This is the End… for now.

It seems many moons ago, that I first set pen to paper (not literally), to write my not-so magnanimous debut in University writing. Alas, time flies faster than the rain falls, and as all things must come to an end, I must sadly bid farewell to ArtsOne (ok we still have finals).

Anyways, ignore that.

Apocalypse Now was an awesome movie. Lots of explosions. But it was also excellent in that it felt like a reward after spending an excruciating (yet rewarding) week attempting to decipher the many messages behind Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. The movie felt like a rewarding explanation that yes, in fact, I did understand what Conrad’s enigmatic book was all about.

However, the differences in the two stories, in my opinion, made Apocalypse Now a much more deep and rewarding film than if it had just been an exact adaptation of the book. I was really able to get a sense of the universality of the themes present in Conrad’s tale because of how they were able to seamlessly translate to other scenarios, time periods and themes, such as war instead of colonialism (even though as Jon mentioned in his lecture it is a form of neo-colonialism).

Finally, I ask the question of whether or not Apocalypse Now would be as impactful to someone who had not read Heart Of Darkness? I understand that the film holds some pretty powerful anti-war messages, although to someone watching casually without the analytical lens present fresh from reading Conrad, many of the films earlier scenes could be viewed as “glorifying war”, similar to the average action movie. I know that many of us (including me) see the movie as a critique of war, but it is always interesting to think about whether or not the message is lost to some…

Either way, I can’t wait to write about this film (even though I wish the essay prompts spoke to me a bit more)! Perhaps I will write another blog post after returning from Asia in July, but until then, peace out ArtsOne Blogs!

Cheers to a good first year 🙂

– Dev, Official ArtsOne essay title winner 2014

Impressions on the Heart Of Darkness

An amusing side note before beginning:
I attempted to read Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness in high school a few years back whilst on a serious reading kick. I was totally excited, went out, bought the book, sat down in the late-spring sunshine in my favourite reclining chair…. and got 3 pages in before giving up because I litterally had no idea what I was reading.

Fast forward nearly 3 years, and while I still don’t really have a clue what Conrad’s well-spoken robots are talking about in this book, I managed to get a bit further than 3 pages in. Woohoo.

No, in all seriousness I have actually really enjoyed this book. I love the existential and almost nihilistic outlook that marlowe has on the mission and basically life in general. One passage, whilst pretty sexist and insulting, really stood out for me if we apply it to more than just women (come on Conrad, stop being so old fashioned). This passage is from the scene where Marlowe visits his aunt for the last time and she has a very ignorant and positive look on imperialism:

“It’s queer how out of touch with truth women (read: most people, not just women) are. They live in a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be. It is too beautiful altogether…” (79)

While this quote is obviously not true with regards to women, it did remind me of the old saying ‘ignorance is bliss’. One must wonder, if we still to this day commit ourselves to a certain extent of willful ignorance to what goes on around the world. Maybe not everyone, but there are still a shocking number of people who when asked their opinion on current world affairs will reply in a manner similar to that of Marlowe’s aunt.

Another point on my train of thought with this book is the significant parallel to De Beauvoir’s idea of “the other”. It really clicked with me after Rob Crawford’s lecture today that the concept of the other can be applied to more concepts than that of man & woman.

Anywho, I guess my main question is more along the lines of what aim does Marlowe’s character have by assuming this sardonic point of view on Belgium imperialism? We all know irony-fueled cynics get us nowhere (just look at how useful Hipster’s have been to improving our society), but perhaps Conrad meant to illustrate with this cynical, nihilistic way of writing his character that we, until the end of time are doomed to witness and propagate the evil of human nature, as it is ingrained within us.. I sincerely hope not, for that would be mighty depressing if true.

Finally, continuing with last post’s tradition, here’s what I have been reading to the last few days:

A nice way to lighten up after Heart Of Darkness.. haha.

Wollstonecraft & the Objectification of Women

There is no doubt in my mind that over the course of human history, women have had a significantly harder road to basic human rights then men. Even today, women around the world still continue to fight for what most men have taken for granted for decades: basic human rights, proper education and workplace authority. However, what interests me most about Wollstonecraft’s book The Vindications Of The Rights Of Women, as well as feminism in general, is the role that sexuality has to play.

Many feminists believe that the the objectification of women as “sex objects” is a negative, derogatory way to perceive them — which is most certainly true. However, there are some women who feel empowered by becoming objects of sexual desire. They use their sexuality as a means of having power over men and see no issue with the current hyper-sexual nature of our society. My question is: does this type of “sexual power” truly place women on the equal level to men that they desire and deserve, or is it simply an illusion, creating more inequality between the sexes than not?

My take on it is that for every women, the way she finds “power” and her identity is different; it is unique to each individual. For example, some women may feel pride and power when men at a bar are lining up to compliment them and buy them drinks, whereas another women may feel offended by the very same act, and find her “power” in rejecting the same men and refusing to be sexually objectified.

Also this song is amazing, you should all listen to it: