All posts tagged: essay

New to Catch-all? Start Here

Social distancing has left me with no excuse for neglecting this blog, so I’m back—for now. If you’ve landed on this page for the first time because you were bored and cruising the internet, well, welcome! And if you’ve been here before, welcome back. Thanks for returning again and again, despite years of inconsistency. I started this blog when I graduated from college in 2013. Since then I’ve had a handful of jobs, moved to another state, went to graduate school, and have done all sorts of other “adult” things. Yet I’m still here working on Catch-all because of what it provides for me. It’s an escape and a place to share my thoughts, but it’s also something more. It’s where I put the things I make that have no other place to go. Where my creative ideas have room to be planted; maybe they’re left there for a few years, maybe they die in the unwatered soil, but at least there’s a place for them. I’ve spent the past decade imagining and then re-imagining …

Representations of Urban Space & Masculinity in “Taxi Driver”

Representations of Urban Space & Masculinity in “Taxi Driver” & the Rise of the American Right-Wing Though Martin Scorsese’s 1976 psychological thriller, Taxi Driver, was released over 40 years ago, one could argue that many layers to the film’s harsh societal critiques are just as relevant in today’s sociopolitical climate. By exploring 1970s New York City through the perspective of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), an intense man whose past we know little about other than that he served in the Vietnam War, Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader allow the audience to see the world through a particularly conservative lens. In the film, Bickle’s taxi cab works as a device that carries him through spaces he may not otherwise occupy. In this vehicle he’s shielded from that which fuels his fear and contempt. He sees, though might not necessarily be seen. He’s a vigilante on the edge of sanity, a sort of messiah figure who strives to clean up the city, though his racist and sexist rational for this metaphoric “clean up” is never stated …

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …

Who Says It Has to Be Modest? A Feminist Perspective on the Bikini

The following is a response to Jessica Rey’s speech regarding bikinis. Please watch the video here prior to reading: In her speech, Rey basically argues that when going to the beach/pool, women should wear one piece bathing suits because bikinis promote men to perceive women as objects. As evidence, Rey cites a Princeton study which found that when men viewed pictures of women in bikinis, the area of their brains associated with objects (e.g. screwdriver) lit up, as well as the areas of their brains associated with first-person action verbs (e.g. “I push” verses “she pushes”). Now, I want to make it clear that I do not disagree with the notion that men may be inclined to objectify women in certain environments (e.g. at the beach where women tend to wear less clothing in general). I do have a modest background in evolutionary psychology, and I understand that we all have instincts that may seem controversial in today’s society, but that we have little to no control over (and that we may not even be …