Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Poacher

Hello everyone!
I thought the lecture on Bruegel today was interesting, so I looked up more of his works and I came across this one called "The Poacher". The way I look at the picture, it seems to me that Bruegel is poking fun at the poachers. The whimsical expression of the poacher in the center as well as the comedy from the man in the tree make the scene humourous. This seems to contrast the sternness of the Gaston pictures.

What do you guys think? Any other opinions about this piece?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reaction to 6.28 Afternoon Lecture / Film

While I appreciate the intent to tell the "True Story of the Roman Arena," this documentary leaves me disgruntled. I do not fault the use of storytelling elements like analogy, symbolism, and effects, but I do find this film, made by the BBC, disingenuous.

The use of music to heighten a mood or enhance the narrative is critiqued both in ancient Roman arena combat as well as more modern Spanish bullfighting. An astute audience would note the use of low strings and other musical ploys during scenes of gore and violence during the film as the same use of music to supplement visual narrative. Am I supposed to feel horrified and unsettled watching specific scenes of "The True Story of the Roman Arena?" It would seem so... Perhaps in telling the true story of the past the motivation of modern animal rights supporters is an evident, and ultimately undermining force.

If the creators of this documentary feel at liberty to employ the same techniques that they question, at least they could employ the same kind of truth they hope to expose. The truth about bullfighting is that while the art and spectacle of violence are paramount to the experience, the slaughtered animal is slaughtered to be eaten. In fact scenes of the butchering of the bulls into cuts of beef appear during the course of the film, without any explanation that those same bulls were killed in front of an audience hours earlier. It is currently law in Spain to make sure the animal is dead and butchered efficiently (as in, within a certain amount of time). It is certainly a departure from the types of massacres of animals in ancient Rome. I see the parallels of public violence, but I do not get to learn about what happens afterward. But wait, the documentary does tell us about how efficiently the masses of animals (and humans) are carted away from the scene, and it does try to parallel with the loading of the dead bull using draft horses. Why stop the narrative there?

I would close by saying that while I appreciate the use of modern analogues to tell a story of history, I wonder if my classmates were at least confused by the use of these parallels and maybe even opinionated enough to write something about it. Any ideas on the boxing? Thanks, and good evening,


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Hi everybody!
I remember coming across this when it was published as a National Geographic article. I think it's an interesting comparison as compared to Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" idea, as well as to the various population predictions made by scientists throughout the years.
The article dicusses in further depth the demographic transitions occuring around the world, and is an interesting read for anyone intersted in human population dynamics.
Here's the link if you're intersted:
And if you're short on time, there's a video summary here:

-Crystal Uminski


Hughes mentions the Greek goddess Artemis (Diana in Rome) a lot in Pan's Travail. On page 50, Hughes talks about an alternate image of Artemis. Where she is typically portrayed as the virgin huntress, she is also occasionally depicted differently to show fertility and closeness with animals. Here's a picture of her alternative form: