Saturday, April 28, 2018

Orientalism in media

Orientalism is something that is rarely discussed outside of academia and yet is pervasive in Western society. Though most parents don't typically outright say to their children things like "Asian cultures, specifically West Asian cultures, are strange, mystical, and exotic, and you should not trust Middle Eastern men because they are scheming and unintelligent," people are still exposed to this mindset from a very young age. The source of that exposure is, of course, the media.

One of the most infamous examples of Orientalism in modern-day culture is the movie Aladdin. This movie is a favorite among younger children, but is an obvious example of the stereotypes surrounding the Middle East in movies. There are many more examples of movies about the Middle East or East Asia which clearly portray harmful stereotypes about them, but possibly the main source behind the pervasiveness of Orientalism is more subtle. Think of practically any sci-fi movie. There are likely several fictional cultures in this movie, and it is also likely that one or more of them are logical, behave in familiar or relatable ways, and look just like the generic idea of a Star Trek-esque future. But there is also likely another culture. This one is mystical, easily overpowered, lacking in technological advancements, and, most importantly, exotic. Their clothes, fashion, and even speech do not look or sound generic or even familiar, and the parts featuring this group of people are often the most beautiful parts of the movie. However, this imaginary culture is not actually original or even made up: it is almost always simply based on ideas of Asia.

Though there is nothing wrong with respectfully taking artistic inspiration from other cultures, it is pretty self-explanatory why portraying vaguely Asian cultures almost exclusively as literal aliens is problematic. The problem is, the creators of these movies likely don't know what they're doing: they actually believe, subconsciously or not, that Asian cultures are mystical, incomprehensible, and alien. And by seeing aspects of those cultures portrayed as such over and over, the general public begins to have the same idea ingrained in their minds, reinforcing Orientalism once again.

Romanticism in Fantasy Art

Though the Romantic movement in art has had a lasting, permanent effect on art and how we see it, the specific visual style developed during that period is, for the most part, no longer in use. This is especially true in "high art," which is currently in the post-modern era, where most highly respected art has long moved on from any kind of naturalized depictions, imaginary or no. However, the romantic art style has been carried on in one unexpected area: fantasy art.

By "fantasy art," I mean high fantasy art. The illustrations found everywhere from Dungeons and Dragons guide books to concept art for popular video games and movies. This, by some, could be considered the "lowest" level of art; it exists purely to be visually appealing and entertaining and carries no significance or meaning. It is ironic, then, that it uses nearly the exact same style as Romantic art: expressive, action-packed compositions; dynamic, colorful, but chiaroscuro-filled lighting; and dreamlike or even violent images of triumph and defeat. However, philosophically speaking, these art movements seem to have nothing in common. The Romantic movement was a revolution of ideology where thinkers for the first time began to find meaning in not only religion and tradition, but in themselves and the world around them. So why has this revolutionary style been transferred to such an unimportant, un-intellectual genre?

Perhaps this similarity is a hint that fantasy art, along with every other "low" art genre, should not be so easily overlooked. An image of a knight hurling fireballs at a mountain-sized monster may not contain many new or mind-blowing ideas, but the fact that this art is so popular and intriguing shows what is important or universal to humanity: triumph, power, and the perseverance of good against evil. The truth is, Romantic art was the first time that artists began to discuss what they themselves found important, and fantasy art is simply doing the same thing. And sometimes, what's important is beating up some giants with a magic sword.

(Here's the piece by Tyler Jacobson that was used on the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook)

(And here's "The Colossus" by Francisco Goya, a famous Romantic painter)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Are People Romantic about Romanticism?

It’s tough for me to translate romanticism, a movement that was tough to define even at its birth in the 18th century, to modern day. I feel certain components of romanticism, a sense of independence for example, carry over, while others, like authenticity and emotion, don’t. Sure, strong emotions and aesthetics are still present in society, but I don’t think they’re as celebrated or respected as Romanticism demands.

We as a society are desensitized. Terrible news is now the norm, beautiful mountains are a google search away, and human interaction is a fraction of what it use to be. Much of what Romantics considered integral to appreciating the human experience is gone. Still, that doesn’t make technology inherently bad. Romanticism was an idea spawned centuries ago, and there’s no real reason that it should still be around today. Values and characteristics of Romanticism manifest themselves in lots of modern day culture.

Technology both pushes and pulls at the human condition. Phones, video games, and TV can certainly inhibit interaction, but they also can contribute to the celebration of life and culture. Likewise, lots of innovative tech companies strive for good. Companies like Tesla have begun to revolutionize the industry with their Earthly and human values. Sure, Romanticism as an idea and philosophy may be dead, but who’s to say that we’re not moving towards something better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Social Media v.s Romanticism

Social Media and television has become a huge factor of the development of this generation and how we live our daily lives. Social networks has become one of the most popular sources of communicating and forces us to interact behind screen, which is obviously not the most romantic thing to do. Dating websites like or Tinder, is a popular way for people to start off meeting and is an easy way to have sexual relations. These websites and websites similar to this has forced people to believe that this is the easiest way to make a romantic connection. Romanticism in the 18th century has completely changed from what it is now in the 21st century. The media sets a unrealistic tone for how relationships should be and romanticism in general. We chose to express our feelings with tweets and posts, instead of approaching a person head on. This is a video that explains the problem clearly.

Monday, April 23, 2018


When it comes to Romanticism I think that it is still very important and influential but I also think that it has changed somewhat. The idea of Romanticism was self expression and individualism but in a way it was also a response to what was going on around you. I guess I am arguing that that the idea of Romanticism has not changed but the substance and way about expressing it has. Now we have many different outlets for self expression that we have not had in the past like social media, music, youtube, and fashion just to name a couple. So the individualism and expression has not been altered but how we go about it has and that has to do with technology and evolution of our society as a whole. In my opinion Romanticism is and forever will be relevant but the way of going about it will always be evolving.


Romanticism is still alive. Romanticism, as I understand it, was a time in history when poets and writers were writing with the themes of sorrow, joy, and other powerful emotions. I think these themes are more entrenched in our society than they have ever been. More than ever, people are feeling their feelings and broadcasting them to the entire world. If you look at the evolution of social media, there is no better place for people to express their emotions and for it travel to people in all walks of life. You can feel angry, and you’re not bound to the restrictions of poetry. Emotions can be conveyed in images and video. Technology and social media have given light to the romanticism in everyone, not just those who are adept in writing and words. However, the argument can be made that often the emotions represented through snapchat or instagram are very surface level and momentary. People are often showing their temporary feelings, rather than the deep emotions that we are unwilling to surrender to the public. This is valid and probably true, but it doesn’t take away from the ability and the accessibility that technology has made towards to our emotions. Whether people really want to reveal themselves or not is up to them. But the option is still there which is why I believe romanticism is truly alive.


I think that Romanticism is still very alive today, and that the ideas of Romanticism have become ingrained in our society. For example, most of today's art is focused on self exploration and discovery, which stems from the Romantic idea that it is okay to create art about your own personal experiences. A call to return to the natural world is also still a prevalent idea in our society. The movie Avatar is a good example of modern day Romanticism because the movie is about how people should appreciate and coexist with nature, instead of destroying it. The main character finds himself as he is immersed in the natural world, and realizes how important it is for people to be connected with it. This is definitely a very Romantic theme, but with a modern addition to it- technology. In today's society, the idea of returning to the natural world has developed into a call to return to a time with less technology and more visceral interaction with the world.

It's Not That Serious

I'm not a romantic. In the way that it is thought of in literature, and the characterization that we studied about in class, I don't believe that characterizes me at all. From what I've gathered, the romantic period and the idea of being a romantic is the strong connection to your feeling and emotions. However, we all feel and we all have emotions, as we are human. So personally, I think romanticism and being a romantic is to be overcome with the emotions that it leads to its expression. That's just not the person that I am. I feel as though being overcome with emotion to the point were you feel the need to physically and visibly express them that often is unnecessary. Pause. I'm not here saying that showing emotion or being emotional is a bad thing. What I'm saying is often we take things more personally or seriously than they often need to be, and it creates unnecessary hurt or pain. There aren't many things in life that require all the attachment that comes with powerful emotions. The majority of life is not that permanent. Things can be changed, old people leave, and new people arrive all the time. You never know what could be around the corner. Take it with a grain of salt, and keep it pushing. I'm not a romantic because it's never that serious.

