Filed under: Essays, Uncategorized | Tags: anti-hero, Essay, married with children, television shows, writing
“Married with Children” was a popular sitcom in the 1990’s and one of the reasons for its popularity was that it was drastically different from most sitcoms not only in the time period but in history. Indeed, Married with Children wasn’t about “good people” who had to overcome problems in and out of the family like its predecessors and contemporaries such as “Family Ties”, Growing Pains, “the Cosby Show”, “Home Improvement” and “Family Matters” among other shows. Married with Children was a show that was about a dysfunctional family with tremendously flawed characters who solved their problems through violence, pranks and scheming. Moreover, the characters interaction was filled with sarcasm and insults-but that made the show interesting in some respects than the sitcoms mentioned above.
One of the reasons that “Married with Children” was so popular was because in many ways it was more realistic that shows like “Family Matters” and the “Cosby Show.” That is not to say that fathers ram their daughter’s boyfriends’ heads into walls, but it is to say that there are families that stay together that are dysfunctional and the dysfunction of those families are more representative of American families than the other shows mentioned in earlier discussion. The shows mentioned above for the most part deal in micro issues and conflicts that are solved within the course of one television show. With “Married with Children”-there is no getting around the fact that Al Bundy (the main character, father and husband) is obsessed with the one day in his high school football career where he scored four touchdowns in one game. Moreover, Al Bundy is stuck in a job that he hates with a wife that is annoying and children that may be even more annoying-but he needs the job. That is more realistic to most people than having a father who is a doctor (Cosby Show and Growing Pains) or a mother that is a lawyer (Cosby Show). In other words, Married with Children is a reflection of how “imperfect” family life can be.
“Married with Children” is certainly not a show that is for children. Indeed, there is no message at the end of the show like there is with a show like “Full House.” The only possible messages are more macro messages because one can get the same idea from watching any random episode of the show. More to the point, the messages that “Married with Children” gives are actually more nuanced to a degree than the ones on the “family friendly shows.” For instance, when the Bundys go to the movies or a car wash and get into a conflict with another family-the Bundys band together to solve their problem through violence. The underlying/nuanced message is loyalty to one’s family despite any internal issues-but that is not a message most people will see (including adults). Most people will see the violence and either be entertained or turned off by it.
Another hint to the audience demographic “Married with Children” is going for can be heard in the live studio audience. When Al Bundy or any other major character first appears on a given episode-there isn’t light applause or respectful silence-there is hooting and hollering (for lack of a more “academic” term) from male voices. In other words, “Married with Children” caters to adult men who can relate to a man who has a job he hates and just wants to hang out with his friends at Hooters even though he is married. Moreover, those men also got a chance to look at Kelly Bundy (portrayed by Christina Applegate) who was a beautiful and sexy woman. Without being privy to the marketing plans for the television show-one can only assume that this show was created to appeal to the average “red-blooded” American male. If appealing to males was the design for the show-it certainly succeeded to that end.
The main characters were appealing to me because they weren’t perfect. That is not to say that the characters on other sitcoms were (for instance Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties was obsessed with money) perfect-but it is to say that there is something attractive about characters that are so interesting that as a viewer I know that any scenario that they wind up in will be intriguing in terms of the result. When the characters are written as role models as they are on most sitcoms-there is less intrigue because the end result is seemingly more about the message than entertaining the viewer. One way to put it is that I would rather see the Bundys get into a fight at a restaurant with another family for a random reason or Al Bundy scheme to try to make the proverbial quick buck than the Keatons (this is a hypothetical example because I am not sure there was ever an episode on Family Ties about race relations) have dinner with an African-American family to show solidarity between the races. There is a place for both type of shows-but personally I am more interested in “Married with Children’s” interpretation of the family.
“Married with Children” is one of my favorite television shows of all time because it is different. A show with a husband and father who had his best days before he got married, a slacker who only watches television, a sexpot daughter and a girl-hungry son is so different from the norm that it becomes interesting simply based on how unique it is. Beyond the characters, the plots are also different than what we have come to expect from the genre. Husbands and wives don’t usually plot against each other constantly. There are few if any sitcoms where solving problems with fighting is encouraged. While the show was certainly entertaining in its own right-I credit the creative team for having a vision of a sitcom that was more edgy (to say the least) than just about every sitcom that came before.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Apologies, Betrayal, Depression, Friends, friendship, I'm Sorry, Life, Love, mental health, Monro Pub, Mustafa Samiullah, passion, Phony, Regrets, Underground World Order, UWO
I am getting my first poem published later in the month.
