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AnotherAbby's blog

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And, In the End.....

“Everything that’s difficult you should be able to laugh about.”-Louis CK

“Yeah, my finals had me laughing. Laughing until I had no tears left to laugh with.”-Abby ACK

.           Play and humor are two concepts that go together hand-in-hand. Levels of humor easily find parallels in the levels of play: simple, critical, and deep.

Simple play is the first step in the spectrum of play. In terms of humor, simple play to the least thought provoking forms of humor. The jokes are funny, but this humor is not characterized by biting satire and sublime revelation. It’s not "lesser”, in the sense that it should come secondary to the other forms of humor, but it is the only genre that includes fart jokes. I can’t say I’ve ever heard a fart that made me reevaluate my beliefs and the truths of the universe. I have never, and will never, use flatulent humor as the lens through which I view the world. However, farts are just a small part of humor in simple play.

Simple play humor is the baseline upon which other forms of humor grow. It is the bare essential elements of comedy, rather than the concepts that can sustain a story. Take, for example, the Monty Python sketch The Funniest Joke in the World.


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For Against Interpretation

With Susan Sontag’s essay, I feel like one of the only “tools” that I can use, and certainly the only tool she would have me use, is the believing game. I am listening to every word she says without pushing back, poking holes, and pointing out the flaws in her argument, and I am going to do my best to see what she has to say by believing her.

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Look I finally learned how to properly link text! Just in time.

I’ve put a lot of thought into what I want to do this weekend in Philly, and I’ve come up with one conclusion:

I’ve got nothing.

There are so many amazing things I could do for my last trip, like going to what looks like one of the coolest events ever this Thursday, continuing on my mural adventures, or staring at paintings that make me think deep play might be possible. I could even go to the top of City Hall and survey the city like I’m Mufasa and everything the light touches is my kingdom. But, in the end, I know I would probably be happiest aimlessly wandering around the city, stumbling [serendipitously] across murals, spending an hour on a park bench watching people and eavesdropping on their lives,  and thinking more about what my place in Philadelphia is rather than what the coolest thing I can find to do is.

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Barnes Essay Rewrite

To “reread” the essay I wrote on my trip to the Barnes, I would, first of all, rewrite the “Barnes Version” essay, as opposed to the “Academic” one. I really threw in the former version at the last second as a joke; I thought I understood the difference between Barnes’ way of “reading” art and the academic way that he so loathed. I didn’t understand Barnes’ viewpoint well enough until we talked through his ideals for the Foundation in class. Now, however, I’m cautiously confident that I could look again at my painting of choice but focus more on what Barnes thinks is important, using both Dewey’s book and his to do so.

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Portait of a Man Holding a Watch- Barnes Verison

I like this painting. When I saw it, I was instantly drawn to it, even more than I was drawn to the Van Gogh in one of the next rooms that looked, from a distance, like a naked woman on a bed giving a “come hither” look, and upon further inspection was a naked woman on a bed whose face looked like Rowan Atkinson’s, as if someone had crudely photoshopped Mr. Bean’s head onto the body of a Post-Impressionist woman.

The colors are striking, I respect the amount of effort that went into making this, and I'm in awe of the skill.

I really, really like this painting. I connect to it. That’s all that matters. I don't need to analyze every inch of it to know that.

The photo doesn't do the painting justice.


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Portait of a Man Holding a Watch- Academic Verison

“No, am I crazy? Have we seen that one before? I think we’ve seen that one before.”

“I don’t know. I mean, they’re all Renoir, and they’re all naked ladies viewed from behind and kind of to the side, so maybe?”

“We’ve seen that one before. Definitely”


The light and airy women seem to glance sidelong at us out of their gilded frames. No, there were no repeat paintings, although judging by the shapes of the women and fruit Renoir painted, the man certainly had a type. His delicate but broad brushstrokes, typical of an impressionist, are at least present in almost every room and prevalent in many. The colors are bright and go well with the gold of the frames and walls, which make the rooms of the gallery look warm and invite the viewer in to wander as they please.

However, amidst a sea of soft colors and forms, there is an island of dark tones and well-defined shapes that starkly contrasts against the colorful lines surrounding it. Beset on all sides by small impressionist paintings, all save two by Renoir himself, Frans Hals’ Portrait of a Man Holding a Watch sticks out almost as much as the iron hinges, doorknockers, and other metal accessories adorning the walls of the Barnes.

