Day One - Sunday, December 11, 2022
I just downloaded this journal app and thought I'd give it a try. I've been testing this smart phone and its been working pretty well.
I've got plenty of projects to work on after the holidays. I still have unfinished stories and essays to complete and post on my website. This is also the case for my resume and search for legal office experience.
Day One - Monday, December 12, 2022
I'm still checking out various sites, apps and games on this phone. I've been enjoying crossword and word search games, along with some adventurous roleplaying titles and some "Space Invaders" type games. At this juncture I'm playing Torchlight Infinite, Diablo Immortal, Albion Online and some others.
I've also been listening to various categories of music on Spotify and YouTube. I like progressive techno artists like Captain Hook, Ace Ventura, Ann Clue, David Guetta and Astrix.
In the Hard Rock and Metal genres I've been hearing Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, Venom, Toxic Holocaust, Municipal Waste, D.R.I., Napalm Death, Soulfly, Sepultura and Megadeth.
Other great music groups are Dead Can Dance, Jane's Addiction/Porno for Pyros and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
On the literary front I'm reading some Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms novels by R.A. Salvatore and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Simon Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien's grandson) is producing a video series set in the era of Middle Earth when Elrond and Galadriel were young.
I'm continuing work on the WordPress website and I am reviewing a draft of my Collected Fiction manuscript that is translated into Spanish using Google Translator.
Day One - Tuesday, December 13, 2022
I spoke with U---- and A---- today. They are doing well and still would like for the three of us to go to Knott's Berry Farm tomorrow. I look forward to riding the roller coasters there. Sometimes its a challenge to fathom the magnitude of the urban sprawl of the greater Los Angeles area.
My dad once said that even as an isolated country, California would have the fifth-largest economy in the world. There is an abundance of cultural and linguistic diversity here.
I'm continuing to organize my half of the room, here, and have been taking stock of my modest collection of hardbacks, paperbacks and clothing. I also have DVDs and Blue Ray discs that I have yet to watch.
Tomorrow Morocco and France will be playing soccer in the last elimination round of the World Cup before the final match with Argentina.
Day One - Wednesday, December 14, 2022
I just got back from Knott's Berry Farm with U---- and A----. We also stopped for sushi at the Kura Japanese restaurant. The roller coasters at Knott's were top notch. We rode the Ghostrider and Log Ride as well as the amusement park train. It was great to get out of the house and see a different section of the greater Los Angeles area.
U---- and A---- gave me a pair of young reader books in a series called The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler for Christmas. I will enjoy reading them and will perhaps try to acquire the writing style.
Day One - Thursday, December 15, 2022
H---- had their Christmas party here this evening. We chatted with M----, L----, C----, P---- and L----. We ate turkey with stuffing and apple pie.
M---- is at full capacity with six residents.
The weather is cold by California standards, descending to 40 degrees at night.
I'm continuing to organize this room in increments.
I'll take the bus to D---- to purchase a new lock for my bike. I also need a fresh sheet of postage stamps.
E----'s and D----'s wedding in P---- is drawing closer. I look forward to seeing that side of the family and having a good time.
It will be much-needed exercise to get back on the bike and ride to the City Library and County Library again. I haven't shopped for used books in a while and could benefit from some new additions to my reading list.
Day One - Friday, December 23, 2022
Christmas is almost here!
The weather is chilly and the days are shorter. The holiday vibe is in the air, however, and the local community is bustling.
Argentina defeated France to win the World Cup.
Now most Americans are watching college and professional football games as well as basketball. Hockey is also in effect.
Some of my housemates are staying with family for the holidays.
I received a nice letter from D---- and C----. They are doing well and are also preparing for sister E----'s and D----'s wedding. It will be good to see the extended family there.
I've maintained correspondence with B---- and S----. I look forward to visiting with them as well.
Once the holiday festivities are done I will be back on task to circulate my resume. I will capitalize on the regular bus routes and will see if I can get some legal office experience. There are several law offices in this area and I will generate a checklist to keep organized.
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Hello from Senegoth (Matt Darrow)!
Today's journal entries for Vampire Rave contain a compilation of essays and articles for the general public. The written pieces cover a handful of genres ranging from Literature to Science. They were assembled over the last few years and have been waiting for me to put them all together.
A number of the essays were written while studying English Literature at the California State University at Dominguez Hills.
These journal entries for Vampire Rave are a work-in-progress, and they can be considered to be the “Rough Draft”.
Thank you to all of my friends and associates for bearing with me.
Sincerely, Senegoth (Matt Darrow).
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The status of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States is in transition.
The larger, W.A.S.P. (White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) culture is itself in transition in that the treatment of minorities in this country are but a reflection of the values of White Americans themselves.
How is it that, although the United States is a 241-year-old representative democracy, there continue to be manifestations of racist, ethnocentric and apathetic mindsets?
An example of this disparity in rights was manifested by the slave ownership of President Thomas Jefferson. Along with authoring the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson did father children with a female slave and, I understand, this branch of the Jefferson family was united with the strictly Caucasian descendants a few years ago.
Nevertheless, the formation of the government and constitution of the United States was silent on the issue of slave ownership despite the reality that the majority of the men who would sign the Declaration of Independence owned land throughout the British colonies and, most likely, had some involvement and connection with the international slave trade.
Civil rights issues and issues of general, racial inequality, under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and other religious and philosophical advocates, became vehemently protested in the 1950's and 1960's. It was the intention of the non-denominational alliances of ministers and concerned citizens to elucidate and rectify the Jim Crow laws enacted after the close of the American Civil War.
Also, the significant mistreatment of civil rights protesters with fire hoses and police dogs, among other things, was broadcast to communities throughout the United States, using the new technology of television. Thus, the hostile, racist acts that continued to occur in parts of the country that carried stronger policies and beliefs supporting segregation were revealed to Americans with different, egalitarian racial opinions. Although the culture behind the creation of segregating and marginalizing policies, especially in regard to the treatment of African Americans, was existent since the advent of slavery in the New World, there were also voices of ideological dissent and resistance of the frequently inhumane and generally unjust treatment of people taken by force from the African continent to colonies, plantations and slave markets in the United States.
Initially with television and today with smart phones, violent acts of racism carried out by police officers and others continue to be broadcast with the technology of the Internet. These acts of hostility and cold homicide at times have sent a nation-wide message that there are still racial problems in the United States. Being a second-hand witness to the recent episodes of murder by armed White men has breathed a fresh breath of life into the projects started by W.E.B. Dubois and Martin Luther King Jr. The implication of the killings is that there is still work to be done in the category of racial acceptance and tolerance in the greater American Social Order.
Americans, as a people, are only now learning that there are men in power, armed with guns and tasers, that do not believe in racial equality or even the right of certain African Americans to live and function as contributing members of this society. This ugliness and hatred runs deep and reflects a cultural legacy that can be traced back to the inception of the United States. A hint at the magnitude of racial apathy and hostility lies in the fact that there was not an African American President until the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
The perception of some Americans may be that African Americans and other ethnic minorities are inferior to their imagined superiority. This belief is insulting at best and belligerent at worst. Another element of the society of the United States is the manner in which suspects, accused of a crime and inmates, convicted of a crime are treated by the existing penal system. The percentages of African American and Latino inmates in the prison system is several times greater than their representation in the general, civilian population. This hearkens of a caste system and a status quo that is unjust and ruthless in its treatment of racial minorities.
The late psychologist Carl Jung wrote to some extent of the phenomenon of the dichotomy of self and other, which in another light creates a fabricated perception of the civilized self and untamed other. This pariah status of racial minorities continues to be acted upon where, possibly subconsciously, poorly trained law enforcement officers carry out a myth-like orientation closer to vigilantism than actually securing the peace. One aspect of this aggressive agenda is racial and ethnic profiling, used in traffic stops and other “suspicious” encounters.
Despite the shocking and tragic cell phone murder footage the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution represent the official, legal reality in regard to the existence of racial diversity in the United States. Historically speaking the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln represents the beginning of a new way of living for America. Since that time the law has stated that anyone completing a day's work must be compensated for it financially.
The late legal professor, Derrick Bell, is known to have advocated “Critical Race Theory”. This sociological idea asserts that many American laws and policies are inherently racist and merit protest and resistance by discerning citizens of the United States. A National Public Radio website attributes Professor Bell as having said in 2002 that, “We can't wait for leaders. God is within us to a certain extent, you know, and we have to justify the miracle of our existence not by driving the E Class Mercedes – nothing wrong with that, but that should not be our goal. Our goal should be to justify our existence by loving God, by loving others.”
Having spoken and written significantly of Critical Race Theory during his life, Derrick Bell was a supporter of serious changes in racial policies and consciousness regarding the treatment of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Amid the ongoing discussion of the value of affirmative action and programs designed to enhance and augment the lives of traditionally marginalized races, Critical Race Theory contends that the status and quality of living of a substantial percentage of African Americans continues to be less than that of their Caucasian counterparts and compels the reader to approach racial differences in an impending and existential light. Much of this socioeconomic imbalance can be attributed to the lack of availability of informative and educational resources along with the absence of community outreach programs such as sports leagues, inner city gardening and the continuing education of adults in community schools. Another element of the multi-faceted predicament of the marginalized people may be the absence of job training and preparation for a career in skilled labor.
An historical speaker in this avenue of thinking is Booker Taliaferro Washington. He is attributed to having said, “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
In some ways similar to the ideas of Derrick Bell, Booker T. Washington protested violence against African Americans in 1895. His speech referred to as the “Atlanta Compromise” was highly celebrated. In retrospect, Booker T. Washington's conceptual legacy is one of encouragement for Americans working in the category of manual, or unskilled labor. He challenges African Americans and other ethnic and racial minorities to pursue job training in fields such as industrial arts, auto mechanics, manufacturers and participants in construction.
In conjunction with the pragmatic and utilitarian philosophy of Booker T. Washington other, subsequent racial theorists have voiced their own concerns and recommendations. Among these are Malcolm X, Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Malcolm X said, “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment.”
Similar in some ways to the quasi-military ideology of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X was a fervent believer in empowering the nation's African American community. He advocated the concept that if outside, governmental sources could or would not provide adequate protection for African Americans, it was up to them to defend themselves. As the years passed Malcolm X amended his initial views of racial separation from the larger population.
Cornel West, in turn, said, “A black agenda is jobs, jobs, jobs, quality education, investment in infrastructure and strong democratic regulation of corporations. The black agenda, at its best, looks at America from the vantage point of the least of these and asks what's best for all.”
Professor West's perspective leans toward an adapted form of democratic socialism. He is a supporter of a society that possess greater uniformity in the allocation and use of social and governmental resources. He is also hinting that, in the past, jobs may not have been as readily available to the African American communities throughout the United States as they are today.
In his book, Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote, “But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.”
Clearly it is Coates' view that one's physical attributes and possibly simplistic categorization of “race” should not be held as an evaluation of one's inner spirit. The traditional three races within physical anthropology, embodied as Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid, have been updated to represent five races: Congoid (originating from West and Central Africa), Capoid (originating from Central, South and Southeast Africa), Mongoloid (originating from India, East Asia and the Americas), Caucasoid (originating from North Africa, Central Asia and Europe) and Australoid (originating from parts of North India, Indonesia and Australia).
Thus, American culture can benefit from the definition and re-definition of who we are as a people. Despite the physical and philosophical differences that exist the future is bright for all of us. If Martin Luther King Jr. were to view the status of America's racial and cultural legacies, he would most likely approve of the progress that has been made, especially the time that stretches from the 1950's to today.
However, it is wise for concerned citizens to keep the future in mind. National resources such as public education, libraries, theaters and museums work best with the support of our elected representatives. This is also true for scientific curricula, sports and fine arts. The people of the United States are the custodians of our society's future. It is up to each of us, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation to put forth an existential attempt at rectifying the pathological behavior that has caused death and mayhem in recent years.
Among the ideas of Critical Race Theory is the argument that discovering the existence of racial bias, prejudice and violence should provide impetus for systemic change. Witnessing such recent behavior as was demonstrated in the case of Trayvon Martin only emphasizes the issues described by Professor Cornel West and author Ta-Nehisi Coates. The viewer must act on the behalf of positive change or otherwise fall by the wayside in silence and inactivity. Derrick Bell also, would want the discussion that he initiated during his lifetime to continue with future generations. There is much work to be done if, among other ideas, American society becomes earnestly egalitarian and willing to grant all citizens the right to work, live and grow in this nation without fear of attack from inside or outside of the law enforcement community.
Other routes of thinking, namely views from psychology, may also help create mutual understanding between races. An example of such a perspective is that there are four, main social outlooks defined by the Myers Briggs temperament sorter. These outlooks were also written about by Carl Jung and David Keirsey in his books Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II. Standing back from the physical appearance of the variety of races in the world there are four, general temperaments as described by the Myers Briggs research findings. Ancient Greek personality types were a combination of Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic. These would also be described as representative animi of fox, dolphin, beaver and owl or also as Dionysian, Apollonian, Epimethian and Promethean. What do these delineations represent?
They observe that there are tendencies in social processing. In other words, these are sensation, perception, intuition, thinking, judging and feeling.
Men, on a very general level, lean toward sensation, thinking and judging. And, again, on a very general level, women toward feeling, intuition and perception. In a contemporary, post-industrial age these hunter/gatherer differences must be narrowed through a conscious, enlightened effort. How can men become more in touch with their feminine side?
Love is the answer. It is hard to express affection and approval to someone near be it verbally or artistically. This is a challenge for the American man. We have been raised to be tough, resilient, scientific and business-oriented. It would be easier if American educational institutions were already heavily focused on the arts, music and a lifelong developmental psychology. Since our nation is lacking in these areas it is up to the individual to take the next step, independent of formal training or a more well-rounded media circuit. From this standpoint, future generations of men can be more systematically encouraged to feel and love.
Exemplified by individuals from every race, human personality can be understood as a synthesis of these temperaments. Also, the interactions of the temperaments, where there is understanding of the features of the perspectives may find racial dialogue productive.
There may be a relation between household income and divorce. Other items on late psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of actualizational needs whose availability may vary based on race are “belongingness”, “prestige and feeling of accomplishment” and “achieving one's full potential, including creative activities”.
These psychological views on the aspects of humanity mesh with Critical Race Theory. The systems of evaluation and their innate access to social resources are connected. Thus, it is important for there to be fairness in the criteria necessary for access. This may require more than just a disregard of race. Each of us faces his own cloud of challenges. To be fair, perhaps, American society may yet need to analyze different sides in establishing racially productive progress. A proactive view of contemporary race theory might be that each person, of any race, has the power to do all he is able to make the world a better place. This goes for future generations as well as now. Critical Race Theory helps fine-tune one's racial awareness as well as just being friendly and shaking someone's hand at work, school or home. In this light appears integral psychology as it is advocated by Ken Wilber. Part of this recent, sometimes meditative process is the adaptation of the Hindu chakras.
According to integral thinker, John Smotherman, the traditional, seven levels of consciousness are 1: Instinctual or Root Chakra, 2: Individualist or Sacral Chakra, 3: Conformist or Solar Plexus Chakra, 4: Rational or Heart Chakra, 5: Pluralistic or Throat Chakra, 6: Integral or Third Eye Chakra and 7: Transcendent or Crown Chakra.
Of course, meditation is not for everyone. It is a choice worth exploring, though. This is true in the relationship between racial consciousness and integral consciousness. The chakras are like steppingstones that illustrate the connections between all ways of thinking. The higher chakras are only partially known until their juxtaposition to the lower chakras is taken into account.
There are many ways that a person can think. Here are some summaries of thinking categories circulating on the Internet.
Thanks to Ken Wilber, Descartes, Freud, Skinner, Gadamer and Marx.
Artistry/Work and Art Criticism/Work Compensation Thinking: Art and work have long undergone subjective and objective criticism and evaluation. Art and work are analyzed by criteria possessed by a second party or audience, separate in identity from the artist or worker. Thus, there are three things involved: the artist, the piece of work and the evaluator (observer).
It is the artist's intention to meet as much of the criteria held by the evaluator befitting a good, inspiring job. This is a small-scale, person-to-person social contract. The artist wants a win-win outcome.
It is the evaluator's (observer's) intention to see that his/her subjective or objective criteria have been met. Ergo, that the piece of work is good and inspiring. The evaluator wants gradated (if/then) outcomes. These could be, for example, if the art is truly inspiring then the observer will compensate the artist generously, subsequently if the art is substandard then the observer will compensate the artist less-generously. The freedom of the evaluator to decide on the degree of compensation for the artist's work is an important element of the social transaction contract. This is essentially a quid pro quo way of thinking.
Past, Present and Future Thinking: This is a way of thinking that represents different cultural leanings. Focusing on the past or the “good old days” can be nice but may lead to the phenomenon of “sitting-on-your-laurels”. Focusing on the present can be Dionysian or self-indulging (living for the moment). Focusing on the future can be good because it requires the individual to set priorities based on Maslow's hierarchy of actualizational needs and establish a plan of action accordingly.
Low-causal Thinking: This is a sort of meditative process of contemplation and seeking of awareness of the eternal in all of us. Some may see Brahma, others Buddha, others a field of light and warmth, etc.
High-causal Thinking: This is another sort of meditative process that is more transcending of specific deities or God images. It is a sort of Nir-vana or no-thingness that reflects a more subdued, selfless, ego-less consciousness. I imagine the vastness of the deep cosmos, even beyond galaxies, as it were.
Non-dual Thinking: This is a way of seeing reality as a non-dual union of emptiness and forms. Dependent, co-arising elements of self, others and other things in the universe becomes observable.
Cartesian Dualism Thinking: The physical brain and the mind's conscious processing of interior and exterior stimuli or “qualia” are not one and the same. This is a centuries-old, ongoing philosophical study of mind-body differences. There are quite a few opinions on this.
Big Mind Thinking: Transcending the ego or the self with all its material needs and goals, this meditative quest seeks an awareness of the blessed, divine or eternal in all people, things, etc. Dennis Merzel talks in depth about a reverence or respect for the ongoing process of life and being alive and conscious. He also mentions focusing on a rapport of love emerging from the heart and the head for self and others, too.
Shadow Consciousness Thinking: This is a focused searching for the underlying meaning behind perceived emotional, physical states, such as fear. A person, while meditating, may feel fear and need to realize after some time that it is anger that has been suppressed or sublimated into the deep subconscious. This is also a subject of ongoing discussion on the Internet.
There are many other ways of thinking in regard to race and the general well-being of our planet. Considering the initial question of this article the existence of apathetic and destructive mindsets is a result of many elements. These may include but are not limited to consideration of socialization, cultural and religious leanings, economic and educational level and differences in the definition of the self as a part of a larger whole.
Michelle Alexander, in her book The New Jim Crow writes that, “In 2007 more black men were disenfranchised than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.”
This is an inspiring perspective and raises the issue of racially tolerant mindsets.
Richard Delgado, in his article, “Words that Wound” writes that, “Racism and racial stigmatization harm not only the victim and the perpetrator of individual racist acts but also society as a whole. Racism is a breach of the ideal of egalitarianism, that 'all men are created equal' and each person is an equal moral agent, an ideal that is a cornerstone of the American moral and legal system.”
This quote reveals that when racism abounds everyone hurts.
Andre Douglas Pond Cummings writes in “A Furious Kinship” that, “Critical race theory arrived as a response to what had been deemed a sputtering civil rights agenda in the United States.”
This quote indicates that Critical Race Theory fills a cultural and inter-racial need.
Alexander, Michelle. The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law – The New Jim Crow page 275. 2011.
Delgado, Richard. “Words that Wound”. Page 180
Cummings, Andre Douglas Pond. “A Furious Kinship: Critical Race Theory and the Hip Hop Nation” Page 107
Jefferson, Thomas. “The Declaration of Independence” 1776
“The Constitution of the United States of America: The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments”.
The National Public Radio Website. “Derrick Bell quote” 2002
Washington, Booker T. “Atlanta Compromise” 1898
The Bing search engine: Malcolm X quote
Cornel West quote
Ta-Nehisi Coates quote
The “5” Human Races
Keirsey, David. Please Understand Me I & II Prometheus Nemesis Book Company. 1998
The Google search engine: Wilber, Ken. “Integral Psychology”
“All Quadrants, All Lines”
“Descartes, Freud, Skinner, Gadamer and Marx”
“4 Integral Quadrants Chart”
Smotherman, John. “Integral Chakras”
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1) Give a general definition of Critical Race Theory. What are three core assumptions held by CRT regarding racism and White supremacy? What is microaggression, and how does it relate to how oppressed people view racism? What is the difference between liberalism and equality?
Critical Race Theory emerged in the United States in the 1970's as the programs and movements headed by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. (killed by a White man in 1968), Malcolm X (also killed) and Angela Davis gave the semblance of a loss of momentum and support by political leaders and civil rights advocates and the cultural and racial majority.
CRT asserts that racial and cultural inequality, in many ways, unconsciously condoned by the social, political and ideological infrastructure of the United States is a continuing systemic phenomenon that demands discussion and involvement by Americans of all races and walks of life.
One core assumption is that there are trans-racial, mutually beneficial interests that can contribute to the nation and the CRT agenda of righting the wrongs and injustices directed by mainstream society at African Americans and citizens of other ethnicity. Another assumption is that if changes aren't made by the government and outreach programs such as the census, injustices and prejudice may yet be allowed to continue. Additionally, a grassroots, proactive community mobilization team can make a difference in getting help and resources to the Americans that are most in need of it. It is up to all citizens to awaken to the racial disparities that have been allowed to continue in the United States for far too long.
In regard to “microaggression” this term is used to reveal and explain how, existentially and individually speaking, every person must take great care in even small interactions and transactions in order to prevent bias and unfairness when dealing with individuals who may have a different appearance, manner of speaking or cultural value system. This change in behavior is bound to be influential on previous recipients of oppression.
Racism and “White supremacy” continue to exist despite sweeping efforts in the last five or six decades to create change within government programs and general public consciousness. Before the advent of CRT the case of Brown vs. Board of Education was heard by the Supreme Court in 1954. This allowed students of all races to participate in the learning process in integrated classrooms. Another governmental change was the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Liberalism is a political or governmental term that ideally promotes fairness in social outlook and policies that may be voted upon by elected leaders and legislators. Equality, on the other hand, is a real-time quality of socioeconomic status. Equality, especially among Americans of different races and ethnicity, is an evolving process that may not yet have been achieved.
2) Discuss the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and how it obscures the concept of race. What is meant by the “Caucasian Cloak”? How has this cloak historically erased Mexican Americans in Texas? Does the 14th Amendment mean that we are living within a post-racial, liberal America? What do you think?
The 14th Amendment supposedly eliminates bias on race or behavior or governmental endorsement of racism targeting African Americans or anyone else. The Amendment points out that individuals born in the United States are granted citizenship and all the rights pertaining thereto. The challenge set forth by this Amendment may be that it doesn't describe what should be done if racially preferential treatment continues to exist.
The “Caucasian Cloak” is the idea that individuals of mixed race or ethnicity may not truly be tried before a jury of their peers if accused of having committed a prosecute-able offense. In Hernandez vs. Texas the accused, being of Mexican American ancestry, was not given a fair trial because the jury for the case did not contain any Mexican Americans. The judge and court of the original trial were behaving in a way that indicated they felt that Mexican Americans could be lumped together with other Caucasians. Hence the term “Caucasian Cloak” is used. This blanket label rejects the reality that Mexican Americans are still Americans and qualify to have a trial before a jury that contains other Mexican Americans whether the case is heard in Texas or any other state.
The ethnocentric issue is embodied by an apparent lack of consideration for cultural and legal interpretations that may exist in the minds of Mexican Americans. The jury selectors, in this light, were ethnically insensitive or callous.
Unfortunately, despite the authorship of the 14th Amendment, we do not live within a post-racial, liberal America. On an individual, existential level, too many Americans, including law enforcement officers in the recent past, have made recorded decisions that apparently indicate that the physical features of their targets were triggering them to treat the individuals with raised hostility.
I think America may someday be “post-racial”. It may take training courses in racial and cultural awareness for public servants and potential employers. The problem is that life is a day-to-day struggle and there may not be the time to educate everyone in this country who interacts with or does business with citizens of differing race, ethnicity and/or culture.
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Discuss the content and relational dimensions of the statement, “I'm glad you are here.” How might the interpretations differ if the two individuals were siblings? Lovers? Working partners? Enemies? Classmates?
If the statement was given between two siblings, it might be seen as a salutation after an extensive separation. This could especially be true for adult siblings like my brother G---- and me. When you are kids together, and there is a sizable amount of you, sibling rivalry becomes a ubiquitous nemesis. The content would be grateful. The relational dimension would be cheerful and familiar. As you mature together you get a greater appreciation for each other as siblings. I have come to see my brother as a compatriot and counselor as well as confidante and doppelganger.
Among lovers it may be an utterance of more cyclical affection. It might be said to one's spouse, “I'm glad you are here.” after a day of hard work, hosting a family reunion. It might be said to one's lover so she would be reassured that she is appreciated, respected and held in great esteem. The content dimension would be frank. The relational dimension would be affectionate.
Between working partners, the statement might be seen as one of solidarity and confidence in the attitude of teamwork. It would be interpreted as a complement for focusing on a common goal. The content dimension would be practical. The relational dimension would be one of encouragement like Shakespeare's Henry V, “Once more into the breach.”
Between enemies it would be a statement of diplomacy. If one's enemy is present it may be possible to conduct negotiations regarding perceived past grievances. The content dimension would be practical salutation. The relational dimension would be cautious and wary.
From one classmate to the other the statement could be seen as one of casual greeting. This would have a more informal significance compared to some of the previous situations in which the phrase, “I'm glad you are here.” is used. This would be a greeting of possible teamwork or contacting for editorial feedback. The content dimension would be frank. The relational dimension would be preliminary and casual.
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1) People of voting age have a multiplicity of factors that influence them to vote or decline to vote. These factors may include socialization or upbringing, economic or employment status and the amount of education received or the lack thereof. Many potential voters abstain from participating in elections because they are afraid or unwilling to ask their bosses for time off work. Other individuals may be just plain cynical or apathetic to the effectiveness that their individual votes may have in the larger scheme of things.
These issues, regarding the decline in the percentage of representative votes since the 1960's, give cause for concern that the politicians winning elections are not as likely to reflect the greater sentiments of the society at large.
Rather than research the differences of viewpoint of political candidates, individuals of legal voting age may choose to go bowling alone or engage in some other activity of choice that excludes them from contributing to the larger social and ideological community that regular elections are intended to reflect.
This decline in participation, especially with younger voters, is a shadowy omen over the future integrity of the expected democracy ascribed by the founders of federal, state and local governments.
Methods to improve the voting statistics in the United States may include but are not limited to continued availability of voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), registration along with military enlistment and celebrity and academic endorsements over the mass media. Famous athletes, scholars, musicians, actors and other cultural role models and figureheads can be better organized to encourage young voters to exercise their democratic right to vote. Perhaps a secure method of registering and/or voting on the Internet is the next step in gaining a rise in voter turnout. People in America and California may someday be able to vote with their cellular phones or personal computers. The technology behind high-speed cable modems is bound to provide a more connected community that, with the use of security identification codes received through e-mail, will greatly enable commuters, workers and students to contribute their choices of representatives into local, state and federal data banks.
Famous athletes such as Michael Jordan and Serena Williams can also be supported by election advocacy bills to appear on various forms of news media (to increase concern for the political issues at hand and the differences in outlook of each representative).
Potential voters of all ages can yet be absorbed from traditional, social margins of race and class when a more proactive approach to winning voters is put into play.
Civic duty is the expectation or availability of an individual to participate in government functions such as serving as a member of a jury, electing gubernatorial, local and presidential leaders and confirming the appointment of judges and precedent-setting bills. Political efficacy is the degree of solvency that a political process such as voting, lawmaking and judging possesses. The more people that participate, the more effective these political processes will be in meeting their intended objectives (which are to represent the true sentiments of the greater society).
2) Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Adams along with Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin (who visited France) reflected the new ideas of social representation of what is referred to as the Age of Enlightenment. These leaders and pundits were influenced by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Revolutions of class and economy were manifested within the British economy of mercantilism, exorbitant taxation and oppression on the colonists in New England. This also was the case for Rousseau's France, which struggled with class warfare, assassinations of the nobility and military absolutism under Napoleon Bonaparte. Despite the turmoil in France in the late 1700's and early 1800's Rousseau had the greatest impact on Jefferson, Madison and George Washington, who, in turn, formulated a ground-breaking concept of a representational democracy. They were also inspired by Montesquieu, Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke.
Since the destruction of the Spanish Armada by the British, Captain Cook and other colonists controlled the commerce of the high seas. This would set the stage for the pilgrimage of the Plymouth Colony documented by Miles Standish in what would be Massachusetts. The new age of ideas was well provided-for in the taxed and prohibited American colonial fabrication of fine furniture, silver goods (Paul Revere) and land ownership (Jefferson's Monticello) and Washington's plantations.
Religious freedom and freedom of speech were key forces that brought about the Constitutional Congress and the eventual authorship of the Declaration of Independence from King George in England and later the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon in France.
Hobbes and Locke posed questions as to the rights and nature of men and women. These sentiments would be carried through to their revolutionary end by Rousseau. He spoke of the right to overthrow an unrepresentative, tyrannical government, or set of leaders. Alexander Hamilton echoed these Enlightenment concepts in his “magazine” or “gazette”.
They would later be analyzed by John Stuart Mill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau and Abraham Lincoln. They would be referred to as Transcendentalist writers and philosophers.
Other writers with impact on our government included Aristotle and Sir Thomas Moore (the latter of whom formulated a latticework of a Utopian society before being beheaded by English King Henry VIII. This also brings to mind the issuance of the Magna Carta. It was a ground-breaking list of limitations that applied to the extant English King.
The philosophical foundations of the framers of the United States Constitution were principally impacted or affected by Jean Jacques Rousseau. They would set the model for the Bill of Rights in the United States and Mohandas Gandhi's liberation of India in 1948. And later by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the racial and cultural disparities in the American South. (He advocated non-violent revolution like Gandhi and Nehru. Also with Nelson Mandela in South Africa. U.S. President Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to protect African American students' rights to equality in education. These situations were inspired by the framers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison who were themselves slave owners.)
African Americans would struggle to meet with the intentions of the framers into the 1960's. This was due to the grandfather clause, bogus literacy tests at election time and the Jim Crow laws.
In the light of Rousseau, Locke and Hobbes philosophies of overthrowing a government “by any means necessary” the movement of Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers believed in armed resistance to effect change in mistreatment of African Americans by police and other groups. Representatives of various degrees of self-armament included Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael of the SNCC, and Malcolm X. On the non-violent front Martin Luther King Jr. and Democratic candidate Robert Kennedy were both killed in 1968.
Much has changed and much has remained the same since Leonardo DaVinci's return to link natural observation and the science of human rights. This is also the case for Sir Isaac Newton and Mozart. They would have approved the ideas brought into reality of the U.S. and state constitutions.
Questions still remain as to the rights of men and women. Susan B. Anthony would finally lead the movement to acquire suffrage for women...
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The Greeks and the Persians of ancient times represented two major societies who fought in direct competition for dominance of the Mediterranean economy. The Aegean Sea was a channel of trade for cloth dyes, bronze, tin and other precious metals. The control of these resources was sought by both cultures.
The Spartans of ancient Greece had a reputation for military regimentation and perseverance. From an early age Spartans were socialized to fiercely protect their homeland from invasion.
In the first text the Greeks under Leonidas defended their land against invading Persians under Xerxes. The Spartans fought aggressively, “since they knew that, as the mountain had been crossed, their destruction was nigh at hand.” (Herodotus)
In the battle that is described by Herodotus the Spartans pushed forth from their initial defensive position, using first their spears and then their swords.
Leonidas, the Spartan king was slain, as were two brothers of Xerxes. It was truly an internecine battle between Persians and Spartans.
In Herodotus' text the Spartans ultimately withdrew to a redoubt behind their wall and formed a circle upon a hill.
The Persians succeeded in breaching the wall and annihilated the valiant Spartans via a storm of missile weapons.
The Spartan Dieneces was noted as saying, “If the Persians darken the sun [with arrows] we shall have our battle in the shade.”
This was characteristic of the Spartan culture of military selflessness.
In the second text the council and assembly of Athens, on motion of Themistokles, abandon the city, leaving treasurers and priestesses in the Acropolis. The Athenians sent their children and wives to Troizen and their aged people to Salamis. The remaining adult Athenians and foreigners were ordered to embark on two hundred ships along with Spartans, Corinthians and Aiginetans in order to ward off the invading barbarians.
Two hundred trierarchs were appointed. One hundred of these ships were deployed to assist Artemision in Euboia. The other hundred were sent to “wait around Salamis and the rest of Attika and guard the land.” (author unknown)
This shows the practical philosophy of the ancient Athenians. They were willing to leave their greatest city unprotected for the sake of strategic advantage.
Both of these texts reveal the ubiquitous competition for control of the Mediterranean economy and land. Even today the island of Cyprus is shared by Greeks and Arabs. These texts show the degree of self-sacrifice that the ancient Spartans and Athenians were willing to exert in order to secure the prosperity of their posterity.
Credit must also be given to the ambition of the Persian invaders under Xerxes. The Greeks would surely not have developed such a holistic culture of military discipline without the perpetual threat of alien intrusion.
This type of inter-cultural warfare was preceded by the Hammurabic Sumerians, the Minoans and Babylonians. It would be followed by the Romans and Carthaginians of Hannibal.
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The existence of the Higgs boson, a very small particle, has been researched at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. This project is an ongoing attempt to verify the idea of supersymmetry.
The concept of supersymmetry states that every boson is related to a corresponding fermion and, subsequently, every fermion is related to a corresponding boson.
This idea transcends or supersedes traditional symmetry within the widely recognized Standard Model of particle physics. How does the theory of supersymmetry go beyond traditional symmetry?
In particle physics, there are four fundamental interactions of nature. These are strong interaction, electromagnetism, gravitation and weak interaction.
Weak interaction is also known as quantum flavor dynamics. The weak force, or weak interaction, is defined in terms of the electro-weak theory. Weak interaction is responsible for the radioactive decay and nuclear fusion of subatomic particles.
In the Standard Model of particle physics the weak interaction is caused by the release or absorption of bosons. All known fermions interact through weak interaction.
A fermion can be an elementary particle like electrons, or it can be a composite particle like protons. The mass of various bosons is much heavier than that of protons or neutrons. The mass of the bosons makes the weak nuclear force have a short range. It is a weak nuclear force because its field strength is consistently much less in magnitude than strong nuclear force and electromagnetism.
The timeline of the Big Bang is as follows: Big Bang - Planck Epoch - Grand Unification Epoch - Electroweak Epoch - Quark Epoch - Hadron Epoch - Lepton Epoch - Photon Epoch - Dark Ages – Reionization.
During the Quark Epoch (very soon after the initial Big Bang) the temperature of the universe was too great to allow quarks to bind together and form hadrons. The preceding Electroweak Epoch ended as the electroweak interaction split into the weak interaction and electromagnetism.
During the Quark Epoch, the universe was a dense, hot quark-gluon plasma. Mesons and baryons could not yet form from the quarks. When quarks succeeded in being confined in hadrons it would mark the dawn of the Hadron Epoch on the timeline of the Big Bang. Therefore, during the Quark Epoch the electroweak force split into the electromagnetic and weak forces.
Most fermions eventually decay by weak interaction. Examples of these decaying fermions include beta decay (where the production of deuterium and helium from hydrogen powers the sun's and other stars' nuclear processes), radiocarbon dating and radio luminescence.
The weak interaction out of the four fundamental interactions of nature is unique because it breaks parity-symmetry and Charge Parity symmetry. This is also referred to as CP violation.
The universe consists primarily of matter instead of equal parts of matter and antimatter. If the tenets of Charge Parity symmetry were preserved immediately after the Big Bang, then equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been produced.
Theoretically this would have caused cancellations...protons canceling antiprotons, electrons canceling positrons and neutrons canceling antineutrons. This would have created an ocean of radiation in the universe and no matter. So, what happened just after the Big Bang?
Experiments indicate that the weak force's symmetry (such as during the Electroweak Epoch) should cause the bosons to have 0 mass. This is not the case!
The weak force’s bosons are very massive and short ranging. The mass and short-range of the bosons makes material structures such as atoms and stars possible.
The Higgs mechanism is a mathematical model. It explains how bosons could retain their mass despite their governing symmetry. The Higgs mechanism states that the conditions for the symmetry would be broken if a field happened to exist in all of space. Then the particles would be able to have mass.
The Higgs Field: Per the Standard Model the Higgs Field exists throughout space and breaks certain symmetry laws of the electroweak interaction. This field triggers the Higgs mechanism, causing the bosons responsible for the weak force to be massive.
Furthermore, this may explain why electrons and quarks have mass, too. The existence of the Higgs Field might be proven by identifying a matching particle associated with it. Detecting the Higgs bosons in their various renditions or forms would prove that the Higgs Field exists. Particle colliders, detectors and computers capable of looking for Higgs bosons have taken some decades to develop.
By 2013 scientists have virtually proven that the Higgs boson exists and thus the Higgs Field permeates the known universe. Certainly, additional research is necessary.
Per Rolf Dieter-Heuer, "[The] verification of real scalar fields would be nearly as important as its role in generating mass."
Some people think the Higgs Field (a scalar field) could be the inflation responsible for the exponential expansion of the universe during the Big Bang. Speculatively, the Higgs Field has been proposed to be the energy of the vacuum. Through the successive symmetry-breakings of the Higgs Field at phase transitions the present universe's known forces and fields arise.
Personally, I am also interested in the significance and function of black holes. A black hole can be very large or so small that it is evaporated.
Per Stephen Hawking black holes do radiate some particles. Also, dark matter may be related to the reactions observed in the early Big Bang.
I have read about white holes (theoretically from which new universes might emerge) and creation and annihilation operators in quantum field theories.
Another interesting avenue of scientific exploration are states, including "squeezed coherent states" along with vacuum state, squeezed vacuum state, phase squeezed state, arbitrary squeezed state and amplitude-squeezed state. Squeezed coherent states relate to Hawking radiation...such as the radiation from black holes.
Can a black hole become a white hole?
I don't know but certainly the continued research of the Higgs Field and Higgs bosons are bound to reveal a greater knowledge for humanity of the changing fabric and properties of the universe as it ages...also knowledge of the possibility of the existence of other universes in the past and future and multiple dimensions via string theory or M-theory and the S-matrix and D-brane.
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1) Mary Chudleigh's “To the Ladies” contains several lines that reveal details regarding gender roles in the England of her time. Her poem is an indicator of more realistic and critical relationships and especially marriages after the restoration of the king.
“Wife and servant are the same,
But only differ in the name:...”
This indicates the expected role of the married woman is to carry herself as a legally bonded servant of her husband. There is little sign of equality in the eyes of the church or state. Chudleigh hints that women (married or single) may experience difficulty in owning property or a business or otherwise act as a full member of English society. I understand that English women's suffrage (the right to vote) didn't take place until the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Again, Mary Chudleigh addresses the issue of unequal marriage relationships in her poem.
“Like mutes she signs alone must make,
And never any freedom take:
But still be governed by a nod,
And fear her husband as her God...”
Clearly Chudleigh is voicing her lament for the social role of women in the England of her time.
Toward the end it is written,
“Then shun, oh! Shun that wretched state,
And all the fawning flatterers hate:...”
Chudleigh is here suggesting that English women shun the traditional institution of marriage. It is thus apparent that women faced great challenges in being allowed to compete with men for access to social resources and political influence or advocacy.
When comparing “To the Ladies” with Aphra Behn's “Oroonoko” the reading audience is shown a similar study of marriage in the English colony of Surinam. Here the dark-complected Oroonoko grapples with his grandfather, a tribal leader, for the hand of Imoinda. He is resigned to visiting her in an “otan” or seraglio.
This scenario brings emphasis to the desire of women to abide by the guidelines of society even when teaming up with a controversial partner. Merit should be given to those who face the challenges and cultural obstacles of their time while carrying their concern for the future in their hearts.
On page 2149 it says,
“Tis not to be imagined the satisfaction of these two young lovers; nor the vows she made him, that she remained a spotless maid till that night; and that what she did with his grandfather had robbed him of no part her virgin honor, the gods in mercy and justice having reserved that for her plighted lord, to whom of right it belonged.”
Thus, although no longer in England, Oroonoko and Imoinda also struggle with traditional gender roles in their own land. To Aphra Behn's characters the roles of women fall along the lines of “gatherers” and the tribesmen “hunters”.
These examples of Restoration writing show the degree of male dominance and female suppression in the world at the time.
2) On page 2334 Richard Steele for Spectator No. 1 writes of the character of Thomas Inkle,
“To be short, Mr. Thomas Inkle, now coming into English territories, began seriously to reflect upon his loss of time, and to weigh himself how many days' interest of his money he had lost during his stay with Yarico...]...[...upon which considerations, the prudent and frugal young man sold Yarico to a Barbadian merchant;...]”
In this text, as well as that of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, the dominant protagonist puts a close friend through rigid and nearly military roles and tasks. Surprisingly Crusoe's man “Friday” bends to the directives of his “master” and doesn't run away.
The deed of Inkle, selling the object of his affections before landing among “respectable society”, also hints at deep, centuries-long traditions of second-class citizenship for women and servants.
The poor, unequal treatment in these maritime powerhouses of England and other colonies, of women and their rights, including free speech and legal divorce, embody a rallying cry for women's rights and suffrage.
In the colonies of the “New World” it would take centuries to secure egalitarian policies regarding gender roles and rights. This would also be the case for the ambitious and growing English settlements.
3) The character of Oroonoko “comes to embody the history of Stuart sovereignty, playing the roles of all three kings to whom Behn had devoted her own, obsessive loyalties...”
On page 2140 Aphra Behn writes, “...He knew almost as much as if he had read much: he had heard of, and admired the Romans, he had heard of the late civil wars in England, and the deplorable death of our great monarch...”
Here Behn mentions the executed King Charles I. Charles I's death marks a changing political tug-of-war in England at the time.
Aphra Behn also mentions on page 2162,
“His late Majesty...”
This is a link to the real goings-on of Restoration England.
Also, on page 2164 there is mention of Charles I's opposition leader Oliver Cromwell.
As Oroonoko progresses through Behn's narrative he represents a modern, changing England.
The political struggle between Catholics and Protestants continued in Aphra Behn's England. In a sense, her writing captures the impetus of James II and Oroonoko's characterological evolution.
This was 1688 and may have preceded the arrival of William of Orange.
The differences of ideological approach of Catholics and Protestants would generate conflict for women in Aphra Behn's era who, along with marriage, would begin to question their roles on either “side”.
Hence, Behn is the chorus or voice of the England of her time...the marginalized and downtrodden remain but the English swung the pendulum from Puritanism back to monarchy and later constitutional monarchy.
Charles II would differ from Cromwell in that the performing arts would be allowed to return including the medium of theater. For Charles II and his subjects, men and women were let to read and write questions and discussions about Oroonoko and other emerging texts.
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In his Preface to Lyrical Ballads William Wordsworth makes an attempt at explaining his motivations and intentions behind publishing a new or experimental type of poetry or literature referred to as Romantic. He mentions his concern for generating writing that remains within the taste of the expected reading audience while simultaneously attempting to broaden their aesthetic horizons and create a new perspective in his poetry and other writing.
William Wordsworth wrote this preface about ten years after the violence and social turmoil of the French Revolution. This point in history created ripples throughout Europe, where other aristocrats and monarchs feared further “revolutions” and the crude killing of the privileged classes as they were known to exist in and outside of France.
In fact, the Russian Tsar and his family would be killed by the Bolshevik forces nearly a century after Wordsworth's preface was written. This also proved to be the case for Leonid Trotsky, the Russian political leader and millions of Jews in Germany and Poland during World War II.
Thus, Wordsworth's argument for literary change is but a reflection of the larger society and its sweeping movements against monarchies, “higher castes”, and the comparative elitism of the Bourgeoisie that existed in the same era as Wordsworth and “snowballed” into the following centuries.
Commodities or novelties such as national and international financial cohesion and stable currency values might allow for fiscal support against economic depression, war, genocide, and a decline in the arts and sciences amid hunger and industrial destruction.
In his preface Wordsworth continues to express his desire to illustrate and emphasize “common life” and a passionate rapport with human nature and its primary laws.
Clearly many readers of Wordsworth's writing were participants in the struggle to “get by” and “make ends meet”. And they would prove appreciative and interested in the structural and aesthetic relaxation of rhyme, meter and verse in the Romantic school.
Not for the first time would a poet and a literary movement attempt to address the features of the common people and their collective struggle to leave their offspring in a world more prosperous than the one they had entered.
Wordsworth is speaking in earnest on his desire to change the style of his writing from the savvy mythology and rigid meter of preceding authors such as William Shakespeare and John Milton.
