Blind in Paris

image

His hand on her back guided down the strap of her purse

Sight with feel
And love with the heart

Blind in paris
Seeing the art with his hands
Hearing the art as she sings
He smiles

His touch is him looking her in the eyes
Symbolizing endearment
She feels him
She knows

This piece masterfully crafted in his mind
With images only he can retrieve

She gives him a blank canvas
Using love as the primary color

Blind in paris see more than you know
For it is with feeling in which they proceed.

Waiting

PRINT

I hate you
Not for what you’ve done
But what you could do

Power held over me
Helpless

Like a gust a wind you could knock me down
Just as easily you can elevate me higher past the clouds

I wait patiently
Blindly
Unknowingly

Standing on a peak of a desert mountain
Blinded

Unsure if you’ll be the nudge to tip me over
Or the sandbank to build me up

With my eyes closed it is not the dune I expect

Somber
Quiet
Whisper

As I wait for the decision of the one in control
I prepare for the gust

The Modern Day Hero

time-mark-zuckerberg-person-of-the-year-2010I. Introduction

Heroes are characters that are idolized and looked up to for their greatness. Heroes represent morality, they are virtuous, and a symbol of what everyone strives to be. As people begin to mimic the characteristics of these idols it shows that they have a profound influence upon the population. Richard Slotkin in “The Fatal Environment” argues that these idols are a consequence of American exceptionalism and used to persuade or distract the population from class conflict. (Slotkin, Richard. 1985.) The great entrepreneur, our modern day hero, has shaped the behavior of people within the United States; this report aims to answer the question of whether or not this modern hero persuades us to fall into American exceptionalism resulting in the distraction from class conflicts. First, an evaluation of Slotkin’s argument and the great frontiersmen will be provided. Then, an overview of the great American entrepreneur will provide examples of how this theory still applies to present day. This report will then conclude with the consequences of American exceptionalism and the myth of the great entrepreneur.

II. “The Myth of the Great Frontier”
The foundation of Slotkin’s theory rests within American exceptionalism. With this theory it is said that America is different from Europe in many ways: land, resources, and no establishment of a classes system or aristocracy. “The root of American exceptionalism rests in the fact that American society originated in a set of colonies, abstracted and selected out of the nations of Europe, and established in a ‘wilderness’ far removed from the home countries.” (Slotkin, Richard. 1985.) This theory promotes manifest destiny, opportunity, and the use of resources. Within “The Myth of the Great Frontier” Slotkin argues that there is a problem with American exceptionalism. This is due to the myths that develop, in this case the myth of the wild west and the great frontier.
These myths help justify the problems that arise because of American exceptionalism. They develop characters that represent the heroes of the great frontier, Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket. They all have characteristics that are not necessarily appealing but since they are thought of as heroes they create a desire to obtain these qualities: loners, regressive to primitive state (Native Americans), antisocial, and able to handle difficult situations. These heroes then create a path for the American identity causing the American people to mimic the qualities they represent as they expand westward. These qualities used to create the American identity also divert us from politics. A lonely frontiers man is not likely to participate in politics but rather move westward and be a part of the great expansion despite the qualities of the west that would in any other situation be unappealing. Making these men heroes also justifies their actions and distract us from the real problems of American exceptionalism. These real problems include the working conditions within the cities, or as Slotkin calls it the “metropolis,” and the horrific treatment of Native Americans. “The major cultural tasks of this ideology were to rationalize and justify the departures from tradition that necessarily accompanied these developments.” (Slotkin, Richard. 1985.) As American exceptionalism continues within president day we see the development of modern heroes with similar qualities that once represented the “great frontiersmen.”

