Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lecture Notes Weeks 8-10

Lecture notes through Gajelonia & Hemmings are here.

Point Break. Sweded!

As authentic an end to a Literature of Hawaii class as The Descendants or the new Hawaii 5-0.  Thanks for all the hard work, it's been a pleasure teaching this material and working with all of you.  Stay stoked, and in the words of Juliana Spahr - "fuck you, aloha, i love you" . . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grrl Fo' Realz

My favorite poem in Thirteen Ways of Looking at TheBus is “DearGod: A Prayer in Six Parts.” The language used is a combination of pidgin and textspeak, resulting in a playful and comical tone--and when the content gets heavy, the language results in something honest. I absolutely love this idea of a Hawaiian girl texting God; a girl’s innermost wishes being sent to God in a way that’s intimate to her. It’s as if the speaker could be texting her best friend and telling her the news about Carissa--”I faking hate / her! God, I thought she wuz my fren. I saw / her yesterday making out wit John Boy”--and it’s very exciting (to me) to think of her relationship with God as such (13). Is she texting God as she rides on TheBus? To me, most definitely. I don’t see this poem being a critique on the young, technology driven generation, but rather an honest portrait of a teenaged girl. A simple reading could criticize the speaker as being shallow and vapid, pointing to her trivial concerns--and I would attribute that to the cultural attempts of the dominant patriarchal western culture to trivialize anything that a teenage girl likes/wants/desires. Whether or not Gizelle Gajelonia agrees with me, I feel like this poem is (or could be used as) a celebration of The Teenage Girl, and not a condemnation of it.

This poem is very much reminiscent of Saturday Night at the Palhala Theater, especially in the scenes of daily life it portrays; young Hawaiians of different races fighting, abusive men, and peers bullying their friends. And the fact that it is one of the few poems that does not reference a canonical poem further distances it from the dominant tropes and aligns itself with the Hawaiian, woman author of Saturday Night. In parts IV and V, we learn the speaker’s father is an abusive drug addict who beat her mother, and that her mother is dead. It’s honest, and tragic, and it gives me all the more reason to root for her in part I when she prays, “Oh yeah, / plz bless Ikaika he steh numba 52, God. / Ho he soooo sexy fo’ realz. But he get / girlfriend u know soooo uglee her! . . . I hope dey break up and den / I hope Ikaika numba 52 gon ask me out / fo’ go eat Jack in the Crack one day” (12).

"Thirteen Ways of Looking At The Bus" and it's representation of Race

A Bus Oh MyGod

It was interesting to me how easily this poem was able to convey the image of class and racism. "Filipinos/ are really/ hardworking./ Like the cleaner/ of/ hotel,/ nurse,/ nursing assistant/ cleaner of urine./" (17) She begins by mention Filipinos specifically, singling them out, then saying that they are hardworking, and good at cleaning. She throw's in a few higher class jobs, then end again on a low class position, "cleaner of urine," which ultimately summarizes her stereotype thought process. Not only does she point out other people on the bus, but also reverts the attention back to her, and what she is not because of the things she doesn't have. Throughout the poem, the idea of who she is seems to be void of an answer. She is a Hawaiian, is she not?
Again, to touch on my previous blog about the new generation of Hawaiian, this is another example. Culture's have fused, and it is becoming difficult to tell which attributes belong to which culture. While race, however, still remains a very prevalent dispute and one that is easy to identify. To me this poem captured the important of race in a culture, and how it has always been an issue of nativism, but now it has become as issue of racism. Then again, is it the race that she is pointing out on the bus? Or is she pointing out the hardworking culture of that particular race.
-Kaeliann Hulett

The New Generation of Hawaiians?

