Dudeee… How Long was I asleep?

So I was chillin’ with my shorty right, it was the summer of 1997. Everything was aiiight, we were hanging out in Yosemite, camping next to some family.  Then we started talking about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie that we had seen at the drive-in theaters two years ago. She starts saying how Tommy, the white ranger is sooo cute, yadda, yadda, yadda. So then I proceeded to talking about how Tommy was not as cute as Kimberly, the pink ranger, she’s da bomb! So then shorty hits me with an “as if” seeming offensive now. She has the audacity to say that Tommy is better than me because he is always being heroic and what not meanwhile I’m lazy and don’t do anything.

So whatever, she’s trippin’ big time and it bothered me cuz she’s always nagging about SOMETHING, even while we’re in nature trying to mellow out and all that. I felt dissed but it’s cool. So I grab my cassette player, tell her my bad, and that I’m going to walk our dog, Coyote, for a bit just to get away from her for a minute. My plan worked, wickeddd. Everything is cool vibes and I’m walking for like 30 minutes through this trail Coyote was pulling me down. Then I see this wavy bro with this gnarly hat that looks like Raiden’s from Mortal Kombat. Turn’s out he’s a park ranger for Yosemite National Park! The bro is like totally 29 but looks like a young pup. Said his name was John Muir and that he knew the park like the back of his hand. Great vibes I felt from ’em. John Muir then takes out a cigarette pack full of joints and offers me one. Man, this dude is way more dope than shorty back at camp. She could totally use a joint to calm that damn attitude. So we’re chiefing now and I go ahead and offer him a listen to N.W.A’s cassette on my cassette player. He was totally vibing to it even though he didn’t really know what it meant.

John Muir then asks me if I could be a bro and help him carry a keg up the trail. He said some other ranger buddies of his met up there on Fridays to sip some brews so I was definitely down. I would just tell shorty later on that Coyote ran away and that I was looking for him. We get to this dope opening that overlooks the entire valley, mindblown… There are a bunch of his buddies with those wicked hats just chilling kinda awkwardly but whatever, I have the honors of doing the first keg stand… and that’s the last thing I remember. When I woke up, I was by myself. I had no idea where Coyote was and my cassette player was missing and I had this dinky vinyl player. How the heck am I going to play music on that? When I get back to the camp I see these frickin’ kids on these boards that are hovering! What kind of witchcraft is that!? They ask me why I am so dirty and I told them I was raging hard– they were cool dudes. I asked them what they thought about the Power Rangers movie since I wanted to get my mind off of those sorcery hovering board things. They said it was ok, but thought the CGI was kind of bland and thought it would have been better if their phone screens were bigger.

I start laughing because there is no way someone can watch a movie on a dial phone. The kid starts getting sassy, so I start to argue with him. I pushed him like a good 20 feet before his brother stepped in. That kid sure had an attitude for a 7 year old… The brother proceeds to taking out this piece of plastic from his pocket and SHOWS ME THE MOVIE! This is DEFINITELY witchcraft. The older brother then mentions something about the Wi-Fi being spotty up in the mountains so the video is not going to stream in HD which is such a pain because he is used to 4g. I had no idea what this kid was saying and I was at a loss for words. He told me the phone was the 2017 Samsung galaxy! I flipped– 2017?! I Started running hysterically down the road as I could not believe anything– and then this car that makes no noise (a Tesla) with a driver that was texting, hit me. Dead.

 

Review:

There are various reasons for me wanting to write this particular parody. The first is that the era resonates with my childhood. I was born in 1992, so I have slight memory on what occurred in 1997ish time. I am somewhat older than most of my classmates, so I can write with faint tones of humor that would usually only be appreciated from someone that lived through the 1990’s. With Washington Irving’s story, there is the gap where he sleeps for 20 years. With that gap, I felt a lot has changed in our present day, 2017, to 1997. That is why I am fond of what I am writing. I try to capture the retro-modern depiction of a college “bro”. I felt my voice spoke through the writing more as this creative writing allowed me to express my humor more in comparison to other analytical readings we have needed to do. I tied in to what would interest my friends or classmates if they were to read it.

The additional significance is with the finer details used in the writing. I made sure to tie  in obsolete things like walkmans or cassette players or in our modern things like hoverboards and smartphones and how we are practically dead without Wi-Fi. The other neat thing is that they did a remake of the original Power Rangers movie that came out in 1995, so I was able to compare that to the one that just came out in 2017.

