January 2009 Archives

Newspaper Extinction

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        With the economy in dire need of nothing short of a miracle, inevitably journalism will suffer the same ramifications as numerous other businesses.  Consumers prefer to spend their money on necessary things such as house payments, food, and gas rather than indulging in the luxury of having a newspaper delivered to their door each day.  According to Peter, co-director of the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative, "It's fair to say that newspapers will disappear and I don't think we should shed that big a tear for them,"  

In fact, with online newspapers so readily available, they are beginning to replace the traditional print.  A survey conducted Pew Charitable Trust, which has tracked the growth of the web through its Internet & American Life Project, stated: "Internet news sources had very significant gains, 40 percent of the population saying it's where they get "most" of their national and international news. That's a significant leap from September of 2007, when only 24 percent had called it the source of most of their news."  

The infamous New York Times has exemplified this switch from print to online.  According to Audioholics Online, in 2008, The New York Times Company, posted a $335,000 loss in the first quarter -- one of the worst periods the company and the newspaper industry have seen -- falling far short of both analysts' expectations and its $23.9 million profit in the quarter year earlier.  Now, the company's main source of revenue, newspaper advertising in print and online, fell 10.6 percent, the sharpest drop in memory.  This is a combination of the industry suffering the blows of an economic downturn and the continuing long-term shift of readers and advertisers to the Internet.  

Having such as well-known, widespread newspaper on the verge of extinction, who is to know what this will mean for business of journalism as a whole?  Traditional printed papers seem to be going down the wayside, pushed away from the hands of readers who now prefer to stare at a screen.

Anti-feminism Apparent in The Great Gatsby

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She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, I'm glad it's a girl.  And I hope she'll be a fool - the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool'" (Gatsby, 21).    

Despite the prevalent Women's Right's Movement of the 1920's, Fitzgerald instead depicts his women characters as they were stereotyped in earlier years - inferior to to men.  Daisy, a flirty and seemingly fragile young woman, appears completely controlled by her husband, Tom, who constantly condescends her.  Tom also disproves of Jordan Baker's flighty ways, including her traveling the country alone.  I find this portrayal to be rather unfair and disturbing.  During the time when the country was at its peak of it's feminist campaign, Fitzgerald still felt the need to dwell in the past rather than live in present of look toward the future of women's rights.  Historically, ladies in the 1920s organized protests and held seminars where women in order to obtain equality to men.  However, the women in this novel were portrayed as simply the property of men.  They had their love affairs in secret and their husbands' were able to put a stop to them as soon as their unfaithful behavior was revealed.  I'm not sure why Fitzgerald belittled women throughout his novel, but as a feminist reader, I greatly disprove.

An Unlikely Apple Picking

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While first reading Robert Frosts "After Apple Picking," it triggered my mind to imagine the vivid senses associated with picking apples on a beautiful fall day: a slight chill in the air, multi-colored leaves, hundreds of ripe apples waiting to be picked from their tree's, and animals searching for the last available food before the winter frost.  However, since my mind wandered away from the actual content of the poem during my first attempt at reading it, I started reading it again - this time outloud.  While finally comprehending the words the poem,  one particular phrase caught my attention:

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight 

I got from looking through a pane of glass 

I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough 

and held against the world of hoary grass.  

It melted, and I let it fall and break. 

I believe this so-called "pane of glass" to be an actual sheet of ice.  However, with this hypothesis comes the unsettling fact that apples are ruined after the first frost of the year.  If the water trough was covered in a sheet of ice, then the apples also would have frozen.  Thus, the apple-picker would have spent the entire day picking depredated apples.  I am rather confused, but also curious, of Frost's rationale for writing such an unrealistic poem.     

Sights of Spring Better With Company

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I had to read "The Pasture" about five times before I could begin to make any sense of it.  Finally, after much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that Frost simply wanted the reader to appreciate the beauty of nature during the springtime.  Line 1, "I'm going out to clean the pasture spring," states an impossible task which can only be used as an excuse for someone to spend time outside on a gorgeous spring day.  Lines 4 and 8, "I sha'n't be gone long.--You come too," portrays the human race's desire to share special events with another.  Frost shows that the beauty of nature is something to be shared, not kept to oneself.      

A Catholic's View on an Act of Communion

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I consider myself rather strong in my Catholic faith, and Chapter 2 of Foster's "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" astounded me.  On page 8, the sentence "whenever people eat or drink together, it's communion" was my first clue that this chapter would degrade the most important sacrament which was instilled in me throughout my 12 years of Catholic schooling.  To me, communion is Jesus' body and blood which we receive at Mass.  However, Foster stated that "communion doesn't need to be holy.  Or even decent" (9).  In fact, in some acts of communion, the only common thing shared is death (Foster 14).  After reading this chapter, I still stand firm in my personal belief on communion, but I can also understand Foster's point of view.  Communion is the act of sharing, regardless of whether this sharing is with good or evil intentions.


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