The Reawakening of the National Parks System

Romanticism is a quality which can be found in architecture, art, music, and poetry. And although the climax of the romantic movement was during the 18th and 19th century there are re-occurrence of the movement's fervor and beauty in various aspects of modern culture. One prime example of this fervor is the centennial of the national park system.

In 2016 the national park system experienced its centennial, and they advertised it. Special programs took place at each of the parks and "limited addition" national park gear was available at most outdoor recreation stores. These forms of advertisement accounted for a large part of the revival of interest in both the national parks and nature in general. However, I believe the aspect of the centennial which had the greatest impact on the American public was the old WPA (Works Projects Administration) posters from the great depression era shown below.

The romantic movement is all about finding beauty in the simplicity of nature, which is exactly what the WPA posters accomplish. The posters are minimal, using only 3 or 4 colors, yet stunning as they depict some of the grandest vistas of North America. The fact that these posters were such a huge hit during the centennial of the NPS demonstrates how romantic modern society continues to be. Additionally from 2015 to 2016 the number of annual visitors increased by nearly 30,000 people, roughly twice the average growth rate for our national parks ( This statistic further demonstrates how much a romantic movement, such as the reuse of WPA posters impacts individuals and encourages the American public to return to nature.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dances with Orientalism

The word 'orientalism' is traditionally used when describing attributes or artifacts of Asia and the Middle East, especially in a stereotypical manner which embodies colonial attitudes - hence, where it got it's name. However this word can be expanded to include other peoples that have been similarly portrayed through the colonial lens, including African and Aboriginal Australian and Native American cultures. Specific examples of orientalist views of Native Americans are dotted through out American history from the classic Billy the Kid to HBO's Westworld. Although we now recognize these aspects of American culture as being wrong or offensive, they continued to be overlooked in our current society.

Dances with Wolves is an Oscar-winning, Americana movie from 1991 about a civil war soldier's, Lieutenant Dunbar, relationship with a local Lakota tribe. The film synopsis claims that Dunbar is, "Attracted by the simplicity of their [the Lakota tribe] lifestyle, he chooses to leave his former life behind to be with them." This quote exemplifies how non western cultures are portrayed as simple or inferior in western pop-culture. 

Additionally Dunbar falls in love with the a white woman who was raised in the tribe. Having the white Lieutenant Dunbar marry the only white woman in the movie demonstrates how even though native american culture may seem interesting to take part in, it is still not respectable enough to marry into. Instead of binding the two cultures together as it was meant to, this marriage furthers the dichotomy between the two cultures. This plot point is an example of how colonialism continues to impact western culture.


The term Romanticism refers to the period in history in which a movement changed the perceptions of Western people. Romanticism was originally an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in the 18th century in Europe. This movement hit its peak from 1800-1850. This period of time is referred to as the Romantic Period. Friedrich Schlegel, a German poet, is credited for originally using the term romantic to describe literature. This movement emphasized personal emotion, imagination, and freedom. Romanticism also appreciates the beauty of nature and the world in general. By the 1820's, Romanticism had broadened to embrace the literatures of almost all of Europe. During the second phase of Romanticism the movement was more concentrated on exploring each country's historical and cultural inheritance and attempting to understand the passions and struggles of each individual person. 

Musical Romanticism was known for emphasizing originality and creativity in the form of music, mainly classical music. Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert bridged the gap between the Classical and Romantic periods. Music played a huge role in the Romantic period because music can be expressed and read by those who can understand music but was harder for those who didn't understand music the same way. 


Has Romanticism changed since its beginning? Modern day romanticism vs the original has changed in my opinion, not only by how it is portrayed but the definition of it itself. Romanticism came into place in the late seventeen hundreds and originally was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe. It was the reaction to current events such as the Industrial Revolution and other things such as social norms at the time. It was used to portray emotions as stories.
Although his was how Romanticism was used during this time, today it is different. Today, it is more geared toward individualism and ego centrism rather than multiple. Although it is still influenced by art, literature, and intellect, its form is different. Due to modern advancements, technological and others, romanticism is shown in different ways than it used to be. Altogether, Romanticism is still used to show emotion through stories simply in different forms than how it was historically displayed.


Sorry for interrupting the flow of Romanticism, but better late than never.

My mom teaches a course in Russian history at UIC, and at the start of every semester she asks her students to write down the first words that come to mind when they think of Russia. The most common answers include Siberia, vodka, bears, snow, and Stalin - stereotypes that date back to the Cold War and illustrate the orientalist image of Russia in American culture.

Throughout the 20th century, Soviet Russia has been the number-one “Other” to the US (and vice versa). In the true spirit of Orientalism, it was seen as savage, mysterious, and menacing. Some groups of the American society saw it as the empire of pure evil, some as a perfectly just and benevolent utopia, some simply as a distant and exotic fairyland. Though these approaches seem contradictory, they could easily coexist in the collective psyche, because all of them reduced Russia to an antipode of the Western world.

It’s interesting to see that this perception of Russia remains mostly the same today. The images of exotic Siberian landscapes and bears roaming the streets of Moscow still manage to coexist with the fear of superior technology and all-powerful hackers.

Modern Romanticism?

Romanticism is rarely seen in today's culture, and it could be argued that it is nonexistent. Whether it be today's movies, music, or television shows, the ideals of Romanticism are rarely seen anymore. The current forms of media represent the opposite of the ideals of Romanticism: collectivism, technological advances, and a lack of liberty. The 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries were able to value and motivate the values of Romanticism, while the 20th century allowed these customs to fall. The 21st century is barely cognizant of Romanticism and this is evident in today’s culture. Elements of individualism, innovation, and imagination fueled the era and they are what our current day lacks the most.

The symphonies, poems, and ballads have been replaced by technology and multimedia, which are typically pointless activities. Occasionally, movies or books will represent elements of Romanticism, but they are merely shown in terms of the time period, without advancing the era. This new tech crazed era would rather pass off other people’s work as their own, rather than put in their own hard work. The lack of ingenuity and motivation of people today is astonishing, and one of the largest setbacks of today. Technology and media are resourceful tools that are used as large distractions to hold back innovation. Many people use these tools wisely, but even more use them for fun or in time consuming activities.

Since Romanticism is so underrepresented, any pieces of Romanticism fail to express the elements in a productive and informative way. Every person is a Romantic in part, but in our current society it is difficult to see. If we could separate ourselves from the technology and countless other distractions that get in the way of our learning, we can experience our Romantic sides. Our Romantic sides, are what allow us to innovate and create what we find important or worthwhile. Our creations can be our biggest achievements. If Romanticism was better represented, it would be easier to include it in today’s culture. If Romanticism were truly alive today, we wouldn't have to ask the question, because it would be well represented in society and that is what makes it important.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Magic in Romanticism

Qualities and traits of romanticism from the 17th and 18th century such as a deepened appreciation of the beauty of nature, general preference of emotion over reason and the importance of sense over intellect is still strong in American culture today. The romantics preoccupation with the genius, the hero and the exceptional figures in general, while focusing on inner struggles can be found in many aspects of today’s pop culture. A focus on the individual and imagination that is at the center of the romantic movement, is a prevalent trait in many artistic works today.

In the Harry Potter Series, we see many examples of heroism and genius and individuals struggling to come to terms with their inner selves. Harry himself, split at birth by the wicked spell of “He That Shall Not Be Named” is full of wonder and amazement as he attempts to patch the tear within. Ordinary kids turned super-heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermione fight the depths of darkness using emotions and a heightened sense of what could be to guide them. The series has so many characters that stretch our imagination and continually manage to go beyond the ordinary. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Harry Potter both as described in the books and as shown in the movies on the big screen. Even though the story is about a group of kids and adults marching towards a final showdown as a group against evil - it is very clear along the way that the main characters are very strong individuals that are continually forced to look within and overcome significant doubts.