III. The Great Entrepreneur
The qualities of the modern day entrepreneur represent hard work, isolation, sacrifice, greed, and they are individualistic. This is the modern day Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, and Donald Trump are the modern day heroes of the new frontier. The only differences between these frontiersmen and the ones presented by Slotkin are what they try to persuade. Instead of expansion of the west these men are promoting expansion of the economy. They share similar characteristics and divert us from politics. Slotkin believes that this theory of American exceptionalism and the heroes they produce encourages those without a political voice to move westward. (Slotkin, Richard. 1985.) Now, the entrepreneur encourages those without a voice in politics to get rich. As people try to become these great heroes they become distracted and only focus on themselves causing them to be less observant of the political changes around them. As we strive for success we neglect our involvement in politics.
Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and founder of Facebook is an urban entrepreneur that is considered to be a modern day hero. Zuckerberg holds all the qualities in which would make him an entrepreneur hero. His greed is shown when discussing the law suit involving the allegations that he stole the idea of Facebook from fellow colleagues at Harvard. (Rouse, Hana. 2010.) He is portrayed as hard working, a loner, and determined in the film “The Social Network.” In the center of the May 2013 issue of Vanity Fair magazine is an entire eleven page spread idolizing the man for his accomplishments. Written across the third page in bold letters he is quoted saying, “I spend almost all of my time on the products that we build.” (Eichenwald, Kurt. 2013.) Mark Zuckerberg is everywhere. He is in the movies, diverse magazines, newspapers, internet, and television. This influence from every media outlet leaves a profound impression on the American people causing him to become a new modern day hero influencing the people.
Steve Jobs is another perfect example of a modern day hero promoted by American exceptionalism. A journalist for Forbes Magazine, Quentin Hardy, discusses why this man is so incredible in comparison to other entrepreneurs. Hardy honors Steve Jobs for these characteristics: hard working, determined, and isolate. “Jobs is someone who never gives up on details, never stops making that next call, pushing one more thing a little harder. It is a habit of his greatness…He was up one Thursday at 1 AM working on a presentation for the following Monday…Here is a guy who’s up late working on his material days ahead of time. Most chief executives look at a speech somebody else wrote about 20 minutes before they give it.” These qualities are set on a pedestal by Hardy, as if they are virtuous. But is late night preparation, dedication, and hard work all you need to build a multibillion dollar corporation in today’s world? And does building a corporation from the ground up make you a virtuous person?

IV. Consequences:
Slotkin uses American exceptionalism to show the justification of genocide upon Native Americans, pushing them off their land, and taking advantage of them; however, in terms of today the growth of the economy is used to justify other exploitations. Unlike Slotkin’s theory, there is not an expansion of land but there is still expansion, growth in the economy. (Slotkin, Richard. 1985.) There is this idea that the economy must always grow and continue to grow. This then justifies unethical behavior: pollution, cheap labor, depletion of forests, and the overuse of resources. The use of these heroes as a course for American identity also has the consequence of distraction. With these distractions we no longer are participating in politics, which allows these issues to continue to occur.
Mark Zuckerberg is a hero that portrays someone that does not have a political involvement. Facebook is known to be the place to put your identity on the web. Your marital status, alumni records, hometown, and even your favorite books and movies are all published on your “wall.” One aspect of your identity that Facebook also reveals is your political views. You have many options to choose from and can even insert your own political identity. In May of 2013, Mark Zuckerberg became a supporting member of an opposition group against Obamacare, supporting the expansion of Keystone oil pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This followed with much backlash, threats to pull ads, and hesitation to continue to buy ads. This backlash led Zuckerberg to climb back in the political closet and set his political status on Facebook to “it’s complicated.” This backlash from the liberal public is just one example of how we view these heroes solely as an economic voice rather than political. Even when speaking of politics publicly it’s taboo. (Falcone, Michael. 2013.)
Another example of an entrepreneurial hero with consequences is Steve Jobs. He is looked at as a hero but also the CEO of a corporation that is known for exploiting their workers in China. In the Spring of 2011, workers in a Chinese factory producing iPads were jumping off the roofs of their own building. This was done because of the severity of their working conditions. “Nine Chinese sociologists wrote an open letter to the media calling for an end to regimented and restrictive work practices which they condemned as ‘a model where fundamental human dignity is sacrificed for development.’” (Chamberlain, Gethin. 2011.)
We honor both Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg but fail to look at whether or not our lives would be better without them. In an article published by the Huffington Post, Tom Green states, “… the human condition is beginning to devolve. We have become addicted to the vanity of social media unable to stop exposing our lives to the world. We post photos of ourselves pretending to be happy on Facebook and speak in 140-character tweets to people we don’t know and will never meet in person.” (Green, Tom. 2013.) Tom Green continues to discuss our disconnect from society as new modern technology is created by these modern day entrepreneurs. We live in an era where a computer replaces a human being and our intelligence encompasses all that is available to be searched on Google. But because these values of individualism and hard work are praised through our modern heroes we see nothing wrong with sitting alone for hours disconnected from our world while connected to our Wi-Fi.

