Question1Neil deGrasse Tyson’s views on theafterlife has many similarities with that of how Christianity views death andthe afterlife.
Tyson states “…there’s no evidence that I have any consciousnessof anything…did you have consciousness before you were born… we fear deathbecause I was born only knowing life.” (Tyson, 2016) This statement links to the Christian view of death as according to theChristian doctrine, “death for those who love and have faith in the wordof Christ is but an appearance, a rite of passage.”(Ferry,2011, 3-4) Thisrelates to Tyson’s view on the afterlife as by referring to death as ‘a rite ofpassage’ it implies that death is feared due to a fear of the inevitable whichis caused due to not knowing what occurs spiritually after death. We as humans,know what occurs to a body once a person has died due to witnessingdecomposition; however, in Christianity, it is taught that if you live a morallife according to the teachings of Christ a person shall go to heaven, but ifthey have lived immorally and are unable to be redeemed; they shall enter hell.The Stoics believed that “…the Christian God is transcendent in relation to theworld, whereas the divine…. Is wholly immanent.
” (IBID,26) Therefore, theStoics believed that the Christian God was purely maintaining the world, unlikethe Stoic belief in which their God’s were superior. This can link to Tyson’s view on the afterlifeas when he is asked if he would like to be immortal; he responds by stating”…it is the knowledge that I am going to die that creates the focus that Ibring to being alive. The urgency of accomplishment, the need to express love,now, not later.” (Tyson, 2016) This links to the Christian understanding of the afterlife as Christianityis built upon the ideals of love, “…love is stronger than death…’ (IBID,3-4). This statement implies thatlove, unlike death is everlasting and all-powerful. When a person loses afamily member, they never stop loving them despite them not being alive. TheChristian doctrine of how love can be viewed as the love of God, and the loveof others. Thus, linking to views about death and the afterlife as when aperson is aware that they are dying; some ask for a priest to visit them torepent for their sins as well as to have someone of spiritual importance toguide them into the afterlife.
This is significant as it implies that ifsomeone repents for all their sins on their deathbed; it gives them anincreased chance of making it to heaven. In the interview about the afterlife,Tyson mentions this quote “…be ashamed to die until you have caused suchvictory for humanity…” (Horace Mann, Address at Antioch College, 1859) The significanceof this is that Tyson wishes for this to be placed upon his tombstone;therefore, suggesting that at the time of the interview, he has already thoughtabout what he wants to occur after his death. Question 3Within the opening credits of The Apprentice (USA) Marxist views ofcapitalism are clearly seen throughout the entire sequence. The first half ofthe opening credits consists of the viewing audience being introduced to DonaldTrump and his large business empire. In a Marxist lens, this would be viewed asTrump introducing himself as a member of the bourgeoisie andtherefore a member of the ruling class. In the opening fifteen seconds, DonaldTrump opens his narration with “…New York. My city.’ By referring to the cityas his property it implies that he views himself as a position of authority dueto his large real estate business.
This links to Marx’s view on capitalism asrefers to Marx’s ‘economic base.’ “…the capitalist class who owns those meansof production, and the proletariat class whose labour-power the capitalistbuys…these ‘forces’ and ‘relations’ of production form what Marx calls ‘theeconomic structure of society’, or…the economic ‘base’.” (Eagleton, 2002) Within the opening credits,Trump refers to how the contestants come from all classes and with differentlevels of experience; therefore, placing the contestants in the category of theproletariat in comparison to himself. Immediately after this, the audience isshown images of wealth and success such as chauffeured cars, privatehelicopters, aeroplanes as well as images of the Trump business empire with largeamounts of money.
In a Marxist perspective, the economy can influence culture; therefore,if the stock exchange is successful, more members of society would want to livean expensive lifestyle; thus, by showing the viewer images of wealth andsuccess, it emphasises how the bourgeoisie are impoverishing the other membersof society by convincing them that they are economically affluent; despitehaving to work much harder, in order to gain less, in comparison to those whohave economic power. ForMarx, economicswas the most powerful source within society. The shape of our economy gives usthe form of our society, and determines everything else that occurs. This ispresent within the opening credits of TheApprentice (USA) as images of people from all aspects of society are seen.Those with wealth are emphasized as the main aim of the programme is to getexperience working with Donald Trump; however, those of the lowest social class,such as the homeless who are sleeping on the streets were also shown toemphasise the difficulties of working in business; as well as to highlight how itis difficult to both live and work in New York. However, this may have alsobeen done to highlight Trump’s successes, and the success in which the winnerof the programme could achieve. Question 5’One is not born, but ratherbecomes, a woman’ (Simone de Beauvoir, 1949) This statement implies thatBeauvoir has considered not just the biological aspects of being a woman; but also,the social and historical aspects of life that women have lived through.