The focus on emotion, personal growth and super heroes is a main theme in the Harry Potter series making it a pop romantic classic. The genius of Dumbledore throughout the series and Harry’s transcendence of death that occurs in the final chapters are examples of Romanticism. The popularity of the series speaks to a hunger in today’s society for heroism and a power that can outwit evil and darkness. In the end, we all want to see Harry and friends prevail and find peace and happiness after their long journey to be free to live their lives without the darkness of Voldemort and his followers.

Love Sucks (And How Romanticism Ruined It For Us All)

Ah, relationship woes. We've all been there and done that (well, most of us). Sometimes we lose our romantic relationships due to the passion fizzling out, not fully understanding each other, or even (gasp!) having feelings for someone else. Thankfully, many of our modern problems in romantic relationships aren't actually our fault, but rather reflect the failing of a cultural facet that we call Romanticism.

To reiterate what you may already know, Romanticism is an artistic and intellectual movement that came about in the late 18th century as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the Age of Enlightenment, and the demystification of nature by means of science; basically, world was turning towards rationality and abandoning aesthetic expression and spontaneity. Thus, the great Romantic poets came to the rescue, and greatly popularized the glorification of individualism, emotion, and natural beauty. So much, in fact, that we still can't seem to scrub these Romantic ideals today.

Let's envision what the pre-Romantic marriage relationship may have looked like. A man and a woman may have chosen to elope for the receiving of a dowry, or because the bride's father holds significant social status, or because the two are very well aligned in their interpretation of Biblical texts. These non-love marriages did not often result in happiness (instead, there was often abuse, rape, and other catastrophes), since their purpose was mostly practical... and we know how Romantics feel about practicality. So the Romantics rallied against these ideal in exchange for other new catastrophes.

The ideals that the Romantics were proponents of are ones that still captivate us today, such as deep, long-lasting passion! Intuitively understanding each other's souls! Sex as the ultimate profession of true love! Practicalities should never get in the way! Reckless love was seen as one that people should strive for, since that meant it was driven by the raw power of attraction and soul-alignedness and intuitive-understandingness. A relationship where, say, it lasts three days and it's between two teenagers. And they almost get married! But then they both kill themselves and four other people die... but it's because they love each other that damn much. Instead of being appalled by that relationship, we find it oh-so beautiful and romantic. (Wasn't there a book like that or something?)

Beautiful, yes, but not very psychologically mature. This Romantic pressure to maintain a "spark" with someone for years on end, to understand them without needing to ask, and to be guided solely by our feelings hangs heavy over our heads, and frequently skews our expectations of how a relationship should realistically be. When we can't meet these standards, we feel confused, as though we have somehow failed at love. Yet, this could not be further from the truth! The building blocks of a Romantic romantic relationship sound flowery and nice, but can't build a sustainable foundation.

So listen, guys. Communication is important. Nobody can truly "understand" someone unless they ask. It's OK (and probably encouraged) to take into consideration factors such as money, religious beliefs, life goals, etc. when choosing a partner, and even discuss them right off the bat. And, as much as our juicy, poetic feelings of love may dictate us otherwise, you should acknowledge that your partner is not perfect (and neither are you). Realistic standards will pave the path towards a more hopeful future for love.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Your Own Unique World

One tenant of Romanticism is individualism. One can embrace individualism by looking inwards for authority and decisiveness rather than relying on the authority of government or religious figures. Another way to embrace individualism lies in recognizing the unique quality of one's own world view. Each of us are the centers of our own realities, and therefore each of our realities is slightly different from the person next to us. While acknowledging our reality as unique seems fairly obvious, staying aware of that fact everyday and every minute is hard. But once accomplished, it can lead to a truly Romantic life.

As a society, we tend to praise those things that are unique because originality implies a particular type of beauty - beauty in knowledge that an object or idea cannot be experienced anywhere else.
If we can internalize that we view everything - literally everything - through a personalized lens, then perhaps it is possible to acknowledge our daily lives as unique and beautiful. Not just vast landscapes and exotic wildlife are beautiful on a hike through the great Midwest, but also the awareness that I'm the only person in the world to see the horizon the exact way I do. In the same way, we all see something that we call the color blue. However, that wavelength looks slightly different to each person, though we may not know it.

To me, practicing Romanticism in our lives means finding beauty in those things that are unconventional. Ordinary things, while not unconventional, are too often overlooked for qualities of beauty. It's time that we gazed a little longer at that chair in Mr. Heidkamp's class, focus a little more on the feeling of the concrete against our shoes, and appreciate the gray windowsills throughout the building. Though these things may not stimulate our senses, they are uniquely seen by all of us. That fact alone, should give them a beauty we don't recognize enough.

School and Romanticism

Today, our school system severely limits a student’s ability to be romantic. Romanticism emphasized strong emotions, imagination, breaking free of systems and an appreciation of everyday life. At school, we take part in a strict schedule of 8 periods everyday where we attend the same classes at the same time every single day.

The long school day and homework also leaves little time after school for students to experience nature. Even stricter than the periods we attend everyday are the rules that we are forced to abide by in order to be deemed as successful.

Furthermore, in our classes we also follow strict schedules and complete assignments that rarely allow for much imagination at all. This shows how our school system holds us back from realizing our romantic potential.

The Label of Romantic

Romanticism is dead. At least, in the sense that the movement itself is no longer around, just as Middle English is no longer really around. The effects of the movement are certainly still visible, but the 'Romantic' period and people are long gone. And in a way they never really were there. The act of labeling a 'Romantic' as Romantic is itself sort of against the movements ideals. As a reactionary movement against the Scientific Revolution and its organization and classifications of nature, the labeling and classifying of Romanticism is doing exactly what it opposed, which creates a hard situation. How do you study and learn about a subject that is at heart against being named? That is why I say 'Romanticism' is dead, and died as soon as people began to label and recognize it as Romantic. You can disagree with me, and probably come with a much stronger argument for Romanticism being alive and well, but to me, the movement is dead. Something can still be labeled Romantic and it would make sense, but to me, I can't get certain idea out of my head. When you are filled with awe upon seeing a mountain, or happiness when you see the pure joy of a dog getting a ball, you don't think "that's so Romantic", you just let the moment wash over you and appreciate it. When you eat a good meal, you just think about how tasty it is. When you are giddy, you are just giddy. Trying to find Romanticism in everyday life is like taking pictures of everything you do; it takes you out of the moment so that you can't really appreciate it for what it is. That's why Romanticism, to me at least, is dead.

Effect of Romanticism

When I think of romanticism, I think of the true stories of Cheryl Strayed and Chris McCandless, two Americans in their 20's who, inspired by nature decide to go find themselves within it. Both of these real people are seen in their respective biographical books/movies to have an affinity for transcendentalist poets such as Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson. Strayed and McCandless both use these poets as inspirations to escape the clutches of society. While Strayed's story has a happy ending as hiking on the Pacific Coast Trail helps her deal with her divorce and her mother's death, McCandless' story ends with him unable to return to society and dying along in a abandoned school bus. While Strayed's story tells the positives of nature as a healing force, McCandless' story is about the dangers of the over-romanticism of nature. Throughout the movie Into the Wild, McCandless focuses on escaping the oppressive clutches of society as well as a desfunctional family situation, he convinces himself that nature is his answer after reading transcendental poems but never stops to think that maybe nature will be his own undoing. Because of his exposure to the romanticism of nature, McCandless nevr considers that nature may be just as cruel as society and this cruelness ends up killing him.

Beauty and The Beast

When I first started searching for films that embodied the ideals of Romanticism I didn't expect to find anything I would have seen. But, I soon realized that a lot of the films that take into account the various aspects from the era. A modern day Romantic example of pop culture is the film Beauty and the Beast.

To begin, one of the most obvious ideas associated with Romanticism is a connection with nature. In the film Belle, the main character, is seen in various scenes strolling through meadows or forests. In these scenes she isn't just passing through, but embracing her surroundings from the wind to the grass on the ground. In most of these instances she also takes time to acknowledge important conflicts or appreciate the people close to her. 

