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After reading Barthes’ The Romans in Films, I was genuinely surprised at how short it was. It caught me off guard. In fact, I was looking through the other files to make sure there weren’t anymore readings having to do with Barthes. But going back to The Romans in Films, overall, I thought it was a very interesting read.

Barthes begins by stating Mankiewicz’s movie Julius Caesar and the fringes many of the actors wore for the movie. Reading that I was confused. I thought to myself, “Is the rest of the reading about hair?” Fortunately, it wasn’t. Barthes goes on to say how most filmgoers associates fringes with “the label of Roman-ness.” He then goes on to say that if one has these fringes, he must be a Roman. Barthes even goes to on to say that even in a different historical period, if one still has the fringes, he is still a Roman. Although it’s a strange theory, I think it’s relatively true. But, I believe it’s more to do with the attire than the hair.

Barthes then explains how every face in Julius Caesar is sweating. Again, I had no idea where he was going with this, but he continued, stating that sweat is a sign of moral feeling. “Everyone is sweating because everyone is debating something within himself.”  I’m assuming he states this because these characters are Romans- they were thought to be wise men who pondered whenever possible. Going back to ethics, Barthes believes that these signs are a part of his ethics. I think what he means by this is that, as he states, signs can be “openly intellectual” or “deeply rooted”, much like ethics. They can be open, like the fringes on the Romans, or deep inside, like what the Romans are thinking to cause them to sweat.

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Interviewer: Zarraf (Z)

Interviewee: John (J)

Z:  Alright so what’s your full name?

J: John Malach

Z: Uhm, do you live in Queens?

J: No. I live in Stormville.

Z: Oh, where’s that?

J: Duchess County.

Z: Ah, Duchess County. So, you were brought up around there?

J: Yeah,  I was born and raised up in the country.

Z: Ah. Do you have any siblings?

J:  Yes, I have one sister, she’s 25 and was just married.

Z: Oh, really? Did she live in Queens, as well?

J: No,  she lives in Newberg.  (?)

Z: Uh, so you have any interests or hobbies?

J: Uhm, interests is history. I can always learn more about history. And my hobbies include games and movies, stuff like that,

Z: What’s your favorite movies?

J: Favorite movie is either Clerks or Boondock Saints.

Z: That’s nice. Uh, so what brought you here? I mean, Queens College?

J: Uhm, the teaching program, which is supposed to be really good, and it was very cost effective.

Z: Okay, yeah. Yeah, so you’re dorming  here, took, right?

J: Yeah.

Z: Uh, how’s that like?

J: Not as fun as I thought it was.

Z: Oh,really? You have a roommate?

J: Uh, yea- well, a suitmate. I have my own room.

Z: Alright, well I guess that’s good.


When Professor Ferguson told us about the interview, I was very nervous.  I didn’t know anyone in the class, I’ve never interviewed someone, nor have I been interviewed, and I’m not the best at using a camera. The overall idea of doing something like this in an English class seemed very odd to me. Add all this to the fact that my group consisted of three members of the class instead of the normal two. I was very anxious, and just wanted to get it over with.

After we had all met up, John found a place that was pretty quiet- the basement of the Student Union building. And it was. But, once the three of us started fixing up our questions, the noice level gradually went up, until there was yelling in the background. It didn’t turn out to be the ideal place to have an interview, but we went along anyways. I was the first to get interviewed, and the interviewer was Cindy. I didn’t know what to expect at first, but as Cindy began filming and began asking questions, I thought to myself that all I had to do was answer them. That’s it. So, I did, and within a minute and a half, I was done. Then, I had to interview John. This turned out to be harder than I exoected. Although I had a few questions memorized, after I asked them, we still had a decent amount of time left. And because of this, I started winging the questions. Which wasn’t such a good idea- the interview ended up with me saying more “uhhms” than questions.

Overall, I thought this was a very interesting project. It’s not something I’d expected to do considering that it’s an English class. But, at the same time, it was refreshing. I met knew people, I learned how to do better interviews and to become better interviewees, and I learned how to use footage I took with the camera and put it on the computer. It was a very rewarding assignment.

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