Archive for February, 2011


Who shot the Tiger?

In the following analysis, the given source will be examined and interpreted by the means of an appropriate working method and background knowledge.

In this visualisation which can be found on economist.com, alternatively taken from the Central Statistic Office Ireland or from the Central Bank of Ireland, the gross domestic product (GDP) as well as the gross national product (GNP) of Ireland are depicted in percental change according to the years of 1985 until the forecast of 2010. The gross national product is described by the line graph whereas the bar chart shows the course of the gross domestic product. Since both aspects are closely connected to each other, the course of theirs are rather similar so the differences are not considerable. Hence, the description below refers to both of them.

In 1985, no change of the GNP/GDP is remarkable. In the following years, one generally recognizes an increase of the GNP’s/GDP’s change up to 6,5% in Ireland until it declines to 0% in 1995. Within that period of time, the growth is not steady but inconstant. That means that the GNP’s/GDP’s change rose from 1985 till 1987 from 0% to 4% and drops to 2 % in the following year. It reaches its next peak of 6,5% change in the subsequent 3 years, in 1990. Fallen by 4,5% to 2% again in 1991, a barely rise to 3% in 1993 and a rapid one to 6,5% in 1994 is obvious before it reaches its low points of 0% in 1995.

In the years of 1995 to 2006 , a significant and rapid change to 10% is noticeable which drops to 6,5%. From 1995 to 1996, the GNP’s/GDP’s change goes through a sudden increase from 0% to 8%. In 1997, the change increases by 2% to 10% and drops at the same rate to 8% in the subsequent year 1998 which is followed by the peak of 10% in 2000. It falls sharply to 3% within 2 years, in 2002 but in 2003, it rises again to 6,5% . One year later, it falls to 4% and increases in 2 years to 6,5%.

From 2007  to 2010 (forecast), a steep decrease to the low point of -11% in 2009 is considerable which weakens to -2% in 2010.

 

With the help of background knowledge, this course of GNP’s/GDP’s change will be explained. The GNP/GDP shows indirectly the prosperity of a country so does it in this case. Since only its changes are depicted in that visualisation, the annual progress can be seen.

From 1985 until 1995 everything is normal but the short depression symbolizes the cause for the decrease in the latter half of that period. Reason for the increase of GNP’s/GDP’s change in the approximately following 11 years till 2006 is the Celtic Tiger, which represents an economic boom in Ireland. This economic development is based on several factors which mainly are the capital investment, the immigration, the lower labour costs, the pro business government and the membership in the European Union. Closely connected to this success are in general advanced prosperity and less poverty. The role of Ireland during the Lisbon Treaty may throw a bad light on its reputation probably causing the decrease in 2000. Aspects which lead to the drastic fall of the GNP’s/GDP’s change into the negative area, so the economic bust, are the excessive oil prices,the financial crisis, the liquidation, the inflation and the inappropriate dealing with money. The forecast of the year 2010 shows the data stabilizing  its economy by approaching 0% change.

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Cartoon.

Hereinafter, I start with an objective description of Kevin Dietsch’s cartoon published on cagle cartoons.com in the year 2008. The subsequent part of the approach is an interpretation including my background knowledge in reference to the African-American history and it finishes off with an justified conclusion.

This black and white cartoon of the year 2008 depicts two dark coloured men in suits on a platform. The black platform consists of two parts whose bigger part is below on which one can read ‘HISTORY’ in white and capital letters. That podium takes nearly the lower half of this image. Being on the way up to the top, the left man whose thin shape, big ears, big chin, thick eyebrows and oval face with few hair are striking, reaches out his right hand for that of the other man.  While his left hand and his left foot search stability on the top of the podium, his right knee backs on the bottom step. His facial expression highlights the effort he makes because due to corners of his mouth just as the position of his eye brows, he is rather curious, discontent and worried. The right man is in ratio to the left male exaggeratively huge that means his width is tripled of the man on the step whereas in comparison, one cannot see the height since the part from the pectoral area upwards is out of sight. The more corpulent and higher man on the right side of the podium wears as well as the left man a black suit with tie and white chemise but in contrast to his fellow, ‘MLK’ is written on his breast pocket and in his left hand he holds a bundle of papers on which ‘ I HAVE A DREAM’ and ‘ 28 August 1963’ is considerable.

With regard to the description, one is capable of associating the two illustrated men with two black man of tremendous importance for the history of African-Americans. The tiny man making his way up, represents Barack Obama, the present US President of America whereas the big one images the prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement Martin Luther King.