Another aspect of Romanticism expressed in the film is an important hero. In this film Belle definitely exemplifies this aspect. Belle doesn't conform to society's ideals. She is made fun of for reading where other women are swooning over the villain, Gaston. She eventually ends up falling in love with the beast which can be seen as unconventional. The beast can also be seen as a hero as he is an outcast from society and also acts against society's ideals for a "beast." He doesn't kill Gaston even though he had the chance. Everybody expects him to kill the people of the town but instead he expresses emotions and feelings 

I didn't expect to find a modern day example of Romanticism let alone be something that I have watched so many times. After analyzing this film, I guess you could say Romanticism is still alive.

Romanticism is Still Here

Romanticism originated in Europe at the end of the 18th century. The movement emphasized intense emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing a new emphasis on emotions such as apprehension, horror/terror, and awe. It especially appealed to experiences in addressing the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. Some famous writers and poets of this period include William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. All of these names are people who have contributed greatly to the genre of romanticism, but ultimately all of them are long deceased. So a new question arises: Is Romanticism Still Alive Today? The answer to this is yes; I do not believe that Romanticism is bound to writing and famous artists. It survives today in our everyday lives. Unfortunately we live in the Midwest, starved of any great mountains, forest, desert. However, this doesn't mean our lives are devoid of romantic traits. The beauty of nature can be found everywhere, even if it doesn't appear readily available to the eye. A rabbit running across the street, squirrels climbing in the trees, or blooming flowers, the ideals of romanticism are everywhere. Even instances that don´t seem like they fit the ideals of romanticism may actually be real examples of it. For example, on a Saturday night when I was driving home after a failed stakeout for assassins, I was driving very contently when suddenly, out of the dark of the night, a possum slowly jogged across the road. I slammed on the brakes and swerved, narrowly avoided the cat-sized, rat-like creature of the night. Although this doesn't seem like a romantic encounter, it still is. Even some of the ugliest creatures on earth fit the ideals of romanticism. So short encounters like this prove to me that Romanticism is still alive today.

The first example of modern Romanticism I could think of is the movie Boyhood. I saw the movie with my family when it came out, in 2014, and I thought it was an interesting idea, but a little drawn out, which made it super boring. However, the movie was based on a simplicity, following an experience that every human being has, and turning it into long, long movie. 

Personally, I dont think Romanticism is something that will ever go away, because people will always be motivated and extremely inspired by nature, and the small things in life. Boyhood is not the only Romantic movie I've seen. 

This year, I saw Lady Bird with my family. Similarly to BoyhoodLady Bird is a movie that expresses a common experience in a beautiful way, I cried the entire movie. I could go on an on about movies, and songs in today's culture that are truly Romantic, and that move people because they can relate. Romanticism is still alive today, because people can relate to it, and continue to feel inspired by the things that inspired the Romantics. 

An Endless Romantic Opportunity

 What is romanticism? To boil things down a little, romanticism is a style and mindset that seeks to celebrate emotion, individuality, and rejects established ideals and systems for nature and its guidance.

Romantic artists would look almost solely to nature as their muse, finding that they are able to find the most beauty and individuality with the trees, grass, breeze, flowers, and sun. Why was this? Would they feel the same way today? Much of the romantic movement was focused on moving away from the way society existed as it was, returning to a natural perspective, free from judgement, able to live the way one saw fit. Nature was infinite beauty, and once entered, no one told you who to be or how to do what you liked except yourself. Romantic writers would take this idea and run with it, escaping from many of the previous writing conventions for poetry, even believing that their writing would change the world. Their movement evokes freedom at its core. Uninhibited freedom.

So what else do we know that is nearly infinite, allows for strong emotion, individuality, free thinking, and change? If it takes you more than like five seconds to come up with the answer I have in mind, let me ask what you're reading this post on. The internet. Beautiful, dangerous, ugly, safe, and unimaginably vast. The internet itself embodies humanity. It is a record of the collective consciousness of our entire species. Even those who are not directly online are reflected in one way or another. This echo chamber that we love so much is the new romantic landscape. Introspection and individuality come rising to the top for people as soon as they hit social media. Anonymity lets people be themselves, regardless of how ugly or beautiful that self may be. People can try to tell others how to be or what they should do, but all one has to do is look the other way. Romantic artists were judged for sure. People who chose to live in the woods all day and write long winded poetry for a living are going to get looked at funny. They chose to look away and stay true to themselves and carry on. The same goes online. Even those who do cave to peer pressure can learn a ton about themselves and further understand who they are and how they fit into the landscape of the universe. What about nature itself? The trees, the sun, the rain, and the flowers? Just google it. Just typing in nature is more than enough to conjure images of decades of travel. While it may only appeal to sight, and maybe sound if you watch a video, nature can be largely captured still. If you need the complete experience, congratulations, the internet will follow along in your pocket.

The internet is the second coming of nature. Our second teacher who just learns more and more, and learns to teach even better about ourselves. Hunching over our cell phones in our own little bubbles may seem closed off, but what is a screen other than a window to the knowledge and experiences of centuries of people? So is romanticism dead? What would the old romantics think of today? For some final context, the romantic movement took place before humans even had radios. Television did not exist. People were limited to the thoughts and ideas of those immediately surrounding them. If you did not fit in there, you were alone. There really weren't many other people, and it would be hard to see other perspectives like we can today. How would people not look to free themselves from that kind of system? I think romantics would find the internet just as liberating as we do, even with all of the problems it brings.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why Comedy is the Romantic's Future

In the year 1989, Jerry Seinfeld saved Romanticism. In my opinion, of the key factors that we learned to determine whether or not something followed Romantic ideology, the focus on the individual self and experience was the most striking. While it may be only one of many determining factors, I feel like it was the only part of the movement that was truly completely unique to any specifically western social and artistic movement.

The way in which Jerry Seinfeld saved Romanticism was through portraying the importance of everyday life. It was one of the first times in recent history that a show about nothing outside of regular peoples lives had a major audience. Unlike any sort of family values show, Seinfeld was truly a show depicting how bizarre life is, and how we should appreciate it for its quirks and errors. More importantly though, Seinfeld taught us to revel in our individual lives and appreciate the importance of something as stupid as ordering soup, or even changing barbers. 

However, this new wave of comedy has not died down. The most specific example of this would be the show, Big Mouth.  The show follows two boys through puberty, a natural and universal experience that is still somehow so completely individual. The show focuses on the most basic things that every adult has gone through, but that's the beauty of it. It is a return to this depiction of normal life, and finding the beauty and the hilarity in the fact that life is not something to just take for granted. The ability to have these experiences, and now depict them to a wide audience who can laugh about them, and relate in their own very personal individual way is amazing. I think that society is incredibly Romantic. It might be in a nuanced way that relies on laughs and electricity, but the Romanticism is all around.

Sci-fi or Romanticism?

Many people may think that Romanticism was a thing of the past, only a small time period. However, Romanticism can be seen everywhere today. Even in science-fiction, which is one of the last things you might think of as Romantic. Sci-fi demands the watcher/reader's imagination as it twists their perception of the world. Reason would dictate that much of what occurs in sci-fi is impossible, but you automatically want to believe it is real; it triggers your imagination. In addition, by defying the natural laws, it displays the importance of nature when we notice it is missing. It draws our attention to what is missing, and the smallest parts of nature suddenly play an obvious major role. It also plays a similar role in contrasting from everyday life, allowing us appreciation of the simple parts of life we suddenly find are missing.

Strong emotion also plays an obvious role in sci-fi. Any media is not enjoyable or worthwhile unless it evokes strong emotion. Sci-fi can evoke a whole range of emotions, from fear to anger, or excitement and joy. It also articulates one individual perspective, generally a human facing an unnatural problem. This allows the reader/watcher to connect it to their own (hopefully less extreme) problems in everyday life.

