Archive for June, 2007

Posted by: Serena | 30th Jun, 2007

Just Czeching

This isn’t exactly directly related to anything discussed in class, but as it is something internet-related, I’m going to claim relevance. I was going through a long, unfruitful, and highly convoluted process to track down my ancestry (namely, which physical traits originated in which countries) involving Google Image Search and came across this site. Here’s an excerpt:

Finding a Czech wife

Every day we meet men from various parts of the world who are looking for a wife, a women for life, in the countries of Eastern Europe. They are often tired and even disgusted by the manner the women in their home country behave. That is why they have begun to search their bride in Eastern Europe. We have many times heard quite unbelievable stories and experience of men, our customers, with women from Western Europe and the USA. Stories of how women in their countries are mostly after money, their car, house, and property. It has become a standard that women spend a lot of money for plastic surgeries, in cosmetic salons, psychoanalysts etc.

Example: “John from the USA told us about his experience. The women he knows in his home country do not cook at all, they buy ready-made food or go out to a restaurant to eat. Someone else has to take care of cleaning up, John has never seen such a woman washing dishes or cleaning up the household, and still it is he who works and brings money home.”

We are always surprised to hear stories like that although we have heard them many times. Such behavior is not common in the Czech Republic. With your decision to go for a Czech bride, you may have taken the best first step for your happy life. Czech women are brought up in the traditional way, they are not so emancipated and influenced by feminism. A Czech wife is usually caring, loving, sincere, and faithful. They like it to be caressed and taken care of by you, and in reward they will take care of you and give you love. If you are looking for a partner, bride or woman for life, we will be very glad to help you in this quest. Just select one of our programs and register! And leave the rest up to us…”


After the initial shock of “I can’t believe there are still people who think this way”, the anger settled in. Now, I’m probably a rabid feminist–I’ve been raised that way by my dad, who is definitely a rabid feminist (yes, that always gets laughs)–but doesn’t this seem a little old-fashioned and even more than slightly offensive? Am I just overly sensitive, or are any of the other women out there outraged by this too? I don’t care what country you’re from or even your gender; being “not so emancipated” SHOULD NOT be a desirable characteristic in ANYONE.

What does everyone else have to say about this?

Posted by: Serena | 29th Jun, 2007


“All creativity can be understood as taking in the world as a problem.”

I know we already talked this one to death, but I’m feeling the need to explore it further. We explored the nature of the statement, but not really the statement itself. We asked what was meant by “creativity”. What qualifies as creativity? What is the connotation of the word “problem” in this context? Why is it phrased as “taking in” rather than “approaching”? Is it even possible to approach these question in a way that produces answers?

I think the only way I’m going to get anywhere with this–and the only way any of us can, really–is to use whatever interpretation that is meaningful for me personally. When I create art, in whatever form it takes, am I doing it because I’m trying to address a condition that is present in my world and important to me? I think Dr. C misinterpreted (only slightly) my intent with that question. I’m not really judging myself and my art by whether or not I’m “taking in” a “problem”. Rather, I’m simply asking myself whether or not that’s what I do, as a condition of my creativity. I’m not overly concerned with conforming to this statement or feeling guilty by not doing so. Just wondering if, somehow, that statement represents a basic intent that I was never fully aware of.

I’m not sure if I can tell you whether the statement is true for me or not. I know my basic motivations for being creative, but do they somehow conform to this underlying principle? First and foremost, I create art because it makes me happy. Because it makes me think. Because I enjoy it. But what do I try to do with it? I think that every artist has the same basic motivations, though secondary motivations may vary. When you create art, you’re doing it to:

  1. Express emotion
  2. Affect others
  3. Reveal yourself

If you feel something strongly, you create. You draw, photograph, write, compose, sing, paint, think.

When you create, you want to inspire observers and show them something new, whether about the world, themselves, or others. If I create something and it makes someone look at the world in a different way–not even a significant, life-changing, “aha!”-moment way–I am satisfied. I want to show everyone something beautiful and inspire thoughts, or even just one tiny thought, that they never would have had otherwise. Even if they forget all about it the next second, it was there. And I think that’s important. Is that a form of “taking in the world as a problem”? I think so. Our OED definition of “problem” used the phrase “throw out”. I’m taking in the world as a problem, interpreting it, channeling it, and then throwing it back out for others to take in. Each resulting thought is a new interpretation of my interpretation, which is, in turn, an interpretation of the one that I’ve taken in, which probably also originated as an interpretation. Does it ever end? Can you trace back thoughts? Ideas? Problems? Inspiration?

Perhaps everything should just be under a Creative Commons license, because nothing is truly the work of one person. Everything I do, think, create, or feel is the accumulation of the thoughts, creations, and feelings of millions of people before me.

Most of all, in my art I show people who I am. And maybe it just so happens that who I am–and who we all are– is a composite of everyone else who ever thought, created, or felt in the entire history of the world. We don’t need to consider what it means to take in the world as a problem. It’s already what we are.