Creative Ingenuity

15 02 2012

The collapse of culture and emotion—spiritual awareness and self-consciousness—in today’s generation is horrifying. It’s a real nail bitter. We have such little regard for passion, for personal connections… where has all the humanity gone? Was it ever there? Do these glorified stories of happy societies living in harmony and waves of flowing glorious energy, filling from the fingertips through toes and exploding from the third eye—the pineal gland—really exist? What a beautifully misused instrument of truth and self-awareness.

We are slaves to the lingering conscious and ideals installed into our now wired brains and psyches. The masses have been re-circuited into thoughtless bands of earthly destruction. We have all seen Terminator 2, yet we have a desire to be mechanized. Greed is destroying us. We have the whole world, literally, at our fingertips. But how do we use this information… To live in ubiquitous happiness and embrace the wonders of humanity and what it is to be human, nah! War. Destruction. Death. What will it take for us to begin working toward betterment for the majority?

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”(1)

And I bring all of this to attention in light of Thomas Jefferson: “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”(3)

1. King, Jr, Martin Luther
2. Chaplin, Charlie, “The Great Dictator.” 1940.
3. Jefferson, Thomas

Response to: Generation Why?


Farewell Humanity; It’s Been Real, But I’m Going Plastic

10 02 2012

As unique and wonderfully conscious human beings we love to play the blame game. But, who is to blame for the increasing plasticity of the ever-progressing modern world in which we live? We can no longer find solace in stoning someone who is only remotely tied to a problem. While tying Al Gore to a try and throw rocks at him might put a smile on some faces, it would not change the adaptive issues we are facing in a perpetually tech-based world. The influx of technological advances is changing the building blocks of our human nature. It’s like someone came into your house and solved that Rubix cube that you’ve had for over a decade (and never figured out). That is what the Internet is doing to our brains, or rather the human brain and technology are cohorts in this mental revolution and they’re keeping us in the dark. So, to play the blame game we hold so dear we would all have to gather ‘round and stone each other, aiming for the brain. And, while we’re at it, go Office Space on a computer or two. The frustrating thing about this change is that we never saw it coming and we can never really know what happened. All we know is that something changed.

Doctors who dedicate their lives to studying the human brain are in constant awe and have very little cement to stand on with their theories. So, for the average person, that means we don’t know shit about what goes on upstairs. If that is the case, why do we care that it is changing? Well, for starters, it affects everything we do, especially in our academic/professional careers. This is an extra special concern for those in my generation—the in-betweeners. There are pre-Internet brains, the in-betweeners, and post-Internet brains.

When the in-betweeners were kids the only person who had a cell phone was Zach Morris, and it weighed about ten pounds, the Internet was dial up and you used to pick up the phone repeatedly when you wanted your turn to go on AOL chat. Unfortunately for the in-betweeners, we have had to change in response to the Internet. It was not in common use until about high school, changing the way we read, retain information, socialize and think. This forced evolution is the reason so many in-betweeners are being diagnosed with ADHD, we just don’t have the attention spans needed for pre-Internet activities.

As for the post-Internet generation, well, they’re both blessed and damned. Most of them will never make it through reading a lengthy novel without skimming a chunk of it. But, to their advantage, their brains are much more quickly adapting to the Internet Age, as well as society is adapting to them. The way we are taught is changing; catering to the technology-based learning. This gives them a slight edge over the in-betweeners slow to adapt (like myself). By intimidation, some cling to the pre-Internet days, when “life was simple.” I admit to be quite reluctant, considering myself a slight “technophobe.” I go so far as to say that technology is simply a distraction, merely giving the illusion of connectedness, ultimately isolating us within ourselves. We create virtual representations of what we want people to see us as and are becoming increasingly judgmental because of it.

The pre-Internet generations have a wonderful ability to talk to anyone. Why is that? When our parents and our grandparents wanted to have a chat they went outside and talked to a neighbor, or called someone on the phone. There were no carefully selected mates on dating websites; you fell in love with someone “for better or worse.” You might have almost nothing in common with your friend, but you learn to appreciate them for who they are. People cared about values more than having the same top 5 favorite movies. Pre-Internet babies, although there are ALWAYS exceptions, are more patient with other people and have longer attention spans for conversation. They require less instant gratification and can enjoy the dying art of shooting the shit.

We are losing our basic people skills! How can there be community if there is not tolerance and acceptance of those who don’t fit your mold? The Internet may not be making us stupid, but it is making us judgmental and depressed.



Response to: Miserable Facebook

New Spin On Victorian

9 02 2012

Oh, hey Tennyson. The Victorian age was kind of dulldrom. But I like those who opposed the common hoard. Here’s to you, and my favorite feral soul, miss em willz.

O Kraken! From abysmal depths you rise
Wrapping tentacles of wonder tightly
’round a sullen sleeping Mind.
The song of Ulyssian desire
Beyond the common, echoes.
Driving mad a restless soul, ready
to be lost, drifting upon the sea.
A life of aimless wandering; consumed
by Thirst for discovery of the unseen.

