28 August, 2006

Reflection on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy"

You may have seen the video I embedded from Pearl Jam and as I was reviewing, I was struck by the flashing image or text: "Genesis 3:6." I wasn't surprised by a biblical reference because I've noted many allusions to bibilical material in Eddie Vedder's work, but I was interested to see what the reference was in connnection with the video. The verse is quoted here from the University of Virginia's etext library:

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
The verse refers to the "original sin" of Eve in her disobedience to God for eating of the tree of knowledge. The chapter begins with this line:

"Now the serpent was more subtil. . ."

If you watch closely the images in the "Jeremy" video, you will see this exact line, including the King James spelling of "subtil"! What is all of this about?

As my previous blog explains, the youth in America are subjegated to many experiences that disengage them from society. Some of the experiences are through their interactions with their peers (clearly one of the themes/ideas in the song). Disengaement also happens personally in that young people moving into young adulthood have no clear sense of their own identity and thrash about, desparately, for some sort of connection. The onus of this disengagement, I believe, lies in the education system that has no clear mission defined for itself. We often mouth the importance of our youth, but we--as a culture--really do not put the resources where our mouths are. And what was visited upon the American Indian--dislocation and an attempt to erase traditional spirituality in the name of assimilation and American consumerism--is being visited upon our youth.

"Jeremy" is not the sinner in this song; he is the one sinned against. . .

New Posting for English 111

After visiting Charles' blog spot, I believed that I needed to join in the fun. So I've added this site to my blogging experience. Watch here and the "myspace" site for my blogging/journaling with you throughout the term.

The journaling we did today in class was focused on reading/viewing--that is the difference between reading a text and viewing a website. The class visited a site, the National Museum of the American Indian. Students were to browse the site and reflect on the "viewing" of the site, then address the "textual" information located there.

I started the journal/blog on "myspace," then I found this site. I am doubling up to assure that I always have models for my students to review. The most obvious issue when visiting the site is to note the Macromedia Flash action--and watch the totem images appear then slide to the right. We don't have this sort of experience when we read. Text does not move like the images. Text is stationary. And for a postmodern, post MTV generation, I am convinced that movement is critical for capturing an audience's attention.

I am experimenting--not only in using the space as my students are using it for journaling, but also to see what media I may be able to embed. For example. . .one article I found at the NMAI site was titled, "Our Peoples: Giving Voice to Our Histories." This title echoed with me since I fundamentally believe that many, many students--just like the Native American--have lost their "voices" in the process of public education. There was a struggle for holding on to the identity as Native Americans--just like students have to struggle to maintain their identity.

As I reflected along these lines, I was reminded of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy"--a song about a young man who is also struggling to hold on or to discover something about himself. I have thought about embedding the video here:

The video I embedded is not available for embedding any more; however, I would still like to direct you to this unedited version of "Jeremy." One reason I believe you need to have this access is that we are already forgetting our past: I talked with a group of students recently and they had NOT heard about Columbine. Songs like "Jeremy" remind us of so many things and we cannot afford to forget.