V. Conclusion
When we look at modern day heroes and continuously work to imitate them we often get distracted from our political world. Self-interested, self-involved, hardworking, and determined people make up the qualities of the urban entrepreneur, our modern day Davy Crocket. If you are someone much like these idols you are considered virtuous, even if you engage in unethical behavior to achieve that virtue. The solution to this problem is to be active in political discussion. The more active we are in politics the more aware we are of the changes that are occurring in the world around us. When we are active in politics we have more control over our working conditions and the conditions of society. If we neglect to become involved in political discussion others will only continue to shape and create our world. The consequence of this is the neglect of problems that are harmful to others and our environment. As we continue to face this problem of expansionism and growth we will continue to have these idols and not be bothered with the consequences of these actions.

VI. Works Cited
Chamberlain, Gethin. 2011. “Apple factories accused of exploiting Chinese workers.” http://www.guardian.co.uk.
Eichenwald, Kurt. 2013. “Facebook Leans in.” Vanity Fair.
Falcone, Michael. 2013. “The Liberal Backlash Against Mark Zuckerberg Intensifies.” abcnews.go.com.
Green, Tom. 2013. “Did Steve Jobs Ruin the World?” http://www.huffingtonpost.com.
Rouse, Hana. 2010. “Mark Zuckerberg Continues to Face Lawsuit.” http://www.thecrimson.com.
Slotkin, Richard. 1985. “The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization.”
Schoeller, Martin. 2010. “Person of the Year.” Times. Photo.

Desert Breeze Part III: “Light My Fire”

Beach_Bonfire_by_anarsil
“Desert Breeze” is a work in progress novel about a girl wanting nothing more than an escape. Parts 1-3 are not in sequence but provide more detail about what to expect… Enjoy!
____________________________

We’ve been best friends since childhood; but, I never learn an address of the Broker’s. I know in six months it will change. I also, never memorize a phone number. I know in six weeks it will change. Stability is unnatural for the Broker’s, much like the hair color on Ashley’s head. The only thing stable about this household is their gypsy persona.

“Text me the address.”

“Ok, see you soon.”

Our phone calls are short. Always.

Ashley: the only friendship I have been able to destroy and repair multiple times. I guess that means this is the only friendship I have been able to maintain. I’ve never been the girl who gets along with everyone. I’ve always been the one to say the words you do not want to hear. I act on impulse and the consequences of those impulsive actions result in a small group of friends. Aside from that, I get screwed over a lot.

I have arrived.

When I get to the door I don’t bother to knock. I pull the spare key hidden form inside the bushes and let myself in. At this point in my life the Broker’s are more my family than any other. This is as much my home as it is theirs; proven with my toothbrush left in the bathroom upstairs.

Isabella is already there talking and the two girls are sitting on the floor of the room fixing themselves up in preparation for whatever it is we will be doing later that evening.

Isabella is chatty.

“Mamas! Como estas?”

“Bien, amiga. Y tu?”

“Bien, bonita. Gracias.”

At times I envy her. Isabella leads a double life. She has the one here in California. She has me, Ashley, and Devon. Here in California she is single. Here she drinks, smokes, parties. But, she also has Mexico. There she has romance, education, and stability. When one life turns upside down she turns to the other: Cali to Mexico, Mexico to Cali. I’m jealous. I envy her ability to be two separate people. I can hardly stand pretending to just be me, yet alone pushing the personalities of two separate individuals.