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Social networking websites such as Facebook.com and Twitter.com have been a great place to stay in touch with current friends, find old friends and also make other connections that can make life easier. The problem with that is that social networking can negatively affect employment for jobseekers. The reason for that is because employers are now taking the time to look up the social networking profiles of those that apply to jobs. That means that having a profile on social networking website could be hazardous to your job search or job security.
According to David Milford, an assistant director of career services for college students, in an interview at ESUbulletin.com (Mize, 2009), as many as 30 percent of employers look at the social networking profiles of people that they are considering hiring or interviewing. Milford said that the reason that employers do that is they spend so much money on their company that it is imperative to know that they hire someone that can be trustworthy. The statistics regarding employers trying to find out about their potential employees are particularly scary for college students and those just coming out of college. These young men and women are at the age where they are more likely to have questionable content on their page. It is a difficult decision for young adults to make because it is axiomatic for most people between the ages of 18-28 to want to post their latest party exploits or want to post about something that is bothering them like the breakup of themselves and a significant other. There is a quote on streetdirectory.com (Sandy, 2009) where an employer admits that he was all set to hire a jobseeker, but that was before he saw his myspace profile where the potential job candidate celebrated his use of recreational drugs. Another survey recently done said that 45 percent of the employees polled on careerbuilder.com check the social networking profiles of people that apply for jobs in their company (this survey was more general than the one that Milford referenced, that was more geared toward college students). (marketwatch, 2009)
The most dangerous social networking website for job seekers is probably twitter.com. The examples of why it is so dangerous are probably more apparent in situations where the person is already employed. There have been at least two instances of NFL players that have been suspended by their teams because of things that they posted on twitter. Both Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs and David Clowney of the New York Jets posted “tweets” questioning the coaching of their respective teams. That illustrates that is not only important to be discreet while looking for employment, it is also important while you are employed. Making derogatory comments about your job, boss or people that you work with can come back to haunt you down the line. Another reason that Twitter is dangerous is because of the nature of the site. There is a limited number of characters so any “tweets” that are made that are seen can be misconstrued by employees, which could cost someone gainful employment. Something else that is dangerous about Twitter is that unlike Facebook, it is not possible to erase “tweets”, which means anything on the site is there for anyone to see for the long haul. Even the idea that a candidate is looking at other jobs may be seen as a negative thing by employees, especially if a job candidate is looking for jobs in two separate fields. Employees want to know that you aren’t just working for the money and that you have interest and passion in the specific field that you are working in (if applicable, there are some office jobs that just require office skills).
There are very few jobs where it is not important to know whether or not a potential employee is trustworthy, at the same time there are certain jobs where it may be more important than others. Any job that has a business setting and a business to business casual dress code is probably a job that would frown upon anybody working for them that advertises drinking of alcohol or drug use (even if it’s “just” weed or cigarettes). If it is that important to make sure that your friends see every moment of your life, it is best to wait until you have a solid job and job security. While people should expect a right to privacy, it can also be said that a company should have the kind of people representing the company that they are comfortable with. Is it fair to have to censor yourself? Probably not, but at the same time, when you are looking for a job, you have to know that everything counts.
One argument against an employer looking at a potential employee’s social networking profile is simply the matter of privacy. At the same time, if there is a former classmate that one is interested in tracking down, is it wrong to look them up? If you say that’s okay, it could be argued that it is okay that an employer that is putting his money into someone to work for them has the right to do the same thing. At least in the latter case, there is something tangible (money) on the line. The bigger argument against researching someone that a company is interesting in interviewing is relevance. What does someone’s personal life have to do with how they could perform at their job? There are some things such as excessive drug use and alcohol that could be seen as a red flag, but at the same time it almost seems as if a company should not even ask for a resume if it is just going to reject a strong candidate based on pictures or a few sentences that can be easily taken out of context. On that note, if you are looking for a job in a field where you have to deal with businesses outside of your potential office, it is a good idea to (whether it is true or not) act as if you are using social networking sites to find a way to advance your career, as opposed to a place where you can let your friends know about your latest party.
What about how to handle your social networking profiles, once you are hired? According to an article on howstuffworks.com (Briggs, 2009) employers do look at the social networking profiles of those that are already employees, especially if said employee seems complacent in terms of work. That’s not to say you have to be as careful once you are working, if you are seen as a good worker, it is hard for you going out with your buddies to have a beer to get you fired, but it can keep you from getting hired. Besides that unless you are “friends” your boss on a site such as facebook, it is more likely that your boss has already looked at your social networking profile. At the same time, I have worked at a job where someone was fired because of what was on their profile. Even given that, I have only seen that once in my time working for several different offices. Who knows if its because most employees keep their profiles clean or if it’s because there were other issues with the employee that did end up getting fired.