Wordsworth goes on to say, “[...] For our continued influxes of feeling are modified and directed by our thoughts, which are indeed the representatives of all our past feelings; and, as by contemplating the relation of these general representatives to each other we discover what is really important to men, so by the repetition and continuance of this act, our feelings will be connected with important subjects, till at length, if we be originally possessed of much sensibility, such habits of mind will be produced, that, by obeying blindly and mechanically the impulses of those habits, we shall describe objects, and utter sentiments, of such a nature and in such connection with each other, that the understanding of the being to whom we address ourselves, if he be in a healthful state of association, must necessarily be in some degree enlightened, and his affections ameliorated.”
In his preface, Wordsworth continues to celebrate the spontaneous and passionate feelings of Romantic poetry. He further describes his intention to bond with his readers using practical language and contemporary vocabulary. Wordsworth sees value in unfettered nature and wishes for such freedom in the lifestyles and tasks of the human world that is visible around him.
Moreover, in “Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” Wordsworth extends his Romantic theme. He is outdoors and is taking in the aesthetic character of the abandoned abbey along with the river and trees around him. This setting is something important to Wordsworth insomuch that he intends to share his environmental appreciation with his readers.
As the poem progresses Wordsworth elaborates on the passage of time and its effect on the sophisticated architecture of the crumbling abbey and its reflection of the past centuries of English history.
This is particularly the case for the changes of England in its relation to the Roman Catholic Church. Tintern Abbey was a Catholic abbey and was apparently abandoned sometime after the schism of Henry VIII.
Wordsworth also describes his own aging and the unrelenting progress of nature that is strong enough to erode a hefty church and sprout trees and hedges where roads and buildings once stood.
“[...] And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of thought,
And rolls through all things.”
Thus, Wordsworth is describing the relationship between mortal man and the power of nature to wear away, erode and scatter what was once built with vigor. This cosmic cycle is never completed but maintains a circuit of the seasons and the elemental force of unrelenting time. Within this setting Wordsworth addresses a female companion about whom he cares deeply.
“My dear, dear Sister! And this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her, 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. […]
William Wordsworth is revealing that he thinks much of beauty even under the realization that beauty is an arbitrary thing and is up to the “eye of the beholder”.
In addition, Wordsworth is making a hefty effort to break from modern contrivances of social status, business practices, and the soon to be effort to cover England with steam engine trains.
Amid the smoke and ash of the Industrial Revolution the poet is increasing his and our appreciation for the simple things in life such as nature and, despite changes in politics, religion, real estate, the divine right of kings and the who's who of 19th century entrepreneurs.
Wordsworth's art does reflect changes and sensitivity toward the issue of class consciousness. Hence, he does not say, “With the King's permission, et cetera.”
He is advocating a new age of spiritual and social liberty and egalitarianism, especially in places where they did not previously exist.
Despite Wordsworth's engaging and interesting lines, the reader is left with a heartfelt and multi-faceted impression of the thriving natural world. This world does have a place for humankind in it. This remains a part of the human legacy despite increasing brutality in war, the toxins and detritus of the early factories and the risk of becoming immersed in a race for individual wealth and prosperity in the eyes of one's peers.
In his Preface to Lyrical Ballads as well as the included, “Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” Wordsworth has assembled a manifesto for the Romantic poets. He is making an argument that individuals may differ in opinion on what the finer things in life actually are. But, for him, Wordsworth is drawing new publicity to the air we breathe, the majesty of flowing rivers, the pulse of the tides on the open sea and simply taking aside the time to remind a friend how much you appreciate them being there.
Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads & Preface. 1798
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The first twenty books of Homer's Odyssey introduce the readers to the character of Odysseus. His return from the Trojan War takes years to complete. Odysseus, in many ways, reflects the perseverance of the human spirit.
Here I assert that this body of work, attributed to the blind minstrel, Homer, reveals a portrait of Ancient Greek and Mediterranean culture as it was manifested some 2,700 years ago.
This edition of a contemporary, English translation is assembled by Robert Fagles. Fagles also translated Homer's Iliad.
The introduction of The Odyssey is written by Bernard Knox. In it, Knox informs the readers that little is known about the life of Homer and the society that surrounded him. It was the Bronze Age and trade on the Mediterranean Sea was developing.
Thus, the Ancient Greek identity and self-definition was emerging from a “Dark Age”, Knox writes. He goes on to state that literacy was attained by a small percentage of the general population. Knox also writes that The Odyssey may have once consisted of two dozen parchment scrolls.
During his absence, Odysseus' son, Telemachus, is obliged to stand up for his father's interests against those who oppose them.
In a similar light, Odysseus himself is challenged by mythical entities with powerful resources. These nemeses include but are not limited to a cyclops, sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, Circe and denizens of the Underworld.
Through it all Odysseus and his men survive, generating a reflection of the Ancient Greek world and the challenges and trials they faced.
Thus, it is not necessary to be Greek to gain an appreciation of what that group of people confronted.
The struggle continues in Homer's text, as well.
Odysseus ultimately returns to his home to find his estate in disarray. He is united with his son and commences a serious battle against the challengers to Odysseus' holdings.
The motif of the human struggle is given a substantial treatment by Homer. It is our lot to acquire Odysseus' courage and optimism despite the struggle at hand.
The volcanic soil and the movement of herds of grazing livestock were sure to be elements that influenced the unification of the Greek people. This, along with a testament to the faculties of self-reliance, reveal the resourcefulness of the people of the Aegean Sea.
Homer. The Odyssey: translated by Robert Fagles; introduction by Bernard Knox 1996.
Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition.
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This trio of plays, attributed to Sophocles, was widely celebrated by Ancient Greek theatergoers.
The overlying theme of the dilemma of Oedipus, who kills his father and marries his mother, has been revisited by Shakespeare in his play, Hamlet, as well as the psychological and developmental theories of early psychologist, Sigmund Freud.
Later still, psychologist Jean Piaget rephrased and reworded the Oedipal theme to help explain the stages of social and psychological progress in children.
In the mid to late 1800's German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, addressed changes in perspective of modern man questioning traditional social institutions such as the Christian church, the roots of morality and the drive to survive that remains in all people.
Nietzsche himself would fall victim to a Dionysian philosophy in that he contracted and suffered from venereal disease.
Nevertheless, his writing and that of his contemporaries would question traditional values upheld by medieval cultures, especially in western Europe and the Americas.
Such traditional values included the marriage of one man to one wife, godliness and reverence in regard to the Christian religion, and humanitarian participation in community outreach programs.
Freud and Nietzsche questioned such behavior patterns, claiming that many facets of the time-tested way of thinking as potentially superstitious and ritualistic.
The tragedy of Oedipus prompts the members of the audience to delve into their own motivations and drives in daily living.
One doesn't need to go so far as killing one's father and marrying one's mother to benefit from Sophocles' plays. More general probing is also brought by the Ancient Greek playwright to one's conscious mind.
There is a little Oedipus in all people. The writing of subsequent thinkers to Sophocles enforces and strengthens the protagonist's central role and quandary.
The inevitability of predestined fate and tragedy can only be fully portrayed in a theatrical medium.
Especially in the time before the advent of modern cinema, theater provided its audience a temporary escape from the toils of living. It also generated discussion and ideas among its viewers.
Some of this discussion may include the purpose of mankind's existence in this turbulent world, respect and caution when interacting with friends and relatives and a connection between individual consciousness and the greater, collective unconscious as described by Freud's companion, Carl Jung.
Carl Jung and his Analytical Psychology would provide perspective and response to Freud's sexual architecture of the human psyche. Jung's themes include a more diffused and existential rapport between the individual and collective unconscious of the larger society.
Thus, a modern Oedipus might be more pressured by his fellows to do what is in the best interests of everyone present be it at work, church, school or home.
Sophocles. Three Plays; translated from Ancient Greek
Nietzsche, Friedrich. “The Birth of Tragedy or Hellenism and Pessimism”; 1872
Taken from Basic Writings of Nietzsche translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann 1992.
Modern Library Edition.
Jung, Carl G. Man and His Symbols. Dell Publishing Company 1964
Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontent
Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet”
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From infancy to adulthood, advertising is in the air Americans breathe, the information we absorb, almost without knowing it. It floods our mind with pictures of perfection and goals of happiness easy to attain...We are feeding on foolery, of which a steady diet, for those who feed on little else, cannot help but leave a certain fuzziness of perception. – Barbara Tuchman
Write a well-organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following:
Select and discuss some specific examples of advertising that illustrate what Tuchman calls “pictures of perfection and goals of happiness:
Explain how such advertisements can lead to a certain “fuzziness of perception”, a distorted picture of reality.
Discuss what you consider to be some of the important effects of widespread and pervasive advertising on individuals here in America.
Advertising and marketing are sophisticated elements of our contemporary economic system. They are creations based on the information gained from demographic surveys. Thus “profiles” are constructed based on the interests and inclinations of segments of the American population.
Frequent examples of what Barbara Tuchman refers to as “pictures of perfection and goals of happiness” are aired through television and the Internet. These examples include new cars and trucks for sale. Commonly, the automobile advertisements depict large trucks or Sport Utility Vehicles climbing the rocky surface of a mountainside or spewing sand as they drive on the beach.
Other advertisements that focus on the ideal image are weight loss programs and cosmetic injections of “Botox”.
These advertisements are strategic investments of serious corporations to make a profit from people's desire to enjoy the esteem of their peers and their acceptance into the larger tribe or culture group of contemporary America.
The drive to be the perfect mate or the best parent is a significant motive for many potential consumers.
These advertisements, leading to “fuzziness of perception”, and a distorted picture of reality may convince individuals to pursue the profit-making aesthetic of becoming the image that is celebrated in magazine pages or on the radio.
This approach to the general public and its target audiences probably succeeds in making a conscious or sublimated impression that bridges the gap between want and need.
Advertisements, in the extreme, may change an individual's sense of self. Widespread advertising may cause consumers to spend their money unnecessarily.
The hierarchy of actualizational needs, formulated by late psychologist Abraham Maslow, provides a visual image of the aspects of healthy living.
The following is his pyramid-shaped chart with new references to social media by John Antonios.
[Please view Maslow's Pyramid on Senegoth's Profile.]
Hence, the consumers' needs near the base of the pyramid indicate a higher survival priority than those at the top. The philosophy of advertising attempts to establish conscious or unconscious association of the individual between his basic or social needs and the product promoted by the advertiser.
Thus, the potential consumer may acquire the impression that “I need this.” when in fact the shopper has mistaken an object up top on the Maslow-ian pyramid for one down below.
The effects of this economic process may include the continued existence of the mostly capitalistic economic system in the United States.
The speed and efficiency of relatively new elements to the world's business system such as smart phones and the Amazon and eBay shopping programs on the Internet have increased both the market size (the amount of and locations of advertisements) and the purchases of “needed” materials.
Smart phones or cellular phones have monopolized on the production of ultra-compact communication and computer technology so that consumers can stay up to the minute with items made available on Amazon and eBay.
This is also the case for primarily conversational, social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
Psychologically speaking, the new, user-friendly markets and convenient gadgets to be purchased or offer subscriptions with faster, more expansive contact with other smart phone users has taken an effect on American culture.
The wave of “Millennials” is slowly taking the reins of popular culture from the “X-Generation” and “Baby Boomers”.
A term that may rise in use in the near future of virtual advertising is the “Cyber Self”.
Citizens in the upcoming decades are destined to have a flourishing and dynamic conception of themselves as reflected by social media. This is much the case with people who comment and discuss current events on Twitter along with individuals possessing online portfolios, collaborations and anthologies such as Google Drive, OneDrive and Blackboard.
As a member of the “X-Generation” I recall putting advertisements in a past college newspaper using waxed sheets of paper and an X-Acto knife.
Now “Millenials” can accomplish the same or better media product with a computer or cell phone and journalistic software.
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo has opined that young men appear to be less tolerant or patient with dry text or printed text and media in comparison with young women.
In order to maintain the interest and attention span of all his students and readers Philip Zimbardo has been quick to generate animated illustrations to enhance his latest research.
The following are some of Dr. Zimbardo's video clips on YouTube.
It is only a matter of time that the processor-bearing circuit boards of smart phones and their ilk will contain a greater focus on the intensely visual media formats of video games and those of “chat rooms” (Many current video games contain “chat rooms”.) and Skype and Zoom users will be more directly addressed by universities and colleges in the United States.
Recent software and online college courses represent an initial phase of success in the quest to bind the educational process with the “can do” status of digital media.
Advertising of goods and services within this modern media format is bound to grow in this decade.
The progress of a Cyber Self (including a reference profile based on earlier purchases) for large percentages of populations is surely burgeoning.
World businesses and educators are soon bound to teach their employees or students with information collected and even purchased in regard to the individual student or customer.
Among other corporate web sites Amazon offers many “new recommendations” of products available from the global service. This technology and software, along with Facebook and Instagram interests or “likes” will progress in the near future, making guesses as to what books, clothing, cars or other items the consumer may need or want.
Maslow, Abraham and Antonios, John. “An Updated Maslow-ian Pyramid”
Tuchman, Barbara. “Introductory Quotation” (regarding advertising)
Darrow, Matt. “The Cyber Self” (an anthropological idea)
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No city in the world has been designed for and by the automobile as has Los Angeles. This city has developed and altered its very landscape to accommodate the private car.
It may not be too much to assert that the automobile plays some role in the aspirations, tastes, social class, work and recreation of Angelinos. Los Angeles is not a city in the usual sense; it is an autoculture.
Write a well-organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following:
Identify some of the signs of the automobile's dominance in Los Angeles.
Explain how the automobile has shaped the way people live in Los Angeles.
There are many signs of the automobile's dominance in Los Angeles. One such sign is the sophisticated network of freeways and toll roads that covers the greater Los Angeles area.
Angelinos use the highway system to get from home to work, shop for necessities and leave the city altogether.
One indication of the popularity of the private car is the number of used and new car dealerships within the urban sprawl of L.A.
Historically the automobile boom and city politics caused the cancellation of the Los Angeles trolley system. And a greater governmental emphasis on the construction of multi-lane highways.
These early changes along with the building of toll roads and carpool lanes have made it easier for families to get around and meet such needs as picking up the kids from school and shopping for the evening meal.
Additionally, the economic infrastructure is filled with restaurants and other businesses that cater to the driving customer.
One of the popular fast-food outlets is In-N-Out. Another is represented by the chains of movie theaters built in shopping malls and the abundance of traditional parks and theme parks.
There is an air of variety and diversity within communities in driving range. Thus, there are unique features linked to such gathering places as Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier and Big Bear.
It is true that people with a running car can, during certain times of the year, ski in the morning and then surf on the afternoon of the same day.
The automobile has shaped the ways that people enjoy other aspects of living such as access to libraries, gymnasiums (including karate dojos) and golf courses.
An interesting example of evolving architecture and unified art collection is the J. Paul Getty Museum. Within driving range, this museum offers samples of centuries of art. There is more art that is rotated there than in many other museums. Thus, the “Getty” is worth visiting more than once.
Another point of interest accessible by car is the tar pits at La Brea. Visitors are welcome to peruse many paleontological specimens native to the Los Angeles flood basin. Most of these are the remains of extinct creatures that, while foraging for food or prey, were trapped in the tar pits there.
Other opportunities for exploration in the Los Angeles transportation system are visits to Mexico, Big Sur and the California wine country.
Cars of today also offer greater contact with the outside world through digital radio, smart phone compatibility and even television for the edification of the passengers.
Los Angeles is truly an auto culture in that much of the local economy benefits from the sale of tickets to sporting events and theatrical concerts which are readily accessible to residents who own cars.
Charging stations and gas stations also thrive from re-charging and re-fueling the cars of today.
As early as the advent of the Ford Model T automobiles, including those in L.A., have brought people an enhanced sense of freedom and autonomy in their social relationships. Thus, it is easier to cruise the city with a friend and go to a show or a theme park without taking one's family along for the ride.
Ultimately, L.A.'s car consciousness is unique in comparison to older cities such as Rome and Madrid.
The cars and their roads are here to stay and thus the urban setting is famously conducive of the commerce and recreation attributed to “car living”.
People in the Los Angeles area demonstrate the diversity in design of their cars. Some prefer vintage cars while the majority drive more recent models. Thus, the car has become an extension of the owner's personality and aesthetic taste.
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Marriage as an institution in America is changing. Job titles and employment opportunities come and go at a faster rate than what was considered to be normal in the years following the close of World War II. When the enlisted men returned to civilian life in the 1940's and 1950's many could expect to graduate from college and enter a career that would last until their retirements.
This was the case for my grandfather who served in the Navy during the war and returned to graduate with a college degree. He then started work as an accounting employee for Hughes Aircraft, which he stuck with until he reached retirement age.
The lack of financial stability and availability of lasting jobs has taken its toll on the traditional American nuclear family. American marriages with or without children have seen a continuing increase in separations and legal battles over child custody privileges.
Other avenues of thinking suggest that marriage and family counseling may help. Unfortunately, separations are bound to linger. This behavior pattern may be revealing a change in the socioeconomic category of “married couples”. A permanent relationship may just not be in the cards these days.
Signs that marriages are no longer expected to last a lifetime are visible in the strategic marriages of Hollywood actors and celebrities. There is also a decrease in weddings with a tall, white cake and hundreds of guests. The possible social effects of viewing marriage as a less than permanent relationship are the more casual pairings of couples and families, the abstinence of singles and the rise of “marriages of convenience”.
These trends may signify a greater social and cultural change in regard to the lack of permanency in a variety of roles transcending the institution of marriage as it was known for centuries and spreading to the professional job market, having enough savings to embark on a vacation in another part of the world and the existence of substantial pensions after retirement.
However, even without the formal labels of a traditional marriage, children can be flexible and supportive. They process and comprehend much of the social world that surrounds them. It is we, the “old guard” or “traditionalists” who have a harder time adjusting to these cultural changes or “a society in high transience” as stated by Alvin Toffler.
Other features of less permanent relationships may be an increase in flexibility or malleability through more pragmatic second marriages, where couples may get together with each of them including children from a previous marriage. Other ideas are adoption, foster parenting and surrogate parenting.
Another sign that marriages are no longer expected to last a lifetime may be the use of prenuptial agreements. This is where a potential bride and groom write down what, if anything, will be paid or shared by one or both people. Such agreements may ease or clarify what might otherwise be a painful and trying separation, legally and financially speaking.
As marriage and other social institutions may surely be in a state of transition and re-definition new familial structures may be fast approaching.
It wouldn't surprise me to hear that there are children born in space, on the moon or on Mars. In such theoretical situations the entire crew of the spaceship, with its variety of specialists, may lend a hand in raising and educating the new additions to the ship's roster.
I understand that in the nation of Israel there are kibbutz farms and settlements where children share designated days out of the week with their parents and other days in the larger community. The kibbutzim may be giving a hint of what social and cultural changes America may face in the future.
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Human nature is a term used to study cognitive and dynamic processes such as thought, feeling and behaving. These processes are different from cultural and developmental aspects of mental programming.
Ongoing topics for discussion on the Internet and elsewhere are characteristics and sources of human value systems. This debate is referred to as “nature versus nurture”.
Areas of thinking influenced by the analysis of human nature are economics, politics, ethics and theology.
Sociologically speaking human nature is a source of norms of behavior along with similar questions in the categories of literature and art.
Simply speaking, discussions regarding human nature lead to the question, “What is it to be human?”
The roots of dialogue about human nature go at least as far back as the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. A methodology popularly used in classical and medieval times when considering the facets of human nature is the teleology of Aristotle. In this view, human nature influences individuals to become their full selves. Like the perfect circle or the hypotenuse of a triangle classic thought considers human nature to be an abstract, idealized manifestation of the shape of humanity.
Aristotle was pragmatic and hinted that the purpose of humanity is politics and excellence of virtue. In his Nichomachean Ethics Aristotle stated that, “All things aim at some good.”
This ethereal concept of human nature continues to be the topic of debates stretching to contemporary civilization. Several philosophers have pondered the origins and sources of the evolving nature of humanity. Among these are Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, structuralists and postmodernists. They argued against an abstract model or innate human nature.
Another substantial thinker in the case of humanity's tendencies and proclivities was Charles Darwin. He is followed in thought by behaviorists, determinists, psychologists and psychiatrists. These philosophers attribute little influence to an ethereal or idealized source of human nature. They assert that humanity is changed by alterations in its surrounding environment. Hence human nature is flexible and malleable based on the challenges at hand and the struggle to survive and thrive.
In my own case, although raised with many Spanish-speaking companions, I didn't speak the language myself until I moved from the California desert to the greater Los Angeles area.
My first job, here, was as a cashier and food server at El Pollo Loco. Having listened to the Spanish accent and pronunciation since childhood I ultimately acquired a rudimentary vocabulary and manner of expressing myself to my friends and co-workers at the Mexican chicken restaurant. I soon saw the benefit of using a secondary word list when conducting transactions with customers in the sizable drive through and by the grill in the kitchen. I began to understand the cultural preferences of the people with whom I was in daily contact.
Another prompt or impetus to my changing human nature was the knowledge that, after my mother passed from breast cancer in 1992, my father married a woman originally from Mexico.
Communicating and chatting with M---- furthered my realization that Spanish was a tangible and viable cultural and linguistic forum where, just like American English speakers, Latin American workers needed to keep all options open as they filled jobs in the Southern California business setting.
Reiterating the initial question, “What is it to be human?” I have realized, on my 41 years on this Earth, that being human is a polymorphous and changing state of being.
There are new faces and fresh ideas that continue to emerge through the socioeconomic milieu. Other ages, philosophies and psychological states of being are encountered on this university campus.
Despite my relatively substantial experience in the community college system, I have continued to acquire additions and supplements to my own human nature and personality here at the California State University at Dominguez Hills.
The undertaking of seeking a bachelor's degree in English Literature has brought me to recognize that there may be more female students than male students at CSUDH and more young adults than chronologically mature ones (such as myself).
A hobby of my friend and I (when not studying at school) is to create and publish “Do It Yourself” magazines. (These are otherwise known as D.I.Y. Magazines.) Surely our human nature has benefited and changed while producing pages of interviews, questions of politics and fiction magazines. Thus, in accordance with the ancient Greeks and those who followed, it is constructive and healthy to uphold a transitional and proactive consciousness of one's human nature.
In closing, the question lingers, “What is the future of mankind?”
At this juncture, it is apparent that technology and computers in particular are gaining in sophistication and shrinking in size. The human nature of the participants in our global society is destined to progress in ease of communication and facilitate their self-expression on a broader scale.
Where physical borders exist, walls may yet be torn down on the Internet and elsewhere in the global digital community.
All of us are at the cusp of a rapidly changing definition of self, human nature and others. This process is destined to accelerate over time.
“Human Nature” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Aristotle. “Nichomachean Ethics” 350 B.C.
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Benjamin Franklin was certainly one of the founding role models of the United States' philosophy of self-reliance. His legacy of practicality and hard work constitutes timeless values rediscovered in the European Renaissance. He was not, however, the quintessential American. This will be proven by the escalating degree of economic complexity in contemporary times.
There are similar entrepreneurs to Franklin. These include H. Ross Perot, Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey and Stephen King. They are successful individuals but are also examples of the ideology that in order to get started, money wise, you have to know the right people. This can be a crushing reality for would-be businessmen and women who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet.
Enlightenment era New England was a tight community in comparison to the vast nation that America has become. Everyone is looking for a leg up. To follow in the footsteps of Franklin and other business tycoons who are self-educated and self-managed is a much greater challenge. Credentials and certification are now resume musts. To be a Franklin today requires professors, doctors and pundits to declare one to be such. The business community, too, must take a would-be individualist into the fold and bestow him or her with the privileges and benefits therein.
Of the four temperaments, analytical/scientific, empathetic, administrative and engineering, Franklin most fits the analytical/scientific type. Despite the differences in today's economy, I'm sure that a man or woman of Benjamin Franklin's temperament (analytical/scientific) will still find the resources available to ultimately be financially and academically successful. His autobiography shows him to be frugal, disciplined and a natural leader.
The Age of Enlightenment was a significant socioeconomic step forward from the Renaissance. Where once the access to tools for printing, music and painting was relatively out of reach to the general population of Europe and America, the burgeoning of industry allowed independent entrepreneurs such as Benjamin Franklin to use these tools and stand as their own institutions.
Among other revolutionary writers and philosophers Franklin was at the forefront of the new ideas of self-sufficiency without the overseeing of feudal liege lords and kings. Slavery, serfdom and indentured servitude did not vanish overnight, however.
As it turned out the English colonies that developed in the newly discovered land, mapped by Colombus and Vespucci, became the theater for social change that struggled to come about in the Old World.
Taxation without representation was still commonplace and it took the energy of the British colonists to mount a holistic protest against the economic restrictions and mercantilism of the English Crown.
The young Franklin came from a large family and represented the social contract of the time by turning his hand at presswork and printing from an early age. He avoided pressure and potential prosecution by using various pen names during his career. Most famously he authored and published Poor Richard's Almanac which was a big hit along the eastern seaboard. This almanac, along with scientific experiments involving electricity, gave Benjamin Franklin popularity among the learned circles of England and France.
In Franklin's autobiography he outlines his various apprenticeships under printers throughout New England. He was but a young man when he worked with his stern brother. This exposure to the world of books and letters enabled him to later produce Poor Richard's Almanac.
One thing I found to be interesting was the ability of the young Franklin to find food and lodging in the different cities he visited while in search of gainful employment. The people that he met were friendly, helpful and generous. The population of the English colonies was significantly less than what it is today. There was a ubiquitous Judeo-Christian code that some may say is nonexistent in contemporary society. If hungry, Franklin could not go to McDonald's or Vons. If tired, he could not sleep at Embassy Suites or the Hilton. The necessities of life were met through the kindness of others, at times even from complete strangers.
This unspoken code is similar to the hierarchy of actualizational needs as defined by Abraham Maslow. These needs include food, clothing and shelter. Meeting these needs for all Americans remains a challenge today despite the complexity of our socioeconomic system.
By middle age Benjamin Franklin was a self-made man. His publishing of his almanac and also much-needed paper currency brought a boost to his financial status. He soon became an ad hoc ambassador for the English colonies in America.
At first, he declared himself to be a loyal subject of the British Crown. Later, in the France of Rousseau, he delineated his support for the American Revolution.
Fine furniture and handcrafts were meant to be imported from London and the neighboring British cities. America was left with exporting raw goods and supplies. They also were expected to drink English tea which would prove an early issue of protest.
Benjamin Franklin helped Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence. Both men were ingenious and represented the best of the Age of Enlightenment. The Declaration would eventually be signed by landholders throughout the thirteen colonies.
Slavery remained an issue, though, and would be addressed by later generations in the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.
Women's suffrage was also a social challenge that was dealt with at a later time.
Based on his autobiography Benjamin Franklin declared himself to be a Deist. He supported freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. This was an ideology long in the application to a nation as a whole.
Earlier documents regarding the limitation of the autocracy of government include the Magna Carta, the works of Dante, Machiavelli, Montesquieu and Rousseau. These writers and political analysts shared a common Renaissance perspective for the role of government and the rights of the common people.
It has been a long journey, spanning many generations, to the goal of a more realized democracy and thriving middle class.
Rather than wallow in alcoholism, like his onetime co-worker, Meredith, Benjamin Franklin took care of himself. He lived a long, prosperous life and stands before history as a virtually self-made entrepreneur in the age of the dawning of free enterprise.
What can be learned from the life of Benjamin Franklin?
Is he the quintessential American?
He is not the quintessential American because economic factors and times have changed. The American work ethic is the standard after which other nations follow. He was surely an inspiration to Thomas Edison, Marconi and the Wright brothers. Franklin's development of an official fire department has bloomed into a nation-wide safety network.
Free will is always an issue when considering man's relationship to his fellows.
Benjamin Franklin believed in God and opined it to be each person's responsibility to live a just life. Franklin went so far as to create a chart for himself. On a daily basis he recorded each time he violated virtues listed in his autobiography. These included temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry and others.
Nobody is perfect but Franklin aspired to be such under criteria of his authorship. He acknowledged himself to be a role model for future generations and strove to establish a formula for those who might wish to mirror his success.
The days of muskets and horse-drawn carriages are long gone. The importance of Benjamin Franklin's life and accomplishments remains. He challenges his readers to take an account of their lives and ask themselves what they can do to become better, socially active citizens.
The American Revolution, fought under the leadership of General George Washington, got underway in the latter years of Franklin's life. Although he was a respected guest of the English Crown, he ultimately gave his support to the Americans' military venture and the ideals prescribed by Rousseau in The Social Contract.
The quality of living for the residents of the Thirteen Colonies was enhanced by the separation from British mercantilism and the vacillating taxes of the English Empire.
Citizens of the newly liberated United States of America were no longer forced to deal in the export of raw goods alone. They could more easily turn their hands at presswork, the fabrication of fine furniture and textiles and silver smithing, like the revolutionary Paul Revere.
Although not the quintessential American, Benjamin Franklin was a great man of consequence. He addressed the socioeconomic dilemmas of his time and emerged the better for it.
Other American leaders fit this archetype, even to go so far as to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Leaders of Franklin's caliber include Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt used a Franklin-esque, Enlightenment term quoted as “rugged individualism”.
Our post-industrial Age of Information retains some of the values of Benjamin Franklin's Age of Enlightenment. Education and diligence are still applauded, as is leadership and frugality.
If he were alive today, Franklin, a onetime postmaster, would appreciate the speed and convenience of e-mail and the Internet. He would also approve of the end of slavery and the inception of women's suffrage.
Benjamin Franklin's autobiography shows the importance of having focus and drive. These are characteristics that he possessed as a young adult. Coming from a large family, he didn't have financial support from them and was obliged to tough it out alone on the roads of New England.
With the help of a number of craftsmen and printers Franklin got the training and publishing experience that he would later use to distribute Poor Richard's Almanac and other noteworthy documents.
I'm sure that Franklin deliberately wrote extensively about his young adulthood because that is a substantial section of his target audience. He wished to be a teacher of the following generations.
His autobiography reveals the life's work of a talented man.
The era of the American Revolution possessed as much a battle of ideas as it did a battle of muskets and cannons. Freedom and equality have been long sought by numerous nations and political leaders.
Benjamin Franklin helped establish the longest lasting democracy to date and in the process has thrown down the gauntlet of freedom to be picked up by the children of the future.
Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York 1996
Franklin, Benjamin. Poor Richard's Almanac
Keirsey, David and Bates, Marilyn. Please Understand Me
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract
Maslow, Abraham. The Hierarchy of Actualizational Needs
Alighieri, Dante. Monarchy
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince
de Montesquieu, Baron. Notes
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Here, in Thoreau's essay, he draws the attention of the reader to his anti-establishmentarian ideas regarding the sovereignty of government as he knew it.
Thoreau also contends with the human right to resist and oppose a governmental system that perpetuates racial, cultural and regional divisions.
In accordance with the subjective philosophies of his time, Thoreau writes questioningly of the United States' war with Mexico. He perceives the nobility of all Americans in his agrarian / industrial world in transition and defines his challenge to leaders, legislators and the voting populace to resist contributing to a governmental system that prolongs the commerce and ideology of slavery and a subjugated and marginalized African American community.
This essay posits that the time to question the issue of legal slavery in America is imminent. Apparently, there were differences of opinion considering the rights and freedoms of African American slaves in this country, which consequently, ran the risk of indicating a lack of social, economic and governmental strength and solvency to all citizens of the government.
It is Thoreau's view that the nation should remain unified as well as address the issue of African American slavery through a lens that secures the Union and applies holistic rights, elections, popular representation and a conscious merging of African culture and collective consciousness within the larger, White, Anglo Saxon, Protestant community.
It is Thoreau's case, therein, that there was or is a lasting deficit of entitlement and equality under the flag of the United States. Thoreau is clearly concerned about the formation of the state of Texas as well as the loyalty to the Union of the southern states.
He, of course, is not able to declare that war is coming, but, on the other hand, he, along with those who shared his perspective, felt the need for greater democracy and discussion where political issues seemed to lean toward an attempt to divide the Union and its varied approaches toward the right of all individuals to live a productive and free life here, in this country.
The criteria for being allowed to keep their children from commercial sale, regular voting and representation by concerned governmental leaders should not be based on one's ability to read and write, the status of one's grandparents' right to vote and the right to move about the country free from pursuit, physical abuse and lynching.
On page 843 Thoreau writes, “The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.”
Thus, the actions of the United States government in Thoreau's time are grounds for analysis and debate. Thoreau is leaving options on the table regarding the breach between universal democracy and selective democracy. This issue would take the forefront during the American Civil War and the subsequent Jim Crow laws.
Thoreau is asserting that an unfair or unjust government can be dangerous and arbitrary. These views would be reflected by the abolitionist movement and the later President, Abraham Lincoln.
Although Thoreau lauds individuality and the model of freedom, there are many cultural traditions and laws that prove to be restrictive and elitist. The issue arises regarding a government of majority rule or the alternative which would be a true, democratic government where minority opinions are included, and each person's vote is taken seriously.
The opposition to greater rights for African Americans would lean toward race-based absolutism, a tradition of tyranny, abuse and systemic neglect of the human and civil privileges of many American communities in Thoreau's time.
He emphasizes the transcendentalist and Romantic philosophies supporting the autonomy and freedom of all Americans in a movement beyond the White, male and land-owning-dominated government as defined by the Declaration of Independence and the extensive Bill of Rights in the American Constitution.
The government of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and other founders was clearly elitist and restrictive by Thoreau's time but would take decades or centuries to enter the full scrutiny and consciousness of the American voting public.
Thoreau wrote this essay during the inception of the Industrial Revolution, where rural workers flocked to the cities in search of steady pay and the means to put more food on the table.
The access to resources, including higher education and the right to vote, would be fought over by varied factions in the United States for some time after this article's authorship.
In these changing times Thoreau argues that it is the right of all individuals to refuse to live under an unsympathetic and sometimes hostile government.
It would be a long journey for Thoreau's reading audience to see fairness and tolerance enforced throughout all of the United States. Thus, in the Romantic author's opinion such an oppressive government runs the risk of revolt by those whose interests are not represented by “elected” leaders.
On page 844 Thoreau writes, “But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.”
Thoreau is insinuating that something must be done soon and to a satisfactory degree where, at the time, abolitionists and the “Underground Railroad” of Harriet Tubman and others was not fully recognized as moving in the right direction.
These examples represent a resistance to civil government that would broaden and be taken up by future generations to an existential level, leaving governmental and ideological racism and deprivation to the wayside.
Thoreau is contending that anarchy or lawlessness is not a tolerable solution to the problem of unfair government. Moreover, Thoreau suggests that a struggle for adequate political representation is something to be fought for, even when it seems out of grasp at the current time. Thoreau, here, is asserting that within a complex and growing economic infrastructure the right to equal pay for an equal day's work along with eventual, representative labor unions should transcend the traditional work ethic as it stood between agriculture and industry.
Thoreau was aware of the bloody revolts of the French Revolution and its effect on the political spectrum of the preceding century. He, in this light, is not advocating a violent overthrow of a potentially unequal governmental system. In fact, he is writing that underrepresented people should carry the torch of change for a civil government that is more functional and productive.
Thus, Thoreau posits that the Texas acquisition and, he argues, illegal expansion to the west should be viewed through a lens of fairness and equality for all citizens, including the residents of Mexican ancestry living in what was the Texas territory.
Thoreau's thinking is new for his time, but his opinion is that the colonial agenda of Manifest Destiny has run its course. He is intending to draw focus to the imbalance of a government that seems preoccupied with land acquisition, slavery and a forced hegemony. Thoreau emphasizes that it is the responsibility of citizens and residents-at-large to refrain from the use of mass uniformity of organized religion to rationalize the growing expansion to what would be the western territory of the United States.
In fewer words regarding Manifest Destiny the people were slowly realizing that God is not White and the western expansion would initiate an American consciousness where workers and representatives of all races and creeds would have much to contribute to the greater society and consequently better their own lives, too.
Thoreau would applaud the perseverance of the African slaves and the Native American tribes of the Great Plains to gain a voice in the American political spectrum. Clearly, it is the intention of his writing to assert that one need not be a wealthy, White land owner, slave owner, slave, Lakota Sioux or Florida Seminole to share in the abstract concept of living under a democratic and truly representative governmental system.
Thoreau and the school of thinking he generates would constitute a pivotal phase in the American literary scene. It was his discussion that would affect the outlook and political momentum of his generation and those that followed.
He argues that unsatisfied residents of this nation are obligated to resist and protest the government's moral and ethical missteps until adequate representation and legislation is achieved. This would prove to be a fight worth undertaking as individual citizens as well as members of gathering supporters of a changed, more democratic governmental system.
Thus, Thoreau is sponsoring a new man in the New World. The old ties of organized religion interlinked with an imperfect and usurping government are held under fresh scrutiny. The ways and means of government are becoming a crucial process where race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender and occupation are used to enhance and benefit the individual rather than formulate the grounds for continued misrepresentation and governmental marginalization.
Thoreau is encouraging his reading audience to take up the gauntlet of governmental change and resist the inequalities of the current governmental regime. These would prove to be challenging ideas in a nation where the rugged individualism and self-reliance of the initial colonists was valued by the larger political majority.
Thoreau himself was put in jail for neglecting his poll taxes. This would follow along the lines of passive resistance which would be repeated in suit by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the following century.
Thus, Thoreau made himself into a bastion of individual resistance. There were consequences for this behavior, of course, but, in his mind, it was the right thing to do philosophically. This perspective reveals that injustice is worth speaking and acting against perhaps even when the old guard of token government opposes such behavior.
These values, Thoreau's life indicates, are worth fighting for and would be mirrored by Jean-Paul Sartre in his philosophy of existentialism published after the close of World War II.
Other writers would follow in Thoreau's footsteps, advocating a nation with a stronger set of checks and balances between a government of elected legislators and the people it supposedly represents. Such a model is challenging to follow, even in our time.
Elections continue to reflect the mindset of the voting population although views change along with the perspectives of the American people of the events at hand. Thus, the people can elect a leader into office, only to decide later that the social needs and aspirations are leaning in another direction and elect a different leader in retrospect.
The implications of the sovereignty of the individual to Thoreau are serious and long-reaching. Civil resistance addresses the actions of the individual but, it can be inferred, that communities and schools of thinking may also band together to oppose the cultural and governmental limitations that maintain a down-trodden and restricted social caste kept from literacy, formal education, the right to keep one's children from sale and the pursuit of one's own religion or lack thereof.
Artifices and mechanisms of collective resistance are also possible where, for example, the laws and culture are out of touch for many residents of any nation. These may include but are not limited to political and religious gatherings, publication and distribution of flyers and books regarding civil resistance and voting one's conscience at the ballot box.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Resistance to Civil Government”
The Norton Anthology of American Literature – Shorter Eighth Edition – Volume 1 – Beginnings to 1865. Nina Baym, General Editor. W.W. Norton & Company, New York 2013
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness.
The Hazel E. Barnes translation. (From the French). English translation by Philosophical Library Inc. 1956. Simon & Schuster edition reviewed 1984.
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Based on the definition of the term “contact zone” as stated by Mary Louise Pratt, the experience and testimony of Mary Rowlandson in 1675 describes her involvement in such an area of multi-racial interaction, increased competition and differences in the socialization of contributing members of their respective societies.
English colonist, Mary Rowlandson, was abducted and members of her family her killed by Native Americans (Wampanoag) in the late 17th century. Upon her return to the comparative safety of her fellow colonists, Rowlandson's subsequent report generates images of differences in social and cultural value systems along with increasing degrees of economic trade and bartering within the “contact zone”.
At the time the land that would later be referred to as Massachusetts and the New England area of the United States of America was shared by early English colonists and the Native American tribesmen. This “contact zone” reveals an initial chapter in what would become a series of successive waves of new arrivals to the Americas during the centuries following the discoveries (by Europeans) of Leif Erikson, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci and many other explorers, pilgrims, farmers, hunters, tanners and leather craftsmen, shipbuilders and merchants.
Thus, the Christian woman's report of conflict and abduction in the burgeoning English-speaking colonies contributes to an epic story of the emergence of a massive, multi-ethnic, multi-racial civilization residing in the northern and southern continents of the western hemisphere.
Although the lands in question were already populated by substantial gatherings of Native American tribes, the advent of European interests in the “New World”, including the encounter of Mary Rowlandson, introduced a change in social focus heading toward an agenda of extensive fabrication of urban and rural infrastructures appearing, at first in New England, and later in the changing custody of the Louisiana territory from France to the United States as well as the Rio Grand territory of Texas/Mexico.
Much the same as the violent conflict in Rowlandson's report, later conflicts between diverse and sometimes nomadic tribes and their European competitors would continue over the centuries. This would be exemplified by the pyrrhic battle at the Alamo, in what would be the state of Texas.
Mary Rowlandson's writing is an indicator of the fluctuating, “on again, off again”, symbiotic relationship developing between the New Englanders and the tribes of Metacomet or “King Philip”.
Although the “contact zones” of the British colonies in the years of this report's authorship were relatively small and compact compared to the movements of men and machines of the following years, there was enough construction and trade of goods and resources to gather the attention and concern of the local, Native American tribes in skirmishes that lasted the duration of that year.
It is not necessary to speculate as to who fired the “first” shot. It is enough to say that the European colonists and their Native American “hosts” experienced differences of opinion as to the proper use of land and resources, not to mention that King Philip's people were there first and had established their own laws, spirituality and guidelines that allowed their society to function much as it did since the first mastodon hunters and corn growers negotiated their way over the now submerged Aleutian “land-bridge”.
Mary Rowlandson's tale is riven with scenes of violence, bloodshed, shots fired by Metacomet's men and her own abduction. Rowlandson writes of a sequence of “moves” or routes of travel beyond the initial scene of the killing of European colonists and her own capture. At times she rode with her wounded child on horseback. At other times she went on foot. On page 130 it says,
“...One of the Indians carried my poor wounded babe upon a horse; it went moaning all along, “I shall die, I shall die.” I went on foot after it, with sorrow that cannot be expressed. At length I took it off the horse and carried it in my arms till my strength failed, and I fell down with it. Then they set me upon a horse with my wounded child in my lap, and there being no furniture which they, like inhumane creatures, laughed and rejoiced to see it, though I thought we should there have ended our days, as overcome with so many difficulties...”
This dedication to travel and movement by Rowlandson's captors reflects what could be said to be their own apprehension regarding pursuit and possible retaliation for their “crimes” against the “White” people.
The Native Americans had been armed with hatchets and muskets which they had acquired from someone, somewhere and used in their assault of Mary Rowlandson's home and, as it was written, other settlements or villages in the vicinity.
Not all of Rowlandson's children survived the initial and subsequent ordeals and she records the memory of her wounded child's passage in her testimonial.
She was a devout Christian, and her story is also filled with her prayers and thoughts of Jesus during her forced journey to the west and north.
Within her report of the “Twentieth Remove” Rowlandson writes, “Now the heathen begins to think all is their own, and the poor Christians' hopes to fail (as to man) and now their eyes are more to God, and their hearts sigh heaven-ward; and to say in good earnest, Help Lord, or we perish.”
Thus, in this case, Mary Pratt's “contact zone” is shown to be mutual and occupied by the interests of all parties involved.
The reading audience, however, especially during past centuries, was likely to be swayed by the face value of Rowlandson's words and share her hope that the “savages” be Christianized and regulated based on their own moral and social code.
To the extreme this story may have been used as evidence that the colonists were doing the Lord's work in pacifying and suppressing what Native American societies existed before them.
This term would be labeled as “Manifest Destiny” and would constitute the religious and commercial grounds to gobble the new-found territory encountered by the European arrivals. Also known as the divine right of kings, the centuries that followed Rowlandson's story would be filled with episodes of incivility enacted by the European colonists with the intention of subjugating and persecuting the diverse Native American population despite what contracts were signed and despite what offerings of peace were made to resident tribal leaders over the subsequent years.
This agenda of acquisition and religious uniformity would succeed in defeating the last of the nomadic Native American leaders, Sitting Bull, whose Ghost Dance would mark the end of the open range and traveling lifestyle of his people after the American Civil War.
The Native American ways of living would be further crushed by the mass-shooting of the buffalo under the auspices of making the land ready for the steam-engine trains and the union of the eastern and western regions of what is now referred to as the United States of America.
Rowlandson, Mary. From A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson Published by Samuel Green 1682.
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Although racial prejudice, on face value, does not contain compatibility with “American ideals” or “Christianity”, there are blemishes in American thinking and literature, from the inception of the first, English-speaking colonies to the eventual independence of the 13 states on the ground that would be referred to as the United States and the Eastern Seaboard.
As revealed by the late Thomas Jefferson, his interest as written in the Declaration of Independence and later writing, was to get the United States on its feet and economically become a flourishing market. This, however, was not achieved without sacrificing some of the political and ideological high ground to keep the slave-owning states quiet.
Such as it is, Jefferson's Declaration, for the most part, did follow “American ideals” and “Christianity”. This is especially true for land-owning, White men. In this light the “dominant culture” could be said to have been the English military in that place and time.
However, Jefferson and the writings and pamphlets of Hamilton and Madison among others reveal a significant, geopolitical land and power grab, where the rights and aspirations of the African American slaves were left by the wayside.