A Tesla is something that represents how we have changed what a car can be. I tie in the fact that a driver was texting as humor although it is a serious issue our country and many around the world face. I hope that with the humor, readers are in agreement that texting while driving is a very dangerous act.

Lastly, I use my deep love from my older cousins to inspire me. Most of them are in their early-late 30’s. I have always looked up to them since I was young and so their slang and ways would influence how I behaved. Most younger people tend to look up to someone older than them that is still cool. As a result, I use a lot of 90’s slang, especially in the first paragraph. Another fine detail I use, is John Muir. He was considered one of the first explorers of Yosemite National Park. Of course, by 1997, John Muir has long passed. The intent for making John Muir alive in the story is that he is supposed to be a ghost or legend similar to when Rip encountered what would be Henry Hudson and the Dutch-dressed men, when trekking through the mountains.

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-Daniel Estrada

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Stroke of Hope

Just as Ireland loathed the tight superficial embrace of the United Kingdom, India was also trying to pry off the greasy fish and chip fingers of the UK. While it is sometimes nice to think about the convenience and familiarity of something, over expanding can piss off a lot of people. I like to think about McDonalds or Walmart. Almost anywhere in the United States that we visit, we can be sure to find one and our anxieties are soothed because we know generally what the store is going to sell. This of course kills culture. It kills the culture in the community, it kill the moral, the creativeness, the distinction in which a region has over time, identified with.

The same goes for colonization in India. The intrusiveness that Britain patrols the world with has oppressed the people in India. What is more concerning is that if people are not willing to express their dislike, they will simply mold to that of which the commanding entity wishes for the country. “He who will not reason is a bigot, he who cannot reason is a fool, and he who does not reason is a slave” was said by Derozio. A sentence as such shows that many people tend to fall in the last portion of that. People essentially become slaves to that of which is in the best interest of the highest authorities. Wanting the UK would seem more advantageous. Of course, Roy would argue that the English was needed to modernize and advance the old ways of India, but it is still not taken lightly that the UK is how the US is now by trying to have their nose In everything.

I sense that Derozio reminisces in his poem by addressing times that were better prior “Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave” (line 9). Some people, easily give up and just reflect on past times. But we know that the harp stands for more. “The harp symbolizes a fight to survive through regeneration and adaptation in a changing society” (Harp Spectrum). For these reasons there is flare and passion in Derozio’s lines of rekindling the strength of a society. The rhyme pattern line by line does not follow a normal pattern. Rather, enlightened in class, the rhyme scheme in the poem follows the pattern as that of a harp being played. The music tends to be harmonious from that of a harp. I feel a punch however when reading “Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!” (line 14) of Derozio’s finishing poem. This shows that India will not go down easy and stand up and join together.

 

-Daniel Estrada

Pasadena, 2017

While I mostly reside in East Los Angeles area, my higher education brought me close to Pasadena; a city that truly holds history, charm, and plenty of old money. I tie this to Wordsworth’s London because it is a city that is starting to get out of control with all of the luxury condos being built and expensive shops like Tiffany and Co., and Tesla, and Apple. Despite the city being a suburb northeast of downtown Los Angeles, homelessness holds a strong foot at many of the lavish retailers that line Colorado Boulevard. Home to Cal Tech, the Norton Simon museum, Neighboring city to NASA JPL, the famous Rose Parade, and the Rose Bowl where the UCLA Bruins play and famous people like Beyoncé perform, are some of the many attractions Pasadena boasts. To me, I have always felt like an outsider when I first would step foot in the city because I commuted in from the rougher Los Angeles area, El Sereno.  To us, it is seen as the close Oasis, and the first real city with white people that drive expensive cars. With that, I express a poem which I free write as I feel it more accurately captures what I felt: overwhelmed, intimidated, inferior, exposed, opportunity, foreign.

