A Poem!

So as I lie here on my bed

and stare at each tall tree,

the voice inside my head speaks up

to write some poetry.

 

“Procrastination does much more

than boredom, don’t you see?

We know critical reasoning,

so let’s just write—shall we?”

 

By now you think I’m putting off

something of great degree,

but just sit down and listen, please;

let me explain, uh… me.

 

The summer of this year has been

not simply drinking tea.

Nor have its parts consisted of

a class and a study.

 

Of things to do, the awfulest

was the great panoply

of vocab words I wish I could

now burn in effigy.

 

But I digress, even alone

with book upon my knee.

You want me to just make my point.

I know; I hear your plea.

 

Tomorrow I must take a test

made by idiocy.

Don’t laugh—if you saw what they ask

I’m sure that you’d agree.

 

No, not until tomorrow night

at five will I be free

to (hopeful) never look again

upon the GRE.

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Sometimes, some people…

So yeah, I just came across this (via here), which contains a flowchart of female characters.

And this. This is the kind of stuff that drives me insane. Women putting together an argument that society is currently sexist by showing 76 examples of various types of female characters.

Point 1: The large majority of the characters given as examples are entirely 3-dimensional, complete with an intricate history and many different personality characteristics. The article points to Lois Griffin from Family guy (a show composed almost entirely of stereotypes and 2-dimensional characters by its very nature), and I disagree with their interpretation. Sure, she is that “fun-loving sexpot wife who stands by her man no matter what he does”, but also contains the brains of the entire relationship, and manages quite often to sway her idiotic husband in the right direction. In fact, I’d venture to say that she probably has more dimensions than Peter, as he himself is not much more than just an idiot.

I could go on, too. Zoe from Firefly = Lady of War, but also one of the most loving wives I’ve ever seen on TV; Sarah Connor from Terminator = Mama Bear, but the original movie had her as a scared waitress just trying to figure things out (no motherliness or badassness)—that’s called character development, you guys; Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender = Girl Hitler, but almost as much “daddy’s girl” as anything. That’s not to mean that there aren’t 2-dimensional characters here; I’m just saying, gross oversimplifications, exaggerations, and misinterpretations abound.

Point 2: You’re looking at what you want to see. Exactly none of these examples is the main character of the series that they’re from. Supporting characters by their very nature aren’t going to be as well-rounded as the protagonist. Take any male supporting character, and I’ll bet he is at least as flat as any of these women. Let’s look at Firefly, just because I know it inside-out: Jayne = angry action man; Simon = kindhearted doctor; Shepherd Book = badass preacher (The Bible says not to kill, but “it’s a mite fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps.”). See? I can do it too!

Point 3: Perhaps the complaint is more that women are less likely to be the main protagonist of a given series, right? Sure, I’ll concede that point. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist—seek this stuff out; don’t just sit around complaining that it’s not smacking you across the face 24/7. Kill Bill, Mean Girls, Labyrinth, (in a way) The Mummy, freaking half of the shows made by Joss Whedon, whatever. There are tons of Young Adult Fantasy stories with female protagonists—I know because I own a bunch of them. Watch Xena if you really want your feminist hit, for goodness’ sake.

And, if it’s really that important to you, go out and write. In general, the stories that people create will center around someone with whom they can relate, and as such, if more men happen to be writing the stories (as I’m inclined to say is the case in the current entertainment industry—at least in the action genre), then more of the stories will feature a male protagonist. So if you’re unhappy with the current state of storytelling, create your own. Maybe you’ll get lucky and things will change as a result.

Just don’t sit around and make yourself into a victim.

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

There’s this book that I need to read.

It’s by my favorite Psychologist. Or, rather, my family’s favorite Psychologist (a couple long stories behind that one), as I’ve only read one of his books so far. However, from what I do know, his ways of explaining things are ingenious in a way, and I’ve had many conversations with my mom using information from his works.

One such supplement to our conversations was Meanings of Life. While I still have yet to read it, it’s been increasingly on my mind over the summer—no clue why, but I’ve been thinking about what my mom’s explained to me of its concepts. Wondering more and more what gives people reason to be happy, or simply to keep going. Why they do the things they do.