In his writing Jefferson says of African American poet Phyllis Wheatley to the effect that she'll never be a true poet.
One can readily surmise, upon replacing the phrase “true poet” with “free Christian roaming the Earth” that Jefferson may have lost friends and votes from the South.
To Jefferson and his elders abolition and emancipation of the nation's African American slaves from their grizzly occupations was suppressed only to erupt in the 1860's in the terrible, bloody American Civil War.
In addition, another multi-racial or multi-ethnic view can be studied in the writing of Equiano. Equiano, too, would have the slaves made free, sooner rather than later. He would not see it, though. Equiano died in 1797.
On page 361 Equiano writes of African hospitality,
“Indeed, everything here, and all their treatment of me, made me forget that I was a slave.”
Both Jefferson and Equiano would wish this for all participants in the African American experience. They, like the civil rights leaders centuries later, would wish their young republic to bring the Africans out of bondage.
Today, no one would deny that the battle against the specter of “White” superiority is long and arduous with many steps back and steps forward in the political milieu.
However, Equiano and Jefferson still speak of liberty and equality even when there was much work to be done in their lifetimes. In the end America and the United States have entered a phase of paradigm shift.
Slavery is illegal now and this is supported by the tenets of Judeo-Christian faith.
Cause for concern in this time, with a huge United States geography, lies more along the lines of quality of education for all children, starting at the preschool level and accelerating curricula into middle school, high school and beyond. Also, a moratorium on gentrification and segregated resources. Now there is a space in American society for adequate treatment of all Americans, especially future Americans.
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“Art and Time” was a presentation by artist William Fox who is also a curator of the Museum of Nevada.
In his lecture he mentioned other artists and their recent works in the field of fine art.
Mr. Fox emphasized that 97% of new art is gone within 100 years due to fire, flood, war and other unforeseeable catastrophes.
Mr. Fox shared recent work by a group of artists in Australia. He focused on the disappearing of traditional aboriginal art and notation there. It was his view that Australian natives used maps and symbols to document which plants are edible and in which season of the year. This is also their traditional approach to mapping natural sources of water and foraging animals.
Mr. Fox also spoke of other contemporary artists such as Michael Heiser, James Turrel, Christian Marclay and others.
Where the painting shared by the Native Australian artists was straightforward and colorful other artists took a more experimental approach in mimicking the large Nazca figures of South America.
A colorful sculpture was shown in, “Seven Magic Mountains” in Las Vegas.
These diverse artists and creations did reveal approaches of art and artifice resembling the written craft of writing.
The art pieces shared by William Fox inspire continuing art that takes into account the ongoing space race or “race to Mars”, the work of the late Carl Sagan on the Voyager space probe and the movement of humanity to remote regions of the Earth and, potentially, Mars.
These pieces hint at the progress of the human race, not just in the category of space exploration but in the thoughts and words of our own society as it makes the transition from the industrial boom of the 20th century to a century of freedom and expression and the opportunity to assemble future works of art and artifice.
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--How does the ending of Pudd'nhead Wilson either confirm or contradict positions Twain takes elsewhere in the novel regarding whether racial identity is inherent or socially constructed?
The behavior and views of many of the characters in Mark Twain's novel lean toward the idea that racial identity is socially constructed.
In this light Twain's created world or environment, a village near the Mississippi River, is replete with characters that appear to motivate the people around them to contribute to an unconscious or semi-conscious system and tradition of prejudice, superiority and subjugation of African slaves that their own race (White) brought to the United States in the first place.
This cultural phenomenon, especially when acted out and manifested by Twain's characters generates an extreme effect of blundering and ironic drama where children are switched at birth and, from that point, the access to social resources is set in stone.
The “White” child is given good food to eat while the “Negro” child is fed “clabber” and clothed in sub-standard linens.
Twain's characters, thus, are so “dense” that they need to be told, if even possible, that their own culture and their daily support of it is raining on the African Americans and has generated a racially selective socioeconomic infrastructure.
On page 57 of Pudd'nhead Wilson Twain writes, “The town was sleepy and comfortable and contented.”
Twain's racist characters do not fear of “getting caught” or “being forced to change” their satisfaction with the racial status quo of the time.
Also, on page 226 it is written, “Everybody granted that if 'Tom' were white and free it would be unquestionably right to punish him – it would be no loss to anybody; but to shut up a valuable slave for life – that was quite another matter.”
Twain is hinting that a different character or entity might ask the mirror, “Why am I doing this to the Africans?”
* * * * *
--How are the white characters in Chesnutt's novel [The Marrow of Tradition] repeatedly shown to rely on deeply held assumptions about race in order to justify actions that might otherwise be considered legally, ethically and/or morally wrong?
The characters in Chesnutt's novel in the examples provided and elsewhere are caught up in the way their world is and what behavior it expects.
On page 235 it is written, “Delamere's property belonged of right to the white race...etc.”
Here, upon close reading, the access to social resources and caregiving is blindly carried out as far as making a White hospital and a Black hospital.
Chesnutt is depicting an extreme of racial ignorance and systematic deprivation.
On page 265 the thoughts of Mrs. Carteret consider the “economic mistake” and “crime against humanity” that holds firm in the story, perhaps only to enter the conscious mind of the White oppressors until they face a full-on race riot.
It seems Mrs. Carteret is feeling initial discomfort that slavery and later “lynching” might not be such a good idea.
Thus, Chesnutt draws the attention of his reading audience to a characterization of the American world in a time of cultural and legal transition for African Americans.
On page 188 it states,
“Doctuh,” said Green, “de white folks is talkin' 'bout lynchin' Sandy Campbell fer killin' ole Mis' Ochiltree. He never done it, an' dey ought n'ter be 'lowed ter lynch him.”
This line from The Marrow of Tradition hints that the American society in the North and elsewhere may not link together with the die-hard South and the deprivation of the Black people of what other legal scholars might say are their universal, human rights.
This may also be stated as a right to live free from slavery and the segregation of the Black “civilization” from the White “civilization”.
Chesnutt is giving the details of a world where racial and economic injustice is de rigeur or (considered the norm). He writes of characters that “pass the buck” of slavery and segregation to the next generation.
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In the first of the passages Willa Cather, in her book My Antonia, is writing as a male character who lives and works as a settler in rural Nebraska.
Here, Jim is describing a sort of panoramic silhouette where, at the end of the day's toil, he and his co-workers see the shadow of a plow in front of the red light of the setting sun.
Cather is giving a somewhat romantic or idealized view of the character's shared work ethic and optimism. Much like the old Soviet flag and its figures of the sickle and hammer there is a hint of Marx's concept of unified labor and the “free feeling” of the workers. Some have called this feeling “solidarity”. This scene occurs toward the middle of the book.
In the second of the passages Cather is, through the character that is a male narrator, speaking of his continuing education with the character of Cleric.
Although recognizing a factual value in the subjects of Virgil, Dante and The Aeneid Jim confesses that his heart is filled with memories of a personal nature. These memories, rather than being those of Dante and his ilk, turn to his experiences with the other workers and friends in the open setting of developing Nebraska. This scenario of Jim's takes place later in the book.
Upon close reading of these two passages Cather's character of Jim Burden conveys a shared theme of working hard, settling the prairie land and leaving such things as abstract, aged literature and the classic, immortal aesthetics of poetry and philosophy to a more contemplative and less intense time in the developing, “Mid-West” frontier.
Both excerpts mention the red, silhouette image and hint that Jim's “heart” is with his people in his time rather than the classic writing of Virgil and others. This is not to say, however, that Jim doesn't finish his education formally and become a lawyer.
Comparing similarities between the two samples from My Antonia Cather's, (like Van Gogh's “Field Workers” painting) consciousness is not to gross lots of money but to drink the nectar of life more wildly and abundantly as it arises and manifests itself in the settling prairie.
Through the character of Jim, Cather is making the case for an unfettered existence that will not be denied or tamed by ancient or contemporary academic pursuits. Thus, Jim is “honored” and “cherishing” his time with Antonia and the other laborers.
* * * * *
This scene and dialogue occur early in Passing. Here the more hesitant character Irene is listening to the idea of attempting to pass herself off as a Caucasian American rather than an African American from her “friend” Clare.
Irene, at this juncture, has yet to be convinced that the rewards outweigh the risks of “passing” as White.
The second excerpt from Passing reveals Irene's envy and sense of competition with Clare. This second passage is taken from the later pages of the book.
Irene's struggle for a rewarding, safer and profitable lifestyle has caused her to covet and revile Clare's socio-cultural ruse.
The narrative, here, thus states Irene's jealous thoughts, “It would be enough to rid her forever of Clare Kendry.”
This section also hints at Irene's almost sadistic desire to inform Clare's husband of his wife's true race. This may be a hint that Irene and Larsen are making the case that if being a Negro in Harlem or elsewhere doesn't cut the mustard with “White Folks” then that is too bad for them.
These two passages are snippets of a psychological ladder where Irene attempts to conceal her true race with the intention of boosting her own quality of living.
At the first scene she is tempted by Clare's charade but has not been convinced of the merit of the plan. Irene has not yet chosen to sell her fair-complected features for social and monetary gain.
In the mental strain of the second scene, Irene is frustrated with Clare in that their life of racial and cultural illusion has gone so far. It is revealed to us, the reading audience, that Irene has reached her limit in imitating and grasping at resources like Clare and is sick of the whole aesthetic stratagem.
Irene is nearly ready to knock down the “house of cards” that Clare and probably herself have come to represent. Irene wants to be treated with as much erudition as an African American and not a Caucasian one.
There is a Black middle class today and there was one in the 1920's. The economic boom after World War I did help develop Harlem and the nation's African American communities.
The anxiety and contradictions are slow to depart from the U.S.A., however, and Irene's predicament continues to be a painful and tooth-gnashing one for Americans of all races and complexions in the 20th and 21st century.
The question, here, may be, “Can a man or woman in the U.S.A. Be African American or “dark complected” and still live with the economic accoutrements of Caucasian Americans?
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In her novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison tells the story of Sethe, Denver and Beloved. They are three African American women of different ages and experiences living in the 19th century in the United States.
Among other things the leading characters observe that although the American Civil War has ended the world of the recent slaves and workers has not changed significantly.
The African Americans remain as second-class citizens in the nation. This lasting socioeconomic marginalization is exemplified by slave women who remember having their children sold to other White slave owners soon after their births.
Other male characters from the Sweet Home community were also sold, breaking up the familial feature of the settlement.
When Sethe loses a child after bearing it, she has the gravestone engraved simply with the word Beloved. Later, as Sethe is reviving a relationship with a man named Paul D. a strange woman emerges, much like Jesus' walking on the water. She claims to be named Beloved and captures the curiosity of the remaining residents of Sweet Home outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
This story is well-written and descriptive of a face of American life that may be unfamiliar and painful to a new reading audience. It is challenging to consider a life where one's children are not their own and one's career is defined by the color of one's skin.
The issue of the physical and mental health of the residents of Sweet Home is brought to the forefront as Morrison illustrates the simple interior of Sethe's home and the survival of the descendants of the deceased grandmother named Baby Suggs.
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Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election, in part, due to declaring his intention to construct an unjust physical barrier lining the political border between the United States and Mexico. This plan constitutes an attempt to stop or impede the influx of reportedly undocumented Latin American immigrants to the United States.
It has been said that if one is able to do a thing it does not mean that one should do it, literally. In this case, the concept of an international border wall may not be the most effective means of altering the flow of people from the contiguous land mass of Mexico, Central and South America. This is also the case for other immigrants. What should, it anything, be done about those who fly into the U.S. or sail in on a boat?
Having the United Nations headquartered in New York City seems to be a push in the opposite direction when comparing the intentions of the United Nations' founders and those of the current President, his voters and constituents.
This political infrastructure raises the issue of the tradition of United States responsibility for the commerce of Latin America as stated in the Monroe Doctrine and its subsequent qualifications.
A notable period in the potentially hegemonic behavior of the United States is the involvement of President Theodore Roosevelt and a significant military force in Cuba in the early 1900's.
Other mysteries may be the killing of Che Guevara by gunmen with unknown affiliations and the military actions of forces in Granada and Nicaragua, namely, the Contras.
The United States has demonstrated itself to be a source of socioeconomic stability, especially since the close of World War II and the subsequent Cold War. This message is sure to be shared with the nations and people in the developing world.
The developing world is a stage of industrial and economic development that global citizens may try to enhance by seeking work in the United States and sending portions of their paychecks to friends and family back home.
I was three in 1979 when my father moved our family to the Imperial Valley in southeast California. He was hired as the city attorney for the small, desert town of El Centro.
Within a year I was enrolled in school. I was introduced there to classmates that made the daily trip from the Mexican city of Mexicali to the school close to my home. As the years moved along, I became familiar with the sound of Spanish and the accents and pronunciation of the Spanish language.
Along with these linguistic developments my understanding of the cultural and historical differences between Mexico and the United States grew. By the time I entered high school my friends and I developed enough confidence to make the crossing from the neighboring town of Calexico to the Baja California city of Mexicali.
Mexicali is the home of over a million people.
I quickly acquired a taste for tacos al pastor and raspados (chilled, flavored drinks).
The northern-most area of Mexico is sometimes referred to as “La Cachanilla”. In these border towns, there is a heightened familiarity with American tourists and visiting business-folk.
Surprisingly, at first, there are a variety of international factories and industrial pursuits known as “maquiladoras”.
On more than one occasion my friends and I saw Chinese workers and ate at Chinese restaurants that were large and inexpensive compared to the smaller cafes on the American side of the California border. We understood that Asian workers in past years encountered a greater degree of tolerance and acceptance in Mexico. This was after they left their homelands to work on the railroads and other early developments of the industrial infrastructure of the American southwest.
A percentage of these Asian businessmen married Mexican women and settled down below the southern border.
This is also the case for the appearance of German restaurants by the “frontera” (border). The European investors intended to cater to American and Mexican patrons through the accessible buildings within walking range of the United States.
Along with these successful enterprises my curious friends and I saw Jack 'n the Box, Pizza Hut and McDonald's in Mexico. We seldom needed to change our American dollars to Mexican pesos. The vendors and taxis accepted either denomination from us.
After leaving the Imperial Valley for the greater Los Angeles area my experience with Mexico and Mexicans quickly proved to be opportune. I found work at the renowned chicken restaurant, El Pollo Loco. By that time my immersion into the Latin American world accelerated. My Spanish vocabulary grew rapidly, and I became exposed to the preparation of guacamole (avocado sauce), salsa verde (green chile sauce) and pico de gallo (piquant tomato sauce). I also helped to marinate the fresh chickens and attend to the large-scale grill in the kitchen.
When serving customers in the drive-through in English and Spanish I frequently asked if they would like flour (harina) or corn (maiz) tortillas with their meal. Popular side dishes included but were not limited to corn-on-the-cob (elotes), refried beans (frijoles), and Spanish rice (arroz).
My education and subsequent immersion in the Spanish-speaking and Mexican American cultures has continued sporadically over the years. It is clear to me that the history of Mexico has been filled with conquests and robber barons.
Although the Spanish conquistadors, including Hernando Cortez, first interacted with the Native American tribes nearly 500 years ago, the human rights of the Chichimecs, Maya, Totonac, Huastec, Otomi, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Tlaxcalans, Tarascans and Aztecs has continued to be a work in progress.
This is especially true for the capitalistic, laissez-faire economic beliefs of many congressmen and Presidents here in the United States. Rather than build a wall that promotes class or caste differences along the southern border between Mexico and the United States, the elected officials in both countries could benefit from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and mutually beneficial immigration and commerce.
The city of Tenochtitlan was originally the capital of the Aztec empire. This tribe was accompanied by Tlaxcalans in the east, Tarascans in the west and the Chichimecs in the north.
The name Mexico is taken from the mythology of the war god of the Aztecs, namely Mexitli.
Mexico was dubbed a colony of Spain until 1821. The economic systems employed by the Spanish were called encomiendas (tribute grants) and later haciendas (land grants).
In 1810 there was an attempt to return the land occupied by the Spanish to the Native Americans under the leadership of the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. The priest rang the bells of his church on September 16, 1810. Hidalgo was hanged in July 1811.
Another priest, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon continued the mission of activism and liberation started by Hidalgo. A national congress, supported by Morelos declared Mexico to be independent of Spain on November 6, 1812. Morelos was killed by a Spanish firing squad in 1815.
Morelos' civil rights cause was carried on by Vicente Guerrero. Assisted by a royalist officer, Agustin de Iturbide, Guerrero composed the Plan of Iguala, demanding independence through a constitutional monarchy.
Iturbide was crowned emperor of Mexico in July 1822. Within a year Iturbide was exiled but he returned to his homeland where he was executed.
The following leader would be General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He was the President of Mexico when Texas revolted and through the years of the Mexican American War in 1846. Despite the struggles of the peasantry there was a minimum of economic or political justice for the following decade.
Benito Juarez, a Oaxacan Zapotec, was inaugurated as the President of Mexico in 1858. He intended to separate the Roman Catholic church from its land and doctrines in his home country. In 1859 the Ley Lerdo nationalized church property. The land ended up purchased by the elite.
France overtook the Mexican government in 1864 and established the Austrian Maximilian I as emperor. During the war that took place during preceding years a pivotal battle was won by Mexican armies on May 5, 1862. This would be remembered as Cinco de Mayo, a national holiday.
After the American Civil War, the United States demanded that the French army withdraw from the aspiring nation. Maximilian was killed by the Mexicans in 1867.
After a period of social disorder Porfirio Diaz would become President in 1877. He ruled as a dictator until 1910. He supported development of railways and the mining of precious metals. Diaz gave large portions of land to his friends and foreign investors.
In 1910 more than 95 percent of Mexican families lost their lands due to government expropriation of their villages.
Porfirio Diaz was replaced by Francisco Madero in 1911. He became President of Mexico at that time but was executed with his vice-president in 1913. Madero would be followed by General Victoriano Huerta.
Counterrevolutions remained, however, under the leadership of General Venustiano Carranza, Pancho Villa and General Alvaro Obregon. Peasants grouped behind Emiliano Zapata, a Native American soldier. Zapata and his associates, the Zapatistas, fought for land ownership and freedom for the working class.
In 1915 Carranza became President by force. He had Zapata killed. Pancho Villa traveled to Chihuahua and border towns in the southwestern United States.
The American General John J. Pershing led his military force into Mexico with the intention of capturing Villa but did not succeed.
Venustiano Carranza helped bring about the Constitution of 1917. This document was written in order to eliminate 400 years of feudalism in Mexico. Carranza was assassinated in 1920.
General Alvaro Obregon became the next President. He continued to support social reforms in his country.
Obregon was followed by General Plutarco Elias Calles, a political associate, in 1924. President Calles opposed the long-reaching arms of the church but was also against foreign capital investment. He founded the National Revolution Party. It was the predecessor of the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI). The PRI still dominates the Mexican political spectrum.
Ultimately President Obregon returned to the office of President in 1928. He was persuaded to reopen churches and address foreign governments with civility. He was reelected in 1928. He was assassinated later that year.
Plutarco Elias Calles would become the interim President. He would be followed by three puppet Presidents.
In 1934 General Lazaro Cardenas expelled Calles and proposed a six-year plan to advance Mexico. He gave more land parcels than any previous President, built schools, nationalized the oil industry and strengthened the unions.
In turn, Miguel Aleman Valdes, the President of Mexico from 1946 to 1952 initiated public-works projects, irrigation plans in the northwest and hydroelectric energy in the south.
Luis Echeverria Alvarez (1970 to 1976) devalued the peso from nearly 25 years of similarity with the United States dollar.
Jose Lopez Portillo (1976 to 1982) directed accelerating economic growth through an oil boom.
Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado (1982 to 1988) confronted a decelerating global oil market and massive foreign debts.
In 1988, the PRI candidate Carlos Salinas de Gortari was elected President of Mexico despite large-scale charges of election fraud. He ordered closed Mexico City's largest government refinery to combat rampant air pollution.
President Salinas was followed in 1994 by Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon after Zedillo's competitor Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated.
In 1996 President Zedillo and the opposition parties signed an agreement for political reform. The PRI would no longer be the proctor of election procedures, ballot counting, and campaign spending was limited. The document contained 17 new amendments to Mexico's constitution.
After 68 years of political dominance by the PRI Mexican voters gave control of the parliament's lower house to two opposition parties in 1997. The PRI failed to reach a majority in the lower house for the first time since 1929.
The other parties were the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
In Mexico City Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano won the mayoral race.
In 1992 Mexico, the United States and Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It became active in 1994. In addition, the United States and Mexico worked together to confront the flow of illegal narcotics north from Mexico.
The issue of illegal immigration and the treatment of undocumented workers in the United States continues to be discussed between the two countries.
A significant socioeconomic issue in 1994 was the conflict between the anti-government Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and pro-government paramilitary forces which erupted in January of that year. EZLN guerrillas created an uprising in Chiapas protesting the Mexican government's handling of the sizable but impoverished Native American community.
The military skirmishes left 140 people dead and later uprisings would claim 300 to 600 lives.
In 1997 the Chiapas village of Acteal became host to one of the deadliest massacres in recent Mexican history when pro-government groups killed 45 citizens and wounded many more. It is suspected that the military action was a retaliation for Acteal's support of the EZLN.
History being as it is I would still opt against the border wall. There has got to be a better way to heighten the quality of living for destitute and impoverished Latin Americans.
Since Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as President of the United States desperate citizens of various Latin American nations along with their children have been allowed to cross at official ports of entry.
These few thousand people are “a drop in the bucket” when considering the infrastructure, skilled job training and literacy education challenges south of the border.
We American voters can still make a difference and let the incomplete “wall” rust where it stands.
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Space Traders was an interesting film and essay. It was humorous but addressed serious racial issues.
The White majority in the United States confused “solving” the “problem” of African Americans by sending them to outer space with visiting aliens.
The question of responsibility among decision-makers in and out of the government rises.
What can be done to alleviate the lingering multi-racial and multi-cultural disparities in the United States?
The dilemmas of racial profiling, unequal access to social resources and the overall treatment of ethnic and racial minorities in our country with unfairness and devoid of significant checks and balances is continuing.
In cases such as awarding a home loan, small business loan or just being allowed to walk in any community without fear of being harassed by police or anyone else represent idealistic hopes for the future.
The message conveyed by Derrick Bell states that many minorities are treated like second-class citizens frequently as well as non-citizens entirely.
Despite the limited progress of the civil rights movements of the 1950's and 1960's contemporary smart phone technology has recorded seemingly unnecessary violence inflicted by police officers on African Americans. The frightening video clips are a rallying point for new movements such as Black Lives Matter and lasting movements like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Police training must be changed.
Americans must ask themselves what their standards are when confronting the issues of racial marginalization in this society.
Clearly, Derrick Bell was making a point that some less-sensitive Whites would have Black people be “sent away” rather than step in and lend a hand to actively generate change.
Another concern raised by the film “Space Traders” is the treatment of previously undocumented workers in the United States. Despite the fact that Texas was taken from Mexico in the 1800's many xenophobic and transferring pundits have chosen to employ the easy way out in blaming the poorest people with the toughest jobs for our nation's economic woes.
Transference is a psychological term that applies to these issues. White Americans and voters have succeeded in shifting their association of their frustrations in the job market and poverty in the communities that are “across the tracks” to the presence of immigrants and migrant workers.
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I am a native speaker of American English. I clearly remember being seven or eight years old and yet not understanding all the words used by my parents. They both were fond of books and reading. This may partially be the reason I employ a “Baroque American” style in my novel which I would gladly share at a later time.
My father, especially, being an attorney, was able to provide we four children with the History of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant which I recently re-acquired. He also had a large set of classics and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
There were all sorts of children's books and middle school books due to the fact that my mother was a teacher of the fifth and sixth grade.
I later learned that the set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were hers, along with the fantastic writing of J.R.R. Tolkien and his friend at Oxford, C.S. Lewis.
I later became a fan of William F. Buckley and the late Anthony Burgess.
Anthony Burgess uniquely created a thought-provoking and question-raising ethos in A Clockwork Orange. The Englishman is also responsible for translating Cyrano de Bergerac into a televised, English production with Derrick Jacobi acting as “Cyrano”.
Considering A Clockwork Orange, however, the book's use of British English spirals into a whirlwind of made-up words that, by the end of the story, cause the reader to absorb a semi-humorous exposure to “Burgessian”. The infamous, thug-like characters drink a beverage called “moloko velocet” and “viddy” certain situations. “Viddy” is Burgess' word for see or look. Suffice it to say I truly enjoyed reading A Clockwork Orange.
Another great inspiration was J.R.R. Tolkien's works of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Only some years later would I learn from my well-read friend that Tolkien had delved into the Prose and Poetic Edda updated by Snorri Sturlusson.
The Lord of the Rings is greatly inspired by the much older Viking and Celtic mythologies. In my mind, thus, Tolkien is re-visiting the culture and religious beliefs of the waves of Scandinavian people (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, etc.) during the late Middle Ages.
The American linguists, Sapir and Lee Whorf assert a substantial argument that languages influence the thought patterns of their speakers. And I would propose, the opposite may also sometimes be true.
Certainly, in my own case, having some knowledge of the English “congeal”, “tine”, “carnal”, “cheese”, “sauce”, “fowl”, “aquatic”, “crude” and “vase” would be re-visited during my stint at a chicken restaurant some ten years ago. These words would match up with “congelado”, “tenedor”, “carne”, “queso”, “salsa”, “pollo”, “agua”, “crudo”, and “vaso” respectively. Thus, these were nearly cognate words during my “immersion” in the restaurant kitchen.
In other words, I would propose when thinking in English, Spanish or another language it is essential to grab as many similar terms as is possible and to think with all of one's head.
On an introductory level, Sapir and Whorf are accurate in saying that languages influence thought patterns. This could be considered on a cosmic or religious level.
Perhaps the revival of the Ancient Greek personae helps to understand this ideal. It is up for debate that there are proclivities or socio-cultural tendencies within languages. In psychology there are the Myers-Briggs temperaments of the Keirsey-Bates personalities of Dionysian (Fox), Epimethian (Beaver), Apollonian (Dolphin) and Promethean (Owl).
The ancient Greeks also referred to these mental tendencies as the Four Humors.
I agree that some Spanish can, at times, be Dionysian and some English can be pragmatic or Epimethian. These languages, however, reflect nearly Biblical tracts of time, wars, famines and otherwise massive migrations of different tribes of people with different needs and ways of meeting those needs.
In another case, in my mind, is the pair of English speakers and thinkers: Gandhi and Churchill. They both spoke and thought in English, lived in the same time period and were very different.
Also, for the sake of continuity, Will and Ariel Durant used consistent, American English when writing the 11 volume History of Civilization. This did not mean the thoughts reflecting their written language were uniform.
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I have voted in every Presidential election since 1994.
As a teenager I enjoyed watching the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates on television.
In 1988 the Presidential race was narrowed down to Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis. I remember watching the Vice-Presidential Debate between Democrat Lloyd Bentsen and Republican Dan Quayle. I later had the privilege of meeting Lloyd Bentsen when he was the Secretary of the Treasury.
My interest in political debate led me to give up football for the speech and debate team in my senior year of high school.
I had a good time competing in such categories as oratorical interpretation, impromptu and extemporaneous speaking. Not only were we students introduced to the fundamentals of public speaking we were also exposed to the elements of poignant discussion and dialogue, regardless of what side we were on back home.
Regarding a future working in government, I plan to complete my bachelor's degree here at the California State University at Dominguez Hills.
Afterwards I will take the Law School Admission Test or L.S.A.T. I hope to follow in my father's and uncle's footsteps and gain a Juris Doctorate at a law school in the greater Los Angeles area.
I haven't decided whether I will focus on municipal law, as my family members did in the past, or specialize as a defense attorney in the court system of this state.
I imagine that, on a more sophisticated level, the branches of government in the United States follow similar, rhetorical and conceptual discussions within the tug-of-war between constituents and non-partisan diplomacy (as dealt with by the legislative branch).
Despite the comparative brevity of the terms of the participants in the legislative branch (two years for Representatives and six years for Senators) the tradition of subscribing to a lasting government (the United States possesses the oldest, working, democratic government in the world) has continued for 241 years.
Additionally, the judicial and executive branches of the government of the U.S. supplement the deliberative and interpretive aspects of government.
Supreme Court judges are selected by the President and approved by Congress where, once appointed, their term is usually for life.
The executive office lasts between the House and Senate (for four years in most instances).
Despite these structural features of our own government significant differences of opinion still emerge, especially on the televised media circuit. Many of the stressors of the sovereignty and security of the U.S. continue to current time. They are commonly manifested by ideological, economic and structural disagreements backed by military action. The term used in the past is, “Rattling the sword.”
Such appears to be the case at this time with the ramping up of the military arsenal of North Korea (practitioners of a military, autocratic form of government).
Another challenge faced by the government of the U.S. in recent years, has been the violence and turmoil of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
The American people, on the other hand, take great notice of the way that the current, dominant party and elected representatives handle the potentially dangerous unfolding of events by these governments (within the protocol of the United Nations).
I have considered eventually contributing to our governmental system. I may run for state assembly or state senate. Even without filling an elected role in government there are many avenues of study and advocacy that may be occupied by an enthusiastic and energetic agent of public service.
I have a friend who worked for the Department of Water and Power, here in the Los Angeles area.
My uncle worked for the Department of Parks and Recreation, also in L.A.
Another uncle worked as a high school teacher for many years. (I hear that teachers are preferred during the process of jury selection).
Government, with all its blemishes and tragedies, is here to stay.
The human race is abundant and there continues to be need for speedy decision-making, public facilities and services and the education of the future generations.
The task at hand, it seems, is to do the most amount of good for the most amount of people or citizens.
Differences of opinion on this issue are sure to last for some time. Regardless, bills continue to be turned into laws, cases setting precedents exist in the judicial system and the President provides a face and a name to the governmental machine and the proposal and modification of programs that affect us all.
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1. This passage from Their Eyes Were Watching God takes place in the earlier sections of the book. This scene occurs after Nanny has fallen ill and most likely doesn't have much time to live.
This scene is before the time when Tea-Cake enters the picture. Thus, not all men are the same and not all are fit to marry a given person.
Regarding simile as it is applied to Nanny, the author Hurston writes, “Nanny's head and face looked like the standing roots of some old tree that had been torn away by storm...”
Here, Hurston is emphasizing the position of Nanny as a strong and stalwart pillar of the African American community. The simile used to describe Janie's awakening, a reference to a pear tree, is also effective in its respective context.
This comparison reveals the resilience and natural dispositions of the significant women in the 1930's African American society. Hurston is portraying these characters as human and persevering people who pull their strength and wisdom from deep inside themselves.
2. This scene takes place during a substantial gathering of African American workers who are taking a break, or chatting after work was done. The setting of the porch, most likely with chairs around it, has become a kind of resting place or spot for recuperation.
This depiction of an African American cultural practice shows that all people need a place to shake the dust off and commiserate.
The sharing of thoughts and feelings through an oral or spoken tradition is a real phenomenon.
The character of Janie is impressed and enjoying the competition for her wedded hand.
Joe Starks reacts to Janie's initial reaction. He wants Janie to be herself yet continues to watch her from a distance, amused by the conflict and flattery, too. Their relationship, as it unfolds, is actually practical and doesn't depend on anyone sharing an “earoplane”.
3. Clearly, here, Walter and Mama, in A Raisin in the Sun, do represent changing values in the African American community. These value systems, to a degree, are ones seen throughout the United States and are manifested through diverse cultures.
Walter seems to need to ask himself how well he knows his partner, or perhaps how much she will put up with. He didn't seem to expect her readiness to pay for an abortion if he didn't act responsibly.
Walter perhaps is more at ease with the idea of raising a child out of poverty than Ruth is. This touches on a recurring theme of both socialization and education.
In the end Hansberry's perspective on values in the African American community is vindicated when the pair of adults choose to team up and settle down just as the fingers of rapid social change are reaching toward them.
The roles of African American women, in the modern age, transcend the novelty of single-parent families. Hansberry affirms that all children including African American children need a strong father figure along with help with groceries, rent, clothing, Doctor's visits, etc.
This is a challenge because, as time goes by, life in America gets more complex and specialized and thus more difficult to pay the bills without getting married and fathering children.
4. In the poem, “The Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay, a number of poetic techniques are in effect. In a soothing rhythm and sporadic description McKay highlights the link between big city life in New York and the historical uniqueness of the Caribbean Islands and other African communities.
There is enjambment between lines 5 & 6. The speaker's stance is one of celebrating the past while realizing that corporate economics and fruit-selling may not always be present in American cities. His tone is nostalgic as he writes,
“...And, hungry for the old, familiar ways, I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.”
Thus, Claude McKay is celebrating the good things of an older way of living while realizing, if only to himself, that all of us are subjected to the march of time.
In American cities the opportunities for African American workers, along with all other workers grow scarce, requiring more complicated job training, and less education and accommodation for the “man on the street”.
McKay uses colorful imagery in his description of nature and the natural world as well as a sad tone.
Where the future of New York and other cities plays “second fiddle” regarding business, a true, systemic end to homelessness, poverty and mental illness has yet to be established.
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What is the thematic relationship between the hunt scenes and the seduction scenes?
The hunt scenes and seduction scenes in the story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” possess images of pursuit.
The author of this story is unknown.
There are also depictions of innocence and experience.
The following of the deer, boar and fox with the hunting dogs is reminiscent of the hunt for unicorns portrayed in other, British and French medieval art.
These wild and untamed prey may be said to share the untouched or uninfluenced aspect of wildlife along with the wiles of romance in the feudal era of British civilization.
In the text of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” Bertilak's wife attempts to seduce Sir Gawain while he lies in bed. This behavior represents a deviation from the rigid, Christian doctrine of sexual relationships limited to those between a man and his wife.
At this time, Sir Gawain is committed to King Arthur and his wish that Sir Gawain continue on his quest until he reaches his destination (without chasing after an adulterous tryst). He is focused on contending with the mysterious and supernatural Green Knight in his Green Chapel.
The description of the pentacle marking on Gawain's shield and the seemingly immortal presence of the Green Knight resonate an engaging sense of inevitability and foreboding.
There is also an air of the occult and dark magic.
The character of the Green Knight continues to live in the initial sections of 'fitts' of the manuscript despite the fact that his head gets severed from his body.
As part of his challenge the Green Knight agrees to take the first strike from Gawain and return the blow at a later time. He leaves it to Gawain to initiate the quest to rendezvous with him again in his chapel in twelve months' time during the following Christmas.
“In the standing position he prepared to be struck,
bent forward, revealing a flash of green flesh
as he heaped his hair to the crown of his head,
the nape of his neck now naked and ready.
Gawain grips the axe and heaves it heavenwards,
plants his left foot firmly on the floor in front,
then swings it swiftly towards the bare skin.
The cleanness of the strike cleaved the spinal cord
and parted the fat and flesh so far
that the bright steel blade took a bite from the floor.
The handsome head tumbles onto the earth
and the king's men kick it as it clatters past.
Blood gutters brightly against his green gown,
yet the man doesn't shudder or stagger or sink
but trudges towards them on those tree-trunk legs
and rummages around, reaches at their feet
and cops hold of his head and hoists it high,
and strides to his steed, snatches the bridle,
steps into the stirrup and swings into the saddle
still gripping his head by a handful of hair.
Then he settles himself in his seat with the ease
of a man unmarked, never mind being minus his head!”
Thus, the text illustrates potent, pagan magic and supernatural fetes that yet challenge the comparatively sympathetic and humane practices of Christianity.
The feeling of Christianity and the support of King Arthur by his subjects are lasting themes challenged by the nemeses faced in this and other Arthurian tales from the Middle Ages of Britain.
Following the motif of pursuit, the Green Knight becomes another target for Sir Gawain. Just as the hunters follow the trail of the prey and game in the forest, so the Green Knight becomes another target pursued by Gawain. In this light, Gawain does not have the time for illicit lovemaking.
As the story progresses, Morgan le Fay, a renowned Arthurian sorceress and practitioner of the arcane arts, has significant contact with the Green Knight, prompting his approach of King Arthur and the knights at his table.
Morgan le Fay is a substantial challenger of the feudal power and life of Arthur. It is also sometimes said that the conniving seer-ess is Arthur Pendragon's half-sister. Morgan was a sorceress known to Merlin (also Arthur's teacher) and distantly represents the transition of the feudal regions of England from the practices and predictions of pagan and the earlier druid-ic, Celtic religion to the advent of Christianity in the British Isles and across Europe.
The potent magic and cultural characteristics of the era of Anglo-Saxon, feudal Britain, sandwiched between the exit of the Romans and the introduction of the Norman conquest, reveal a turbulent and tumultuous time where few lieges and lords of the land had the peace of mind that the Vikings would not return, the crops and game would remain plentiful and the tenets of Christianity, not the least of which being marriage for life between one husband and one wife would be upheld at all costs.
Thus, in a sense, the Green Knight embodies the wildness and unfettered brutality of his hunter/gatherer and agrarian age.
The code of chivalry is in full effect among the King and his supporters. Chivalry is the honor system and guide for the behavior of Arthur, himself, and his companions. Despite these guidelines there are examples and manifestations of adultery in the time of Sir Gawain. These incidents, reportedly, occur between another knight, namely Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, King Arthur's attractive wife.
There is more, it seems, than just social contact on the behalf of diplomacy. The men and women do as they wish, and their trysts are recorded in legend.
Gawain's quest along with the liaisons and hunting excursions of the knights reveal the interest of the king's court in the power-plays and intrigue as well as the pursuits of romance and the beasts of the Arthurian wilderness.
Hence, it is difficult for the new religion of Christianity to be accepted and adhered to while the feudal leaders follow and exercise a less rigid system of trysts and illicit relationships for themselves. These shortcomings would eventually be dissolved under the growing influence of the Christian Church and later the Anglican Church.
(Original English dialect of the Northwest midlands between Cheshire and Staffordshire). “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” The Norton Anthology – English Literature – The Middle Ages – Volume A – Ninth Edition 2012, Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor – Cogan University Professor of the Humanities – Harvard University with James Simpson and Alfred David. W.W. Norton & Company – New York – London. Text pages 183 to 238. Quote from pages 194 to195, lines 417 to 439.
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1. Psychoanalytic Criticism – How do the writer's characters interact in manners reflecting the motives in Sigmund Freud's concept of psychoanalysis?
Thesis: F. Scott Fitzgerald is depicting competitive conscious and unconscious interests within the characters of his novel.
Both Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychology, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, represent the ongoing evolution of socio-cultural ideas. These ideas about human desires and aspirations changed the public's awareness of the motivations behind the workings of culture and the materialism of variously stratified classes in the early part of the 20th century.
Freud, in a sense, seems at times to look back into the roots of the behavior patterns of the human animal as much as his work is acclaimed for its progressive thinking. Much of the adult psyche, according to Freud, is formed during stages of development in childhood. Freud refers to these stages as the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent and the genital. These stages hold similarity with the chakras of Hinduism in that they associate routes of social thinking with seven parts of the anatomy. These chakras are the root (coccyx), sacral (ovaries/prostate), solar plexus (navel), heart, throat, brow (pineal gland) and the crown (top of the head).
Contemporary speaker Ken Wilber elaborates on the idea of chakras, giving these locations of the human body corresponding meaning in the social and psychological world. The root chakra is said to be a source of survival and grounding. Individuals with a strong root chakra (Survival Bands) have an energetic physical body. This chakra meditation declares I am. The root chakra is also referred to as the instinctive self and is foremost during the ages of zero to eighteen months.
The sacral chakra relates to sexuality and procreation. Folks with a dominant sacral chakra (Tribal Order / Kindred Spirits) have sexual vitality and physical power. This chakra meditation declares I feel. The sacral chakra is known as the animistic self and is formed approximately during the ages of 1 to 3 years.
The solar plexus chakra is a source of will and power. Individuals with a hearty solar plexus chakra (Feudal and Exploitive Empire / Power Gods) have skill at easing tension and utilizing intuition. This chakra meditation declares I do. The solar plexus chakra is referred to as the impulsive self and emerges during 3 to 6 years of age.
The heart chakra involves compassion and love. People with a potent heart chakra (Nation States – Authoritarian / Truth Force) are adept at spiritual love and universal oneness. This chakra meditation states: I love. The heart chakra is regarded as the manifestation of the ruling self and is exhibited around the ages of 7 to 8 years.
The throat chakra focuses on communication and creativity. Folks with strong throat chakras (Capitalistic Democracies / Strive Drive) can manifest an ability to synthesize ideas into symbols. This chakra meditation emphasizes I speak. Individuals mature through the throat chakra between 9 and 14 years of age.
The brow chakra relates to sight and intuition. Humans with centered brow chakras (Social Democracies / Human Bond) have a facility with perception and thinking. This chakra meditation declares I see. The brow chakra occurs during 15 and 21 years of age.
The crown chakra involves understanding. Individuals with dominant crown chakras (World-centric / Flex Flow) possess vitality in the cerebrum and development of psychic abilities. This chakra meditation states: I understand. The crown chakra is active from 21 years old.
Theoretically the final chakra, imagined over the top of the head, is Integral Consciousness (Collective Individualism). This is the ideal form of awareness to work toward while simultaneously hanging on to the human legacy of the other chakras.
In turn, Jean Piaget has elaborated on the chakras to form a developmental list: 1 Sensorimotor, 2 Preoperational (Symbolic), 3 Preoperational (Conceptual), 4 Concrete Operational, 5 Formal Operational, 6 Early Vision-Logic (Meta-systemic), 7 Middle Vision-Logic (Paradigmatic), 8 Late Vision-Logic (Cross-Paradigmatic), 9 Global Mind, 10 Meta-Mind, 11 Overmind, 12 Supermind.
The social equivalents to Piaget's individual stages are 1 Magic/Animistic, 2 Egocentric, 3 Absolutistic, 4 Multiplistic, 5 Relativistic, 6 Systemic.
Ken Wilber has a square chart divided into quadrants. The Upper-Left is “I” and the Interior Individual inspired by Sigmund Freud. The Upper-Right is “It” and the Exterior Individual inspired by B.F. Skinner. The Lower-Left is “We” and the Interior Collective inspired by Hans-Georg Gadamer. The Lower-Right is “Its” and the Exterior Collective inspired by Karl Marx.
In the case of The Great Gatsby the character of Tom Buchanan is the antithesis of conscious thinking of a Freudian or a following psychology. He is wealthy, a bully and an adulterer. In this light he would most likely not be swayed or affected by Freud's stages or those of Marx. While Tom's affair with Myrtle Wilson was to be taken in stride Gatsby's relationship with Daisy was unacceptable to Buchanan. It is clear that Tom was like the silver-back gorillas that dominate the group sexually and physically.
In voicing his desire to look into Gatsby's financial history Tom Buchanan reveals that he feels threatened by Gatsby's feelings for Daisy. Tom wants Gatsby out of the picture. This is indicated as the story progresses despite Tom's relationship with Myrtle Wilson, another married woman.
The era of the 1920's in the United States was a release from the spartan discipline of the first world war. Promiscuity and alcohol consumption were ubiquitous.
Much of what the character of Nick Carraway observed was happening to a similar degree in other metropolitan communities of America, especially the mafia activity in Chicago. Thus, The Great Gatsby provides a snapshot of the debauchery and sibling rivalry of an elite section of New York and the corruption of “the American dream”.
F. Scott Fitzgerald had Gatsby's get-rich-quick scheme result in his untimely death. This, symbolically, was the writer's attempt to illustrate that the apparent, Dionysian pleasures of life, be they money, sexual infidelity, property or numbers of friends were temporary. This idea, along with Freud's concept of a rampant id show, among other things, that living for the moment may not be the wisest course of action in America or anywhere else.
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Article Evaluation – “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”: A Psychoanalytic Reading of The Great Gatsby
Critical Perspective: Psychoanalysis
a) Summary: an explanation in your own words, not Tyson’s, of the sample article’s thesis, main points, major evidence, and – above all – its critical perspective for someone who’s never read any of this critical stuff.
b) Evaluation: an explanation of why and how it represents its critical perspective (that is, why and how it’s psychoanalytic, Marxist, feminist, New Historicist, etc.).
Lois Tyson writes in her psychoanalytic article, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” that the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, manifest a lasting theme of fear of intimacy in their respective relationships. From the critical perspective of psychoanalysis, the gist of “What’s Love” is Tyson’s assertion that Fitzgerald’s novel is a testament to destructive, dysfunctional relationships.
Someone unfamiliar with the elements of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis may benefit from being shown thematic details from The Great Gatsby. The novel depicts individuals struggling to find a stable social and cultural role in an aristocratic community in Long Island, New York. The characters in the focus of the book carry emotional scars from their past, especially their childhoods. These scars, including the blemish of poverty, cause Jay Gatsby and others to refrain from making themselves vulnerable in a constructive, mutually beneficial relationship. The people settle for less-caring, less-risky bonds by enacting adulterous deeds and favoring materialism and lavish parties rather than participating in frank and candid conversations.
