The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.
Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.
You were a little boy whose life force had all the gravitational pull of a celestial body. You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are all of us elevated in our humanity by having known you. A little maverick, who didn’t always want to do his schoolwork or clean up his toys, when practicing his ninja moves or Super Mario on the Wii seemed far more important.
Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.
Until then, your melody will linger in our hearts forever. Momma loves you, little man.
Books discussed (good and bad) in Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist
-Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler -Green Girl by Kate Zambreno -Sweet Valley High series and Sweet Valley High Confidential by Francine Pascal
-The Laugh of Medusa by Helen Cixous -Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion -The Abortion: An HistoricalRomance, 1966 by Richard Brautigan -Cider House Rules by John Irving
-American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis -The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Maureen Howard -The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
-Reality Bites Back; The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV by Jennifer L. Pozner
-Philip Roth novels -The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud -How Fiction Works by James Wood -Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
-Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine -Dare Me by Megan Abbott -Magnificence by Lydia Millet -You Take it from Here by Pamela Ribon
-Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn -The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin -How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran -Heroines by Kate Zambreno
-This is How you Lose Her by Junot Diaz -Skinny by Diana Spechlers -Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp -Rape & Representation Lynn A. Higgins
-Intimate Violence: Reading Rape and Tortue in Twentieth-Century Fiction by Laura E. Tanner -Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins -Privacy by Garret Keizer -Last Night: Stories by James Salter SS
-The Help by Kathryn Stockett -N-word: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy
-Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg -The Color of Crime by Katheryn Russell-Brown -Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Society by Danny Fingeroth and Stan Lee
This week’s Pozner readings were concerned with how pop culture is consumed and processed within the brains of the viewer. Pozner discusses a wide range of issues within the media: how race is portrayed to violent acts against women, domestic violence all the way to media literacy. I will be discussing sexualized imagery, violence against women and media literacy, as I feel this is where Pozner made her strongest arguments. This will be discussed in terms of two case studies: Jersey Shore and comedian, Jenna Marbles. One can conclude that Jersey Shore agrees to the arguments Pozner illustrates in an amplified way, while Marbles is refuting the idea of supporting the media’s perception of women.
In chapter ten of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, Pozner outlines smart and fun ways to be media literate. I decided to put this to the test with the notorious reality TV Show: The Jersey Shore. This show is known for being stereotypical to Italian culture, sexist and portraying men and women in horrible light. Coinciding with Pozner’s drinking game (Pozner, 306), I altered the game slightly to fit to the mould of Jersey Shore. In this version, one needed to ‘drink’ anytime they: heard the terms ‘guido’ or ‘guidette, see an Italian flag, see a character consume alcohol and anytime the viewer sees a half-naked man or woman. The significance of choosing these categories was to prove that Jersey Shore is racist, stereotypical towards Italian culture, and highly hypersexualized.
In relation to another reality TV show, Toddler’s and Tiara’s, Pozner explains, “Girls as young as five and six years old are hypersexualized before they can possibly understand or consent to the implications.” (Pozner, 257) So how is this different to J-Shore? Unfortunately, the answer is that Jersey Shore holds close ties to Toddler’s and Tiara’s. In fact, one could argue, that Toddler’s and Tiara’s grooms young girls to grow accustomed to hypersexualization as children, so they can continue to indulge in hypersexualization as adults, through Jersey Shore.
Jersey Shore is simply catering to the maturing young adult and viewers in their 20’s by incorporating the theme of alcohol, partying and sex. Sadly, this implies that as society grows up, reality TV will only become worse. Once hypersexualized in beauty pageants, to purchasing plastic surgery and then later, being objectified by men and the media. This creates the message that it is socially acceptable to be objectified because it is the reality for every woman. This supports the argument presented by Pozner that “reality TV has defined ‘Woman’ nearly universally as hetereosexual, domestically inclined, obsession with thinness and beauty…” (Pozner, 261) Furthermore, reality shows mould women to be submissive and beautiful at age five to hypersexualized and constantly drunk at age twenty.