The tide is calling, I’m rolling away,
back into the ocean’s depths.
To be missed, the warm kiss
of sand caressing tired toes, but
weathered stones have  mind of their own.
Enmeshing feet–turtles trapped in a fishermen’s net.
Tangled, strangled–Looking for liberty;
to laze in the lucid Doldrums.

Thoughts crescendo with the crashing waves
while the undertones of the undertow
lure the traveler from land. Caressed,
undressed–naked and pure.
Unimpeded; the natural flow of water
obeys only the moon. Majestic
Mother of the wild sea, beckoning
feral souls to celebrate; to be
one with the universal Being.

Copy Cat

7 02 2012

The Comic Sans blog post, while entertaining to read, was just a sarcastic babbling. I did enjoy reading it, but it was ineffective in its persuasive style. I still do not like Comic Sans, but Papryus is a wonderful font.


Guy Cunningham’s The Millions: Fragmentary Writing in a Digital Age. He discusses the way in which the advent of computers, tablets, ebooks, etc has changed the way we read–and write.

Flipping through the pages of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Sheilds, I couldn’t help but cringe. If only slightly. It gives tid-bits about writing in a listed fashion. Thesis after thesis with no body.

While reading blurbs of ideas is–in theory–an interesting approach to relaying information, there is no substance.

Is that what twenty-first century writing is becoming?

The other book Cunningham mentions is Masha Tupitsyn’s Laconia: 1,200 Tweets on Film. This was the real travesty. Does Masha really think anyone cares that on June 1st at 10:50 AM she had the miraculous epiphany that Superbad is a phallocentric move?

Tupitsyn’s book simply feeds into the egotism surrounding new social media and the idea that anyone really cares what time you went to the bathroom or that you stubbed your toe.

Kafka wrote in a fragmentary style, yes. But, he did it for the reason of having the reader reapproach a section they finished reading and ponder it. Let the thought resonate. He wanted to reader to gargle his sentences like mouthwash until they got that tingling feeling. That minty fresh sigh of understanding.

As a Literature Major I find nothing groundbreaking about regurgitating famous quotes in a flashy manor. Even more so, I shake my head at Tupitsyn. She wasted an idea that could have been great and instead printed a disconnected annoyance.

The most interesting reading for the week was the article by Michiko Kakutani, Texts Without Content.

The idea that the new wave of culture is a rehashing of the past and lack of creative ingenuity rings true. “Lady Gaga is a third generation Madonna,” he says, highlighting the idea that the newer generations are simply copy and pasting the past with a slight spin.

Is creative ingenuity dead?

There are those who will say, “well, it’s all been done.” What if Picasso, the Beatles, Faulkner, Vonnegut, and Rothke all thought this way? Because of the onslaught of information people are losing the confidence in their creative ability. We’re falling into the nihilistic world Chuck Palahniuk created in Fight Club… “just a copy of a copy of a copy.”


I’ll never give up.


week one

22 01 2012

Gary Vaynerchuk’s video Do What You Love was really interesting. His enthusiasm for people to stop doing what they hate and fill their time with something that truly drives them was inspiring. In a world run by money and circumstance, it is sometimes almost impossible to get a career that you enjoy. That is, unless you are willing to let go of the materialism that media has worked so hard to shove down our throats.


Digital Writing

In the Web 2.0 article it is said that writing with digital tools enhance cooperative skills, tap into higher order thinking skills, broaden the classroom, increase student motivation and capitalize on the digital nature world of students. I agree that it capitalizes on the modern students innate abilities to work digitally. It also broadens the classroom in the respect that there are more resources available, but most have computers at home on which to explore and attention in the classroom should be directed to learning more concretely. I don’t think it necessarily facilitates motivation, but rather leads to distraction and unhelpful multitasking. Also, multitasking hinders the ability to do deep thinking because one is inundated with a multitude of thoughts rather than focusing intently on one particular idea. If you stretch yourself too thin you only cover the surface, but so much remains in the depths below.

Hey there hi th…

20 01 2012

Hey there hi there ho there!

My name is Jen Schratz. I am a bibliophile and a technophobe.

I’m a super senior at Temple University. I’ll (hopefully) graduate in Spring 2013 with a double major in Linguistic Anthropology and English: Creative Writing. I’m also going for a minor in Philosophy and a Writing Certificate. (I like to torture myself, obviously.)

I love to read all varieties of literature (minus twilight and detective novels). Kurt Vonnegut, Hermann Hesse, Jean-Paul Sartre, T.S. Eliot, George Orwell, Earnest Hemingway, Ralph-Waldo Emerson and Noam Chomsky are among my favorite writers. I am enchanted with the art of writing and like to dabble in poetry, short fiction, playwriting, travel writing and critical essays.

Satisfying My Interests Online

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