Sunday, November 23, 2014

Real Life Mockingjay

With the extremely recent premier of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 audiences all over the globe are raving over the film. Internationally, the film is estimated to make 275 million dollars by the end of its premier weekend.

Everyone who has seen at least one of the Hunger Games films or read one of the books knows about the famed three-finger salute. In the world of Panem, the post-apocalyptic society of the United States, the three-finger salute is a form of resistance to an authoritarian government. But, Thai student protesters took the salute to the next level and were detained for their actions. 
According to the New York Times, "The military government in Thailand has clamped down on all forms of protest, censored the country’s news media, limited the right to public assembly and arrested critics and opponents."
In response to this silent rebellion, the film has been banned in all of Thailand.

After reading the restrictions that Thailand's government puts on its citizens, that kind of reminded me of the Constitution. As citizens of the US we are lucky to have Amendment Rights to protect our freedom. Natchacha Kongudom, one of the detained students stated that, "The three-finger sign is a sign to show that I am calling for my basic right to live my life."

One of the motifs of the Hunger Games series was the idea of "sparking a fire" in the people under the control of an authoritarian government. But did the film mean for it to go into real life? Was it right for the government to ban the film? It is a fiction movie that had no intention of causing such silent rebellions. Do you think that Thailand is scared of a rebellion happening in their country?





Saturday, November 22, 2014

One Sheep.Two Sheep, Red Sheep, Excellent Sheep

A Selfie with the one and only, William Deresiewicz
Last Friday William Deresiewicz, Columbia University graduate and former Yale English Professor, came to speak at Lit Fest, a literary festival at my high school, about his book, Excellent Sheep. He is the author of the essay, "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education" that rose to fame after being posted on the American Scholar in the summer of 2008. Reaching out to a vast audience of high school students and college students alike, many students "thanked [Deresiewicz] for saying what no one was saying."

After his talk and now given time to think about his argument, one thing that stuck in my mind would definitely have to be his point that we are living by choices that we did not choose and that we are living in pressure that we do not understand. We, who have grown up in the upper middle class and are lucky enough to have an elite high school education, must strive towards success.

So many of us at New Trier have a lot going on. Every student here is involved in at least 1 extracurricular activity. Whether that extracurricular be sports, clubs, performing arts, or more academics, New Trier students are good at what they do. Most of our sports teams win their state championships and many of our Academic clubs such as Debate and Science Olympiad excel in their competitions. New Trier is known for excellence and the pressure to keep up that excellence and our high GPAs is quite demanding. But why do we put ourselves through this?

These are questions that I still don't understand but everyday I still feel this constant pressure to try to be the best in everything. I agree with Deresiewicz's point because it applies so much in the environment or "bubble" of the North Shore. The students of New Trier are some of the most "excellent sheep" around because we jump through all the hoops and obstacles that we can. Deresiewicz states,"[We] will have many achievements but little experience, great success but no vision." To what extent is that true? If we are successful someday, is Deresiewicz saying that we will not be happy or have the full experience of life?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#Berlin

While scrolling through Tumblr on Sunday I noticed that #Berlin was one of the top trending hashtags. I decided to tap on it and what I saw was amazing:



November 9th 1989was the day that the Berlin Wall came down. This united families, siblings, lovers, and people into one united Germany. Two days ago was November 9th 2014 and that marked the 25th anniversery of Berlin Wall. I was captivated by the white lamp lights that marked where the Berline wall stood. There were also vintage pictures from when the tearing town of the Berlin Wall actually happened in 1989 (Top Left). I think that the tearing down of the Berlin Wall was symbolism for a country that came together because the Berlin Wall was mainly demolished by the people of Berlin. People worked together to get an end goal and I think this relates to the US because it is similar to how the colonies got their Freedom from Great Britain. 

I also found it interesting how social media can get to so many people and share events like this going on in the world. The way that information spreads to different people is changing our world today because everyone gets information so quickly.  How do you think social media spreads information today? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What do you think of the Berlin Wall's 25th anniversary?