Back to the drinking game, in this version, I did not do shots and thank goodness I didn’t. I counted within the first episode of season one (which was an hour and a half) 31 times ‘guido’ and ‘guidette’ were mentioned, 29 times and Italian flag was spotted, 40 times alcohol was consumed and lastly, 134 times a man or woman were half naked. AND the worst part is I’m sure I missed a few counts! It is evident that Jersey Shore producers are most concerned with ensuring their characters are seen as sexual beings and trying to push the envelope of Italian culture.
Conversely, ‘slut-shaming’ is evident within Jersey Shore. Words such as “whore, sluts, skanks, broads” etc are dropped by both the female characters as well as the male characters. Pozner explains
“slut-shaming has travelled from the prime time series to the media spectacle that surrounds it, with bloggers calling the women whores and even CNN’s Anderson Cooper…” (Pozner, 246)
And you can bet, Jersey Shore is definitely not an exception. Even if Jersey Shore does not mean to cast their characters or the show in ‘negative light’ by demeaning women, but rather, their defense that they are simply showing the ‘reality’ is ridiculous. Quite frankly, no one should be choosing such negatively loaded words to describe any female characters on a TV show-reality or not.
Reality TV such as Jersey Shore forces the viewer to question what is ‘real’. In the case of subjecting frames and images of a half-naked body, the producers are instilling this notion that the “real body” is flawless. Thus, caricatures are created that embody this idealistic body by those on the TV show. This is problematic in that most people cannot decipher the underlying messages (Pozner, 313) In this case, Jersey Shore is implying that without a sexy body, money and alcohol, you mean nothing to society. Thus, this produces viewers that are power hungry that use sex and alcohol as a tool for power.
The fact that Pozner addresses that “slut-shaming” has become evident in both reality TV and news, is a scary thought. This means that younger generations of women are no longer able to escape this stereotype. Consequently, young boys are learning at a young age that it is socially acceptable to treat women with little to no respect and that women have to take these forms of hate crimes. So what does this mean for global society? It means that as society is becoming “dumbed down” by these Reality TV shows, domestic violence is on the rise to this easy-going acceptations of hateful words and actions towards women.
Pozner discusses the steps one can take in order to combat against media and Reality TV in the messages portrayed. Comedian Jenna Marbles is attempting to conquer the media’s mixed messages. She discusses through her Facebook page and VLOGS about various topics in the media and pokes fun at trends and popular culture. She dissects the media in a brutal and honest way. However, she is getting the message to viewers that may not think twice about what they are consuming. It is evident that Marbles is sending out the message that the media tends to be corrupted,
“through [use of] independent…magazines, video production, blogging podcasting and more [in order to] tell the stories that need to be heard.” (Pozner, 335)
Marbles has covered topics such as: Snooki’s Confessions, Why Girls Hate Each Other, and even How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking. In each of Marbles videos, she is very crude and sarcastic in explaining to her viewers, in a way that ties in a lot of pop culture allusions, that the media is not as innocent as everyone thinks. I believe the way in which Marbles executes this is brilliant. She uses any pop culture trends, for ex: Snooki, and rips them apart in a way that is humorous to her viewers. By doing this, Marbles is not only identifying that the media is corrupted, but she implies to her viewers that it is not okay to accept this fate!
Jenna Marbles has single handedly taken over social media using her wit. By doing this, she is identifying to younger viewers that it’s not okay to sit back and let others dictate the media and how we view others in society. As Pozner would say, Marbles is “biting back” (Pozner, 346) in terms of delivering the underlying messages of the media in a sassy and fun way.
In conclusion, through a closer examination of Jersey Shore and Jenna Marbles, one can note that Pozner’s explanation of the dangers of the media is evident. However, not all hope should be lost that the media will dictate the rest of humanity. By closer examinations of the media through media literate games and people such as Jenna Marbles, who are pushing the envelope of challenging the media, one can note how society can claim their souls back from media. Without these kinds of social movements to be aware of media’s impacts, humans will continue to live in ignorance that the media has no affect and that it is merely a form of entertainment.
this little boy caught my eye first when i looked at the pictures of all the kids and victims. he had a twin sister which also hurts to see just because i’m a twin to a boy as well. just knowing his sister, companion, best friend has to live with out him breaks my heart. rip noah pozner i hope youre eating a bunch of tacos in heaven.
