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Friday, November 5, 2010

Are You in the "Circle" or did you not find it?

Discourse Communities I belong to:

My family
   - Sister's friends 

My Boyfriend
   - His family and friends

Farragut Career Academy High School ( Home of the Admirals)
    - Policy debate team
    - Theater Club
    - Culinary Arts
    - Peer Jury and Peace Circles
    - AP and Honors classes
    - Biology bridge course at Truman College

Social Networking Sites
     - Facebook ( Old elementary school friends, high school teachers, high school friends and colleagues)
     - Yahoo e-mail
     - Blurtit.com
     - Blogger.com
     - Windows Live Mail
     - GMail

Roosevelt University
     - Individual classes ( Math, English 101, Theater, Psychology)

Rock music

The Cathedral Cafe ( local rock show venue)

City as Site ( ENLACE Chicago)

Little Village

At home no one must do anything to put the family in danger and everyone must contribute their part. Obviously, when in the presence of my sister's friends no one should say what she really thinks about the person in question. Deep intellectual talk might leave someone staring at you in disbelief or ignored ( this is also true at home). On social sites, members should not post anything obscene or that threatens safety within the site. Cheating, inappropriate clothing, acting like a tomboy, or mentioning " Joe" in a conversation does not 'fly' with my boyfriend. Lecturing or intellectual conversations are not desirable around my boyfriend's circle of friends. When I go to my boyfriend's house, it is not wise to ignore his parents or to not ask their permission before leaving somewhere. We also cannot show any PDA while his parents are around. When in classes, it is not appropriate to interrupt someone. Theater class, no one should waltz in late or be absent without prior notice because it is rude and offsets scene work. Also, when in class you must not behave or talk disrespectfully to a professor, as well as using technology during group discussions.

In my senior year, I joined my school's theater club. On my first day, I was only a spectator. In the time I was there, I did not feel like I belonged. I wanted to be a part of something different compared to the debate team, but I was worried that I would not be good. I had to study my lines constantly and work with people who already had experience. We all received at least two mini-scenes with a partner. All members had to attend regularly and participate in the warm-ups. A routine of the club was to move all the tables aside for warm-ups (no one had to remind us of this). Sometimes, I was not being believable enough for my part or meeting the expectations. For our first production, an actor quit and I took the initiative to be Teen Santa. If that wasn't enough, the instructor asked me to open the show and wear a ridiculous bootleg Santa suit. That is what we do; if the cast is lagging in something, people take the initiative and they play multiple parts not assigned to them at any given time. We learned terms special to theater like: improvisation, the fourth wall, blocking, cheating out, striking the set etc. During the scenes, we needed to react to everything and never give the audience your back. The particular play we did required to everyone to overact. We did not have major rules, but the obvious ones were to attend everyday, rehearse lines, and to have the set ready before the warm-ups began. Our instructors would stand silently until we understood that we were fooling around and not following routine. Punishments included multiple re-takes, push-ups, and going up and down the stairs ten times. If the actor was performing poorly, their part was cut or given to someone else.

To gain more "power", I would probably have to be a stronger actor. I would have to help actors who are not meeting the requirements to improve. I would have to have a perfect idea of how to play my part and be very charismatic. Also, taking charge during warm-ups while the instructors prepare would demonstrate leadership and awareness of what is to be done. The actors with stronger acting abilities were the ones with almost as much power as the instructors. They were the ones with more parts and that were used as examples more often. Even so, when they did not perform at their usual best, others with more enthusiastic acting were praised. If I constantly would have missed or did not rehearse my lines, I probably would get kicked out. The most important thing about our theater policies is the fact that all the actors come up with a consensus and concerns about incidents like that. Everyone ( instructors included) bring that to the person's attention. I believe that there are various forms of power and the method of distributing authority is different. Sometimes, it can be a mixture of all persons or the top person. For the most part, everyone has a good say so in the group, but the best performers have a better advantage. This is true because my scene partner was just not delivering and the instructor was often frustrated with him and almost cut his part out of the play.
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So the other day, I was watching an Arthur episode ( yes the cartoon, big deal). It got me thinking about discourse communities and membership.

It started off by showing Francine in a track competition. She was fed up with the same old uniforms that were falling apart due to the fact that there was always "no money". She asked Principal Hainey if it was possible to get new uniforms; she believed that the school needed more spirit. He agreed; as a result, Arthur, Miuffy, and Francine thought about forming a school committee called the LPC (Lakewood Pride Committee).

At first, their efforts were futile. They then decided to ask Buster Baxter if he could represent the LPC. In that he was " Average, like everyone else, etc". That got me thinking, well if he is average, what are they, popular? Buster agreed to be President. During lunch, he was on stage telling everyone that they should join and how he "loves" Lakewood, to get his peers to be members.

Soon, everyone was wearing LPC buttons and performed a hand signal ( index finger forming an 'I' and index finger with thumb forming a 'L'). All except Sue Ellen and the Brain. The LPC began to notice this and constantly bothered them where ever they went to become "one of them". They even received red notes on their lockers with a message that read " D.L.L." ( Doesn't Love Lakewood). It was difficult for them to contact Buster because his Secretary, Muffy, always said he was unavailable. I began to think about how that in a way can be over powering the President; Buster never said he did not want to be bothered, but Muffy knew who was calling and overrode the call. Interesting, don't you think? One of Sue Ellen's and the Brain's friends, George, also got one of those notes because he "was not cheering loudly enough". It seems to me that the LPC was too controlling.

Finally, Sue Ellen and Brain wrote Buster a note and delivered it via paper airplane. He, the next day at the track race, read it out loud. They wrote: "Just because we do not wear buttons, shout I love Lakewood, or join the LPC, doesn't mean that we do not love Lakewood." Buster explained who sent him the message and how it was true that being in the LPC didn't prove loyalty to their school.

By the end of the episode, I did not understand why Sue Ellen and the Brain didn't just join. I then realized that they were made to feel obligated to join and when they didn't, the LPC made them feel like they were traitors. I also thought about how I too was not a part of my school counsel or pep rallies. While I did neither, I still loved my school and did not feel the need to prove it in those mechanisms. I decided that they were right not to join. No one should have the right to tell you that you do not have pride for something just because you do not conform with their common practices.