    The Descendants offered me quite a different view of Hawaii than all of the other books we have read in class. The common theme of self-realization kept itself alive throughout the novel, however it was a different source of realization than the rest of the "Hawaiian Literature" we have read so far. Comparing it to Well Then There Now, it becomes easier to grasp the difference between the two types of realization that present themselves to us. While Well Then There Now faces the issues of the Continents influences, and the new world that Western Civilizations have brought upon the Hawaiian culture. The Descendants, however, seemed to focus more on influences in general, and not focusing on the Western Civilization's influence, but rather the materialistic influence of the world. It is easy enough to connect materialistic influences with that of the Western Civilization, however, one cannot easily say that it is the Western Civilization that is responsible for such influences. The idea of Hawaii as an innocent land, unaware of materialistic possession, is an ignorant thought. Like all other culture's, Hawaii has been created through a mixing of cultures, and it is through that mixing of cultures, which are different than ours, that we perceive the notion of Hawaii as innocent, because they did not base their culture on success and power of money and possessions. They based it on the land.
    The land has lost almost all value in the novel. It has been represented as a dull, dry, and an aesthetically appalling landscare. The speaker Matt, who is supposed a descendant of Hawaii, tells us what he sees and it is from a very disconnected point of view. It is as though there is no love for his land, he doesn't even seem to feel bad about the condition of the island; an opposite concern of ancient Hawaiians As Matt points out all of the old family houses and farms, he mentions that they drive by like many times before, and they are now museums and landmarks. I found it very interested that he didn't take his family into these places, or stop at them more often. Neither did he tell the entire history of the places, and most importantly, they were maintained only as tourist attractions. I thought that, had Matt been a true Hawaiian, he would have still been utilizing those pieces of land for his family, rather than them being made into revenue sources. Not only that, but I thought that he would have at least had more of a story or connection to let the reader know about these places. Not too much longer into the story, Matt tell's about graffiti on the rocks telling people to go home. Another great example of how the respect for the land has faded in the new generation of Hawaiian's.  Something else I connected to the changing generation was how some people were changing their names to simple Americanized names rather than their birth-given Hawaiian names, which would be difficult to pronounce and spell, making them stand-out.
     All of this was making me wonder, is the Hawaiian culture changing? Or are other culture's snuffing out, diminishing and taking over, the Hawaiian culture  Culture's change, they do not stay the same forever. This is how culture's are made, by a hybridity of people's beliefs, logic, and way of living.
Take Joannie for example. She is still loyal to the Hawaiian people, yet she has been a victim of materialism, and has fallen to the new generation of Hawaiian culture. It is becoming difficult to distinguish between those that have been influenced and affected by both cultures, and those who have assumed the "new generation culture", or if there is even a new generation culture?!
-Kaeliann Hulett

Local Hawaiian Business's: Waialua Soda Works

       I found it very interesting to read some of the local Hawaiian takes on a local Hawaiian product that is being made with it's own resources at hand. I also found it interesting that a small business is trying to make claims that they are not for the money, while that seems to be all that the company is working towards. I originally found this bottle of Waialua Soda Works soda in my boyfriends grandparent's house. He was told that this soda can no longer be bought, the original soda that is. The story he was told was that Waialua Soda Works was bought out by Pepsi. This seems to be a common misconception, because Pepsi did not buy Waialua Soda Works, they helped fund it and wanted a piece of the action, that is sure! So, I was wondering why my boyfriend, and all other Hawaiians he knows, believe that Pepsi owns Waialua Soda Works. It seems as though the concept was created over the dispute of selling the land's products over seas as a mass product, which essentially represents Hawaii as a market place and is exploiting itself.

“Waialua Soda Works is like a vacation in a bottle, people want to go to Hawaii,” said Greg Stroh. “What sets Waialua Soda Works apart from every one else is the Hawaiian ingredients and the spot on packaging. I’m looking forward to helping Waialua Soda Works overcome some of battles I’ve experienced through the years, and I want to help this brand grow.”  -Hawaii Magazine

About Waialua Soda Works
Founded in 2003 by Waialua residents Karen and Jason Campbell, Waialua Soda Works’ recipes are inspired by the elements familiar to the Hawaiian Islands. Reviving a local soda bottling tradition that goes back more than 100 years, the company uses only clear glass bottles, pure cane sugar, and natural flavors to make its sodas. The products feature local ingredients such as Maui Brand natural white cane sugar, Big Island vanilla, and honey from Kauai. Waialua Soda Works is owned and operated from a warehouse in the historic town of Waialua, located on the famous North Shore of Oahu.

Waialua Soda Works is available in a 12 oz glass bottle and in 6 unique flavors: Lilikoi, Mango, Pineapple, Root Beer, Vanilla Cream, and Kona Red. Waialua Soda Works is currently available at over 1000 retail locations on the mainland in CA, AZ, NV, OR, & TX: Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region, Bristol Farms, BevMo, HEB, Central Market, Cost Plus World Market – Nationwide, and is available at every major grocery chain in Hawaii including Costco & Target.