For essentially the first time in my life, I’ve been doing exactly what everyone accuses me of doing whenever I tell them I’m a Psychology major: observing and evaluating the behavior of everyone around me. Some clearly consider a single thing their purpose—be it their hobby, job, money, adventure, family, or whatever. That one thing is what makes them feel accomplished enough to be content. Others, it’s the amalgamation (ooh, GRE word) of small meaningful things, with less effort put forth toward each. Some people like to keep themselves busy; others feel better when they accomplish a large project and then can get plenty of rest, on and off.

The most important thing to remember here, though, is this: life is made up of choices. You can follow one purpose one time, follow another one another time, follow a single one all of the time, or try to compromise your way to all of the purposes all of the time (good luck with that last one). And also keep in mind: no matter what you do, you will have to fight for it—whether it be because too many other people are trying to do the same thing, or too few are interested.

If you follow money, you’ll have not only other people trying to make their own money from yours, but judgment from those who generalize you to a miserly curmudgeon (another GRE word; I’m on a roll). On the other hand, if you love—with all your heart—something that most people might consider a hobby, you have to deal with the possibility that it’s not something from which to make a reasonable living. After all, you can’t make people interested in what you love to do any more than the family-oriented can make people interested in the pictures they show you of their children (don’t lie—you know them).

So I look around… I see at least three generations of people just sort of wandering around. They try to find some meaning to their life, or at least a reason for being on this earth. Some succeed fully, and manage to find enough whenever they take a look around. Others try and try for that one thing that can make them their best, yet never find it. For the majority, though, there are ups and downs. You’ll feel like you’re finally getting on track one day, and the next be thrown into a ditch, completely discouraged. Or you can have much milder swings—going in a general “forward” direction, then your tire will blow out and you have to pull over to evaluate the situation and change as needed.

Okay, so I once again lost the purpose of my post. But generally, find what gives you purpose, and try to achieve it. It may not work 100% of the time. Someone I care about very much has fallen on some fairly hard times because of his love for a single thing. You hold a conversation with the man, and you can tell that his entire life is dedicated to this. He’s a genius on the subject, but oftentimes, people want to talk about something else or simply misinterpret what he tells them—this causes many problems. Likewise, if you dedicate your life to taking care of your children, you may have trouble providing for them financially. If you prefer to travel the world, talking to different people and finding new experiences, there’s a chance you won’t be able to afford that lifestyle. If you decide to only make money, keep in mind that you may, in fact, become that miserly curmudgeon and lose all those close to you.

But despite all that, the important thing is to not lose sight of what you want while you’re grasping for what you need. Everyone in the world is trying to get by in whatever way they can, but remember to not give up on the things that keep you from feeling empty.

P.S. I know this isn’t the exact topic of the aforementioned book, but the topic of the book is what got me thinking about this.

Published in: on June 25, 2011 at 4:20 am  Comments (1)  

Fighting for the Users

Per your request, I shall review my experiences so far after exchanging old WinXP for a Linux system.

First off, for those interested, I’ve been absent at least partially due to another, far less serious blog (mostly used for communication with the peers who pressured me to get it, along with various hilarious internet pictures–feel free to head on over if you’d like).

So! My little Lenovo had WinXP installed on it from the beginning, complete with all the ThinkPad software that seemed to only serve the purpose of filling up my hard drive. Eventually, more and more built up to the point that the automatic backup wasn’t able to run due to lack of space, in addition to other just plain strange issues. It was then that I began to look at my options, particularly the glorious Linux OS.

In part, this is an experiment. I’ve known for a long while that Linux often isn’t compatible with various software–particularly games. But hey, my laptop barely has the power to even run most games, so that’s not much of an issue. And besides, as I’ve since learned, there are usually workarounds. If nothing else, it would serve as a valuable horizon-broadening experience. Besides, I still have Win7 on my desktop if there’s something I absolutely can’t use on the new OS. So I decided to look into it. I asked friends, searched around the internet, and made the decision.

At first I installed Ubuntu 10.10, and absolutely loved it. The only problem I ran into was that I couldn’t use Netflix. I tried a few near-workarounds–the Firefox user agent switcher, Moonlight (the open source version of Silverlight), etc., but thus far to no avail. The internet has tried its best at this, and still nothing. Besides this roadbump, the system itself is far smaller, faster, and easier to use than what I’d had before.

