The story of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was entertaining to me. Wheeler’s response to the narrator was obviously just a ramble, and even if he was inquiring about Jim Smiley, it wouldn’t have helped him in the slightest. I thought the overall satire of the story was very amusing. As for my anticipatory thoughts on reading “Huckleberry Finn”, I know absolutely nothing about it. I have heard of it but have not so much as heard a sentence from the story. My perception of this when I read it will obviously change, but I feel it will be a darker humor sort of book. As for “IMom”, this film was incredibly creepy. It was obviously satirizing the flaws in technology and parenting in modern society, yet it didn’t seem very funny. I was more scared than anything during that film, as it was very dark. The message it conveyed though was quite clear. Technology will never be perfect, because we are imperfect beings, and we cannot remove every flaw from anything. I would keep going, but it is 12:30am, and we have to get up at 6am tomorrow. Well… today. Regardless, I will be ending this blog here, as in the instructions it seems to permit such an action, so long as I have adequately answered the questions with at least some elaboration.
The experience I have had with satire is fairly mundane. I enjoy the short clips and skits that mock politicians and the like, but they don’t greatly affect me. The only concern I have with satire is it’s increasing political presence. Various ends of the spectrum spout different views on satire and use it in different ways. This can sometimes make satire seem more political than joking. There is of course satire meant to be political, but those are not the kinds I am referencing. This is why I maintain a fairly large presence in the political satire portion, which is my favorite. One example, which is the one I originally considered for class but later changed, is an animation on YouTube called Debates with Strawmen. These videos have a legitimate conservative bias, though not incredibly noticeable considering the point is to have both versions of the extreme biases. The unpopularity of some of the things said in these videos is what kept me from using them as my example, though I would encourage someone to watch them if they want a good laugh. Regardless of all of that, I find these animations amusing. But they are merely one of the many different videos of political satire that I enjoy. Moving on to part two, I do not know a lot about Mark Twain. I am aware, due to our class discussions, that he is someone that created works with some degree of satire in them. Investigating further, there are a few things I found that got my attention. The first thing was the amount of violence experienced by him. The way this shapes his work is something I have yet to see, but I can assume it is likely to have his satire saturated with dark humor. The next thing that builds on to this is his failure in several careers and businesses. This makes me very certain that the satire used in Twain’s works is going to be dark. If not dark, then riddled with his life experiences. Regardless of the degree of darkness, I do look forward to reading Twain’s works, and likely digging around in them for the satire placed within.
The book I will be critiquing is Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb. It is going to be fairly difficult for me to critique the book, as it was a real event that is portrayed fairly well by the work, but there are definitely minor nitpicks I have with it. The first nitpick I have with the book is the title. It just seems to me that the title is trying to make the book sound much cooler than it is. Don’t get me wrong, I think the book is good, but the title is making it out to be more exciting than it is. A good portion of the book is discussing training, infiltration, or survival. While I may find these moments interesting, to the average reader, the real excitement would be the attacks and raids on the facility and heavy water containers. These would be far more interesting, but far less common. I am not saying that the real story should have been modified, but a title that painted the picture a bit more realistically would’ve suited the book significantly better. The next thing I realize is that I cannot criticize the accuracy of the book, as I did not experience this event, so I do not know where corrections can be made. As a result, my second critique will be that there was the presence of information that seemed a bit unnecessary. One example of this would be the book mentioning one of the characters almost couldn’t participate in the operation because of a surgery they had to get because of an injury they suffered while training. Another example could be the description near the beginning of how Norway was invaded, and the description of the bravery of the Norwegians who still fought regardless of the fact that the Nazis were clearly winning. While this is relatively minor, and I am in no way undermining the efforts of Norway to resist its occupiers, it is a little nitpick I have about the flow of the story. Another critique I have with the book is regarding its Norwegian occupation portion of the story. It did have a lot more room to play with this side of the story, yet it didn’t really use this to its advantage. Yes, the occupation was important in the story, but you just kind of forgot about it every now and then until something came up to remind you. The only large contribution to the story that stemmed from the Norwegian occupation part of the story would be members of the operation team and support from the locals once they were infiltrated into Norway. Overall, like I said, there really weren’t an incredible number of things I could find that I didn’t like about the book. The lack of major use of the occupation section of the story along with the addition of rather unuseful information and the minor nitpick I had with the title are all the largest problems I could come up with.
