Thursday, January 28, 2010

Urban Hikes - Possible LA Activity

This would be one (of many) possible activities you could do in LA.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How Taco Bell Put the Mexican in American

The Los Angeles Times published an article on Januar 24, 2010 (page A29) by Gustavo Arellano (author of the syndicated column 'Ask a Mexican') titled "How Taco Bell put the Mexican in American" that relates directly to the Ruiz reading from last week. It was prompted by the death of Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell. Arellano writes:

"More important, Taco Bell and its spawn became a gateway for Americans to accept Mexicans. It hasn't been an easy ride, of course, but one smoothed by an endless stream of refried beans and nacho cheese. If you can sit down and enjoy the cuisine of newcomers, then surely you can start thinking of them as fellow citizens, right? And with Taco Bell's recent push into international markets, it's making as bold a statment as any in the immigration wars, one that's downright revolutionary: Mexican food can represent U.S. culture with nary a second thought."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking back into Dell Upton’s Architecture in the United States, we see that Jefferson’s era, and even the man himself, is framed as the possible cause to the start of consumer culture in the U.S. The word ‘consumption’ in this case represents the idea “that link objects and marketing strategies with personal identity” (page 33). This is interesting to me because it gives a materialistic lens thru which to view one of the founding fathers of this country and to question his character. Did the idea of ‘identity thru items’ really start as early as Jefferson?

Immediately following the reading, my mind jumped to the modern example of Fight Club, a book by Chuck Palahniuk and a popular movie staring Brad Pitt [I know this modern correlation is a bit of a stretch]. At one point, the narrator exhibits his ties to his material possessions when he says, “I would flip through catalogs and wonder, ‘What kind of dining set defines me as a person?’” Tyler Durden (Pitt) attempts to enlighten our main character with a rant against modern consumerism that ends when he says, “the things you used to own, now they own you.”

And this all started at Monticello? Hmmm….

Open House exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society

If you are looking for a thematic connection to the Upton reading, check out this exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society. They focused on one house in St. Paul from the 1880s to the present.

From the exhibit page:

"A playfully interactive exhibit, “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk,” brings to life the adage “if these walls could talk” by using a single, existing house—in the “Railroad Island” neighborhood on St. Paul’s East Side—as a window into the daily lives of people of the past.

Stories of families, from the first German immigrants through the Italians, African-Americans, and Hmong who succeeded them, are told through rooms representing different eras of the house. Visitors become detectives, piecing together lives of the families who made this house their home."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle

Here is the link to the article I mentioned in class:

Update 1/29: See also this critique of the harper's article:

Welcome to AMST 103 Spring 2010!!

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