The critical perspective of Freud’s psychoanalysis places a great deal of significance on the stages of childhood development. Tyson emphasizes that Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who are married and have a daughter, Pammy, practice infidelity. Tom is adulterous with Myrtle Wilson and Daisy with Jay Gatsby. Tom and Daisy keep up their appearance in their elitist community, however. Their appearance is perhaps maintained with greater diligence than their private relationship.
Myrtle Wilson is killed by Daisy as she drives through the road by George Wilson’s mechanical garage. The tragic event takes place under the perpetually gazing eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg’s billboard. This image is intentionally likened to the gazing eyes of God.
Tom tells George that it was Gatsby who killed George’s wife. In a rush for vengeance George Wilson takes a gun to Gatsby’s house and shoots him dead. Tom, whose threat to his manly image has been saved returns to his shallow, materialistic life with Daisy.
“What’s Love” is psychoanalytic because it focuses on the underlying motivations of the principal characters to avoid their earlier, formative experiences. These experiences are what the characters wish to steer clear of in their fears of intimacy and sponsoring wild parties.
Tyson explains in her article that Fitzgerald’s characters are monopolizing on the live-for-the-moment vibration of the 1920’s Jazz Age. The image of Tom Buchanan, as analyzed by Tyson, represents a dominant, bullying ethos of being established with the “in” crowd. In addition, Tom Buchanan exercises his masculine, chauvinistic prowess and material wealth by conducting an affair with Myrtle Wilson who is also married. He cares less for the actual feelings of his wife, Daisy, as he does for the securing of his social status and general countenance as a sporting man and the force to be reckoned with in the affluent Long Island community.
Tom Buchanan also reveals a sentiment of competition with Gatsby. It is acceptable in Buchanan’s mind that he maintains a relationship with Myrtle Wilson despite Daisy’s knowledge of it. It is not acceptable to Tom, however, that Daisy has an affair with Gatsby. In addition, it is to be culturally proper that Tom represents “old money” but grounds for suspicion that Gatsby represents “new money.”
In her psychoanalytic article, Lois Tyson focuses on Tom and Daisy’s relationship to indicate their marriage is very much engineered to keep up appearances. Tyson writes that their intimacy and love are insincere and dysfunctional. She is disclosing that, within the scope of psychoanalysis, Tom and Daisy have serious, unconscious issues regarding public image and emotional honesty. This also the case of the other central characters analyzed in Lois Tyson’s article.
2. Marxist Criticism - “You Are What You Own” – How do the writer's characters interact in manners reflecting the motives in Karl
Marx's concept of communism?
Thesis: F. Scott Fitzgerald is depicting competitive material and economic interests within the characters of his novel.
In her article, “You Are What You Own” Lois Tyson studies The Great Gatsby through the lens of Marxism. She opines that Fitzgerald is partially successful in writing critically of the flamboyant, wealthy capitalists in his story. Although the characters of Tom and Daisy Buchanan are in the extreme of capitalist, commodity-gathering lifestyles, the character of Jay Gatsby is given a more heroic slant. These individuals represent tangible, competing socioeconomic ideologies through their actions and reactions with one another.
They may not be consciously aware of their cultural and behavioral differences, but the writer sketches them with visible characteristics and disparities. Fitzgerald's main characters embody Marxist and capitalist ideas. The abuses of power and wealth attributed to Tom Buchanan assume a wealthy versus impoverished paradigm in his relationships with Daisy, his wife, and Myrtle, his adulteress.
Lois Tyson writes, “Through its unflattering characterization of those at the top of the economic heap and its trenchant examination of the ways in which the American dream not only fails to fulfill its promise but also contributes to the decay of personal values, Fitzgerald's novel stands as a scathing critique of American capitalist culture and the ideology that promotes it.”
Tyson brings the reader's attention to the subjugation of George and Myrtle Wilson by the character of Tom Buchanan. Tom is the wealthiest character in Fitzgerald's story. This iconic, larger-than-life individual is a representation of ethically distasteful, exploiting “American Dream” on a rudimentary level. In the preceding paragraph Lois Tyson defines the results of the characters' behavior through a Marxist light. She points out that the persona of Tom reveals the collective failure of abject capitalism driven without regard to the health and welfare of the working class. Lois Tyson also suggests that F. Scott Fitzgerald partially portrays the abuse and marginalization of capitalist America. She writes that Fitzgerald's novel contains a limited viewpoint of the sweeping abuses of an unfettered, capitalist ideology.
Lois Tyson extends her Marxist analysis by mentioning Tom's commodity-gathering of Daisy, his wife. She writes of the gift Tom gives Daisy: a $350,000 pearl necklace. This gift is a representation of what Tom thinks of Daisy. She is Tom's trophy wife. Tom Buchanan's behavior fits Tyson's description of the Marxist concept of sign-exchange value. Tom also “markets” his wealth and social status to Myrtle who is in a “proletarian” working-class marriage to George Wilson. For Myrtle, Tom is a possible exit from the working class. Tyson's article analyzes the dialogue and juxtaposition of the central characters. Both Myrtle and Tom lean toward the Marxist concept of sign-exchange value and commodification in their supposedly clandestine affair. The characters may not be conscious of these Marxist terms, but they embody the theme of socio-cultural manipulation that the novel generates.
The bullish character of Tom Buchanan misleads George Wilson by telling him that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle was Gatsby when in fact it was Daisy. Tom has thus programmed George to do his dirty work. Within the ladder of Long Island society Tom sees himself as “old money” while he sees Jay Gatsby as “new money”. Rather than marry for love the couples bring scathing consequences on themselves for their lack of fidelity and obsession with status in the pecking order of the larger Long Island society. In the light of class differences and the exploitation of the working class by the wealthy class Tom Buchanan perpetuates his apathy and sentiments of competition with Gatsby and the Wilsons.
Within the scope of Marxist philosophy Lois Tyson also notes that Tom Buchanan exemplifies commodification and the pursuit of sign-exchange value in his relationships with others.
She writes, “The wealthiest man in the novel, Tom relates to the world only through his money: for him, all things and all people are commodities. His marriage to Daisy Fay was certainly an exchange of Daisy's youth, beauty and social standing for Tom's money and power and the image of strength and stability they imparted to him. Appropriately, the symbol of this 'purchase' was the $350,000 string of pearls Tom gave his bride-to-be. Similarly, Tom uses his money and social rank to 'purchase' Myrtle Wilson and the numerous other working-class women with whom he has affairs, such as the chambermaid with whom he was involved three months after his marriage to Daisy and the 'common but pretty' (112; ch. 6) young woman he picks up at Gatsby's party. Tom's consistent choice of lower-class women can also be understood in terms of his commodified view of human interaction: he 'markets' his socioeconomic status where it will put him at the greatest advantage – among women who are most desperate for and most easily awed by what he has to sell.”
Tyson's article studies the ideas of Marxism and socialist, labor-focused philosophy in relation to F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel. It represents the Marxist critical perspective because Tyson shines light on the economic differences and realities of American society in the 1920's. There were more than just flappers and speakeasies. Tyson writes of the attraction of Gatsby's wealth albeit originally a fruit of illegal (during the 1920's) business.
Despite the marginalization of the “proletariat” by big business and industry readers of The Great Gatsby are likely to be impressed by the Dionysian decadence of Gatsby's festive lifestyle. Thus, Tyson's article, “You Are What You Own”, is accurate in describing and elaborating on Marxist themes encountered in Fitzgerald's novel. She states that the presence of sign-exchange value and commodification transcends money and material possessions and is applied to individuals as well. Lois Tyson focuses on Fitzgerald's character of Tom Buchanan as a representation of the inhumanity of the raw, capitalistic socio-cultural machine. She describes the personage of Tom repeatedly even going so far as to criticize Fitzgerald for not extending his imagery of exploiting industries and the economic marginalization of the Wilsons. Tyson writes of the insensitivity of Tom Buchanan, whose ilk left workers in his time without being legally bound to provide a safety net or other means to achieve a “leg up” in the national economic ladder.
3. Postcolonial Criticism - “The Colony Within: A Postcolonial Reading of The Great Gatsby
Thesis: In her article, “The Colony Within” Lois Tyson lists and emphasizes the colonial element of “othering” that is portrayed by Nick Carraway”
The speaker in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, Nick Carraway, perpetuates colonial stereotypes in several instances throughout the text. He is critical of Meyer Wolfsheim's Semitic features as well as the appearance of African Americans in the story and the Greek young man who lives next to the Wilsons. Tyson is accurate in her proposal that the themes and socio-cultural situations within The Great Gatsby are innately colonial and Eurocentric.
Lois Tyson writes on page 429 that, “In The Great Gatsby, colonialist psychology is not confined to the depiction of characters the novel itself discredits, such as Tom Buchanan. Rather, colonialist psychology is a pervasive presence in the narrative as a whole because that psychology is central to the characterization of the narrator, Nick Carraway.
The concept of “othering” occurs throughout Gatsby, dehumanizing and marginalizing people whose race and/or ethnicity are different from the “norm”. On page 340 of her article Tyson states the American ethnic norm is “white, upper-class, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.”
This is a very specific ethnic group and, Tyson proposes, it insinuates that any other type of person is inferior and of lesser value.
Lois Tyson also emphasizes that the musicians at Gatsby's parties are also Caucasian. She brings the reader's attention to Fitzgerald's African American characters. They are kept on the sidelines of the novel and play a limited role in the social circles filled by Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and their numerous friends. This includes but is not limited to the occupation of musicianship. The truth of the matter is that Jazz very much circulates from an African American heritage, not the least of which being the music of Louis Armstrong.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald's seminal novel, The Great Gatsby can be read through a variety of schools of literary criticism. The challenges faced by the principal characters are palpable and pertinent for a contemporary reader despite the fact that it was written several decades ago. The story contains a multitude of social and cultural disparities. Within the scope of Marxist criticism there are controversial and abusive relationships maintained by wealthy and working-class people.
The character of Tom Buchanan, an affluent resident of the elite Long Island community is significantly manipulative and dominant in his extra-marital affairs with working class women. His adulterous behavior is as much an exercise of power as it is an indication of his lack of fidelity and communication for Daisy, his wife. This novel, set in the 1920's era of New England, depicts the unconscious, sublimated Eurocentrism and financial elitism of the day.
It is the cusp of the Jazz Age, yet the musicians playing at the lavish parties are predominately Caucasian despite the African American roots of jazz. Ironically, Tom Buchanan disapproves of Daisy's history and relationship with Jay Gatsby. This is despite the wild, Dionysian features of the New York speakeasies and party scene. Gatsby, although wealthy by modern standards, continues to be considered as “new money” by the established residents of Long Island. Additionally, Tom Buchanan's public image and reputation are threatened by the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. For Tom Buchanan the power and status of monetary wealth are intertwined. He is the top dog of the world around him and does not take the economic hardships of the working-class characters of Myrtle and George Wilson in stride. Tom is a capitalist and is ethnocentric. He doesn't respect people with lower financial resources at their disposal nor individuals coming from different ethnic and racial backgrounds. These prejudicial inclinations of Tom reveal the sensory, live-for-the-moment philosophy of the Roaring Twenties. It seems there is no time for the central characters of The Great Gatsby to concern themselves with the lives of the less fortunate. The same idea is true for other races and ethnic groups in the larger New York Community that deviate from the so-called standard of White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Caucasians.
In a sense the presence of the character of Gatsby is a representation of the optimistic and ambitious sentiments of the times for American as a whole. It was the desire of the collective unconscious to get rich quick, drink contraband alcohol and drive late model cars. The means for achieving these self-oriented objectives were not completely legal then or today. Considering the respective personalities in the book, Nick Carraway was the most education-oriented in his study of the bond market. Fitzgerald intentionally depicted the speaker within the text as the most level-headed and permissive of the flamboyant lifestyle in the New York Community. He, too, however was not idealistic or brave enough to intervene in Tom's affair with Myrtle or Gatsby's affair with Daisy. In an existential light Nick Carraway played something of a silent witness to Tom's and Gatsby's adulterous behavior. Nick also refrained from exercising his voice in regard to the absent races and ethnic groups in the celebrating community. Hence the working-class is left to remain working-class and the minorities left to their own resources in order to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.
This was a conscious demonstration of American self-interest illustrated by Fitzgerald as well as the critiques of Lois Tyson in her recently written book. Time marches on for Jay Gatsby. The ethnic and cultural spectrum of contemporary America has taken a substantially multicultural turn. Tom Buchanan quite possibly would never conceive of an African American President of the United States. And, in the light of colonialism and Manifest Destiny, much of the insider trading and gangster-ism would be frowned upon by later generations of Americans.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1925
Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2006.
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“Belatedness”, a term which may have more than one interpretation, has been discussed in consideration of the series of events or experiences encountered by the character of Alice. One way of looking at an example of “belatedness” might be the meeting that took place between Alice, the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Doormouse and the White Rabbit to a lesser degree.
For the Victorian-era English girl the tea party becomes more than just a tea party when the Mad Hatter acts out in a manner that is truly mad. In addition, the Doormouse is inordinately sleepy and the March Hare occasionally incoherent. Thus, the familiar environment of a tea party becomes protracted or “belated” into a type of layman's ceremony or, in the Mad Hatter's case, an exercise in power and control when he himself takes charge of the layout of cups and plates, frequently telling his strange acquaintances to rotate or move down along the place settings which are significantly more numerous than the amount of tea-takers that Alice observes.
Lewis Carroll gives much credit to Alice for standing her ground as well as protesting the superfluous silliness.
Another possibility of “belatedness” is shown in the colors and numbers of the Red Queen, White Knight, etc. They, in many ways, resemble the features of a deck of playing cards and chess pieces, but they have additional, sentient, speaking roles. This strange combination of familiar objects with erratic trains of thought and words sets the stage for a humorous rendition of the centuries of monarchy and constitutional monarchy in the United Kingdom.
Through Alice, Lewis Carroll is delineating his own criticism of the vacillating philosophies and political power-grabs or coups de etat in his native land.
Here, a reader of this book might benefit from studying English history and politics directly. After the beheading of King Charles I and the tyranny of Oliver Cromwell, the king's son, Charles II restores monarchy to the land. Thus, the British differ from the French who never did restore a French monarchy after the storming of the Bastille and rise of Napoleon.
Like in other good children's books, Lewis Carroll is also making an account of the culture of youth and degree of freedom of speech in the Victorian-age empire. Again through the eyes and ears of the characters of Alice women's right to vote, or, in other words, women's right to act out a political agenda is increased in scrutiny and discussion.
Continuing with the theme of “belatedness” the character of the White Rabbit, who decries, “I'm late! I'm late!” while ogling his watch becomes protracted or extended into a mascot or representative of the rigidity and punctuality of the existing British train schedule on which so many British workers and travelers depended.
Thus, in Carroll's time, England was in the middle of a roaring Industrial Revolution. Here workers exit their occupations in the farms and fields to acquire job-training and occupations in the coal-burning chimneys of London. Surely Alice (the real one) and Carroll met flower-sellers, artists and laborers in their “prospering” nation.
This leads to the symbolism of the walrus and the oysters. Through the story of the walrus Lewis Carroll paints a picture of the abuse or usurpation of the more populous working-class by the few, economically elite industrial barons and magnates. Here the insensitive walrus eats his oyster friends as soon as he can. This would mirror the later portrayal of the loyal, sturdy horse in Animal Farm by George Orwell. The horse is worked hard all his life until he grows weary and is sold by the pigs to the glue factory.
Continuing with Alice the idea of “belatedness” is abundant in the narrative. As Alice thinks of certain things they become manifested before her eyes. If she eats from different sides of the caterpillar's mushroom seat she will grow or shrink.
In retrospect, perhaps the Cheshire cat, of many characters possesses curiosity and wisdom on par with Alice. Alice did have a pet cat in the real world, named Dinah who, I'm sure, was more docile and less contrary than the Cheshire cat.
In her adventures Alice experiences or observes examples of “belatedness” on several occasions. Perhaps one of the more substantially “belated” sections are those regarding the made-up creature of the Jabberwocky. Here the seemingly meaningless words in the Jabberwocky poem draw emphasis before the reading audience to the rhythm and beats of traditional English verse and sonnets.
I felt that, through the Jabberwocky, English grammatical conventions can be followed even when the words are made-up or imaginary.
Thus Alice in Wonderland contains snapshots of “belatedness” that are not time-related, as the White Rabbit would insist, but are samples of everyday living where known things become strange, and maps are erased only to be rewritten. Such was the case for the “mome raths”.
In retrospect it was nice of Carroll (Dodgson) to select a female protagonist for his story. By making her into a courageous, reasonable and observant person we, the reading audience, are shown our own “belatedness” who may also benefit from questions of culture and society and the roles of girls and women in a post-industrial world. And the importance of asking questions even when the answers are queer and unsatisfactory.
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How is Alice herself the “source of inescapable corruption”? (Auerbach 322)
In a way Lewis Carroll's character of Alice represents a voice of reason and female empowerment or even the English mind as an entity during the peak of the British Empire and its literati and cognoscenti. Just as the empire would grapple for copies of work by Byron, Shelley and Keats and succeed in distributing the work of those writers from serious, Industrial Age presses from around the world so too is Carroll's Alice a female protagonist who questions tradition and the thoughts and actions in the seemingly imagined or dreamed-up world of Wonderland.
Alice, here, gets caught up in the mix of exaggerated autocracy and instantaneous beheading which are reminiscent of real, cultural, governmental and economic eras experienced in England during the Renaissance and subsequent Industrial Revolution.
Just as Queen Victoria ushered in a new era of British global strength so, too, were there cultural and psychological problems associated with the repressing and severe social tenets of Victorian culture.
In a sense the character of Alice embodies a sane witness to the beheading of Charles I of England and the nightmare of Oliver Cromwell's England with no king.
Also following the marital killings of Henry VIII Alice shrinks and grows, possibly being a literary mechanism of Carroll's revealing varying degrees of support for women's suffrage, property ownership and governmental or legislative participation.
Thus, Alice constitutes a “source of inescapable corruption” for sexual politics, suffrage and under-representation of women in Whitehall (or British government).
In the case of the pigeon and the serpent her temporary appearance with an inordinately long neck is interpreted as a serpent by the maternal pigeon. This may be read as a reference to the biblical story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Here, Alice as “Eve” is running the risk of acquiring forbidden knowledge from the tree.
Also, there may be said to be corruption in Alice's confusion and questions of the characters that may be nothing more than figments of her imagination as well as the more general and historical “English imagination”.
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In researching Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, there are many diverse renditions of the classic play. The BBC (a United Kingdom broadcasting agency) has completed the production of the play with characters and settings that are representative of a contemporary, up-to-date aesthetic.
There are, therefore, benefits and detraction from the production choice.
On the one hand, we, the play’s audience, are treated to a Macbeth that resembles our own time, with the representative features of the literary Age of Anxiety. This is a theme that we and especially the younger Shakespeare students can more readily identify with and understand. On the other hand, we must realize that we are hence viewing a production that is not as true to the fashion, mindset and settings of the original production such as the one carried out in the Old Globe Theater in Renaissance England.
In the potentially internecine story, the ambitious Macbeth and his wife are dressed in contemporary clothing and their body language is most likely toned down from what the original actors portrayed in the early 1600’s. This is also the case for the three witches, who now are also dressed and speaking in an updated manner.
In reviewing the recent BBC production, the character of Macbeth himself is dressed in an existing western European motif. His concerns, thus, must be much like our own in the sense that he Macbeth is one of us. His ambitions and character flaws are now etched in our minds as those that we, ourselves, possess from time to time. This is also true for the representation of Lady Macbeth who dresses like a bourgeois city dweller. Making, perhaps, a greater impression on the viewing audience. Lady Macbeth’s character remains chilling and icy. The plans and ambitions of the middle-class couple are shown to us as those of a husband and wife in our own time.
The characters that rival Macbeth, namely Macduff have also become representatives of the power plays and corporate star chambers of the 21st century. Hence, in a hostile takeover or other agenda of violence and comeuppance the etiquette and opprobrium of our own business culture is challenged. Is it right to kill for power or social ranking?
Of course, it is not right. This is to say that it remains a direction in the scheming mind of the protagonist and his wife. Few people in any age are prone to do what the tenets of Judeo-Christian culture prescribe. All of us can use “a little more” whether it is money, power, kingship or otherwise general business practices. Could there be something of Macbeth in the erratic behavior of a Michael Milken or President Richard Nixon?
This is most likely the reality that encapsulates human nature. It is possible that Shakespeare would thus appreciate the transformation of his classic script to a renewed and applicable form for our time. Assuredly there is still evil in the world as well as avarice and temptation. There are resources and riches to be had for elites in modern society and the opportunity for a power grab is something that continues to tantalize the whiles and ambitions of anyone.
I believe that this adapted, modernized play of Macbeth represents a wise production decision. Time does move on and within the theater-going community classic stories and dilemmas are better portrayed in easily identifiable modern terms.
This is also true for Lady Macbeth, who, despite her modern dress, is just as greedy and murderous in her outlook on society as she ever was. Is there a modern conscience abiding in all of us or is life just a game of acquisition and betrayal?
I believe Shakespeare would have us see that both extremes exist within us. He is making the case for free will, here, and it matters little if characters are tempted to rise through destruction in modern dress or otherwise. The downfall of Macbeth is one that many people have faced in their own lives and Shakespeare’s warning about overriding lasting morality is one from which we can benefit.
Regarding this BBC production, I was impressed to see the images of modern architecture and contemporary costumes. This was an intentional element of the play’s producers to draw us in to Macbeth’s life and recognize that it is closer to our own than we may at first surmise. Sacrifices due to screen time, the audience’s general attention-span and suspense of disbelief fall within acceptable changes as the inherent message of the tragedy is preserved.
This interpretation of “Macbeth” continues to reveal chilling significance to ideas such as prophecy, predestination and cultural entitlement. Not all who wish it are meant to become kings and queens. These days it is challenge enough to keep one’s head above water in terms of valuing friendships and making it through the workday without stepping on anyone’s toes to get ahead.
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In this section of Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Macbeth” the character of Macbeth declares his desire for power and status no matter how ill-gotten and bloody the path to kingship may be. He consults with a group of witches who mirror his reckless ambition and power drawn from supernatural forces.
In these lines the witches describe the influences which will drive him to destroy and kill for political and material advancement. They are not strictly external sorceries, in the sense that these elements coincide with Macbeth’s and his wife’s internal, personal desire to dominate the feudal ranks.
A significant note of these lines carries the intention of Macbeth to throw caution to the wind and contemplate the consequences of his course of action at some other time. Here Shakespeare is emphasizing the scope of the characters’ greed, that, like a tidal wave, is not easily halted or diverted.
The witches in this scene put forth the idea that Macbeth is nearly immortal and may follow his own political agenda without worrying about retaliation or death at the hands of those who would oppose him. The witches are thus portrayed as the harbingers of destiny, no matter how violent or destructive their vision of the future may be.
These lines study the ramifications of the idea of predestination. Can the future be defined by the words people speak?
In a self-fulfilling prophecy the predictions of the witches may come to pass, enhancing their appearance as metaphysical and visionary. The truth, however, does bring destruction and calamity to Macbeth and his regal jealousy. Here it is revealed that the means with which someone acquires a higher social status are subject to moral questioning and general opposition. The female seers do not outline the potential consequences of their words.
These dramatic elements are also reflected in previous productions of “Macbeth”. Reviewing their interpretations of the classic play the power-hungry protagonist continues to reflect carelessness and selfishness in a time when feudal offices represented the law of the land and a connection between the peasantry and divine forces.
This is a feature of the governmental structure of monarchy. The king or queen is seen as nearly divine and the intermediary between God and the agrarian and commercial subjects of the throne. Thus, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth do not worry themselves over fair and regular elections or the need to constrict their power through the discussions of a democratic representative system.
They are ready to monopolize on the existing political structure in their world. They would rather force their way to the top rather than change the mechanics of their social structure to better represent the mutual needs of the peasantry and nobility simultaneously.
The issue of inheritance and entitlement as it is handed down to posterity is also mentioned in these lines. From line 85 to line 87 the character of Macbeth says,
“What is this
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby brow the round
And top of sovereignty?”
Here the play’s audience is shown Macbeth’s wish and vision of starting a royal line, where his offspring would also inherit the throne. If Macbeth were to succeed in his plan, this would be his children’s future, too. Shakespeare’s character is truly selfish and would have his heirs benefit from his ascent to a position of power and status between God and man.
The lines taken from the play are a sample of the presence of greed and conspiracy as it was known in past centuries. We, the play’s viewers, are left to ask, “Was the prediction of the witches regarding Macbeth’s destiny accurate?
Apparently, Macbeth and his scheming, merciless wife had more to learn when trusting the witches. Their stoking of Macbeth’s hunger for power and office would prove detrimental to the leading characters. The magic and sorcery of the female seers proves to be a figment of wild and un-tameable occult force.
The witches called to Macbeth and capitalized on his internal ambitions and desire to be king. These scenarios are Shakespeare’s views on murderous jealousy and disregard for the humanity and sincerity of one’s fellows. The playwright shows that the secrets kept between man and wife can still be held to questioning, especially by those who would suffer from their dark intentions.
Thus, there is merit in studying productions of “Macbeth” in contemporary time. New generations are shown the conniving Thane’s downfall and his resemblance to lasting desires for wealth and status shared by most people. Macbeth’s tragedy is a human tragedy and, chillingly, a path of destruction we all would hope to avoid.
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Spoken and written language has been a feature of the human race (homo sapiens) for thousands of years. From the etchings of cuneiform to kanji in Japan, the Rosetta Stone and the Roman alphabet language and, especially, written language has filled a social, philosophical and record-keeping need.
People, it seems, have found a need to express themselves and communicate, be they hunters, gatherers, farmers, industrial workers or teachers. Writing, of course, allows people to share ideas over large distances and tracts of time. Among other things the mixture of words and terminology from one group of people to another has been referred to as “loanwords.” Loanwords and the mental capacity to acquire new words in a given language has made inter-tribal hunting possible along with the sharing of a space station by speakers of American English and Russian.
At other times speakers of different languages have employed “shibboleth” words. The accent used by a prisoner when pronouncing the word shibboleth was used to determine whether the person was a member of a friendly or enemy tribe. Over time shibboleth has come to indicate any test word in a military setting.
Other linguistic phenomena of note are the historical transitions of pictographs, modified pictographs and phonemes. At this point, Mandarin and Cantonese may be the most used modified pictograph languages in the modern world. English, on the other hand, may be one of the most frequently used languages consisting of phonemes and morphemes adapted from the alphabet of ancient Rome.
I will demonstrate in this essay that the use of loanwords is a naturally occurring process when speakers of two or more distinct idioms come in contact with each other for a substantial amount of time. In this light I will use the sharing of words between speakers of Italian and American English, respectively.
In her article, “Common Italian Words in English,” Valerie Vasseur identifies different contextual forums where Italian and English vocabulary have intermingled. Within the category of cuisine shared words include pasta, spaghetti, lasagna and espresso. Loanwords in the category of music are piano, oboe and trombone.
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My mother’s grandparents were born in Naples, Italy. My mother’s parents were born in Rhode Island. My mother and uncles were also born in Rhode Island. After serving in the Navy during World War II my mother’s father moved his family to California because of the nice weather and the growing defense industry. He worked in accounting for Hughes Aircraft for several years. My mother was 12 years old at the time. I assert that the evolution and development of American English in my extended family was taken seriously from generation to generation. This was the case for my mother’s family and my father’s family.
My parents continued the family custom of speaking only American English to us children. I was the eldest, followed by my brother and two sisters. My biological mother succumbed to breast cancer in 1992. At the time my father was working as the city attorney for the California city of El Centro.
My father remarried a widow originally from Guanajuato, Mexico. Her presence and support of our larger family spurred me to immersion in Mexican Spanish in the early 2000’s. These days Christmas time is fun with members of M----’s family speaking English, Spanish and Italian. I enjoy trying to follow each respective idiom in the little time that my father’s extensive family is gathered together.
Specifically, for this assignment, I would like to focus on my mother’s father, J----. He and his spouse, A---- passed away in late 2015 and early 2016, respectively. They were in their early 90’s.
It is understood that before my Italian grandfather, J----, enlisted in the Navy during World War II he worked as a meat-cutter’s assistant. It is thought that he probably spoke a dialect of Italian with his boss and co-workers.
In a similar light I had some trouble acquiring a steady job when I moved to Orange County in the year 2000. I ultimately joined with the El Pollo Loco in the neighborhood. I quickly became immersed in a Spanish-speaking environment. I had studied Spanish to a limited degree in high school, but the Spanish rhythm and accent were sublimated in my mind, just under the surface.
I soon became adjusted to the routine of working in the Mexican restaurant. Incidentally it was also a Foster’s Freeze. I had broken the barrier of speaking English alone. Words emerged from the vocabularies or lexicons of my new friends. "Servilletas" was the word for napkins. "Totopos" were corn chips. "Popotes" were drinking straws and "pollo congelado" was frozen chicken.
I am sure that these are not the same words spoken by my grandfather when he worked in the meat market. Both cases, however, were using derivations of the older Latin language which was split up and modified during the linguistic isolation of the European dark ages.
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I am half Italian from my mother’s side of my family. While my mother lived, we did not speak Italian or any other language in our household. After her passing from breast cancer in 1992 I became immersed in Spanish, another romance language, while working at a Mexican food restaurant in Orange County. I strive, however, to eventually use my knowledge of Spanish to someday visit Madrid and Florence. I hear that Spanish and Italian also possess similarities.
There are many shared words between American English and Italian. They appear in a number of idiomatic categories. These include, but are not limited to, music, art and architecture, literature, cuisine, commerce, politics and science.
The category of music, continuing from the Renaissance, possesses lasting terms. Examples of these are a capella or singing without instrumental accompaniment. The terms concerto or musical performance and opera represent a shared linguistic heritage. Since the inception of written music or sheet music a common descriptive and technical terminology exists containing primarily Italian terms regardless of the location or native language of the musician reading the notes.
The field of art and architecture continues to use Italian words. Some of these are bas-relief which is taken from bassorilievo and chiaroscuro which is shared from chiaro-oscuro or “light-dark.” Other English/Italian words in art are stucco, meaning plaster and gesso which is one of the initial layers on the canvas of an artistic painting.
In literature common terms are novella or novel, canto or song and lingua Franca or common tongue. In fact, many of the earliest mass-produced, printed books were published in Germany and Italy. Once they were applauded by the general population more printed books, using other languages, have been published since that time.
The category of cuisine also shares common words. Examples of these are biscotto, which means cooked twice and artichoke which is taken from the Northern Italian arcicioffo. Other food words are pizza and cavolfiore which is cauliflower.
In the context of international commerce there are English/Italian words as well. A few of these terms are maneggiamento or management, merce or merchandise and moneta or money. It is clear that since the pivotal time of the Renaissance trade not seen for centuries was returning to Europe and the cultures of the Mediterranean Sea. This gave English and Italian investors broader opportunities for business and prosperity using new sailing ships and trade routes to the countries in the east and the west.
From the shared philosophy of politics, Italian brings manifesto which first meant a poster, politico or politician and sociologia which is sociology in English. These terms represent ideas taken from earlier Latin and Italian societies and have seen the ubiquitous development of the ideas of democracy, senates and political discourse.
Lastly, the category of science contains shared words between modern English and Italian. Words of this nature are Eustachian tube, named after Bartolomeo Eustachi, fermium taken from Enrico Fermi and galvanize from Luigi Galvani.
The words shared between Italian and English here reveal a lasting testament to shared cultures between Italians and Englishmen and the larger world.
Wikipedia – List of English words of Italian origin
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Write an essay in which you argue that Defoe’s novel, Moll Flanders and one of the following “approved” mezzotint satires both present strong critiques of eighteenth-century English society for the poor treatment Moll and other female figures receive in each work. Your argument will be most effective if you can identify similarities in how the two works present the various attitudes, rules, and limitations women face and the ways they are often forced to act in order to just survive. This is not a comparison/contrast essay; rather, this is an analytical essay that examines the ways that two works from the period represent the oppressed status of women and the negative consequences of this oppression. You are expected to produce a detailed, evidence-based analysis of both texts, but especially of Moll Flanders, to support your argument. Textual evidence should be taken from throughout Moll Flanders and from various visual elements of the mezzotint.
The saying, “Art imitates life,” has been found to be true for many works of literature and art not just in the 21st century but in many earlier ages of writing and illustration. The mezzotint image of “Molly Milton, the Pretty Oyster Woman,” as well as the experiences of Moll Flanders in the Daniel Defoe novel of the same name create lasting impressions of the cultural and economic struggles of working women in 18th century England and the British colonies in America.
Where the mezzotint in question carries an air of Dionysian revelry in the England of that time so, too, does the story of the female character of Moll Flanders show that there were indeed hardships faced by the struggling or working class of that era. The mezzotint depicts a jovial man and women in a public market. She is selling oysters to the interested man. The detail of the three individuals in the illustration are dressed in casual clothing and they bear expressions of amusement. The third individual in the picture may be interpreted to be an African assistant or second customer.
So, too, in similarity with the oyster vendor, does Moll Flanders engage in risky and uncouth practices to make ends meet as well as finding a friend or partner. Clearly the mezzotint artist as well as the writer, Daniel Defoe utilize a serious and carefully crafted art to preserve and share the tough times as they were known to exist in England and the British colonies.
In the novel Moll Flanders, the character of Moll tells the story spanning from her humble origins to her career as a female escort, thief and colonist. She moves from one partner to the next, not always seeing only one at a given time. Thus, she is set to do what a humble woman can to survive on the gritty streets of Restoration England and America.
Along with the portrayal of Molly Milton, Moll Flanders who, at times, committed incest, adultery and felonies, becomes a representative of the arduous and brutal way of living for all downtrodden women and their children. Where is their dignity and self-respect?
Their dignity remains, it seems, as they did what they could to keep their children fed, maintain a happy home and earn what money they could. It is we, viewers and readers, who must remind ourselves that what we may consider to be unsavory behavior may have constituted the only way out for the objects of these artists’ focus.
As the character of Moll ages, we, the readers, are shown that she does have children of her own and that the money she earns to keep them fed is effective regardless of the manner in which it was acquired. This is Moll’s choice and the focus of her strength of spirit in a trying age. There was yet to be such programs as maternity leave, Women with Infant Children and Social Security and these social welfare programs would not emerge until the internal ideologies of political leaders and the voting populace were significantly swayed to begin caring for the poor in society and giving them a fair shake at earning satisfactory wages.
“Molly Milton, the Pretty Oyster Woman” mezzotint from the 1700’s
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe 1722
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Format: A creative, non-fiction essay. For this option you will engage with primary sources from a personal, historical or contemporary angle. You will weave together quotations from the readings as they relate or contribute to an episode from your personal history, an episode from the history of the United States or a contemporary issue that you see facing society. The key here again is to be specific. The essay should be organized around a central issue that we have discussed in class, while integrating primary source material and your original insight or experience.
Law enforcement shootings of unarmed African American men have been televised in the last five years. Connections exist within the cultural socialization process of law enforcement officers in the United States and the acts of violence recorded on cell phones and smart phones.
Thesis Statement: The police, evidently, have been exposed to an award system that gives a motive for them to enact violence and killing without the existence of a jury trial. The absence of the process of habeas corpus before a judge appears to be the case for many of these police shootings.
These extra-racial coup attempts and violations of human rights are apparently the way to achieve some theoretical end of promotion and masculinity in the minds of the killers. Just as the riot-control fire hoses and police dogs were captured on the nation’s televisions in the 1960’s, the propagation of digital cameras and cellular phones has recorded contemporary acts of murder and killing of unarmed African American men, some under the age of 18.
As mentioned in the book, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Trayvon Martin was killed by a security guard, possibly for stealing a cigar from a local convenience store.
These tragic, recent shootings and killings have been met, in part, with cycles of protests and confrontations representing a variety of human rights activists and student organizations. One of these that remains in the larger news and media circuit is known as “Black Lives Matter.”
Other branches of the Civil Rights community have appeared where Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X once stood. Now there are messages to be heard from Cornell West and Spike Lee. The armed resistance of the Black Panthers has passed but this is not to say that the greater challenge regarding the human rights of the African American community in the United States have vanished.
In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates considers the necessity of change for the institutions of law enforcement throughout the country. How this daunting task will be achieved, and the unmitigated violence stopped remains to be seen.
In his book, Ta-Nehisi Coates looks into the question of what it is like to be a young, African American man living in the United States. It is the intention of Coates to have the reader see the world as an African American man sees it. His concerns for the welfare of his children and larger family become palpable as he takes account of the successive waves of racial and cultural separation in the land of his birth.
It is emphasized that although the American Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are nearly 150 years in the past, the deeply engrained cultural beliefs of an adversarial, “Us versus Them” mentality and lingering prejudice remains. In regard to the discussion of the proper place for African American citizens within the spectrum of American society, it has been revealed that in many parts of the country, the police just don’t “get it.”
In the case of the protests in St. Louis, Missouri, the majority of law enforcement officers represented the destructive side of White, Anglo-Saxon culture. Clearly the behavior of the police can be changed by generating a larger, more demographically representative police force. This may be the key to a greater sense of personal identification between peace officers and civilians.
It won’t be a drastic change for the officers and deputies in question to don cameras and microphones on their uniforms. Perhaps, more significantly, these agents of the greater peace in our society should be educated to look beyond traditionally established degrees of bias when encountering African Americans when they are on patrol. Sketches and profiles are no good for anyone involved in the long run. What is needed, here, is the recognition that behind the physical features of the African American men they are the same. Anatomically the similarities of different Homo sapiens outweigh the differences by far. The same reality goes for the difference of the ships, planes or trains that brought their ancestors to become a part of the United States. There is a deep challenge for the future law enforcement officers to awaken to the juxtaposition of disparities in education, socio-economic resources and regional dialect. These elements of racial consciousness are easily accessible for those who care to study them.
The Civil and Human Rights legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the multi-racial and multi-ethnic gatherings of the 1950’s and 1960’s remains. It is up to contemporary Americans to pick up the torch of freedom and tolerance even if it has been cast to the ground.
Within the specific issue of education, it is painfully clear that the recent shootings and killings could have been avoided if there was more training in psychology, sociology and anthropology for the police. They can be easily directed to awareness of differences that should not merit pulling the trigger of a loaded gun.
The psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, from Stanford, has spent much of his career confronting and exploring the penchant for malevolence and destruction in large masses of the human population of the United States. He has at times referred to it as the Lucifer phenomenon. Zimbardo has also commented on the photographs of waterboarding and killing of suspects of Middle Eastern lineage.
There is some kernel of evil and sadistic behavior carried from our earliest human origins. It need not be awakened by soldiers or police or anyone else. In the end hate crimes are an act of desperation. It seems the officers in question are saying, “We can’t deal with the humanity of this person right now.”
The authorities, in a passionate mind, should take care not to do something rash and destructive. This includes behavior that cannot be reversed or remedied at a later time.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi, Between the World and Me, 2015, Spiegel and Grau
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Purpose: Now that you have become more proficient in the themes of gender and ethnicity, this essay will give you the opportunity to place these themes within historical and cultural contexts through the process of academic research and community engagement. This essay is an opportunity for you to dive deeper into your interests, while also contextualizing your ideas and analysis within a larger body of scholarly work.
Option 1: A research essay. This means that in addition to the primary sources of literature, you should bring in secondary sources (at least 3) such as biographical criticism, historical criticism and literary theory. Your essay should be organized around a thesis that argues a specific point about the literary text(s) you are discussing. You are arguing how the form, content or style of the literature responds to historical and cultural influences. The evidence you use to support your thesis argument comes from the course literature and the secondary criticism. Make sure you cite passages that illustrate your ideas and to clearly differentiate your ideas from ideas you have found in the writing of other scholars.
5 pages, double-space, 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Include a bibliography. MLA format. We will have time in class for peer-editing and individual work time directed towards completing this essay.
a) Choose your own research project. If you choose this option, you must still focus on the writers we have read so far in this class.
Recently (within the last five years) the status of racial equality and police violence toward African American men in the United States has changed to a degree not seen since the Civil Rights movement a generation ago. This is due, in part, to the burgeoning technology of "smart phones" and the video recording features they possess. The more established media formats have quickly acquired the controversial, amateur footage of contemporary police officers shooting African American men when the officers' safety did not seem to be compromised.
In his book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates attempts to explain the experience of being a Black American to his young son. The road for African Americans working within the greater cultures of the United States has proven arduous although not without successes as well.
Thesis: By using an avenue of research that includes Black History and Coates' book a view of what the future may hold for African Americans along with the numbers of other immigrant groups and citizens of this nation will be created.
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963), an early sociologist, struggled to combat racism in the United States. He was one of the creators of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. Du Bois protested lynching, Jim Crow laws and discrimination in education and employment. He cited capitalism as a root cause of racism. A year after W.E.B. Du Bois' passing the Civil Rights Act contained many of the changes that he sought during his lifetime.
Similar in scope to the objectives of W.E.B. Du Bois are some of the observations of Ta-Nehisi Coates in Between the World and Me. On page 84 Coates writes, “My curiosity in the case of Prince Jones, [He was shot to death by a Black officer.] opened a world of newspaper clippings, histories, and sociologies. I called politicians and questioned them. I was told that the citizens were more likely to ask for police support than to complain about brutality. I was told that the black citizens of PG County [Prince George’s County] were comfortable and had ‘a certain impatience’ with crime. I had seen these theories before, back when I was researching in Moorland, leafing through the various fights within and without the black community. I knew that these were theories, even in the mouths of black people, that justified the jails springing up around me, that argued for ghettos and projects, that viewed the destruction of the black body as incidental to the preservation of order. According to this theory ‘safety’ was a higher value than justice, perhaps the highest value.”
Another advocate for greater quality of living for African Americans across the social and economic spectrum was Jamaican born Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. (1887 – 1940). Like Du Bois, Garvey supported the Pan-African movement. He also encouraged the growth of the Black Star Line, a material and passenger shipping line that energized the return of the African diaspora to their original lands.
Marcus Garvey said," Our nation must know no clime, boundary, or nationality...to let us hold together under all climes and in every country..."
A pivotal African American leader in the decades after World War II was Malcolm X (1925 - 1965). During his lifetime, Malcolm X was a Black Muslim minister and human rights activist.
Malcolm's youth and early adulthood were not without blemishes. He was incarcerated at the age of twenty for robbery. While he was in jail, he encountered the Nation of Islam. After he was released in 1952, he became an inspirational speaker within the N. O. I.
The Nation advocated Black supremacy, the separation of Black and White Americans and declined to support the larger civil rights movement for its focus on racial integration. In 1964 Malcolm X distanced himself from the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. In addition, Malcolm joined the non-militant branch of Islam referred to as Sunni Islam. After completing the requisite religious pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca he started his own religious organization named Muslim Mosque, Inc.
To the end of his life Malcolm X continued to support Pan-Africanism, Black self-determination and self-defense. Sadly, X was assassinated by three members of the Nation of Islam in February 1965.
A more mainstream speaker and religious leader during the Civil Rights movement in America was Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968). He was a college-educated minister who struggled against racial prejudice in the sense that he saw racism and segregation as inconsistent with God's will.
He said, "Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."
Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Through his speeches, he helped to end the legal segregation of African American citizens in the United States. King also played a part in the authoring of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 among other honors.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 1968, but he remains in the hearts and minds of contemporary Americans as one of the most influential African American leaders.
During the same time as Martin Luther King Jr.'s work other African American leaders emerged with the advent of television. One of these was Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) (1941 – 1998).
Carmichael was a Trinidadian American. He became a significant figure in the Civil Rights Movement and the Pan-African movement. He led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Later he would emerge as the "Honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
Stokely Carmichael was arrested about thirty times during the Civil Rights Movement. He created the term "Black Power" and participated in the marches in Alabama. He expressed his concern for Lowndes County in Alabama. It was a county known for White violence.
As time progressed so did the movements for African American empowerment within the greater American society. Branches grew from the roots of Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent protests and the more militant Malcolm X. One of these branches was the Black Panther Party. In 1966 Huey P. Newton (1942 – 1989) and Bobby Seale (1936 -) formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in Oakland, California. This group gained notoriety from its rhetoric and militaristic approach to enabling African Americans to face the prejudicial hostility of some Whites and police.
Huey Newton would later be accused of murder. He fled to Cuba in 1974 but would return to have his case dismissed. He enrolled in school, ultimately, to acquire a PhD. in social philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1980.
Newton, despite drug and alcohol problems, wrote a biography The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America with Hugh Pearson. Newton was shot to death in Oakland in 1989.
Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panthers, also faced charges of murder and conspiracy. He was eventually released by a hung jury. As the Black Panthers dissolved Seale moved out of the limelight. He wrote Seize the Time in 1970 and Barbeque'n with Bobby in 1988.
Another member of the Black Panthers was Angela Davis (1944 -). She remains a political activist and writer. She is a significant counterculture activist and participant in the Civil Rights Movement.
Angela Davis was charged for conspiracy regarding the 1970 quasi-military take-over of a courtroom in Marin County, California where four people were killed. She was exonerated in a federal trial.
