HSA 10, my mom, and memes??

Hello! It’s Mason again with another blog post!

Headshot of Mason Acevedo wearing glasses, a gray collared shirt, and a striped tie.

Mason Acevedo, Class of 2022

Some of you are probably familiar with the HSA requirement at Mudd. Basically, we’re required to take a breadth of Humanities, Social sciences, and Arts classes, and then specialize in one HSA field for our concentration.

While you have a lot of freedom and options with how you’d like to fulfill your HSA requirement, everyone takes HSA 10 in the spring semester of their first year at Mudd. HSA 10 is a course designed to develop writing and discussion skills that will be useful in studying other HSA disciplines during your time at Mudd. One of the cool things about HSA 10 is that each section comes in different ‘flavors,’ and you get to choose which one you’d like to take!  This year, some (but not all) of the options were:

  • English with an Accent: Voyage and Recreation in Language
  • Global Poverty and Inequality
  • Science, Gender and Sex
  • People and Other Animals
  • Star Trek and Social Theory

I personally chose Adaptation, not in the biological sense, but in the sense of a book that’s been adapted into a movie. In our course, we’ve looked at how stories cross between mediums. We’ve considered both ‘high-brow’ and ‘low-brow’ forms of art and storytelling, including the following:

  • The podcast Homecoming and it’s TV-show adaptation of the same name
  • The sci-fi short story “Story of Your Life” and its film adaptation Arrival (2016)
  • The novel City of Glass and it’s graphic novel adaptation of the same name
  • A life magazine article called The Pied Piper of Tucson and the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Most of our work in this class has involved exploring works of art from non-traditional mediums, but our first assignment actually involved making something of our own! For this assignment, we shared a childhood memory with our fellow classmates, and then took that oral story and ‘remediate’ it into a different form.

My memory was about my mom and me. One day, I was playing with all four of my big boxes of toys at once. I had made a huge mess in the living room while my mom was busy washing dishes. Eventually, she peeked out from the kitchen to check up on me.  She saw the huge mess, and she told me to ‘start cleaning up.’ I was a little smart-alec, and I decided to exploit a loophole in my mom’s wording – I would ‘start’ cleaning up by putting away a single, tiny toy that I hadn’t even been using anyway. Of course, my mom wasn’t very happy when she checked on me a few minutes later. She repeated herself, and of course, I didn’t listen. Things went on like that for a while: me being a smart-alec, and my mom getting increasingly frustrated.

And then, I heard a *SHATTER* sound from the kitchen, so I ran to see what had happened.

My mom had punched one of the glass cups she was washing, had broken the glass, and cut her hand pretty badly.

I immediately cleaned up my toys after that.

That was my story, and my other classmates came up with other memorable, fun stories. Someone talked about getting embarrassed in front of their crush in middle-school, and another person talked about being put in a laundry basket and lowered from a second-story apartment into their schoolyard.

After telling those stories, our assignment was to take our story, and convert it into a different storytelling medium. Our class came up with some pretty creative stuff! Most people made comics, some wrote poems, another wrote a film script, another did a power-point presentation. Our professor is very into creativity and experimentation, and told us that we could literally use any medium of expression we wanted!

So, I took the opportunity to make some memes about my story!

The picture is in the 'expanding brain' meme format. There right column shows brains that are increasingly activated/lightened up, and therefore smarter, as you go down. The left column suggests better ways my mom could have calmed down, and reads the following, from top to bottom: "Releasing Frustration with deep breaths", "Using a stress ball to release frustration", "Punching a pillow out of frustration", and "punching and breaking a glass cup".

This meme is a Twitter screenshot. It says the following: "Me: Doesn't clean up toys. My Mom's brain: Don't do it Don't do it .... My mom: " and then there is a picture of a hand punching glass, implying my mom punched a glass even though it wasn't a wise decision.

This meme says the following: "Mom: Tells me to pick up toys. Me: ignores her. Mom:" Then, there is a picture of a person who is upset, who is saying 'Am I a joke to you?'

This meme says "Me: doesn't listen to mom. Mom: Gets angry. Me: " and then it has a picture of a surprised pikachu from pokemon.

(I totally didn’t write this post as an excuse to share some memes)

Thanks for reading!

-Mason Acevedo