Thursday: October 1, 2020

I’m sure you get the jist by now, but we took a quiz on “El Muerto,” starring a selfish man named Benjamin Otalara. This week we spoke about some of his qualities and characteristics, as well as those we see in ourselves. We completed an activity about what type of leader we are and what leadership motivations we have. On Kallion, we were presented with nine different motivations: (1) A sense of duty or obligation, (2) In order to be in control or have power, (3) Domination, (4) Honor, Praise, Recognition, (5) Prestige, (6) Love of Design, (7) Love of Humanity, (8) Nurturing Concern, and (9) Profit. With these motivations, we broke out into small groups and discussed which motivation we have, as well as created one that wasn’t presented to us. My group came up with (10) Deception; this is for the people who partake in certain actions because it will make them look good. This could be similar to (4) Honor, Praise, Recognition, in that the person wants their good deeds to be noticed, but there’s still a difference. People are not necessarily looking for praise, rather hoping they come across as a certain type of person for their benefit. Here’s an example for clarification: someone decides to take AP classes and do volunteer work because it will “look good on their transcript” (that’s my intention and interpretation of this motivation). Rather than completing these actions due to their own enjoyment, they complete them in order to come across as good, which is personally not something I’m a fan of.

But which motivations do I find present in myself? Although some of these I’m not the proudest to admit, these are the motivations I consider within myself: (1) In order to be in control or have power, (2) Love of Design, and (3) Nurturing Concern. I know that it seems I picked a couple of the nicer ones, but let me explain. Motivation 1 (In order to be in control or have power): Sometimes I feel that I have the “‘right’ way to do things better than others,” causing me to want to take a leadership role (Kallion 6). This causes me to micromanage a little bit, often suggesting to others what they can do or seeing if they agree with me on certain topics or ideas for a project. Motivation 2 (Love of Design): Sometimes I think to ignore the ideas of others or suggest something in opposition, because I feel that I have the better idea or image of whatever we are working on. I’m not sure that I “enjoy intellectual challenges,” but I do enjoy the opportunity to be creative (Kallion 6). I do enjoy games, but I’m not the best at explaining things; I actually dislike explaining things to others because I find it to be very challenging to put my thoughts and ideas into words. I am definitely stubborn, making it difficult for me to consider the ideas of others when I already have my own in mind. And I do sometimes consider others not fit for a certain position if they don’t line up with what I have in mind (again, not something I enjoy admitting). Motivation 3 (Nurturing Concern): Very simply put, I enjoy helping others and making others happy. I enjoy working closely with others to help them with their needs when they are someone I am comfortable with; I also prefer this task when it is something that I know I’m good at, rather than struggling to help others when I am not familiar or gifted with their specific need. I enjoy when the journey is fulfilling, yet not difficult in terms of determining what should be done. I’m sympathetic and like to help others when I can, often through giving advice. When others come to me for advice, I am able to diagnose problems and give my suggestions.

We finished up the class by discussing our end of semester projects and meeting in our assigned groups. We spoke about a few ideas and preferences we have for the piece of work that we’ll decide to use, without sharply deciding on anything. That will come within the next few weeks!

Saturday: October 3, 2020 & Monday: October 5, 2020

Today (Saturday) I read playwright Larry Kramer’s obituary. Sadly, this amazing man passed in late May of this year, but his accomplishments live on. The obituary discussed the play we read for this week, “The Normal Heart.” This play highlights and details the outbreak of the AIDS crisis, taking place in New York. The main character is Ned Weeks, writer and activist, reflecting the playwright himself. Although Weeks didn’t seem to have the happiest ending, I think the life he lived was admirable (to an extent). Of course I didn’t know him personally, but based on what I’ve read, as well as the character portrayal of Ned Weeks, I would say the following about Kramer. He stood up for what he believed in and fought, whether or not he had support from others. There may have been times when he exploited others under his own passion, which is what I’d find not so admirable, but that aside, he was a courageous man who was not afraid to spread awareness.

I finally got a chance to read “The Normal Heart” (Monday) and it was quite interesting. Let me start off by saying that the end is not what I would have hoped for; it was quite disheartening. Don’t get me wrong, the play was a great piece, but I guess I had wanted a bit of a happier ending for Ned. Now, although I did find the conditions of Ned’s and Felix’s wedding a bit depressing, the actual love displayed was what I would consider a light shining through the cracks. Through the disheartening ending, there was a glimpse of love. Felix vouched for Ned’s strength until the moment he died; as Emma was asking if Felix took Ned to be his husband, Felix said “Alexander.” I was confused as to why he said this when I first read the play, but as we had discussed in class, it may have been his way of calling Ned strong, great, and worthy. This is because the name Alexander can suggest greatness, Alexander the Great. Ned Weeks may not have been worthy or accepting of these characteristics, being that his last name is the same pronunciation of the word weak, suggesting that he is so. The action of calling him by his real name, Alexander, could show that he was ready to accept these characteristics.

Tuesday: October 6, 2020

Today we discussed the play, as well as comparisons and contrasts between the characters in “The Normal Heart” and those of each additional work we’ve reviewed. The first comparison I thought of was between Ned Weeks and Lysistrata. I stated that they both had a, for lack of better words, radical plan (each being a sex ban). Week was tasked with asking all gay men not to have sex with each other, thus limiting the spread of AIDS; Lysistrata was tasked with asking the women not to have sex with the men, thus stopping the war. They both received backlash from their team in carrying out said plans. Weeks had many people who, not only weren’t a fan of the plan, but felt the same about his approach; they hadn’t liked his aggression towards others and the cause. Lysistrata had some women walk out or attempt to walk out on her plan at present. The women were becoming so tired of withholding from sex, one even faked that she was about to give birth, putting a helmet in her shirt. Both leaders (Ned and Lysistrata) had difficulty maintaining the loyalty of their team. One thing that wasn’t understood with Ned’s plan was the importance of sex within the gay community; that physical touch and connection was what gay men wanted, making it much more difficult for any to be a fan of Ned’s plan.

A student made a comparison between 2 characters that I hadn’t thought to compare, Albert and Philoctetes. Albert, who was in a relationship with Bruce, was dehumanized in the way that his death was handled. He was carried out in a literal garbage bag… are you joking! There was very little outside care on the death of Albert, as well as the way it was handled. Albert was considered to be in an out-group, being that he was gay. Not only were gay people considered to be in an out-group, but people believed they had power over them for this reason. These scenarios (part of the 5 total) caused Albert and other gay people to be dehumanized. Now, we already spoke about Philoctetes, so I won’t go into detail. We know that Philoctetes was dehumanized in a number of ways as well; each of the 5 scenarios were applicable to his dehumanization. It is through dehumanization that Albert and Philoctetes can be compared.

We also took a survey at the end of class in regards to our leadership progress thus far. There was a list of actions for us to look through, answering the severity to which ones we’ve performed better and more often. We were then asked to give examples, as well as answer a few more questions: Which 2 works contributed most to your leadership development? How many people have you spoken to about this course? Has this course helped you in determining what you may want to do in the future, career wise? Etc. In order to keep the survey anonymous, I won’t go into detail, but it was a check-in on the year so far and it was nice to reflect these actions and questions with ourselves.