Today she is a retired professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz in History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies. In 2016 Davis was awarded a Doctor of Human Letters in Healing and Social Justice from California Institute of Integral Studies. In 2017, she was an honorary co-chair of the Women's March on Washington the day after Donald Trump's Presidential inauguration.
Cornel West (1953 -) is a public intellectual and adherent to the Democratic Socialists of America. He has been a strong critic of recent Presidents in the light that they have not done enough to help the status of African Americans. West was arrested in 2014 during protests regarding the shooting of Michael Brown. He was arrested again in 2015 while protesting near a courthouse in St. Louis on the one-year anniversary of Brown's death.
West has participated in a variety of social programs including the Tikkun Community, the National Parenting Organization's Task Force on Parent Empowerment and the Campaign for Peace and Democracy. Describing himself as a non-Marxist socialist he has frequently criticized Democrats and left-leaning politicians for creating lip-service to the advancement of the African American community but not getting potentially helpful bills past the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
On the issue of his support of Occupy Wall Street West said, "It's impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We're talking about a democratic awakening...you're talking about raising political consciousness so it spills over all parts of the country, so people can begin to see what's going on through a set of different lens[es], and then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be. Because in the end we're really talking about what Martin King would call a revolution: A transfer of power from oligarchs to everyday people of all colors. And that is a step-by-step process."
Film director Spike Lee (1957 -) is a poignant contemporary voice in the African American community. His films have analyzed race relations and the role of media in contemporary life, poverty and other issues. Lee has a Master of Fine Arts from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
He has been nominated two times for an Academy Award but has not won. In 2015 Spike Lee was given an Honorary Academy Award for his films.
These individuals constitute a sample of the talented and persevering African American cultural and political leaders who share the concern of Ta-Nehisi Coates for the future of Black people in the United States. Coates' significant inclusion of the case of Trayvon Martin in Between the World and Me is reflected by other social outlets. An example of these new media formats is the movement of Black Lives Matter on Twitter. Black Lives Matter was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
BLM takes inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, the 1980s Black Feminist movement, Pan-Africanism, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, hip hop, LGBTQ social movements and Occupy Wall Street. It has grown substantially over the last four years and has brought worldwide attention to the televised police shootings and killings of unarmed African American men.
In August of 2014 BLM members conducted their first national protest as a "Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride" to Ferguson, Missouri due to the shooting of Michael Brown. Since that time, BLM has become "a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes" as stated in the BLM website.
In step with Black Lives Matter Ta-Nehisi Coates tells his son of an ongoing economic, racial and cultural struggle for African Americans. Coates seeks to raise the multi-racial and multi-ethnic consciousness of his readers. Coates mentions frequently the physical, aesthetic dilemma of Black bodies living in this part of the world. He paints a picture of the daily, existential challenge to live free of physical and social harm. There is anger and sadness in his voice.
The disparity between legal and "civil" rights and the actual behavior of police on the street is tangible when viewing the police shooting videos and reading Between the World and Me. One wonders what the future holds for Coates' son. The question arises, "What can be done from this point in time to change the fear and anger of the potential victims of the American social order?"
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to Coates' question. This is a capitalist country and politicians fluctuate between laissez-faire, trickle-down economics and the responsibility of this great nation to ensure the life, liberty and sense of wellbeing of its citizens.
On page 9 of Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates tells his son, "I write you in your fifteenth year. I am writing you because this was the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes; because you know now that Renisha McBride was shot for seeking help, that John Crawford was shot down for browsing in a department store. And you have seen men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old child whom they were oath-bound to protect. And you have seen men in the same uniforms pummel Marlene Pinnock, someone's grandmother, on the side of a road. And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction..."
These killings, listed by Coates, revealed to the world mostly through smart phone technology, painfully indicate that issues of power, aggression and de-humanization linger in the United States. Human rights, including the right to life, are not ideas limited to a chosen few or only in certain places at certain times. Thus coexistence, tolerance and equality of opportunity should be finally established as the norm in our greater society.
On page 67 of Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates writes to his son of “The Mecca.” The Mecca is Coates’ term for Howard University (a predominately African American university.)
“You were born that August. I thought of the great spectrum of The Mecca – black people from Belize, black people with Jewish mothers, black people with fathers from Bangalore, black people from Toronto and Kingston, black people who spoke Russian, who spoke Spanish, who played Mongo Santamaria, who understood mathematics and sat up in bone labs, unearthing the mysteries of the enslaved. There was more out there than I had ever hoped for, and I wanted you to have it. I wanted you to know that the world in its entirety could never be found in the schools, alone, nor on the streets, alone, nor in the trophy case. I wanted you to claim the whole world, as it is. I wanted ‘Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus’ to immediately be obvious to you. And yet even in this cosmopolitan wish I felt the old power of ancestry, because I had come to knowledge at The Mecca that my ancestors made, and I was compelled toward The Mecca by the struggle that my ancestors made.”
From the autobiographies of Frederick Douglass to the writing of Toni Morrison there is a rich legacy of the African American consciousness in the United States. These writings belong to everyone, not just African Americans. They are a part of our greater American heritage.
The world was watching as the soldiers clashed during the American Civil War. This is also the case for the prejudice encountered by the returning African American soldiers from World War II.
As the cultural rigidity of the 1950’s began to dissolve, journalists and professors united against the witch-hunts of Senator Joe McCarthy. Such was the motivation for Arthur Miller in his play, “The Crucible”. This exit of the old guard was also evident during the Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education. African American attorney Thurgood Marshall won the case against racial segregation in schools across the nation. He would later gain the position of Supreme Court justice.
Ultimately the future for African Americans is promising. Despite the killing of Black leaders and the more recent police shootings, the status of Black people in the United States is heading in the right direction. This doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done by Americans of all racial and cultural backgrounds.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “Between the World and Me.” 2015
Spiegel & Grau. U.S.A.
Miller, Arthur. “The Crucible.”1953
Newton, Huey. “To Die for the People: The Writings of Huey P. Newton,” Toni Morrison (editor) Random House, 1972
Pearson, Hugh. “The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America”. Da Capo Press.1994
Seale, Bobby. “Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton.”
Arrow Books and Hutchinson & Co., 1970
“A Lonely Rage: The Autobiography of Bobby Seale.” 1978
“Barbeque’n with Bobby.” 1988
Douglass, Frederick. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” 1845
World Wide Web Biographies and Articles
Wikipedia - W.E.B. Du Bois
Wikipedia - Marcus Garvey
Wikipedia - Malcolm X
Biography.org - Martin Luther King
Wikipedia - Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael)
Wikipedia - Huey P. Newton
Wikipedia - Bobby Seale
Wikipedia - Angela Davis
Wikipedia - Cornel West
Wikipedia - Spike Lee
Wikipedia - Black Lives Matter
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Question 1. Why is the book subtitled “the Modern Prometheus”?
Mary Shelley chose to subtitle her book, Frankenstein, as the Modern Prometheus. Prometheus is a titan from Ancient Greek mythology. He is attributed as being the creator of mankind. He is also reported to be the one to steal fire from Mount Olympus and convey knowledge of the flame to mortal man.
This creation of life where there was not is a lasting theme used by Mary Shelley. In her story Dr. Victor Frankenstein reanimates a living person from an assemblage of dead body parts. This controversial deed brings unpleasant consequences to Dr. Frankenstein just as Prometheus was chained to a rock for conveying fire from Mount Olympus where an eagle eats his liver daily.
In turn Victor Frankenstein encounters rejection and disgust from his family and friends once they learn what he has created. Such is the risk of employing science to a gruesome and radical end.
Within the scope of the concept of “self” and “other” Dr. Frankenstein represents the cutting edge of medical and scientific knowledge. The monster portrays the primal, elemental force of the doctor’s devil-may-care experimentation. This dichotomy is thought-provoking and a legacy of this story.
Amanda S---- writes that, “Both are taking power away from the Gods and acting like God themselves.”
This is a poignant and accurate evaluation. The danger of unfettered science remains today in various forms, not the least of which being the knowledge to create an atomic bomb and other mechanisms to prolong life and mold life as one wishes.
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The short stories of Junot Díaz explore relationships between characters that possess “transnational” identities—that is, a sense of belonging to more than one national culture at the same time. Analyze transnational relationships in at least two stories from This Is How You Lose Her. How do the characters negotiate their relationships with each other along with their relationships to their homeland? How do these stories depict relations between Dominican men and women, especially between those who are more Americanized and those who are less so?
Regarding “Flaca” from This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz.
In Junot Diaz’ story, “Flaca” he addresses some of the issues associated with the transnational culture and perspective. Diaz’ protagonist, Yunior, addresses the woman with whom he had an affair. This relationship reveals a difference in gender roles and sexual assertiveness between some Latino cultures and the traditional, American way of living. In this case, Yunior is speaking as a native of the Dominican Republic who has connections and associations with both his nation of origin and the American mainland.
A key issue here is the expression and conceptualization of “love”. Although the unspoken standard of mainstream, continental American relationships is a union of one man with one woman many people, including some Dominicans, follow a more casual and dynamic partnership. Here, Junot Diaz’ character of Yunior remembers his relationship with a special woman that he knew in his recent past.
The details of this story also delineate the lingering existence of a hierarchy of classes in the Dominican Republic and the United States. Sadly, some of this multi-layered stratification of the echelons of Dominican and American societies is based on the topical criterium of one’s physical complexion. This is to say that African American and Latino Americans reside in societies that discriminate between the access to sources of social goodies for “caucasian” and “mixed” individuals. This is not a new dilemma and the features of the prejudice remains despite many improvements made in the society that witnessed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and freedom fighter Che Guevara in South America.
The Dionysian aspect of Yunior’s affair strengthens and illustrates the challenges faced by Latino and Latina individuals in this modern age. It is evident that this, spontaneous and passionate pattern of love and sexuality is, to some degree, a survival mechanism where the tenets and predispositions of a larger society may be so restrictive and biased that sexuality for some members of the larger Latino community might otherwise be difficult to find within the potentially restrictive and conservative cultures of the dominant United States.
Another contributor is the lingering authority of the Catholic Church. Here, the expectation of marital fidelity is supported and, in some instances, the production of larger families with more children is commonplace. Some Catholics do have larger families and do just fine. Thus, it is shown that future compromise between Protestant and Catholic cultures may bring a greater degree of balance and understanding for all Americans. In a time where fewer Americans describe themselves as “religious” the opportunity yet remains for discussion and change on a transnational scale.
In Junot Diaz’ story of “Flaca” he touches upon some of the traditions of male dominance in a world laden with ethnic and racial disparities. The role and expectations of the successful, Dominican male continue to be manifested in the real world and enforce the stress and anxiety of the potentially disapproving eye of the mainland culture. There is an opportunity for future dialogue, here, and Diaz’ writing does reveal some of the setbacks and scandals of marital infidelity and extra-marital affairs. One of these results might be competition and struggle over the roles of “wife” versus “mistress”. This dichotomy, unfortunately, is a historical battlefield of identities, beliefs and individual sense of self. Clearly, Yunior is more comfortable with his Domincan persona when compared to the potentially stuffy and up-tight culture of mainland or “White” American living. Additionally, however, Yunior does seek to maintain his mainland role and the perks and benefits this occupation entails. Thus, there is a psychological and sociological division where more lasting and substantial alternatives are few and far between.
Sadly, few men here in the United States and abroad seek to dissolve and put aside their masculine role and cultural duality. This is despite the advances of women’s roles in the 1970’s in America and the increasing economic and political connections between the Dominican Republic and the United States.
Regarding “Otravida, Otravez” from This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
In this story, also published in This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz illustrates the pains and struggles of Dominican and Latino people recently arrived in the United States. Here, much is in question, ranging from sexual identity and orientation to safety in the workplace and the right to make a decent living where English may be a second language for the person involved.
Diaz is telling this story from the perspective of a Latina. Here Diaz’ character describes the traditional difference in outlook and role between men and women. Men are expected to “Bring home the bacon.” And women to bear children and run the household. Sadly, looking at these roles in contemporary times, the opportunity of freedom and space to conduct one’s own artistic endeavors and self-exploration may be left by the wayside of the drive to be “macho” and the dominator in sexual relationships.
Thus, Diaz, indirectly, is petitioning the reader to consider potential changes and understanding of the roles of men and women in the 21st Century inside and outside of the Latino community. In “Otravida, Otravez” it becomes evident that there is much room for the redefinition of love and romance. Diaz’ character describes the avenues of friendship with those close to her along with the vibration of bittersweet submission to the man in her life.
Junot Diaz, here, is painting a picture that poses questions of the reader despite his or her own ethnicity, race or gender. It is argued that men may soon redefine their manliness and women their femininity. There is a conflict here that modern society is petitioned to address. Each of us has rights to food, shelter and friendship. These, in the case of the Dominican Republic and newcomers to the Eastern Seaboard, may not be satisfactory. Just as Dominicans are asked to integrate with the rest of the United States, so the powers-that-be and the holders of resources are challenged to embody new conceptions of human and civil rights and the strengthening of educational and economic opportunities to the upcoming generation of Americans.
These stories, included in the larger text of This Is How You Lose Her, show a thriving and grappling sample of immigrant and bi-cultural life. The challenges of the Dominican Americans are evident and their tone spreads to similar juxtapositions for Mexican Americans and other contributors to the socio-economic infrastructure of the United States.
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I enjoy reading and surfing the Internet for new ideas. Currently I'm reading 3 older books. They are Bully for Brontosaurus - Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould 1991, Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective by Napoleon A. Chagnon and William Irons 1979, and Marx, Durkheim, Weber - Formations of Modern Social Thought by Ken Morrison 1995.
Bully for Brontosaurus: This is a collection of essays. They are on various scientific topics but are well-written. Gould takes care to explain his views for the average reader. I like his analysis of the origins of modern man (homo sapiens). It is thought-provoking that different groups of people, the ancestors of us all, traveled by foot to the farthest reaches of the globe. I should, since they are mentioned in the title, write that dinosaurs also represent a great topic for discussion. I feel that the word "dinosaurs" is used at times instead of the word "paleontology."
Brontosaurus and even Ultrasaurus are, of course, some of the large herbivorous reptiles known to have existed some 65 million years ago. Ours is a fruitful planet, laden with briny seas, oxygen-producing algae, forests, and massively differing waves of organisms.
Significant, I think, to us is the cold of the ice ages. Perhaps the cyclical presence of these conglomerations of glaciers and ice caused there to be less food for the grazing, herbivorous creatures, and thus less prey for the carnivorous ones. The mastodons lasted, though, for some time as did the American horses both of which are now extinct. (Today, and in the recent past, humans have used horses originating from the "Old World.")
Of course, the dinosaurs did not go extinct due to simple glaciation. We now know that a meteor struck our planet, causing dust to cloud the atmosphere. Since the ages of the dinosaurs mammals have really prospered...especially simian ones. And I think of the shared behavior of toolmaking and Koko's Kitten. Koko is a female gorilla that learned some sign language and adopted a kitten. Tools are everywhere, now, including tools that make tools!
Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior: I am a fan of Napoleon Chagnon. He has researched the Yanomamo tribe in Venezuela/Brazil for decades. His study of these Native American hunter-gatherers is a powerful indication of the similarity of humans despite differences in their social organization and behavior patterns. This book is deep and scientific, and I continue to enjoy reading it.
Marx, Durkheim, Weber: This is a salient, thought-provoking book. It is a challenge to describe briefly the ideas it holds. I guess I should say it talks about team play, the use and distribution of resources within a society, and yes, religion. This book poses questions about why we do the things we do and support social and economic behavior patterns that have remained much the same for a long time. It has been a while since I took Sociology, but I will read this book carefully to refresh my memory.
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Gandhi and Julia Child...hmm.
It is true that INFJ's like Gandhi and me must take care not to come across as esoteric and preachy. Hence, I suggest a common ground between the gourmand, bon vivant, Julia Child (Dionysian/Fox) and the socially abstract, non-violent revolutionary, Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi (Apollonian/Dolphin).
I looked up some Sociology terms. These are four categories of Norms. Norms are a common, social phenomenon existing in all human cultures.
Folkways: Folkways are customs. They regulate tradition and convenience. Examples would be "Don't belch at the dinner table." and one I remember is "Don't leave your chopsticks sticking up in the rice."
If a folkway is broken there are no legal or moral consequences.
Mores: Mores are strict norms that regulate moral and ethical behavior. Examples would be "Don't disrupt the church service." and "Don't have sex before marriage." If a more is broken observers or friends, and family may feel that their morals have been violated and take offense.
Taboos: Taboos are norms that society holds very strongly. Violating a taboo results in extreme disgust. The violator may be considered to be unfit to live in that society. Examples of taboo violation would be incest and cannibalism.
Laws: Laws are norms that are written down and enforced by an official law enforcement agency. Violating a law may result in a citation, fine and/or incarceration. Examples of law violation would be driving while drunk, theft, murder and trespassing.
Gandhi struggled to end the occupation of what would be India, West Pakistan, East Pakistan (Bangladesh), Hyderabad, Upper and Lower Burma (Myanmar) and Bengal, Punjab, Kashmir, Mumbai, et cetera by the British Empire. He was arrested and incarcerated for breaking the law on more than one occasion in his life.
Gandhi himself was a lawyer educated in the United Kingdom. It was illegal to attempt to disband or bring down the British control of these "countries," as well as to speak out and protest the mistreatment of workers by British industrialists, encourage civil disobedience, and gather in large groups, as it were.
He probably had little time for his family life, which is unfortunate, and probably as well was a source of tension. He must have counted on his family and friends frequently for practical guidance.
I'm sure that Julia Child knew of Gandhi. Child and Gandhi would probably like the book that is called Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The title is a reference to ways of living in Italy, India and Indonesia.
Another interesting dichotomy or social relationship is that which existed between Gandhi and Winston Churchill!
In his lifetime Churchill saw his country's empire shrink to pretty much what it is today. And he had to broadcast personally to keep it even that large during the Second World War.
India with its homespun cloth wheel flag would be officially recognized in 1948, only a few years after the close of World War II.
Hong Kong would also be returned to China in 1997.
I caught a few of Julia Child's TV shows and always thought they were inspiring. Also, this was the case for Bob Ross the painter!
These two Dionysians would enjoy meeting with Gandhi and sharing/comparing their views on life, living, consciousness and the rapidly changing status of the world's populations.
Julia Child might express concern about remaining hunger around the world.
Bob Ross would encourage imperialists, like Churchill, to appreciate art more often, etc.
I admit to sharing many of Gandhi's and other INFJ's aloofness, esoteric-ness and otherwise wool-gathering. I did savor my dessert, though. It was creamy yogurt with strawberries!
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I believe that the universe has been around for a long time. Things are really stepping up, though.
Modern humans (homo sapiens) have gone through some amazing behavior patterns and organizational changes in the last 10,000 years. These have commonly been categorized as hunter-gatherer, agrarian, industrial and post-industrial. Recent categories continuing along this line would be integral and post-integral.
Technology, like post-integral consciousness, is developing and diffusing at an exponential rate. This is especially true for the progress of microprocessors. Smart phones do today what large room-sized processors couldn't do in the 1950's and 1960's.
This dive by collective society into the computer age has created a speedy and individual-thought focused culture of perpetual discussion and close, up-to-the-minute contact with the goings-on of the world at large.
The exchange of ideas and information is the new economy as much as the exchange of livestock and crop seeds was in the recent past.
I think Ram Dass' philosophy of awareness is pertinent to the lingering differences in the availability of resources around the world. Clearly not all nations yet possess superhighways, masses of universities and regular and representative democratic elections.
Ram Dass brought focus in his speaking on awareness to the truth that these imbalances are separate from the quintessential humanity of all people. Worldwide education is a must and should match the quickness of the progress of the microprocessors in recent decades. This is also true for human rights, availability of quality healthcare and spiritual freedom.
There is enough food produced on this planet to feed everyone. What the world needs to finally end hunger and malnutrition is infrastructure and freedom to mete Maslow's hierarchy of actualizational requirements.
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I have different Jung books but this one is good too.
Joseph Campbell also spoke in depth about the collective unconscious, symbolism and differences in the interpretation and designation of significance to external stimuli.
I appreciate the observation by Jung that a person paints or molds his psyche in a malleable process over time. I am sure that my psyche has changed due to internal and external elements over the years.
As I wrote elsewhere, I am definitely more "J" and less "P" than I used to be. Certainly, it indicates, among other things, a structural change. That is to say the physical, anatomical pathways of my brain have changed and hence I process and evaluate social interactions and events differently...certainly more dynamically and assertively than before.
I continue to enjoy observing and participating in musical, literary and artistic movements or genres, be they post-modernist, integral or post-integral. I know that post-modernism has a strong focus on reiterating and reviving separate, previous genres of art into newer pieces with deeper meaning. To me integral and post-integral art has just begun to gain in popularity. Some have called this turquoise thinking or violet/coral thinking from the spiral dynamics' consciousness chart or chakras.
Music (especially but not limited to electronic music) is really progressing. I'm certainly more accustomed to Progressive Electronica and Psy/Goa Trance. I'm still acquiring a taste for the more down-to-earth Dub-Step music.
This is also true for new literature in various genres.
Suffice it to say I enjoy monitoring and sometimes contributing to these fine arts because they help to keep a rapport with popular and underground culture.
The acts of observing and participating are a link to Jung's collective unconscious and a sampling of the diffused and different ways that individual minds interpret and process the same socio-cultural stimuli.
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It has been many years since men landed on the moon. More recently astronauts have entered space, orbiting the Earth. This was accomplished with the use of powerful, multi-stage rocket propulsion and exit and re-entry vessels such as the now retired Space Shuttle.
The Cold War is over. The space race between the Soviets and the Americans is in the past. Hence, what is the incentive for humanity to return to manned space exploration and the continued development of the International Space Station?
I believe there are many incentives. These include but are not limited to the continued development of satellite and communications technology, diplomacy between astronauts of different national origins, the testing of super computers and microprocessors at zero gravity and the peace of mind of knowing that homo sapiens live beyond our planet.
The Hubble telescope (which was repaired in space by astronauts), and the Kepler telescope have provided us with invaluable knowledge about the physics, chemistry and otherwise previously unknown features of the deep cosmos. We now know there are hundreds of Earth-like planets orbiting sun-like stars in neighboring solar systems.
--There may be other phenomena close to us such as dark stars or nemesis stars along with radically elliptical orbit-holding gaseous, rogue, giant planets in our own solar system similar in constitution to Jupiter. -- [R.Dean]
I feel that a large-scale permanent space station would better assist astrophysicists in early warning and diversion of asteroids and meteor showers approaching our planet. Even better would be an infrared or radar array that surrounds the earth. The same goes for small settlements on the moon and Mars.
We have a long way to go to reach the level of technological advancement theorized in the Star Trek TV shows and movies. I heard on YouTube that if astronauts approached one half of light speed and maintained their velocity at that degree for one year, they would return to an Earth several decades ahead of the time that they departed. Einstein argued that surpassing light speed is impossible. I think a space craft could still travel extremely fast without breaking his axiom. What does this mean?
I'm sure that humanity will return to the moon and eventually Mars. But I hope they do it in a big wave of international teamwork, guaranteeing that it won't be a limited expedition like the original manned space program. It is amazing to see the images brought back by Hubble, Kepler and now the Spitzer telescope. I can only imagine what secrets the deep universe and its conglomeration of various shaped and colored galaxies holds for us.
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How does Mary Lennox exemplify “blowback” (Phillips 243)
In this case she is an orphan whose parents have died in a cholera epidemic in India. Extending the British Empire, similarly, the resources of commerce, industry and family life are challenged to the breaking point.
In a few years (most likely the years before World War I) the British troops and the captains of industry are pressed to leave their colonies and the residents therein to their own affairs. The train system, for example, remains in India to this day. In 1997 the British would also leave their possession of Hong Kong.
The idea of blow-back lingers, however, with new subjects arriving from India to compete for work and other social amenities to this day. Also, the colonial people themselves have organized sufficient elements of infrastructure to manage their own affairs.
Significantly, the tug-of-war between adherents of Gandhi clashed ideologically with die-hard Imperialists such as Winston Churchill. Churchill did not like Mahatma Gandhi and certainly saw the law school graduate as blow-back. In 1948 India would attain sovereignty along with Pakistan.
Additionally, the character of Mary Lennox exemplifies blow-back as she represents an over-extended and ethnocentric British Empire, returning to her people's nation of origin, namely Great Britain.
* * * * *
Discuss Mary's “sentimental education” (Phillips 348)
The “sentiments” that are transferred from mother to daughter are traditional figments of lingering British Colonial culture. Here, perhaps, rigidity and isolation in home life, along with traditional expectations regarding communal and familial role have caused Mary's mother to treat the Indian servants coldly as well as set a bad, emotionally cold example for her daughter, Mary.
The author is hinting that the culture of the British Empire, as it existed for many years, is in for a change. This still is in the time before World War I where the English imperialists begin to retract their claims to much of the world and, perhaps, like the ancient Roman Empire, realize that their echelons are stretched too thin over the globe.
This fits with Mary's return to her homeland, etc. The cholera epidemic in the early chapters signifies what may happen to the Empire in the event of any emergency.
Nevertheless, Winston Churchill still did not like Mahatma Gandhi.
Hence, Mary's “sentimental” or emotional education changes over time. Once back in England she is introduced to people with different personalities and different cultures.
* * * * *
Explain how in The Secret Garden “a theme of spiritual egalitarianism undercuts the realpolitik of class-based elitism.” (Phillips 355)
The children would be lonely without the companionship of the others. They have little patience for egocentrism or elitism and are inclined to team-up and participate in the restoration of the secret garden where Colin's mother died ten years earlier.
Their flexibility and amicability are like a sample of appreciation for nature, the animals of the moor, and otherwise a pause in the cultural agenda of Empire and authority.
Evidently Burnett, the author, is using the children's behavior as a model for what may be a more balanced social stratification in England and elsewhere. Some characters have large families while other characters are “only” children. These differences are overcome in the loneliness and dungeon-like chambers of the huge estate. The children, including Mary herself, begin to make friends to escape their solitude and become more appreciative of each other despite their noble lineage or lack thereof.
* * * * *
Response to Chapters 16-20 Prompt
Explain how in The Secret Garden “a theme of spiritual egalitarianism consistently undercuts the realpolitik of class-based elitism” (355).
Regarding the article by Jerry Phillips, there is much to be said about the layers of class politics in the culture of the now dissolved British Empire. The young characters who are introduced in the story represent a re-thinking and new age for British culture as the seemingly eternal British Empire is slowly retracting its holdings around the world.
In this light the character of Colin represents the centuries of English aristocracy and privilege. Additionally, the character of Dickon represents the working masses in England and abroad that continued to leave the fields and agriculture for job-training and increasing employment opportunities in the growing cities. Significantly, however, is the reality that Colin and Dickon are both children and benefit from having friends and shared recreation regardless of their social station or those of their parents and siblings. This “egalitarian” phenomenon is observed by young Mary, too, as she leaves the colonies in India due to the passing of her parents in a cholera epidemic.
As the story progresses, Mary comes to appreciate and befriend both young men despite their social status. She is discovering something that may be called “spiritual egalitarianism”. This is also the case for her relationship with Ben Weatherstaff. In the initial pages of The Secret Garden Mary is close to being an autocratic tyrant who brandishes her traditional status in an inconsiderate manner at first toward the native Indian servants and then later toward the servants and workers in the massive estate, Misselthwaite Manor, to whose owner Mary is related.
Thus, among other things, the novel is a treatment of class consciousness, which, I'm sure, was not a common behavior in those significantly divided castes. Additionally, the realpolitik of class-based elitism lingers in the background of the story while Mary, Colin and Dickon discover similarities between themselves and have a good time tending to the secret garden. Gardens, I understand, are a tradition in England, and, in this novel, the thriving of the roses and other flowers and plants may signify an advancing and persevering England with its own issues and economic challenges to be dealt with despite changes in the industry and investment of a privileged few.
Hence, the United Kingdom would turn inwards and pursue its own evaluation of a system that is now referred to as constitutional monarchy. India and Hong Kong would be left to their own affairs by the British in the 20th century. And the two world wars would only emphasize that the Empire was overextended and tactically unwise if challenged by some foreign military force.
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1.) In this first of two passages taken from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass the author acknowledges the psychological power inherent to the making of slaves in a system controlled by other men. He also notes that he appreciated the assistance of individuals during his own time as a slave, especially in terms of bolstering his literacy and education. Douglass reflects that his education would have been worse off if they had not helped him.
In the second of the two passages Douglass indicates that there remained a lingering, palpable paranoia that, at his owner's residence, a slave could get in serious trouble if caught studying the elements of literacy or in being seen reading a book.
These two passages share a theme of racial oppression and subjugation where the social resources of the greater community are not distributed or shared with all of the master's property, namely African American slaves. Clearly, at that time, the making of the crafts of reading and writing was a racially prejudiced behavior where, if seen doing it by a White man, could result in serious consequences, not the least of which being “sold down the river”, whipped, lynched or otherwise beaten and abused physically. This was most likely indicative of life throughout sections of the United States which has also been referred to as the culture of the antebellum South.
2.) In the first stanza of Hayden's poem, he mentions “God's Ways” where in the earlier poem Wheatley writes “...there's a God, that there's a Saviour too.”
Here Hayden is emphasizing the written words of the earlier African American, female writer.
Hayden's poem, something of an historical tribute to Wheatley, includes mention of “Horrors” during the forced journey from Africa to the growing settlements of New England. Hayden impersonates Wheatley's voice, as if she had arrived on her journey to the British Isles, is extended by Hayden.
“My health is much improved;
I feel I may, if God so Wills,
entirely recover here.
Also, Hayden writes of a conversation between Phillis and a British chimney sweep.
“'Does you, M'lady, sweep chimneys too?”
Here Hayden is showing a similar labor practice in England and is making the case for improvement of the quality of living for working children and slaves on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Hayden's purpose in attributing such a thought to Wheatley may be that, in his time, there remained chasms and morasses between the life that Wheatley had and that of African Americans decades later.
3.) A recurring metaphor employed by W.E.B. DuBois in his forethought to The Souls of Black Folk and Chapter II is that of an economic and educational “veil”. DuBois is writing in regard to the reality that African Americans and members of other races and ethnicities live in separate, spartan worlds from White Americans.
W.E.B. DuBois also repeats the phrase, “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.”
And, in Chapter II, DuBois colorfully describes the ideal living setting with travelers passing by and focus given to three centuries of “bowed, human heart[s]”.
At first DuBois' veil conceals the trauma of slavery from the White world, then DuBois' veil applies to the future, which, in this case, is the Twentieth Century.
DuBois' interracial “veil” represents a huge, sociological dichotomy of property-owning and enslaved Americans. In Chapter II DuBois' veil is more of a sociopolitical rallying cry in the attempt to generate some positive change for the centuries-long marginalization which, frighteningly, existed with limited sympathy or scope for the “un-seeing” upper class.
4.) Here in Dunbar's poem, he celebrates unconventional spelling from the African American community. The speaker of Dunbar's poem may be a slave or impoverished African American.
Dunbar is giving a face or voice to an underrepresented branch of the American family tree. At first the character is declaring that he enjoys Malindy's singing more than Miss Lucy's.
Dunbar's narrator continues to celebrate Malindy's singing. Dunbar's “lines and dots” refer to the cumbersome nature of traditional musical notation. It also refers to the first stanza, “You cain't sta't no notes a-flyin'.”
There are also references to songbirds in stanzas 4 and 5.
The whole of “When Malindy Sings” is an affectionate celebration of sublime African American language, which is probably the source of Jazz. The language itself is a celebration of African life in America and the unique pronunciation of a subjugated group of people.
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Among the individuals listed I argue here that God is portrayed as just and perceptive as well as powerful and specific.
In the case of Moses, The Old Testament tells a story of his piety and advocacy for the Hebrew people at large. Like Job and Jonah God's request of Moses is a heavy one.
This point in history reveals that monotheism was known to the ancient Egyptians although not preferred. The one God of the Pharaoh, Akhenaton, would be defaced from graven, chiseled images and bas reliefs after his death. Akhenaton's heir, Tutankhamen, indicated a return to the polytheistic pantheon of traditional Egyptian deities.
Moses, on the other hand, fought and struggled to bear his monotheistic people from Pharaoh's custody, and would succeed in traveling to new land in Canaan amid the Canaanites. Actually, Moses did not personally make it to the new land, but his companions did.
Moses, I argue, was selected for his task because of his ties and connections with Pharaoh and his penchant for diplomacy.
David, on the other hand, was successful in battle with the Philistines, was musically inclined and the time was right for him to take power as a king of Israel and its 12 tribes.
David, in this light, was favored by God and allowed by Him to occupy the throne of the Jews and secure the Ten Commandments. David, however, did have character flaws in the sense that he had the military husband of a woman he liked moved to the front lines where he would be killed in battle.
From killing Goliath with his sling to the fathering of Solomon David became the symbol of success for his tribes.
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Find and analyze a work of visual art with mythic or biblical references that we have not discussed.
Marc Chagall – Adam & Eve
[Please view Marc Chagall's painting of Adam & Eve in my Vampire Rave Portfolio.]
There are many connections that extend from popular art and literature to writing and literary study. One of the most significant of such focal points can be found while contemplating 20th century artist Marc Chagall's painting of Adam and Eve or “The Expulsion from Paradise”. Here Chagall uses the story of Adam and Eve from the biblical Book of Genesis to modernize, enhance and explain the significance of the series of events portrayed in his own work.
One need not be a Christian or Jew to appreciate the symbolic chain of events relating to the “first” man and woman in the world. The story attempts to provide an existential answer to the question, “Why is life so difficult?” as well as “Why must we endure suffering in the world?”
The argument can be made that these cosmic questions span generations and leave it to each of us to attempt to reply to and understand what was present in the minds of spiritual leaders and workers during the series of events detailed in the beginning of The Old Testament in the modern Bible.
Issues of ethnocentrism, racism, sexism and intolerance were surely present among the tribes of Mesopotamia and Canaan as they continue today. In fact, the dawn of mankind's transition from a hunter-gatherer existence to an agrarian one has been determined to be the forum for crop theft, disputed farmland and violence and hostility between hungry and desperate tribes. Hence, the emergence of written laws in a world of lawlessness and rampant self-interest began in earnest.
Centuries before Europe entered the forefront of legal and social infrastructure, humans in the Near East clambered to establish order as well as commercial record-keeping for their livestock and citizens. In the last centuries before the preservation of descriptions of the words and actions of a Nazarene speaker and humanist, Jesus, religious and governmental leaders fell back on the ongoing lessons learned from the “mistake” of Adam and Eve's sharing of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
It may be postulated that what was possibly interpreted as God's wrath in the perfect garden may have been a severe drought or changing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that fed human's crops. However, the precarious human condition that we all share was also there and thus appeared guidelines and explanations that engendered social stability and philosophical commentary in a time when few could read and there were many mouths to feed.
The authors of The Old Testament reveal that there was a need for the larger population to establish rules and laws to compensate for the “divine ignorance” of Adam and Eve. As the centuries passed the toil of agrarian life and the need for a peaceful coexistence between culturally and ethnically different tribes lingered and became more particular and specific. Two examples of such laws are Kosher law and Halal law which continue to be followed in modern times.
In another perspective, much of what was successful and reasonable in the story of the pariahs of Eden would later be shared by Christians, too. Crops would continue to need harvesting and livestock fed and slaughtered. Additionally, the grain silos and meat markets required law-enforcing agents whose jobs were to keep the peace and monitor the bartering and later currency exchanges.
Along with Marc Chagall's painting, another work that is substantially inspired by the Book of Genesis tale is Paradise Lost by John Milton. Written in the 1600's, over a thousand years after Genesis, Paradise Lost is a weighty and well-written English text that focuses on the imperfections and disobedience of Adam and Eve. Milton's magnum opus addresses the human condition as it was described by Genesis. Reading it, the message becomes clear that God's laws are meant to be taken seriously and that the size of the receiving population had grown with the advent of Christianity and the continuation of Judaism and Islam as well.
Perseverance and humility are aspects attributed to the expulsion from paradise. The loss of Eden can be seen as a moral and ethical beginning to what, in some cases, is referred to as the beginning of the beginning. As literacy slowly became commonplace in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, the stories of The Bible and Milton's take on them illustrate the impending need and void that was filled by Judeo-Christian thought.
In his painting, Marc Chagall (a European Jew) takes the aesthetic and colorful approach toward the emotional and artistic treatment of the forced exit conducted by an angel. Here Chagall paints the body of the angel in question in lighter color juxtaposed to the layered, blue background. Chagall's angel is a figment of strength and the long-reaching arm of God. This fountain of force is an indicator of Chagall's perspective on God's power.
We, the artistic and philosophical audience, are shown that there is legitimate fortitude in God's orders and, if shunned, we will be fraught with the consequences of religious and ethical disobedience. The Bible's point, apparently, is that if the situations arise where we may assume that we are alone or that no one is watching we are required to remember the error of the early pair and refrain from testing God and his guidelines once more.
This is significant in that evil deeds still occur, and many downtrodden and marginalized people continue to be tempted to take the law into their own hands despite the tenets of Scripture. Thus, Adam and Eve's God has broad scope and vision. We are taught that when wrongdoing takes place, God is sure to find out and, additionally, we are challenged to repair what is set awry.
Sadly, the nations of the world have struggled to intervene and conduct reconstruction in the wake of violence, atheism and lawlessness. It may be said that little can be done to bring back the lost lives of the Jews that were killed by Nazis in the 1940's during World War II, as well as those whose lives were taken in Cambodia in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Various Authors. Holy Bible – King James Version, Paradise Press, Inc. 2003, USA
Milton, John. Paradise Lost, Kastan, David Scott editor, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 2005, USA
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I'm uncomfortable speaking about the perception of national and individual identity. This is especially true when considering such things about other people beside myself. It seems, nevertheless, that nationality differs depending on the generation of the person living in the United States. A Puerto Rican individual, recently arriving to the mainland, is more likely to speak Spanish and perceive things in a manner similar to that of his community of origin. A third or fourth generation Puerto Rican American is more likely to speak English and view cultural nuances that are manifested in both his location of origin and the United States.
Why is this the case?
It takes time, perhaps more than a lifetime, to be assimilated and integrated into the layers of American society. This is the cusp of a different manner of thinking regarding the exchange of ideas among new Americans. Both entities benefit from immigration. The enveloping society receives diverse input and culture from the new arrival, and, in turn, the individual acquires much of the ways of living of the larger society.
Thus, the United States has Mexican food restaurants with staff that, most likely, speak Spanish and English.
When I moved from the Imperial Valley to the greater Los Angeles area I was immersed into a bilingual culture of work and public service. Although not located geographically as close to the Mexican border, the opportunity to chat with co-workers whose primary language was Spanish increased. I stayed as a cashier for the El Pollo Loco drive-through for almost two years. I quickly learned Spanish phrases that made conducting the tasks at hand easier. Examples of these are,
“!Necesito ayuda!” (I need help.) and “?Por favor, donde esta la nieve para la machina?” (Please, where is the ice cream for the serving machine?”)
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In these modern times tolerance and understanding have brought change in the regard of native religions and creation myths. From the ancient Greeks and ancient Egyptians to the expansion of Christianity into the “New World” explorers, sailors, farmers and hunters have found strength and solace in tribal and large-scale faiths. In addition, contemporary art and music have reached a substantial return as traditional European ideologies have shared company with the thoughts and ideas of African slaves.
Thus, in this essay, I assert that there is a common value in creation myths and the relationship with the respective guidelines of modern religion and an overlying social psychology.
What functions do creation myths serve?
They are tools of context for daily living. Familiar faces and customs provide support, perhaps, that the human legacy of our lives will survive despite the mortality of our humanity. Consistent with Judaism, Islam and other faiths, creation myths provide meaning and continuity to the hustle and bustle of daily business. These images hold significance be they the Virgin of Guadalupe or another connection with a monotheistic entity.
An advocate of diversity and poignancy was Joseph Campbell. He was a college professor who focused his academic career on the rich, cultural legacy of native and large-scale creation myths.
In a sense, creation myths teach us of ourselves and our purposes in life. We are allowed to see that there was a spiritual purpose to those who came before us and there will be purpose for those who succeed us.
Thus, the Judeo-Christian story of Adam's and Eve's expulsion from paradise sheds light on the general idea of struggle and toil associated with the lives of those who came before us. The biblical Book of Job also emphasizes the rigors and small pains of living that God wants us to endure.
In a blanketing study modern mythology and its teachers have initiated an academic return to the validity of worldwide traditional creation myths.
For example, the story of Watership Down adapts the idea of the Exodus into an anthropomorphic community of wild rabbits in post-war England.
This exodus is also re-told through the travels of the Joad family in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
There will always be journeys to undertake for people. Also, there will be conflict between the haves and have-nots and the solidity of oligarchy or a “chosen few”. The economic ideas, in some ways, of scarcity and demand have been challenged by Karl Marx and sociologist Emile Durkheim. These humanistic issues have increased in discussion within the academic community, especially since the close of World War II.
An example of a return to an indigenous perspective was exemplified by the differences of opinion between Winston Churchill and Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi would advocate a return to native creation myths, namely Hinduism, in the area of colonial, British India. Churchill, of course, would wish for the British Empire to remain intact. In the end Gandhi succeeded, and thus liberated a modern India in 1948 along with an Islamic majority in Pakistan.
African roots, in turn, have contributed to creation myths and cultural perspectives in the United States. Jazz music and African cuisine have been re-discovered along with the acknowledgment of Kwanzaa rather than Christmas.
An inspirational photograph was taken when Blues musician B.B. King gave his famous “Lucille” guitar to the Pope.
Thus, creation myths are potent ideas and once aware of their existence, can be encountered from the most remote areas of the globe.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces copyright New York, 1987 (estimated)
“Various Authors”. The Book of Job - King James Bible 1991 (estimated)
Adams, Richard. Watership Down 1978 (estimated) London
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath copyright New York, 1941 (estimated)
Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto copyright New York, 1870 (estimated)
Gandhi, Mohandas. The Story of My Life copyright New Delhi, 1950 (estimated)
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Part I. - Give a brief definition of the following terms.
1. Institutional Racism: Prejudice favoring a given race over the others that is manifested in the attitudes and unspoken policies of a social institution. This may be carried out in the process of hiring, firing and promotion within a corporation, governmental entity or business.
2. Identity Politics: A view of political discourse and political ideology that pertains to the demographic, racial and gender association of an individual person. These features are intended to be represented in politics, government and the greater population of a given society.
3. The Dream: A discussed hope and optimism that the lingering social, cultural and racial differences of members of a larger community will be overcome as equal pay, promotions and acceptance are enacted by the voting population and the institutions they control.
4. Ghosts: Perceived entities that may represent different things to the person that “sees” them. They may be ancestors or specters of racial and cultural individuality.
Part II. - Identify the following 4 quotations.
1. Woman Warrior by Hong Kingston – This is a discussion between a young woman and her mother. It reveals their concern as new arrivals to America that they become affiliated with the different society. The young woman is concerned about becoming a member of the team while continuing to live within a different racial and cultural standpoint. Much like other races and culture groups there is a tangible anxiety over “fitting in”. Just as Hong Kingston paints a picture of what it is like to be a Chinese American Ta-Nehisi Coates depicts an African American perspective and Bechdel one of a homosexual American woman.
2. Fun Home by Bechdel – The narrator of this graphic novel, a homosexual woman, writes of an initial discovery of a larger, lesbian community within the greater American society. Some of the women, Bechdel writes, were more themselves and comfortable in what were traditionally men's hairstyles and clothes. It seems like no big deal but for Bechdel the experience is significant in that it was a discovery of the type of lesbian she may or may not resemble. This book, in particular, is a manifesto of cultural and sexual difference. Although the gay presence makes for a stronger, more diverse America the day-to-day struggles of living in defiance of the American sexual majority is real and palpable. Whether the author is lesbian, African American or Chinese American these 3 books voice racial and cultural challenges the mainstream scene that prejudice and bias of any kind will not be tolerated or swept under the rug of American life.
3. Woman Warrior by Hong Kingston – This excerpt looks at the intense, visceral desire of the people to adhere to the “lingua franca” or common, general language of America. The cutting of the “frenum” appears to be a sacrificial gesture to loosen the tongue of the potential English speaker. The rite of passage from an original, cultural language to the majority language with all of its imperfections and prejudices is emphasized here.
4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – This quote confronts the despair and nihilism of the historically oppressed and marginalized African American community. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's was a success in the end. This is a lasting legacy carried on from the advocacy and racial dignity of Martin Luther King. The relationship between the African American individual and the fluctuating acceptance of the racial majority is a painful struggle to behold. The truths of history with all of their protests and violence show the reader that definition of what is to be an African American is not stationary. It is growing stronger.
To me, Literature of Gender and Ethnicity is an evolving study of the integration of generations of cultural and racial minorities, once downtrodden, into full acceptance and support from the larger society.
To English studies the pages are turning in regard to the lexicon of written and spoken language. It is a reminder that language is rarely stationary or limited to the dominant race or cultural perspective.