The Hypocrisy of This Assignment

I'm not trying to call anyone out, but its about time for another rant about the problems clearly apparent in the structure of the American education system.
I think there is hypocrisy in this assignment in that we are analyzing romantic poems that are telling us to stop analyzing them and go experience the world around us firsthand. Not that education is not important, it very much is. But if indoor, logical, one perspective analysis is all we do, we are not taking advantage of the opportunities presented to us by the world by simply existing in it.
Romanticism is all about praising nature and questioning the normalcy of typical societal expectations. Yet we follow a schedule every day in school or work that encourages if not forces us to cling to rigidity. I think this is a reason why we find there is a significant gap between our ability to learn the technical aspects of a subject versus our ability to apply them in the real world. And, if we're being honest, education is mainly here to prepare us for the "real world", and to equip us with the understanding of the world so that we can better it. But if we remain locked away from the world, how are we to change it?
Yes, reading and analyzing poetry has its benefits and importance. Most things do. But it would be irresponsible of us as analysts to not consider the opposite perspective.

Rororomanticism Gently Down The Stream

When I think of the lasting effect of Romanticism I think of my right to have a personal, private and individualistic approach to viewing art. The movement not only values individual’s inner impulses to create art but also one’s reactions to the art and that’s what I love so much about it. 

I would not consider myself an artist therefore I experience art as a witness. I think this movement validates emotional attachment to art, which is one of my greatest weaknesses. I find myself going back to the same paintings at art museums over and over again, printing out poetry and putting it on my walls. I sometimes even tape printed out song lyrics on the walls of my shower so I can practice for when I’m singing in my head with my earphones in. It has gotten to the point where I´ll get attached to pretty looking trash I find on the street and then carry it around in my pockets for weeks. I think Romanticism encourages befriending yourself, discovering quirks and validating your own experience as you live it.

I feel like there is so much in life where the end goal is to learn something or better yourself in some noticeable way but the way Romantics define art allows us to be more meditative and mindful and introspective.

This might be too meta: maybe I am getting overly Romantic and misinterpreting the movement but... isn’t it all about subjectivity?


Recently, I have discovered a love for walking in nature. The serenity that nature offers is unparalleled. I can identity with the poets of the Romanticism era because I, too, understand how they sought their escape and self-expression through nature. When I am surrounded by nature, I feel content to the point where my worries are gotten. It is easy for individualism to thrive when one is surrounded by solely nature because there are less pressures present than in the unnatural world. Similarly, simply being around nature conveys a vibe of naturalness, purity, and solidarity. A couple weeks ago, my friend and I visited our college campus and made a stop at the state park nearby. It was a cooler day when we went, and there was a dusting of snow as well as more coming down. We spent hours observing and soaking up the ambiance the park had to offer. Almost immediately as I entered, I felt a different vibe. Being surrounded by towering, beautiful trees is hard to acutely describe, but it definitely inspires romanticism.

Homework Kills Romanticism

So I just got done writing an  essay, and of course I had a great time pondering over my computer, analyzing the evidence from a movie we watched. And although that is all great for the brain and setting me up perfectly for college, does homework inherently take away the possibility to enjoy the surrounding world?

It is becoming apparent to me that the amount of time consumed from school related activities dominates our lives as students. Coming home from an 8 hour day in a closed off building, I doubt many high schoolers are diving right into their homework (if you are kudos to you). Most probably take a nap or relax, get something to eat, and then begin to do work. But in the time during our lives where our brains are developing the most they ever will be, why are we sitting at our tables at home reading over articles we will forget about the next week, instead of spending time outside, in the nature? Now I'm sure some of us will surely gladly spend the time outside tomorrow, but on a daily basis, we truly lack the appreciation for the world surrounding us. We take things for granted everyday, the way the birds sing, the sound trees make when they sway, even the way the water flows down the drain. So maybe next time you're staying up till 1 in the morning writing an essay, take a break, go outside, and enjoy the beautiful world around us.

Romanticism and the Champions League

Ahh, the Champions Leauge. What a fantastic time of the year. The best teams come together to play one of the best sports in the world, soccer, futbol, football or whatever you want to call it. In this year's Champions Leauge, Liverpool is back in the tournament. The Reds came out strong to beat FC Porto 5-0 in the first match and then move on to play one of the Champions Leauge favorites, Manchester City FC. Now Man City is quite a powerhouse team. With a spending budget of 221 million euros (or 288 million dollars), how could they not win? Even with contenders like Real Madrid, and FC Bayern Munich, who have the same budget, they could keep up. But we all know how the story goes. They lost in the first match putting them down in the aggregate score, and Liverpool takes the victory to move on to the next round. Now you may be wondering," how does romanticism fit in all of this? Why is he not talking about love and stuff?" While romanticism is about "love and stuff," it's also about the spontaneity and the things that shouldn't be. For example, in class, we watched a video of a girl going out and reading a William Wordsworth poem to a bush. That's pretty spontaneous and against the grain, if you ask me. It's not like winning a game, to move up in a tournament where you can win millions of dollars and fans though. Liverpool winning can also be seen as anti-romantic as well. All the people saying, " They beat the best team in the Premier League! I'm definitely a fan now!" are not at all romantic. Others stick with the team through thick and thin. They could also be seen as anti-romantic because they're singing "you'll never walk alone" in the stands. There is a lot of romanticism in the sport, between this game and everything else that has happened so far in the tournament. The fact that Liverpool won still shatters my mind. But hey, I'm an Arsenal fan, and I guess its kind of romantic for me to want them to lose.

Is Romanticism shaping our culture from beyond the grave?

I think that Romanticism certainly died as an artistic movement, but in its decomposed state it continues to shape popular culture. Though at the time Romantic ideas seemed revolutionary, our society has gradually internalized them. Today, we simply take them for granted, as conventional wisdom or as a set of rules that define mainstream art.

This influence is most obvious in popular music, regardless of genre. Our culture values artists who authentically and emotionally communicate personal experiences, an approach first popularized by the Romantics. Oftentimes, we also value passion and spontaneity over craftsmanship and perfection. For example, Migos recently admitted that they spend an average of 20-40 minutes on their songs, while Lil B, one of my favorite rappers, is notorious for releasing mixtapes composed of dozens of directly freestyled tracks. A similar trend exists in contemporary visual art, where many famous artists, beginning with the likes of Jackson Pollock, value process over the final result.

Nature might not be as dominant in today’s poetry and art as it was in the times of Romanticism, but I don’t think that it’s a defining element of the movement. It seems to often serve as a metaphor for the individual mind and spirituality, rather than a subject in and of itself. I think that popular contemporary artists and writers simply learned to be more direct about these subjects, so they don’t project onto nature as much. Other specific details of Romanticism though, like its fascination with dreams and drugs, seem even more prevalent in modern culture. So although Romanticism lost much of its acuteness, I would say that it continues to frame our art and culture to this day.

How to be an Edgy Romantic/Transcendentalist Poet™

Hey all! I know everyone was reading this poetry about grass and thinking, "Wow! I wish I could give basic descriptions of natural scenes and make them about me through crazy, convoluted extended metaphors. And use random dashes with no performative value, too!" So I'm making this post as a reference for all you budding Nature Creeps (I'm talking to you, Walt!), in case you need to remember the characteristics of this super legitimate branch of poetry.

1. Romanticism is about YOU. Seriously, Nabokov is your God now. Make it impossible for anyone else to relate to your poetry. If you aren't writing about the time your one-eared dog almost lost a leg in your cousin's lumber mill, you aren't doing it right! It's time to show off how Unique and Different you are from everybody else.

2. In a similar vein, make it known that you disagree with the politics of late. That's right! Let us know you don't pay taxes and instead live off-the-grid in a cabin you built out of wood exclusively from already-fallen trees (taking resources from Mother Earth is not romantic). And don't stop there! Be an anarchist wherever you go: yell at your boss, scream during church services, overturn fruit stands at Pete's. Even grocery store managers should not escape your anti-establishment wrath.

3. Please use the lamest language you can think of. In fact, don't think about the words you choose. Spin a wheel. Roll a die with the same six adjectives on it. Minimalism is in. Anyone can write fancy, beautiful poems. The real feat is using the driest, most unimaginative vocabulary your reader has heard; by the end of your piece, they should be questioning if it's even poetry they just ingested.