Devon is also coming. It has always been the four of us. We each have other friends that have come and gone but when push comes to shove no relationship bond has been stronger than us girls.

It is very typical of us to meet at the Broker’s. Denise, Ashley’s mother, is more of a friend. Unlike our own families we do not have to pretend to be anything other than the rebellious disappointments that we are. Sitting in a row we have the almost didn’t graduate from highschool, falls in love with every man she meets, tongue piercing, and soon joining us left home at seventeen. We each have our character flaws. The problem is, every time we go home we are reminded of them. Every time we go to the Broker’s, they are embraced.

Devon called Ashley.

“You bitches ready?”

“Yeah, where are you?”

“I’m outside, let’s go.”

“Where?”

“Mike is having a bonfire out in Thousand Palms.”

None of us really knew the guy. Ashley might have met him once before. Isabella and I looked at each other shook our heads in agreement and began to walk out of the door. It is common for us to end up at a party of a friend’s friend’s friend or at a biker bar in the middle of nowhere signing karaoke drunkenly. At the beginning of the day we do not know where we will end up. The only person is hesitant about this group characteristic is Isabella. The rest of us are fearless, never afraid to step into the unknown. Not knowing how a night will end up is the reason why I continue to engage in these exertions. It is the next best thing to being on the top of the mountain. Each time I get wasted, I get closer to god.

Devon is all country. She’s wearing her short denim skirt with a cowgirl hat and boots. The music blasting is Kenny Chesney and I just have the biggest feeling that Mike is very similar. I’ve never been a fan and that is obvious just by looking at how oppositely I am dressed from Devon. We often but heads because of our opposing political views and likes/dislikes; but, after a couple shots of tequila those differences seem to fade. Suddenly we are confessing our love on the front steps of a bar entrance waiting for a cab.

“So who is this Mike?” Isabella asks.

“Just a guy I met through Brandon’s cousin Sam.”

Just as I thought, none of us really know Mike and the only person interested in knowing him is Isabella.

When we arrive the sun is setting. We are in Thousand Palms in the middle of nothing and nowhere. This beautiful home in the middle of the desert is outlined with an orange glow from the fire burning in the backyard. We walk through the sand towards the back of the ranch style home. The bonfire is burning far above my head and its beauty is mesmerizing. I sat down and watched it in silence as my girls poured drinks and talked to cowboys.

These are not the people I typically like to associate with. Talk about guns and Budweiser is exchanged among those sitting around the fire. I just came for the beer, the food, and my girls support. Isabella hands me two cups. One of which was filled with a shot of tequila. I look at her with eyes of sincerity and said “Thank you.” There is nothing more that I need than the feeling of lightheadedness, escape.

Silently, I observe all the people. There is about thirty of us all talking at once. As the sun slowly drops behind the captivating valley walls it quickly turns to darkness, leaving us with only the light of fire illuminating our faces. The night, however, is still young.

Across the fire I see a man unlike all the others. Dark eyes, olive skin, and long black hair that spiraled. He was bohemian, not country. He was artistic and had a spirit more free than any other man sitting around the fire. Playing a quiet tune on the guitar that did not match the country blasting sound in the background. I stared at him from a distance, noting his smooth movement and calm demeanor. That was until I decided to approach him.

“Hi”

“Hi”

That was all we needed to say to each other. When looking each other in the eyes it was obvious that we were both unlike all the others sitting and drinking around the fire. He continued to play and I continued to listen for a few moments.

“Would you like a drink” he said.

“Love one.” I responded

I followed him into the kitchen. In a typical red cup he poured gin and tonic.

“Never thought I would see such a drink here, I was only expecting Bud light.” –I said

“I brought my own. I know Mike too well to know he’d have anything other than cheap beer.”
Silently I was trying to guess how such an unrestricted man would know a guy like Mike. He responded to my puzzled look, almost as if he knew exactly what I was thinking.

“He’s my brother… Mike. I’m Damien.”

“Nice to meet you, Damien. I’m Leigha.”

One drink led to two, two to three, three to his bedroom where we irresponsibly slept together until the sun came back up from behind the mountains.