I hope that this study continues and spreads to all college campuses.
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In this paper I assert the argument that there is an existing relationship between soliloquy, group dialogue and “the truth”. The less the number of actors appearing on stage, it is less likely that the words of the speaking actor are deceptive or incorrect. Thus, Shakespeare uses the concept of soliloquy to “check in” with the theater-going audience in regard to the subliminal and visible motivations of the principal characters who are pursuing their own interests along with the general peace of the represented community.
In Shakespeare's tragedy Richard III the interests and motivations of the different characters are not uniform and, thus, there is dramatic conflict as the play progresses. For the character of Richard his conversations and soliloquys are self-focused with an air of authority, manipulation and intimidation directed toward his subjects.
Even in the initial soliloquy, the character of Richard indicates his discontent with the politics of the British people. The War of the Roses had taken place recently where the Yorkists and Lancaster-ists precede the Tudors of whom Henry VIII was related. In the first act of this play, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, is willing to bargain or force his way to the English throne. Thus, his “discontent” is an issue to reckon with for the majority of nobles and leaders in contention for the monarchy.
In Act 1 Scene 2 the character of Richard again addresses the audience alone.
“GLOUCESTER Go you before, and I will follow you.
“He cannot live, I hope, and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
I'll in to urge his hatred more to Clarence
With lies well steeled with weighty arguments.
And if I fail not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live...”
Here, Shakespeare is pressing his character to merciless ambition. If, in his conspiring, he brings more violence between the men near to him it is only necessary for him to achieve his end. In this soliloquy the character of Richard is truly monstrous, caring not for side-effects or incidental accusations and deaths. He wants to be king and is clearly willing to step on other people's toes and lives to get what he wants.
The character of Richard is letting us know his thoughts and, in this case, he is showing his villainous intentions. He does not respect the fellows near him and is willing to run one against the other, potentially in a haze of violence to achieve his political aims. This Renaissance play contains a main character that is scheming in a manner written about by Niccolo Machiavelli. In this light comes the phrase, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Shakespeare's Richard, thus, is a study in the human condition. It is an accurate portrayal of human motivations that are not always in the best interests of the surrounding community. Through Richard's soliloquys as well as his group dialogue we, the play's audience, are shown that, despite being in a position of power and privilege leaders can still act selfishly and destructively.
On page 204 of Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner writes of the Roman tradition, “Being prepared to kill the sons of Brutus, then, means being prepared to use severity – the Roman virtue of severitas praised by Sallust and Seneca – in applying the laws, not lawless violence in the name of political necessity.”
Thus, the soliloquys of Richard III reveal the tradition of the acclimation of power and the numbness of killing and conspiracy to achieve a coveted position. Clearly the character in question does not hesitate with the possibility of crushing other individuals connected with claims to power or the throne itself.
Shakespeare, in this play, is forwarding the notion that a leader who only acts in the best interests of his people is hard to find if in existence at all. Thus, Richard is the imperfect, more commonplace, power monger and strong man. We are shown Richard's truth in all its blemishes and inconsistencies. The soliloquys are moments in the play where the audience is able to confirm the imperfect aspirations and human values (or lack thereof) of the leading character.
The Renaissance itself provides the setting for the publication and popularity of Shakespeare's writing in Modern English. Printing presses were emerging in Europe and the public took full advantage of the new availability of contemporary books along with classics from the ancient world. Again, the theme of the ancient Greek character of Oedipus and his inability to avoid incest and killing is revived in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
In thematic juxtaposition Richard resembles Hamlet in that the human drives and tendencies to marginalize and subjugate one's peers are inflamed. In Hamlet the selfishness is attributed to Hamlet's mother who remarried her first spouse's brother shortly after he passed away mysteriously. In Richard III the anti-hero is Richard, who also does things to those around him to better insure his own ascent to the throne.
With the arrest and beheading of supporting characters we are shown that a person's value of human life and the construction of treasonous charges and convictions are not beyond the scope of the interests of a greedy despot. In other words, Richard's case is that the benefits of the one can outweigh the benefits of the many, if the interests of the one are given greater credence and silent support. Richard's soliloquys do not bolster the idea of one man, one vote. Moreover, Richard is arguing that the actions of a social and political leader are, unfortunately, able to super-cede and erase the interests of the common man when the leader covets the highest political office.
Thus, Shakespeare's soliloquys cause us to ask the question, “What can be done with a dysfunctional governmental system?”
This rhetorical question, inspired by Richard III, may contribute to the later governmental and infrastructural changes that took place in Europe and the “New World” centuries after Shakespeare. In fewer places around the world are there nations in peril. Clearly there are current political leaders that continue to perceive their role similarly to Richard and the Italian writing of Machiavelli. These burgeoning nations look to the greater globe to reduce the appearance of Richard-like tyrants and political bullies. This, I believe, was change that Shakespeare sought for the common people sooner than later.
Regarding a general respect for human life and the establishment of sympathetic political representation the tragedy of Richard III constitutes the antithesis of democracy and regular elections. One need not look far for other leaders in the recent past that continue to subscribe to Richard's soliloquys. This was the case, in the extreme, for the German forces in World War II as well as the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In this light, not only are post-industrial nations subject to lingering military and governmental regimes of tyranny, there now exist weapons of mass destruction and martial technology that can fuel a political and economic power-grab. The border lines of nations on the globe of today are being darkened and more seriously defined. In such a setting another Richard III could prove disastrous for the general population. This may continue to be the situation in Syria. Although Shakespeare has long since succumbed to age his “work” is cut out for him in that the commerce of ideas has not run its course. Thus, the maintenance of discussion and dialogue is something that Shakespeare would applaud.
In the end Richard III is a masterpiece in despotism and warns the viewers to avoid manipulation and government-sanctioned killing to achieve some selfish end. We do not want to be another Richard and the “truth” that all lives matter in this world is one that should be reinforced by the voting public.
Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Shakespeare-Early Plays and Poems 3rd Edition. Richard III on pages 555 to 647. 2016 by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Benner, Erica. Be Like the Fox – Machiavelli in His World. 2017 by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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This is a complex book that is broad in scope. I am enjoying reading it.
The legacy of Communist leader Mao Tse Tung has endured for decades. I must emphasize the difference between theoretical Marxism and military Leninism.
Although Joseph Stalin's strong-arm era of cultural and economic dominance in what was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has passed, and the so-called bi-polar, hot and cold dilemma of the Cold War is dissolved, there yet remain large portions of the globe and human population that are living under military Leninism.
This military, authoritarian control of economy and culture reflects a desire to equalize previous disparities between haves and have-nots. The same could be said about the French Revolution from about 1796 to the first years of the 1800's.
The need for economic competition or the rewarding of the builder of the better mousetrap is essential to the evolution of technology, industry and the elimination of scarcity. The same goes for the universal availability of quality education, food, housing and health care.
Another issue, I believe, in post-Maoist China is the freedom of information, speech and the declaration of political opinions in public and private. It has been some years since the clap-down of the democratic, student protests in Tiananmen Square.
I remember seeing the tanks deployed on TV. This demand for representative, democratic elections and a multi-party, democratic governmental system was unsuccessful. However, the seeds of freedom have been sown in China.
Our information technology and the distribution of ideas will prove essential to the emergence of true democracy in China. China has come leaps and bounds in the last century. The developing nation has finished construction of the Three Gorges Dam (an energy-generating facility). And millions of field workers and villagers continue to move to the cities for industrial training and the hope for a better future.
Another amazing accomplishment by China in recent years is the success of the Jade Rabbit. It was a lunar probe that landed on the moon and collected scientific, empirical data. This was also the case with a Chinese Martian probe.
A key step in the boosting of the social and economic power of China on the global marketplace is the establishment of contemporary, competitive factories and infrastructure. Solid infrastructure would include highways, universities, hospitals and modern housing.
I am enjoying Out of Mao's Shadow. I hope that China and North Korea explore the prospect of fair, representative democratic elections and governmental systems sooner rather than later.
China has a fascinating cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. I understand that throughout China groups of people that speak vastly different dialects are able to communicate in writing via traditional Chinese characters. Considering the magnitude of the population that exists there, this is an amazing feat of literacy and information dispersion. I hope censorship ends, the free exchange of ideas increases and with it the dawn of a new age beyond the militarism of Mao.
Pan, Philip P. Out of Mao's Shadow. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2008
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“Most happy letters fram'd by skillful trade,
with which that happy name was first desynd:
the which three times thrise happy hath me made,
With guifts of body, fortune and of mind.
The first my being to me gave by kind,
from mothers womb deriv'd by dew descent,
the second is my sovereign Queene most kind,
that honour and large richesse to me lent.
The third my love, my lives last ornament,
by whom my spirit out of dust was raysed:
to speak her prayse and glory excellent,
of all alive most worthy to be praysd.
Ye three Elizabeths for ever live,
that three such graces did unto me give.”
This is a poetry explication of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti Sonnet #74. In line 3 of this sonnet Spenser uses alliteration to emphasize his statement. These words stand out and bring focus to the number three, which, in the Renaissance and earlier, was attributed with Christianity in the sense of God the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost.
Spenser's lines also follow the rhythm of iambic pentameter. This cadence is perceivable in the following line,
“With guifts of body, fortune and of mind.”
He uses the meter and sound of the pronounced words to bring attention to another metaphysical trio. In this case these elements of a “blessed” existence are things that most people strive for in one way or another.
The theme of three returns again in line 13 where Spenser writes of three Elizabeths which refers to Spenser's mother, Queen Elizabeth and his love. This is also a trio associated with the Holy Trinity of Christianity. In this light Spenser is making the case for English Christianity which was a comparatively new faith in comparison to the Roman Catholic Church, which had spread as far as England over the centuries.
* * * * *
Spenser's word choice is a key element to the sanctification of Queen Elizabeth and her burgeoning empire. The memory of King Henry VIII in the Renaissance English collective consciousness and his rejection of the religious authority of the Papal See brought a new age of ideas and modernity to some extent in the court of Queen Elizabeth as would be mirrored in other parts of Europe.
The “th” sound is thus repeated in Spenser's Sonnet #74, line 3. This brings a substantial, auditory continuity to the concept of three, mentioned here as the three Elizabeths in Spenser's life. The theme of three is heard again in line 13, where Spenser writes,
“Ye three Elizabeth's for ever live,
that such graces did unto me give.”
Another idea is that the sound of the sonnet is given serious use because the alliteration will bring attention to the words that, perhaps, an illiterate audience may hear. Thus, the sonnet may be enjoyed when it is read before a group (at that time probably a group of aristocrats).
In this sonnet, taken from the larger collection of Spenser's Amoretti, there is a thematic focus on three women, all named Elizabeth, who hold a special place in the poet's heart and mind. In this context Edmund Spenser is referring to his mother, Queen Elizabeth and his significant other. This focus on the idea of a trio does, in fact, lean toward the religious, Christian following of what is known as the Holy Trinity. Traditionally this would be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. In Latin is would be “Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.” [Latin taken from the Bing search engine.]
This sonnet (#74) shows the tooth and nail struggle of the English people to assemble a prosperous, pious and diplomatic island nation to interact and conduct commerce with the rest of Europe and the newly discovered English colonies in the American continent. Originally benefiting from the trade of wool and woven textiles from Scotland and England, history would reveal that, in a sense, Spenser and the Queen succeeded in moving their country along in what would constitute the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Neither this writer nor the female monarch would wish to sever all ties from the traditional, Roman Catholic church during those years. Thus, the motif of the number three, possibly, is an initial attempt to re-strengthen diplomatic and ideological ties with the other nation-states of Renaissance Europe after the schism of King Henry VIII. Thus, philosophically and artistically, England in many ways continues to resemble the post-feudal infrastructure of the countries of the mainland (while they are also in stages of economic development). France, especially, would struggle to amend their social and governmental mechanics to resemble the new ideas of the British.
Another motif that incorporates Spenser's theme of three can be said to be the past, present and future as well as birth, life and death. These atavistic representations enhance the timeless quality of the English poets and playwrights. On one hand this sonnet reminds the reader of the nature of human mortality as well as the setting aside of resources for the future generations of English-speaking people.
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Regarding Question 1
During the time of the authorship of The Castle of Otranto many societies in Europe and around the world found themselves in a substantial social transition from an agrarian way of living to an industrial one. This would spark the fire of revolution, especially in the case of the Russian Bolsheviks and the bloodshed of the French Revolution. Lasting institutions such as an elite monarchy and organized religion, namely the Catholic Church, found themselves challenged and in peril from the potentially violent class warfare and the killing of the French aristocracy without the benefit of a jury trial or even the charge of a crime before a democratic judge (habeas corpus).
Surely these stressors, affecting the lives and ideologies of millions of workers, would generate fear, anxiety and dialogue in an attempt to avoid the fate of Louis XV.
In regard to the quality of living and freedom of expression for women at this time they would have substantially political and cultural mountains to climb. This was the case for the characters of Matilda and Isabella, who embody differences in inclination and community involvement. Surely, among other things, marriage to a man and a lifetime as a housewife began to represent cultural chains from which women may never seem to be free.
Walpole's novel makes use of the trepidation and apprehension of the time and goes so far as to describe real, scary effects for the male and female characters that hinted at the economic turmoil and self-redefinition of the time. Surely the collective unconscious of the European aristocrats would affect nearly everyone alive at the time as greater trade ships embarked for the “New World” and investments were pursued even when women were forced to remain as second-class citizens if citizens at all.
Regarding Question 2
Regarding the character of Theodore, Walpole describes him as handsome and modern. It is not surprising therefore that similarities are drawn between the features of an English “gentleman” or an Italian one. The archetype of the character of Theodore is in contrast to the grumbling and morose Manfred. Theodore's energetic outlook represents the hopes and dreams of the burgeoning lower classes in Europe and ultimately the “New World”, too. Theodore, in this light, is a harbinger of the future of industry in the civilized world. Industry would prove to be here to stay and, with time, the quality of living of the downtrodden and those of common birth would balance out.
This rift between the aspirations and blueprints of banks' investment and the hunger and lack of formal education of peasants would make the hope real for the reading audience through Theodore. Courage and faith are also tied to the character of Theodore and, with the rise of Napoleon just around the corner, the elite English readers along with American colonists and other literati invest their hope and attention in Theodore's struggle.
Manfred, on the other hand, may be said to represent the old guard aristocracy not even as aggressive or ambitious as the people who stormed the Bastille. He would possibly be the antithesis of the Renaissance man. Manfred is Walpole's naysayer and reminds us that modernity doesn't happen overnight. Also, Manfred carries the vibration that the old ways are still the best ways. Manfred's character is also selfish and loathe to make the people around him feel safe as many might not feel at the time of the book's authorship and immediately afterward.
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Gender and sexual identity are key issues for Electricidad. Despite potentially "marginalizing" views and behavior patterns, Luis Alfaro's character of Electricidad succeeds in its transfer of archetypes from Greek mythology.
Theoretically starting in youth and developed layer by layer into an adult woman's mindset, Electricidad addresses her father with all of his "machismo" or masculinity and his own socialization, role interpretation and spartan concept of fairness and justice within the contemporary setting of East Los Angeles.
Electricidad is celebrating the tough and pseudo-military outlook that her father was apparently known to possess. Her response, absorbed over the years of her maturation, is manifested in the persona of a "chola". This label hints at a feminized "cholo" which would be a connection to the term "pachuco". It was seen in the 1940s and 1950s where pachucos or cholos fought with soldiers and sailors returning from World War II. (Zoot Suit Riots)
Electricidad upholds the patriarchal order that her father's generation vied for. Her Papa was known to be the force to be reckoned with in the East Los Angeles Latino/a community. He was the implementer of a militaristic yet functioning social code.
Hence, the shadow of Malcolm X looms here. It seems that on the behalf of the Los Angeles Hispanic community, Electricidad's Papa was courageous and survivalistic in taking the reins of his community. Although such a thing might be considered by some to be taking the law into one's own hands another perspective might be that someone must fill the void of Latino community leadership in Southern California. Since the writing of "Electricidad" by Luis Alfaro the acceptance of Latino and Mexican American women into offices of policy making and political advocacy has increased. This may, in part, be attributed to the relaxing of segregating beliefs in the larger, non-Hispanic community in L.A.
The next step for Electricidad and real Latino women in the United States may be bound to upholding more social and decision-making roles on the L.A. city council, California Assembly, the state senate and the judges in the court system.
I am also reminded of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. Their historical boycott of non-unionized harvest of table grapes and the phrase, "Uvas no!" would enable and advance the quality of living of Spanish-speaking and English-speaking field workers and others in decades past.
Thus, living here, in the greater Los Angeles area, all residents are continually immersed in the Anglo-Saxon world as well as the Latino/a, Mexican American and Spanish-speaking world. I still remember taking the bus to a job interview in downtown L.A. and seeing blocks and miles of flower vendors. The spirit of Electricidad's Papa is there, along with the question to anyone and everyone of, "What can I do to generate constructive change in East L.A. and the greater theater and business community of "cholos" and "cholas"?
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In conjunction with the multi-faceted studies of "Integral Psychology" by Ken Wilber and others, the development of the concept of self or "I-Thou" is a fluid and ongoing psychological process.
The most talented of DJ's needs to take an account of the evolution of his artistic medium and the expectations of his particular audience. Hence, the communal consciousness of Latinos/as is an interactive and fluid thing. My own "I-Thou" changed when I moved from the California desert to Los Angeles.
I found work at El Pollo Loco and over the following months encountered a strong immersion into the respective context of communication: "parilla (grill) – Spanish spoken in the kitchen", "ventana (window) – English spoken with the customers outside". To me, this was a brief foray into an exercise of "I-It" and "I-Thou". [very close to "All quadrants, all lines or AQAL by Ken Wilber.]
Spiritual and cultural ideas are shared, transferred and absorbed, especially when there is a clear, mutually beneficial incentive for the participants of the tasks at hand.
Also, spiritually there is validity in proactive activity regarding Quetzalcoatl and/or Jesus. We're all DJs in this sense and it is our task to evaluate and assess what to do with the given information or "records playing" at hand.
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The gods play a substantial role in The Odyssey. More than just differing from the montheistic "God" of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, who is omniscient and everywhere, the ancient Greek "gods" had/have unique personalities, interests and mortal-like relationships. These ancient deities manifest human-like aspects of their nature.
Poseidon, reputably, the ruler of the ocean world, in this light is said to be angered with Odysseus for blinding the one-eyed Cyclops. It is written that the Cyclops was an offspring of Poseidon. This scenario fits into Homer's verses and descriptions of transactions and struggles between mortal men and the gods residing in Mount Olympus. It is not Poseidon's wish that Odysseus return home speedily.
Circe, like the Cyclops, is also an offspring of the gods and follows her own wiles in trapping Odysseus and his men for an extensive period of time. She also harnesses her mythic power, at times turning Odysseus' men into lowly pigs.
These examples (of divine intervention) emphasize the daily struggle of the ancient Greeks to raise sheep and goats, make offerings to the gods, and support their own crops and families.
The belief in the gods and their deeds may have been boosted by the prevailing Greek forces when defending their land, possessions and ways of living from other cultures in the general Mediterranean region.
In Oedipus El Rey the ongoing theme of survival while being buffeted by outsiders and the whim of Fate is illuminated.
One issue in this updated Oedipus story may be the question of who is going to lead the Chicano and Latino communities in East Los Angeles. This version provides added emphasis to the tradition of patriarchy and the "chain of command" within the milieu of "veteranos" and "cholas".
These concerns support the structure of Sophocles' play, and the actors carry out the behavior attributed to the personae of Jocasta and Oedipus. The story is enhanced by this theatrical adaptation.
These issues enrich our understanding that life is hard and the memories of how we treated those who are near to us may be our greatest legacy.
Current social conditions and the effectiveness of "skilled labor" may succeed in improving the associates of Oedipus El Rey's quality of living.
In this light the incestuous relationship of Oedipus and Jocasta reflects the unwanted consequences of a tightly knit community and separation and isolation from the larger multi-ethnic community.
These are now sociological and anthropological themes that study modern living in the shadow of Sophocles' play.
Sophocles' play presents human limitations in that the central character is unable to avoid patricide and incest.
As illustrated by the relationship of Oedipus and Jocasta, theirs is an imperfect pairing.
Page 223 of Oedipus the King states,
"Jocasta – You're doomed – may you never fathom who you are!"
Thus, Oedipus and Jocasta and their illicit affair is a testament to limited control of one's destiny that all people may experience to a degree during their lifetimes.
Perhaps the wrong thing to do in continuance of this philosophy is resign to one's chaotic association with others and a turbulent environment.
This relationship reinforces the reality that life does possess incongruence and differences of opinions that may appear to be agonizing at best and depressing at worst.
It is perhaps, our lot in life to resist and avoid what is seemingly inevitable, despite obstacles and indications that our fate is sealed or written in stone.
It is fitting, as well, that the ancient Greek pantheon is occupied by differing roles and interests in the mortal world. Thus, our own way of processing social information, however seemingly unique, is likely to resemble at least one Greek deity or archetype, whether it be the light of Athena or the dark of Hades or those of others in-between.
This religious belief differs substantially from the later, montheistic faiths. In some ways the aged pantheon may be innately more psychological or sociological.
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This poem celebrates a dancing, Latino couple and the feelings of romance in their movements. Specifically, "Mambo" is a Cuban style of music and dancing within the larger spectrum of Latino music.
This rhythmic poem and its musical quality resemble the music of Armand Assante's character in the film "Mambo Kings."
"Mambo Love Poem" shares a fluid, interactive aspect that much Latin American contemporary music and Jazz possess.
Like much of jazz music, the connection with African culture and an improvisational, independent quality within the music raises a type of cultural consciousness. The characters of Carlos and Rebecca are not only dancing in a Cuban fashion. They are swept up in a cosmically significant, emotionally positive wave of being “Borinquen.”
Clearly, especially when considering 20th century history that includes the regime of Fidel Castro and his socialist adherents Carlos and Rebecca are defining their own artistic expression. The Mambo dancing is their way of silencing or muting the trials and challenges of living that are set before them by the sometimes-militaristic force that continues to run the government on the island country south of Florida.
In the closing line of “Mambo Love Poem” there is an indication of a transcending movement shared by the male and female dancers. Their experience and perspective is heightened and elevated with the music.
“The sweat of their bodies mingles with flute
blowing high over splintered wooden floors,
in notes that soar beyond the rooftops of El Barrio.”
Sandra Esteves is emphasizing the spiritual and mental liberation of the pair from what might be otherwise seen as a dreary, oppressed Cuban existence. The general title of the community in which they live, “El Barrio” also hints that life is tough and compact for Cubans on the island and in the United States, where other cultures and social hierarchies falter in understanding a more elemental and visceral existence that some Latin American cultures share.
This poem gives a small picture of the status of gender and sexual politics in Latin America and its extension to the perspective of Cuban and other potential asylum-seekers here in the United States.
Rebecca and Carlos are thus the doers and actors in the artistic and/or musical world of their own culture. They are clearly unsatisfied to “pipe down” or “Anglicize” their interest in dance, music and each other. In this light their lives are wealthy and whole where mainstream Americans in and out of Cuba may be comparatively guilty of dryness or stuffy cultural apathy toward the respective nations of Central, South America and the Caribbean Islands.
The characteristics of this poem are appreciated for their use of color and a multi-ethnic or multi-racial heritage. They are ready to get on with the business of living whole, musical and psychologically healthy lives.
This potentially “Dionysian” or “sensate” way of interacting with the universe contributes to the balance of “Dionysian,” “Apollonian,” “Promethean,” and “Epimethian.” Clearly there is merit and honor within the spectrum of Latin American and other cultures despite their differences from the business-like and potentially stoic machinations of mainstream American personae.
Theirs is a regime of love and colorful intimacy in a world where masses of wealth and influence might otherwise be difficult to attain.
Fidel Castro has passed away, now, and Carlos and Rebecca and their Mambo dancing represent an affectionate and expressive Latino future for all the nations of this planetary hemisphere or “The New World.”
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Instructions: Draw Grendel and write an essay on the picture’s significance. Include a bibliography and a copy of the quoted lines.
Source: The Norton Anthology of English Literature – Ninth Edition – Volume A – The Middle Ages pages 41 to 88 - Translated by Seamus Heaney
This picture contains my impression of the character of Grendel. He was the initial nemesis and enemy of King Hrothgar and Beowulf. The text is full of descriptions of the murders and violence of the rogue warrior.
Historically speaking, the misdeeds and continuous presence of the entity of Grendel are likely to symbolize and represent the lingering and destructive invasions of the early waves of Viking invaders to Britain and other parts of the European continent.
Rather than annotate the victory of Beowulf and Christianity the story of the Scandinavian hero is a marker for what would prove to be several centuries of pagan, Viking-induced chaos in the British Isles. The dramatized and supernatural series of events taking place in the story of Beowulf are thought to be inspired by movements of people around 520 A.D.
The onslaught of Germanic tribes next came to a head in 550 A.D. The Vikings were then led by Hrolf Kraki, a legendary King of Denmark. Hrolf’s tale is replete with berserkers, magicians and fantastic beasts.
The rain and weather of the passing centuries uncovered the skeletal remains of dinosaurs and dire wolves. These extinct creatures left frightening and ominous bones. It was then easy to assemble sagas of valiant warriors who were said to have killed the great lizards on the behalf of humanity.
From 793 A.D. to 795 A.D. Vikings assaulted Lindisfarne and the monasteries at Jarrow, Monkwearmouth, Rechru, St. Patrick and St. Columbia. Later they pillaged the Irish monastery on Iona. The Vikings returned to Iona again in 801 A.D. and 806 A.D.
In 800 A.D. Charlemagne ordered coastal settlements to organize military defenses. From 822 A.D. to 823 A.D. Archbishop Ebo of Rheims traveled on a mission to Denmark. Nevertheless, Vikings sacked Seville in Spain, Nantes in France and took a peace-offering of 7,000 pounds of silver from Paris, also in France, from 843 A.D. to 845 A.D., respectively.
In 982 A.D. Erik the Red found Greenland. His son, Leif Erikson, sailed from Greenland to Labrador, becoming the first European to visit America in 992 A.D.
Subsequently, in 1016 A.D., the son of Svein Forkbeard, Cnut the Great, became King of England. (This is why I affixed the image of Grendel with a traditional, royal English neck piece). Fifty years later the Norwegian King, Harald Hadrada attempted to invade Britain with his army unsuccessfully. Soon, thereafter, William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England on Christmas Day.
Beowulf is said to be a Geat. There are different clans and tribes noted in the story. Listed among them are the Danes, Shieldings and Weather-Geats. Beowulf arrived by ship to the court and mead hall of King Hrothgar. He offered the king his support in eliminating the anarchic and deadly character of Grendel.
On page 86, verse 2081 of the Heaney translation Beowulf is credited to having said of Grendel, “There was blood on his teeth, he was bloated and dangerous, all roused up, yet still unready to leave the hall empty-handed; renowned for his might, he matched himself against me, wildly reaching. He had this roomy pouch, a strange accoutrement, intricately strung and hung at the ready, a rare patchwork of devilishly fitted dragon-skins.”
First, Beowulf contended with Grendel. The malevolent monster attempted to wage another attack on Hrothgar and his subjects in the great court while they were resting and without chain armor. Beowulf was quick to wrestle with the ominous entity using his bare hands. Grendel was caught in Beowulf’s vice-like grip and fought to get away from the visiting warrior. Ultimately, Grendel broke Beowulf’s hold but not without losing an arm in the scuffle. Grendel’s wound was mortal. Beowulf realized that the monster had escaped only to succumb to his injuries over time. The Geat warrior was then regaled with gifts from Hrothgar.
Secondly, Beowulf battled Grendel’s mother. It was her intention to avenge the death of her son. She was also a being with super-human strength and resilience. The warrior, Aeschere, was killed by her and his body stolen away. Beowulf followed the trail of Grendel’s mother and dove into a body of water to emerge in the place where she took refuge and collected gristly trophies. Beowulf beheaded her with a giant sword and subsequently reported to King Hrothgar. The grateful monarch again bestowed gifts upon Beowulf. The heroic Geat warrior then made preparations to return to his home.
This story is a reflection of the transition of bellicose tribes and their cultures to Christianity. The deaths of Grendel and his mother indicated a slowly emerging diversion from an agenda of pagan lawlessness and plunder. The ethics and values proclaimed by Jesus Christ and recorded in the New Testament of the Bible became an avenue for civility and eventually one of literacy in a time where few could read.
It is worth noting, however, that the monks who recorded the story of Beowulf thought it fitting to preserve the imagery and struggle of the developing social organizations of pre-Christian times. From a contemporary perspective, where Christianity is a religion practiced by millions of people in the world, virtually without opposition, it may be difficult to realize that, for many centuries, pagan militia succeeded in haranguing and killing residents of supposedly Christian kingdoms.
“Beowulf” translated by Seamus Heaney. Pages 41 to 108 of The Norton Anthology of English Literature – Ninth Edition – Volume A – The Middle Ages. General Editor Stephen Greenblatt – Cogan University Professor of the Humanities – Harvard University. Published by W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London 2012
Haywood, John. Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age. Thames & Hudson Inc: New York, 2000.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019
I am back to the grindstone here at Cal State. Ideally this should be my last semester before graduating with a bachelor's in arts. I have declared my intention to graduate and have almost all the necessary preparations in order.
It is good to compare notes with the other students. Fresh minds and attentive participation are energizing to see firsthand. I have just about finished purchasing the requisite textbooks and look forward to continuing to read and familiarize myself with the assigned material.
My schedule this Spring is full. It consists of twelve units spread through four classes. I am enrolled in Creative Writing along with African American Literature, Shakespeare and Children's Literature.
Thus, I have my reading cut out for me and I am continuing to hone my study schedule. My roommate and housemates have gotten used to seeing me running around with a stack of books and a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. In addition, I have brainstormed for a new story with a female protagonist. I have tentatively titled it Alexandra and the Ship of Dreams. I am filling in details about the initial characters as I write. I hope to build momentum as I go and generate a hearty draft. An added benefit will be the feedback and constructive criticism of my fellow students. I got ink for my printer, now, and am willing to share paper copies as well as digital copies with the class via the Blackboard program.
I also have a running science fiction / horror project called The Hunter's Moon. It is loosely inspired by the Hellblazer comics. It is also inspired by the art of Wayne Barlowe.
I've got my work cut out for me along with my hobby of producing literary magazines and binding copies of Order & Chaos and other stories and poetry.
I just picked up a machine that can run a 2" spiral through a strip of perforations. This gauge of spiral could theoretically hold five hundred pages or more. I am hence motivated to assemble my past writing into an omnibus spanning some years of written work.
Monday, January 28, 2019
Presently I am continuing reading an annotated edition of Alice in Wonderland. From the beginning the story is different from the film adaptations. If anything, the text is surreal beyond Disney and avoids printing real names of the members of the government and monarchy in the United Kingdom, of whom Lewis Carroll is critical.
Carroll's seminal work reveals the power of written ideas to criticize political and governmental abuse and neglect through marginalization.
In-Class Free-write Assignment
Sometimes I worry about the future...Will I have all my i's dotted, and t's crossed in the future?
Probably not, but, as time passes, I find myself growing in concern. What to write. What to draw...etc. I think the trick (if there is one) of getting one's point across is dedication to the craft of self-expression. The secret, I think, is to stay busy and moving so as to allow for bits of progress to accrue over time.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
My friends at home are getting ready to watch the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams playing against the New England Patriots. I understand that both teams are known to have talented defensive players and quarterbacks.
Traditionally the Rams have been known to be an excellent passing team. It has been a long time, though, since the era of Eric Dickerson. I look forward to watching the big game and finding out whom is the best NFL team for 2019.
In other news my office supplies finally arrived, and I have begun preparing my written projects for a 2" omnibus edition containing fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I have begun to familiarize myself with the workings of my binding machine. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun putting everything together.
I have also enjoyed making video clips of myself playing a variety of computer and video games. So far, I have posted clips of Diablo III, Super Mario Bros., Castlevania and The Legend of Zelda, but there will be more to come and with higher scores, too.
I'm sure that, with some practice, I can reach high scores in Asteroids and Street Fighter Alpha III.
Monday, February 4, 2019
The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl!
Hopefully the Rams will get a stadium of their own rather than just playing in the old coliseum. Who knows how the Chargers will do next season, either?
I am enjoying keeping this writer's journal. It is good practice for hand-eye coordination along with the creative process as a whole.
Along with continuing to familiarize myself with my new, bookbinding equipment I am also re-editing the Order & Chaos manuscript to more easily fit into a larger omnibus. I look forward to preparing my nonfiction, fiction and poetry in both individual and collected volumes.
This semester's theme for Enjambed [the CSUDH literary magazine] is enticing, too. I will probably submit a few documents of varying size and topic. The one about the Higgs Boson subatomic particles should be interesting...I know I enjoyed researching for it.
At this point I need to re-paginate Order & Chaos and double-check for the most recent character names, especially in the early chapters.
I also need to update my sites and photos on WordPress, Feedbooks, Reddit, Google Drive, OneDrive, YouTube and Wikipedia. I also must continue and prepare the Dungeon Quest RPG card game to expand beyond its current, incomplete adventure game. So far, my biggest online backup drive is OneDrive with one terabyte of storage.
I also have traditional, handwritten manuscripts that need to be updated and expanded. Some have yet to be typed into my computer system. This is the case for the RANA – Lost in Time story and the unorganized paragraphs of "The Dwarf Kings" chapter of Order & Chaos. I also enjoy updating pictures and documents on Google Photos and Facebook. I'm a little shy for all of Facebook but do occasionally check it out.
Another avenue of computer-related book research is in downloading free PDFs of finished documents and stories. My EcoTank printer is fully compatible with PDFs, and I have already printed and bound the new rules and guidebook for Dungeons & Dragons. Otherwise, I am still dedicated to the 4th edition which is relatively recent but much cheaper than the 5th edition.
I also have a website on Vampire Rave but don't contribute to it on a regular basis. Vampire themes got a little overused in the 1990s and I have only dedicated a few pages to their world.
I'm still holding on for future investment in Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Dark Sun, Call of Cthulhu, Magic the Gathering, Spelljammers, Dragonlance, Castle Ravenloft, Eberron, Forgotten Realms, Lone Wolf, Greyhawk, Vampire the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Robotech, Thieves' World and other online games such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, Conan, Starcraft, Warcraft, Perfect World and Star Trek Online.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
I am plodding along with Alexandra. I have given her a friend named Coraline. Coraline is also a contributing member of The Ship of Dreams. I haven't decided what will happen next but have some nemeses grinding in the works.
The weather has been cloudy and sporadically rainy these days. I am fortunate to be able to borrow an umbrella from the rack at home and maintain a semblance of dryness.
Another blessing these last few years has been the Metro, Gardena and Torrance bus lines. Their presence and the transportation that they provide has proven to be invaluable.
I have been thinking again of my physics notes. I mentioned them to a science professor, and he was encouraging. I will revise the information about the machinations of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. I understand that the next subatomic particle collider is being built at the University of Oregon. This was the avenue of concern that Stephen Hawking warned about recently (before he passed away). The shattered particles do create tiny black holes and other powerful manifestations of cosmic matter. Hawking claimed that a larger collider, in orbit around the Earth, might truly create a permanent black hole! Oops!
Other microprocessors are doing well. I have no complaints with my PC and use it as much as I can. I recorded a video clip of an old game called Mace – The Dark Age but didn't make it past the samurai level.
Friday, February 8, 2019
I'm taking a break, today. My friend, Chad, called. He mentioned getting together to work on another "Do It Yourself" magazine. We did pretty good with the last two 'zines, namely Rise Above #1 and Rise Above #2. The name was taken from a song by Black Flag.
It's been challenging since I went back to school. Technology is here to help, though, and the hobbies can stay on the back burner and still progress.
My bicycle is in good working commission and I still cruise when I have time available. I enjoy frequenting both the City Library and the County Library. Each have their own values of privacy, Internet access, printing quotas, books on sale and multimedia material.
I don't know how they do it, but I haven't got another flat since installing the green slime innertubes. I savor the time on my bike and appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house for a few hours.
My room is a little disorderly, but I will attend to it over the course of the coming weekend. The TV says rain is on the way.
Monday, February 11, 2019
The Cal State campus is getting ready to receive ex-Black Panther Angela Davis. She is in good health and has continued writing and speaking. I also understand that she knew TuPac Shakur's mother when they were both Black Panthers.
Also, the film “13th” featured a recent appearance of Davis as she expressed continuing concern regarding the incarceration and imprisonment of African American men accused of a crime and convicted by a judge somewhere.
In addition to journal writing, I am getting ready to send my story-in-progress titled Alexandra and The Ship of Dreams.
At this point it is 9 pages long, but I look forward to writing more. I also am compiling other fiction and nonfiction to share with my feedback group. There is some sociological writing about races in America, but I will not attempt to give a copy to Angela Davis.
In my spare time I have continued to organize my files on OneDrive as well as on an external hard drive. I may need to ask Dr. C---- whether I can submit a fiction sample along with a nonfiction sample. I'll think about it and approach him next week.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
We got in to see Angela Davis give a speech at CSUDH today!
She appeared in good health and spoke for several minutes. I was able to find a seat in the campus gym just a few minutes before the program began.
We were again enlightened to hear questions and concerns regarding the penal systems as they currently exist in America. Also, the question arises regarding allowing ex-felons to vote in this country.
In agreement with Davis' continuing study of the American penal system I believe there is a need for a massive system overhaul. It is not enough to release prisoners for "time served". There needs to be job and career training, psychological evaluation and a parole system that prevents recidivism.
The category of "repeat offenders" needs to be reduced through more holistic and proactive rehabilitation and education. Thus, the differences of opinion among our elected leaders must be rectified. It is no longer enough for our government to "punish" convicts. They must be made into contributing members of our greater society.
Friday, February 15, 2019
The weekend is finally here! Each of my professors is keeping the ball rolling. I am reading Alice in Wonderland for Children's Literature, Zora Hurston for African American Literature and "Richard III" for Shakespeare. I am also generating 15-page segments for review by my group in this Creative Writing class.
I have changed character names in Order & Chaos and will continue revising it so that it may be more conveniently shared with the other students in my group. At this point I'm going to go back to my computer and see what adjustments I can make to more easily share my fiction and nonfiction.
In other news I am continuing to be concerned by the Mueller investigation of President Trump. It is only a matter of time before he is forced to testify about his dealings with Russia and his own employees. I can't say whether or not Trump will be charged and tried or otherwise subpoenaed to testify during his term of office. It is my opinion that we voters decide to let President Trump finish his 4-year term and vote a different President into office at that time. This is not to say that I approve of Trump's scapegoating border wall or the way he speaks of Latin American immigrants who are seeking a fair shake in the larger North, Central and South American economic complex. I would really be impressed if Trump addressed the Central American people in their native Spanish. There is no time for ethnocentrism/racism, cultural scapegoating and marginalization.
Monday, February 18, 2019
I am continuing to wrestle with my PC. I am considering trios of submissions: one short fiction, one novel section and one nonfiction submission. If, with Dr. C----'s permission, this is possible, it would really help share material that might not otherwise make it to the small group readings.
I also am continuing to incorporate the criticism of friends and students to push forward with earlier texts that were temporarily left noted "to be continued."
This is the case for The Hunter's Moon, King Arthur, "The Magic Ceiling", "Cyclone", "The Tribe", "The Skorsis Dossiers", "Wind Rider", Alexandra and The Ship of Dreams, The Quest, RANA – Lost in Time and the Dungeon Quest RPG card game...also the longer Order & Chaos.
The nonfiction is smaller in size but there are some good essays that might do well in class or in the Enjambed campus magazine. I have an essay regarding the scientific discovery of the Higgs Boson subatomic particle along with the Higgs Field. It is brief enough to fit the parameters of the university's literary publication.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
It is almost time for class, and I still have a few writing projects in the works. I am especially intrigued by the Dungeon Quest RPG card game which was more inspired by the Lone Wolf book series than it was by Magic the Gathering.
I really enjoy having a story there, to be followed, along with a true protagonist who makes decisions and battles opponents with weapons or magic. I also like the idea of variety and choices regarding which fictional race or combination thereof that the Dungeon Quest RPG player selects.
At this point I haven't taken the opportunity to play Pathfinder but am willing to give it a try. My library has progressed, however, and I could easily spend six months writing and reading the books on my shelf.
I've still got my spiral-binding machine and have spent some time familiarizing myself with its workings. Getting an omnibus or two finished is a challenge but must also be a lot of fun. The documents in question are nearly ready for publication. I just need to sit down, set the page numbers and chapter titles and contend with some serious print time.
Regarding Lone Wolf, I'll look into it more in the future. It can't be hard collecting the original set published in the 1980s and 1990s. I always thought it was a great gaming premise. This was also the case for the Shadowrun game system.
This, along with my retro-gaming hobby and my bike, are where my time goes these days.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
My buddies have been helping me to organize my section of the room. We've got a pretty good momentum and it looks like we're getting a handle on things. I still have my guitars and electric bass.
I also am continuing to work on the computer to get a bunch of the unorganized documents into a single file.
I sent poetry, nonfiction and fiction to the Enjambed magazine website today.
I will check in with the magazine staff upon returning to campus on Monday. I have written and published previous material in other college magazines. I will continue to submit writing to Enjambed and see if I can get something short published.
I actually edited, prepared and published a student journalistic periodical at my first community college, Imperial Valley College. The student newspaper was called X Generation. I had just graduated from high school and was looking for a literary project to take up. I still remember the sheets of wax paper and the x-acto knives.
Since then, preparation and publication of small-scale press runs has become digitized and easier to finalize. It is always a boost to have writing published and read by students, professors and staff throughout the CSUDH campus.
Sunday, February 24, 2019
I played a few video games today. I remain a fan of Centipede, Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. I must manage my study schedule, though, and make sure that I keep up with all of my assignments. This is especially the case if I am going to share Order & Chaos sections with the class.
I am excited sharing written material this semester. My computer is in good working condition and is ready to be reorganized and renamed into a current string of written files.
At this time, I am reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for African American Literature and Alice in Wonderland for Children's Literature. I am also reading “Richard III” for Shakespeare class.
We watched a segment of Sir Lawrence Olivier's rendition of “Richard III”. He was dressed up as a hobbling hunchback who was a bully and tyrant to the other characters. I commend Olivier for his loyalty to the original text and the elaborate costumes and set design.
I also must update my files and applications on my laptop. I have hesitated in bringing the laptop to school because the file organization process can be time-consuming in itself.
In other news I am continuing with the Alexandra story. I have given Alexandra a friend named Coraline. They are both members of the mythological study group known as The Ship of Dreams. They take study of the stars and constellations seriously.
I am still deciding what to do with the character of Saurus. He has befriended Alexandra and has petitioned the assistance of her group. At this point Saurus is a mascot for the cause of dragons but may reveal other abilities such as, possibly, telepathy, radio communication and flight/space travel.
All in all, I feel good about the manuscript. I look forward to writing more and extending the plot over the next few days.
Monday, February 25, 2019
I got to the bus promptly, today. I enjoyed reviewing Alice in Wonderland and have continued to discuss the later chapters in class. Suffice it to say Lewis Carroll had problems. Along with being a mathematician he was also a photographer. Nevertheless, there is merit and symbolism in the tale of the girl. The Victorian era was tough for all parties involved.
Lewis Carroll's character of Alice seems to be a voice of reason where power and industry were starting to attract field workers to the cities. Also, women in general are represented by Alice. They were frequently mistreated by the tenets of Victorian society and wouldn't acquire the right to vote until decades later.
Some anthropomorphic characters represent the burgeoning working class while others the corporate elite.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
I got some coffee here this morning. I have a little time before my 4:00 class with Dr. Chin. It was a boost to share ideas with our small groups, yesterday. I enjoyed the discussion of what was written. Hopefully each of us will continue with our respective material.
The history, culture and dialects of African Americans have been under-read by the American mainstream. It is cathartic to realize that there is and was a bustling subculture with jazz, creole cooking, folkloric dancing and many other racial commodities. Life goes on and even with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X the African American literary scene, probably grown from Harlem, has been restored and dialogue between the African American artists, writers and political advocates has been strengthened.
Thus, I am reminded of the utilitarian, multi-functioning nature of African American literature. Black readers may identify with a reflection of themselves, as well as benefit from the substantial linguistic study of the colloquial, casual English that White readers may not have read or heard before. Also, White readers, such as myself, may be unfamiliar with the hostile and substandard centuries of abuse and marginalization that was commonplace for slaves and freeborn in many regions of the United States and, I hear, in Brazil, too.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
I'm keeping busy, here, on the CSUDH campus. I met with Dr. Huth in her office to verify the correct fonts and parameters for her essay assignments. Along with the Shakespeare writing prompts is the drive to keep up with the several plays originating from the late 1500s and early 1600s.
At this point we're reading “Richard III” along with “Much Ado About Nothing”. Here we can study the origins of modern English as well as study glimpses of the plays and Renaissance cultures where, among other things, there were no female actors.