4. The world is a poem already written for you! That's one secret they won't tell you in school (not that you went there anyway if you're writing this kind of poetry). You should draw inspiration from nature. So, go outside! Look at some natural scenery! That tree is your body; the Sun is your childhood experience with unpaid familial labor; that ladybug is your awful sister-in-law who always brings terrible deviled eggs to family gatherings! Really, there are no rules here. Anything is anything you say it is. Which, of course, you can't do explicitly, because you have to leave us guessing what the heck you were talking about decades, even centuries, in the future. That is, if there was even a message to begin with; you might opt to write about having sex with the forest instead.

Hope those were helpful! If not, you can just disregard them and, like, transcend all the rules or whatever.

Romanticism in today's society

Most people think romanticism is all about love and marriage. However, romanticism is actually a movement that involves our immersion in nature and beauty in the world around us. Is romanticism alive today? I honestly don't think it is because everyone has forgotten the basic principles behind it. Everything with technology has made the world lose connection with reality. They are all stuck in a bubble that just revolves around what the world with technology sees. Also, with all the new technology nowadays it makes it hard to actually see romanticism in today's society. With people being on their phones all day and not realizing what is around them; they forget the true meaning of beauty and nature. In today's society, all anyone cares about is how many likes a post gets, how many followers they have, all of their snap chat streaks, etc. What everyone sees online is different from the real perspective of beauty and nature so no one knows the right definition of romanticism. Technology stops us from trying to explore more of nature and beauty and the imagination of it all.

Romanticism 2018

While technology has made people less connected in some ways and more connected in other ways, people, especially older generations, tend to view teenagers as technology addicts. Romanticism does not fit into any of our lives. While many people are this way, many of us still hold onto Romantic ideals. For example, minimalism, the belief that one should own only what they love and that they should only focus their energy on things they enjoy, is becoming very popular. This trend is very popular with young people especially. This is because we have begun to realize how much of our time is invested in technology. In my opinion, Romanticism is still alive because of trends such as Minimalism.

Not only minimalism, but teenagers have become more aware of nature in some ways more than other generations. Recycling is way bigger now, as with environmental studies majors and conscious consumption. This has driven many teenagers to become vegetarians, vegans, and live zero waste lifestyles. All these attentions paid to these lifestyles to help protect nature shows that even technology obsessed teens can be Romanticists, especially with the Natural Beauty aspect.


Romanticism is still alive today. Many types of arts such as films, television shows, and art pieces portray the qualities of romanticism. For example, the novel turned film The Hunger Games. The inspiration of nature is valued throughout the book. The main character Katniss hunts to provide for her family and the book describes many times how nature is a calm, sanctuary for her. In the literal Hunger Games, the participants use the elements of nature as an advantage to hide and fight. Katniss also embodies the individualistic characteristic of romanticism. She is very independent and wants to do things her own way. She takes the place of her younger sister to fight. She was offered to form alliances within the games, but chose not to and fought alone most of the time. Katniss did not feel the need to conform to appeal of others. She stayed true to own ideals throughout the book.

Of course, not all aspects of romanticism can never be truly embodied. I think the aspect of freedom of social convention can never be truly embraced. One way or another, individuals still follow social norms even if they think they are breaking social conventions.  In the end, I feel the simplest things can be considered romantic.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I feel like I am a solar panel. When the sun is out and the weather is warm, I am charged with impenetrable energy and joy. I feel like I actually have some kind of secret super power when the weather is good; I can handle anything. Like many people, I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I find so much inspiration in warmth on my skin, leaves on the trees, and skies that are bright blue. On warm summer days I often find that my face hurts from smiling so much. Days like these charge my mind, body, and soul. However, S.A.D. also really sucks sometimes. Because my mood is so connected to the weather, the intense happiness I feel under a warm sun is balanced by acute feelings of depression when it's cold and cloudy. S.A.D. makes me notice the smallest details about nature, which can be cool, but it's often really distracting.

When we started learning about Transcendentalism and the Romantic movement, I immediately identified with the everyday experience of being inspired by nature that most of our poets tried to convey. I think it was William Wordsworth who wrote an entire poem about individual blades of grass and the ways that they made him feel. Most people probably think that Wordsworth is super wack for spending any time at all on such a trivial subject, but I think it's fascinating. I have to admit that I've spent a lot of time in my backyard looking at grass while my dog, Tippy, lies in the sun next to me.

This winter has kicked the shit out of me. My S.A.D. has been worse this past year than it's ever been before, so I'm hoping that this summer will be better than ever before! I've never been super into poetry-- but I have to admit that reading poems about warmth and nature have made me feel just a little bit better about the debilitating cold waiting outside.


Romanticism may seem as if it's dead but in all reality it is still alive. Millennials definitely try to get freedom from tradition and social conventions but also they focus on the individual experience. Women are now taking on positions that used to be only for men. There are so many movements such as the "Me Too" movement where women are sharing individual experiences of sexual assault but they are using their stories to gain their freedom from the social norm of sexual assault and express the flaws of society. This movement also focuses on strong emotions because it takes someone having to be very vulnerable and opening themselves up to be a part of this movement.


I do not think that Romanticism is alive today due to social media, our system of education and our cultural norms of finding entertainment in technology, lacking appreciation for nature, and learning by thinking and theorizing rather than doing (like Walt Whitman suggests in his poem about astronomy and looking at the stars).

I think that relative to most people I am a romantic because I try to use very little social media and I try not to follow the crowd, but I do not think it is possible to truly be a romantic, nor do I think it is something to strive for. Being a romantic means being more connected to nature and idealism than it does to other people and reality. I think that people could use a bit of romantic energy to break from society's more unromantic ideals (listed above), but our society is already overly individualistic, like many Western cultures, favoring the individual over the family or the group, emphasizing the "bootstraps" ethic etc. Therefore, I do not think it is hypocritical to be taught romanticism in a classroom because some of its components can be effectively embraced without completely denying your current lifestyle. Romanticism seems ideal in theory, but if everyone acted all the time instead of thought, or never connected with the people around them, the world could become an immoral, lonely place.

Technology and Romanticism

People are so addicted to their phones these days that they stumble when they walk because they don't look up. While someone is talking to them, many go on their phones and only listen to part of the conversation and not the full one. All though technology may help our work productivity, it does not particularly help the way we interact with one another. We are given false impressions through technology that we can say things over the web that we would never say in front of another human being. Our emotional touch to other people is diminished. Most importantly, technology is slowly destroying our connection to nature and our outside world.

Some of the characteristics of Romanticism include beauty, celebration of nature, and imagination. All of these things may be destroyed with technology. We lose the meaning of beauty through a social perspective that has developed through media. Through all of the exposure to photo-shopped images that people witness on the internet every single day, our perspective of beauty is of much higher standards than what it used to be. People expect more from others, believing that nearly everyone should look a certain type of way. The celebration of nature has been negatively impacted by electronics as well. More people now more than ever spend time in doors playing gaming systems, watching TV, or looking at their phones. Fewer spend times outdoors, resulting in a loss in the sense of beauty of the environment. Humans are a social species, needing social interaction in order to avoid the feeling of isolation. Technology prevents us from spending time with others outdoors in a natural environment. Many people play video games when with each other, but more meaningful memories with people are made when being together in the natural world. Furthermore, the nature gives our imagination power and creativity. Through interacting with the outside world, we gain new experiences and ideas everyday that helps our imagination expand. Technology holds our imagination back. We only experience on a phone or a laptop pictures and words that are indirect. Not experiencing conversations and moments in real life will limit our experiences, which therefore limits our imagination. Undoubtedly, it is reasonable to believe that our present world is losing Romanticism due to the usage of technology.

What do you think? Do you agree that our world is losing Romanticism due to technology?

Is Romanticism Dead?

Is romanticism dead? Everyone apart of this generation has heard that our generation is so obssesd with screens, and has lost the ability to communicate. Although I am a culprit of excessive screen time, I realize the affects it has had on our societal norms. When having conversations with my parents and hearing about their highschool experiences, I cant help but see a major distinction between how they interacted with their friends and significant others compared to how we do today.