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Delightful roses blooming and growing

A record-breaking crowd, flowers they’re throwing

A city dazzling, camera ready, and made to impress

The husband wears a suit, and the wife wears a dress

Not a single dispute with their teen kids that memorable day

because after all, it’s the famous Rose Parade

A day has passed– with smiles and laughs…

now it’s up to someone to clean up this trash

filth is picked up by city workers with tans

The homeless fight one another off for the bottles and cans

Understand, it’s ok because these people have no significance

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s ok because our record sales are killing it

 

-Daniel Estrada

 

Open Sea

The darkness seen in the painting with the monk is simple yet powerful. It is an intimidating picture to see as the raw power of the ocean is no match for one person and their prayer. To me, it almost looks as if a tidal wave or tsunami is forming with the shape of the clouds. It looks as if the monk is going to be swallowed up regardless of his religious belief. The way we heard Iron Maiden play the Ryme of the Ancient Mariner, it kind of seems aggressive as well as if it is going to wreak havoc among whoever interferes. We then know, with a change of thought and belief, that everything somehow doesn’t turn out as permanent as thought, and a second chance is given to the mariner. So maybe, in a way, the monk by praying, or his presence alone, signifies that there is light behind those massive clouds.

Deathly is the sound of “his bones were black with many a crack (Ancient Mariner line 181). I imagine the wave delivering crushing force, delivering a blow that crushes us until a black carbon form, our most simple element of remnants. Perhaps that is what our mind wants us to think. What if we, for some miraculous reason are able to persevere and defeat all odds?

I leave it with “Still as a slave before his Lord” (line 419) to signify the humbleness of our composition. For the mighty ocean to spare us, and give us another opportunity in teaching and learning is miraculous. For us to realize and learn from an experience is so profound. I do not take it lightly in the lessons I experience on a daily basis. I always carry some sort of regret in the sense of how could I have been a better person. How could I have made things different if I were to be the last person on Earth. Reflection, and the multiple prayers addressed in this reading remind us to be our best selves every day.

 

-Daniel Estrada

Brace your Necks

After rocking out like a wild animal (kidding), I found it was rather relatable how I was able to understand the message in a more modern-day time. Normally, I do not listen to Iron Maiden, and I was not keen on the definition of romanticism. I have come to realize that these past couple years, I have been on a quest in search of spiritual awakening and deeper understanding. That ties in with romanticism. It is not only the nature I search, but also the metaphors, the hidden messages in readings. With the Iron Maiden song, the visuals place someone out at sea, sometimes in rough waters. There are ghoul-like or zombie creatures constantly shown. That may be reminding us of our mortality.

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I found particularly interesting how I came across a statistical breakdown of music genre a couple of years ago. The results were that Rock and Roll was largely the most listened to with a percentage of about 33%. Then there was hip hop with 9% and classical with 1% for reference. That goes to show that for romanticism to be to the common man, it must target the largest audience. Thus, it was an effective choice for the song to be played by Iron Maiden. It is not to say that romanticism cannot be composed through classical music, but we all know that that is more of a niche (and privileged) audience.

-Daniel Estrada

Unshackling the Drawing

In McLean’s monthly sheet of caricatures No.32, there is a vivid outreach for sympathy to the European on the left of the image. The faded, dull colors, the fragile chair, and expression of hardship make the viewer believe people of color already have a prosperous lifestyle. A lifestyle better than the Europeans is argued as well from observation. To the right, we can see ripe fruit, unity of a community, vibrant colors, and an overall image that is a vacation. We also see a walking baby which is a happy moment for a family and it also shows that the baby is in good health. Whites feared that slaves would revolt and retaliate against them (Equiano 17-18). Incorporating slaves into a free society was a fear for many whites. However, all is not paradise as it seems. “It was very common in several of the islands for slaves to be branded with the initial letters of their master’s name…make them seek refuge in death from those evils which render these lives intolerable” (Equiano 99). Truly horrific must be the conditions for someone to want to take their own life in order to receive some sort of salvation. The drawing I feel is perceived to make it seem as though slavery is humane and that the Europeans face hardships at time in order for the slaves to be comfortable. Katie shared a great link from “The Guardian”, added below. Henry Smeathman spoke before the Lords of the treasury of an idea to send back black people to Sierra Leone. Smeathman made it seem as if it was the best deal in the world to head back to Africa’s Sierra Leone.”One of the most pleasant and feasible countries in the known world” – Sierra Leone’, Smeathman made it sound like there was certain refuge and safeguard. It angers me because many of us are certain that by sending blacks back to Africa, they can easily be kidnapped again and sent to the West Indies, or somewhere less forgiving: “will find a certain and secure retreat from former suffering”(Schama) is just smoke and mirrors for the wealthy lords who mean well wanting to abolish slavery. They are just unknowledgeable of what really would occur.