I’ve since gotten the upgrade to 11.4, which just came out of beta testing a couple weeks ago (if I haven’t just completely lost track of time). Frankly, I’m strongly considering going back–at least for a while. My biggest problem is that the UI is awful–the people in my dorm who have used it agree. I’m sure I can still work it similarly enough (at least from the terminal), but the actual layout with the icons and sidebar and such–not happy. I may be able to play around somewhere and change it up to the way that I want it, but I haven’t yet created the time for myself to figure all that out.

I’m sure it’s possible, though–the boyfriend was convinced by my experiment to set up a dual boot on his own computer, then proceeded to make it look like a Mac (purely to spite users of actual Macs–it’s sure to be quite entertaining).

The Good: I love all the open source software that is just sort of there (sudo apt-get install, bitches!). I did manage to find a Linux version of a little game series that I’ve been meaning to finish, which was fun. Ubuntu boots up in at least 1/2 the time that Windows did (if not faster), and with far fewer annoying updates (particularly ones requiring a restart) and various windows popping up trying to make me do stuff. I have yet to try any programming or anything, but perhaps I’ll find time over the summer to attempt something and refresh my computer science mindset a bit.

TL;DR: No Netflix; love 10.10, but the 11.4 UI sucks; besides those two issues, Linux is freakin’ amazing. Boots up in a fraction of the time that Windows does, takes up less space, is easier to work (particularly from the terminal), and is generally just plain better, faster, stronger.

UPDATE: Ah-ha! I found how to change the UI–it was far simpler than expected. Right here. It’s a little choppy at the moment, but plenty close enough for now.

Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm  Comments (2)  

Free Medicine! Yay!

So, I’ve never gotten a flu shot in my life. This year, however, The Sister has just begun chemotherapy for lymphoma. When I got the email for today’s Swine Flu vaccination clinic here at the university, then, I figured I ought to get a shot. Furthermore, in case you haven’t guessed yet, this thing is free.

H’oh boy.

I arrived around 10:15am, shortly after it was supposed to open. It opened a few minutes later. I got to move up in my line a good bit before they decided that our line was “a fire hazard” (frankly, I think they just wanted a single line for less general confusion or something) and made us all go to the back of the other line. Thus, I spent the next few minutes outside, and the few after that standing in the doorway from where all the cold air from outside was swooshing in on the back of my neck. It had been an hour by the time I got part-way up the stairs less than twenty feet away.

From there, this is the route we took (please excuse the very crude MS Paint-drawn diagram):

On the plus side, there was a guy there who looked EXACTLY like Joss Whedon.

Each dash is approximately five (5) people.

On the plus side, there was someone not far behind me who I swear looked exactly like Joss Whedon.

See the “+ MORE” up there? That was about one more long weave before finally getting to the table where I could hand in my paperwork and be told that I can’t get the good, dead shot, but have to get the live nasal vaccine, because–what do you know–even though it’s free, the supply is limited.

So here’s my impression of free healthcare: you stand in line for three (3) hours (without having eaten that day, by the way) to get the treatment you’d already decided you don’t want. Let’s make the whole country like this!

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oh, hey, I have a blog.

This has thus far been the busiest semester of my life, what with Amadeus 3-5 hours a night for the first five weeks of school, along with actually getting a social life and ridiculous amounts of homework for the first time in my college life (Psychology!). Plus whatever random stuff has popped up with a day’s notice or less (looking at you, cold virus (that hit twice and is still giving me trouble) and Muse concert). Therefore, I haven’t had time to think lately, so I haven’t really been able to formulate some random topic on which to rant. Hopefully some thoughts will organize themselves after/during my fall break of being high on oxycodone(!) for my wisdom teeth, but we’ll have to see.

Until I have some down time to settle my brain, hopefully the following can hold you over:

Spaced – the best series EVER

Probably seen it already – amazing Halo 3 ODST trailer

Umm…

There’s also the new Muse CD, which I already have (heh). So far, this is my favorite from it (…I think? Need to listen to them all more). I do kind of agree with the people who are saying that the album’s not on nearly the same level as their previous works.  On the other hand, it really ends up just speaking very highly of the band that this is simply awful for them.