In addition, I am continuing with writing for Creative Writing and am challenged by the comparatively fast reading schedule for our respective criticism groups. My endorphins really kick in when writing and I enjoy sharing material.
King Arthur is processing nicely, and I will soon bring another section of Alexandra and The Hunter's Moon. I also sent poetry to Enjambed but am not sure, exactly, how that will work.
In other news President Trump met with the leader of North Korea. I hope this visit will strengthen world peace. Trump was also reported to have sent hush money through a lawyer.
I guess it's up to we, the voting public, to monitor the actions of our elected leaders and determine whether we will vote for them again or choose a different representative in retrospect.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
I bought some coffee, here, this morning. I am preparing myself to research and write, today, regarding the sequence of dramatic events in “Macbeth”. I also am reading “Richard III” in preparation for a second Shakespeare essay.
In addition, I am working today to copy my audiobook/spoken word so that I may share the recordings of myself reading Order & Chaos to fellow students and professors.
Dr. B---- is continuing having us read Alice in Wonderland and Dr. C---- is still having us read a book by Zora Neale Hurston. I also am continuing to revise drafts of material for Creative Writing. At this rate I may have a draft update as soon as tomorrow or Monday. I have more pages for King Arthur and also soon for Alexandra.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
I'm getting started, today, and have plenty of projects to work on. I'll be at the campus early so that I can meet Dr. H----. I am also continuing with my Lewis Carroll book. It is historical and annotated, which is helpful. I believe the next book is The Secret Garden. I haven't read it previously but am sure it's good. I am motivated to keep up with the assigned readings for each class and to stay focused. I've got my study materials ready on my desk, here.
Sunday, March 10, 2019
The weather has gotten a little warmer since last week's rain. I adjusted my watch for Spring Cleaning, today. My “to do list” is substantial and I am enjoying keeping active, here. I took a break and listened to some John Coltrane.
Monday, March 18, 2019
I got some writing done for the Alexandra story, today. Things are processing nicely. I've introduced some supporting characters. I am trying hard to keep the dragon theme going. I spent a few moments focusing on or considering how many types of dragons that may be out there. It's a matter of taste, I guess.
As time passes, I've become interested in all types of dragons...some with wings, some breathing fire.
Another outlet for Alexandra's fascination with dragons is the meeting of The Ship of Dreams. Together they may unite to join with the metallic (Lawful) dragons. How this will come about has yet to be written.
Regarding the moral and ethical tendencies of full dragons the Lawful ones have metallic scales. As far as I know red, green and blue dragons are Chaotic. Some others may be Neutral.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
I made it to campus, here, and got something to eat. This evening I have African American Literature along with Shakespeare. I was reminded the other day of W.E.B. DuBois and Thurgood Marshall. The heritage of the United States, especially that which is shared with African Americans is important to study more than once. Repetition is necessary to absorb the full significance of the issues of racism and racial challenges.
I saw that there will be a production of William Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream”. I can't afford the tickets but am glad there is still a Shakespeare following on campus. The acting troupe known as Shakespeare by the Sea continues to produce Shakespeare's plays over the Summer. Their director said that Shakespeare's stage plays are so old they are public domain. This helps keep production cost and writer's royalties at a minimum.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Time marches on and I am working to keep my head above water in all of my classes. I did a little more writing for Alexandra...Should there be a representative of the Greek pantheons?
Possibly. I remember “The Clash of the Titans” with Lawrence Olivier as Zeus. It was pretty good for those years. Sometimes a good, old movie is nice to reminisce. I still like the battle scenes with Cerberus and Medusa. Another good one was “Hercules” by Disney with James Woods as Hades.
I've got my spiral-binding machine working fairly well. I've shared copies with some friends but will print more copies at a later time. I haven't made it to an omnibus edition yet but have gathered some short fiction together as part of a preliminary collection.
The idea of an omnibus sounds fine to me. I have the 2” gauge coils. I just need to set up the master document and print it. I've got to do something with my older, nonfiction essays.
Additionally, it may be a good idea to prepare a holistic table of contents. This would help me as the preparer and readers as the audience.
Saturday, March 23, 2019
I've got most of my graduation supplies. I gave some invitations out and will give out more, soon. It feels good to be close to another educational level. I've enjoyed writing for my class assignments and reading the specified material. I've learned that my printer can also work with PDF files. A good source of PDFs can be found at DriveThru RPG.
Another thing I'd like to do is check my old WordPress site. My friend helped me with it a few years back, but I haven't viewed it recently. This is also the case for some of my past favorite websites. I also haven't used Facebook for some time. I still check it occasionally, however.
I gave some copies of my writing to some fellow students last week. They are all works-in-progress, but they have some semblance of completion. There is something therapeutic about capturing ideas in a material form. I enjoy assembling the chapters for printing and adding a few finishing touches.
I succeeded with the first 2” gauge coil book. I showed it to my friends at home. It took the better part of an hour to complete the project. It has a unique appearance...kind of like a phone book. I like it, though, I included the manuscripts of Collected Fiction with Order & Chaos. It amounted to about 375 pages.
I also have continued drafting for Alexandra. The characters have immersed themselves in a multiple world setting. I borrowed from The Magician's Nephew from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This was in the sense that I wrote in a scene with a pool garden. Each pool, when entered, leads to a different metaphysical world.
The dramatic ramifications of this scenario are significant. There may be other beasts and entities beyond just dragons and their kin.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Dr. C---- put some interesting art on the screen, today. Some of the images were Dali-esque. They bring emphasis to the bridge between postmodernism and “integral” art. The older I get the more I appreciate that the Art Crowd is in perpetual motion. I visited the Getty Museum a few years back and was really impressed by the rarity and variety of art on display. There was Van Gogh's “Irises” and other, impressionist masters. There was one Picasso, but it was minimal, with large sections of blank canvas.
I really liked the collection of illuminated texts. I think most of them were in church Latin, but it was hard to tell through the safety glass. Integral Art is in its inception but is promising and, maybe, a little more spiritual or soul-searching than Warhol.
Another avenue of artistic style is manifested in Japanese animation. I believe Miyazaki's animation is well done.
The photo with the guy behind Obama is good. I can identify with it. It brings to mind that even Obama can have weird friends and a sense of humor.
Friday, April 5, 2019
President Trump flew to El Centro, California, today. He met with Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officials. He remains dedicated to the construction of a wall to prevent asylum seekers and other international refugees from seeking a better life here in the United States.
I believe it is possible, up to now, that the President still has not fathomed the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis that such a barrier may exacerbate. He is dealing with human lives, regardless of the language they speak or their nation of origin.
I was especially intrigued by the President's visit because I lived in El Centro for over twenty years. It is very close to the Mexican/American port of entry in Calexico. El Centro is a thriving, multicultural and multi-ethnic town. It is where my father worked as the city attorney.
There is a community college, Imperial Valley College in the neighboring city of Imperial. IVC was my first college, and it was there that I studied journalism and wrote for and edited the college newspaper.
I made many friends in El Centro, over the years, although many of us have gone our separate ways.
Perhaps President Trump thinks the expanded border wall will stop the asylum-seekers from being poor, hungry, in need of medical attention or unsafe in their own country.
I hope this wall will be more than just a statement of whom is the top dog in the American continent.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Spring Break is just about over, here. I am taking some time to organize my notes and other materials. At this point I am reading The Secret Garden for Children's Literature. I can tell that the book is well-written.
I am also reading a novel by James Baldwin for African American Literature.
The weather has gotten warmer, and Spring will soon be in full swing.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
I slept in for the last day of Spring Break. I have plenty of materials to finalize for school, tomorrow. I will also write more pages for the Alexandra story. I did incorporate some ideas about the nature of outer space discussed by Stephen Hawking.
Blue Shift and Red Shift are physics terms for the possible future outcomes of the universe. These are really theoretical and abstract concepts that may not take place for millions of years into the future. This may also be the case for the cooling of our sun, which, I understand, will still be too small to go “nova”.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
My uncle and aunt took me to visit the Museum of Natural History that is downtown, yesterday. It was my first time there and I was really inspired by the size and authenticity of the massive, ancient dinosaur skeletons. Apparently, in recent years, paleontologists and paleo-botanists have begun to retrieve Jurassic and other era organic remains from the sections of exposed soil in the continent of Antarctica.
Apparently, the icy continent was positioned closer to the equator and was occupied by forests, flowing water and a variety of animals, including dinosaurs.
It is interesting to consider that just as mankind is beginning to explore space, the Moon and probably Mars, so, too, are we discovering and learning more about the history of our planet and the varieties and waves of life that evolved here.
I have heard discussion that there soon may be a fifth branch of the armed forces of the United States, namely the Space Force. It will most likely be the most highly specialized and elite branch.
Sunday, April 14, 2019
I got some printing done, today. Everything is running well. I am also printing the recent writing of the other students in my discussion group. Each of us has done well, so far, and I look forward to reading and critiquing the most recent submissions.
I am getting close to the time of graduation and am consulting with my professors to determine what can be done to reach the highest possible grade in each of my classes. I enjoy the routine of studying and will miss it when I leave.
Monday, April 15, 2019
I got to the campus early today and am enjoying walking on the paths to each class. I drank some coffee and am energized for the rest of the day. I've continued to modify my OneDrive files and will most likely fine-tune it over the following weeks.
The videos on YouTube are beginning to increase their degrees of resolution. There was a time that it was hard to find HD 1080 videos. Now there are 4K videos as well as 8K and 12K. They will surpass the BlueRay format in due time.
I set up a playlist for 12K videos, although there were only a few that contained such subjects as a Manhattan flyby and footage of Eastern European cities. I also recently learned that YouTube is affiliated with Google Chrome.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
I got to campus early today to get some work done before my Children's Literature class. We are reviewing more commentary on The Secret Garden. It is a concise novel that addresses the issue of a declining British Empire. It also addresses the need of young people to get to know others of their own age regardless of their traditional social status. Other writers from this time period in history are Rudyard Kipling, Lord Byron, Shelley and Keats. I have read some of their books and am intrigued by the scope and magnitude of the now retracted British hegemony. As I mentioned in my other class Winston Churchill still did not like Mahatma Gandhi. India would gain independence from Britain in 1948.
Other places that appear to be developing significantly on the world economic scene are Singapore, Dubai and Tokyo. It will be interesting to see how the technology of “drones” may be enlarged to carry human passengers. This may lessen the burden of trains, jets and freeways in the world's civic infrastructure.
I understand that the train system in India, introduced by the British, has continued to grow and is still in use, there. I recently heard India finally discontinued the use of a national telegraph system similar to the one employed by Americans in the 1800s.
There is also word of a subway system in the works for the larger Los Angeles area. Los Angeles County is becoming a bustling, multiracial and multi-ethnic metropolis. There are many job opportunities here and we will see if the Oakland Raiders move to Nevada.
Sunday, April 21, 2019
I got some coffee here this morning and am gearing up for a day of reading and studying. I finished reading The Secret Garden for Children's Literature and continue reading a book by Ishmael Reed for African American Literature. I am also reading “The Merchant of Venice” for Shakespeare.
I met with my study group last Friday to prepare a performance of a section of “Macbeth”. We are having a good time preparing the props and lines.
I am also looking forward to the Enjambed magazine release party on Thursday.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
I took a break yesterday and rode my bicycle for a while. The County Library is actually closer to my home than the City Library. Both facilities have their merits. The County Library offers free printing for the first ten pages each day. Whereas the City Library has the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club.
Dr. C---- sent an email that he was under the weather. I hope I see him at the Enjambed party but, if not, that's okay, too.
I got some writing done for Alexandra. I guess we'll critique it next week.
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Reducing poverty and increasing the quality of living of individuals in the developing world is the objective of the World Bank Group. It is a financial institution that focuses on development. This bank offers knowledge-sharing services, technical assistance, policy advice and loans. The intention is to make these resources available to low- and middle-income countries to decrease poverty. Areas of interest to the Bank include promotion of growth in order to instill empowerment of poor people and the establishment of jobs.
The World Bank is a global financial system that has existed for many years. It was created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The monetary reserve consists of five agencies that make loans to 184 member countries. The Bank finances roads, schools and power lines. The World Bank also funds structural adjustment programs.
The loan portfolio of this financial system totals $200 billion. It loaned $28.9 billion to over 80 countries last year. A similar agency to the World Bank is the International Monetary Fund. The IMF was also founded at the Bretton Woods Conference. This funding entity focuses on helping countries overcome short term difficulties in resolving their balances of payment.
"Although these international financial groups have proven to be of moderate assistance to a number of countries, there are still challenges to be faced in the distribution of wealth and resources to the developing world. These challenges include rampant poverty and substandard health care.
"We live in a world so rich that global income is more than $31 trillion a year. In this world, the average person in some countries earns more than $40,000 a year. But in this same world, 2.8 billion people – more than half the people in developing countries – live on less than $700 a year. Of these, 1.2 billion earn less than $1 a day.
"As a result, 33,000 children die every day in developing countries. In these countries, each minute, more than one woman dies during childbirth. Poverty keeps more than 100 million children, most of them girls, out of school.
"The challenge of reducing these levels of poverty, while the population continues to grow by an estimated 3 billion people over the next 50 years, is enormous.
"The World Bank works to bridge this divide and turn rich country resources into poor country growth. One of the world's largest sources of development assistance, the World Bank supports the efforts of developing country governments to build schools and health centers, provide water and electricity, fight disease and protect the environment.
"The World Bank is not a "bank" in the common sense. It is one of the United Nations' specialized agencies and is made up of 184 member countries. These countries are jointly responsible for how the institution is financed and how its money is spent. Along with the rest of the developed community, the World Bank centers its efforts on reaching the Millennium Developmental Goals agreed to by UN members in 2000 and aimed at sustainable poverty reduction.
"The "World Bank" is the name that has come to be used for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Together these organizations provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries.
"Some 10,000 development professionals from nearly every country in the world work in the World Bank's Washington D.C. Headquarters or in its 109 country offices.
"The world's low-income countries generally cannot borrow money in international markets or can only do so at high interest rates. In addition to direct contributions and loans from developed countries, these countries receive grants, interest-free loans and technical assistance from the World Bank to enable them to provide basic services. In the case of loans, countries have 35-40 years to repay, with a 10-year grace period.
"In fiscal 2004 IDA provided $9 billion in financing for 158 projects in 62 low-income countries.
"Interest-free credit and grant financing comes from IDA, the world's largest source of concessional assistance. Some 40 rich countries provide the money for this funding by making contributions every four years. The fund was replenished most recently in 2002, with nearly $9 billion from donors and another $6.6 billion from the Bank's resources. At that time, donors agreed on increased use of IDA grants – up to 21 percent of resources – to help address the special difficulties, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, faced by the poorest and most vulnerable countries.
"IDA credits make up about one quarter of the Bank's financial assistance. Aside from IDA funds, very little of the Bank's income is provided by its member countries. Higher income developing countries – some of which can borrow from commercial sources, but generally only at very high interest rates – receive loans from the IBRD.
"Countries that borrow from the IBRD have more time to repay than if they borrowed from a commercial bank – 15 to 20 years with a three-to-five-year grace period before the repayment of principal begins. Developing country governments borrow money for specific programs, including poverty reduction efforts, delivery of social services, protection of the environment, and promotion of economic growth that will improve living standards.
"In fiscal 2004 IBRD provided loans totaling $11 billion in support of 87 projects in 33 countries.
"The IBRD raises almost all its money in the world's financial markets - $13 billion in fiscal 2004. With a AAA credit rating, it issues bonds to raise money and then passes on the low interest rates to its borrowers.
"In addition to IBRD and IDA, three other organizations make up the World Bank Group. The International Finance Corporation promotes private sector investment by supporting high-risk sectors and countries. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency provides political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors in and lenders to developing countries. And the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes settles investment disputes between foreign investors and their host countries.
"Over the past few years, the World Bank has put significant resources into activities meant to have global impact. One is debt relief, and under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, 26 poor countries have received debt relief which will save them $41 billion over time. The money these countries save in debt repayments will instead be put into housing, education, health and welfare programs for the poor.
"The World Bank, along with 189 countries and numerous organizations, has committed to an unprecedented global partnership to fight poverty. The Millennium Development Goals define specific targets in terms of school enrollments, child mortality, maternal health, disease and access to water to be met by 2015.
"Among numerous other global partnerships, the World Bank has put supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS at the top of its agenda. It is the world's largest long-term financier of HIV/AIDS programs. Current bank commitments for HIV/AIDS amount to more than $1.3 billion, with half of that for sub-Saharan Africa.
"The World Bank works with countries in their anti-corruption efforts and has as well a number of mechanisms in place to prevent corruption and fraud in bank-financed projects. The Department of Institutional Integrity has a 24-hour Fraud and Corruption Hotline: 1-800-831-0463.
"The Bank is currently involved in more than 1,800 projects in virtually every sector and developing country. These are as diverse as providing micro-credit in Bosnia Hercegovina and raising AIDS awareness in communities in Guinea, supporting education of girls in Bangladesh and improving health care delivery in Mexico, helping East Timor rebuild Gujarat after a devastating earthquake."
Some nations have voiced their lack of satisfaction with the status quo of the World Bank. There are numerous claims posted on the Internet that developing countries have paid more into the system than they have received in infrastructure and housing.
More wealthy countries are accused of refraining from substantial transfer of wealth into the international financial system. At this time the debt of the developing world equals one half its combined Gross National Product.
Decisions at the World Bank and IMF are made by a vote of the Board of Executive Directors. Voting power is determined by the level of a nation's financial contribution. Therefore, the United States has 17% of the vote and the seven largest industrialized countries (G-7) hold a total of 45%.
The President of the World Bank is an American and the President of the IMF is a European. This is an indication of the influence of the greater financial resources in these post-industrial nations.
Although several decades old, the World Bank is bound to face substantial changes over the next few years. This is made even more inevitable by the recent rise of the Euro over the dollar. The economy in the United States is experiencing mild inflation. This has increased the monetary value of goods and services in Europe and abroad.
Political and economic views in both America and the inner workings of the World Bank will adapt to the changing times. Resources such as medical care, modern roads and wiring for power and telecommunications will be more significantly supported by the World Bank in developing countries over the passage of time.
The opportunity for political leaders, students and activists alike will lie in how rapidly the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are motivated to better the lives of people in developing and third world countries.
The development of computers and the Internet is sure to raise communication and discussion about contemporary global issues, including the economy. The free press and television are also continuing to expand their variety of sources and perspectives.
The United Nations is also set to broaden its distribution of health care and funding for roads and hospitals in countries that need them. The establishment of the World Bank was a step in the right direction. A more balanced and humane global economy is now visible on the horizon.
There are a number of psychological and sociological issues that pertain to the function and distribution of resources at the World Bank. Individuals have a set of survival-based needs ranging from food and shelter to companionship and education. This is based on the hierarchy of actualizational needs defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow.
These needs, which are shared by all people, present a socioeconomic challenge to the distribution of each nation's resources. This challenge focuses on the society's ability to pass along its culture and civil progress to the younger generation.
The degree of development for the infrastructure of a country can be defined along the lines of agrarian, developing, industrial and post-industrial or information based.
Anthropologists and others recognize that families in developing countries who possess a minimum of educational and post-industrial resources have a tendency to raise a large number of children, sometimes six or more. In juxtaposition, economically marginalized families may have one or no children. Also, well-educated, financially established families have an average of two or three kids.
These realities raise lasting questions about value systems and the symbolism of wealth and status as they range through cultures and economies. It is clear that when medical, financial and educational sources are insufficient or nonexistent, children, or posterity, are counted on as insurance or a form of wealth expansion. In past ages more children meant more helping hands around the farm or factory. It also was a means with which the family name could be passed down from one generation to the next.
For the last century and a half, the United States has acted as a model for the process of the distribution of wealth from a smaller, privileged class to a much larger, burgeoning, middle class. Immigrants of various nationalities, languages and ethnic groups have made the United States their home. Here they have experienced freedoms that for many years have been suppressed in their native lands. These include the freedom of speech, education and business management.
Problems remain, however, both within this country and abroad. These are based on economic assets such as the fuel oil used for jet planes and automobiles. Other problems are manifested by the availability of health care and one's choice of doctors. This is also the case for the accessibility of substantial education and completion of the graduate and post-graduate degree for those that seek them.
America is a socioeconomic model because many visitors with work visas, green cards or resident alien cards send the money they have earned to their families in their home nations. As time passes, families will become smaller in places where today they grow large. Social infrastructure both within and without the United States will become more sophisticated and adaptive to the actualizational needs of Maslow and others. Roads will become highways. Clinics will become hospitals. Schools will become colleges and so on. The question remains; how quickly will the world obtain the ability to socialize the younger generation in a manner fitting the twenty-first century?
President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps. President Clinton founded Americorps. Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army are also lasting groups that focus on the development of resources to meet the needs of families and nations that remain in a state of transition.
Upton Sinclair and other social pundits have considered these issues. In his book, The Jungle, Sinclair tells the story of life for an immigrant worker in the substandard environment of the great meat-cutting houses in the city of Chicago during the early 1900's. The food preparation process at that time was horrendous. The treatment of the workers, their housing and nutrition were also inhumane. Upton Sinclair would later run for the governorship of the state of California. The attention and controversy he brought to the lifestyle of the meat preparers and the absent quality controls of the food they made caused a revolution in laws and government standards. These eventually controlled and protected America's staples.
Such attempts to raise public awareness of the working and environmental conditions of different groups of people have been analyzed in the writings of Margaret Mead in her study of the Samoan people, titled Coming of Age in Samoa. This is also the case in the film "Howard's End" starring Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Dire social conditions and upheaval are also studied in the film "Old Gringo" starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda. These treatises share common themes of study and observation in various social and economic settings. This is also exemplified in "The Year of Living Dangerously" featuring Mel Gibson and the Robert Altman film "Gandhi" starring Ben Kingsley.
Art, literature, religion and education are institutions that coexist and co-function as avenues with which social tension and disparity are balanced or meted out. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Louvre in Paris, France, is one of the most detailed art museums in the world. At the same time, it rests in a country that is located in the center of Western Europe and has witnessed numerous social and economic upheavals and full-scale wars in separate centuries. France reflects the characteristics of a modern nation that is an economic and cultural crossroads. This is demonstrated in the novel, Les Miserables that is also an opera.
The termination of the French aristocracy and the campaigns of Napoleon caught the attention and scrutiny of the entire world. These historical social movements reflected the sentiments, if not the structure of the American Revolution that took place twenty years before. The wars of the twentieth century in Europe and Asia, in turn, reflected the worldwide effects of the American stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent global depression. At the time the role of the President of the United States, as considered by Herbert Hoover, was not one of philanthropy or broad schemes of social redevelopment. His was much a laissez faire approach and only strengthened the rifts that earlier President Woodrow Wilson hoped to seal in his plan for a League of Nations.
Germany, which borders France, was not able to secure a stable democratic social system without foreign assistance as would later arrive under the Marshall redevelopment plan. The German Weimar Republic collapsed, and a second world war ensued on fronts in Europe and Asia.
The wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries emphasize the importance of a steady and effective system of wealth distribution. Wealth doesn't mean money alone. Without socialization and a promising way to educate and care for the next generation of infrastructure builders money may not be used to its most effective ends.
As educational systems in this country and the Marshall Plan in Europe demonstrated, it is essential that individuals have a feeling of self-reliance and confidence that they will be able to provide for the psychological, physical and economic betterment of their younger and older relatives.
The United Nations, as it exists today, is a much more functional agency than the League of Nations, as it was suggested by President Wilson, at the close of the First World War. The ethnic divisions in Serbia, Croatia and Albania have subsided from their violent surge after the fall of the Soviet Union's iron curtain. Russia still struggles to maintain control of the Chechen peninsula so they may have access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. This will ensure that sea trade can access the roads to Moscow without the port in St. Petersburg.
Around the world developing countries battle to control the spread and onset of contagious disease, especially in Africa.
The World Bank as it exists today depends on perpetual trade between countries. Places that are rich in labor resources quickly take on the manufacturing and fabrication tasks for much of the global community. There is a constant challenge to weigh the interest rates associated with newly bought homes and vehicles with future investment and employment opportunities.
Such is the outwardly expanding cycle of education and the means with which to invest in the greater economy. The right to vote also influences how the government designs medical, transportation and educational systems. Votes also affect the manner in which elected leaders take or refrain from taking military action overseas.
Technology is another element that influences economic and information dispersion. Most computers, cellular phones and data processors are relatively low cost. Their ability to hold data and process it is growing at an exponential rate. This compact, easily transportable feature of contemporary technology shines light on the economic horizon. It is becoming easier to send and carry data and processors across state and national borders. This allows blueprints for factories, medical information and business management to be made more readily available to developing and post-industrial societies.
As time goes by the "military, industrial complex" as it was known during the years of the Cold War will dissolve. Armies will evolve into tightly knit, highly trained counterterrorist, search and rescue outfits similar to the character of Snake Pliskin as played by Kurt Russell in the film "Escape from New York".
Alternative fuel methods will also change the world economy to a system that draws from more than one chemical source.
Corn oil, hydrogen, electric batteries, methane and aloe oil are viable alternatives to gasoline propulsion. Continued research into these fuels will only strengthen the balance of the existing fuel oil economy. Today the barrels of crude oil that are tapped from platforms in Saudi Arabia, Alaska and Indonesia are depended on as much as any international currency. This raises the question that; out of every dollar how much of it represents gallons of oil, gold, silver, diamonds, the sell-able market value of stocks and bonds traded on the stock market, the interest gained from homes, boats and cars and investment in national security?
The World Bank is a burgeoning global social paradigm. It is sure to take these various perspectives into consideration and adjust its functioning to ongoing conditions of population growth around the world.
Global Exchange 2004
2017 Mission Street #303
San Francisco, CA
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Assignment: Break a nonverbal 'norm' and reflect on the experience.
Last week I wore shorts and a t-shirt to dinner. My grandparents were having several of their friends over for a bingo party. No one specifically delineated an official dress code for the event.
They didn't seem overly shocked or offended. They actually complimented the unusual design on my t-shirt. It was a character from the Mandarin alphabet intertwined with a golden dragon.
I observed the behavior of my grandparents and their friends through the course of the evening. Most of the time they talked about their families and children. They drank coffee and tea. Occasionally they ate some cookies or pie. I think that bingo must be one of their all-time favorite games.
Usually when my grandparents are having guests over, I will put on a nice sweater or coat with a tie. My grandmother did mention that the weather was too cold to be wearing such clothing. Although I was in violation of a traditional cultural norm, she didn't ask me to change to a coat and tie.
In a complex society such as our own there are many unspoken norms which must be followed in order to maintain traditional expectations along with functional efficiency.
I am sure that if I set my mind to it, I could go out and stir up a sizable controversy in a public arena. Standing too close to someone or forgetting the divider on the grocery conveyor belt might not rouse the attention of the people nearby. This doesn't negate the fact that we must confront the world and all of its idiosyncratic norms on a daily basis.
As exemplified by the evolution of the English language from Old to Middle to Modern English, cultures take centuries to change and establish new conventions and norms. Also, what once were norms may later evolve into spoken or written law, as with Kosher law.
In the case of dressing for dinner, wearing a fine suit of clothes is an unspoken norm. It is a gesture of respect and sociability.
Norms may vary from place to place or family to family. Some families may be extroverted and flamboyant while others are introverted and pensive. In some parts of the Middle East, it is considered to be a sign of enjoyment to belch during one's meal. In Japan it is customary to turn to the side to drink from a glass while at the dinner table.
Ultimately, I was not surprised that my grandparents and their acquaintances did not protest more vocally about my attire. They are fairly flexible people and have become used to my perpetually changing college study schedule. In cultural anthropology there is a hierarchy of guidelines which includes norms, morays, laws and codes. Each of these guidelines has specific degrees of seriousness and expectation to conform.
Although violation of an unspoken norm may be quickly forgotten by one group of individuals, another group may protest to the same violation vehemently.
I am sure that humans have had guidelines of behavior for tens of thousands of years. Other animals such as wolves and orangutans have unspoken pecking orders and expectations as well. This shows that social psychology is not limited to the human race.
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The first person that I approached in regard to this assignment was my grandmother, A----. In the textbook an entire chapter is dedicated to nonverbal communication. My grandmother loves to cook. Much of her time is spent preparing dinner for my grandfather, J----.
I asked my grandmother, “Have you always considered dinner to be an important time?”
“Yes.” she said, “Even when I was a child the family would come together over the dinner table. During the day we might not see each other because of work or shopping for groceries.”
“What are some of your favorite meals to prepare?” I asked.
“Shepherd's pie, linguine with Italian sausage and lamb chops.”
There is something similar to the Chinese are of Feng Shuei in the way my grandmother sets the dinner plates at the kitchen table when only my grandfather and I are home. When friends or relatives visit for bingo or to socialize, my grandmother will strategically align the plates and silverware in the dining room.
I asked my grandmother, “Why do you serve dinner at the kitchen table unless there are visitors?”
She answered, “It's easier that way. It would be inconvenient to have the three of us eat at such a large table.”
It seems this is in accordance with the description of proxemics in [Psychology Textbook] Chapter 6. Since we are members of the same extended family, personal distance ranges from eighteen inches to four feet.
I next asked my grandfather, J----, about his work ethic. He is a retired actuary for Hughes. As far back as I can remember he has maintained all of the flowers and plants that are stationed around his home. There are always a few roses in a vase in my grandmother's kitchen that my grandfather has cut fresh. When I was younger my grandparents had a large orange tree and lemon tree in their backyard. My grandfather would enjoy pruning fresh oranges. As I am introverted and my grandfather extroverted, we have managed a good relationship. This follows Carl Jung's school of personality chemistry about which many books have been written.
I asked my grandfather why he decided to have the orange tree removed.
He said, “It was getting too big for the yard and there were too many oranges to prune.”
I remembered that my great grandmother was born in Naples and spoke fluent Italian. I asked my grandfather why he didn't want my mother to speak Italian.
“We wanted her to speak English like everyone else in America.”
In interpersonal communication my grandfather was frank and straightforward. I've always perceived him to be an energetic and practical person. I asked him how he felt when my mother, his daughter passed away from breast cancer eleven years ago.
“I felt sad, of course. She was young, forty-three years old. She would want us to make the most of our lives.”
I approached my uncle, J----. He is my mother's brother. I described the parameters of distance to him. I asked him if he agreed with the varying degrees of closeness manifested by intimate, personal, social and public distance.
“They seem like accurate behavioral observations to me.” he said. “When you first meet someone, you may not want to speak with them too closely because they may be startled. They might feel that their personal breathing room is being intruded upon.”
I mentioned the theory of chronemics to him. I asked my uncle J---- if he agreed that cultures enforce a hierarchy of time value.
“This is true.” he said. “When I first started work, I was paid on a lower hourly scale. As I stayed with the company for several years, I became a valued and respected employee. Because of my expertise I was able to get more done in the same amount of time. I actually became a more effective decision-maker on the behalf of my employer as I matured. For these reasons my hourly pay scale has increased significantly from what it was.”
I next asked my uncle if he concurred with the social influence of physical attractiveness, clothing and environment.
“Yes, these are indeed significant cultural elements in human interaction. Within the scope of environment, I would include architecture. It is obvious that the design of a baseball stadium is intended to bring about a different emotional response from its visitors than restaurants using candlelight. Ambiance is an important social factor.”
I asked my brother G---- if he ever filled one of the descriptions of poor listening habits mentioned in chapter seven of the textbook.
“Sure.” he said, “Sometimes I will use pseudolistening with my girlfriend. I'll do it especially when I've come home from working the late shift in the entertainment department of the Target store. I'll find myself wanting to be a sincere audience despite my fatigue. Sometimes it can really be tough to pay attention.”
I also asked G----- about the degrees of physical proximity used by people in social situations.
“These are realistic guidelines. If a friend walks into the department store, I will give him a chuck on the shoulder. I wouldn't do this with a new customer or supervisor.”
I next asked my brother about the social influence of environment.
“The environment can play an important role. This is especially true in the department store. We employees must constantly check the placement of newly released products so that they will be highly visible to potential buyers. We keep our store as brightly lit as possible. After the store is closed to the public, we will work late to ensure that every aisle is clean and well-organized. This allows the customers to feel comfortable when looking for particular items of interest.”
I listed the developmental models of interpersonal relationships to my brother and asked him if he'd encountered them with his girlfriend.
“Yes.” he said, “Any relationship has its roller coaster moments. It's all part of the process of maturing together.”
I described the developmental models of interpersonal relationships to my friend, C----. I asked him if they were accurate descriptions of his relationships.
“Yes.” he said. “When I first got to know my wife, initiating and experimentation came naturally. What is a challenge is the period that is commonly referred to as the seven-year itch. This is when stagnation and avoidance become a risk to the relationship. When the first romantic years are past it becomes mandatory to introduce new elements and novelties to the relationship in order to keep things fresh and spontaneous.”
I showed C---- the table of dialectical tensions which included the juxtaposition of internal Predictability-Novelty with external Conventionality-Uniqueness. I asked him if he thought these were universal features of a flexible, adult relationship.
“Yes.” he said. “When you first get to know someone, they are a mysterious puzzle, especially if they speak a different language. Part of the romance is in getting to know the nuances of the person you are interested in. When these personality facets later become conventions, it is important to find new mysteries and novelties to celebrate your partner's uniqueness.”
I asked C---- if spending some time apart could also prove beneficial.
“Yes.” he said. “Sometimes the differences in life plans and goals can be too vast. It can be healthier to separate, at least temporarily. This gives both of us time to re-evaluate our respective priorities and enjoy some interpersonal solitude.
“I just want to add one thing.” C---- said. “Although eventual separations will occur it is important to stick things out. Most of the time the relationship will take a turn for the better.”
I showed the sample model of social penetration to my cousin S----. I asked him if he agreed with the varying degrees of breadth and depth in life relationships.
“I do.” he said. “The diagram illustrates the ongoing balancing act of life. Part of you wants to be more involved with family and friends. Another part wants to pursue an ambitious and lucrative career. It is a definite challenge to try to economize your time for the benefit of each of the aspects of adult life.”
I asked him if he thought it was possible to have both breadth and depth in personal and social situations.
“Yes.” he said. “It can be difficult to maintain a meaningful relationship with the people in your life and have a substantial education and career. Sometimes sacrifices must be made. What each person truly wants can be very unique.”
This led me to inquire as to what S---- thought about the process of self-disclosure.
“Do you consider self-disclosure to be something you do just once?” I asked.
“Not really.” S---- said. “What you may consider to be a significant part of your self-concept as a teenager might not remain with you into adulthood. Self-disclosure is an opportunity to evaluate how well you have been taking care of yourself along with deepening your relationships with the people you care the most about. Some people care more about traveling the world or their car. Others may want to have a large family or get involved in politics. It is possible to do it all, but it can be just as easy to become overwhelmed. Practical goals in both relationships and careers really turn out for the best.” answered my cousin.
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Part One: The Work Ethic in the 20th Century
“Getting people to chase money...produces nothing except people chasing money. Using money as a motivator leads to a progressive degradation in the quality of everything produced.” (Kohn 213-214).
Alfie Kohn quotes Philip Slater in his essay, “Incentives can be Bad for Business.”
This is the view of Kohn, who attempts to compensate for the disparity in managerial incomes versus lower, entry-level pay ratios by providing a self-affirming, Skinnerian environment for all employees rather than equal pay for all employees.
In a way, Kohn is emphasizing the benefit of understanding employees' psychological needs for autonomy and independence because he does not want to focus on the overlying, non-equity between management, blue collar workers and even white-collar workers.
This is what is so abusive about “getting people to chase money.”
When a person is underpaid and would obviously benefit in supporting their family if paid more, the real, manipulative incentive is the prospect of future “raises.”
Can't the same scientific, analytical psychology of what makes humans in the workplace comfortable, as Kohn considers, be applied to the inequity in pay of the janitor sweeping with a broom in an L.A. Skyscraper at 2:00 in the morning and the stuffed shirt who pushes papers in the penthouse on the top floor?
“Work is still the complicated and crucial core of most lives, the occupation melded inseparably to the identity,” (198) says Lance Morrow, who also quotes sociologist Robert Schrank, who wrote, “The workplace performs the function of community” (198 What is the Point of Work?)
But being that work is so crucial to human actualization, are work analysts like Kohn sufficiently concerned whether the workplaces represent or maintain the tradition of democracy our culture has possessed since inherited from the Ancient Greek legacy in 1776?
Is the minimum wage a sound assurance of democracy in pay?
Morrow says the generation of the Great Depression is retiring and dying off and is taking with it some of the last memories of Hard Times, (as Richard Pryor called them) of working not for a 401K pension plan but for the money with which to buy dinner.
A couple of years ago I read somewhere in Newsweek that said the CEO's and executives of ten and twenty years ago, more likely than not, had memories of considerably modest youth. But that in ten or twenty years, the average CEO will not have such vivid understanding of the economic stress the American family faced during the Depression times.
As the Baby Boomer generation is maintaining its newly emerging generational dominance of the social establishment and the X Generation is not far behind, what is the status of the work ethic as we are nearing the 21st Century?
The work ethic as we know it started as the Protestant work ethic, following the philosophy of John Calvin. It was an attempt to meld man or laborer in act and deed with the cosmos. In the present time, the waning days of the 20th Century, it seems that social and ethnic divisions of employment and economy are still affecting a true synthesis of the fundamentally democratic ideal of the work ethic into our culture.
Just as one could lament the inequality of social status and pay status in America, it is true that, in the past, the social fissures were deeper and wider. But regardless of whether the argument is for future bonuses, or for behavioral encouragement or Maslowian encouragement, more than a meager minimum wage may save the work ethic.
Affirmative Action has been limited in California. In my opinion the social guarantee of equal destiny for all citizens is in jeopardy.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract said, “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.” (1)
When a working man begins to get the impression that there is a better future laid out for the privileged man's children than there is for his, his thoughts may turn revolutionary.
Karl Marx dealt in ideas. Lenin and Stalin dealt in bullets and blood. Some societies' only chance for change, history has shown, is through revolution. But there can also be revolutions of ideas.
California's economy is no longer defense-based or Cold War-based, but our culture still needs military, police, National Guard and Border Patrol because the Spartan, fascist branches of our social infrastructure are used to provide gainful employment for tens of thousands of people and families.
This is not yet a totally egalitarian society, work ethic or not. The ideal of the work ethic would be that if you immigrate to this country and work hard, your children will have as open-ended a future as any other American's. Whether or not society lives up to this “ideal” is another matter.
Ziggy Marley is an artist that comes from the Third World island country of Jamaica. He was considering social barriers when he said.
“Hey, stumbling block, move out the way
We're gonna make it through the day
And all the works that you see go on
Well natty dread no mash no corn
We work hard til we belly full
Step by step we'll pull together” (Babylon has Fallen).
Undaunted by the minimum wage, the unemployment rate in the Imperial Valley is pretty high. With the abundance of unemployed persons, the work ethic and its origins from a different, European culture come into question once again. Is it against the law not to follow the work ethic?
Is making homelessness or vagrancy or “loitering” a crime going to take away the “incentive”of being homeless and solve the problem?
Whose fault is unemployment?
Why can't there be work assignments given at the employment office based according to individual career needs, interests, abilities, temperament and personality type?
There can be no equality, no destruction of class and privilege distinctions in the workplace unless there is equality of opportunity in higher education. This is another argument to make education free to those who wish it, like elementary school.
Even pro-business writers like Alfie Kohn are more concerned about workers' economic and social status than employers were ninety years ago, as documented by one-time California gubernatorial candidate Upton Sinclair in his Big Industry expose' novel The Jungle.
“Dede Antanas had died of the struggle to earn that money – he would have been alive and strong today if he had not had to work in Durham's dark cellars to earn his share. And Ona, too, had given her health and strength to pay for it – she was wrecked and ruined because of it; and so was he, who had been a big, strong man three years ago, and now sat here shivering, broken, cowed, weeping like a hysterical child. Ah! They had cast their all into the fight; and they had lost! All that they had paid was gone – every cent of it. And their house was gone – they were back where they had started from, flung out into the cold to starve and freeze!” (177)
Work and the work ethic have frequently been used in history to manipulate and exploit poor classes and minority classes. As the infamous sign over the entrance to Auschwitz said, “Arbeit Macht Frei.”
The psychologist Victor Frankl, a survivor of Auschwitz wrote, “A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment – he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine and others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions” (Man's Search for Meaning 212)
Perhaps the dilemma is actualization, Maslow's existentialism rather than Skinner's Lab Box methodology, that the work ethic, started in the times of Calvin, should be merged with more fully in the 21st Century.
Part Two: Stress and Overwork
How commonplace is stress in the workplace?
One could assume that stress is as much a daily part of life for millions of working people as is their morning cup of coffee.
Regardless of what a person's particular job is, it seems they have in common a hierarchy of basic needs. Abraham Maslow, as described in Anne Roe's book The Psychology of Occupations lists the working man's needs as physiological needs, safety needs, the need for belongingness and love, esteem needs, the need for information, the need for understanding, the need for beauty and the need for self-actualization. (Roe 26-29)
It is possible, considering these many needs as being so fundamentally necessary to people's well-being overall, that workers will probably submit to great ordeals of job-related stress, if they depend on their place of employment to meet their essential, actualizational needs.
In Helen Epstein's article “Life and Death on the Social Ladder” in the July 16 issue of the New York Review of Books she states,
“During the Industrial Revolution, when Frederick Engels visited London and the great cities that awoke around the mines and textile mills in northern England, he was struck by the harshness of the workers' lives. For most of them, the day began before sunrise with a long walk to a factory or a dark pit in the ground where the dank air was filled with particles of cotton or coal or metal filings that slowly poisoned the lungs and heart. Workers would return home late in the evening to crowded back-to-back tenements without air or light or plumbing. Disease seeped through the damp and rotting walls and half of all children died. A child born to a working-class family lived on average, to the age of fifteen. A child born into a rich family survived, on average, more than twice as long.”
Is there a disparity in the amount of on-the-job stress that members of different socioeconomic classes are subjected to endure?
How does the American Social Order assist clerical employees, data processors and assistant clerks in the stress ladder?
In Jason Robertson's article “Are You One of a Protected Class?”, published in the book How to Win at a Job Interview he opines that there are a number of questions that should not be asked of women and members of minority groups and that certain groups of people in the United States have suffered the effects of discrimination in employment (97-102)
In her article “Good-bye to the Work Ethic”, Barbara Ehrenreich says,
“Under the new system (aka capitalism in this part of the world), huge numbers of people had to be convinced to work extra hard, at pitifully low wages, so that the employing class would not have to work at all.” (201)
I think what Ehrenreich, Robertson, Epstein and Frederick Engels have in common is that they could see the tremendous psychological anxiety the average workplace has on the average working person. It transcends the economic issues of haves versus have-nots. As Maslow said, everyone has needs that must be actualized in the perhaps shoddily insensitive, offensive haven of the workplace if nowhere else.
Ehrenreich's closing lines are,
“...let's get it done. Otherwise, take five. Listen to some New Wave music, have a serious conversation with a three-year-old, write a poem, look at the sky. Let the yuppies Rest in Peace; the rest of us deserve a break.” (202)
Unlike Robert J. Samuelson who does not think Americans are overworked, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer sees worker stress and burnout to be a real hindrance of the traditional work ethic.
Alfie Kohn, I think, is the most pro-active about improving the work environment. I think it is true, though, that issues like worker stress disparities and overall social class disparities are linked.
“Where there's smoke, there's fire.” goes the old adage, and in this case, where there is workplace stress, there is inhibited self-actualization and the tyranny of the Administrative Class.
When Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle there were great industrial abuses of labor taking place in Chicago. Other books told the story of working in the Industrial Revolution in New York City.
John Steinbeck wrote about Cannery Row near Monterey, California and The Grapes of Wrath about the Oklahoman Joad family who moved to Salinas during the Dust Bowl.
Now the same novels can and should be written again, but not just with American characters vying for liberation and justice at work, but with African workers, Brazilian workers and Chinese workers.
How would have Epstein's graphic statistics turned out if she conducted her survey in Hong Kong or New Delhi?
This leads to the question of America's role, if any, on the global scene. Should Madeleine Albright be told to influence countries lax in labor-actualization matters like North Korea?
Should the average American feel confidently uninvolved since situations like those described in the slaughterhouses of The Jungle aren't happening on U.S. Soil?
Do rivers like the New River get made because Maquiladora employers are concerned about their employees' actualization needs, or those of the people downstream?
Part Three: The Conditions of Work in the 21st Century
If the Twentieth Century will be remembered as the century in which transistors and personal computers experienced a technological birth into our culture, the Twenty-First Century will be remembered as the century in which the environmental symbiosis of the human species and computers was made steadfast. This “technologization” of man will forever change his relationship with the “work plus material equals product” equation as defined by Harry Goldstein in his review of the book The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era by Jeremy Rifkin.
“Flattery felt alone and now there was a painful chill around his flesh, a signal that skin sensation was returning to normal.