I think phones have made communication way to easy, in terms of romatism. However, phones are incredibly beneficial for being able to talk to people to people to far away to make a trip every day, and in terms of convienve. However, when it comes to romantics phones have made everyone easy access in a way. If a guy or a girl wants to strike up a conversation with someone, instead of going out of their way in person or asking the person on a date they can send them a text or a snapchat, which is common especially for the youth. Phones are killing the ability to have a conversation. They are killing the ability to be alone with your thoughts. They are killing the ability to feel comforatble not constantly having something to do.

Romantism is slowly dying due to the advancement in technology. People put such an emphasis on how their instagram looks, snap streaks, and followers. This is putting up a fake facade. Social media results in people only posting pictures that they want the public to see. Its not truly revealing who they are as person. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Treasure by Bruno Mars.. Romanticism in the 21st century

We usually see Romanticism in music, literature or art. For example in the song, Treasure by Bruno Mars, some of his lyrics are, "Treasure that's what you are Honey, you're my golden star." Romanticism is often connected with one's self being touched by or reaching out to the stars. Mars borrows the romantic comparison of his desired other with a star in his song, this is exposing the influence of the romantic era in his music. 
Romanticism is relevant in today's culture, although I do believe that in today’s society the basic principles behind it have been forgotten/undervalued. 

A Romantic?!?! Yes!

Personally, I do believe that I am a bit of a romantic. I believe in Utopian social change and do think the world can be a better place if we make it that way. I don’t believe everyone is is equal, has equal opportunities, and that the world is fair and perfect. However, I do believe in Utopian social change and that one day the world or at least the United States can be organized in a way to serve the needs and aspirations of ordinary people. Perhaps by getting more ordinary people in positions in power or more people that represent ordinary people. All people would have equal access and opportunity to materials necessary to prosper. People would have a greater access and more of a say in the decisions about things that affect their lives. Finally, future generations need to have sustainable earth so they can thrive at the same level we are able to. 

Romanticism is also still alive to day in our world it is seen in our art, music, and film.
This piece of street art reflects the importance of nature and individuality (freedom from tradition/ social conventions). It seems to emphasize the importance of returning to nature or that no matter how much we industrialize and try and move away from nature it will always be inside of us.. An example of a music piece that is romantic is Avicii: Wake me Up. Avicii establishes individualism by expressing his desire to escape from social norms within the song. In Lady Gaga’s, Born This Way, individuality is also expressed. The lyrics celebrate the beauty of difference and unique qualities in each of us.

A big part of the generation today is escaping and breaking social norms and creating new ones. Many people of this generation have strong emotions and let the power of their imagination allow them to dream big and whatever they want. This can be heard in Royals by Lorde. She creates this Utopian world within her song and states that even if the Utopian world doesn’t happen we can “drive Cadillac in our dreams”(power of imagination). Avatar is another example of romanticism. It has the inspiration of nature, strong emotions, Utopian social change, and freedom from societal norms. 

Romanticism is Dead?

While Romanticism may no longer be a zeitgeist in American culture, the impact of the style remains present. One of the most important aspects of Romanticism is the focus on the individual, the idea of free expression of the artist's personal feelings. While that idea may not be the primary focus of art anymore, reverberations can still be seen. For example, the plethora of books, movies and shows where the moral of the story is to believe in oneself. There's a prevailing theme that one should believe in themselves, and follow their own heart to be happy or succeed. This might not be as intensely personal, or self-indulgent as some of the art that was created during Romanticism's peak, but the concept is similar in nature.

Defying conventions is still celebrated, at least in art. Though the way that this idea is expressed is a little different. More often it seems, characters will be placed in some backwards dystopian society, where they choose to defy the rules of that society. This usually results in the character acting in a way that aligns with current societal standards, so while the character may be defying the "norms", they're still acting in a way that everyone in the audience would deem proper. This example doesn't speak for everything, it's just a theme I've noticed. I'd say that art that falls under this example is based on Romantic ideas, but not truly Romantic because it's still conformative.

Outside of the realm of art, children growing up in America are often told to believe in themselves. At least on the surface, we like to celebrate our uniqueness and differences. Individuality is something that is highly valued in America. Even if Romanticism itself isn't a big style anymore, the remnants of Romanticism can be seen very easily in American culture.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Romantic technology

Romanticism slowly seems to be diminishing due to technology. Social media has caused more conformity than ever. How can I get more likes? Who do I aspire to make myself out to be online? There is a huge disconnect now from reality to the internet. Working at an ice cream parlor I see serious faced customers examine all the choices, complain about the price, then pose for an excited selfie next to their sprinkle topped cookie dough waffle cone. After posing for a selfie, many sit with their friends or family outside then all immediately take out their phones to see what others are doing. Why look at what others are doing when you are outside with people you love eating ice cream? Why take away from your own individual experience, and remove yourself from the happiness that comes with ice cream, friendship, and warm weather, to mindlessly scroll through the faces of people you may talk to once a week or less?
Personally I work two jobs, I train at the gym every morning, and try to run outside or bike everyday after school, and for longer on the weekends. I never bring my phone with me on my runs to completely embrace myself in nature, and to connect my body and my breath with my movements. Nature and personal experiences in nature have become my own form of meditation and joy. I always strive to do what makes me happy, and for the most part it differs greatly from the people around me. From going on 100 mile bike rides with no music along the lake, to wearing "hammer-pants" I found at Salvation Army for $2 to school, I truly believe I have established myself as an individual. Though I do catch myself scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, I try to limit myself. I like to think that wherever I am, and whatever I am doing with myself, my friends, or my family is more interesting, or important than anything I could watch from the screen in my pocket.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Pitfalls and Pickups

Much like other artistic movements, Romanticism has perpetuated and held questionable themes, all the while producing renowned work. A common theme throughout English Romanticism is to fetishize and generalize cultures in order to create a natural world virtually untouchable to Westerners. This odd dichotomy of appreciating the natural world whilst tearing down its originality in order to fit into a Westernized lens has been brought to light more and more as Romanticism is studied.

I feel through my own observations some aspects of Romanticism, specifically in regards to the glorification of the natural world, are still present today in a harmful manner. However, I also find this same rebellion against industrialization in a way that is more expansive and renovated to modern day standards.

The foundational usage of the natural world and its conservation in Romanticism can be influential if done in a manner that truly appreciates something for what it is, and leaves out the generalizations and stereotypes of people. Preaching an appreciation for our surroundings, and its seemingly out worldly mechanisms can be done without harmfully boxing in groups of people. I feel our generation could use some appreciation for the resources many of us still have today, and hopefully this appreciation would prompt conservation as well.

Millennials and Romanticism

When the word Millennial comes to mind, what characteristics do you think of? Lots of people would say lazy, needy, or entitled. Three weeks ago, I would probably have echoed my parents and their friends by saying something along the same lines as that. However, after being enlightened by the meaning of true Romanticism, I don't think there is a better fitting description for what a Millennial is, other than a Romantic. 

Millennials are scrutinized for traveling too much, instagramming too much, and making eye contact too little. On the surface it would appear that yes, they are all those things and more. Yet, viewing Millennials with a romantic lens, it is easy to see that these young adults aren't trying to slack off on their work. Rather, they are people trying to soak in the fruit of life, experience simple things, and not get trapped in a 9-5 job for their entire lives. 

I've started to wonder why older generations look down on Millennials so much. It may be because Millennials have been able to do what Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson encouraged while young, but much of our older generations haven't been able to "dance with the daffodils" until retirement or even not at all. Perhaps if people young, old and in between spent more time appreciating what was around them rather than what they need to get done or where they need to rush to, the Millennials generation could be more understood. 

Personally, I feel that even as member of Gen Z, I am a bit of a Romantic. I try to appreciate the natural environment around me, and in the future I also want to protect it both so that I can breathe, but also so that the generations to come will be able to experience the true beauty of big oak trees, falling leaves, and a sandy beach near an ocean. I hope that as I continue to learn, I, along with my peers, will grow into true romantics, and create a more simplistic, equal future. 

