Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wide Angle Youth Media Event

Matt Wiegartner
            I didn’t know what to expect from the Wide Angle Youth Media presentation I went to last night.  I went on a spur of the moment decision, and it ended up being a very interesting experience.  Their presentation was based around the fact that many teens in inner city Baltimore do not have jobs, and are not given the opportunity to have a job in the first place.  Wide Angle Youth Media gives these teens a place to learn about the work world, and make a number of films to show what it is like to be a teen looking for work in Baltimore.
            Before the presentation began, we were asked a few questions, one of them being “What are some rights that you are entitled to, and what responsibilities come with these rights?” Victor Frankenstein, in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, has immense knowledge of science, and sets out to create life.  He creates what we all know as Frankenstein’s Monster, and Victor immediately regrets what he has done.  His monster gets loose and wreaks havoc on the surrounding town.  Victor Frankenstein has this immense power of knowledge that he could use for many purposes but his lust for power gets out of hand.  He tries to “play god” by creating life, but in turn creates the Monster instead.  Everyone is entitled to the right of knowledge, but they must be responsible use it correctly in order to put those rights to good use for everyone.  One cannot let personal pride or anything of that sort get in the way.
            Paul Laurence Dunbar’s very short poem “Theology” is a very interesting poem.  It is only four lines long, and has a basic rhyme scheme.  The poem starts out implying that the speaker is very religious, believing in heaven and trusting his soul.  However there is a turn in the last line, which shows that he believes only he is going to heaven while his “neighbors” are all going to hell.  This is contradictory to most religions, which tell you to “love your neighbor.”  The speaker is not doing this if he wants all of his neighbors to go to hell.  In the presentation, they spoke about how the members of Wide Angle Youth Media help each other with their films and they also help find work.  Also, their films are used to help the people in the surrounding Baltimore Area, which are all their neighbors.
            “Tableau” by Countee Cullen is very relevant to the Wide Angle Youth Media’s presentation yesterday.  The speaker of the poem tells a story about two friends of different races, and how the world disapproves of the fact that they are friends.  Even though the poem was written in 1925, we still have these types of racial conflicts in the world today.  In the job force, African-American teens get a bad reputation when looking for jobs, which is completely unfair to everyone.  In a film shown, over 25% of all American teens over the age of sixteen are unemployed.  Teens count for a large percentage of the population, which means our national unemployment is over one percent higher than it should be. 
            Overall, the Wide Angle Youth Media’s presentation was very informative and enjoyable.  I learned that teens everywhere go through similar problems in life, and that there are good, healthy was to solve them.  I was particularly impressed by the age of the participants in the program.  Many were just turning sixteen, and already are working towards a full-time job to support themselves. 

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