I am not even sure how to start my initial thoughts on Vertigo. So… this movie is just… weird. The plot is practically Tzeentchian by nature yet somehow all comes around to join together in one unifying plot. The motives for the people in the film seem to be standard, but the turns this film takes definitely speak to it’s psychological nature. A man going mad from the death of an individual who was not the individual that is now dead but is. The feeling you may have just gotten from reading that sentence is likely exactly what I felt throughout the majority of this movie. Though I can’t speak too soon since it isn’t technically over yet. The things I like most about this movie is exactly the somewhat confusing plot I mentioned earlier. It reminds me of a Bob Ross painting. When you start, it looks like a bunch of squares and crappy looking colors on a canvas. Afterwards though, you end up with an extremely coherent painting that demands attention from its passers. This imbues the plot with a certain charm, at least in my eyes, that one could make such a not terrible movie with so many fragmented subplots while maintaining cohesion to form a bigger picture. One thing I do not like about the movie is the acting and the stereotypes. It is a standard damsel in distress/affair story turned death instilled madness. Not to mention the acting out of such stereotypes is not incredibly well done. Now the dreaded question of modernization. I would first of all find a way to replace those template stereotype sub plots with something else. I’m not sure what exactly. The acting on such stereotypes could be better played out if they had to stay though. The next largest change I would make is an update to graphical aspects. Better camera equipment, 3D animations, and all that jazz. Oh, one final issue I had with the movie was it’s use of music. It seemed that for the majority of the movie the music was rather confused as to what mood it was trying to set. This was somewhat irritating considering we had to take notes on such music. Overall I would say this movie is something I would definitely suggest someone watch, but it certainly isn’t a movie I would be willing to re watch more than once.
My initial impressions of the work were primarily misinterpretations. Whitman would make an analogy to something that I either wouldn’t get or would misinterpret. The primary way I have been correcting said misinterpretations is primarily through our teacher, and a bit through our group discussion. Though one of those two may be more reliable than the other, it still brings up interesting questions as to why people would interpret the work differently, and how society today has shaped the meaning of the work. My initial thoughts on our groups section of the work were more of understanding than my previous observation. This is also primarily because our teacher gave us a few hints for the first few lines, and then it got us on the right track. I think our section is presenting an interesting topic though. As far as me and my groups interpretations go, it is about society and war. It talks specifically in the first section which I am presenting about society. It talks about how children are our future, and how society is something that cannot truly be understood. These to me seem to be the roots of modern day philosophy or, at least, modern day thinking. I would say the most important lines from the section would in fact be the first 9 lines. These lines introduce to you the idea and the analogy that this entire section relies upon for it to make any sense whatsoever. They are the lines that set up the theme of society in all its mystery, and all it’s consequences. It sets the theme for the generations that take the mantle of society each time one other generation passes. It sets all of this up to support the further parts of this section. The most difficulty my group and I have been having with this work was really coming to a consensus on what interpretations was correct. We all threw out a bunch of ideas and twisted the words or meanings to support them, but none of us could quite identify the actual meaning of the work. Not without a bit of help from our teacher that is. Overall I found the sections of the work we read to be intriguing, but difficult. It really challenges you to find the meaning within the seemingly unimportant words on its pages.