So, uh, hopefully by the time you watch all of Spaced (given that y’all do what I can’t and pace yourself), I’ll think of something new about which to write. Byeeeeeeee!

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Excuses, excuses.

I did just get lazy and have nothing to say towards the end of the summer, but the fall semester just started and I find myself with just about every night being completely taken up by Amadeus, reading that I might actually need to do, an internship to apply for that I need to get in by Friday morning (very interesting way of doing things, but if nothing else, it makes sure the candidate can deal with deadlines), regular homework–something humanities teachers don’t always have–, random other things that pop up to be done within a small number of days, and so on. So we’ll get back once either a) I get used to actually having a life and responsibilities and such, or b) we get to the end of September. A random 4-minute song will hold y’all ’til then, right? Sure it will.

Bis Später!

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

One Person, One Vote

I’ve decided that, of all liberal arts professors, those who teach History are the worst. It’s possible that they’re beaten out by Sociology, but since I avoid that subject like the Swine Flu, I can’t say for sure. Obviously, I’ve had experiences from across the board, but History professors, thus far, have been the only ones to bring up politics every single class period.

So the other day, we were learning about Athens. This, of course, included a discussion on their democratic system. I’ll not go into the boring details, because they don’t really matter. And it’s clear that they don’t from the fact that “we” very quickly transferred the conversation to our own system of government.

Let’s see if I can manage to relay the whole disaster before beginning my rebuttals.

The professor began with the obvious: we are not a direct democracy! Oh em gee. This must be remedied.

So he continued by proposing a modern system for every citizen to vote on every bill. That is, basically, meeting monthly at a local community center and electronically listening to the proposal and both sides of the issue, and voting on it electronically. This prompted a clever, “It’d take one hell of a server” from one student, but nothing more. As well it shouldn’t, in the grand scheme.

This next part takes the issue further: it is unfair that one of the houses of congress doesn’t base number of representatives on population of the state. One student began to argue that, you know, the other house does, but was interrupted by, “but a bill needs to pass both houses to be made into law. Thus, the votes of the people in Wyoming count more than those of the people in California (and that’s unfair)” (not a direct quote, but the basic gist of the interruption and subsequent rant).

That continued on for some time, and we eventually (sort of) got back to the proposal of implementation of a direct democracy in America (since, you know, whatever’s invented first is obviously better than what succeeds it), and students were asked for opinions (I would have given mine if I were fast-thinking enough and less pissed off at the diversion from what I’m my parents are paying them to teach me. Yay, rationalization!). No one raised a single critical point, save one guy who mentioned that the electronic system itself could be hacked, and everyone was just sort of saying random stuff about everyone voting on gun rights and abortion for a unifying federal law–frankly, I didn’t entirely pay attention since I was trying to figure out where to start in my own answer, as I fully intended to raise my hand and let them know just how idiotic this idea was. I was still working on it when class let out, using the bathroom afterwards, driving home, waiting for my sister to get here, and all up to now. And that, friends, is why I can’t hold a deep conversation and/or debate. Working on that too, though. I swear.

So, where have I decided to start? Besides the little parenthetical comments I couldn’t help but snark into my above summary? Well, there’s the fact that there shouldn’t even be the possibility of a national law on things like gun control and abortion, no matter how many people vote on it. There are just too many people in this entire country for even 1% to be controlled by the rest. Because 1% of the number of people in America is still about 3 million. Not one person who spoke that day even considered the possibility of leaving critical and controversial decisions like that to the local government. That, kids, is the education system using your tax dollars.

Major point number two: there is a reason that representation in the senate is “unfairly” distributed. And it’s a very good reason (or, even, pack of reasons). Initially, when the constitution was constructed, it was the case that the larger and westernmost states (ex: Viriginia) had an immense area of potentially new territory into which they could expand, thus increasing their population and thereby acquiring more votes, whereas the smaller, further east states (i.e. New Jersey) had no such option (this, by the way, is the bit of good information that could be gleaned from my last class). Currently, we don’t have such a problem, but the principle under which the New Jersey plan was formed still stands strong, and that is the fact that people in and from different places have different interests and needs. In particular, people in low-populated areas have immensely different interests than those in high-populated areas.