"We've received funding from an equity capital firm out of Honolulu, which is good because it stays in the islands," said Jason Campbell, who, with his wife, Karen, established Waialua Soda Works in 2003. Campbell did not disclose the dollar figure.

The local investors are led by Tradewind Capital Group Inc., whose officers include some minority investors in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser -- but it's not as if they tipped us off to this story. They didn't.

"They (the local investors) did not purchase us," Campbell said, but a new company, North Shore Beverage Co. Ltd., was formed to reflect the investment.

The Waialua Soda that is sold in Hawaii is made by the Campbells in Waialua using natural, local ingredients. They ship those ingredients to a mainland bottler for mainland sales.

Kona Red, the newest flavor, is made from antioxidant-rich coffee cherries, using the fruit -- not the bean, from whence coffee is produced.

Waialua Soda Works' new financial heft will enable it to increase production and expand sales and distribution channels, Campbell said. The goal is to "saturate Hawaii and then do a heavy focus on the West Coast, in particular from Seattle down to San Diego," with a concentration on "Los Angeles beach cities."

It was important to find investors locally, but not just people with deep pockets, Campbell said. "They're successful business people and know quite a bit much more than we do." For the mom-and-pop soda-pop makers, the investment represents "not only money, but smart money."
Bottles must be imported, just as they were a century ago in that heyday of Hawaii bottling. Glass remains the company's biggest expense.

The soda wholesales for $1 a bottle; 35 cents of that is the cost of the bottle. A pallet of 4,300 bottles costs just under $900, but shipping from the Oregon factory is another $600, plus $100 an hour for a forklift driver to make the delivery.

"It's probably the most expensive soda to make in the United States," Jason says.

It would be more economical to do the bottling on the mainland, Karen acknowledges. "That's the first question people ask: Do you really make it here, or do you make it in California and ship it here?"
But the company's identity is tied up in the soda being Hawaii-made. "That's why we kind of bite the bullet on the cost."

These sodas-in-glass are boutique products similar to microbrews among beers. A number of mainland bottlers, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, have proven their appeal to a higher-end niche market willing to pay $2 or more per bottle retail for something classier than Coke. Think Henry Weinhard's Rootbeer.

"As long as people are willing to pay that price," Jason says, "I can make it here."
The Campbells based their business in Waialua "because we love the feel of this town," Karen says. Plus, the old sugar mill, the town's principal landmark, is good karma -- sugar being the main ingredient in sodas.
"Run by local people, for the Hawaiian market. If you have to drink soda, buy from Waialua Soda, not the local Pepsi or Coke bottlers." -Anonymous Blogger

"Well, transplanted mainlanders. And hopefully their reach will extend beyond the islands." -Anonymous Blogger
"I am soured on pepsi:
When they had that big corporate convention, and paid the strolling bones their exhorbitant fee to perform, (when they also had their aloha stadium concert, which i was happy to attend, 5 rows from da stage, even...) on Hawaii island, pepsi painted their corporate colors and logo on lava rock that stretched along the road or path to the site. -Booo. auwe. and hope they are kahuna'ed." -Anonymous Blogger

"Then I say everybody who lives in Hawai'i who comes to read HT should go out and support this company. THIS is the kind of company Hawai'i needs...located in Hawai'i, run by local people, for the Hawaiian market. If you have to drink soda, buy from Waialua Soda, not the local Pepsi or Coke bottlers. And keep buying their product until (or if) they get bought out by one of the majors. That, unfortunately, is the fate of most small successful companies." -Anonymous Blogger

Kaeliann Hulett

Blue Crush

Hey guys--

After completing this course, I'm wondering what you guys think of the movie "Blue Crush"? Do you feel like it accurately depicts Hawaii and Hawaiian culture? I do (for the most part). Although Anne-Marie has grown up in Hawaii...she isn't always accepted by true Hawaiian locals. However, at times...she's accepted like a full-blood Hawaiian (such as being given full access to "secret surf spots"). Her pro football player boyfriend represents the typical tourists...taking surf lessons, staying in a nice hotel, attending lavish luaus, etc. What are your thoughts? I feel like it pretty fairly depicts a lot of Hawaiian culture.