Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Response, Ware/Marcuse

As always, attach your questions/comments to this post.

Also, below you will see an image of the idea stopping point in next week's reading.

Instructions for Self Evaluation

These are due before class next week (Thursday, March 7).  This really isn't very complicated, but I try to be as specific as possible to avoid misinterpretations.

There are three components to the self-evaluation (I may have said two - but I didn't mean it!).  You will evaluate yourself on your participation in class, on your participation in the weekly short blog entries due the day before class, and on your participation in commenting on one another's work.  You will evaluate yourself on a five point scale for each category.  The criteria are as follows, for each category.  Please read the criteria, and send me an email before our next class, which includes the name of each category and your self-evaluation for that category.  You *may* include a paragraph or less commenting on your own work.  You *may* give me links to your best work for the weekly short blog and/or commenting on the work of others.  These links are required if you are giving yourself a 4 or 5 in that category; you should be able to easily point out an example of your own excellent work.

In-Class Criteria

5:  You always come to class, always participate multiple times, and your part in the discussion is productive (for instance, you might regularly move the overall discussion in a new direction).
4:  You come to class, always participate at least once in a given session (alternatively, you might have the occasional off class, but otherwise perform at the 5 level), and your participation is consistently productive.
3:  You come to class, and usually have something to say in the course of the session.  The value of your participation might be inconsistent, or you might have had several silent classes.
2:  You rarely participate, but you pay attention, and occasionally have things to say.
1:  You rarely or never participate in class.

"Question" Blog Entries

5:  You always do the blog entry, you always put some thought into it, and your work is invariably productive; you would feel comfortable writing a full essay on at least some of these ideas.  Your ideas might often show up in class (hopefully with your name attached to them).
4:  You haven't missed any weekly blog entry.  While the quality of those entries might vary (and their length probably does), and while only a few of your ideas might have come up class, you feel like some of them *could* have been the basis of a discussion.
3:  You have missed no more than one weekly blog entry.  The quality of those entries may be somewhat variable.
2:  You do your blog entry more often than not, but may have missed more than one; when you do it, its quality may be inconsistent.
1:  You usually don't do the blog entry at all.

Comments on the work of others

5:  You always make your weekly comment on another person's blog entry.  You always put thought into your comment, and you always productively focus on their overall argument, without getting wrapped up in details.  You have at least a couple paragraphs of coherent thoughts.
4:  The same as 5, except you might have missed an entry, or you might sometimes wander in your focus, or you might have done one or two of them in haste.  Generally, though, you offer specific, focused, useful advice.
3:  You usually remember to make your weekly comment, but they are often short and/or unfocused on their argument.  You might, for instance, usually focus on grammatical or mechanical issues instead of their argument, or you might simply often praise the other person, without offering much in the way of constructive advice.
2:  You have commented on others' work, but you sometimes forget to do so, and you don't put much effort into it when you do.
1:  You don't usually comment on others' work.


Karen Knutson said...


First off I really like Jimmy and it is such a better read than Neuromancer. I am really interested in when Jimmy imagined himself as a robot. We know this is a dream from the 1st quartile stop section, and I think there is a lot of importance in this. If this section is skimmed over, then it can be overlooked that there is the possibility of two robots, Jimmy and his father. However, it is hard to tell who is who, because jimmy loses his entire body which could have the meaning that he has no control over his life (which he doesn't in his real life). Then a few tiles later Jimmy regains his entire robot body, which may signify some sort of adult/age, because Jimmy isn't independent to say the least.

Its also noticable that Jimmy is angry at his father in some way because he imagines murdering his newly found father, and that his father is having sex with his mother.

I am also not really sure how his Grandfather's story also fits in. Maybe its to show that Jimmy's behavior is passed on, but the youngest Jimmy has this inability to communicate effectively with the outside world the worst, while Grandpa Jimmy is able to speak his mind.

Brian DeWillie said...

Jimmy Corrigan is a difficult read for me, in a completely different way than Neuromancer. It took me minutes to even find the author's full name anywhere on the book. The reviews inside are funny to read and give some insight into just what is in store.

"Ware's work is the comic equivalent of Joyce's Ulysses - no one's ever read it, and those who have know that it sucks, but it sure looks great on your bookshelf." - Ted Rall,

"Demanding, disturbing, funny and exciting. Oh yes, and essential." - Time Out

I think as I began reading my opinion would side more with the first quote. It had some pretty confusing elements (much like Neuromancer) in which Jimmy would suddenly be dreaming/daydreaming or there is a flashback to Jimmy's father/grandfather and they look nearly exactly the same so it was difficult to separate some of the storylines. After starting my essay and really focusing on the images in the story, I appreciated it much more. Most of the coloring of the images is very bland but some frames have very bright colors in them (one example being the bright red telephone). I wrote this week about Superman and his red and blue uniform. I saw bright red and blue colors come together in other frames - the Captain Crunch cereal, the nurse's brcaelets, etc. I thought this had some important meaning, and so I wrote about that (won't spoil the blog entry) but now I really wonder if there are other examples of colors or paired colors and what they mean to the story.

Taylor Hochuli said...