Thisstatement furthermore implies that Beauvoir has considered the inequality thatwomen have had to live throughout history, and the inequalities that many womenstill live with in modern times. By stating that someone “…becomes, a woman…'(IBID) it implies that women are not only defined by their biology; but also,how they are viewed in relation to men.Around the world, manycountries are still living within a patriarchal society, and women are stillbeing oppressed by men. One example of this is how in Saudi Arabia, ‘…womenstill need a male ‘guardian’ in order to travel, marry, or exit prison and itmay be needed to be granted employment or access to healthcare.’ (A. Madhavan,S.
O’Gorman, 2017) The given statement can also refer to how in recent years,people have begun to understand gender as being in the mind rather than what aperson biologically identifies as. Feminist Julie Bindel has said regarding atransgender woman’s experience that “…identifying as a woman… is not the sameas experiencing girl-hood and the oppression of growing up as a woman.'(Bindel, 2017) This declaration links to Beauvoir’s statement as it impliesthat although one is able to become a woman due to medical advances andidentifying as one; a transgender woman would not have the same experience as agirl who had grown into a woman. This is due to the oppression of women by men,being taught gender stereotypes such as girls can only play with dolls, thusemphasising the maternal aspect of life, and boys play with cars, as well as howin many countries around the world girls are unable to be educated in schools,as well as having a large risk of them being married as children, or having toundergo female genital mutilation; which a transgender woman would neverexperience or be at risk for. Another possibleinterpretation of Beauvoir’s view, that one ‘becomes a woman’ when they getmarried; this may be due to how most of the world is still living within apatriarchal society, but many view marriages as the time when a girl becomes awoman due to how she is ‘given away’ by either her father or another prominentmale figure to her husband. Traditionally, the bride has worn white in order tosignify purity; thus her virginity, therefore implying that a girl becomes awoman when she loses her virginity. However, despite all of this, “…Virginityloss is widely understood, by scholars and lay people alike, as a central eventin the process through which girls and boys become adult women and men.
(Gagnonand Simon 1973; Long Laws and Schwartz 1997, Solin; 1996)” and “…Throughout thenineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, young women typically perceivedtheir virginity as precious and strove to maintain it until they were marriedor at least engaged…” (L.Carpenter, 2002) Although in recent years in westerncountries, this is not always the case as many no longer identify sex as a partof becoming a woman, as the world has become more accustomed to those whoidentify as a gender different to their own. Question7The following video of Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend (2016) can be considered an act of ‘culturalappropriation’ as throughout the entirety of the video, the members of Coldplayare seen to be taking elements of Indian culture and using it in order to maketheir video aesthetically pleasing. One example of this is when the members ofthe band are seen to be celebrating holi bythrowing the coloured powders into the air and running through them with localchildren.
This can be viewed as cultural appropriation as holi is a religious festival celebrated by both Hindu and Sikhs inorder to celebrate the arrival of spring, as well as to signify the victory ofgood over evil. It is also used as a time to forgive, repair fractured relationshipsand to enjoy life with one another. By using this festival within the musicvideo, it removes some of the significance of it; as well as not educating theviewer about the meaning behind the celebration. Beyoncé is also seen to appropriate Indian culture via hercostume in the video. Her clothing is clearly inspired by traditional clothinghowever it is cultural appropriation as the costume designer has altered it tomake it appeal to a western audience. Furthermore, the style of dance in whichBeyoncé takes part in is inspired by Bollywood dance films, as seen via thebackgrounds used when she appears as well as the choreography; however, ratherthan being a tribute to the success which is Bollywood; she only does movementswhich are seen to be very stereotypical of such films. Though, despite thistraditional dance is used; which can be considered as cultural fusion due tohow the traditional dance and costume are used; despite accompanying theColdplay song rather than a piece of traditional music.
Similarly, this is seenin another scene in the music video when a group of Indian children are filmeddancing in a westernised style yet they are covered in the coloured powder fromthe holi celebrations. This couldalso be considered as hybridity as it is combing both the traditions of holi with the modern, western dance. By setting the music video in India, it educates societyabout the traditions as well as the cultural side of India rather than only theside that tourists see. Also, within the music video, women are heavily used inorder to emphasise the cultural aspect of India, this may be due to how “…theconstruction of Indian womanhood are both reflections of this essential Hinduidentity…” (P.
Chakravorty, 2001) However,this may have also been done to appeal to a western audience whom are used toseeing female sexuality to emphasise enjoyment. Therefore, by includingdifferent images of women both in dance, and in traditional dress within thevideo, this could be considered as cultural appropriation as it is taking thetraditions of a religion and culture, however it is using them in order toappeal to a western audience by using female sexuality.