One of the crew had warned them before they had thrown the switch to ignite the artificial consciousness. Flattery could not recall who had voiced the warning, but he remembered it.
'There must be a threshold of consciousness beyond which a conscious being takes on attributes of God.'
Whoever said it had seen a truth.” (Herbert 4)
“...And they had produced...something. That something was Ship, a being of seemingly infinite powers.
God or Satan?
Flattery did not know. But Ship had created a paradise planet for its cargo of clones and then had introduced a new concept: WorShip. It had demanded that the human clones decide how they would WorShip.
We failed in that, too.” (Herbert 21)
These are some of the concerns or visions two Cold War era Science Fiction writers, Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom have in regard to the increasing social dependence humans have for digital products and PC's in general and microchips specifically. In their novel, The Jesus Incident, they acknowledge that the very allure of technology is its ability to make man's work easier, to make a paradise or utopia that is made real with intelligent machines, even androids.
Many questions arise with the prospect of there being intelligent or sentient computers, vehicles, spacecraft and even houses.
How will humans compete in the workplace?
What would stop a sociopathic computer like HAL in Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001?
Is there a risk that as our planet becomes more industrialized, the human species may be rendered obsolete in the industrialization process?
In Isaac Asimov's novel I, Robot the character of Dr. Susan Calvin says,
“To you, a robot is a robot. Gears and metal: electricity and positrons. Mind and iron! Human-made! If necessary, human-destroyed. But you haven't worked with them so you don't know them. They're a cleaner, better breed than we are.” (42)
In the same book Asimov proposes laws, or common values, to be codified for all robots in the workplace of the future,
“Powell's radio voice was tense in Donovan's ear: 'Now look, let's start with the three Fundamental Rules of Robotics – the three rules that are built most deeply into a robot's positronic brain.' In the darkness, his gloved fingers ticked off each point.
'We have: One, a robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.'
'Two,' continued Powell, 'a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.'
'And three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.” (40)
Apart from artificially intelligent computers, bio-mechanical, mutant laborers designed in test tubes to outwork humans and begin the slow acquisition of jobs ranging from field harvester to burger flipper to lawyer, the job market is changing to fit the Information Age as Jeremy Rifkin discusses in his article “Vanishing Jobs”.
“This steady decline of mass labor [to robots] threatens to undermine the very foundations of the modern American state. For nearly 200 years, the heart of the social contract and the measure of individual human worth have centered on the value of each person's labor. How does society even begin to adjust to a new era in which labor is devalued or even rendered worthless?”
There is always an economic struggle taking place to see who will have the better seat at the table of the American Dream. In the Book of Dreams, by Jack Kerouac, he describes this American struggle,
“A great hegira of mankind in America has crossed the wilderness, is almost in Washington but the recently martyred revengeful Indians are close by and coming – It all began somewhere in a theater, I was there in a seat, there were girls, eating in booths – Now the great parade goes over the Potomac River bridge into Washington as just then the Indians upriver dive in the water and swim it – 'They're going to surround us on the other side! - Some of the bridgecrossers start popping the Indian swimmers with rifles, some women shoot – the swimmers are suddenly not Indians but ordinary people trying to reach the same shore.” (71)
Hopefully, the advancement of technology in the workplace of the next century will improve the relations of different ethnicities of people with each other.
There is plenty of room to improve for the treatment of Chicanos, Asians and African Americans in the future workplace of America.
The Chicano poet Abelardo Delgado wrote these lines about race and work in our country in the book We Are Chicanos, edited by Phillip D. Ortego.
“though mejico is la madre patria we go
the world over seeking only greener meadow;
poetic, sentimental, proud copper ego
serving as an emblem to a dream's testigo.
Identified by a last name or a language
full of picardia, raza placed primero,
raza placed to serve as paste to close the wedge
between the human and the divinely alleged.
Raza which fortunately includes the many
who in the midst of poverty built a grotto;
unfortunately, venidos for a penny,
agringados who think macho is uncanny
the national, green carder, U.S. Citizen,
the pocho, the manito and the bracero,
the Mex-Tex, what's the difference? Olvidensen,
it's the milk, raza, that an indian's chichi sent” (217-218)
Asimov, Isaac I, Robot.
New York: Del Rey, 1954: 40-42
Delgado, Abelardo “La Raza”.
We Are Chicanos edited by Phillip D. Ortego, New York: Ballantine, 1973: 217-218
Ehrenreich, Barbara “Good-bye to the Work Ethic”.
Commitment, Voice, and Clarity by Janet Marting, Chicago, NTC, 1996: 200-202
Epstein, Helen “Life and Death on the Social Ladder”
The New York Review of Books July 16, 1998
Frankl, Victor E. Man's Search for Meaning
New York: Penguin, 1971: 212
Herbert, Frank and Ransom, Bill The Jesus Incident
New York: Ace, 1984: 4-21
Kerouac, Jack The Book of Dreams
New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1961: 71-72
Kohn, Alfie “Incentives can be Bad for Business”
Commitment, Voice, and Clarity by Janet Marting, Chicago, NTC 1996: 213-217
Marley, Ziggy “Jah Bless”
from the CD “Babylon has Fallen”: 1998
Morrow, Lance “What is the Point of Work?”
Commitment, Voice, and Clarity by Janet Marting, Chicago, NTC, 1996: 194-198
Rifkin, Jeremy The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era
Robertson, Jason How to Win at a Job Interview
New York, Del Rey: 1979: 97-102
Roe, Anne The Psychology of Occupations
New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1956: 26-29
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques The Social Contract
New York, Oxford Classics, 1762: 1
Sinclair, Upton The Jungle
New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1905: 177
END OF LINE
“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black, or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. But no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around. What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society succeeds in this, that society is about to perish. The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and to fight it – at no matter what risk. This is the only hope society has. This is the only way societies change.”
Sometimes it seems that only students feel this way (want to ask these questions). It's good to know that there are teachers that have not yet, “found the answer to everything.”
I was raised in a devout Catholic family. But with the logical, unanswerable questions a person in such a situation must eventually pose to himself, I, too, have come to ask, “whether there is a God in heaven or not, etc.”
Those questions, and the dilemma of a conformist society, I fear are not purely original to James Baldwin. I think this is the same “education” mentality that caused the animosity towards and death of Socrates, along with history's countless other individualists.
The hunger to question and learn, to go where others will or dare not, has been something that has held me together through some tough times. Its not so much even obtaining answers but the asking of questions themselves that gives humanity its occasional sparkle. I think that is what Baldwin means about a society “that is about to perish.”
A person does not need to physically die in order to be dead spiritually, dead of hope.
People get defensive and violent towards other people and ideas that are alien to their expectations. It is in our nature to fear the unknown. That is the reason for the uniqueness and individuality of exploration.
Growing up, I was taught that any lack of uniformity I displayed, be it in thought or deed, was not only wrong, but a sin. Every time I didn't comply with my family's or school's community, I was pushing my eternal soul deeper into Hell. Guilt over being inquisitive is a horrible feeling that I have known. I am sure, as a Black American author, James Baldwin had many people try to get inside his head for being uppity, too.
Thinking human thoughts, asking human questions and feeling human feelings, I think, is the ultimate human ideal. If I can't summon the courage to ask “Why?” about the universe, society is going to perish, but so will I.
END OF LINE
[Philosophy] Is Morality Trustworthy?
What do I know about rules?
What duty do I have to uphold laws at all?
As a social animal, I live by systems of rules daily. For example, I adhere to an accepted protocol when driving. Or when I am talking with someone. I convey a particular level of intimacy depending upon how close I get.
I apply my actions to an established set of rules in other parts of my life, too: the way that I eat, speak, walk, write, think, vote, everything I do that is social.
I also mentally compare the things that I observe in the world to a set of guidelines. There are expected social responses I must express when attending funerals, weddings, when I meet an old friend, even if I were to win the lottery.
Now, do I have the authority to judge the merit (or lack thereof) of how other people act?
What about acts of nature?
Nietzsche said that moral systems, or the guidelines by which people attempt to live “socially” are flawed when they try to have them be all-inclusive. But, on the other hand, must I be satisfied with a laissez faire approach toward the vast inhumanities of my world that occur daily?
Perhaps what Nietzsche intended was not to absolve the monsters of history, but to encourage me simply to question what I stand for, no matter how holistic my personal truisms appear to be.
What would the world be like, if folks regularly questioned each rationalism behind their respective moral quests in life?
What if Napoleon did so?
Or the Pope?
Or Newt Gingrich, for that matter?
If I pass through the drive-through at McDonald's and order two double quarter-pounders with cheese, does it mean, really, that I am willing to sharpen a spear, then hunt and kill a living steer to exact that pound of flesh?
I'm no vegetarian, but when I use “needs” and “moral imperatives” to justify my actions, perhaps I am really grasping for personal satisfaction that it is I who is “in the right.”
In the past, I have used such phrases as, “Well I've got to eat something, or I'll starve.” or “The Bible says that to live that way is a sin.” or “How else could I buy fuel for my car and food for my family?” or “It's okay, it was God's time to call him to Heaven.”
Among the myriad moral and cultural ethics that have existed in history, it is impossible to label them all under such basic terms as “good” and “evil.”
To find an ultimate moral Cause for humanity, I think, would require an explanation for a certain phenomenon.
Put in question form, “Why are decent people subjected to unfortunate contingencies?”
The necessity of enigmatic trials and reprisals exacted by “God and Man” are elusive, relative terms. It is also very likely that the concept of hope is a completely irrational one. Personal honesty, however, provides an easier standard.
I like to argue semantically about truth, goodness, right and wrong. But during moments of “quiet desperation,” it seems only logical that I analyze myself, as Nietzsche did, and ask, “What do I truly know of the rules that govern this world?”
The answer is, of course, not much.
Despite what religious people say, in the end, there is no system of judgment that a person can trust, other than his own.
This means that if something seems incorrect, unbalanced, or unfair, according to my vision of the way things are, I am right.
This is a concept that, on its face, seems to reject all values based on “faith.” But, in fact, it is not that simple.
The power that people like Nietzsche have seen in the moral choices of any individual means that when I believe in anything: a godhead, a way of life, or this or that particular culture, I should not take it so seriously as to treat it as a moral be-all and end-all that must be seen as such by all other people, too.
A single man has the right to adopt the responsibilities and privileges of his own personal code, but to inflict that code on others un-democratically, is the first step towards tyranny.
All tyrants, I'm sure, must disagree.
[Literature] Regarding Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice
There is nothing we can do to avoid our mortality.
As we age, we only deepen the idiosyncrasies in our character.
The reality that we struggle to make static in the light of our consciousness is something we see from the head of a dropping pin.
The world of our animal presence is a different one with altogether different laws and objectives.
In fact, it seems that there is an unlimited number of real truths to what it means to exist as a human being. It is perhaps our evolutionary purpose to break barriers.
Death, in the particular, is unavoidable. Yet, human consciousness, in general, is an infinite set of real perceptions. It will stop quite possibly never.
The greatest predation we currently suffer is either medical, social, or imaginary.
These are the issues that Anne Rice embraces in her newest, and finest novel. It is written as the fifth episode of her best-selling series, The Vampire Chronicles.
The first episode, Interview with the Vampire has already been made into a feature film.
Anne Rice, wife of the poet, Stan Rice, made the teller of the story in this book the vampire anti-hero, Lestat. But, as she stated repeatedly in interviews that plagued the media in promotion of Memnoch, this adventure could be experienced by anyone.
From the beginning of the plot, the powerful and legendary vampire, Lestat, is haunted by a seemingly omnipotent preternatural being that calls himself Memnoch.
Memnoch doesn't just claim to be any devil. He claims to be The Devil, Lord of the Abyss, Guardian of Sheol, Gatekeeper of the Nether-Realms, the Prince of Darkness, etc.
Memnoch coaxes Lestat to join him on a Dante-like tour of Heaven, primordial Earth and Hell, in an attempt to win Lestat's allegiance.
Lestat witnesses firsthand, the cosmic and philosophical dilemma of Memnoch's questioning of God about evil's existence.
Memnoch asks if the trials of Job were necessary, if he truly was made a better person by them, and if a supposedly omniscient God really needed to have Job tortured to test his faith.
Memnoch raises a protest with God for not granting the repented, suffering souls in Hell forgiveness and allowing them into Heaven. This invokes the Divine Wrath, and God makes Memnoch the spiritual janitor of Hell, which Anne Rice describes much like one of Hieronymus Bosch's paintings.
The casting of Memnoch into Hell seems to insinuate that God, although all-powerful, all-knowing and utterly good, is not willing to clean up the “mess” of evil, which, He must have known, was the obvious result of “free will.”
God fails to make Memnoch understand why evil is a necessary part of the world.
Memnoch takes Lestat to the time when he, Memnoch, assumed human form, and lived among “the daughters of Men.”
Memnoch shows Lestat Christ, and how he implored Him in the desert to eliminate the memory of His Godliness, while in human form, so that He would truly understand what it is to be mortal, but God refused.
Memnoch brings Lestat to the street where Veronica wipes the face of the scourged Christ. Jesus lets Lestat drink His blood and gives Lestat Veronica's cloth as a souvenir.
I don't want to spoil the ending, but Lestat gets back to the contemporary world, and as is usual in The Vampire Chronicles, wreaks holy havoc.
[Music] The Third World Chaos of Sepultura
Dateline: 1984. In the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, two brothers named Max and Igor Cavalera were inspired by the fresh, new, aggressive sounds of the American Metal scene. Slayer was already ascending the Death Metal throne, having released Show No Mercy, Haunting the Chapel, Hell Awaits and Live Undead.
The brothers decided to pool their meager savings and form a band, emulating their northern idols. Max would play rhythm guitar and provide the vocals, with Igor on drums, Jairo T. playing lead guitar, and Paulo Jr. on bass.
The young men chose a name, smacking of their morbid, spartan world: the Portuguese word for the grave, Sepultura.
Their first albums, Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions, released near the end of the year were obscure collections of the elements of the new Metal sound.
Not until nearly a decade later would the world come to know the true greatness of the epic band, Sepultura.
Since Morbid Visions, Sepultura has acquired a new guitarist, Andreas Kisser. Demonstrating his adept musical talent in the albums Schizophrenia, Beneath the Remains, Third World Posse EP, Arise, Under Siege, Chaos AD, Refuse/Resist EP, Live Degradation and most recently in Sepultura's Third World Chaos. Kisser has proven himself a member of the super-elite of Thrash Metal.
The Sepultura in the film, Third World Chaos is incredibly more professional and sophisticated than the Sepultura of Bestial Devastation. The band, however, has not forgotten its Brasileno roots.
In this 60-minute video, Sepultura plays Holiday in Cambodia with Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Policia with the Brazilian punk band, Ratos de Porao, and the all-acoustical, all-drums Indian song, Kaiowas, with Pantera.
Sepultura also plays Motorhead's Orgasmatron, and several of their hits, including Refuse/Resist, Arise, Beneath the Remains, Dead Embryonic Cells and Slave New World.
The older Max Cavalera and Sepultura get the bolder and more political their music and lyrics become. Over the years, Sepultura has made itself into an advocate against censorship, economic and cultural oppression, endangerment of the environment and hypocrisy, both religious and governmental.
The poor of Brazil live in a police-state, where the government pays teams of assassins to eradicate the politically unsavory homeless people.
This, the Cavaleras and Sepultura have not forgotten. One could call them heroes, or role models, but I think they are something less lofty: honest.
[Music] Lord of this World at SDSU
The impetuous nature of young people craves blasphemy and new desecration. For every hero there must be an anti-hero. For every moral system there must be disparity with that system. For every way of life, a rejection of that way.
And where the young people go, they will demand icons to deify. It is only the most adept cultural leaders who can survive several generations – through redefinition – to remain as living symbols for rebellion and darkness.
In this light, Ozzy Osbourne has had an advantage for the first band in which he was the lead vocalist was the mighty Black Sabbath.
In fact, on tour with Ozzy is Black Sabbath's original bassist, Geezer Butler. Butler played impeccably in the October 28th concert at San Diego State University.
Most likely this was Ozzy's last concert at SDSU, because, in accord with his infamous reputation, he raised a riot. The melee grew to a fevered pitch when, near the end of the concert, Osbourne cried, “The craziest m---er f---er in here gets to party with us backstage!”
After Ozzy made this avowal to the audience, the security guards could no longer maintain the rush of fans. Soon the entire area in front of, and on top of the stage, became a writhing mass of bodies: security officer vs. hesher.
The news of the destruction of the Open-Air Theater's seats, as well as the minor injuries of five concertgoers reached as far as MTV news with Tabitha Soren.
Chris Shaul, who attended the concert, said, “I was standing on the backrests of the front row seats, waiting for an opening to jump onto the stage. Just as the opportunity came to leap between the security guards, and onto the stage, the seats collapsed under my feet. I was disappointed the seats collapsed under me because I didn't have the energy to try again. I wanted to personally thank Ozzy for putting on such a good show.”
Since leaving Black Sabbath, to be replaced by Ronnie James Dio, Osbourne has enjoyed a stellar career. He has toured the world, notorious as the evil, animal-sacrificing father of Heavy Metal.
Ozzy's band, also featuring Joe Smith, a student of the late Randy Rhoads, played a veritable cornucopia of songs both new and old.
Although the crowd loved such melodies as Bark at the Moon, No More Tears, et al, it was with Mr. Crowley, Children of the Grave, and Paranoid that real head-banging action was instigated.
It was a shame that this concert did not take place in a music hall without seats, because it was the awkward seating that thwarted the moshing fans, causing both physical injury and property damage. A seated show is more impersonal than a show with general admission. General admission allows the fans to interact more intimately among themselves and with the actual musicians.
Opening up for Osbourne was Fear Factory. Fear Factory's guitarist, Dino Cazares, is originally from El Centro. Fear Factory conveyed the same superb, industrial heaviness that they recorded on their albums Soul of a New Machine and Demanufacture. To read more about Fear Factory and Demanufacture read this issue's article, The Top Six Thrash Albums of '95.
[Music] Top Six Thrash Albums of 1995
6. Testament – Low
Not long ago, Testament was one of the best new thrasher bands since the Slayer revolution. But, with the release of their 1992 record, The Ritual, they fell into the glut of folk-rock, glam-metal bands like Guns & Roses and Skid Row.
At the time, it seemed that nearly everybody in the rock and roll industry was trying to monopolize on superficial melancholy, miming the Pearl Jam and Nirvana trend.
Unlike other “Slayer Babies,” however, Testament took at least a small sense of musical (or financial) pride in their work. When they discovered that The Ritual was a bomb, they did not linger in the glam-rock style.
In 1993, Testament released Return to the Apocalyptic City, which, although an EP, was better, in terms of aggression and musical talent. It included live versions of older hits, like “Over the Wall,” and a couple of studio recordings.
Running on the moderate success of Return to the Apocalyptic City, Testament has released Low, a reprisal of their original, heavier sound. Native American lead singer, Chuck Billy, has assumed his previous, Tom Araya-esque growl.
Still a bit primitive in their power chord-laden guitar playing, Testament needs to work off their rust. However, in the future, they just may live up to the potential they've hidden for so long.
5. Malevolent Creation - Eternal
Eternal is quick and upbeat with a modern grindcore feel. It is also reminiscent, in flavor, of Sepultura's latest album, Chaos AD.
Malevolent Creation is clearly inspired by the rhythms of Sepultura's guitarist, Andreas Kisser. Their 1991 production of Ten Commandments was an agile, although perhaps unoriginal study of the galloping guitar sound of Sepultura's Beneath the Remains and Arise.
Now, Malevolent Creation has recorded Eternal. They have a new vocalist, whose throaty cacophony sounds surprisingly like that of Max Cavalera. Also, their new drummer uses the staccato double bass style of Slayer's Paul Bostaph and Sepultura's Igor Cavalera.
Malevolent Creation has proven, twice, that it has the talent to imitate the music of some of the world's greatest thrash bands. Let's hope that the next time they make a record it challenges them further to play what Malevolent Creation feels.
4. Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Fear Factory would be nothing without guitarist and ex-El Centro resident, Dino Cazares. He also plays in the Mexican thrash band, Brujeria, which has released a record this year, as well.
Demanufacture was recorded in Great Britain and New York. Anyone who loves pulsing riffs and wailing, Moorish vocals (FF's trademark) will get their money's worth with this album.
3. Deicide – Once Upon the Cross
Deicide frontman and bassist Glen Benton took his spiritual anger to a new level in Once Upon the Cross. This is not to belittle the neurotically fast and masochistic endeavors of drummer, Steve Asheim, and the Hoffman brothers on guitars, respectively.
Thrash and speed fans the world over remember the ground-breaking rhythms and bi-vocal lyrics that Deicide introduced in their premier album of the same name.
Deicide's first album was later digitally re-mixed with added bass and vocal distortion by musical wizard, Scott Burns. (Burns is also the producer of Sepultura, Obituary and Cannibal Corpse, among others.) The record was re-released in 1993 under the title Amon: Feasting the Beast.
Deicide's second record, Legion, was good and pure, but not for the weak of heart. It contained not just a wave of heavy, grinding music, but an experiment in speed, too. This was evident in songs like “Satan Spawn: The Caco-demon.”
It is finally, with Once Upon the Cross, which includes segments from the film, The Last Temptation of Christ, that Deicide embodies the winter of religious discontent.
2. Morbid Angel – Domination
Since 1984, Trey Azagthoth, David Vincent and Pete “Commando” Sandoval have toured the world's thrash circuits.
Gaining wide recognition from the release of their last record, Covenant, Morbid Angel's Domination is a sophisticated, eclectic statement of the limitless boundaries of thrash.
In the solos and rhythms of guitarist Azagthoth, it is easy to hear the influences of musicians as far reaching as Van Halen and Mozart. Carrying this technique of speedily scaling the entire neck of the guitar with rapid-fire riffs, are songs like “Where the Slime Live,” and “Caesar's Palace.”
1. Suffocation – Pierced from Within
Young, fresh, transcending beyond the grindcore generation of the late '80's, Suffocation is, in a nutshell, the rage of Deicide combined with the finesse of Morbid Angel.
In every track of their newest release, Pierced from Within, there is a delicate attention to nuance. The musicians throw in a myriad of subtle tricks. Be it twists in tempo, or rhythm, there is always something that grasps the listener's ear.
Suffocation's guitarist, bassist, drummer and lyricist are all masters of the art of Thrash. Their only setback, obscurity, which will hopefully change under the wing of producer Scott Burns.
In even a large city like San Diego, Suffocation was able to play only at The Spirit, a club near Soma that, at capacity, could fit just a few hundred heshers.
This resembles Slayer, in their early years. And in the shadow of Slayer, Suffocation too, may someday be a household name for thrash fans.
[Music] Regarding Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag by Henry Rollins
Conflicted feelings of nihilism, perseverance, rage and depression lashing against death and life's inhumanities fill the art of Henry Rollins.
Rollins has been called egotistical by some and is just plain hated by others. But, by the age of 34, Rollins has been the lead singer of two successful bands, Black Flag and Rollins Band, and has written several books.
He is also a spoken word performer and won the Grammy last year in the spoken word category for his reading of this, his most recent book.
Get in the Van tells the story of his journey with the hardcore punk band, Black Flag. Before he joined it at the age of 20, he lived in Washington D.C.
Rollins once was the manager at a Haagen Daas shop. He also worked in a pet store. In his live, video performance, Talking from the Box, he recounts the somewhat perverse adventures he had there.
In Get in the Van Rollins writes about the hard times of the early hardcore punk scene (not to say it is so very relaxed now, either).
Black Flag frequently played with The Ramones, The Misfits, Husker Du, The Exploited, Nig Heist and many others.
Rollins intimates the times when his nearly destitute, young band would struggle for food, lodging and fuel.
They would be commonly harassed by the police of whatever town they played in, and their gigs were usually crashed by roach-like skinheads that crawled out of the walls of each town.
Rollins, I imagine, must be thick-skinned from the cracked knees, knuckles and various other joints he writes about in this book.
In the long run, if you like Black Flag, Rollins Band, Rollins' books or just want to read about the pre-Nirvana punk world of ten years ago, check out Get in the Van.
[Technology] Thy Flesh Consumed: The Next Step for the Public Id
Virtual reality has been a catchphrase of the hip and with-it for several years. But the world has yet to encounter any software or device that truly mimics all of the stimuli that can be perceived. In the world of the computer screen one of the best technologies that has three-dimensional, animated graphics is texture-mapping.
Texture-mapping is the enlarging or shrinking of an image in segments. This simulates changes in the distance from said image. One should experience texture-mapping first-hand to appreciate its realism.
As any computer game software fan will attest, the revolutionary program using the texture-mapped format was Doom. It was produced by Id Software in 1993.
Originally, it contained three episodes of eerily realistic first-person guerrilla warfare. Doom players battled through alien-infested colonies on the surface of Phobos, one of the moons of Mars. Later, they fought against unspeakable evil in a literal manifestation of the sights and sounds of Dante's Hell.
Doom was a mega-hit, setting a standard for 3D game software, that caused the emergence of such games as Rise of the Triad and Dark Forces.
Doom was followed by Id Software's release of Heretic, a fantasy game of like ilk. Also, Id has released Doom II, a game just as uncanny as its predecessor.
Now, Id Software has created The Ultimate Doom, which contains the original Doom program with an added fourth episode, They Flesh Consumed. The story of the creation of this software, interestingly enough, begins with Nintendo.
Video game system makers are attempting to reclaim their lost market of users. This is due to the fact that most users have converted to the currently vogue technology of personal computers. Companies like Sega, Nintendo, Sony and Atari are all building up hype for their new 64-bit game systems.
Knowing the coming competition is going to be fierce, Nintendo tried to buy an ace-in-the-hole. It used its old trick of purchasing exclusive production rights from leading game software companies.
Nintendo bought the right to be the first video game system to carry Doom. Users can play it on their TV sets. The system's cost is a few hundred dollars rather than the thousands needed for a decent personal computer.
Not only did Nintendo want Doom, but they paid Id to add a new, exclusive, fourth episode to their classic game. Thus, the birth of Thy Flesh Consumed.
Nintendo made two mistakes, however. They forgot that the customers they need are, for the majority, computer game players and Doom players as well. Also, they didn't ask that Id not release Thy Flesh Consumed for personal computer.
Nintendo's potential consumers, who currently play computer games, no longer have an incentive to buy the new entertainment system.
Why buy a $300 video game system when you can enjoy the same software for the cost of a compact disc?
[Editorial] X Generation Speaks Out
America is screwing downward in a spiral of self-destruction. Whether the end of our culture is inevitable or not, protest must be raised. The human spirit must not be trodden out so easily.
I hold little in this world to me as a crutch. I count on little to help me get by and keep together. One thing I do need is the ability to speak; my peers need to speak; we students need to speak.
I believe that this newspaper, The X Generation, is necessary for the maturation and self-discovery of this valley's Generation Xers.
This journalism staff is struggling to become more autonomous and professional. We are fighting, at this very moment, for greater independence with the Imperial Valley College infrastructure.
This staff needs the X Generation to be free.
With freedom of communication and deliberation, this school will be taking the first step towards finding some answers to the blanketing apathy that is tearing at our generation's will.
We are not perfect, but to me a lack of perfection in anything, a newspaper, an individual's philosophy, or a work of art is just a challenge to do better, to best oneself.
The X Generation welcomes criticism, comment or praise. All we ask when you send it to us, sign your name so we may publish it in an upcoming issue. As we have signed our name as a by line, we expect the same strength of character from our readers.
I depend on this newspaper to make what I have to say known to my peers.
The streets of America are alive, vicious and deadly. But more than any gun, the printed truth is the greatest weapon a student can wield in the name of change at IVC.
[Technology] The Internet
The Internet has become a sign of the times. Five years ago, few people knew what it was or how to access it.
Now, surfing the Net has become the latest media trend in what Alvin Toffler has called the Third Wave.
More than anything else, the Internet is a tool of exploration. It allows anyone to instantly immerse himself in worlds specializing in his particular interests.
On the Internet, the concept of the esoteric is nonexistent.
As the years go by, and technology advances, the Internet will become an increasingly user-friendly place. I am sure the children of this generation will marvel at the novelty of keyboards, screen-less telephones and one-way, box-shaped television sets.
The two biggest problems with surfing the Net are cost and censorship.
If you're getting started in the personal computer world right now, you'll definitely want a modem with a 28.8 baud rate. This will allow you to download images faster and more cheaply. Those on-line hours can really add up.
Unfortunately, good computer equipment can be expensive, so do like me and save.
If you're already familiar with the Internet, then you probably know that many websites are shutting down or watering down their respective databases because of the current attempt by Congress to try to remove “indecent” material from the Internet.
Although this conservative attempt at censorship is clearly unconstitutional, businesses on the World Wide Web and other Internet locales are having to hinder their own public accessibility just to keep their legal butts covered.
Hopefully, in a few years our society will discover that it's mature enough to handle real freedom of speech, and the Internet will carry the American melting pot into the next millennium unfettered.
[Literature] Book Review: One from None by Henry Rollins
By 1987 the seminal punk band, Black Flag, was dead. Henry Rollins was left to find his own artistic way, no longer under the direction of Black Flag's founder and guitarist, Greg Ginn.
The result of this new demand for independence was the Rollins Band and the book, One from None.
Of all the Rollins books I've read, this one is the most Nietzsche-an and solitary.
Rollins makes it clear in this book that if he can't trust himself, he can't trust anyone.
One from None documents a nearly religious sense of self-cleansing and discipline. Rollins protracts existentialism to a sickening, obsessive intensity.
The last third of One from None is a documented interview Rollins conducted with a Swiss journalist.
In the Q&A they discuss varying Rollins-related issues including the future of the Rollins Band and 2.13.61, his publishing company.
[Music] Sepultura's Roots
The spiraling force of revolution continues in Sepultura's latest LP, Roots. South America is still predominated with a vast rift between the haves and have-nots. Brazil is no exception.
Each successive time Sepultura steps into the recording studio, their art becomes more indicative of the indigenous cultures of Amazonia.
Roots fulfills its title by containing several tracks of Sepultura jamming with the Xavantes tribe of Matto Grosso, Brazil. The song, Itsari, meaning roots in the Xavante language, is actually a collaboration of new Sepultura material with a native healing ceremony chant called Datsi Wawere.
Guitarist Andreas Kisser further displays his classical, acoustical prowess in the instrumental composition, Jasco.
Sepultura has matured vastly since the days of their first record, Morbid Visions.
They have transcended the status of “Slayer Babies” and are now trend-setters with their own entourage of mirroring bands, the most popular being Malevolent Creation.
Sepultura still advocates rebellion against the tyrannical government and socioeconomic chains of their homeland. They have not become complacent with their own sizable financial success.
The team of Max Cavalera, Igor Cavalera, Andreas Kisser and Paulo Jr. have been called the next Metallica.
Sepultura is not the next Metallica. Sepultura has gone beyond its initial, sapiential talent and has not sold out.
[Music] Deeds of Flesh: Dead Alive in Corona
Deeds of Flesh played on February 24  with Six Feet Under (Chris Barnes' and Allen West's new band), Immolation, Disgorge, Internal Bleeding and All Shall Die at the Showcase Theater in Corona.
All the bands' performances were awesome. Down here, in the Imperial Valley, there isn't a vibrant Death Metal scene. The drive to Corona, just south of San Bernardino, was well worth it.
Deeds of Flesh opened with the same explosive juggernaut of sound as conveyed in their four-track demo, Gradually Melted. In their repertoire they featured new material from their soon-to-be-released album, Trading Pieces, along with the opening track off of Gradually Melted, “Three Minute Crawlspace.”
Gradually Melted, the underground band's first release, contained four tracks. “Three Minute Crawlspace,” “Gradually Melted,” “Human Sandbags,” and “Feelings of Metal Through Flesh.”
Today's underground Death scene manifests a strong fraternity. As I walked into the concert hall before the show, members of Disgorge were schmoozing with members of Deeds of Flesh.
A few weeks before, I had the privilege of starting some correspondence with Erik Lindmark, DOF's lightning-fast guitarist and vocalist.
Despite the absolute, extreme expression of aggression and metaphor used by these young artists, in person they are articulate, considerate and patient (even enough to hold an interview with a small-town journalist in his own van.)
Deeds of Flesh is from Los Osos, which is also the hometown of yours truly.
The band's members previously played in Charlie Christ and THC. They decided to form DOF because they liked to play at a faster pace and knew each other's style. They've been together now for over a year and a half.
I asked Erik how he got so good at the guitar.
“I've been playing guitar since I was about 11. I've kept with it all my life.”
In recent years, the Death Metal scene has been confronting the seminal grindcore sound, mastered by bands like Napalm Death and Obituary.
Underground bands have been influenced by the crunchy, grinding music, either adopting it or attempting to transcend it in their own, newer style.
“I was into Dark Angel, back in 1987, along with Scream Bloody Gore, of course.” Lindmark explained.
Considering the promising acceptance of Gradually Melted, the future seems open for DOF.
I inquired as to whether Deeds of Flesh was just a part-time project or if the band had plans for future expansion.
“Our next goal will be to get bigger. We usually jam every day. [Public interest in] Death goes up and down. Right now, Death Metal's been really snowballing,” said Lindmark.
All in all, the concert kicked butt. These bands all deserve to be checked out by you, the loyal X Generation reader.
If, for some strange reason, you haven't yet purchased your copy of Deeds of Flesh's Gradually Melted, contact Deeds of Flesh on the World Wide Web at https://deedsoffleshmetal.com
In terms of the content of the music of Deeds of Flesh, several times, I have tried to clarify in this newspaper what Generation X's culture and art are all about. In describing our generation, I use words like rage and cynicism, but unfortunately, those are just words. There is more to being young than being angry.
Just like in a Bronze Age war, the victors of battle were not just the ones able to summon a berserk melee at the drop of a hat. The victors were the ones that fought intelligently, conserving their strength when necessary and exploding with sentient, controlled, chaotic power in the face of opposition.
This is the same philosophy driving the music of Deeds of Flesh.
Cannibal Corpse brought forth guttural, spiritual power, a swooning pathosis of sexual perversion. Deicide brought forth anti-religious, energetic, frenetic, counter-dogmatic domination. Deeds of Flesh is the embodiment of what I like to refer to as terminal dissidence.
The protagonists featured in DOF's lyrics are not just dubbed by the outside world as wrong, they are being put to death for their lack of conformity. In the track, “Gradually Melted,” a man makes the realization that he is going to be put to death.
They are going to burn me. - DOF
For this man, the judgment of his peers through the legal system is no longer just a game, causing him to laugh at their stupidity and ignorance.
They have turned their confidence in their judicial process into something lethal, a weapon of crucifixion.
The man's crime is irrelevant. The point of the song is that he has been deemed different from the majority, just like Socrates, and a threat to their philosophical peace of mind.
The crowd encourages the court's decision. - DOF
This is the mastery of DOF's metaphor, for although it applies to our current problems involving hypocritical interpretations of our Constitution's First Amendment, the metaphor extends deeper than that.
It is the cry of Plato. It is the cry of the minority. It is the bane of all democracy. The weak shall be allowed to dictate to the strong, and in some cases, the wrong to the right.
This is the Nietzsche-an connection, the anarchic connection. For democracy is a social, moral necessity, and yet, when mass education fails, the populace can become weak and ill-informed, hearkening the words of puppet pundits and mountebanks like Rush Limbaugh, Bob Dole and Napoleon.
“Gradually Melted” illustrates that we are laid victims through our very demand for a just and fair system.
The cause and function we place in democracy, the trust and faith we instill in it, the power of government we place in those we elect and allow to make laws is, in the most basic terms, an act of faith.
Tyranny is always a risk in honest republicanism. The strength we invest, and hone can be turned back, the blade of the majority used to slit the throat of the minority.
Criminalization is the form of persecution exemplified in “Gradually Melted.” The best interests of the greater amount of people have been stipulated in the social order. For failing to comply with those interests, the protagonist must die.
The connection lies in the fact that right now our society is increasing its punishment and castigation of perpetrators of 'crimes' without victims.
Examples of these 'crimes' are smoking herb, suicide and the creation of explicit arts like Death Metal.
In the song, “Gradually Melted” it is the true America that is being burned alive.
“Three Minute Crawlspace” and “Human Sandbags” confront contemporary homicide, both physical and spiritual.
“Three Minute Crawlspace” deals with the death and torture of the self, buried alive by a servant of the 'Ancient One,' while “Human Sandbags” illustrates the heinous inhumanity of warfare, both literal and Darwinian. The true goal of a soldier is not ideology but survival at all costs.
The last track on Deeds of Flesh's Gradually Melted record is “Feelings of Metal Through Flesh.” This track exudes nihilism and self-mutilation not as an end but as a mechanism of sensory input in a reality numbed with futility.
The only way to stop the hunger is feed the pain.
Insane thoughts of suicide brought to life; the pain becomes very real. - DOF
This is the crux of Deeds of Flesh. In this band, the movement of cutting edge, underground music is carried into the last years of this century.
The desert of Western Civilization has torn man's individual consciousness apart, nearly to the point of annihilation.
END OF LINE
Clarence Darrow was born in Kinsman, Ohio in 1857. His father worked as the village carpenter, but he was a very well-read man. Clarence was born in a family of free thinkers. Clarence Darrow was taught at an early age that everyone deserves the right to think as they wish. He was also taught to take in all his surroundings before he based his opinions and conclusions.
Clarence Darrow was a mediocre student yet he managed to complete one year of college before he had to return home to work during the depression of the middle 1880's. At first he took a job helping his father make furniture, but after several months he took the opening in a job as a small town schoolteacher.
Clarence Darrow didn't do well as a schoolteacher for he was a strong nonconformist, which was not helpful with the necessary methods required for the education of young children. Clarence was not happy as a schoolteacher and during the weekends he began to take interest in the country debates that occurred in a big farmhouse.
He would often represent one of the parties using his skills in oration and vocabulary. As he grew more intrigued in these weekly debates Darrow chose to give up teaching altogether and devote his time toward debating for farmers around the county.
He was satisfied with working for the local gentry for only a short while. Clarence Darrow decided he wanted to be a full-fledged lawyer. He returned to school and, in a few years, he had achieved the title of Lawyer of the State of Illinois.
During this time Darrow married a young woman. He and his wife chose a small country town as Clarence's place of practice. Good fortune struck and Clarence was there but a short spell when a corporate executive heard one of his excellent orations and immediately gave Clarence a job in Chicago as an advisor of Pullman Railcars.
At this time Chicago was changing along with the nation. Big companies like the railroad industry were beginning to gain control of the government and hundreds of thousands of workers were being neglected humane care and decent pay.
Darrow learned that the railroad companies were going to place the leader of the new American Railroad Union, Eugene Debs, on trial for conspiracy. Clarence saw this injustice and left his steady job with Pullman to defend Debs.
After a most demanding and persuasive argument by Darrow, Debs was spared the death penalty and given a life sentence. Clarence Darrow showed that the power of the railroad companies could be thwarted. He also began his reputation as "Attorney for the Damned".
For many years Darrow defended those he felt were condemned by society. He supported the coal miners' rebellion and roused fellow lawyers to oppose children's labor. Darrow advised great men like William Randolph Hearst and battled illness to confront giants like Johnathan Ford.
Clarence Darrow is probably best recalled for his accomplishments near the end of his career (remember the old saying, "Hire young doctors and old lawyers.") The first can be said to be his defense of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, the two wealthy boys who "had experienced everything but murder". The nation was screaming for their hanging but the boys' parents begged Darrow to try for a life sentence. In the days that followed Darrow was said to have spoken at least two hundred pages while pleading with the jury for the lives of the killers of fourteen-year-old Robert Frank.
After days of courtroom sessions Darrow convinced the jury to spare the lives of the 18 and 19-year-old.
The most famous of all Clarence Darrow's defenses must be his defense of John Scopes. He was accused of misleading his students by teaching the Evolution Theory as truth. This meant that Clarence Darrow had to prove to the jury and the world that human life "evolved" from slowly-developing creatures. Darrow had to show that the Bible's "Adam and Eve" story was not necessarily true. All he had to do was prove God wrong.
As a witness, Darrow had William Jennings Bryan, the founder of the new anti-evolution laws. Darrow showed Bryan to be a lightweight, uneducated nincompoop and a stuffed shirt, too. Darrow convinced the jury that the oldest view is not necessarily the best and proved the new theory to be scientifically correct. Scopes was acquitted.
Clarence Darrow was one of the greatest attorneys who ever lived. He was an influence to all lawyers. He brought a new era to the American judicial system. Many later members of his family chose to follow in his footsteps as schoolteachers and lawyers.
I feel the work Clarence Darrow did for this country should be recognized by all Americans as a symbol of the efforts of our forefathers.
I think Clarence Darrow was greatly inspired by his father, Amirius. Amirius was an intense reader and book collector. Though he never reflected his great knowledge and wisdom in his public lifestyle, Amirius Darrow was sure to see his many children learned all they could. One of the most valuable heirlooms Amirius gave Clarence was the ability to see the true reason why people do the things they do and the courage to support one's own views.
Also, I think Clarence Darrow was largely influenced by the governor, John Altgeld. Clarence Darrow was influenced by both Altgeld's writings and advice, especially while he was a young lawyer.
I thought this was going to be just another English assignment. I can see now that I was dead wrong. This was one of the most intriguing books I have ever read!
I never knew my distant relative had affected so many people. After reading this book I want to go out and become a lawyer.
I can see why people either love or hate Clarence Darrow. He is the kind of guy who would make you look like a moron or a genius. It all depended upon whom he was working for.
END OF LINE
Introduction: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, 1962 Novel, Fiction.
Short Summary: Bromden, an Indian, is diagnosed as insane and is placed in a mental hospital where the staff are crazier than the patients. Bromden tells how another patient arrives. (Mc Murphy).
Mc Murphy is a rebel and immediately clashes with the head of staff (Miss Ratched).
Mc Murphy befriends the other patients and convinces most of them to rebel. Eventually they take over the whole ward.
Miss Ratched brainwashes one of the more feeble-minded patients and he kills himself in the end.
Mc Murphy is so enraged about Miss Ratched's manipulation of the other patients that he attacks Miss Ratched (physically) without caring what happened to himself later on.
Ultimately, Miss Ratched has Mc Murphy lobotomized. Out of pity for the hero-made-vegetable Bromden suffocates Mc Murphy's lingering husk.
Bromden and most of the other patients eventually leave the hospital by many different means, understanding what true friends will give for each other.
Analysis: Ken Kesey gave me an excellent view of the 1960's personality of rebellion. The effect of having the story told by one of the patients (Bromden) is both eerie and powerful.
Kesey uses the noteworthy technique of opening up a hidden scar of society. In this case he revealed a new light on the insane and those accused of insanity. It takes courage and imagination to write a book that forces the reader to think, “But that's not fair, no one deserves to be treated like that!”
Although this is a very interesting and thought-provoking subject, the average American does not care to read such depressing material about such a seemingly pathetic group of people.
I like the way Kesey makes Mc Murphy even more the hero by having him killed in the end. (A “martyr” for his cause.)
The drama of having Bromden kill Mc Murphy as an act of friendship was incredible.
Attitudes: This was an excellent novel. The conflict was of right and wrong, not good versus evil. Kesey was bold in expressing realistic vulgarity in the characters instead of whitewashing them over.
The story ensnares the reader with captivating dialogue and bizarre yet common emotions.
I was really involved towards the end when the “women” came to the ward and Mc Murphy helped Bromden get strong again.
I feel that Ken Kesey searches to find the reasons why people do the things they do and, more importantly, why they think the things they think about.
Ken Kesey seems to love to explore the unexplored and question the unquestionable. I marvel at how he demands the reader to do the same.
END OF LINE
On a misty morning nearly a decade and a half past a small car puttered down the twisting coastline towards the small town of San Luis Obispo, just 20 miles north of Monterey.
As the car moved along, the sea heaved and broke on rocks hundreds of feet below. Tiny crabs suddenly revealed in the retreating tide scuttled desperately for deeper sanctuary in the gray sea.
Lonely gulls floated like ghosts in the heights, occasionally diving down upon the minuscule prey.
This part of the world was still bearing a pristine cycle of life. This was in a time of less noise and more green.
The car moved through this marvel until it came to its destination, a relatively small town, once founded by salty, old fishermen and their wives.
The vehicle stopped. A particularly large shape was looming through the increasingly dampening fog.
Two figures emerged from the car and headed for the largish structure. After a while they had gone too far away to be seen anymore.
Nothing happened for quite a while.
Then, slowly, the fog began to lift. The sun began to earn the upper hand. And then, probably about noon, a breeze came. It was an ocean breeze, quickly dissolving all the gloomy dankness and dampness from the air. It left a crisp, sunny taste in the atmosphere.
It could be seen that the two figures had indeed entered a building which, in fact, was a small hospital. It was surrounded by billowing pines that climbed back as well, up all the way to the distant granite peaks of the Sierras.
The sun was about to drown itself when the figures came back out. They could be seen now as a young man and woman. They both seemed very tired yet very happy. In the woman's arms was a tiny bundle of cloth and blankets. That, of course, was me.
END OF LINE
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