So to tie it in to Equiano’s view, he is not fond of sending them back. Similar to John Annis, his friend from St. Kitts, Equiano knew that harm was certain. Like the lawyer that took his money and did nothing, the similar thing happened for the funding to supposedly take care of the people heading back to Sierra Leone. I feel Equiano changed his approach toward the ending of the book only because he was talking to a European audience so it was in his best interest to sound a bit nicer than he probably really felt about the issue. In addition, the grammar in the cartoon shows the black conversation to be very poorly constructed. Ignorance and poor education is evident. Although the cartoon intends to depict pro slavery, many abolitionists were simply unguided and did not know how to make the proper decisions. Intermarriage was also a radical idea at the time like Equiano suggested so I doubt that intermarriage would have been widely accepted. The white abolitionists were simply misguided.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/aug/31/race.bookextracts

 

-Daniel Estrada

Gibb me Liberty

Close reading has brought out some marvelous things in Phebe Gibb’s Hartley House, Calcutta. I was not closely paying attention to the use of ego and centralism that Sophia subtly displayed. I do see a particular romance to that in what Dryden displayed in “Indian Emperour.” There are 2 men which are drawing Sophia Goldborne’s interest, and one (Doyly) who she does not have too much romantic affection for. Like Cortez, Sophia is in the liking of foreign men. We as readers, we see a significant amount of sentimental expression that sways our feelings. This is inspired by works like Pope’s and Dryden’s.

There is a sort of forgiving matter, although reluctant since showing a bratty attitude, for Sophia. As a reader I give her the benefit of the doubt because she is only 16 and expresses many giggly, gossip-like ideas. Ok, ok, I’ll focus on one point. The discussion today in class was terrific. We really did bring out some close readings that were a result of fantastic analyzing. Our group mentioned how Sophia was misusing Pope’s quotes. Sophia uses a lot of controlling words such as “temperance” and “regulation” (87) that draw attention to the fact that there is a hierarchy and superiority. It’s funny how she thinks she is intelligent, but in fact, it is dangerous how she is misusing quotes and that goes to show how her mind has developed stereotypes. There is a really interesting comparison to Gulliver’s Travels and the Wyndham way of being. “Kindness, Benevolence, and contentment” (87) were all ideals that the Wyndhams abided to. The ego with the use of “I” versus “others” mentality (269) goes to show that there is a colonial othering. By placing them as inferior, it shows the arrogance of Britain. In Pope’s “An Essay on Man: Epistle 1”, “Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor’d mind” (Pope) we can see that Sophia quotes him wrong in the sense that Pope was referencing the Indians in the U.S. rather than actual Indians. Her incorrect quotation in the letter puts danger in the sense of her misunderstanding and carrying that over to the way she comforts herself while in her stay in India. She quotes excessively English literature to make herself feel comfortable and at home while in India.

 

-Daniel Estrada

Ya’ll Need to Learn Sum English

From the groundbreaking work that Samuel Johnson pioneered, to Macaulay and Roy’s influences in India, a lot has progressed for the English language. The work Johnson completed was the first dictionary of its kind and in comparison, surpassed the “French Dictionnarre” given the resources and time period. This dictionary would further the rapidly increasing literacy in England and allow more people understand what was being discussed. I am a bit weary of the fact that Johnson would alter words that were not to his liking. I am curious if the words were altered significantly, or in a way that they would favor credit in his direction in a selfish intent. ” Johnson recognized that language is impossible to fix because of its constantly changing nature, and that his role was to record the language of the day, rather than to form it.” (Notes 4) It is important to know that with all that the English language was experiencing (traveling, emerging colonies, commerce), it was like the weather. We cannot control its outcome but we can try to best prepare and anticipate what may come.

Thomas Babington Macaulay was able to carry the significance and refinement of the English language successfully into India. “A radical reform of the existing educational system was necessary to modernize Indian society”. ( Roy 143) For Roy, a native to India to say this,  it is saying that imperialism brings about benefits. Roy makes the claim that the traditional educational system is keeping them in the darkness by not allowing them to access this effective new educational system. Imperialism is not always a bad thing. Granted, there are always ulterior motives, but there are people that can benefit from this knowledge that the English and English itself provides. Currently, it is said that engineering is basically a religion in India. It may be that by a STEM based education being introduced in India during the time of Roy, it allowed India to start developing compared to maybe if they would have stayed traditional. As for the status of English as a language, what has made it unique is the fact that it has had exposure from so many cultures and continents. Exact and precise words have blossomed because of this.

