-aware Changez seems to be, I think his way of thinking, his way of putting 2 and 2 together is the same throughout the whole story. Also, if you look at his characteristics only in the present parts of the story, he does not change at all, but is quite a round character. We get to know enough about him to call him a round character in my opinion, but I also think there still is a lot to be discovered in this story. My main way of identifying that Changez is overall a static character is his way of reacting to certain situations early in the story, he also seems to have quite a temper, pointed towards justice. And what are terrorists trying to achieve? Justice.

I do not see any other main characters changing in this story either. I feel like Erica has this problem built inside of her. Although she seems healthier at the start of the story, Chris is already dead, she is almost crazy in a way, but this shines through later in the book because we get to know her more and more. Erica might seem dynamic to Changez, but in reality, she is not, in my opinion.

  1. Narrative style

The story is told from Changez’s perspective. This means we only get to know Changez perception to the events taking place throughout the story. Leaving us quite uninformed and unsure about most of the expressions made in this story. The writer leaves the reader way more interested by using this form of narrating and it creates a lot of suspense in the story. No other narrative style would work out in a story like this, but could there be other perspectives that would be interested to see the story from? Yes. I would love to read this story from for example Jim’s point of view.

  1. Theme

I can identify a few different themes in this story, but the main one being moral. I think this story is about making people see why other people react the way they do. This is also the base principles of diplomacy. It showcases how a story can be turned a totally different direction depending on who is telling it. Relating to how the American people are in a way forced to believe that what the government or the media says, is correct. The author explores this theme quite creatively throughout these 9 chapters I have read, but I am fearing that he will try to make it easier to comprehend for more people through the end of the book. He will make it more obvious and easier to understand, which will make it more or less corny to people like me. But, my opinion could also be totally wrong and my thoughts on the book could be extremely positive or negative.

Feel free to leave comments regarding the book, and express your own opinion. Do you agree with my standpoints?