Сегодня я был в Санкт-Петербургской Академической Филармонии имени Д.Д. Шостаковича на презентации книги Владимира Познера - ПРОЩАНИЕ С ИЛЛЮЗИЯМИ. Потрясающий вечер! Мне удалось подписать творение у самого автора. Книгу я уже начал читать и влюбился в неё с первых строк.
Gendered proscriptions are acute during this stage: A mechanic who doesn’t feel comfortable in ruffles or frills is called “butch” and made to don “girlie” clothing and cosmetics. A professor on a casual campus who enjoys comfortable sandals because heels “hurt: is told she has no choice but "to start wearing actual footwear.” A lesbian biker is forced to trade in her motorcycle jacket for a dress.
Gah! This is one of my biggest issues with What Not To Wear, which in its inchoate, British incarnation at least allowed women (and men) some semblance of personal style. Hey Stacy and Clinton, there are women who don’t “don frilly dresses,” or don’t want to “feel feminine” and are still stylish. Or not. And that’s okay.
Noah was energy in motion. His zest for life was contagious. He was endlessly inquisitive, always wanting to know the why and how of things. He loved intricate, imaginative play with his Legos and superhero figurines. He loved playgrounds and the outdoors. Most of all, he loved his family and shared an unbreakable and unbroken bond with his twin sister, Arielle. He loved a good joke and was an enthusiastic story teller. We miss the music of his full-bellied laughter, the warmth of his hugs and the twinkle in his beautiful eyes with an indescribable, timeless sorrow.
If Americans knew what bullets did to human flesh, they’d support gun control. So perhaps they should be shown in living colour what bullets do to small bodies. A mere description is insufficient for the literal-minded.
Noah Pozner, 6, was one of the 20 child victims in the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. All the dead were shot between three and 11 times. Tiny Noah took 11 bullets. His mother, Veronique, insisted on an open coffin, Naomi Zeveloff reported in the Jewish Daily Forward.
You’ll probably remember Noah. He was a happy little guy with beautiful heavily lashed eyes and a cheerful smile. In his coffin, there was a cloth placed over the lower part of his face.
“There was no mouth left,” his mother told the Forward. “His jaw was blown away.”
She put a stone in his right hand, a “clear plastic rock with a white angel inside.” She wanted to put a matching stone in his left hand but he had no left hand to speak of.
Parents of the dead children were advised to identify them from photographs, such was the carnage. But every parent reacts differently. Veronique Pozner did the most difficult thing. She asked to see the body. Zeveloff asked her why.
“I owed it to him as his mother, the good, the bad and the ugly,” she said. “… And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it.”
When the governor of Connecticut arrived, she brought him to see Noah in the open casket. “If there is ever a piece of legislation that comes across his desk, I needed it to be real for him.” The governor wept.
Death by gun isn’t real to us because we see it only in the movies. We occasionally see photos of human beings as meat, but they are almost always meat belonging to non-white foreigners after a bombing.
Those grieving often don’t share an editor’s delicate sensibilities. Jackie Kennedy, on Air Force One after JFK was shot on Nov. 22, 1963, was asked to change her clothes because the sight of JFK’s blood and brains was upsetting people. She cleaned her face and discarded her pillbox hat, but kept the bloodstained suit on. “Let them see what they’ve done,” she said. Mass shootings had not yet begun.
And what about the case of Emmett Till? Online Reddit readers commented on one obvious link with Noah.
Till, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, was hideously murdered in 1955 while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Allegedly, he had whistled at a white woman. Till was kidnapped, beaten, had one of his eyes gouged out, was shot in the head and his corpse tied with barbed wire to a 70-pound weight and dumped in a river.
His mother asked for an open coffin. “I want the world to see what they did to my baby,” she said.
The photo was reproduced and Till’s death became a huge news story. Three months later, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and the civil rights movement took a leap forward.
In these three cases, we see the difference between “telling” and “showing,” an old concept in literary criticism. Novelists can “show” events and let the reader draw their own conclusions or they can “tell” the reader the plot as it unfolds.