And therein lies the most important point that I will here make: if we were to have a purely 1:1 system for voting, those in rural areas would be forced to live under the laws and customs of city-dwellers, and let me say from experience, they can’t, don’t want to, and shouldn’t have to. This would mean that the Christmas tree farmers in Ashe County, NC–a beautiful place where there is one high school in the entire county (as a point of reference)–would have to live according to the interests of those in LA (or, for the sake of argument, if anyone realized that there was such a thing as state’s rights, those in Raleigh (who apparently don’t know how to signal for a turn… just saying)). Apparently, this currently counts as only 20% of Americans (though you have to wonder what definitions they used for “urban” and “rural”), but that’s plenty to form a good revolt if forced to follow laws that have no place in their community (I mean, it’s 60,000,000 people… many of whom are gun-owners).

Also, dude, the Californians aren’t currently forced to follow the customs of the Wyomians(?), because, as was explained in class, a bill must pass both houses to be made into law–the Senate can’t overlook the House any more than the House can.

Wow, was that all I really had to say? I suppose it was the major ideas, though I could go further into why first=/=best, or fly off on another rant about my idiotic peers. However, I don’t have too much currently in my mind on the former topic, and it’s not like the world doesn’t already know of my disdain for the ignorance of modern-day college students (if not, see here), so I believe I’ll spare my readers this time around.

By the way, the Athenian democracy only lasted 170 years, so technically you could say that we’ve already proven to be better simply due to lifespan, but on the other hand, I can’t very well say that our system is an absolute success, and those guys did only fall under Alexander the freakin’ Great.

Published in: on July 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm  Comments (3)  

Standards and Interest

As you all know, I am currently in college. I’m currently in a summer session for a course on Ancient History, and have an experience I’d like to share with you to lead into today’s overall topic.

Yesterday, we were discussion early Judaism, and the professor was explaining that there is some evidence that the very early Jews were more henotheistic than monotheistic (I believe it was surmised that they began stricter monotheism near the Babylonian exile, but that’s irrelevant to the point). The professor asked the following question of the guy sitting in front of me: “What is the first commandment?” To which the student replied (beware, this is extremely painful), “Freedom of speech?”

So here’s my problem: this guy is in college–nay, a university! An institute of higher learning. Yet he doesn’t know the difference between the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights. What is this guy doing in college?

Now, as an isolated incident, this might be forgiven, provided that the student can offer some good,  logical explanation for having essentially no knowledge about two of the most important documents to his own culture, but the fact is that this kind of event has rather often come to my attention since I started at this Institute of Higher Learning two winters ago. I (probably too) often cite the experience in my dorm the night of the election, when a girl said, “I can’t believe West Virginia went for McCain,” and her friend replied, “Well, West Virginia’s real Southern.”

So, I’m not necessarily trying to say that these people are dumb, or really much of anything about the people themselves. It could, theoretically, be the fault of the public schools (though I’m not inclined to believe that that’s the sole factor due to the fact that everyone I know who’s been through the system and has intelligence at least knows certain basic facts about their own society). Another possibility, of course, is that History is just a boring subject–I accept that not everyone is a History nerd like myself and doesn’t find useless tidbits of information like, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” particularly fascinating. I understand that, but it leads directly into my real point (or, uh, one of them):

Say both this guy and the one who sits to my left sleeping the entire class are somehow geniuses in, say, Math or Chemical Engineering or something. How does it help them to have to take a course in Ancient History (or a number of courses apparently even less helpful to them, considering that they’re both here instead of there). Why should their GPA’s suffer for a subject in which they have absolutely no interest, just because a bunch of hippies like to unquestionably cling onto random quotes as the Gospel Truth (ironically, since they tend to openly despise the actual Gospels. Unless, of course, they’re in opera format).

Let’s suppose, though–as I suspect–that all the people making these idiotic comments are not some kind of secret genius. In that case, WTF are they doing in college? They obviously don’t care. They don’t want to be there–indeed, most students don’t, otherwise all the professors wouldn’t have to put in place ridiculous attendance/electronics policies. If going to class in college (at the very least) is an absolutely horrendous chore for you, and you feel the need to sleep through the entire thing, then you have no reason to be there. There’s no law about having to go to college, no one’s forcing you to be there–go do something more productive with your life. Start making money rather than squandering it away on extra sleeping time and having nerds try to teach you a bunch of crap you don’t care about.

