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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sublime is in the "Eye of the Beholder" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE-R60QPh_g

A "sublime" experience is something that forces you to take a double take at reality. It has the ability to question your thoughts and perception. As Longinus states, "If an intelligent well-read man can hear a passage several times, and it does not either touch his spirit with a sense of grandeur or leave more food for reflection in his mind than the mere words convey, but with long and careful examination loses more and more of its effectiveness, then it cannot be an example of true sublimity -- certainly not unless it can outlive a single hearing" (120). Whenever I watch "The Twilight Zone" episode Eye of the Beholder is a sublime experience for me. It has permanence in the sense that every time you watch it provokes the question of true beauty.



Being that our modern day world is fixated on the concept of beauty and all it's accoutrements it's a sublime experience watching this episode. Between the stark imagery, dialogue, eerie music, and the repeated utterance of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" this episode is dripping with sublimity throughout to the point that describing it in mere words will not accomplish much; it has to be watched. However, I will attempt with words to help you understand why it is sublime. The main character wants to conform so bad to what her society deems as beautiful that she seeks the aid of cosmetic surgery -- does this sound familiar. Her attempt is very desperate, but even more desperate is the fact that she states she would rather be killed, or "put away" as she phrases it, instead of going on being "terribly ugly."



The set up of the scene is great. The music plays in the background as her bandages are unwrapped and the reaction of the doctor and nurse is one of shock and awe. At this moment what the viewer sees what we would label a beautiful blond women. The very definition of American beauty in that time of American society. The camera then pans to the doctor and nurses in the room who look downright hideous with their pig-like noses and slits for mouth. However, the Twilight Zone has recreated an alternative world where what the viewer perceives as beautiful is complete ugliness that one would rather die than look like that. The viewer's perception of beauty is treated as a deformity and a separate village is set aside for the so called deformed. "Eye of the Beholder"is an excellent example of sublimity because it forces one to question the essence of beauty every time it's watched as it did 50 years ago and will do so 50 years from now. I believe Longinus would agree that this episode has a sense of grandeur and leaves more food for reflection each time it is watched.



Longinus. "On The Sublime." Classical Literary Theory. Ed. Penolope Murray. Penguin Classics: London, England, 2004. 113-166.

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Presentation

Our group's presentation was based in Greek Antiquity literary criticism. Our group consisted of Manuel, Alex, Brenda, Ron, Charlie, Morgan, & myself. We were the first group to present, so it was a bit straining on the nerves to figure out how to complete our task. However, I felt pretty good because on the day we were assigned the project, which gave us a week to work on it, we came up with a road map to see the course through. We stayed a few minutes after class to talk about what we were going to do. Alex, Morgan, and me through out some ideas. Per the assignment, we had to create a 30 minute-class discussion on Greek Antiquity, but not as a lecture, and we had to design a classroom activity.

Alex thought maybe we can take a current song and post the lyrics and see what the class; thoughts are on it; Morgan posited we can possible recreate Plato's cave, and I threw out maybe we could take a film of a Hollywood birth and juxtapose that with a clip of an actual birth. I mentioned that everybody would email at least one idea to the group by Friday (2 days) and we can collectively decide what we would present. We all exchanged emails and decided that we would do that. I was getting a little bit worried because by Saturday night I hadn't received any emails from anybody, but who I am to say anything because I didn't check my email until Saturday night. So I proposed my idea and hear from Brenda and Morgan the next day. We decided by Monday that we would go with my birth idea.

The birth idea was a good way to initiate a class discussion and create a classroom exercise. however, by Tuesday we still haven't talked or come up with any presentation ideas, so now I was getting really worried. So on my lunch break from work on Tuesday afternoon I called everybody to try to schedule a meet. Thank goodness everybody was available to meet before class Wednesday. We meet in an empty classroom. Brenda and Manual were searching like crazy on their lap tops to find some video we could use. I searched for some video throughout the weekend, but it was a bit difficult to find what I wanted. More on that later. We were finally able to find the clips we wanted. Out of nowhere Manual shouts out Rachel's birth and looked for it. We were lucky enough to find the "Friends" clip available for view as our Hollywood rendtion of birth. Brenda found some clips from MTV's show "Teen Mom." We also had found a home video of a real birth. We discussed if it would be to graphic to show the class, but decided that the graphic nature of the video is perfect to elicit a reaction from the class, so we went with it.

I explained what I was thinking we would do is show the Hollywood birth to the clas first and have them write down their reactions and emotions to the video and then show them the real graphic video and have the class complete the same exercise. We then would juxtapose those emotions and reactions and incorporate Plato's theory of mimetic to Aristotles theory of the mimetic. It was a great exercise and everybody contributed to the project. One of the best things was working closely with classmates I got to know that I might not otherwise have gotten the chance to know.

A post thought here: I found it interesting that all the videos I searched for our Hollywood rendition of birth was comical. Even the video we used was comical. I was hoping to find a great dramatic scene of a birth, but it seems that labor is a funny thing that you can always count on a laugh with it. I just thought I mentioned that because I found that quite interesting as I was doing this project. I wouldn't have realized it otherwise.