 

-Daniel Estrada

 

Travel Points for Gulliver

Yahoos is a word that is constantly being repeated and I noticed that there is a personal beef with the Yahoos in how the Houyhnhnms look down on them. There is a very bold elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. The Houyhnhnms are looking at the Yahoos as literal fecal matter and it becomes closely related to the genocide ideology we have seen with the Nazis. This repetition allows for us to keep consistently thinking on what the outcome of the Yahoos is going to be. The irony is that they are horses and usually horses are ridden and owned and tamed by their masters in real life. When Gulliver seems to go crazy after trying to talk to his horses, it really questions as to how far the imagination of someone can go from envisioning fiction and trying to bring it into real life.

Master seems to be a word that sounds out of place. It makes me uncomfortable in the sense that someone is praising a horse and is ok with someone being second-class. I guess I can relate an example to how we look at celebrities and envision everything they do to be perfect so we place them on a pedestal. We think everything a celebrity does is godly and would not mind being their doormat to be walked on everyday. There is a funny meme that says someone could get slapped by Beyoncé 20 times and say thank you every time. So it seems ok ideally that Gulliver would idolize these horses since they seem to have much more down in their ideal Utopia and don’t have any problems. Gulliver unfortunately is too clouded to see that they are not the best people to be inspired by.

Subtly, I see that Swift makes it aware through the satire to us that it is not ok for this superiority mindset. While Gulliver is awed in all the glory the Houynhmnms seem to present, it is to be shown to the reader that exterminating someone for their own good is not morally ok and presents a sense of disguist in how people “horses” can be perfectly comfortable with this decision in the sense that they are doing the world a favor. I would like to know in more detail or as a footnote or attachment why Gulliver was so fascinated by Houynhmnms in an explanation from Swift. I also would like to know what drove Gulliver to look like a lunatic once he started speaking to horses. To the average reader who cannot see the bigger message Swift blends in the satirical-style writing, it may bring forth the intent of the writing in a way that people can see thing that are not ok in a form of bullet points.

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-Daniel Estrada

Pointing the Finger

It is perplexing to try to relate with Mary Rowlandson’s perspective. I do not want to discredit her struggles- but it becomes difficult to understand that as an adult woman, she is not entirely a victim. Since her husband had particularly close relations with the natives, I felt Mary should have been the first to know if there were certain issues on the verge of rising. Torn between the thought of a war or if she is to be seen as a slave, I will try my best to pry apart the two viewpoints.

Mary Rowlandson is in an interesting possible exclusion when being related to John Locke’s rhetoric. I am moved by John Locke’s viewpoint in the sense that I feel the world would be much better if everyone respected each other’s ideals and treated each other equally. Ideally, this would have allowed for everyone to be seen as equal. Where it becomes interesting however is that the Natives are not playing by the same rules as the newly  arrived Europeans. I do consider the hostage situation of Mary to be a type of slavery. Even though Mary is sewing and providing her services as a form of bartering, she is not doing so willingly. I do see Mary trying to survive day-by-day. There is a warlike view on how the natives keep fleeing and moving randomly as the English are on their tails throughout the reading. Mary does use her religion as a way to help herself feel safe, even with the multiple deaths of some of the immediate people in her life.

I found extremely interesting how her children were named Joesph and Mary. I related this to the original biblical story of Joesph and Mary. Mary is questioned about her faith with the lord and her trust is tested. So I felt that when her kids Joesph and Mary were taken from her, she lost her trust. Of course, they are reunited at the end, but it builds a lot of biblical connection throughout as she is a devoted Puritan. I feel that by Mary playing victim and developing sympathy from the readings however, it contributes to the genocide. The natives are not seen as human or worthy of the lands and therefore are not taken seriously.

As treaties start to get broken by the new generations of Puritans and migrants, more chaos ensues for the Natives. King Philip pointed out how his father helped when the Mayflower arrived, and then slowly but surely there was more and more conflict as the years passed. The conflicts were possible because many of the newer generations were not true and as close to their Puritan faith. Therefore, it could be the ideals John Locke wrote of were not able to be met because people did not take the word of the lord as seriously and became more focused on colonizing, expansion, and obtaining as much land as possible. The natives were therefore seen as barbaric which brought upon war, kidnappings, genocide, and chaos.

 

-Daniel Estrada