One question that may come to mind is what happens if an employer tries to friend you? Whether that is good or bad depends on the kind of office that you work for. If you are working in a casual office, it’s probably okay, although it would be good to find out how many other employees are on the bosses friends list. The reason for that is no one is perfect and if several employees can “survive” being friends with the boss, then you probably can too and it will make you seem like a person that is good to work with in terms of being agreeable. It would be rare for an employer to friend you before hiring you, so that is not something to worry about.
How can social networking positively affect employment? One was is through communication with people that can help you. Facebook and Twitter are both websites that can lead a person to other people that can help them find jobs. If someone is in a certain field and is having trouble finding work, a good way to begin finding opportunities is to friend a former classmate that one may have had a relationship with or becoming Facebook friends with a professor that may have contacts in the field that can help you or make recommendations for you. The people that you are networking with in this case probably already know about your vices and because of the fact that they know the real person behind the vices and more importantly know that the person could do good work for the company.
In the above vein, how could what you put on your profile actually help you get work? It depends on the job that you are looking for. If you are a writer, putting up samples of your work can be effective if someone is looking you up online. If you are a graphic designer, it is the same thing. If an employer sees that your craft is the first thing that is mentioned or the thing that is most talked about in your profile, then it will let them know that it would be safer to hire you, nothing is guaranteed, but it is a good way to show that being an “artist” is more important than being social. The ultimate precaution to all of this is just to keep your profile private. Because there are so many reasons that someone would not have a public profile, the very fact that someone has a private profile would not raise red flags in and of itself. As far as a private profile goes, things to still watch include your main profile picture. Your profile picture can still be seen if you are searched online on Facebook or Myspace. If your main profile picture finds you in a compromising position, then it may be better to change it to something that is more streamlined, at least while you are looking for work. Something else that you should look at is any friends that you have public communication with online because an employer that really wants to know about you could always look at any public profiles that any of your online friends have. It would be a good idea to clean up anything that looks bad on your profile or any of your friend’s profile that highlights communication between yourself and said friends. How does researching a social networking profile compare to background checks? The first difference is that a profile search doesn’t cost anything. For those employers that choose to conduct both, the difference is that the background check is big picture oriented and the social networking profile is more about the little things about potential employees that may make a company apprehensive about hiring said employee or even calling them in for an interview. There is very little someone can do about what a company will find on a background check, but there are things they can do about what you put on your Facebook page. A precaution that you can take when it comes to social networking profiles is to develop a presence on Linkedin. Linkedin is a site that is based more about careers and career opportunities than Facebook, Myspace or Twitter. At no time in history has there been more access to the lives of potential employees than there is now. There are things that you can do to try keep your private life that way and keep focus on your resume and references. At the same time there is information about you everywhere and if someone wants to find out things about you, then they can and more times than not will. There are people out there whose job it is to find out information on potential employers. Depending on the situation and the job that you are looking for it can cost you a chance to make money and with all of the competition out there, no matter what the economy, there is no excuse to be cavalier about the information that can be found out about you online. It can be the difference between a six figure salary and unemployment.
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African art has been influential to many artists and types of art throughout history. One of the artists that has been the most influenced by the style of African art is Picasso. This paper will look specifically at Picasso and how he was influenced by African Art.
One of the most important and influential genres of art within art is Cubism (dadeschools.net, 2009). Cubism is a way to approach art, (not only painting and sculpting, but music and poetry as well according to dadeschools.net) that was founded by Picasso and Georges Braque (dadeschools.net, 2009). Cubism did not begin in Africa, it actually began in Europe, but the point is that its roots were in Africa. The characteristics of Cubism that was taken from Africa include how objects used in pieces of art are developed, simplified, distorted and emphasized (dadeschools.net, 2009). Speaking of simplification that is one of the aspects of African art that most appealed to Europeans, including Picasso. European artists marveled at how powerful Black African Sculpture was and began to emulate it in their own work. (dadeschools.net, 2009) If we were to make a long story short the founders of the Cubist movement, Picasso and Braque were directly influenced by African Art.
