Profiling Perspective

Perhaps perspective is something we miss when we trying to understand or befriend people different from ourselves. In the case of Mohammed Ahmed this is something that people in his life often don’t realize. As a teenage boy of first generation immigrant parents he was brought up under the influence of 2 cultures, but more importantly 2 clashing cultures. Growing up in the United States, Minhaj faced difficult decisions everyday, challenging how he approached life in every way. His parents, faithful Muslims instilled the core values of Islam in Mohammed’s life from a young age, and still these principles continue to be an important factor in his teenage life. The whole article written by Thanos Mattai was written in the perspective of Mohammed to help convey this perspective and the difficulties faced the peoples of the Muslim or any conservatively based faith face on a regular basis. The rigours and difficulties of everyday life are a struggle, but are common things that Mohammed faced, that most teenagers don’t even know to exist. Perhaps the most prevalent example of this is while Mohammed’s friends are at a party, if Mohammed goes they don’t support or encourage his ideals, but make Mohammed’s decisions more complicated. Usually this not in a mean spirited way, but they try to include him in activities and behaviours that they deem “normal” and fun. The issue with this is that what they consider culturally “normal”, Mohammed is unable to join the due to his faith and the standard that he has held himself to.

Maybe this is the issue with culture today, especially in North American society. We try to integrate people but people fail to understand that diversity and being different isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps religion, culture and race isn’t what’s causing violence, discrimination, and racism, but the inability to understand them is what is. This may be a gross oversimplification of the issue but it’s a point that has to be asked in this case. The entire article lays out the issues that having a balanced life in faith and living in a teenage American culture can have. Mohammed is faced with trying to be normal versus being what he feels is right. It’s this dilemma of balance that’s important as it defines this profile of Mohammed’s life. It’s not a biography where facts about him are stated, but a piece outlying an understanding of his perspective through the words of Mattai. This profile shows the readers of the article that the life of a teenager can be even more complicated than people currently think it is, especially when that perspective is one of someone as different or the same as Mohammed Ahmed.

Lady Gaga: As Defined by a Music Critic

Jon Pareles is a renowned music critic and arts based journalist for the New York Times. Published in 2010 Pareles, penned a review for Lady Gaga’s concert performance at Radio City Music Hall, and subsequently her music and stylistic approach as a whole. Approaching such an expansive and controversial topic in such manner as to simplify, organize and to objectively explain the persona that is Lady Gaga is a difficult task to say the least. Opening with an introduction into Lady Gaga, Pareles presents to the reader a sample of her generalized theatric nature, promoting her larger-than-life personality and perhaps helping a otherwise novice reader gain an insight to the culture that defines Lady Gaga. To someone who would be previously unaware of Gaga’s existence, the article’s opening fairly depicts what has come to be expected of the eccentric 27 year old artist. Laying down snippets lyrics to many of Gaga’s early hit songs, Pareles also sets the tone for what Gaga fans – or “Little Monsters” as the fans call themselves – have come to expect and love.

Once the formalities are over with, Pareles delves into what Lady Gaga is. Specifically, what she started as and how she defines herself, her music and the counterculture that surrounds her. Born as Stefani Germanottta, and known as Lady Gaga by the world, this stage name does more than create a new identity, it also overrides her past one. The abstract nature that Stefani Germanotta created, that is Lady Gaga, is to a similar nature that Dr. Frankenstein is to his monster.  Making this apparent is a key goal of Pareles, who points this out. This new found celebrity was due to the staggering and weird nature that Lady Gaga represented, but most importantly what Pareles points out that along with the weird, crazy and obscene, there lies talent. Examples of her abilities in vocals, instrumentals and performance seperate her in Pareles’ mind to other eccentric musical acts such as Madonna and David Bowie. He even goes as far to comparing her to “a female Elton John” due to her abilities, these comparative examples to musical icons show the impact that Gaga has produced in the music industry. Pareles recaps Gaga’s early 2010 NYC performance, highlighting her charity, creativeness and her drive to perform. He closes with a statement that sticks out due to it’s simplicity as it defined Gaga; as Pareles puts it, she needs applause to live.