Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Its the most wonderful time of the year? Part 1

Now that were all done with our Halloween candy, it's time to celebrate holidays that revole around the time that most of us call the Holiday season.

We can't call it Christmas time any more because that would be offensive to other religions besides Christianity. The Holiday season has come to include many different celebrations. Thanksgiving, Chaunakah, Christmas, even Black Friday got into their somehow. Basically anything you can make a holiday special out of. Though I have no idea why "It's the great sale Charlie Brown" never caught on.

The first holiday that devotes itself to family, football and stuffing our faces is Thanksgiving. Could it be any more ironic that this name came from a religous day of fasting. The old grade school tale about how the pilgrims and indians came together after a bountiful harvest is also extemely sketchy. We know very little about what actually happened that first feast in Plymouth. The only surviving account of the first Thanksgiving is from a man named Edward Winslow. In it, our friend Eddie hints that fish was more likely the main staple of the dinner, not turkey. The Wampanoag indians helped out and brought deer and perhaps duck to the dinner. The Wampanoag themselves outnumbered the pilgrims, there were 90 of them. Afterward the pilgrim men played "guy games". Yeah, they called them that. Games like foot races and musket shooting. Even pumpkin pie was absent, since the pilgrims had no sugar left from England.

Today, the romanticism may overshado the actual story of the 1621 feast. But then again, we've created a lot of modern Thanksgiving traditions. I mostly spend my Thanksgiving break playing my PS3 and watching movies based on Tom Clancy novels("Patriot Games" is my favorite). The rest of the country likes to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade. It was originally called the Macys Christmas parade, celebrating the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. I don't see why they changed the name because it's more of a Christmas celebration than anything else. I mean why do you think they save Santa for the very end. I always used to enjoy the big baloons of cartoon characters. They've been there since the parades founding. When the parade was over, they would simply release the baloons into the air. That all changed when one nearly caused an airplane to crash after it was flying over by. Can you imagine if they were to release Kermit the frog into the sky today. Besides the baloons it is a rather humdrum annual event. Without the baloons it would just be the years singer celebrities doing Christmas carols on festive floats(how much do you want to bet Justin Bieber will be on one of them. How much do you wanna bet!!!).

Another tradition is the playing, or more likely watching of the all-American sport of Football. An all-American holiday calls for an all-American institution like Football. Thanksgiving wihout foot ball wouldn't be the same. Ever since the Detriot Lions met the Chicago Bears on the gridiron many years ago, the Lions have played a Thanksgiving game since the 20's. The Dallas Cowboys have been playing Thanksgiving since the 60's. In recent years, NFL network has added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup, this one played at the same time were going to be eating our turkey. The game was added probably because people got sick and tired of watching the Detroit Lions.

The traditions may very for everyone. But the most important part of the holiday is that we spend time with freinds, family and gear up for the madness that Black Friday holds for us. Remember comrades, eat, drink, and be merry!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seyma Says: Music has no boundaries.

"Hey Seyma, what kind of music do you listen to?"

"Hmm, well I mostly listen to J-Pop (Japanese Pop)

"Wait, are you Japanese?"


"Do you understand it?"

"Not really, but I'm working on it..."

"Then why do you listen to it?"

Other very common questions are:
  • "Are you ashamed of your culture?"
  • "Do you want to be a different ethnicity?"

It angers me so when I encounter such an ignorant person like this one. Is it music's only purpose for us to be able to understand it completely? When I ask this question, the answer I usually get is: "No.. but what's the point of listening if you can't understand it?"

That's like asking, "What's the point of listening to a teacher's lesson when they're often saying things that we don't understand?"

The possible answers are the same:

  1. I want to learn.
  2. I like the challenge of having to piece things together.
  3. I enjoy it.

Now who the hek enjoys listening to a teacher talking for hours without having a clue on what they're saying? Well, let's not get into that. This blog post is about music not teachers.

Music is art. Art is diverse and abstract. Drawings, writing, photography, and graphics are all forms of art.

Is it so easy to understand every single piece of art? Can we extract the meaning of every painting as easy as dissecting every single sentence in a book? Can we comprehend the structure of every photo as easy as finding the propaganda of an abstract graphic?

The answers are no, no, and no. It's impossible to understand every single piece of art. Therefore, it's impossible to understand every piece of music you hear.

We understand a piece of music because we, as people, are able to interpret it on our own.

May it be a different genre or a different language, the only barrier that prevents us from understanding music is ourselves.

Music does not speak to us through language. It speaks to us through sound. And so in this case, language does not act as a barrier. Instead, it is one of many instruments alongside vocals and various other mechanisms that help create it.

Is it so uncommon for someone to listen to music that they don't completely understand language-wise? Is it so unusual for someone to be listening to music that's not common in their area?

Just because I listen to music in a language other than my own doesn't mean that I'm ashamed of my culture or ethnicity. My reason is because I love being exposed to different languages and cultures. I can learn many things about them just by listening to their music.

So I hope you understand my points:

  • Music does not have any boundaries.
  • Language, culture, religion, and heritage should and does not matter.
  • We should not judge others based on their music preference, no matter how 'unusual' and uncommon it may be.