I partially agree with the idea that “…government is best which governs least…”. A government is there to provide its people a basis to spread their ideas. A government is there to represent the will of the people that gave it its power. A government is also there to advise its people in times or turmoil, and finally to maintain a fair economic and legal situation for its citizens and businesses. These are the purposes a government should serve, with few exceptions. A government obviously does need to govern a bit, otherwise it is anarchy, which is extremely detrimental to society. In regards to the individual, the government’s purpose is to provide you the opportunity to succeed based on our own efforts, and to make sure no one else interferes with your attempts unfairly or violently. Its purpose is also to advise and lead you based on what the collective believes. The type of government that commands my respect is one that knows its limits, but is confident in its abilities. In other words, a government that knows what it can and cant do very clearly. It would use every power it is given to execute the will of the people, yet respect each persons rights and freedom. In other words, a democracy with good leadership commands my respect. This is because it is the best kind of government for its citizens. It does everything it can to give you an even playing field, and leaves it entirely up to you to determine your level of success. It is arguably the fairest and most stable government we have developed, financially and militarily. The role of civil disobedience today has become much less intense, and is essentially to let the government and people around you know what you think should be changed. It is not still effective at all. Unless a movement had enough support for the use of true civil disobedience, the government could easily put it down. If someone refuses to pay their taxes for instance, they can suffer legal consequences that will force them to pay taxes. A government can easily use this too put down a movement, unless the movement has enough support to make it too risky to put down legally. In other words, civil disobedience has become more of a notification to the government that their is a problem you wish to be fixed, and less an active stance in affecting the way the government makes decisions around that issue.
The reading of “Excerpts from Walden” was a fairly interesting time. It was complicated and difficult to understand, and so it required a large amount of thought and time to interpret. Thoreau and Emerson share two very similar, and large, ideals. They both believe society is but a hindrance to the nature of man, and they both believe that nature is how man achieves happiness and clarity. This can be seen in both works when Thoreau describes his reasons for moving to the woods and Emerson describes his experience as the “transparent eyeball” when visiting nature. We can also see the link between their beliefs regarding society when Thoreau abandons it in search of living life to it’s fullest, implying that society doesn’t let you do that. As well as when Emerson describes how society offers us consistency with regard to our needs, but sacrifices individualism and freedoms as a result. The main idea of the first portion of the excerpt “Where I lived and what I lived for”is that society creates consistency and breeds greed and a lack of appreciation for nature. It was also to express Thoreau’s discontent with his life in society, and how he wanted to move to nature so they could become isolated. In the conclusion, he is showing how humanity tends to follow the beaten path rather than create a new one. This implies we are naturally tend towards conformity. It also implies that success can be found if you confidently move in one direction. The benefits of performing this experiment would likely be to connect us more to nature, to understand why it is important to conserve it and why we need it to survive as a species. The largest things I would miss would be the ability to reach for a bottle of water whenever you are thirsty, or reach for a snack whenever you are hungry. The environment of instant gratification that is created by society today would be the thing this experiment is trying to show to us, and therefore would deprive us of such a luxury. For that reason along with the fact that I am not particularly fond of the amount or type of amenities in the woods I do not think I could complete this experiment. The largest thing a reader should take out of the excerpts we’ve read is that society is not something you deserve, it is not something you are entitled to, it is a luxury. Society is something that provides us with the consistency we need to support the amount of human life we have on this planet, but people must prepare. In the event said society were to collapse, how would Americans fare? Are we prepared to deal with something as catastrophic as the loss of something we weren’t truly entitled to? These are the questions I will leave the reader with, and the most important thing readers should take from these excerpts.
I argue very often with basically anything. I argue with myself from time to time whenever I am alone and bored. I very much enjoy arguing with people. The worst thing about my arguments is that most of the time they are pointless. The only other thing is that whenever I am wrong I usually keep the argument going or make it convoluted to annoy whoever I am arguing. One of my favorite people to argue with is Conner Schneck. This is due to his tendency to forget that the argument is pointless, or persist fruitlessly regardless of how convoluted it gets. I put that last part in there as per his suggestion. The way I argue is fairly intense. I usually start out with attacking my opponent’s points before laying out any of my own. This demoralizes them and reduces their will to attack my points. Once they are properly disproven, I lay out my points and they usually go unopposed at that point. The alternative is that they do attack my points and prove me wrong. We usually end up reaching a stalemate at that point where all of our points are disproven but neither of us has any more to dish out. This is when I start to try and confuse them to reverse the damage. This has about a 50% chance of actually working and if it does, I walk away happy. If it doesn’t, I walk away happy anyway because I annoyed my opponent. The way my peers construct arguments is usually entirely based around my structure as I usually attack first. Usually, they are on the defensive for most of their argument, and they may do a little attacking afterward if their resolve hasn’t been decimated. The way adults argue with me is something I will talk about in regards to my parents. Their arguments consist of one of four phrases, “Whatever…”, “I don’t care…”, or “You aren’t 18 yet, you don’t get to decide anything…”, or “I’m done, stop talking to me, whatever.” Now walking away from this dumpster fire, how we can develop a valid argument? To do this you need two things, a solid foundation (a fort) and a way to attack your opponent’s foundation (guns). Without a foundation, the person’s “guns” have nothing to fire at. Without “guns”, you can’t shoot down the other’s points. Without either a foundation or the “guns”, a group is incapable of a proper argument. Another pet peeve of mine is when people try to yell over each other as if volume proves their point. Just listen to the other person argument, and if they yell over you, it makes your side look more valid. Overall, I enjoy arguing and have a fairly good understanding of how to do so effectively.