If one were to look at some of Picasso’s work such as the mask-like faces that are look very similar to a face that would be sculpted by an African artist. Not only were the faces similar, but also the colors and earth tones that would be used in an African piece of art were used by Picasso as well. Indeed the specifics of the actual paintings were taken from how similar paintings were crafted in Africa. (dadeschools.net, 2009) Other pieces of art that were influenced by Africa that Picasso developed were paintings of wild animals like bulls and horned creatures (dadeschools.net, 2009). To be more specific, the famous painting Les Demoiselles de Avignon, featured many of the women wearing masks, that not only showed the influence of African Art on Picasso, but it also showed the respect that he had for African art as well. Other paintings that Picasso created because of his appreciation for African Art included Three figures under a tree, Woman in an armchair and Reclining Woman. (artinfo.com 2006). He also sculpted the Head of Woman from Iron.
The aforementioned paintings and sculpture was the beginning of paintings and other pieces of art that were influenced by African art. For example the Three Dancers painting was not so much influenced by African art directly, as it was influenced by Picasso’s painting. Other artists that were influenced by African Art besides Picasso include Brancusi, who was the pioneer of modernist sculpture; Matisse and Modigliani and Giacometti, who was a famous sculptor. (Molyneux, 2006)
To this day we can go to an exhibit featuring Picasso’s paintings and not only see that he was influenced by African art, but we can also see how he was influenced by African Art. We can see the specifics in the paintings and the sculptures that show the initiated art expert that Picasso had a love for African art that one could argue made him a great artist. The irony of all of this is that Picasso never stepped foot in Africa, he actually got all of his information from books on Africa and by admiring African pieces of art second hand (ie: not seeing the art in person, but rather through books and other means) (Molyneux, 2006). He called some of the African art that he created “magical objects” (Molyneux, 2006). He also called them “weapons” that would allow people to become “free spirits” (Molyneux, 2006).
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I have always been interested in education, it probably comes from my mother who works in a public school. With that in mind, people may ask where I want to take this writing/editing business. In other words, what is the future of uniquepapers? In an ideal world, if business picks up, I would be able to hire tutors, writers and editors. I’ve been working with a lawyer on a book about immigrants and even though I’ve never met any of these immigrants, I can imagine what a struggle it is to learn the English language. It’s probably harder to write formally (ie: papers) for someone that has to learn English in this country. I want to help with that and of course I want to help anyone that needs help. Right now, I am willing and able to do everything alone. I am looking into grants and maybe even loans so I could grow the business.
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Here is another paper I wrote, I wasn’t paid for this so I decided to use it as a sample.
John Stuart Mill is correct in his work On Liberty when he says that people should have the “liberty” to have their own thoughts and philosophies on life. There is one caveat to his thoughts. Mill suggested that only people of a certain standing should have liberties. The liberty of the individual must thus far be limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people” (On Liberty, p. 55). If you take away what that quote would suggest Mill’s general assertion is correct. People should be allowed to think what they want to think because as Mill says, sometimes the majority opinion is incorrect. To allow for individual thinking is the ideal way for a society to operate. There are times where thinking “out of the box” can be dangerous for the society at large, but as a rule it is the right thing. The reason liberty for people is ideal is because the alternative is potentially disastrous and the alternative is the government not only controlling the physical actions of people, but also controlling their thoughts.
Mill believed that one of the main reasons that people should have Liberty is that it creates the highest utility for the society. Mill believed in utilitarianism, which is the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. It stands to reason that people not being held back by the government would create happiness. Mill was concerned that society would become to conformant if they did not have the liberty to act and think on their own. Mill also believed that most people would not act in a way that would be bad for the society, besides that the idea of liberty only go so far. In other words once it becomes detrimental to the society it is not what Mill envisioned when he wrote On Liberty.
While Mill alluded to the idea that liberty would only go so far, there is still the idea that the writing was not specific enough in terms of how much liberty people would have. If a person thought that it would be better for an enemy not to be around (ie: should be dead, out of the society or in jail), would it be okay to get rid of the enemy? What if the “enemy” in question was someone that was hated by the majority of the society and it would lead to greater utility if that person was dealt with even if it was in an unfair manner? This is the part that Mill does not address adequately in On Liberty. The reader would have to assume that Mill would not want anyone unfairly persecuted by a member or members of a society, but it is not completely clear. The best answer would be that liberty would stop short of criminal actions against innocent people (even if the innocent person is disliked).
In terms of whether or not nonconformity is good for society, think of it this way Martin Luther King was a nonconformist, Malcolm X was a nonconformist, Henry David Thoreau was a nonconformist, even Mother Theresa was a nonconformist. What would history like if people did not go away from convention and act based on their own thoughts? Mill is right about the need for nonconformity in society. No matter what anyone thinks of President Barack Obama, if it was not for unconventional thinking, someone of his race would not even have been allowed to run. Repressing individuality is never a good idea because the world will become stagnant. Even in today’s society it can be argued that there is still need for free thinking and change.