My Own Version of a Romantic Poem

My intentions aren’t to fill you with the leaves of Whitman.
But if I had to compare you to one thing,
It would be along the lines of the seasons.
Summer is far too temperate to sum you up,
And autumn too flimsy and crinkly.
Maybe right between winter and spring.
That kind of time where
You’re not so sure if you’ll be chilled and brittle,
Not so sure if you’ll be reborn and baptized in warm beams
That saturate you only to the brink of sweat.
I’d never met someone who could simultaneously
Make me quiver and tremble at the idea of safety.
Or make me so insecure a drizzle of perspiration was always there,
Reminding me I was one of many who were feeling the same thing.
Cause I don’t believe in that drenching,
Heart hugging kind of love.
I think people are gonna leave you when you’re least ready to let ‘em go.
And no altering season is is gonna change that hovering, cloudy thought.
Don’t you recall that night,
When the moon sent down sharp teeth onto the earth,
And swallowed everything we knew about the inky black parts of night?
You told me everything was okay with us.
I wished day would come and materialize the truthful syllables under your tongue.
But the funny thing about affection is,
It falls right when you think it’s rising.

Heidkamp's Hypocrisy

I find a distinct irony in learning about and subsequently picking apart romanticism in the classroom, particularly when the one demanding we "dance with the daffodils" is the same one assigning us time-consuming homework. Although learning isn't inherently unromantic, the structure and expectations of our school system certainly inhibit living life in accordance to this philosophy. I know myself and many other students feel stuck in a repetitive cycle of schoolwork, done with little deliberateness or motivation beyond "I need an A". The high workload of challenging classes and standardized testing forces students to prioritizing "doing" over "thinking" in order to meet society's metrics of success, forgoing any conscientiousness. Even if we ignore this superficiality, the premise alone of spending 7 hours sitting inside only to go home and sit inside for however many hours more seems to inhibit the appreciation of life and nature Whitman would encourage.

I realize the expectation that we all drop out and start a poetry writing commune in the woods somewhere is unrealistic (and would leave our poor Bernie out of a job), but I wonder what steps could be taken to balance modern education with a romantic enjoyment of life's pleasures. Personally I found an appreciation for the small moments of friendship and the tranquility of nature while at summer camp as a child, but not everyone had that same opportunity. I guess my only hope is that we can all "get away" from the busyness of school sometime before college starts, as I'm sure higher education will consume our time at an unprecedented level. Whether that means working at a camp like I am or simply stuffing your friends into a van and taking a weekend trip to Wisconsin, I think a truly romantic experience could help us all reflect as we begin an undoubtedly tumultuous chapter of our lives.

More Than Marriage

Many people associated romanticism with issues specifically relating to love- marriage, bouquets of flowers, cheesy songs, etc. While these are indeed aspects of romanticism, they fail to address the more elusive and miraculous points of the romantic experience: The pure beauty of a single flower bursting from an ice-hardened ground. The simple pleasure of a tumbling brook tickling the shoreline. The sharp crackling of an amber tinted flame. While none of these scenarios directly appeal to the emotional aspect of romanticism, they all provoke a similar feeling of soaring joy and comfort.

Romanticism isn't necessarily a specific action or qualification- it's a feeling of being immersed and connected. The amazing thing about romanticism is that this feeling is not the same for every person. What makes one person glow may make another dim. The individual nature of romanticism is one of its strongest and most important qualities because it means there are endless ideas and combinations that can continue to inspire and uplift someone.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Romantic Medicine

So a doctor, whose writings I follow, just posted on his own blog about "Health Care for the Romantic," discussing how "alternative Romantics," both doctors and patients, might have something to offer the medical "authorities."

Just to be clear, I am not endorsing any particular approach to healthcare here. I'm just fascinated about how the Romantic perspective is still alive today.

Does Romance still exist within?

When we look at the definition of the word romantic it states, conductive ( making a certain situation or outcome likely or possible) to or characterized by the expression of love. In other words.. showing an expression of love ? From that definition alone wouldn't everyone be considered romantic in that instance therefore then ?

More so particularly for myself I guess that I could say that I am romantic in certain aspects. Especially because I am one of those people whom loves love. Whether it is with a significant other, family member, or a stranger. Though as for this generation I could not necessarily say the same thing seemly because people are so selfish, dramatic, violent, and with lack of affection. That is in regards to themselves as well others in their life.

Though non the less just because it is not something that it not common among a certain selection of people does not mean that it does not exist in the world entirely.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Romanticism in Individual versus American Identity

Within my own life, some vital aspects of Romanticism help me find fulfillment. Witnessing the simple joys of changing weather and seasons makes me feel inspired and appreciative of where I live; observing and participating in people's actions to promote a more inclusive world makes me hopeful for future generations. In these ways, I find that the Romantic philosophy of honoring emotion and passion continues to have a positive effect on my personal growth, promoting the development of my own identity. 

As Romanticism becomes entangled with a larger 'American' identity as opposed to an individual one, the situation becomes more complex. When I first read segments of Walt Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass, I could not understand how the renowned poet could both argue for the self-actualization of the common people while also stating that English is the 'dialect of common sense.' How can someone who fights for the liberation of 'all' simultaneously emphasize the superiority of some (in this case, English speakers)? Within the context of American history, it makes perfect sense. As an American, I'm realizing it's all too easy to fall into the Romantic trap that characterizes this nation. Nothing is more traditionally American than utilizing the 'radical' rhetoric of individual freedom in order to justify exclusion and superiority. 

Is the Romantic voice that seeks to abandon society and go back to a simpler, more natural life not the same voice arguing for stripping back modern protections for marginalized groups in order to return to 'traditional values' in 2018? After all, each of these concepts centers on the notion of leaving modern changes in favor for 'better times.' This nostalgic past proves to be elusive and difficult to define. For whom did the past grant a greater sense of 'freedom?' 

Ultimately, I feel as though the beautiful, salvageable aspects of Romanticism --the deep love for oneself and others, the appreciation of an environment--are too often overshadowed by the frame of American exceptionalism. In 2018, it's more crucial than ever to understand and question how Romanticism exists in the mouths of those in power and the minds of every citizen in order to promote the better aspects of this movement for a less prejudiced future.  

Loss of Traditional Meaning and Why that is OK

Romanticism is alive and well, dead (too). At least, in the traditional sense of the movement that delves into the philosophical and distinctly characterized nature of the term, its modern iteration is much less (traditionally) ¨thoughtful¨ as it is (modernly) ¨provoking¨ candy to the mind´s eye. Traditional Romanticism is very much rooted in individual and the emotional catharsis of the individual, almost always in the context or presence of the natural world. This is the basis for the poems and artistic expression that defined the era in American history, and while not what characterizes Romanticism in the present day, it's unfair to say that deviation or adaptation of its meaning to a changing world is a loss of its values entirely.

 Modern romanticism is much less thoughtful than its original form but that is not to say it is any less endearing or ¨valid¨. It may be true that in such a modern world of easily accessed distractions, one doesn't take time to admire the morning lilys that clings to the yard fence, but they receive their dose of the romantic by other means. As the pen and paper are to the 19th century American be the tablet and big screen to the modern one; our sense of the romantic is displayed to us on the big screen. It's seeing long panning shots of a Hawaiin sunset against the admiring waves below that reflect it respectfully that stirs something within us. The entice of seeing the main hero and heroine kissing under a jeweled sky and kindly obtuse moon that warms us as much as the loving projection of emotion before us. It's those moments that flutter the heart with some sense of longing; something that fills with a sense of profound love and reciprocation to the natural world's fruitfulness; it is something that fills us with a sense of nostalgia for something we perhaps never had. It is my belief that this same flutter of the heart, no, of the inner self, that resonates in tune of some provocative and warming display of humanity, nature, and the longing to experience that is the same expression that Transcendental America inspired in the hearts of those in the 19th century.

Are we less creative, more narrow-minded if our sense of wonder and freedom with the natural world is spoon fed to us? I do not think so. Adaptability and individual applicability is something that even the most conservative of Romantics would say is a crucial characteristic of the movement. Romanticism is meant to grasp the reader, the artist, the poet, with the enlightenment of its expression. If we cannot but be shown it on the big screen or television, then so let the romantic spirit live on changing, adapting, and provoking the hearts of those who embrace it.