Here’s your homework for next time:
- Go out with the group to which I assigned you, and get used to one another. Spend at least a couple of hours together, and talk about whatever you want — I really don’t care, as long as it makes you a little more comfortable together. Fill out your Student Information Papers (downloadable below) during this outing.
- Fill out this form so I can assemble a digital student list. Warning, you need a Google Account in order to do so.
As for what we talked about in class, I’m going to talk about two works of music, and one story, all of which are arguably significant parts of American popular culture (though you may not yet have encountered them):
- “Yo George” (mp3 link) by Tori Amos, from her 2007 album American Doll Posse. Youtube has many videos of live performances that are a little different from the studio album version. Check out the lyrics. You might understand Tori’s work better if you look at earlier albums, especially songs from the Little Earthquakes album that solidified her reputation early on. (Many songs from Little Earthquakes are also available on Youtube, too — several of them are on this playlist, and have the same cover image graphic as the visual.) Besides on Wikipedia, you can read about her life and work from the point of view of Joe Jackson, who has intereviewed her several times. There’s a piece by wrestler Mick Foley whose career and life have also been influence by Amos’ music. Or check out her website, if you are interested in that.
- “Giant Steps” (mp3 link) by John Coltrane, from the 1960 solo album Giant Steps. If you can read music, this video is an animation of a transcription of his performance. If you can’t read music, just listen to the MP3 a bunch of times, till it sort of makes sense, and if you still feel like you’re unsure why I asked you to listen to it, read about John Coltrane’s life a bit. (Read, see, and hear a lot more at the official John Coltrane website: yes, though he passed away in 1967, there is an official website even today. How many people can you say that about?)
- Read “The Statement of Randolph Carter” by H.P. Lovecraft (published in 1926). I’m sure you can google up some information on him, starting with Wikipedia–there are millions of links online detailing sites dedicated to the man’s work, as well as other works based on his, computer and role-playing games, films, comic books, and other authors inspired by his work, and a lot of amateur and professional academic scholarship about Lovecraft’s life and his writing… so feel free to browse as you like. The story may or may not be available in Korean translation, if you care to search for it: a lot of Lovecraft’s work has been translated into Korean and many other languages, but I don’t have a copy of this particular story in my collection. It’s not wholly representative of Lovecraft’s writing, but it is short and rings a few important bells. For a more representative, but longer work, I recommend “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Dunwich Horror,” or his short novel At the Mountains of Madness (which I do have in Korean, at least, if you’d like a copy). All these works (and many more) are available here, or in this free collection (if you use ebook reader software on your phone or computer).
Be ready to talk about all three works after I make my presentation to you, in terms of the “reading” of a piece of popular culture.