The podium on which Martin Luther King is located and on which Barack Obama climbs, shall display their role in history, seeing the captial letters. Considering that the exaggerated physical characteristics remind of these men, the different proportion of the men catches one’s eye. On the one hand, Martin Luther King’s actions as an civil rights activist practicing methods without the use of violence left significant marks on the history of modern American liberalism. On the other hand, due to his death, his time is over and as an unavoidable effect of both aspects, Martin Luther King stands on the top of the podium and is depicted in another ratio. Anyways, Barack Obama climbs up the stairs to the top. He succeeds in holding as the first black the office of  the American president. With reference to this, Obama also poses a milestone in the African-American Experience. Nevertheless, one remarks based on his facial expression his sorrow. That  implicitly conveys that Barack Obama has an arduous path to walk, facing many many troubles and grievances until he is finally able to attain his ends.

 

In how far is racism present in the movie “Finding Forrester” ?

Along the movie, one recognizes several scenes in which racial discrimination, whether hidden or obvious, are revealed. In the subsequent text, the focus will be put on those aspects in order to show exemplarily that racism still has its significant influence on contemporary society.

The American drama film ” Finding Forrester” of the year 2000, written by Mike Rich and directed by GusVan Sant deals with Jamal Wallace, a black cultivated boy of 16 years living in the Bronx who faces racial hindrance in his life. With the help of the famous but seclusive writer William Forrester, he succeeds in establishing himself as a talented black in the new ‘white private school’, so he overcomes the superficial obstacles.

The first thing to acknowledge is that there is always a separation of blacks and white present. In general, just black and poor people live in the Bronx. Their one and only affinity represents sports, especially basketball. Hence, not intelligence but sportiness deserves appreciation. The former is inevitably connected to embarrassment, so Jamal Wallace just hides his interest in literature and his intelligence in the way that he gets rather bad grades and that he asks his brother not to tell his friends about the outstanding result of the obligatory school test. What is more, Jamal Wallace writes on the quiet in his notebooks which therefore,no one is ever able to read.

In the generalized white view, the blacks are dumbed. A proof for that assumption is the BMW-scene, in which the white man, bringing goods and food for daily consumption to William Forrester, wants to ensure that his car is locked while watching the black youngsters play basketball. As Jamal Wallace notices that reaction, he claims his car just to be one as any other.  In response to that, the white outlines that it is anything but an usual car , it is a BMW. So, he is convinced that the black do not possess any general knowledge. Thus, he is more or less speechless and ashamed when Jamal shows his profound education by pointing out BMW’s history.

Instances to add are the scenes with Claire which underline that there is a separation of blacks and whites. During an event at Claire’s, they both come close to each other but Claire’s father interrupts this relation he is not content with at all. He takes his daughter with him, leaving Jamal alone which emphasizes the discriminative prejudice. In addition, when Claire offers Jamal a relationship, the latter denies referring to the distinct skin color they have and that as a consequence, this relationship would never work.

What is more, Professor Robert Crawford suspects the 16-year-old black boy to cheat since Crawford does not give Jamal credit for his striking literally works. He claims his suspicion to be true as Jamal is just 16 years old, ‘black’ and from the ‘Bronx’ where poverty rules. In this context, Professor Crawford despises and humiliates the boy whenever possible regarding at the literature competition within the school by excluding Jamal from the participation.

Apart from that, the basketball scene is also of importance. In that, Jamal is in a basketball duel with a white boy of ‘white private’ school. It becomes obvious that they both are equally blessed with talent but in the end, the white one states that Jamal may think that they are equal but they are not. This statement refers to the skin color and it highlights implicitly the subordinate position of blacks in that society.

Another example, also a basketball scene reveals hidden racism. Since Jamal is very talented in basketball, he and the school team take part in a competition which is important for the school’s reputation. The basketball coach is trying to make a deal with Jamal  signifying his incompetence, since he offers Jamal a less demanding education so that in return, Jamal is capable of concentrating on sports in a more effective way. This shows indirectly that they suppose the blacks to have a less progressive and mental capacity.

On reflection, one is forced to conclude that whether hidden or obvious, racism is always present in “Finding Forrester” and contributes to the conveyed moral. In the course of the movie, one recognizes its condemned role in our society with regard to the superficiality and the prejudice on which it is based. One must not judge due to the outward appearance.