Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wounded Storytellers

Arthur W. Frank's The Wounded Storyteller really breaks down the experience of telling stories about illness. While I enjoyed the examples and quotations from many of the stories, I thought that sometimes he did not make clear enough the distinctions between the categories of the narratives. I thought that the separation between disciplined, dominating, mirroring and communicative storytellers was the most compelling part of the book. When I was in high school a guy I was dating was diagnosed with cancer, and it was easy to detect his dominating way of coping. I was constantly getting guilt tripped and screamed at until we eventually broke up. Luckily, he is fine now, but knowing people who go through that type of thing makes the idealistic types of ill people more understandable. After that part, however, the terms became mixed up. I honestly could not tell you the difference between stories of restitution and those of the type that Frank labels quest. I think the book ultimately is trying to get at the point that telling stories of illness can be beneficial both to the storyteller and the listener and can be an important part of healing ones self and offering comfort to others. I also agree that it is better to learn from someone who has experienced illness than from those who can diagnose or treat such things. It is also important to acknowledge person experience and pain rather than to think of it in terms of numbers and tests.

Haunting "Ghosts"

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib physically affected me. While I know that horrors like those in the prison occur around the world on a daily basis seeing the victims as well as those who performed acts of torture speaking about it and try to explain why it happens was too much for me to handle. Horror movies often depict acts of torture, painful deaths, and greusome images, but for me that is completely different because those aren't real. Though they may be based on real events, the actual images are not from real life and the actors in the films aren't being harmed. The idea that those actual people performed, created and lived through those actual scenarios is extremely disturbing.
Another thing that really sent me over the edge was the exploitation of humiliation and the use of family members and culture against individuals. Just to have to live through the horror every day of being humiliated would probably kill me, but to also watch the humiliation of those you love and the destruction of the values and ideals that you live by is absolutely horrific.
I agree with Lauren that the military personell that blindly followed orders to torture and humiliate those prisoners is completely unacceptable and outrageous. To see them smiling and recalling events and emotions that compelled them to do unspeakable acts was sickening. Our citizens and our government should have much higher respect for humanity than that, especially since we consider ourselves leaders in democracy and freedom. We criticize and denounce the acts of other countries who perform autrocities but are willing and able to create our own? Something just does not add up. Should we really consider ourselves a role model for other nations if ours is capable of such things? We need to seriously reconsider our military and international policies and take power away from people who are nothing less than blood-hungry elitists who cannot fathom the value of a human life, but rather regard their own positions of power as sacred.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The 9/11 Graphic Adaptation

While the idea of the graphic adaptation intrigued me, I don't think it made the report any more effective than it would have been without the illustrations. I was so interested in the actual content and information in the text that I barely looked at the pictures at all. I found everything else extremely compelling. Everyone has seen the footage and heard general theories and criticisms of the government and Al Qaeda, but I definitely missed over half of the actual facts. It also makes one think of the type of pain that people go through everyday due to the error of others. I cannot imagine being responsible for the kind of oversight our government made in regards to ignoring or underestimating threats from Bin Laden. To be one of those caught in the upper levels, above the crash sights and to be told conflicting things to do before finally realizing that there is no hope is unthinkably frightening. It is also hard to look at the situation from the extremists' point of view. Is anyone really capable of wanting to hurt others so badly that they would sacrifice his or her own life? They spent years planning this attack and had no problem just destroying not only lives but also part of our landscape, a symbol of the American economy. In particular, I am baffled at why the pilot of flight 93 decided just to crash the aircraft even though it would not reach its target. I would think it would be better to be alive and unsuccessful than die for no real purpose, other than failure. Clearly I would make an awful terrorist.