But the literary critic Wayne Booth came up with the concept of the “unreliable narrator.” Can you trust what you are being told? Reporters can tell you that 20 children were shot. But since American gun owners think reporters are unreliable narrators in the first place, perhaps they have to be shown what one man did to Noah because he had, not just one bullet, but a magazine of bullets.
We saw JFK’s skull fly apart. Emmett’s unrecognizable face was on show.
And that’s why Noah’s mother asked the governor to come and see her child’s corpse. He had already been told. He had to see it for himself.
It’s been three years since we last embraced our precious little boy, Noah. At six-years-old, he was the youngest child murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. While our family may have managed to live through this tragedy, the passage of time has nowhere near dimmed the vivid memory of that day nor made it any less difficult for us to cope with the pain and anguish of losing our only son.
The heartache of burying a child is a sorrow we would not wish upon anyone. Yet to our horror, we have found that there are some in this society who lack empathy for the suffering of others. Among them are the conspiracy theorists that deny our tragedy was real. They seek us out and accuse us of being government agents who are faking our grief and lying about our loss.
Each new high-profile act of violence inspires more conspiracies and creates new victims of harassment and defamation, whether it be the Boston Bombing, the terrorist attacks in Paris or the most recent massacre in San Bernardino, CA. In that instance, a lawyer for the family of the shooters said Sandy Hook did not happen. And don’t get us started on Donald Trump and his rantings on the Alex Jones radio show. It is obvious by the demographics of the show’s audience that Trump appeared as a guest looking for votes from the conspiracy crowd.
Although many of these tormentors persecute us behind anonymous online identities, some do so openly and even proffer their professional credentials in an attempt to lend credence to their allegations. In this piece we want to focus on someone who is chief among the conspiracy theorists — Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy.
A plethora of conspiracies arose after Sandy Hook, but none received as much mainstream publicity as Tracy, who suggested that the shooting never occurred and the Obama administration had staged the “event” to prepare the country for strict gun control measures.
More than 800 news organizations covered the story of his denial. As a result, this professor achieved fame among the morbid and deranged precisely because his theories were attached to his academic credentials and his affiliation with FAU. Tracy has enjoyed tremendous success from this exposure and has since leveraged it into a popular Internet blog and radio program. Worse yet, it has elevated his status and fame among the degenerates that revel in the pleasure of sadistically torturing victims’ families.
It cannot be denied that Tracy has carved out a significant presence in the same Sandy Hook “hoax” conspiracy movement that has inspired a wave of harassment, intimidation and criminal activity against our family and others.
In fact, Tracy is among those who have personally sought to cause our family pain and anguish by publicly demonizing our attempts to keep cherished photos of our slain son from falling into the hands of conspiracy theorists.
Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment. Once Tracy realized we would not respond, he subjected us to ridicule and contempt on his blog, boasting to his readers that the “unfulfilled request” was “noteworthy” because we had used copyright claims to “thwart continued research of the Sandy Hook massacre event.”
His blog post was echoed dozens of times on conspiracy websites, including one maintained by Tracy’s colleague and frequent collaborator James Fetzer, a Holocaust denier who expounded upon Tracy’s article by stating that our refusal to respond to this obscene ultimatum “implies that Noah did not die at Sandy Hook and confirms that Lenny is a fraud.”
Although FAU issued a “reprimand” to Tracy for the irresponsible and insensitive comments he made in late 2012, he has shown no remorse and continues to conceive conspiracy theories out of each new mass shooting. While Tracy may now limit mention of his association with FAU, it has not gone unnoticed by the press.
After Tracy spouted yet another ridiculous theory concerning the Washington Navy Yard shooting of 2013, Education Editor Eric Owens of the Daily Caller cited the professor in declaring that “Florida Atlantic University remains and apparently always will be the worst place in America to go to college.”
When do the interests of the college and its students take precedence over the tenure of a professor who has clearly proven himself in violation of the university’s own policy? The FAU Academic Affairs Faculty Handbook clearly states that “A faculty member’s activities which fall outside the scope of employment shall constitute misconduct only if such activities adversely affect the legitimate interests of the University,”
In an April 2013 Huffington Post article, Heather Coltman, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, clearly states that “Tracy’s earlier posting has resulted in a number of negative consequences for FAU, including a large number of parents who withdrew their children’s applications to FAU, a student whose parent asked that she be withdrawn from his class and a donor who withdrew his support to the Department of History.”