There is a lot to cover in a book like Jimmy Corrigan that has so many symbols and important images. I found the transitions between dreams and the story of Jimmy’s grandfather to be confusing, but they definitely made me think about their relation to the story and Jimmy’s character. One subtle thing I missed in my first run through of Jimmy Corrigan that I noticed when flipping through it again was the importance of peaches that comes up several times in the first half of the book. The peaches first appear when Jimmy is imagining settling down with Peggy while picking up his mail. He believes that they might “plant [a] peach grove” after spending the night in front of a roaring fire in their own house together. Jimmy then imagines these peaches falling into his box for mail before Peggy’s rushed remark breaks him out of his daydream. The peaches then disappear until Jimmy arrives in the Michigan airport and is confronted by a man by the newspaper rack. He comments on the news bias of the death of Americans and ignorance of the 400 Chinese who were killed in an earthquake. The man takes notice of Jimmy’s fruit basket which has a peach and comments that the peach is actually from China. He also comments that the peach is “A soft, single-seeded stone fruit, with a pinkish, red-tinted downy skin and moist, dewy flesh.” Peaches then return when Jimmy’s grandfather, as a child, puts away peaches that were a present from Mr. McClintock. Jimmy’s grandfather is then subsequently ignored by his father and Mr. McClintock as he discovers flies in the sugar in the kitchen.

In most of these instances, Jimmy or his grandfather are either ignored or pushed around, revealing how “soft” they are like a peach. Peggy’s blunt rejection of Jimmy who doesn’t have the courage to ask her out starts the peach image in the book. The gentleman in the Michigan airport preaches to Jimmy and insults him with the superhero comment. He reveals the nature of the peach by describing it as soft with pinkish skin, which struck me as a connection to Jimmy who is often quiet and is illustrated with a similar kind of pinkish skin. The man in the airport connects the peach to the Chinese who are ignored by the world, which also relates to Jimmy who is ignored by Peggy even though he has feelings for her. Jimmy’s grandfather is also ignored in such a way when Mr. McClintock and his father get him out of the way to have their discussion. I might be reading into the simple peach a bit too much, but its presence seems to mean something in the book. Especially when it turns out that Jimmy’s grandfather’s house is located on Peachwood Road. I felt that this image was not important enough for my essay, but certainly has a presence and importance in the book.

Tackling philosophy on its own is a challenge. Marcuse talking about philosophy really made for a challenge in this week’s reading. In the end, I’m not quite sure if Marcuse comes out supporting a more subjective or a more objective view of the universe. He notes that certain philosophical ideas involve a discourse on what something is and is not in order to define something. This allows for a freedom of interpretation, but is biased because we are putting our own judgments on something else. At this point I thought, “Oh, so then Marcuse wants to examine the actual truths of the universe rather than our projections which can help support the modern societal structure.” However, Marcuse changes sides and then comments negatively upon the classification of objects to determine their truth saying that discourse is needed to determine what an object actually is. So if we are biased when we define reality and trying to discover reality scientifically only helps in our domination…what is the correct philosophical view? In what way can we understand the universe without leading to our oppression? Marcuse quickly notes that the end that finding the “contradicting truth” is necessary in order to comprehend and transcend reality, but I am not quite sure how he suggests one does that.

Jackson Crowder said...

Jimmy Corrigan is, in a word, fun(ish). Necromancer was certainly not without its tremendous merits but I would never describe it as "fun." If anything, it was a bit of a downer. The core story of Jimmy Corrigan is not exactly uplifting but the way it is processed through comic book sensibilities makes it far easier to stomach. Then again, I've always loved comics of all sorts so the format is easy for me to identify with.

Above many things, I've noticed that Jimmy is a lonely character. To me, one of the most powerful reflections of this was early in the book when the mystery character who sat across from him for six months jumps from a building while dressed as a superhero. Jimmy sees him lying, dead, on the street while passers by do their best to ignore him. The almost complete lack of text on the next page leads me to believe that he identifies with the character. This loneliness probably leads to the vivid imaginative sequences that occur as the story develops, such as picturing himself as a robot.

One simple question that I have is, why a robot? I get the sense that it is because he feels a lack of agency over his own life, as if he's just living the events that happen around him and he is unable to control them. In that way, the analogy of him being, in a way mechanical seems appropriate but, at this point, I'm just not sure. The timeline of the story, which jumps around a lot is causing some problems for me as well. The frequency of such events combined with a certain ambiguity as to whether they're real (or were real at one point) or are entirely imagined is confusing and leads to a lot of doubling back. Is anyone else having this problem?

Roger Sepich said...

I will agree with everyone else's comments in saying that I enjoyed this week's reading of "Jimmy Corrigan" much more than "Neuromancer," mainly because I grew up reading comic books like "Calvin & Hobbes" instead of hardcore science fiction.

But Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan" isn't like any comic book I've read before, it's definitely more of a graphic novel, following the story of Jimmy, his quest to find his father, and his somewhat messed up imaginations. The story jumps around a lot, making it tough to fully understand at times, but I throughly enjoyed Jimmy's character.

The scene that stood out to me the most, mostly just for its comedic value, was when Jimmy and his dad are eating at Burger Kuntry. His dad is just a funny guy and doesn't act like a parent who barely knows their child, and his reaction when Jimmy hands him the note that Jimmy found earlier on his desk instead of the food receipt literally made me laugh out loud.

I'm really interested to see where our conversation goes with this book in class.

Janine Talis said...

So far, I've found Jimmy Corrigan to be very strange. To be concise, there are three things I specifically noticed:

1. The only faces you see seem to be Jimmy and his father. At the same time I get the impression that if we were to see other characters' faces, they would be significantly more detailed than Jimmy's or his dad's

2. Jimmy's dreams are quite disturbing. While we all have at one time or another had a daydream/dream/thought that is freaky or weird or just plain wrong, all of his daydreams seem to go this way. He has dreams where he has an abusive father who forces him to kill a beloved pet!

3. Finally, Jimmy mentions at one point that he is 36 years old. But everyone calls him "kid." It's like despite his age (and fact that he looks like an old man), everyone can tell that he not in an adult mindset. He's just sort of unfinished like a child is.