Take a step back. The man doesn’t belong. His practically photorealistic quality stands out as a statement of differing styles against the impressionist color blocks and sense of light. He looms on the wall, sucking the light from the room.

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Notes on Notes on a Cockfight

After reading Clifford Geertz’s Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight, I feel that Ackerman and Geertz have presented me with two separate views on what deep play is or could be. Geertz, an anthropologist, sees deep play within the people of Bali in their cockfighting culture. For a good amount of the piece, Geertz builds up just how strongly these men identify with and care for their cocks (a double entendre that, yes, does occur in both languages). After reading Ackerman’s definitions on deep play and her interpretation of deep play experiences, I was ready for Geertz’s writing to culminate with the relationship between the Balinese men and the fighting cocks as his example of deep play. However, the narrative went elsewhere, instead focusing on the betting processes for the cockfights. Geertz talks about how when the stakes on a bet are ridiculous, when any rational man would and should turn his head and save his money, Balinese men continue to bet, putting their faith, pride, and place in the social hierarchy before their logical reason. The deep play that Geertz describes happens more or less according to the rules of a system—in fact, it is the system that facilitates the deep play—whereas Ackerman’s deep play occurs outside any system. Ackerman also has intense moments when she feels deep play occurring, and seeks out those experiences, while the situation Geertz describes depicts the men as more or less oblivious to the fact that they are participating in deep play.

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A Tale of Two Ackermans: or, Two Ackermans of Verona

“Everyone understands deep play. If I were in the park, having a transcendental experience, and a girl invited me to play beanbag toss, she might well get bored if I seemed clumsy and slow, because I was currently existing outside regular space and time—just as a dog playing fetch might get bored and go looking for better company. What I’m trying to say is that little girl looked like a Chihuahua to me during my rapturous experience and was totally harshing my deep play mellow. But why play deeply at all? Every element of the human saga requires play, from human life starting in medeas res to the final invocations to a muse or higher power, which you will often physically see in a deep play experience. We evolved through play. Literally. Deep play is the reason we still have wisdom teeth. Our culture thrives on deep play, still using it as currency in some parts of the world. Courtship includes high theater, rituals, and ceremonies of deep play; foremost among those ceremonies is the all-important awkward breakfast conversation. Ideas are playful reverberations of the mind. Language is a playing with words until they can impersonate physical objects and abstract ideas.”



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The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

-Can’t you see that it’s changing? We’re living in a time of Enlightenment, and we’ve got to keep up!

-But why the prisons?

-Who better to reform? The human man has so much potential! We’ve got to focus on preventing crimes rather than punishing for them.

-So are we not going to punish criminals? Are we just going to release them back onto the streets?

-No, not at all. We’ll give them time to reflect on their crimes, and make peace with God. Don’t you see? They’ll be reformed!


The building is falling. The rooms are cold, so cold, but the ruined walls give the illusion that they had at point been warm. In fact, the audio tour conforms that this relic was always too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, despite the fact that it boasted one of the first central heating systems, but the broken windows and holes in walls seem to excuse its current temperature. There is a subconscious justification that it is cold in here because the building is old and broken; not because it was always this way. This place was built more to make people penitent than comfortable.


-We’ll have to keep them in isolation, to prevent the insincere from contaminating the reforming. It will keep them away from the crimes that have become so rampant in older prisons as a result of the convicted intermixing and causing trouble.

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What's black and white and read all over? This first draft. (ESP Essay)

Conflict of silences. A place of aesthetic beauty from outside. A place of silence and regret from inside. Gone are the tiny insanity-inspiring chambers, replaced by shared-chambers capable of providing a life to their inhabitants. It was not a luxury to live in it, to be confined to your thoughts. It was corrupted over the years not by loose morals and flagging ideals but by the sheer pressure of numbers. It seems prisoners became more like objects to be placed somewhere than people who needed reforming.

These wall that used to be crisp white are falling down, the whole structure of the building is decaying. It has all passed. It is still in no better condition that it was when he was alive, but now that the context has changed, it is looked on with more reverence than it deserves. No matter, Eastern State as it is now, a true institution of learning, is the best form of itself that has ever been and undoubtedly could ever be.



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