Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Post #5

Remember to post your posts on your own blog, not as a comment on this one. Use comments to respond to other writer's posts.

Respond to one of these topics in any form.

1) How are you a part of the global economy? Think about a typical day: the work you do, the services you use, the products you consume. How are you connected to the issues raised in the film Mardi Gras Made in China and/or the essay "Love and Gold"? Feel free to include your personal responses to these texts as well.

2) We've read a variety of stories about work. Soon, you'll do a project centered around interviewing someone about their work. What kind of work are you interested in learning more about? Brainstorm people you know who you might like to interview. Ideally, they should have been in their area of work for a while, or have worked a variety of jobs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Post 4

Listen to this recording of Philip Levine introducing and reading his poem, "What Work Is".

Then write a post responding to one of these questions.

1) What do you think of Levine's story and poem? How do they relate to the issues and texts we've been discussing in class? To your experiences? What does the poem tell us about "what work is"?

2) Describe any text - a movie, television show, book, song - from outside our class that talks about work. What images of work does it give? What in this text interests or speaks to you? Relates to your experiences? Your hopes and fears about work? Feel free to add links, video, audio of the text if you wish.

Text of the poem:
We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is--if you're
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it's someone else's brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, "No,
we're not hiring today," for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who's not beside you or behind or
ahead because he's home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You've never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you're too young or too dumb,
not because you're jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying
in the presence of another man, no,
just because you don't know what work is.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Post #3

Write a post on one of these topics. Feel free to move from question to question, and take the time and space that you need. Remember to keep reading and commenting on each other's posts. 

1) We've talked a lot about social and economic class. What does this mean to you on a personal level: how would you describe your class background, or your class as you were growing up? Rich? Poor? Working class? Middle class? What does the term you chose mean to you? How did the adults around you feel about class? Do you think there is such a thing as "working class" or "middle class" values? Have your values and/or political beliefs been shaped by class?

2) Growing up, what did you notice about gender and work? In other words, did the men you grew up around do one kind of work, and the women another? Did you grow up with ideas about what kind of work men and women should do? Has gender shaped your own goals in terms of work?