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Melody Medley

When you turn on the TV and look for a sports game to watch, there is much to choose from. You can choose women's basketball or men's basketball, softball or baseball, men's soccer or women's soccer. Usually the men choose to watch the men sports and the women choose to watch the women sports.

However there was a time when there wasn't women sports figures like Venus Williams or Mia Hamm that young girls looked up to. There wasn't even much competitive sports. The physical activity that girls participated in was cheerleading and square dancing! Talk about humiliating! Only 1 in 27 girls participated in sports.
That all began to change in 1972 when Title IX was passed. Title IX stated that,
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..."

In other words, Title IX was the beginning of women's sports. But not only the beginning of women athletics, it also stated that men and women sports should be equal.

Part of the problem with men and women sports was that women was not rewarded for their achievement. Billie Jean King is know for her "battle of the sexes" competition with men's tennis star, Bobby Riggs. Proving that girls CAN do anything just as well as men can, Kings beat Riggs and was awarded 100,000 dollars. Quoting Larry Schwartz for ESPN, "She was instrumental in making it acceptable for American women to exert themselves in pursuits other than childbirth."
Also stated in the article, Neil Amdur wrote in The New York Times,"Most important perhaps for women everywhere, she convinced skeptics that a female athlete can survive pressure-filled situations and that men are as susceptible to nerves as women."

King knew that she wanted to stand up for women's equality ever since she was young. She made it clear that she was going to work on this goal until it was achieved. She said, "In the '70s we had to make it acceptable for people to accept girls and women as athletes," she said. "We had to make it OK for them to be active. Those were much scarier times for females in sports."

The song "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" is about a man and a women trying to out due each other. Though they do not mention sports, there is still that competition to which gender is better.

So next time you turn on the TV and watch Serena Williams win a match or girls, next time you play in a sport, remember that it is all thanks to TItle IX and for those who helped make equality exist.

Rhyming is commonplace in poetry, nobody can deny that. Although find primarily in children's poetry, it's nonetheless a regular sight in poetic literature as a whole. Rhyme can add a variety of emotions to a poem, but it's usually used in a light-hearted manner (again, children's poetry), or to add a macabre sense of conflicting viewpoints in a poem to highlight one or the other (for example, "Résumé," by Dorothy Parker, rhymes in a sing-song way. It's about the various ways to commit suicide).

But what happens when you change the rhyme? What if you lead the reader on and have them believe you're going to say one word, and then suddenly insert something else entirely? Wikipedia calls this a "mind rhyme." This can end in myriad ways, ranging from humorous, to frustrating, to sickening. Oftentimes a mind rhyme is used as a censor bypass.

Humorous rhyme subversions are the most obvious and most easily-found type. The infamous Alanis Morissette song "Ironic" gives us this:

It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife,
It's like meeting the man of my dreams and meeting his beautiful husband

There's plenty of other examples of humorous mind rhymes, but mind rhymes for the purpose of censoring are just as easy to find. One of the most famous examples comes from the classic song by The Killers, "Mr. Brightside."
Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head
But she's touching his chest

This isn't even a new thing concept, this idea of subverting rhymes. There's even an example found in Hamlet!
Hamlet: For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
A very, very—pajock.

(note that in this case "was" is pronounced similar to "ass")

Finally, the ultimate example of a mind rhyme comes in the form of the infamous "Assumption Song:"

I just hope I don't lose points for profanity here.

Gagavolution

So, the other day, I discovered an Lady Gaga song that I'd never heard before: Fashion(not to be confused with one of the songs on her new album, Fashion of His Love). As a huge Gaga fan, I was actually really confused at first; how could I have missed this one? Did I accidentally delete it from my computer? Why didn't I remember this at all?

After poking around for a bit, I found it was actually never released on an album, but was actually written in 2007 for Sex and the City(I've never watched SatC but I'm going to assume this is par for the course). Since it was written in 2007, right before Lady Gaga exploded onto the pop music scene with Just Dance, its style was much closer to the dance-pop music Gaga was known for, rather than the 80's disco inspirational pop ballads (is that even a genre?) of today, in songs like Bad KidsHair, and of course, Born This Way.

This got me thinking about how Lady Gaga has evolved over her three years in the mainstream. There's no denying she's a media superstar: Bad Romance is the second-most viewed video in YouTube history, and she's the most-followed user on Twitter, beating out people like Justin Bieber, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama. But how has this all affected the Lady's image and music?

Modern-day Lady Gaga music, while just as loud and synth-pop as before, mixes and matches genres like a musical thrift shop rack. Gaga describes her album, Born This Way, as

"...an avant-garde techno-rock record that is really really heavy and industrial on one end and really joyful and pop on the other. So it is pop music with a very very very strong message and a very uncomfortable message, it intended to give you a sugar high and a terrible stomach ache."

Compare this to her earlier albums, The Fame and The Fame Monster:
"Songs like "Poker Face", "Just Dance" and "LoveGame" are uptempo dance songs, with "Poker Face" carrying a dark sound with clear vocals on the chorus and a pop hook."
"[The Fame Monster] is a pop experimentation with industrial/Goth beats, 90's dance melodies, an obsession with the lyrical genius of 80's melancholic pop, and the runway."

And it's clear that her style has changed dramatically, going from a combination of Madonna and Britney Spears to...a combination of Madonna and more Madonna. Still great either way! In addition, her lyrics have evolved from sexually-charged, late-night club fodder to emotional, heartfelt messages on everything from gay marriage in America to how to style your hair. And while I personally prefer her old style of music, I can appreciate the new direction she's taken.

It's too bad the same can't be said for her fashion sense.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

BAM to JAM


The Black Arts Movement, also know as BAM, is a period of time from 1960 to 1970.
This era began with the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X, and the
This era embraced artist to create work that dealt with African American culture
and experience.
BAM is recognized for motivating a new generation of poets, writers and artists.


Art:
During the Black Arts Movement provided "a change of vision." BAM artists
concentrated on improving Black Americans' perception of themselves. Artists
during this era distinguished a Black identity. Painters Lois Mailou Jones and John Biggers along with sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett all aligned themselves with the younger generation of black artists, creating works that emphasized their shared interest in African design sensibilities, the black figure, and the continuing struggle for civil rights.


Baraka:
Amiri Baraka is credibly know for his influence during the Black Arts Movement. He sometime is even referred to as the founder. His contribution came mainly from his poetry, normalizing the use of Black Language during the age.
"Black Music" was most notably one of his most provocative collection of writings. Baraka’s Obie Award winning
brought a new dynamic to the idea of poetry.
This would influence generations of performance poets like the Last Poets all the way through to cats in the early 2000s on Def Poetry Jam.
"Not only was Baraka’s writing visceral and evoking of spirit, but as an orator or performer, his tactic of inviting or even demanding that the audience become part of the performance, are all techniques that Baraka helped popularize, and are now deeply established in hip-hop culture."




California...Guys?

So, lately, I've been listening to a lot of The Baseballs. For those who don't know, The Baseballs are a group of three German men with 70s haircuts who make rock covers of popular American songs. In just two albums, they've covered everything from Rihanna, to Katy Perry, to Plain White Tees, and all the way back to Ke$ha. Whether their take on the songs is an improvement is up to the listener (I personally think their version of Hot 'n' Cold is a thousand times better than the original), it's odd to see how different the same lyrics can sound when performed in another style.

This got me thinking about different interpretations of songs. What about a song gives it a certain feel, a certain ethos (thanks, Creative Spirit!)?

Obviously, the instrumentation plays a big part in it. My god, look what orchestration did for Rebecca Black. Even without vocals, they've turned "Friday" from an unintentionally-hilarious Auto-Tuned mess to an inspirational, swelling ballad.
I'd say that the rhythm of the song can also play a big part in it as well. For example, Justin Bieber slowed down 800% produces an amazing, ambient masterpiece.
The imagery accompanying a song can also influence how you view it, but there are obvious exceptions: even Lord of the Rings won't stop Yakety Sax from making things hilarious.

To illustrate just how far you can take a song, I'm going to show the greatest cover of any song ever. It's so amazing I'm not even going to link it; I'm gonna EMBED this bad boy:

I guess she understands what irony is, after all.

That is, in fact, Alanis Morissette turning The Black-Eyed Peas' song "My Humps" into a soulful, emotional ballad that just speaks of lost love and ruined lives. You can just feel the sheer pain in Morissette's voice as she belts out the truth about what she gon' do with all that junk.

I guess one thing you can take away from all this is that you can't really say you dislike a song, you can only dislike that performance. Some people may hate Super Bass, but hey, throw some adorable British girls and you've got yourself ten million listeners.

My poetry class was recently assigned to read Bob Dylan's song "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." The song shocked me, because it wasn't the normal everyday song that you can hear on the radio.

It tells a story, a true story about a man by the name of William Zanzinger who killed a waitress, Hattie Carroll.