…and thus, we get back to a point I made some while back (not even sure which site it was on, so I ain’t searching for a link). This society pushes the idea of a college education so hard, making it seem like you can’t even get a job without one (and, indeed, the options are dwindling. Yay unions/outsourcing!), that you have a buch of people without even the most basic knowledge of their own culture (an aside: too much multiculturalism. Outside stuff is more interesting since it’s different, thus less interest in what’s usual to oneself), their own language (I’ve seen papers), basic reasoning skills (I could perhaps elaborate from my Logic class if anyone wishes), etc. at nearly the nation’s highest education level (I’ll let you guys know about grad. school when I get there in 3 years). They would be more productive and successful having already begun a career at this point, and everyone in college who cares would be able to learn more effectively and delve deeper into the subjects if they didn’t need to be dragged along at the same speed as those who just don’t get it.

Parallel: my Tang Soo Do classes. For the past year+, we had been stuck at a place where we could only hold one class a night, and only three nights a week. All had to be for all belts and ages so as to make the general most out of what we had–that is, to give everyone a chance to come as much as possible. That place just closed down, and we needed to find a new place. At this new place, we have the room for two hours, and can therefore have two classes: one for everyone, and a later one reserved for higher belts. This was absolutely necessary, because when there are a bunch of white, yellow, orange, and green belts who need to be taught (often different things from one another), there is no time for the red and blue (our version of black) belts to learn the more advanced stuff that takes more time and concentration to learn. Thus, so that the higher belts can learn anything, there needs to be a separate time and/or place for them to do so, or they will be (and have been) dragged down and completely forget everything and/or never get around to testing *achem*.

When you try to, say, speed up an (as they termed them at my pre-home high school) “academic” level class by mixing them in the AP, or “Advanced Placement” classes (as I believe that same school did with my sister’s AP English or whatever), all that can possibly happen is that the advanced students will be harmed. Those in the “academic”–that is, the lowest possible–class are there for a reason: they simply can’t (or, I guess, don’t want to) learn the subject any faster. Those in the AP class are there because they both can and do want to learn at a faster speed. It’s easier to keep someone from doing something rather than to make them do something they don’t want to do, and thus the result is that everyone goes at the “academic” pace. Ah, the logic of the public schools!

Okay, so the overall point here besides getting out my frustration at hearing something so amazingly ignorant as the statement at the beginning of the post… what was it? Basically that this entire generation (at least) is being completely screwed over by the whole “everyone should must go to college!” mindset that’s wormed its way so deeply into our subconscious minds that no one even thinks about it; it’s simply become a given that higher education is the only possible means to a successful life. It’s not, but it’s an idea that’s come to permeate our society like a creeping, sneaking, silent, scentless cloud of gas; but man, wait until someone lights a match.

Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm  Comments (6)  

The Dangers of Learning from History

If you’ve been following my twitter, you probably know by now of my awful Early American History course. Now, I started off with hope for it. On the first day, the professor seemed pretty cool and took the day to lecture on the importance of using actual facts in analysis. Boy, was that ever misleading. I could tell by the third day how it was going to be.

Well, I’m not going to go through the whole five weeks day-by-day, but long story short, not a single day passed where at least half the lecture time was spent talking about either “stealing” Indian land, or slavery. Heck, there have been days where one half was one of those and the other half was the other. An entire class period was spent on the subject of Sally Hemings, the slave with whom Thomas Jefferson is alleged to have had an affair. The only thing spoken of in reference to the Declaration of Independence was a paragraph in an early version condemning slavery. I neither kid nor exaggerate. Now, there was the occasional bit of factual information to be gleaned throughout this whole thing, but it was not what was emphasized. The overall point made was as follows: Europeans were evil racits, purposefully lying about things like the population density of Indians when they’d first arrived (before smallpox-infested blankets) and treating slaves horribly (admittedly, better than anyone else treated slaves, BUT IT WAS STILL EVIL!!!), up until the American Revolution. Then, Europeans were pretty cool, and it’s just white Americans who are the devil’s followers, stealing even more land from the peaceful Indians (followed by the, of course, also peaceful Mexicans). Also, the South really won the civil war, because racism still thrived after reconstruction.