It matters not if Tracy simply refrains from mentioning FAU when defaming murdered Americans and their families. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that his extracurricular misconduct has already adversely affected FAU’s reputation and will continue doing so as long as he continues down this path.
It is time FAU reassess if their priorities properly reflect the best interests of their staff, donors and — most importantly — their students. “The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but the Constitution does not guarantee that you can’t be fired for expressing your beliefs as part of your job,” says the National Education Association. “The courts could decide either way and the burden of proof shifts sharply to the professor.”
FAU has a civic responsibility to ensure that it does not contribute to the ongoing persecution of the countless Americans who’ve lost their loved ones to high-profile acts of violence.
Veronique and Lenny Pozner are the parents of Noah Pozner, one of the 20 children killed in the December 14. 2012, Sandy Hook massacre. Lenny founded the HONR Network, aimed at combating conspiracy theorists on mass shootings.
This opinion piece first appeared in The Sun-Sentinel of Florida. Read the original version here.
☠ | Chant down Cap'n : an instrumental mix for pirating adventures
Hans Zimmer - “Two Hornpipes (Tortuga)” | Gary Pozner - “Merlin” | Alias Conrad Coldwood - “The Meaning of His Tears” | Bruno Coulais - Vikings" | Yoko Kanno - “Ask the Owl” | Quincy Hilliard - “Out of Darkness” | Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - “The Cellar” | Ramin Djawadi - “Hannibal Chau” | Bear McCreary - “Black Sails Main Title” | Garry Schyman - “The Docks” | Gary Pozner - “Righteous Anger” | Ramin Djawadi - “The King’s Arrival” | Patrick Doyle - “The Games” | John Williams - “Qui-Gon and Darth Maul Meet” | Alias Conrad Coldwood - “Not Safe” | Sam Cushion - “I Am Dauntless” | Ramin Djawadi - “Victory Does Not Make Us Conquerors” | Deep Forest - “The First Twilight” | Hans Zimmer - “Drink Up Me Hearties”
Studies back Pozner’s observations up. Conspiracy theorists often feel that they have no control over their lives in the grand scheme of things, but their theories at least assure them that there is a grand scheme. The people secretly running the world may be evil, but at least there’s someone in charge, and we aren’t randomly hurtling through space until we all die. Their lives matter. Now remember that picture of Noah in Pakistan? How could a supposed vast international conspiracy be so sloppy? Hoaxers thought the government did it on purpose to taunt them. That’s their mindset: In a world where parents sometimes see their children murdered, the conspiracy theorists are really the ones in the middle of the story. It’s all about them.
“For some people,” says Pozner, “that helps them cope with how uncertain and fragile life really is.” Sandy Hook was, after all, an especially powerful reminder of life’s fragility. So while we might stereotype hoaxers as lonely basement dwellers, Pozner noted that a lot are parents with kids who can’t process the idea that what happened to Pozner could happen to them. “They don’t want to believe that someone could look a six-year-old child in the eyes and pump bullets into their face. No matter how fantastical the theory might be, it’s easier to accept than that reality.” It’s almost enough to make you sympathize with hoaxers, except for the part where they sent a grieving father death threats for three straight years.
“Here is a list of children and adults who were killed on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It’s heartbreaking to read their names and see their ages:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jesica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Rachel Davino, 29 (Teacher)
Dawn Hochsprung, 47 (School principal)
Nancy Lanza, 52 (Mother of gunman)
Anne Marie Murphy, 52 (Teacher)
Lauren Rousseau, 30 (Teacher)
Mary Sherlach, 56 (School psychologist)
Victoria Soto, 27 (Teacher)
That’s exactly why we must return to this list time and again. If we hold these children, their teachers, and their families in our broken-open hearts, we are less likely to forget. As Elie Wiesel said, ‘To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.’” —Parker Palmer reminds us, once again, about what’s important. (http://www.onbeing.org/blog/we-must-return-to-this-list/6770)