As Dylan sings the song, there is not much emotion that is added to the song. He sings as if he is reading. There is a certain zing to the way he sings. He sounds as if he knows something is wrong with the picture.

Some background for those who are not familiar with Dylan's past. His songs became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movement.As I listened to the song, I made the instant connection between the song and the civil rights era. The song does not explain that the women was black and the man was white. My assumption was supported by newspaper articles.
The outcome of this case is appalling, though the court system agreed that it was equal, it turns out that, according to the lyrics, Zanzinger got away with just six months behind bars.




The court system in the past was know for being unjust. The Emmett Till case was probably one of the most inequitable rulings. There was ample evidence of the murder of Till. Because of the prejudice court system, the jury knew their ruling, the moment they were assigned to the case.

Justice was not served at the time for those who died on the accounts of discrimination, but thank goodness today there is fairness within the courts and all mean are equal!

This past Thursday my high school held it's annual Grandparent's Day. This day is special to those who have grandparents. The day begins attending a convocation with your grandparents, then having lunch, followed by the grandparents attending classes. This is a exciting day for the grandparent's because they are overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction as they watch their grandchild's success.
A grandparent is someone who is always there for you. They're that person in your life that never disagrees with you and is always there for you when you need extra comfort. They buy that really cool toy that your parents said no to buying you. They are that one person in your life that you can go to and talk to because you know that they will not tell anyone.

My grandmother passed away two years ago. Grandparent's Day was something that was so special that she flew in from Florida to attend this special day.

I'm not going to explain how I was saddened not having a Grandparent walking around with me, because while I miss her every single day, I think that she taught me well. She was always there for me when I needed her the most. She taught me to always try my best and to always strive for my goals in life. She left this earth as a fighter, and for that I am truly honored to call her "Noni". Her fun, strong and upbeat personality will always have a permanent place in my heart.




Over the weekend, I took the SAT for the second and final time. For those of you who haven't taken it yet (or have just forgotten how it works), the SAT is broken down into ten sections in total: three of mathematics, three of critical reading, three of writing, and one variable, experimental section. One of the writing sections is also the 25-minute essay, meaning 60% (potentially even 70%!) of the SAT revolves around your skill with words...but all in prose.

I began to wonder why a test so heavily steeped in the English language didn't include a single instance of poetry, but rather paragraphs and paragraphs of prose. Surely, understanding poetry is all about critical reading?

Then I got to wondering about what it actually requires to understand poetry. Obviously, critical reading skills are important, but that can't be all. I scored fairly high on my critical reading section and I still have difficulty fully understanding lots of poems. So I began to investigate: The official SAT information video describes the SAT as a test where "all students from all backgrounds have an equal chance to succeed." Does that mean that not all students can read poetry equally as well?

Well, frankly, not really. Poetry is something that, I believe, needs to be taught. There are certainly instances of genius poets who were self-taught, such as Dorothy Parker or Elizabeth Bartlett, but these are very rare, like a four-leaf clover, or a Red Sox fan who isn't currently foaming at the mouth. In most cases, people have to be taught how to read/write poetry. There are entire guides to understanding poetry, even textbooks!

Poetry needs to understood, examined, scrutinized. It's nearly impossible to glean everything a poem has to offer within one reading, which is why I believe the SAT does not test a student's ability to read poetry: as a test designed to provide equal opportunity to all students, not everyone has the ability or skill to read what a poem has to offer.

After reading cummings' poem, "may i feel said he,"

I began to realize how crazy poetry could be,
Poets could get away with really writing about anything, including sex! RISKY
Jump to present day today and everything in the media includes SEX! Literally, everything!
I think the true breakout about the term sex came from, Salt-n-Pepa
with their hit song, "Let's Talk about Sex,"and then the media began to attack the topic.


Something else that shocked me when I read cummings' poem, was the two individuals were having a secret affair!
you see it in the the movies and on an episode of Desperate Housewives.
There's just something about men and women these days not finding happiness together, so instead of breaking up they need to go behind each other's back and have sex with someone else!
Most of Taylor Swift songs are about a boyfriend who has cheating. Titles like: "Should've Said No", "Better than Revenge", "Your Not Sorry" and many more.
Even though they do not go into the extreme of having a sexual relationship, there is even an episode on Disney Channel's show Good Luck Charlie called "Dog Bites Girl" where the main character finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with someone else.

So yes, even though it seemed like a taboo for cummings to discuss such risky topics, the topic really has become a major topic for much movies, shows and songs.

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