Sigh.

Okay, this is not to be meant to be a rant on the horrors of the modern public university (though I do find it hilarious that he gave a speech at the end of one class to question authority, completely unaware that his point of view IS the current authority). There’s probably somewhere that I meant to go with it. And it is thus: the question of what effect this type of learning has upon those to whom it’s being preached. Well, to begin, some people of the persecuted races obviously become emotional. It’s a matter of ancestry–one wants to feel connected to their forefathers. For instance, I’ve never met, nor do I know very much about my great-grandfather who was a civil engineer at NCSU way back in, like, the 30’s or whatever, but I get insulted when people complain about the layout of Raleigh, because he had a large hand in it (It was great for the projected growth, but then idiots all moved down here, and screwed it up). So, when someone says something bad about an ancestor of yours–like, say, that they were a slave–an emotional response could be likely. And, well, emotional responses in the present–no matter what for–cause problems in the present and for the future.

Now, what happens to the wrongdoers’ descendants? Well, they could accept responsibility for things that they, themselves, had no hand in and maintain a feeling of guilt for it. That’s not a very healthy, nor a very reasonable way to live, though it is currently the socially acceptable thing to do. One might also ackowledge that it was an evil thing to do, but also not feel guilt for it since it was not, in fact, their own doing (and, indeed, entirely out of anyone’s control by now, since it’s in the past). Of course, that’s the most logical response to horrors done either by or to one’s ancestors, but let’s pretend for a moment that we’re in this universe, and most people are not logical. Here’s the real worry I have about people being taught essentially only of the evils of their ancestors: there will be a rejection instinct towards what is being taught. It’s, “Oh, you’re saying my forefathers were evil?” That is a personal insult to their family’s honor, just as saying someone’s forefathers were slaves is. Families stick together, and defend each other, no matter what, so they go on the defensive and subconsciously stop listening to the bad things being said.

Then we have one group of people feeling victimized because of past evils done to their ancestors–on their side are those in the persecuting group who believe that a feeling of guilt is justified. A third group, then, is mentally rejecting the evils of their ancestors, or might even accept what was done, but deny that it was evil (because it’s being shoved down their throat that it is evil). The third group is being continually urged by the first and second that it WAS evil, you MUST recognize it, and you MUST atone for it. Group 3 feels backed into a corner, and begins pushing harder in the other direction (particularly since their family honor is at stake). This is bad. This is what causes conflict nowadays: learning from history. Because group 3 would not fight–and, indeed, might be within the logical group mentioned briefly in the last paragraph–if they did not feel pressured by groups 1&2. 1&2 might not push as hard if the evils were not made so prominent in the current curriculum. By all means, don’t forget about it (but I do wonder if that would, indeed, be such a bad thing), but perhaps make the good things that were done more prominent. Talk about, say, the fact that the constitution “awarded” (don’t want my libertarians to get mad, now) more freedom to the regular citizenry than had ever before been given. At least mention the fact that the descendants of the population in the territory taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American war is living in far better conditions now (assuming they didn’t all head south, which I’m pretty sure they didn’t) than if the U.S. hadn’t taken it. Let it be known that blacks now do, in fact, have the same rights as whites (some will try to argue that there is a societal, perhaps subconscious racism still prevalent (only in the South, of course!) amongst whites, but even if that were true (and if it is, it’s likely that it’s mostly–if not solely–under group 3 conditions), the point stands that there is no law taking freedoms from them that whites do have), and that those rights would not exist (few as they are that remain) had the great fathers of this country not fought for them.

Then again, this was a guy who took yet another lecture to explain how Keynesian economics is TOTALLY SUPER-FREAKING AWESOME!!!, so perhaps he wouldn’t even consider letting citizens have liberties to be a great thing anyways. Ah, well, such is the current mainstream thought.

By the way, the concept of only letting those who pay taxes vote (I think it was the original Commonwealth ideology, but not sure): what say you? The professor obviously hated it, but I find it a very interesting proposal, and imaigne that it could very well solve certain current problems of ours.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm  Comments (3)