One reason that Mill was correct in his general thought is that a society is not going to terrorize itself just because it has a little freedom. The prevailing idea is that the government is there to make sure that people feel safe within their own society and people are giving up their liberties/freedom in order to get said safety. Mill did not think that this was an ideal way for people to live. While one can argue there was not enough of an explanation in On Liberty about how people having freedom would or would not interfere with the government’s goal of a safe, tyranny-free society, Mill does address the idea that people would not likely go too far just because they have some more freedom. Because of the successful non-conformists mentioned above, Mill has been proven right that living under “prevailing thought” is not the way to exist in any society.
Mill suggested that a man that commits a crime against his society should be punished more for what he did to his victims then the action in and of itself. He also said that most crimes committed by man affect the actor of the crime and the people that are closest to him and the society is a much lesser victim. That may be one of the things in this work that can be argued. For example a person that feels that violence is the best answer to a conflict is a danger to the society as a whole and while non-traditional thought should be encouraged; there are some ways of thinking that should not be tolerated or else there will be anarchy in society. One instance where a non-violent criminal act would hurt the society would be tax evasion. When people don’t pay their taxes, everyone suffers because taxes go to things like education, fortifying the police force and building hospitals. Mill may argue that if people believe that certain taxes are unfair that it would be a positive to challenge that. With that said, an individual making the challenge would not nearly be as effective as a group making the challenge. For example, imagine going to a store to buy cigarettes and refusing to pay the tax because you think it’s too much. You would be lucky if you didn’t spend the night in jail with that thinking and it’s also the kind of thing that it would be hard to generate a lot of support for unlike the changes Dr. King wanted to make. So what’s the answer? The easiest answer to this dilemma that would fit in with Mill’s thinking (and again the general premise is correct) is that if an individual believes that a law is unjust to try to rally as many people in the society against as possible. That not only creates utility, but it can also create change in a peaceful manner that hurts as few people as possible.
Besides stagnation, another reason to encourage individual thought is another natural inclination that people may have and that’s stubbornness. Mill was concerned that people thought that their way was the only way to live. People that don’t consider alternate ways of thinking are destined to live stagnant lives. “No one can be a great thinker who does not … follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead.” That is a very telling quote in terms of defining what this piece of writing is in a few words. It is also the best way to make sure that your life and the lives of people around you reach their potential.
What is the potential downside to people having the liberty to think for themselves? It’s probably fair to say there was more of a downside at the time that Mill wrote his piece then there would be now. At the time of Mill’s writing, women did not have many rights, minorities did not have many rights and any thoughts that could lead to rebellion or revolution could and probably would lead to injuries and death. The other thing to keep in mind is at the time that On Liberty was written there were many more things to be outraged about as there are now. In contemporary society there is so much information out there and so many people of different cultures that are out there, when that is combined the lack of issues that people have to be outraged about, liberty of thinking is more likely to lead to new technologies than a war or a violent revolution. To answer the above question, there is almost no downside to people having freedom to think how they want to think today because we live in a less volatile society in many ways.
One of the great points that Mill makes regarding government suppressing the opinions of people is that government officials are individuals with flaws, so who are they to tell someone how to think? While it’s true that many people that hold government positions then and now do have an intellectual superiority (at least tangibly), they are in no way perfect beings because none of us are. Not to mention the fact that those in prominent positions many times have no reason to change status quo, so if they did repress individual thinking, they would have a good reason (selfishly). People in power should actually want more individual thought because in actuality it would make their job easier.
The idea of being able to “refute objections” on one’s thoughts in order to justify said thoughts is something else that would be in the favor of free thinking. Even On Liberty is subject to that kind of scrutiny. It also makes allowing for liberty of thought “safer”. If someone has a thought that is potentially revolutionary, they have to be able to defend it against detractors. For example if someone had the idea of exclusive online schooling, would that idea pass the scrutiny of the fact that online only schools would hurt the idea of interaction between students of the same age and what about the teachers that would lose jobs, not to mention custodial staff, kitchen staffs and security guards. All of those people would have to find work if learning no longer took place in buildings. That is a thought that may seem to be a good idea at the time, but it would never get off the ground. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with having a thought like that or thinking in that direction because of the advanced technology of the 21st century.
Having the liberty to think and act as long as it’s not harmful to others seems axiomatic in today’s society. At the time that On Liberty was written, it was contemporary thought by the author John Stuart Mill. Everyone should have the ability to promote their thoughts and let the world know that if change is needed in a sector of society or even internally in our own lives that the change can actually happen. Without that we will lead state, unfulfilling lives.
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