My topic for the debate is free college tuition. I am arguing for the pro side. This is unfortunately not my personal position on the topic, which will leave me at a disadvantage, but I have argued against my opinion in the past and I will again. The things I know is that a big argument against fee tuition is going to be where the money will come from. This is going to be the biggest trouble spot for me, but I believe I have an argument against it. I also know that I am on a position that will primarily take the moral high ground. This will be insufficient for a debate, so I must find statistics and facts that give me a logical position. I know there are benefits to free colleges, such as less student debt and better out fo school student performance. Not to mention increased credit scores for students and more disposable income that will go back into our economy. Obviously, I need to get stats and sources to support me. The first useful thing that came up on google was an article that provides how a free community college system could work. This is likely to come in handy to me. The main logical argument for this side and topic would likely be something related to the increase in disposable income for students if they aren’t burdened by student debt. The ethical argument that could be made for this argument is also the crippling amount of debt college students gather up during their education. We have formed a society where a college degree is essential if you want to make good money, yet to get this education we are draining students and their parents of the very thing they seek. It makes higher education less accessible to people. The emotional argument would be what I just transitioned into, access to education. We are denying students education by putting a paywall in front of it. It is a contradiction of our goals and therefore infuriating. At least this is how it is to me. Overall, I am pretty excited to research this topic further and construct my argument.
My suggestion for the topic of our debate is the European Union. The question is, should it continue to exist, or should it be abolished. The opposing side, commonly conservative nationals so that is what I will call them, propose many downsides to the European Union. The defending side, typically liberal globalists so they will be referred to as such, propose many benefits to the European Union. The conservative nationals argue that the European Union is a counsel of bureaucrats that are out to use Europe to enrich themselves and push their political agenda onto European countries. Liberal globalists argue that the European Unions strives for the betterment of everyone and grants tremendous benefits financially and politically for Europe. I am personally more convinced by the conservative nationals as there are several examples of the European Union sweeping aside peoples personal freedoms. This is the primary reasons I have problems with the European Union, but there are several other reasons as well. For instance, some immigration is good, but letting millions of immigrants into your country with no penalty constantly has many adverse effects. Your culture will begin to fade into the culture of those immigrating, your government will look out to take better care of the disadvantaged immigrants than their own citizens, etc.. Not to mention these representatives (or at least a good portion of them) are in fact unelected, yet they are given the power to represent the entirety of Europe. Personally, I feel the EU shouldn’t be abolished, but I do think it needs to take a very serious look at itself and change for the better. Otherwise, there may be an Orwellian future awaiting us. On the topic of the new year though, I’m really not one for resolutions. I feel they are goals that are typically long term that people wish to undertake in a short time. Once they dont achieve this goal quickly, they abandon it all together. This process is unnecessary and disappointing in my mind. Regardless, if there was one thing I would improve about myself, it would be my level of self-awareness. In order to make anything better about myself, I first need to understand the problem thoroughly. In order to achieve this goal, I will continue to question my own reasoning, morality, and actions. The only thing standing in my way of this goal is the natural human condition. We are ignorant to our own actions, and constantly look for approval from others to justify the actions we take. This is an irritating feature of humanity that prevents such things as self-awareness. Nonetheless, I plan to do what I can to counteract it. Happy New Year!